Sunday, March 19, 2006

Let The Sunshine In

Well said:

DaveScot recently offered a post entitled “Biologists Are Not Design Experts” in which he commented about Darwinian (i.e., blind-watchmaker) evolution apologists who propose that those in other disciplines should keep their noses out of Darwinian evolutionary theory, presumably because these would-be naysayers are not experts in blind or (as Phillip Johnson so eloquently puts it) comatose watchmaking.

In reply to a commenter, DaveScot retorts: “Keep in mind this [Dave’s original post] is a response to a Panda’s Thumb article saying scientists ought to stay within their expertise. They of course are directing it specifically at mathematicians like Dembski and Berlinski telling them to butt out of biology, plus non-specifically to any of the scientists on the Dissent from Darwinism list that aren’t biologists. I’m just giving them a taste of their own medicine.”

The problem is that Darwinian evolutionary theorists (and their spinoff cohorts in evolutionary sociology and psychology, who really should seek medical or other counseling to put them back in touch with reality) have lost touch with the rest of the scientific community.

Darwinian evolutionary biologists have enjoyed a privileged position of authority, especially in academia, because anyone who questions their theses, whether on the grounds of theoretical principle or evidence, is immediately labeled an enemy of science. Never mind that the hypotheses are built on a foundation of wishful speculation, and that contradictory evidence is consistently ignored or dismissed with ridicule.

The essence of the Darwinian evolutionary hypothesis can be comprehended with little effort by almost anyone: Vary stuff randomly, and keep the stuff that works the best. The stuff that works the best will make copies of itself. This explains everything!

But an interesting turn of events has occurred in the last 30 or so years.

Scientists in other fields have started to question the “vary stuff” part of the hypothesis. Engineers, mathematicians, computer programmers and information theorists understand the statistical problems presented by the phenomenon of combinatoric explosion, which evolutionary biologists ignore as being surmountable with time and probabilistic resources, with no hard analysis of the probabilities involved.

Paleontologists have always known that the overall evidence of the fossil record is one of stasis and sudden appearance, not incremental change. Evolutionary biologists tell paleontologists, and the rest of us, that we all should ignore the Himalayan-sized mountains of contrary evidence, and accept imaginative stories about incremental change where the fossil record is most incomplete.

The bottom line is that Darwinian hypothesizers are finally being exposed to scrutiny by those outside the field, who have a better understanding about how things really are, and about how things really work.

The resultant panic and fear-mongering by Darwinists is clear evidence that they don’t have the goods, and they know it.

This is all perfectly clear to those who deign to read the primary ID literature, rather than content themselves with second or third hand internet hearsay and misrepresentations. If you don't know, it's because you don't want to know.


Anonymous said...

The essential claim he makes is that people trained in microbiology should stop trying to find working microbiological (that is, evolutionary) explanations for features. They are perfectly qualified to make such explanations.

DaveScot is engaging in a combination appeal to authority and circular argument: Since IDists "know" there is design, any criticism must be viewed in design terms (rather than simply another explanation that works), and other domains do not have the expertise to talk about design. He overlooks that biology is by definition the study of life, which is the obvious subject of inquiry, and that someone who wants to inject design into the question bears the burden of proof.

Matteo said...

And you, Michael Poole, are simply begging the question. The point at issue is this: have the biologists gone off the rails in their theorizing? By telling other experts, in effect, "go to Hell, we'll police ourselves" and ignoring legitimate criticism from other fields, have they shut themsleves off (along with you) in a sophistic bubble? And by the way, Michael you are not a biologist, so where do you get off saying these guys are right? By your own logic you are entitled to no such opinion.

I am more and more convinced that evolutionary biologists are simply overlooking new evidence that is devastating to their theory, either out of ideological blindness, arrogance, or simple scientific incompetence and lack of due diligence/humility.

A new and very scientifically informed book by David Swift makes this absolutely clear (in an understated and polite way). The book is entitled "Evolution Under The Microscope". Please add it to the stack of books you refuse to read.

Anonymous said...

You misunderstand my position: I think it is fair to look at one field from the perspective of another. I never said someone was *not* qualified to make a claim, just that microbiologists are perfectly qualified to make microbiology-based explanations. If someone wants to introduce design as an explanation for biology, it is useful to show that there are not reasonable biological explanations for the same thing. So far, ID fails at this.

I do not think that biologists ignore ID criticism or police themselves in any way that is unusual for the sciences and engineering. It is common for evolutionary biologists to respond to the substance of ID's criticisms (stragely, rather more common than the converse). has an interesting set of comments about "Evolution under the Microscope", where the universal response to the book being cited was not "yeah, he has no credentials, he is wrong" but "he has poor credentials, but so what? what is his argument?" Judging from Google, no one seems to be willing to describe the arguments used in the book. Even though the book was published in 2002, neither of the county library systems near where I live list it.

Matteo said...

Well, bloody hell, Michael, how do you know that "so far ID fails at this" if you won't even condescend to read what ID has to say for itself?

When you delegated the fine impartial minds at Panda's Thumb and as the gatekeepers for what you will or will not consider on the topic, and as the sole interpreters of what ID is really saying, did they make you sign a form or something? Did they give you any cool iron-on decals or decoder rings?

The book is available here:

It's a good read, I think you'd enjoy it. Really.