Darwinism

Afternoon coffee!: If Darwinists worked in the private sector …

Spread the love

A friend directs me to the following sketch:

Today’s Debate inside the Scientific Community

Darwinist: I.D. isn’t science. And if it’s not science, it isn’t true.

I.D. Proponent: Isn’t science the quest for truth about life and the universe?

Darwinist: Only if that quest is done within a materialist framework.

I.D. Proponent: But what if that quests needs to go OUTSIDE the materialist framework?

Darwinist: Then it’s not science. And thus, it’s not true.

 Let’s take this debate into the private sector…

Employee: Boss, I have a great idea. Instead of using typewriters, why don’t we start using computers? Computers are a lot faster and better.

Boss: Do computers use a mechanical process?

Employee: Well, yes – but what makes them better is their use of information technology.

Boss: We can’t use information technology.

Employee: Why not?

Boss: Because it’s outside the realm of mechanics. We decided a long time ago that work – by definition – can only be a mechanical process. Information theory (or any form of “mind”) must be ruled out.

Employee: Um, but computers are a lot better than typewriters! With computers, we can do twice as much work in half the time!

Boss: Sorry, get back to your typewriter.

In the private sector, that boss would never survive. How much longer can Darwinism survive?

How much longer? Well, that depends on the tactics they are allowed to use against anyone who questions them.

Firing? Denial of tenure? Taking down the Web site? All have happened. If they get more desperate, more such incidents will happen.

The thing to remember about Darwinism is that the private sector doesn’t usually need much Darwinism. Its use in business is, in my experience, overblown and overrated. Business competition mostly takes place in a co-operative environment. Such an environment provides the roads, bridges, reliable energy, clean water, honest banking, law enforcement, open society, et cetera, that business needs in order to thrive.

Then competition becomes narrowly focused (= either you get the contract or he does); it is not a war of all against all. Competition functions conservatively, as a way of trimming the fat from business operations, resulting in lower prices for the same quality. One way to do this is through innovation, which is why the private sector thrives mainly on intelligent design.

Note: Stuff like the sketch above actually happened to me decades ago. It was futile trying to explain to many bosses what new technologies could do for us.

18 Replies to “Afternoon coffee!: If Darwinists worked in the private sector …

  1. 1
    Collin says:

    I write a lot on computer for my job and I don’t know how any work got done before “cut and paste.”

  2. 2
    hummus man says:

    The thing to remember about Darwinism is that the private sector doesn’t usually need much Darwinism.

    I think this point to an obvious avenue of advancement for ID. Stop focusing on academia and “peer reviewed journals” and bring ID innovation to the pharmaceutical or medical technology industry. The only ideology in the private sector is profitable and useful products. Don’t take the academics head on. Outflank them.

  3. 3
    O'Leary says:

    Collin at 1, I was in publishing before the days of computers. Yes, it was grim.

    Photocopiers helped a lot, and later faxes, but not near enough.

    I am old enough to remember the horrific “rough paste” and the methods of counting the words in a manuscript without groaning through it bit by bit.

    And the seven or eight acetate sheets on maps, each one a different colour. Making corrections was … a chore and a bore.

    The amazing thing, as I look back on it, was that we didn’t all just run away.

  4. 4
    mikev6 says:

    hummus man:

    I think this point to an obvious avenue of advancement for ID. Stop focusing on academia and “peer reviewed journals” and bring ID innovation to the pharmaceutical or medical technology industry. The only ideology in the private sector is profitable and useful products. Don’t take the academics head on. Outflank them.

    I actually agree with this. Much of the concern about ID stems from the evidence being more negative than positive – a concrete repeatable result that shows ID can produce something that materialist science cannot would be far more convincing.

  5. 5
    Mung says:

    a concrete repeatable result that shows ID can produce something that materialist science cannot would be far more convincing.

    Frankly I think this sort of thing goes on all the time, just not under the name of “Intelligent Design.”

    Everything not brought to us by means of reasoning from evolutionary theory or by a process of random change and blind unintelligent filtering should be classified as ID.

  6. 6
    mikev6 says:

    Mung:

    Everything not brought to us by means of reasoning from evolutionary theory or by a process of random change and blind unintelligent filtering should be classified as ID.

    One could do this, of course. How would you be able to identify something based on chance but using a mechanism we don’t yet know? It might appear to be designed because we don’t understand it, and we would classify it incorrectly as a result.

    Also, I think hummus man was looking for an example where the knowledge of design produced something truly innovative that materialism could not match. (Perhaps a drug that uses the idea of irreducible complexity to fight a disease.)

    Otherwise, it sounds like you’re cataloging what already exists, and I’m not sure that has the same ability to convince.

