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Quixotic References.

[Return to The Quixotic Message]

[1] The claim that scientists by the thousands are joining the ID movement, and that it's just a matter of time before the rest see the light, is a propaganda technique known as inevitable victory, and is frequently employed by the ID movement. Very strange it is then that IDist press releases and newspaper articles keep mentioning the same handful of names over and over again, year after year, particularly Dembksi, Wells, and Behe, as if these guys just happen to be a sample of the thousands who are joining in the movement. (Just for clarity, Behe is the only one out of those three who can fairly be called a scientist.) For numerous examples of IDist/creationist proclamations of imminent success, see The Imminent Demise of Evolution: The Longest Running Falsehood in Creationism by Glenn Morton:

"In recent reading of Dembski and other ID proponents I saw them make a claim which has been made for over 40 years. This claim is one that the young-earthers have been making. The claim is that the theo ry of evolution (or major supporting concepts for it) is increasingly being abandoned by scientists, or is about to fall. This claim has many forms and has been made for over 162 years."

[2] IDists are very keen to protect their image by claiming that they're not creationists, and that they're not even anti-evolutionists. But then their latest tactic for getting ID into public schools is to "teach the evidence against evolution". Consider the crowing that they've done about a poll in Ohio: Darwin Would Love This Debate:

"Which option ("A" or "B") represents your view?

"A. Biology teachers should teach only Darwin's theory of evolution and the scientific evidence that supports it."

"B. Biology teachers should teach Darwin's theory of evolution, but also the scientific evidence against it."

"Only 15 percent of adults nationally, a ccording to a 2001 Zogby poll, agree with "A," while 71 percent agree with "B." (Not sure: 14 percent.) "

This is a perfect example of a loaded question, because it makes people think that there actually is evidence against evolution, and if this is true, then how can it be objectionable to teach it? IDists also say that what they want is for "origins science", as they call it, to be taught "objectively". When they say "objective" what they really mean is giving equal weight to ID arguments, as if a truly objective and knowledgeable person would find them legitimate. George Orwell would be proud. In a sense though, they're right about one thing: referring to ID as "the evidence against evolution" is somewhat appropriate, since it really is nothing more than a collection of criticisms, albeit bad ones.

[3] There is very little consistency in IDist beliefs, even among the prominent leaders of the movement. Michael Behe, for example, accepts an ancient Earth and common descent, but does not believe that natural processes can account for all of evolution. In contrast, Philip Johnson staunchly denies common descent. Paul Nelson, in further contrast, is a young Earth creationist. Obviously, at least two of these people are seriously wrong about one or more major aspects of their beliefs, yet the ID movement does everything it can to downplay these differences. Amazingly, they claim that drawing conclusions about these scientific issues, which are precisely what they've been arguing about all along, is not even relevant!

To the best of my knowledge, Behe is the only prominent IDist who unequivocally accepts evolution (although he heaps praise upon those who argue against it). Most of the others can be safely classified as creationists, or they're much too circumspect for anyone to know just what they believe. But don't call them creationists -- they'll go bonkers and accuse you of misrepresentation. In fact, the ID movement gets a lot of rhetorical mileage out of claiming that they're being stereotyped by "Dogmatic Darwinists" who are trying to persecute and discredit them by linking them to creationism. But not only is it true that most of them are creationists, it's also true that the ID movement uses essentially the same tactics and has the exact same overriding goals as those of the old-school movement: Religious apologetics and "cultural renewal".

[4] This is a major part of the "Wedge strategy" formulated by Philip Johnson. The idea is to advocate a scientific theory (or more correctly, an objection to an existing theory) by avoiding the details at all costs, thereby allowing numerous mutually exclusive viewpoints to exist under the same "Big Tent". The details, according to Johnson, can be worked out later, after the Evil Empire has been defeated. Won't that be fun to watch.

The Wedge strategy is purely political. A real scientific movement would vigorously debate the differences held among its members, as do evolutionary biologists. The irony is that it's hard to know just what if anything the IDists are objecting to, because they refuse to go into specifics. This has the added benefit of making them extremely slippery in debate. See this interview with Johnson for more:

"So the question is: "How to win?" That's when I began to develop what you now see full-fledged in the "wedge" strategy: "Stick with the most important thing"-the mechanism and the building up of information. Get the Bible and the Book of Genesis out of the debate because you do not want to raise the so-called Bible-science dichotomy. Phrase the argument in such a way that you can get it heard in the secular academy and in a way that tends to unify the religious dissenters. That means concentrating on, "Do you need a Creator to do the creating, or can nature do it on its own?" and refusing to get sidetracked onto other issues, which people are always trying to do. They'll ask, "What do you think of Noah's flood?" or something like that. Never bite on such questions because they'll lead you into a trackless wasteland and you'll never get out of it."

