Intelligent Design

Tu quoque: Evolutionists don’t have a full-fledged theory of biological form either!

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Evolutionists are just as fond of quote-mining as their ID counterparts. A quote of Paul Nelson’s has lately been making the rounds, appearing even in the New York Times. At a meeting of Biola University last year, Nelson remarked, “Easily the biggest challenge facing the ID community is to develop a full-fledged theory of biological design. We don’t have such a theory right now, and that’s a problem”

Evolutionists are now taking this as a grand admission that ID is scientifically deficient. Nelson’s own take on this line by evolutionists can be found at IDthefuture. My own take is that Nelson’s statement reflects a profound malaise within the scientific community about the absence of a general theory of biological form and design — period. Scientific theories vary in their scope and power. As a theory of design detection and technological evolution, intelligent design is now well in hand. But as a general theory of biological form, ID has a long way to go.

Intelligent design, however, is hardly alone in this regard. Consider the following admissions about the lack of a general theory of biological form by mainstream biologists and scientists:

“The strange thing about the theory of evolution is that everyone thinks he understands it. But we do not.” –Stuart Kauffman, 2003

“Biology still lacks a theory of organization…. The need for a conceptual framework for the study of organization lies at the heart of unsolved problems in both ontogeny and phylogeny.” –Mary West-Eberhard, 2003

“We do not claim that the fundamental laws of physics (and thus of chemistry) do not hold in biology; they, of course, do. But we do claim that their conceptual frame is too narrow. Rather we have to find new concepts that transcend the purely microscopic descriptions of systems.” –Kelso & Haken, 1995

“We do not even know what biology is about, in the same sense that we know what mechanics is about, or what optics is about, or what thermodynamics is about. We thus do not know the scope of the domain of biology, for it has as yet no objectively definable bounds. In place of these, we have only a tacit consensus.” –Robert Rosen, 1991

“S’il est vrai que le darwinisme est le seul lieu théorique de la biologie, c’est qu’en effect il est le seul à introduire un virtuel, l’ensemble des évolutions possibles d’une espèce en un temps et en lieu donnés. Mais ce virtuel est incontrôlé, on ne peut rien en dire.”
[“If it’s true that Darwinism alone constitutes the theoretical portion of biology, that’s is because it alone introduces a virtual reality, namely, the collection of all the possible evolutions of a species in a given time and place. But this virtual reality is uncontrolled; one can say nothing about it.”] — René Thom, 1990

“The delusion of the finished [evolutionary] synthesis places restrictions on freedom of thought of which its believers are unaware. Selectionists [i.e., those who think that natural selection is the principal mechanism in evolution] point to the internal debates as evidence of free discussion, but the freedom is bounded by the dead hand of Darwin.”
–Robert Reid, 1985

The absence of a full-fledged theory of biological form holds quite generally and is not confined to ID.

5 Replies to “Tu quoque: Evolutionists don’t have a full-fledged theory of biological form either!

  1. 1

    […] erit. This also means developing a real, testable, biological theory of design, which even Dembski admits currently does not exist in a mature form. In the meantime, there’s not […]

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    DaveScot says:

    That’s a good summary of my position.

    I agree with John Davison where he states there are two kinds of evolutionary hypotheses; those that have failed when tested and those that have not been tested. Mutation/selection is amongst the former.

    Darwin of the Gaps is no more acceptable than God of the Gaps. A gap is a gap.

    Nothing in science requires that criticism of one hypothesis must be accompanied by an alternative hypothesis. The nut here isn’t putting ID into the classroom. It’s putting the failures of the Darwinian narrative into the introductory biology classroom instead of hiding them in the closet until graduate school.

  3. 3
    Teleological says:

    Nietzsche’s Madman : Finding Darwin’s God

    Who is the Designer? Part 2: Finding Darwin’s God
    Continuing on this theme of who is the designer, I’ve shown why knowing the designer is not a requirement for the ID theoretical. This is not the case for Darwinism as I posted before. For Darwini…

  4. 4
    Benjii says:

    Darwinian hypocrisy always prevails. They blame IDists for using the God of the gaps. However, they are also espoused to the idea that evolution will somehow prevail and finally answer how we get information like DNA, motors like the Bacterial Flagellum, the labyrinth of the human body and so forth. I haven’t seen the evidence and you know what, I personally don’t think there is any! I don’t think we need to be misguided by fanatics like E.O Wilson, Richard Dawkins and the late Stephen Jay Gould. I don’t mean to slander these men, however, when comes to putting your philosophy before your evidence, you take the cake. The real question is: where does the evidence lead? And so far, darwinism has failed to answer that question. I feel like it’s as dead as the Village People. Why bother!

  5. 5

    […] –- but, as yet, no general theory of biological design.” William Dembski rightly notes on his blog that the Darwinians are in the same situation. What strik […]

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