Sunday, October 09, 2005

A Pro-ID Column In A Most Unexpected Place

Will wonders never cease. Tech Central Station tends to be a techno-geek libertarian site which considers Intelligent Design to be Neanderthalic Anti-Science. Well here's a pretty strong pro-ID piece they've just put up. Lots of good points.


2) ID will win because the pro-Darwin crowd is acting like a bunch of losers.

"Ewww…intelligent design people! They're just buck-toothed Bible-pushing nincompoops with community-college degrees who're trying to sell a gussied-up creationism to a cretinous public! No need to address their concerns or respond to their arguments. They are Not Science. They are poopy-heads."

There. I just saved you the trouble of reading 90% of the responses to the ID position. Vitriol, condescension, and endless accusations of bad faith all characterize far too much of the standard pro-Darwinian response to criticism. A reasonable observer might note that many ID advocates appear exceptionally well-educated, reasonable, and articulate; they might also note that ID advocates have pointed out many problems with the Darwinist catechism that even pro-Darwin scientists have been known to concede, when they think the Jesus-kissing crowd isn't listening. And yet, even in the face of a sober, thoughtful ID position, the pro-Darwin crowd insists on the same phooey-to-the-boobgeois shtick that was tiresome in Mencken's day. This is how losers act just before they lose: arrogant, self-satisfied, too important to be bothered with substantive refutation, and disdainful of their own faults. Pride goeth before a fall.

3) ID will win because it can be reconciled with any advance that takes place in biology, whereas Darwinism cannot yield even an inch of ground to ID.

So you've discovered the missing link? Proven that viruses distribute super-complex DNA proteins? Shown that fractals can produce evolution-friendly three-dimensional shapes? It doesn't matter. To the ID mind, you're just pushing the question further down the road. How was the missing link designed? What is the origin of the viruses? Who designed the fractals? ID has already made its peace with natural selection and the irrefutable aspects of Darwinism. By contrast, Darwinism cannot accept even the slightest possibility that it has failed to explain any significant dimension of evolution. It must dogmatically insist that it will resolve all of its ambiguities and shortcomings -- even the ones that have lingered since the beginning of Darwinism. The entire edifice of Darwinian theory comes crashing down with even a single credible demonstration of design in any living thing. Can science really plug a finger into every hole in the Darwinian dyke for the next fifty years?

4) ID will win because it can piggyback on the growth of information theory, which will attract the best minds in the world over the next fifty years.

ID is a proposition about information. It contends that the processes of life are so specific and carefully ordered that they must reflect deliberate action. Put simply: a complex message implies an even more complex sender. Separating ordered but random data from relevant, purposeful data -- that is, separating noise from messages -- is one of the key undertakings of the 21st century. In nearly every field, from statistics to quantum physics to cryptology to computer science, the smartest people on the planet are struggling to understand and apply the unfathomable power of information that modern technology has bequeathed to them. We have only scratched the surface of the problem-solving power that the Internet and cheap computing power open to us. As superior intellects strive to understand the metaphysics of information, they will find the information-oriented arguments of ID increasingly sensible and appealing. ID will fit nicely into the emerging worldview of tomorrow's intellectual elite.

This emerging worldview will take a more expansive view of science than does the current elite. Consider the "meme" meme. We all know what a meme is: a thought pattern that spreads from person to person and group to group like a viral infection spreading through a population. Yet memes cannot be bisected, or examined under a microscope, or "falsified" via the scientific method. Even so, we can make statements about memes with varying degrees of objective truthfulness. Is it possible to speak of a "science" of concepts? Right now, the scientific establishment says no. This unhelpful understanding of science will soon be discarded in favor of something more useful in the information age.


The only remaining question is whether Darwinism will exit gracefully, or whether it will go down biting, screaming, censoring, and denouncing to the bitter end. Rightly or wrongly, the future belongs to ID. There's nothing irreducibly complex about it.

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