[5] Creationists and neo-creationists absolutely love the argument from authority, presumably because it fits in well with their authoritarian world-view. The irony is that scientific authority is almost universally against them when it comes to evolution. The Discovery Institute has made a big deal about its 100 scientists, even though the statement that they signed does not mention ID, and it's language is largely noncontroversial:

Discovery Institute pdf

Doubting Darwinism Through Creative License. (NCSE)

Compare their list to a poll of Ohio scientists, or a letter opposing ID sent by 80 scientific organizations. The predictable IDist retort is to claim that the scientific community is too biased to judge things fairly, which makes one wonder why they seek scientific authority in the first place.

[6] See Becoming a Disciplined Science: Prospects, Pitfalls, and Reality Check for ID by Bill Dembski.

This was a keynote speech of his at the 2002 RADIP conference in which he proposes ways for ID to be become a "disciplined science". His proposals for "scientific research" are nothing more than suggestions on how the ID movement can sharpen its polemical skills:

"Building a design curriculum is educational in the broadest sense. It includes not just textbooks, but everything from research monographs for professors and graduate students to coloring books for preschoolers.
[...]
"Do the same names associated with intelligent design keep coming up in print or are we constantly adding new names? Are we fun to be around? Do we have a colorful assortment of characters? Other things being equal, would you rather party with a design theorist or a Darwinist?

"These, then, are my recommendations for turning intelligent design into a disciplined science."

To answer his question, I would much rather party will a design "theorist". Anyone who can do what they do with a straight face has got to be good at telling jokes. :-)

[7] Time and time again we're told that evolutionary theory is somehow sorely lacking, but when asked how well ID "theory" can stack up to it in terms of explaining the natural world, we're told that ID doesn't have to, because, well, just because. This makes it not only a "different kind of theory" than evolution, it makes it different from any scientific theory, past or present. See this ISCID Brainstrorms thread containing posts by Bill Dembski; many other examples could be given:

"You've charged me with moving the goalposts and adjusting the definition of irreducible complexity because I require of evolutionary biologists to "connect the dots" in a causally convincing way. The dots here are functional precursors that could conceivably have evolved into the final system of interest.
[...]
"As for your example, I'm not going to take the bait. You're asking me to play a game: "Provide as much detail in terms of possible causal mechanisms for your ID position as I do for my Darwinian position." ID is not a mechanistic theory, and it's not ID's task to match your pathetic level of detail in telling mechanistic stories. If ID is correct and an intelligence is responsible and indispensable for certain structures, then it makes no sense to try to ape your method of connecting the dots."

[8] Here's an excerpt from The Truth, the Whole Truth, and Nothing but the Truth? by Brian Spitzer, which is a critical review of Philip Johnson's Darwin on Trial:

"It is useless to try to explain science to someone who isn't interested in what the facts have to say. And it's useless to try to learn anything from such people. If they are clever, as Johnson is, they can find a way to claim that almost any fact supports their position. If evolutionists agree on something, it's a dogmatic orthodoxy; if they disagree, they're squabbling about every detail of evolutionary theory. ..."

This tactic is frequently encountered on debate fora as well, though it's probably unintentional most of the time. An ID advocate will pull out a "maverick" scientist who takes a different view on things, and then claim that this is somehow evidence of evolutionary theory's deficiency. But why are all of these scientists against ID? Dogmatic orthodoxy, of course...

[9] The ID movement's claim that Darwinists are driven by religious and/or ideological motivations is so glaringly hypocritical, it serves as its own parody. The leaders of the movement are very careful to do what they can to downplay their own biases, at least for public mass consumption (they tend to be a bit less coy in front of religious audiences). Here are the two specific examples alluded to:

Evolving Banners at the Discovery Institute. (NCSE)

The Center's Name Change (C(R)SC)

[10] Lest anyone thinks this is an exaggeration, simply check out Bill Dembksi's forward to Discovery Institute Fellow Benjamin Wiker's book, Moral Darwinism: How We Became Hedonists. This article is a masterpiece of hypocrisy, even by Dembski's standards. (And the title of Wiker's book should tell you a thing or two as well.):