  7. 7
    gingoro says:

    I.D. isn’t science. And if it’s not science, it isn’t true.

    That is certainly true for most people who accept evolution but there are exceptions. For example that is true of Dawkins. But people exist who take ID seriously but do not consider it science. One might consider ID a part of metaphysics or even “invent” or reuse a name such as natural philosophy. I accept common descent and an old earth but also take Behe and Meyer very seriously. However I have an ambiguous position on ID as science. ID seems to be right on the border of science.
    Dave

  8. 8
    jerry says:

    “I.D. isn’t science. And if it’s not science, it isn’t true.”

    Depends upon what you mean by science. ID is an approach to examining scientific data and coming to conclusions on the same data that the rest of science uses. So why is it not science. ID just processes the data using a different perspective. To me that is science.

    If we took data and looked at it using a different template of natural laws and then came to some conclusions then everyone would call it science. ID is just one of those different templates. Thus, it is as scientific as anything else is.

  9. 9
    Joseph says:

    gingoro,

    ID is based on observations and experience.

    It can be tested.

    What else is required before it is considered to be science?

  10. 10
    gingoro says:

    Yes I agree that their is testability in what ID claims especially Behe in the Edge of Evolution.

    Some claim that science can not include any teleology ie design and purpose. To my mind this argument goes like this, Science does not include any intelligent design therefore ID is not part of science. Bull!

    “Parsimony is a ‘less is better’ economy or caution in arriving at a hypothesis or course of action.” ID as an explanation could explain a great variety of outcomes, too many. IMO this objection is relevant and needs to be considered.

    A scientific cause should not include God or the supernatural as a cause. Before you jump down my throat I know very well the ID officially does not claim that God is the designer or cause. However, IMO, this is not a slippery slope from a designer to god but is a polished glass vertical wall covered with teflon. Meaning that it is extremely easy to move from intelligent designer to God. This argument has some force IMO.

    Some say that their is no one objective demarcation as to what is science and that science is whatever the main body of scientists accept as science. ID certainly fails this test, but I am not at all sure this criteria is that relevant in any case as people like ‘awkins have religious reasons for declaring ID not to be science.

    As I say I vacillate on this question. Mon thro Wed I say ID is science, Thur thro Sat I say ID is not science and Sunday I’m confused. Thus today for me ID is not science but ask me again next week and the answer might be different. But what difference does it make what I about the status of ID, I still take ID seriously and that should be what you are looking for.

  11. 11
    jstanley01 says:

    It seems to me that a scientific fact is a fact that has been derived via the scientific method.

    Ergo, anyone engaged in establishing scientific facts is practicing science.

    And I suppose, if he or she practices long enough and gets good at it, at some point he or she becomes a scientist.

    I could be wrong about this, however.

    BTW, what is the scientific method anyway? Something about “establishing a scientific consenus”?

    Oops, pardon me. I have to go outside and stare at the sky whle walking in circles in my front yard. I’m doing an experiment to see how long it takes before I trip over a pile of emails.

  12. 12
    zeroseven says:

    Design is not an explanation, but a conclusion. ID is not an attempt to understand nature, nor is it a scientific theory. It’s sole purpose is to challenge naturalism. It will never come up with anything constructive that can be used by society. We must rely on naturalistic, materialistic science for that.

  13. 13
    Apollos says:

    Materialism is a presupposition.

    Design is a cause — an explanation for entities for which mechanistic scenarios are insufficient. We can consider design as a valid possibility when natural law provides exactly no explanation. Such is the case with most any human artifact.

    If you want to refute design for any subject, biological or otherwise, you simply need to demonstrate by logic, mathematics, and experimentation the laws and processes by which said entities arise.

    Materialism’s promissory note for the explanation of biological organisms, which demonstrate superb and exquisite technological characteristics, is past due. There is no forthcoming naturalistic explanation for biology’s digital code nor its information processing and manufacturing systems.

    Donald Prothero’s recent assertion that science has almost solved the origins issue is absurd, and relies upon a faith proposition that everything in existence can be explained by natural laws governing matter and energy — a proposition that disappears along with space and time at the event horizon of the big bang singularity.

  14. 14
    zeroseven says:

    Simply saying something is designed is pointless. The real question is how was it designed? It’s like saying things are as they are because they evolved, and not going to explore what is meant by “evolved” and how that might have happened.

  15. 15
    Clive Hayden says:

    Apollos,

    Materialism’s promissory note for the explanation of biological organisms, which demonstrate superb and exquisite technological characteristics, is past due. There is no forthcoming naturalistic explanation for biology’s digital code nor its information processing and manufacturing systems.

    Very well put.

