29 Replies to “A Must-Read by Phillip Johnson

  1. 1
    nullasalus says:

    Well-spoken, really. If it weren’t for the philosophical and political stakes, I doubt ID would be treated the way it is currently.

  2. 2
    Karen says:

    As I understand it, scientists would like to see some research before accepting ID.

  3. 3
    Latemarch says:

    No Karen, the gist of the article is that scientists really don’t want to see any ID research. Because the results make them “uncomfortable”.

  4. 4
    bdelloid says:

    As a scientist, scientific results supporting ID wouldn’t make me “uncomfortable”. In fact, they would be revolutionary and I would love to see it happen. But it hasn’t happened yet.

  5. 5
    1of63 says:

    No Karen, the gist of the article is that scientists really don’t want to see any ID research. Because the results make them “uncomfortable”.

    Is there any ongoing ID research that could make them “uncomfortable”? Besides, what does it matter? Did Newton or Einstein worry about the possibility that their work might make other scientists “uncomfortable”?

  6. 6

    […] This morning, I was delighted to see that the guys over at Uncommon Descent posted a link to a new essay by Phillip E. Johnson of “Darwin on Trial” fame. […]

  7. 7
    PaV says:

    I pointed out in another thread about Haldane’s Dilemna that the cyclical beak size of “Darwin’s” finches can’t be explained by RM+NS, since a change of allele frequency of this speed would require a massive dying off of the finches, one that would be readily observed and commented on. Now when a draught takes place, there can be this kind of dying off; but, on the other hand, when more rains come, this dying off would be observable in the extreme. So here we have it that the crown jewel of Darwinian evolution, as Johnsons points out, can’t even be explained in its very terms. Talk about being “believers”!

  8. 8
    jerry says:

    PaV,

    I thought the drought killed off a lot of the finches and those that remained were large beaked. So far so good acording to natural selection.

    But that they are returning to normal diistribution seems to be the miracle. That does not make sense. Even if other size alleles were recessive, it should take a long time for a normal pattern to reappear if ever since the proportion of genes has been drastically changed. I certainly not a geneticist but maybe someone could explain how this could happen unless the normal growing season selects against large beaks.

    Is this the thread to discuss this?

  9. 9
    mgarelick says:

    Johnson wrote:
    >>… It is rational to argue instead that we should evaluate the evidence impartially, with the goal of coming to the truth about whether it was necessary that there be a creator in order to accomplish the creating of all the marvels of the living world. If the Darwinian mechanism or some other combination of law and chance isn’t able to create the necessary information, then we should acknowledge the inadequacy and move on to consider alternatives.

    And:
    >>… [M]y personal view is that I identify the designer of life with the God of the Bible, although intelligent design theory as such does not entail that.

    Can intelligent design theory go beyond establishing the inadequacy of Darwinian theory? In other words, after showing what is not responsible for the complexity of life, can it show what is? How will it do this? Will it have to address whether the designer of life is in fact the biblical God? If it will not be bound by methodological naturalism, how will it evaluate the evidence? Will there be anything distinguishing science from theology? Should there be?

  10. 10
    mike1962 says:

    Karen:

    “As I understand it, scientists would like to see some research before accepting ID.”

    There are plenty of scientists that would like to see ID discussed in the peer reviewed literature. It’s the *establishment* that is resisting this. When the establishment has to resort to things like censure, ad homimen attacks, law suits, and burning people at the stake, it’s time to take a closer look at who benefits from all of this and why. What are they so afraid of?

  11. 11
    Patrick says:

    bdelloid,

    Define what you consider to be “scientific results supporting ID”.

  12. 12
    HodorH says:

    Behe, Axe et al. should really be taking this matter into their own hands, and publishing in the once-quarterly intelligent design journal, PCID. That would prevent their research from being suppressed.

  13. 13
    Rude says:

    Bdelloid, “But it hasn’t happened yet.”

    Where have you been!? If you’d said that about Darwin I’d take you seriously.

