One of the most valuable insights I discovered in recent years is how Narratives trump everything else — including what most of us would call concern for “practical results.”
Practical consequences are ALWAYS trumped by the advancement and protection of one’s core Narrative: the fairy tale that gives one’s life meaning, coherence, and moral justification.
This strikes me as true, and certainly true of the current scene around mechanisms of evolution. C.S. Lewis understood very well the power of Darwinian evolution as a story, a narrative.
It is the creation story of atheism, an explanation of how complex, specified information arose blindly from matter through small, successive, accidental changes.
In other words, no God but all magic. Anyone who has dealt with Darwin’s trolls will know how fervently this explanation is believed.
The explanation need not be true to nature, to the evidence, or even to reason or logic. It need only be Darwin’s familiar tale, oft, everywhere, and endlessly repeated from school days onward.
Most people who consider themselves thinkers will either have no further questions or else hesitate to air them. Such is the power of a controlling narrative, irrespective of fact. Then there are the pious, well meaning people who rejoice to believe it. Or something.
As a result, a claim about the mechanisms of evolution—specifically a claim that Darwinian evolution is the key creative force in life—can be never demonstrated, constantly contradicted, but still fervently believed. Because the story means so much to its believers. It props up so much.
Darwinism’s demise would leave too great a hole in many lives to be contemplated. So it never is. No matter what.
And what does the ID community have in response? Only evidence from nature for other means of evolution and lack of evidence for Darwinism. Oh yes, and information theory, showing why Darwinian evolution is, at best, unlikely anyway ( cf Being as Communion.
What’s more difficult is that our approach might not lead to a single, unifying explanation, of the sort that produces portentous TV docs, and incites third rate lecturers to ridicule, fail, or drive out students who doubt.
The ID community absolutely does not seek that, even if we could do it and it would help us.
All we really offer instead is the beginnings of a map. Somewhat like the sixteenth century cartographers offered Europeans the beginnings of maps of strange land masses that somehow stood in the way of the Pacific Ocean …
Then felt I like some watcher of the skies
When a new planet swims into his ken;
Or like stout Cortez when with eagle eyes
He star’d at the Pacific—and all his men
Look’d at each other with a wild surmise—
Silent, upon a peak in Darien.
See also: Shoutout to Tom English: How much of the animus you display against Marks and Dembski is scholarly? One hopes that further critical review of Marks and Dembski’s papers focuses on the issues at hand.
Note: Actually, it was Balboa who did that, but never mind.