Having reported news on the ID scene for about five years now, I could give a number of reasons why I think ID is slowly winning the intellectual battle, but let me focus on just one for now: The increasingly preposterous claims made by anti-ID zealots.
At the high end, we have this editorial in New Scientist, in which we are advised,
But perhaps we have the very notion of intelligence wrong. Scientists are beginning to see that the toughest problems – how to control complex traffic flows, for example – are better solved through the random evolution or self-organisation of artificial systems than by human reasoning (see “Law and disorder”). Such thinking appears to be moving towards the mainstream, as societies increasingly face complex problems that overwhelm the human mind. Engineers are finding that their task is not so much to find solutions as to design systems that can discover their own.
If the NS editors were right, we should see non-life evolving slowly into life all around us, but for some reason we don’t. The most fundamental lesson early biologists learned was that life does not self-organize – i.e., it is NOT spontaneously generated; it is passed on, life to life.
Not only should spontaneous generation be true if they are right, but so should magic, Magic, after all, is simply another name for sudden self-organization.
That’s right folks – just toss the bedclothes into the air and they’ll come down in a perfect mitred-corner bed. Just toss whatever into the stew pot, sans cookbook, and you’ll evolve a gourmet dinner. How generations could have come and gone, and no one ever noticed that before is beyond me. Cinderella’s* fairy godmothers, after all, did the housework via self-organizing sprinkles of magic dust.
My point is that if they need to descend to arguments like this in order to avoid considering design, they might as well start examining design seriously. It’s not going away; in fact, the signal is getting louder all the time.
And what’s all this stuff about “complex problems that overwhelm the human mind”? Human problems are complex because different people see solutions in different directions. Many lobby governments on behalf of their disparate views, hence the continual cacophony, to which one must learn to listen selectively for some shards of common sense. People who feel overwhelmed by it shouldn’t be offering advice to the public.
I put New Scientist at the high end. For the low end, try this stuff. These people sesem, for the most part, incapable of a civilized argument – or at least that is how they choose to represent themselves. That can’t be good news for their cause.
*Bill Dembski has written me to point out that it was Sleeping Beauty, not Cinderella, who had the fairy godmothers who magically self-organized their housework. Bill’s children are way younger than mine, and this proves it. My apologies.
Also, just up at The Mindful Hack
The neuroscientist and Shakespeare – no, actually, this is The neuroscientist and Shakespeare – no, actually, this is fun!
Philosopher: Why you cannot be both an evolutionist and a materialist
Coffee break! Why two heads are NOT better than one!
The Spiritual Brain: Vindicating Alfred Russel Wallace, the “other” discoverer of natural selection?
Neuroscience: why the carrot and the stick motivates donkeys but not people
Religion: It got started to avoid the spread of disease?
Prayer: Asking for more than healing
Prayer: Are studies of intercessory prayer an insult to God?
What we see is as much reality as we can deal with