  14. 14
    jerry says:

    bdelloid,

    Would you be comfortable or uncomfortable with defending a theory that is widely accepted but scientists studying it say that its only findings are hypotheses?

  15. 15
    Joseph says:

    Karen,

    As I understand it most anti-IDists want to meet the designer before they will accept ID. Or at least see the designer in action.

    MGarelik,

    It has been our experience that when investigating something, call it X, that it matters a great deal to the investigation whether or not X came to be by nature, operating freely or intent, ie intelligent design.
    ———————————–

    If Dr Behe went into a lab and designed a bacterial flagellum would that be evidence for ID?

    Thanks to “The Privileged Planet” we know where to look for possible intelligent complex living organisms.

    And what should make people uncomfortable is the thought of the materialistic anti-ID position of sheer dumb luck. Sheer dumb luck gave us our moon, which also started our rotation. Sheer dumb luck also wiped out the dinosaurs which made room for us.

  16. 16
    sagebrush gardener says:

    As a scientist, scientific results supporting ID wouldn’t make me “uncomfortable”. In fact, they would be revolutionary and I would love to see it happen. But it hasn’t happened yet.

    Obviously, support for ID is in the eye of the beholder. I see plenty of “scientific results supporting ID” at

    http://creationsafaris.com/crevnews.htm

    Ironically most of the evidence is provided, perhaps unwittingly, by the mainstream scientific community itself.

    But I am only a simple gardener — what do I know?

  17. 17
    GilDodgen says:

    I think this essay by Phillip Johnson would be a great tool to get people up to speed on the basics of the current situation regarding ID. Keep in mind that those of us who frequent blogs like this one are aware of all the issues addressed by Phil, but most people are not, and probably get their (mis)information from the mainstream media. This essay really distills out the critical issues in a non-technical and easily accessible way.

  18. 18
    Apollos says:

    As far as I can tell, there are only two explanations for the universe in which we live: 1) someone created it (design); 2) nobody did (naturalism).

    All other stories end up being variations of the two. They cannot both be true.

    Assuming this is the case, isn’t evidence for what is false just as valid as evidence for what is true?

    If the evidence, beyond all reasonable doubt, convicts neo-darwinian evolution of being an impossible creation story, isn’t that evidence for design in-and-of itself?
    If a coin flip is not tails, isn’t it heads?

    That is not to say there is no positive evidence for design. There is overwhelming evidence in my assessment: the presence of information and information processing in biological systems; anthropic fine-tuning of the universe; irreducible complexity.

    I’m just not sure I understand the reasoning that evidence against NDE is not sufficient evidence for design (assuming there is a definition of evolution that describes how it can be falsified). If the coin flip is not tails, it is heads. (!undirected = directed)

    Is there another logical side of the coin that I am missing?

    If so, why is positive evidence for design, like some of the things mentioned above, almost universally interpreted as merely poking holes in evolutionary theory?

  19. 19
    mgarelick says:

    Joseph wrote:
    >>It has been our experience that when investigating something, call it X, that it matters a great deal to the investigation whether or not X came to be by nature, operating freely or intent, ie intelligent design.

    How is the investigation affected by this determination? What do you do next once you make it?

  20. 20
    bFast says:

    mgarlinek:

    Can intelligent design theory go beyond establishing the inadequacy of Darwinian theory? In other words, after showing what is not responsible for the complexity of life, can it show what is?

    This is a very valid question. I see the predominance of ID evidence to be meerly evidence against the RM+NS hypothesis. In the absense of a positive case for ID, I actually am very comfortable with a science that simply responds by saying that RM+NS is seriously challenged, and that there are no other scientific explanations.

    I believe, however, that there is one positive case for ID. If you read Denton’s discussion of the cytochrome C gene in “Evolution, a Theory in Crisis” you will see that the cytochrome C renders a map of the phylogenic tree with far too much precision to be accounted for by RM+NS. This map looks to me far to much like a “copyright notice” to be ignored. It smacks of the kind of patterns that are being sought by SETI research.

  21. 21
    mgarelick says:

    bFast wrote:

    >>It smacks of the kind of patterns that are being sought by SETI research.

