Thursday, April 07, 2011

Cut Me Some Slack.

In this blog post atheist Larry Moran criticizes the Intelligent Design community for their negative evolution bashing and their failure to advance a positive science of Intelligent Design. He says:

Any objective view of the IDiot literature reveals that attacks on evolution constitute >99% of their activity. It's rare to find an article or book that presents a positive case for a creator design.

Given my experience of the anti-evolution movement I have to agree that that statement is a good approximation of the state of anti-evolutionist ID theory.

Larry Moran is responding to a blog post by Denise O’Leary on Uncommon Descent where she asks whether ID researchers are making positive progress:

That said, a legitimate question raised by thoughtful people is, why don’t ID-friendly researchers do positive research? Why do they just go on proving that Darwinism doesn’t work?

Guess who she blames for a lack of progress?......

I too look forward to the day that ID researchers are free to do positive work, but right now we are swamped in a Darwinism whose fraudulence is often unrecognized because it is so often ridiculous. . So, as with counterfeit money, the first goal is to demonstrate that much intellectual currency is bogus……So can good money ever drive out bad? Yes, but it is tough slogging.

“Darwinists” like Larry Moran, then, not only have to face a barrage of destructive criticism about their life’s work, but they also get the blame for ID theorist’s inability to do little else other than to engage in a science of negation. This, to my mind, is very unfair.

The lack of positive scientific progress amongst the anti-evolutionist community has, in my opinion, much more to do with the nature of Intelligent Design itself rather than “Darwinism”. 'Twere to consider too curiously, to consider so: For archeologists the existence of human beings that have long gone and done their stuff in the depths of time is a given: Archeology doesn’t seek to explain humanity; humanity is axiomatic in that discipline. Thus, given the highly complex and inscrutable causal agent that human culture is, it is no surprise that for archeologists artifacts such as Stonehenge, Silbury Hill, Avebury, Carnac and the like are going to be difficult to interpret and aspects of their purpose and methods of construction may forever remain a mystery, lost in the mists of time. In Theistic Design Theory it is God that is axiomatic and clearly we are postulating here a far more complex, mysterious, inaccessible and alien an object than even ancient human cultures. It follows, then, that if living things were directly engineered via some second creative dispensation over and above physics, it is likely that the exact processes involved will forever remain a mystery. Moreover, making predictions about what that Infinitely Strange Entity has done and for what purpose is also likely to be a very hazardous hit and miss affair: Who knows, He/She/It might even fancy splicing in a bit of “junk DNA” into the genome for inscrutable reasons; God, after all, moves in mysterious ways, as any faith worth its salt understands.

Therefore those who believe that life is a result of a second creative dispensation will just have to accept that like archeology it is in the nature of their discipline that that discipline is likely to make a lot less progress than even prehistoric archeology. It is therefore grossly unjust to blame evolutionists for the slow progress in ID.

I’ll confess that I am myself an Intelligent Design Creationist* and therefore I’m postulating  the existence of an  “Ultimate Origins” object (or entity) far more complex and in principle far more inaccessible, and therefore far more subject to the vagaries and foibles of imaginative construction than anything an evolutionist like Larry Moran might have to handle; he only deals in law and disorder. I have to deal with the Bible and as people who are in touch with reality know all too well, there are as many Bible interpretations as there are Christian sects.

So, I say, let’s leave Larry Moran and other gentleman atheists a little bit of slack shall we?

* I actually favour a single dispensation creation paradigm (that is physics; but being a physics phanatic may make me a little biased, however) although I take the criticisms of sensible ID theorists like William Demsbki seriously and believe those criticisms need to be properly and dispassionately engaged.

Silbury Hill. Wiltshire, England.

No comments: