Intelligent Design

ID as “marzipan confection”

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The sign of erudition these days is the ability to craft culturally sophisticated terms of abuse. I want to urge others on this thread to list their favorite erudite term(s) of abuse for ID.

July 30, 2006

Laws of nature

A century and a half ago, Charles Darwin sparked a scientific revolution. Now that revolution has become a culture war. But does the concept of intelligent design have validity as an alternative to evolution? Three new books look beyond the rhetoric.

By Robert Lee Hotz

The Reluctant Mr. Darwin
An Intimate Portrait of Charles Darwin and the Making of His Theory of Evolution

David Quammen
Atlas Books/W.W. Norton: 304 pp., $22.95

Intelligent Thought
Science Versus the Intelligent Design Movement

Edited by John Brockman
Vintage: 258 pp., $14 paper

Why Darwin Matters
The Case Against Intelligent Design

Michael Shermer
Times Books/Henry Holt: 202 pp., $22

In the border war between science and faith, the doctrine of “intelligent design” is a sly subterfuge – a marzipan confection of an idea presented in the shape of something more substantial.


19 Replies to “ID as “marzipan confection”

  1. 1
    tinabrewer says:

    My favorite is (following exaggeratedly confused, even stunned look): “Well, its not even a theory.”

  2. 2
    John A. Davison says:

    Again I will let others speak for me:

    “However that may be, the existence of internal factors affecting evolution has to be accepted by any objective mind…”
    Pierre Grasse, Evolution of Living Organisms, page 209

    So much for the objectivity of the Darwinian mind.

    “Evolution is in a great measure an unfolding of pre-existing rudiments,”
    Leo Berg, Nomogenesis. page 406.

    I only wish he had said “was” instead of “is.”

    “…the entire process of evolution may be regarded as ‘an unpacking of an original complex which contained within itself the whole range of diversity which living things present'” William Bateson, quoted in Nomogenesis page 359.

    This remarkable statement by the father of modern genetics is in complete accord with the Prescribed Evolutionary Hypothesis as also is the summary by Berg.

    “In all the research since 1869 on the transformations observed in closely successive phyletic series no evidence whatever, to my knowledge, has been brought forward by any paleontologist, either of the vertebrated or invertebrated animals, that the fit originates by selection from the fortuitous.
    Henry Fairfield Osborn, quoted in Nomogenesis, page 127

    Note Osborn’s use of the present tense with which I take exception.

    “A past evolution is undeniable, a present evolution undemonstrable.”
    John A. Davison

    “All great truths begin as blasphemies.”
    George Bernard Shaw

    “Meine Zeit wird schon kommen!”
    Gregor Mendel

  3. 3
    crandaddy says:

    Give the guy a break. I can tell from reading his article that he doesn’t have much in the way of critical thinking skills (curious that such a symptom is so common among our detractors), so he must compensate his ego by the use of fancy terms.

  4. 4
    scordova says:

    Terms of Abuse : ID is like unfounded “claims of sexist bias and equivalence of methapors”

    The following erudite abuse of ID was so bad it was entertaining. Kind of reminds me of bad movies like Plan 9 From Outer Space and Attack of the Killer tomatoes. It was so bad it actually was entertaining.

    The entertainment comes from: Newton’s Rape Manual

    The whole posting was so convoluted I couldn’t stop laughing. An author named TangoMan slams ID by using the writings of a radical feminist to show how ID theory is wrong. First he quotes Sandra Harding, a radical feminist:

    Sandra Harding:

    But if we are to believe that mechanistic metaphors were a fundamental component of the explanations the new science provided, why should we believe that the gender metaphors were not? A consistent analysis would lead to the conclusion that understanding nature as a woman indifferent to or even welcoming rape was equally fundamental to the interpretations of these new conceptions of nature and inquiry. Presumably these metaphors, too, had fruitful pragmatic, methodological, and metaphysical consequences for science. In that case, is it not as illuminating and honest to refer to Newton’s laws as “Newton’s rape manual” as it is to call them “Newton’s mechanics?”