  16. 16
    Apollos says:

    Clive, thank you.

    zeroseven,

    I don’t think it’s a matter of simply ‘saying something is designed.’

    When we consider design as a possible explanation for phenomena or entities for which natural law can provide no explanation, there is an epistemological benefit.

    Look at it this way. There are two logically possible sets of explanations for the presence of life. It was caused by an intelligent agent, or it wasn’t — and thereby must be explicable strictly in terms of natural laws. This provides two differing ways of considering reality in regards to scientific investigation:

    1) All life can be explained by chance acting in accordance with natural laws, such as with the formation of river rocks — roundish stones for which geophysics, hydrodynamics, gravity, and random collisions explain their shape and distribution.

    2) All life can be explained by design, and/or chance acting in accordance with natural laws.

    In case number 1, we have strictly material causes. In case number 2, we have design in addition to material causes. Case 1 rules out a priori one of the logical possibilities for the existence of life. Case 2 encompasses both logical possibilities.

    Insisting on case number 1 requires a substantial commitment to materialism that precedes examination of the evidence. It rules out design on theological grounds, supposing that the very idea of a designer for life is ludicrous and unnecessary. This is a metaphysical imposition on human knowledge, as the facts do not justify the exclusion of a reasonable inference to a designing intelligence as a first cause for life.

    Allowing for case number 2 doesn’t require an a prior philosophical commitment — it allows for both logical possibilities, and gives leave for the data to provide weight to either explanation, as human knowledge advances forward with time.

    In addition, I believe that case number 2 allows scientific inquiry a wider advance. Considering that biological systems may have been designed allows them to be studied as if they were planned and purposeful, which has already borne fruit with so-called ‘junk’ DNA. This stands in stark contrast to being forced to assume, by artificial constraint, that everything in the cell is fortuitous and unplanned.

    There is no reason to exclude design and consider that materialism is the only explanation for reality, unless you’ve decided ahead of investigation that design is unacceptable. But if it’s even reasonable to consider that design is a possible component in our reality, then it is not unreasonable to allow its identification to reside within the scope of science, and to allow any scientist to proceed with experimentation under the assumption that design might have played a historical role in biological development.

  17. 17
    CannuckianYankee says:

    Apollos,

    Excellent summation. One has to wonder how a formerly committed materialist like Antony Flew changed his mind on materialism’s ability to account for the assumed development of complex systems apart from plan or purpose.

    Any other known designed complex system that we encounter in our daily lives, such as computers, automobiles, telephones, etc. leave no question as to their purposeful development through planning and manufacture. Why do we make a strict exception with biological complex systems? Why do we ignore the impossibility of their development through gradual processes of selection? Simply because when we do so, we are not committed to rational processes of thought which allow for all avenues of inquiry, but to a priori metaphysical assumptions as to the nature of biology, which dictate how we proceed with our attempts to understand it.

    I continue to be mystified by the scientific establishment’s attempt to stifle debate about origins apart from the current materialistic metaphysical assumptions, which define it. Stifling thought does not lead to scientific understanding no matter how you look at it. The strict materialists are close-minded, and as such, their longevity in the sphere of rational inquiry (assuming that we continue to live in a free society where free-thought is encouraged) will be short-lived.

    I personally believe that unchecked materialism is the foundation stone of an eventual police state, or world-wide government, which stifles dissent; and that’s no exaggeration. If we don’t see it coming it’s because we remain short-sighted, and because it takes many generations of time to effectively unravel the theistic moral foundations of a society. But all it will take is the continued commitment of political leaders, and of an unsuspecting, entertainment-driven and disinterested populace to the whims of the materialistic scientific establishment that we see ongoing in Western culture. Perhaps ClimateGate will wake us up.

  18. 18
    Apollos says:

    Thanks CannuckianYankee.

    Acknowledging design in biological systems would certainly be the death knell for Darwinism, at least for the grand narrative. If “apparent” design in living systems were established to be actual design, the materialist edifice would certainly suffer damage, if not be destroyed outright.

    For certain individuals, the motivation behind their dedication to science would be plucked. William Provine, in the movie “Expelled” said something to the effect that science would be boring if not for the prospect of an ultimate material cause (I don’t have the exact quote, but that about sums it up). I can’t say I identify with the notion that science is interesting only if it can ‘disprove’ God, or prove that He is unnecessary. Existence is pointless, even hopeless, without Him.

    I agree with your comments on stifling dissent. Elitism, which appears rampant among materialists, is in my estimation the sandy foundation upon which the west’s modern sense of liberty is built.

    Climate Gate may indeed wake many up, but so far it’s been mainly ignored by the broadcast networks, which is inexcusable, and an indicator of our present condition.

Leave a Reply