Culture Darwinism Intelligent Design

Flock of Dodos to be aired on Showtime

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Has Charles Darwin got a new bulldog? In an interview with Alison St. John, who is hosting the Tom Fudge talk show on KPBS in San Diego, Randy Olson once again gives his classic spiel touting ‘Flock of Dodos’, which Alison depicts as a “delightful odyssey”, and which Randy heartily agrees. Go here for the interview.

In comparing his quest to humorously, but factually chronicling the Intelligent Design vs. Evolution controversy, Randy cites both science and his work as ‘story telling’ (no argument there, with regards Darwinian theory), but inserts the caveat that the works of scientists, “are constrained by this ugly little thing called the truth”. ‘Flock of Dodos’ circumvents this constraint, in my opinion.

As he’s done in the past, he castigates ID’ers for continuing to belabor their quest to undermine science, using the popular media as a springboard, and with no research, no empirical evidences and no peer reviewed publications, trying to make the case for an ‘intelligent designer’, with their designer having no more efficacy than some vestigial appendage.

But has Randy extrapolated the truth in his ‘delightful epic’? The central argument for design is that its complexity rules out natural happenstance, and Randy states that that logic is faulty, since it “underestimate(s) the ability of NS to create diversity”. He goes on to say that it’s “not even a testable idea. How can you put a limit on how much change natural selection can create?”

Randy apparently puts no limits on it, and thus follows the ‘just so’ logic of natural selection of random mutations to account for evolvable complexity. In backing that, and in no less than two times does he gleefully cite the Dover decision as the virtual end of ID’s endeavor for scientific legitimacy. But in actuality, if in fact there is a vestigial appendage these days, it just might be Darwin’s dangerous idea.

The interview is entertaining, and for those of you who haven’t yet seen the film, now’s your chance! It is scheduled to be televised next week beginning Thursday on Showtime. Here’s the times:

8 Replies to “Flock of Dodos to be aired on Showtime

  1. 1
    DaveScot says:

    I believe I’m going to cancel ShowTime. I get a dozen different ShowTime channels for $8/mo. It’s become too much of a liberal propagandist tool and I can think of better things to spend $100 on each year – like a new set of teflon coated titanium needles to stick in my eyes. I cancelled Skinemax (Cinemax) a few years ago for becoming too focused on appealing to prurient interests and everything else second or third tier. ShowTime Boxing is second rate (HBO gets all better fights), HBO always beats Showtime to the punch with popular movies if you don’t count Michael Moore and Al Gore’s crap, and they’ve had few to zero really good original series (Huff wasn’t too bad). If I paid extra for ABC, NBC, and CBS I’d cancel them too. Fox is the only network worth watching with exception of Leno and Letterman. I spend more time watching various Discovery Channels than anything else. This week is Space Week on Discovery Science Channel and it’s well worth tuning in each night for a couple hours if you like astronomy, cosmology, and space exploration.

  2. 2
    Smidlee says:

    “… and Randy states that that logic is faulty, since it “underestimate(s) the ability of NS to create diversity”. He goes on to say that it’s “not even a testable idea. How can you put a limit on how much change natural selection can create?” Sounds like he referring to Supernatural selection. Supernatural selection is like Superman as bullets (of reality) just bounce of them.

  3. 3
    Atom says:

    “How can you put a limit on how much change natural selection can create?”

    Easy, you just provide demonstration of exactly how much it can create and if you can’t demonstrate it is capable of creating the level of functional complexity and information we see, then we limit our belief in its powers. We’ll only aumme NS works as far as can be demonstrated, but not further.

    In that vein, we might as well ask: “How can you put a limit on the amount of force a gravitational field can create?” 🙂

  4. 4
    GilDodgen says:

    “How can you put a limit on how much change natural selection can create?”

    Natural selection doesn’t create anything, it only throws stuff out. It kills me when Darwinists refer to NS as a creative process when it is nothing of the kind. The limit of change is dictated by available genetic information. And as far the production of novel, functionally adequate information by stochastic processes, it sounds like Michael Behe’s new book, The Edge Of Evolution, will demonstrate that a limit can be established, and that the restrictions are severe.

  5. 5
    pk4_paul says:

    Easy, you just provide demonstration of exactly how much it can create and if you can’t demonstrate it is capable of creating the level of functional complexity and information we see, then we limit our belief in its powers. We’ll only aumme NS works as far as can be demonstrated, but not further.

    Makes sense Atom. Sounds very empirical too. So what is the real reason for the extrapolation that makes NS an explanation for everything??

  6. 6
    Dizzy says:

    Well, we know that selection works; just consider the Chihuahua vs. the Grand Danois. And indeed, selection is a principle heavily relied on in agriculture and in cattle breeding. Did I hear you say “Not natural selection”? OK, what’s the big difference?

    Seems to me that it works, and if I have understood Behe, he also thinks that it works most of the time, but needs a nudge by the designer from time to time.

    If you don’t believe me, I can provide quote.

  7. 7
    Michaels7 says:

    Dizzy,

    Is your point this supports macro-evolution without intelligent agency? For example, birds from reptiles?

    You gave examples of artificial selection extremes driven by intelligent breeding. If breeding without intelligent agency in a wilderness reserve, what happens? Extreme breeds go extinct or mix back to normal mixed bag category in a cross-section of environmental norms. This is observed in nature today. A pack of wild dogs mix of gene pools over a few generations shows the extremes melt away.

    I remain skeptical NS&RM provide any mechanism on the levels claimed for macro-evolution. NS provides varients of species within a genus based on environmental impacts, like a heavier coat, longer hair and change of color. Other than that what else is observed? Some tall, some small?

    Personally, I’m not convinced yet of full blown common ancestory tree or bush even with FrontLoading or horizontal gene transfer. To many times scientist have claimed these as fact only to see much of it go by the wayside. Lucy was recently shot down and the big claims made for Frodo were shot down too. Most people will only see the large headlines made by NG, but not the research later that shoots them down. The same problem with most of our news today is biased sensationalism. Why not a big cover story on Lucy dropping out of the “missing link” category?

  8. 8
    t_hardymon says:

    Atom-

    How can you put a limit on how much change natural selection can create?”

    Easy, you just provide demonstration of exactly how much it can create and if you can’t demonstrate it is capable of creating the level of functional complexity and information we see, then we limit our belief in its powers. We’ll only aumme NS works as far as can be demonstrated, but not further.

    We do have evidence of evolution, it’s called the fossil record. You don’t see the fossil record as proof, well geez! I guess since you say it isn’t true we should tell all these guys who have gotten their PH.D’s studying that stuff that they are wrong.

    That film was great. It points out the fact that there is absolutely NO FACT in Intelligent Design. There is absolutely NO way to test the theory of Intelligent Design. That is the foundation of science. Scientific theories must be testable. How can you teach something as “science” when it doesn’t fall into the topic of science?

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