"Understanding this movement [Darwinism] is absolutely key to understanding the current culture war. Believers in God often scratch their heads about western culture's continual moral decline. What was unacceptable just a few years ago is today's alternative lifestyle and tomorrow's preferred lifestyle. Abortion, euthanasia, divorce, sexual preference, and drug abuse are just a few of the moral issues that have undergone massive changes in public perception.
[...]
"Epicurus's most prominent disciple is without question Charles Darwin. Darwinism is not only the most recent incarnation of Epicurean philosophy but also the most potent formulation of that philosophy to date. Darwinism's significance consists in the purported scientific justification it brings to the Epicurean philosophy. But the science itself is weak and ad hoc. As Wiker shows, Darwinism is essentially a moral and metaphysical crusade that fuels our contemporary moral debates. Furthermore, Wiker argues that the motivation behind Darwinism today is its alternative moral and metaphysical vision rather than the promotion of science.

"Wiker's project has nothing to do with scapegoating Epicurus, Darwin, or anyone else for that matter."

Sure Dr. Dembski, sure. Blaming the all of the world's problems, real or perceived, on just one scientific theory isn't scapegoating. Nah...

[11] To be fair, disparaging the contradictory philosophies that Darwinian evolution has supposedly spawned has been a long-standing staple of the old-school creationists, and it is far easier to find examples of this coming from them than it is to find it from the neo-creationists. But ID's big tent has welcomed the old-schoolers with open flaps, so the IDists have little right to complain if people have a hard time telling who's who. Furthermore, the type of IDists commonly found in online debate fora, who, unlike the national movement, do not all share a common metaphysical viewpoint, will tend to contradict each other far more often. Thus a far left anarchist type will blame Darwin for contributing to capitalism, while the more common far right types will try to blame Darwin for Communism. Nevertheless, the consequentialist fallacy -- that Darwinism causes "bad things" and thus can't be true -- is high on the ID movement's list of propaganda techniques. It's extremely easy to cull such examples from "regular" creationists or online debaters, but just to be sporting, I've only provided references from leading members of the ID movement:

On Liberalism: Nihilism and the End of Law by Philip Johnson.

"The primary answer is that modernist thinking assumes the validity of Darwinian evolution, which explains the origin of humans and other living systems by an entirely mechanistic process that excludes in principle any role for a Creator. In the word of the neo-Darwinist authority George Gaylord Simpson, the meaning of "evolution" is that "man is the result of a purposeless and natural process that did not have him in mind." For modernist intellectuals, belief in evolution in precisely this sense is equated with having a scientific outlook, which is to say, with being a modernist. The price for denying "science" is to be excluded from modernist discourse altogether.
[...]
Greenawalt defends a limited role for religious convictions in a jurisprudential culture whose ruling paradigm, called "liberalism," is roughly identical to what I have been calling modernism.

Or Benjamin Wiker's article, Playing Games with Good & Evil: The failure of Darwinism to explain morality:

"Allow me (since we are going to be playing games for rather high stakes) to lay my own cards on the table. I find this sort of talk absurd. Darwinian game theory is not new but simply a rehash of liberal political theory disguised as cutting-edge science. Give it a few vigorous scratches and we find Thomas Hobbes, the very father of modern political liberalism, back to haunt us from the 17th century. Hobbes was also the father of modern materialism, and his political liberalism was rooted in his mechanistic account of nature and human nature."

On Racism: Not Just in Kansas Anymore by our friend Philip Johnson:

"In short, Congress contemplated that biology classes should explore matters that Darwinists would prefer to ignore, such as criticisms of classic textbook examples like the faked drawings of embryonic similarities, and even the possible role of Darwinian concepts in encouraging the scientific racism embodied in eugenics programs."

More Johnson: Domesticating Darwin.

"This explanatory project carried some extremely racist implications, however. Because he was determined to establish human continuity with animals, Darwin frequently wrote of 'savages and lower races' as intermediate between animals and civilized people. Thus Degler observes that it was as much Darwin himself as any of the so-called "social Darwinists" who set the evolutionary approach to human behavior on a politically unacceptable course. 'Thanks to Darwin's acceptance of the idea of hierarchy among human societies,' he tells us, 'the spread and endurance of a racist form of social Darwinism owes more to Charles Darwin than to Herbert Spencer.'

"Nor is a scientific grounding for racism the only unsavory heritage of nineteenth-century Darwinism. Degler also cites Darwin's theories about the intellectual inferiority of women, and describes how Darwin's cousin, Francis Galton, employed Darwinian logic in favor of an ambitious eugenics program to improve the breed."

