Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Jack Gohn of the Maryland Daily Record sees the light about Intelligent Design.

Turns out some of the things I thought were open issues really weren’t, most notably the extent to which ID was passable science. ID, in case you’ve tuned in late, is the theory that we can best account for “irreducible complexities” that appear in the course of evolution by inferring the activity of an intelligent designer, most likely God. Irreducible complexity would exist when an organism manifested a combination of features which seemed too complicated to have arisen simultaneously as mere products of random mutation.

As the Kitzmiller trial revealed, however, there were only three “exhibits” in this theory, the flagellum (a feature of cell biology), a “clotting sequence” in certain animals, and the immune system. And for each of them, the evidence at trial showed that science does after all have plausible explanations of how they arose from ordinary random mutation. Their complexity was not irreducible after all. Moreover, there is no peer-reviewed scientific literature supporting the ID theory. So at least for now, ID is bad science. There simply isn’t enough substance there yet for it to be recommended for serious consideration by any science teacher.

Where Kitzmiller left me unconvinced was the finding that ID isn’t science at all — as opposed to merely being bad science, which I now think it must be.

This is the persistent problem when people start digging into the ID literature--there isn't any.

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