Richard Dawkins and Jerry Coyne today have provided still further lessons in evolutionary logic (for a primer on evolutionary logic, go here). Their article in the Guardian titled “One Side Can Be Wrong” at least gets one thing right (though the irony is lost on them), namely, that their side is indeed wrong.
But the real lesson here is their contribution to the art of conflict and war — Sun Tzu and Clausewitz take note. We’ve all heard the chestnut, “The best defense is a good offense.” Dawkins and Coyne go this one better: “The best defense is to pretend there is no offense.” Consider how they treat ID’s mascot, the bacterial flagellum:
The claim that something – say the bacterial flagellum – is too complex to have evolved by natural selection is alleged, by a lamentably common but false syllogism, to support the “rival” intelligent design theory by default. This kind of default reasoning leaves completely open the possibility that, if the bacterial flagellum is too complex to have evolved, it might also be too complex to have been created. And indeed, a moment’s thought shows that any God capable of creating a bacterial flagellum (to say nothing of a universe) would have to be a far more complex, and therefore statistically improbable, entity than the bacterial flagellum (or universe) itself – even more in need of an explanation than the object he is alleged to have created…. In fact, the bacterial flagellum is certainly not too complex to have evolved, nor is any other living structure that has ever been carefully studied. Biologists have located plausible series of intermediates, using ingredients to be found elsewhere in living systems. But even if some particular case were found for which biologists could offer no ready explanation, the important point is that the “default” logic of the creationists remains thoroughly rotten.
Not only are Dawkins and Coyne not offering any scientifically rigorous evolutionary explanation for how the bacterial flagellum emerged but they’re telling us that they don’t need to. Imagine your financial advisor telling you your account is safe with him and that it’s not necessary for you to see a statement of your account.
Dawkins and Coyne need to make a movie. It would be about two con men. The movie would be called “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.” Michael Caine would play Dawkins and Steve Martin would play Coyne. But wait, that’s already been done.