(Note also the charge of sexism.)

And then there is this truly deplorable letter by John Calvert (of the Kansas "ID Network") to the local paper in response to one written by KCFS (Kansas Citizens for Science) about teaching ID in public schools:

What were we fighting against in Bastogne? We were fighting against a Nazi regime that used the philosophy of Naturalism to justify a eugenics program of terrifying proportions. Naturalism is the belief that all phenomena result only from the laws of chemistry and physics and that teleological or design explanations are not valid. Naturalism is not science. It is a belief system.
(You can read a reply to Calvert's letter here.)

On Capitalism (and other rightist thought):

As reported by CBN news:

[Philip] Johnson explained, "Andrew Carnegie, John D. Rockefeller, they loved Darwinism because it said they were right to amass all the money in the world, you know. And if other people didn't have as much money, it was because they were inferiors."

Richard Weikart, Discovery Institute Fellow, in The Roots of Hitler's Evil.

"Second, since Hitler believed that nothing exists beyond nature, he tried to find his purpose in life in obeying the iron laws of nature. Darwinian biology was especially significant in this regard, as he tried to apply its lessons to politics and society. Darwinism especially forms of it often disparagingly called Social Darwinism today taught him that life is a constant struggle for existence leading to biological progress. Hitler embraced eugenics and racial extermination of allegedly inferior races as means to improve the human species and foster progress."

H-Ideas archived post by Weikart:

"It is, of course, true that many distorted Darwin's views, but Darwin's own work reflected laissez-faire economic views and propagated racial inequality (he claimed "savages" were inferior mentally and morally)."

In fairness, from what little is available from him online, Weikart tends to dispel some common myths about Darwin's link to Social Darwinism, and has himself pointed out that people from completely opposite political viewpoints have tried to find support in Darwinism (much like the Bible, I suppose). Yet he puts more blame on Darwin than traditional scholars, such Robert Bannister, whose 1979 treatise on the subject Weikart calls "revisionist". The next book he has planned, apparently with Discovery Institute backing, is to be titled, From Darwin to Hitler: Evolutionary Ethics, Eugenics, and Devaluing Human Life in Germany. Given the typical style of books published by the DI Fellows, it will be interesting to see how Weikart presents this one. Regardless of its content, you can bet the DI will use it as an ad hominem against evolutionary theory. Ironically, Weikart's published dissertation is titled Socialist Darwinism: Evolution in German Socialist Thought from Marx to Bernstein, which brings us to...

Socialism (and other leftist thought):

The most infamous of ID writings is known as the Wedge Document, which is the de facto manifesto of the ID movement, having been unintentionally leaked from the Discovery Institute:

"Finally, materialism spawned a virulent strain of utopianism. Thinking they could engineer the perfect society through the application of scientific knowledge, materialist reformers advocated coercive government programs that falsely promised to create heaven on earth."

Here is another excerpt from The Wedge Document that is ubiquitous in ID writings:

"Debunking the traditional conceptions of both God and man, thinkers such as Charles Darwin, Karl Marx, and Sigmund Freud..."

Notice the link forged between Darwin and Marx. This can be found all over in IDist literature, especially that of Johnson. This is a propaganda technique known as transfer. Marx is despised by conservatives, and the political movements that he spawned (intentional or otherwise) have been unsuccessful, at least if you're limiting them to communism. So Marx's name is mentioned as often as possible in connection with Darwin's in order to transfer this bad image to old Chuck, as if the successes or failures of Marx (or Freud) have anything, whatsoever, to do with evolutionary theory. Here's another example from Jonathan Wells:

Naturalism--the philosophical doctrine that nature is all there is, and that God and mind are illusions--has in the last century claimed scientific support from three sources: Marxism, Darwinism, and Freudianism. The first and third are now largely discredited, but Darwinism continues to be taught as scientific fact in almost every high school and university in America.

See also Communism And Falsehood: 1. Evolutionism by Rev. Sun Myung Moon. (Many similar examples abound; this one of the more comical ones.) Discovery Institute Fellow Jonathan Wells is a follower of Moon, and has devoted his life to "destroying Darwinism" at Moon's behest.

On Feminism: You say you want a devolution?

"The ascent of Darwinism brought on a frightening new world, Mr. [Philip] Johnson says. Naturalistic evolution, by definition, excludes God; the natural conclusion, once evolution became the accepted orthodoxy, was for absolute lines of morality and behavior to become relative, allowing for the flourishing of many elements now seen as harmful: the sexual revolution fueled by easy methods of birth control; feminism; the "right" to abortion; and a consequent devaluation of human life."