    Huh? Seizing the opportunity to slam IDers with Harding’s writings, TangoMan says:

    Harding is arguing along the lines we often see from Intelligent Designers. They often position their arguments in this form: If irreducible complexity cannot be explained by the theory of evolution, then evolution is an invalid theory.
    Harding, by arguing sexist bias and equivalence of the metaphors may be arguing that if we do not accept the rape & torture metaphor then we should not accept the nature/machine metaphor. However, since we do accept the nature/machine metaphor then we must accept the rape & torture metaphor. This is a logical contraposition and it doesn’t, in the least, as with the Intelligent Designers, address the validity of her argument.

    That one has to win an award for the most ingenious rebuttal of ID theory on the internet.

  5. 5
    Rude says:

    The main put down seems to be that those who doubt Darwin and/or are attracted to ID are stupid: “Some simply don’t know the difference between an opinion, a belief, a hypothesis and a formal scientific theory.” Intelligent people who have religious leanings “all have their own nuanced theological responses to evolutionary theory.” Then there is the ever present soubriquet: “Fundamentalist proponents of intelligent design …” And this is nearly always coupled with the sophisticate’s odium for America: “‘Intelligent design is a uniquely American phenomenon, but only one of at least eight variations of the creationist idea,’ explains Michael Shermer in ‘Why Darwin Matters: The Case Against Intelligent Design.’” The same folks who never seem able to unequivocally condemn Islamic terrorism also never tire of pinning its negative associations on their opponents at home: “[R]eligious fundamentalism is on the rise around the world, and our own virulent domestic version of it, under the rubric of ‘intelligent design,’ by elbowing its way into the classroom abrogates the divide between church and state that has served this country so well for so long.” It seems the only thing good about America is the divide between Judeo-Christendom and state which, contrary to such assertions, came in with the boomer generation and thus hasn’t “served this country” for any longer than they’ve harmed it.

  6. 6 says:

    Hotz is amusing. He claims intellectual impartiality and decries rhetoric.

    “Three new books look beyond the rhetoric.”

    then he precedes with transparent rhetorical ploys himself.

    “The doctrine of “intelligent design” is a sly subterfuge (label ID as a doctrine)

    Intelligent design is the bait on the barbed hook of creationist belief. (infer ulterior motives)

    its disingenuous masquerade as a form of legitimate scientific inquiry (trickery implied)”

    “The intelligent design movement is simply a “hoax,” writes Daniel C. Dennett.

    None writes so fiercely in defense of evolution as Shermer With the sustained indignation of a former creationist.”

    These are hardly impartial statements. “Sustained indignation,” calm down Dr Shermer!

    At least Hotz approaches an understanding of what ID really advocates.

    ” Proponents of intelligent design argue that the diversity of life can be explained best by a guiding intelligence .. not the undirected action of evolution and natural selection. Life in the universe is simply too complex to have happened by accident.”

    And he seems to understand the implications of Darwinism.

    ” Darwin puts people on equal biological footing with barnacles and baboons … as just another form of temporarily animated meat.”

    “Intelligent design is a uniquely American phenomenon.” I think not.

    Check out the map on ARN of those who check the web site. They are from all over the world. None from Darwin Australia though!

    Last of all we are told that the poor chap “Darwin himself began as a proponent of intelligent design.

    Darwin was driven by an unflinching intellectual honesty, the weight of the evidence and the imperative of an undeniable idea.”

    Here it is. All we in the ID movement need to do, is to be unflinching in our intellectual honesty, like Darwin, and Shermer et al and we will then perceive “the weight of the evidence and the imperative of an undeniable idea.”

    I think it is the other side who like us, need to take the path Darwin took and they will likely end up supporting the undeniable imperative of ID!

  7. 7
  8. 8
    Mats says:

    “ID is creationism is a cheap tuxedo”

    “ID is creationism’ trojan horse”

    “Not only is ID bad science, but it’s bad theology” (Eugenie Scott tyoe of Darwinists)

    “ID will make America be overcome by European and Chinese scientists”

    “ID is a science stoper”

    “ID will take us to the Dark Ages”

    “ID has no peer reviewed papers”

    “ID has been totaly rejected by the scientific comunity”

    “Only religious fundamentalists endorse ID”

    “ID relies on a very narrow and exclusive interpretation of Genesis”

    “ID is pseudo-science”

    “ID cannot be tested, therefore it’s not science”

    “Irreducible Complexity cannot be falsified”.

