Is intelligent design theory making progress under the radar?

by Denyse O’Leary

According to the Discovery Institute, which supports ID research,

“The scientific progress of ID has won the serious attention of skeptics in the scientific community, who engage in scientific debate with ID and attend private scientific conference allowing off-the-record discussion with ID proponents.

That such discussions would be off the record is no surprise. Carl Woese was dubbed by Science microbiology’s scarred revolutionary, even though his approach to science was resolutely materialist. But his discovery that the Archaea were a separate kingdom from the bacteria upset a few very tidy applecarts, and among a certain sort of people that was quite enough.

If you are majoring in science, the harsh reality is that many more people claim to believe that science changes its mind based on evidence than demonstrate the claim by their own behavior.
The scientist who even considers design as a possible explanation for the fine-tuning of the universe or the language of the genome could find himself attacked, shunned, sidelined, or fired, often by people who do not know or wish to know what the problems with Darwinism (or, if you like, neo-Darwinism) are. Nonetheless, recent years have seen a number of pro-design papers published in peer-reviewed journals.

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One outcome of the difficulty put in the way of honest discussion is that Darwinism becomes an increasingly vacant, unreflective, all-purpose explanation. Photographer and philosopher Laszlo Bencze writes us with an example:

So I’m reading the Sibley Guide to Trees, a lovely, comprehensive volume for identifying your local trees.

In the introduction I encounter, “All species evolve so that the timing of leaf emergence and leaf fall match the local climate.” Oh dear. Yet another genuflection before evolutionary orthodoxy. He couldn’t have just said, “In all species the timing of leaf emergence and leaf fall match the local climate.” But if we take him seriously, the implication is that there was a time when the timing of leaf emergence and leaf fall did not match the local climate. Perhaps we had leaf emergence as the harsh winds of winter began to blow and leaf fall during the warm rains of Spring. Not so good.

All those trees would have died until they got it right. But if they died, they had no opportunity to get it right. No matter. Evolution solves all problems, even self-contradiction.

Most likely, the author was not thinking out carefully what he was saying, but that is a hazard of falling into the habit of vacant, unreflective, all-purpose explanations like “evolution…”


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The Intelligent Design Collection – Darwin’s Dilemma, The Privileged Planet, Unlocking the Mystery of Life

The Design Revolution: Answering the Toughest Questions About Intelligent Design


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