See also this article by Discovery Institute Fellow Nancy Pearcey, which, according to ARN, "shows how Darwinism influenced early feminism".

On Animal Rights: This appears to be an excerpt from Philip Johnson's new book, Asking the Right Questions: Biology and Liberal Freedom

This challenge to human pretensions to superiority comes from biological evolutionary theory, but its philosophical implications are causing immense difficulty for biologists by inspiring the growth of an animal rights movement that does not accept the legitimacy of animal experimentation.

[14] Perhaps the greatest irony of the ID movement is how they say that we have no way of knowing just who this designer is, yet their overarching goal is to use theological doctrine to direct "cultural renewal". Consider the following two excerpts, the first from DI Fellow Michael Behe, in his article Philosophical Objections to Intelligent Design: Response to Critics:

"Although I acknowledged that most people (including myself) will attribute the design to God--based in part on other, non-scientific judgments they have made--I did not claim that the biochemical evidence leads ineluctably to a conclusion about who the designer is. In fact, I directly said that, from a scientific point of view, the question remains open. (Behe 1996, 245-250) In doing so I was not being coy, but only limiting my claims to what I think the evidence will support. To illustrate, Francis Crick has famously suggested that life on earth may have been deliberately seeded by space aliens (Crick and Orgel 1973). If Crick said he thought that the clotting cascade was designed by aliens, I could not point to a biochemical feature of that system to show he was wrong. The biochemical evidence strongly indicates design, but does not show who the designer was.

And Bill Dembksi writes in Intelligent Design: The Bridge Between Science and Theology. (p. 107):

"Intelligent design presupposes neither a creator nor miracles. Intelligent design is theologically minimalist. It detects intelligence without speculating about the nature of the intelligence."

Fair enough. The IDists say that all they're doing is "detecting design" and nothing more. This is something they say over and over again. They're not on some sort of religious crusade or anything, they're just being empirical scientists. Who or what the designer might be is none of their business, and is rightly the domain of philosophy or religion. (As if scientists would have no interest in trying to answer this question. It's also been pointed out by numerous critics that any scientific detection of design will always rely on some sort of hypothesis about the designer, but that's another story.)

Do they really expect anyone to believe this? It's pretty clear from IDist writings that the ID movement is primarily an exercise in religious apologetics and social conservative advocacy, and avoiding the God issue is nothing more than a political maneuver. But just for fun, let's see where this leads us. The Wedge Document states as the ID movement's two "Governing Goals":

  • "To defeat scientific materialism and its destructive moral, cultural and political legacies."

  • "To replace materialistic explanations with the theistic understanding that nature and hurnan beings are created by God."
  • And here are two of their "Five Year Objectives":

  • "Positive uptake in public opinion polls on issues such as sexuality, abortion and belief in God."

  • "Design becomes a key concept in the social sciences Legal reform movements base legislative proposals on design theory."
  • But wait a minute. They keep insisting that the designer isn't necessarily God, and that the scientific evidence can't adjudicate between God and a space alien. (And nevermind which conception of God -- many people of faith disagree vehemently about what it is that God expects from us.) So how is it that ID "theory" is going to cause a revolution in culture and law when it can't even tell us who the designer is, much less what its motivations or expectations are? Consider for example if this is the designer:

    Fig. 1: Our Loving Designer.

    Just what exactly is that supposed to tell us about abortion or sexuality? How is a legal reform movement supposed to base legislation on this? Won't someone please think of the children (and the cattle)? I'm not trying to be sacrilegious or anything, but this is the logical outcome of IDist reasoning, whereby the above space monster is just as likely, from a scientific standpoint, as Yahweh, Zeus, or a time-traveling monkey from the 5th dimension. And given that any moral, legal, or cultural ramifications of ID are necessarily dependent upon what the designer is, what it wants from us, etc., they've totally shot themselves in the foot on this one. No wonder many theologians have such a hard time swallowing ID. Congratulations guys, you've succeeded in arguing away the whole point of your movement. Way to go.

    [15] Many examples could be given about the IDist tendency to conflate the meaning of the term "natural". Here are two:

    Report from an ID Conference (NCSE)

    "Most of [Paul] Nelson's presentation was an exploration of how MN supposedly limits our ability to find out what is true. In Nelson's example, a homicide detective faced with a dead body must consider 4 possible explanations in order to determine the real cause of death. Two of these require no intelligent agent - natural causes and accidents - but the other 2 are caused by the actions of just such an agent - suicide and homicide. According to Nelson, MN would limit the homicide detective's investigation to death by natural causes or accident and would leave out suicide and homicide - both actions of an intelligent agent."