    “Irreducible Complexity has been falsified”.

  9. 9
    Larry Fafarman says:

    The introduction to the book review asks, “does the concept of ‘intelligent design’ have validity as an alternative to evolution?” The book review’s author does not even attempt to answer that question fairly because only pro-evolution books were chosen for review. Also, I am tired of seeing intelligent design being treated as though it were the only challenge to evolution theory — some other challenges to evolution theory have little or nothing to do with “design,” e.g., challenges concerning co-evolution and the propagation of beneficial mutations in sexual reproduction.

  10. 10
    BK says:

    “Some simply don’t know the difference between an opinion, a belief, a hypothesis and a formal scientific theory.”

    No where is this more true than among scientists themselves, and especially Darwinist biologists.

  11. 11
    GilDodgen says:

    “Check out the map on ARN of those who check the [ARN] web site. They are from all over the world.”

    Interesting. There appears to be a lot of activity in India. I didn’t know that Christian fundamentalism was so big in that country. 🙂

  12. 12
    idadvisors says:,

    I just read the piece about LA Times treatment of ID “its disingenuous masquerade” implies trickery. Trickery is exceedingly deceptive(e.g., dupe, ruse). Meyers essay in Dallas Morning Post points out that rotary flagellar motors
    operate up to 100,000 RPM. And that’s trickery?

    I cant find his name(Lillifield, a biologist?) bashed intutition saying the sun appears to revolve around the earth, it doesn’t, the sky appears to be blue, it isn’t.

    Thus every letter in Thaxton’s essay “DNA, Design, and the Origin of Life” seems to be specified, they are not. That’s TRICKERY.

  13. 13
    idadvisors says:

    Though the computer you’re using appears to contain volumes of information content, it doesn’t.

  14. 14
    russ says:

    Science writer and professor Dr. Marc Siegel:

    “It is a dangerous construct that undermines the accomplishments of well-proven scientific experiments even as it attempts to create for the creator a role he doesn’t need.”;s=msiegel

  15. 15
    John A. Davison says:

    While there is no tangible evidence for a living God, it is inexcusable to arbitrarily deny a past existence for one or more such Gods. Yet that is exactly what this forum presents. It boggles my ancient mind that such souls still exist. They must be “born that way.”

    It is hard to believe isn’t it?

  16. 16
    MikeFNQ says:

    From the article:

    Seventy percent of evangelical Christians believe that living things have always existed in their current form

    Why does this not scare people? Why are IDers not trying to correct this attrocious ignorance of life’s history?

  17. 17
    John A. Davison says:

    I am confident that we can safely say that ALL current living forms have ALWAYS existed in their present form. To imagine otherwise is ridiculous. You see organic evolution is a thing of the past. We do not see “evolution in action” as the Darwinians blindly continue to insist. We see only the products of a long past evolution. How many times do I have to tell you? Don’t you people ever listen? Apparently not!

    Why do I waste my time?

    It is hard to believe isn’t it?

    “A past evolution is undeniable, a present evolution undemonstrable.”
    John A. Davison

    “If you tell the truth, you can be certain, sooner or later, to be found out.”
    Oscar Wilde

    “Meine Zeit wird schon kommen!”
    Gregor Mendel

  18. 18
    John A. Davison says:

    What is hard to believe is why I continue to waste my time.

  19. 19
    Joseph says:

    Testing evolutionism? Just how does one test the premise that all of life’s diversity owes its collective common ancestry to some unknown population(s) of single-celled organisms via some blind watchmaker-type process?

    We learned during the “Kitzmiller vs the DSB” that evolutionists do not ever intend to test their premise on bacteria by attempting to “evolve” a bacterial flagellum in a population that didn’t have one. IOW forget about testing evolutionism. And as Dan Dennett tells us about NDE- “there is no way to predict what will be selected for at any point in time.”- so also forget about NDE having any predictive power.

    It is sad when otherwise normal people have to apply obvious double-standards in order to save their dogmatic views from being scrutinized.

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