    What would be the next step in SETI research?

    In any event, I don’t see how “far too much precision to be accounted for by RM+NS” amounts to a positive case. You may not accept the validity of the anti-dualism argument against ID (the argument that even complete refutation of Darwin does not establish ID, because it does not foreclose a third explanation), but how is your example any different from any other in this regard?

  22. 22
    Atom says:

    bFast and mgarlinek

    I’d add a second positive case for ID: signature data in the form of phi (the golden ratio.) This remarkable constant is “programmed” into not only mathematics (the fibbonacci sequence), but the universe (spirals of galaxies), the optimum angle for the dive of a hawk, the ratio of your hand to your forearm, the ratio of your first finger bone to the next, the spiral in a nautilus shell, the core of an apple (with its pntagram pattern), the ratio of DNA turn length to width, our aesthetic instinct (see its use in art and music), hurricane spirals, and many other places in nature. I’d venture to say that there isn’t an aspect of the created world that wasn’t marked with this “signature” information.

    A ratio works best as a signature, since it can be encoded into any information bearing structure and is unit independent. It is also not “superficial”, thus being resistant to dyteleological effects like random mutation. To me, it is a perfect copyright, even stronger than nested hierarchy patterns. It ties together Cosmological ID and Biological ID quite nicely as well.

  23. 23
    Joseph says:

    Intelligent Design: An Inconvenient Truth

    That should be the title of the essay… (Al Gore talks about scientists feeling pressure for saying something about global warming)

  24. 24
    Karen says:

    “And what should make people uncomfortable is the thought of the materialistic anti-ID position of sheer dumb luck. Sheer dumb luck gave us our moon, which also started our rotation. Sheer dumb luck also wiped out the dinosaurs which made room for us.”

    So that’s an example of intelligent design– hurling down fire balls from the heavens, scorching the planet to cause a mass extinction event, for what? Just to make room for humans? I don’t see inflicting suffering on any animal as lucky for us, even if the animal is aggressive. Why not put the dinos down humanely? Or better yet, why not use some foresight and not let the dinos get so big, widespread, and dangerous in the first place? Isn’t foresight part of intelligence?

  25. 25
    bFast says:

    Atom, phi was discussed, possibly by you, quite extensively on Brainstorms in my post about the prevalence of polydactilism. I agree with you, phi does have that “designer’s signature” feel to it. Pentadactilism, for instance, presents a different twist on the darwinain debate. Rather than being “too complex” or having too much variety to have possibly evolved, it has, well, too little variety. Fortunately for me, Gould did a good job of being surprised at the universality of pentadactilism.

    It is this class of argument, the “this is a pattern that informs, but defies random generation” that feels like a “signature of the designer”. If there’s a copyright notice in there, its because it is someone’s intellectual property.

  26. 26
    Joseph says:

    “And what should make people uncomfortable is the thought of the materialistic anti-ID position of sheer dumb luck. Sheer dumb luck gave us our moon, which also started our rotation. Sheer dumb luck also wiped out the dinosaurs which made room for us.”

    Karen:
    So that’s an example of intelligent design– hurling down fire balls from the heavens, scorching the planet to cause a mass extinction event, for what?

    No.

    Any questions?

  27. 27
    Tedsenough says:

    I like how Karen focuses on such trivial reasons to voice her criticism against design or purpose, while neglecting all the other evidence that would support such an idea (existence of genetic information, the improbability of a cosmos suitable for life, the ability to comprehend information and use a rational argument to support beliefs one holds in their memory, let alone the emotional desire for purpose in one’s life).

  28. 28

    […] Uncommon Descent links to “A Must-Read by Phillip Johnson“. […]

  29. 29
    bFast says:

    Karen:

    So that’s an example of intelligent design– hurling down fire balls from the heavens, scorching the planet to cause a mass extinction event, for what?

    The only way that this argument makes sense is if one buys into the “mass extinction events do it” twist on RM+NS. Life is not created by mass extinction events. Life is created by someone even smarter than me.

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