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: