The message? First, that evolution is true. Forms of life change over time, or evolve, as successive generations inherit genetic, epigenetic or cultural information that is modified relative to their ancestors. Features of the changing environment in which organisms live favour differential survival of individuals with the most suitable (or ‘adapted’) modifications for living there. This leads to change in species over time, or their extinction if the environment changes too fast for ecologically well-adapted variants to become established. Of note, the science of evolutionary biology is NOT consistent with the central tenet of the “intelligent design” (ID) movement that suggests, contrary to all scientific evidence, that amongst other things organisms were supernaturally created and have remained unchanged since the time of their creation. There is also NO evidence for biological structures being supposedly “irreducibly complex”, arising by non-evolutionary “processes”. Indeed, convergence points in exactly the opposite direction because supposedly “irreducibly complex” structures, such as the bacterial flagellar motor, evolved independently at least twice. Not only that but we understand how each of the component parts became adapted make the complex structure that exists today. The existence of change over time in living things is clearly manifest in the fossil record, and is supported by information from the molecules, form and behaviour of organisms alive today. SOURCE
Simon Conway Morris, who clearly is the author of this piece, is a smart guy. So why does he so completely mischaracterize intelligent design? Speaking for myself, I’ve been saying this till the cows come home that (1) design can be implemented through an evolutionary process (albeit a non-Darwinian one) and (2) design does not require supernatural intervention.
Funny thing, Conway Morris might, if he could lay aside his sneering contempt, find good friends and interesting conversation partners in the ID community. But to keep Templeton moneys rolling in and maintain a shine of respectability among his Cambridge colleagues (at least those are my best guesses), it helps to diss ID. Interestingly, he’s not going to buy himself acceptance among the hardcore materialists, for whom his halting metaphysical gestures at teleology will be totally unacceptable and get him branded a creationist among atheists like Jerry Coyne, PZ Myers, and Richard Dawkins.