    John Calvert (of IDnet) in a letter to the Kansas BOE:

    "Can you imagine applying methodological naturalism to an arson investigation where the issue is whether the fire was designed or accidental? If we tell the arson investigator to ignore the empty gas can and trail of accelerant leading to the center of the house where the fire started as well as all other evidence of design, can we ever believe the findings of the investigator? The same problem arises when you ask what causes life and its diversity."

    [16] This argument is made by Cornelius Hunter, a Fellow of the Discovery Institute, in his book Darwin's God. Hunter actually goes further than this, claiming that all of the commonly cited evidence in favor of evolution is necessarily a rebuttal to the design argument, and hence theological.

    [17] The peppered moth case isn't really considered problematic by the experts, though IDists have done their best to spin things as if it were (see reference 18). But even if it were problematic, it's still irrelevant to the status of natural selection. Biologist Carl Zimmer wrote this letter to the editor of The New York Times:

    "Peppered moths may be the one example of evolution some people remember from their biology class ("Staple of Evolutionary Teaching May Not be Textbook Case," June 18), but it's by no means the only one. Just since 1987, scientists have published 1,582 records of natural selection acting on wild animals and plants, according to a review in the March 2001 issue of the journal American Naturalist."

    [18] Dicovery Institute Fellow Jonathan Wells has spread so much misinformation about the peppered moth, it would be redundant to rehash it all here. For a good explication of Wells' numerous distortions, see Icons of Obfuscation by Nic Tamzek.

    [19]See this ASA archived post by geologist Keith Miller, who explains and rebuts this common IDist misconception.

    [20] This comes courtesy of Lee Spetner. The "no new information" argument is common among anti-evolutionists, but aside from Dembski, Spetner is probably the only one who's actually formalized it. See it deconstructed in this archived talk.origins post by Ian Musgrave.

    [21] For a thorough discussion of the inconsistent and question-begging nature of Specified Complexity, see Not a Free Lunch But a Box of Chocolates by Richard Wein.

    [22]This gem comes from Discovery Institute Fellow Walter ReMine, author of The Biotic Message, though similar arguments have been made by creationists for many years. Incredibly, ReMine also claims that evolutionary theory is infinitely pliable, and can be made to fit any set of data. For a good example of this "reasoning" at work, see this debate between ReMine and physicist Dave Thomas.

    [23] The following is from astronomer Howard Van Till (RNCSE, V. 22, No 1-2, Jan-Apr 2002, p. 27):

    "I find ambivalence in the 'intelligent design' literature. When proponents are talking about the formation of living creatures or parts of living creatures, the proponents basically say, "Look, this particular creature or part of a creature could not have been assembled naturally. Therefore, it must be the product of 'intelligent design'".
    [...]
    "On the other hand, there are other occasions when proponents of 'intelligent design' say, "Look at the fine-tuning of the universe, the speed of light, Plank's constant, the expansion rate of the universe, the gravitational constant, and on and on.
    [...]
    "Earlier, when we looked at natural capabilities and what was missing, we argued that there was design. The examples offered from the realm of cosmology and astronomy are used in one line of argumentation, and the examples from biology are used in a contradicting line of argumentation to reach the same conclusion. I find that a major inconsistency. In sort, it reminds me of, 'Heads, I win; tails, you lose.'"

    [26] This is yet another Dembski classic:

    Evolution's Logic of Credulity: An Unfettered Response to Allen Orr.

    "But what if we weren't sure that there even were any car keys? The situation in evolutionary biology is even more extreme than that. One might not be sure our hypothetical set of car keys exist, but at least one has the reassurance that car keys exist generally. Indirect Darwinian pathways are more like the supposed leprechauns a child is certain are hiding in his room. Imagine the child were so ardent and convincing that he set all of Scotland Yard, indeed some of the best minds of the age, onto the task of searching meticulously, tirelessly, decade after decade, for these supposed leprechauns, for any solid evidence at all of their prior habitation of the bedroom. [...] And yet that, essentially, is what Orr and his fellow evolutionary biologists are telling us concerning that utterly fruitless search for credible indirect Darwinian pathways to account for irreducible complexity."


    Acknowledgements: Much thanks to several people who helped suggest some items and references.



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