Intelligent Design is Anti-Evolution (Support Rebuttal)

Joe, if you were banned from my blog, then how come we’re having this debate?  And how come you can still post here?

I have no quibble with the definitions of evolution that Joe presented.  They are all reasonable.

Joe, then ignores the definitions of Intelligent Design as present on the various websites that support ID and instead jumps straight to a quote from Behe.  The problem is that Behe admits that he is not all of ID.  He also has some, shall we say, issues with maintaining a consistent story.

Next we have Dembski and Wells quoted.

ID precludes neither significant variation within species nor the evolution of new species from earlier forms. Rather, it maintains that there are strict limits to the amount and quality of variations that material mechanisms such as natural selection and random genetic change can alone produce.

So ID thinks there are limits, yet they have never (to my knowledge) said what those limits are or why they exist.  Evolution says that there are limits, but those limits are only constrained by the evolutionary history of the organism (in other words, a population of cats, no matter how long you let them breed, will never, ever produce a bird).

So, in principle, ID and evolution are OK with each other here.  However, in practice, they are not.

Here’s the next quote from Dembski that Joe uses:

 The point to note, however, is that intelligence can itself be a source of biological novelties that lead to macroevolutionary changes. In this way intelligent design is compatible with speciation.

But that’s not correct; at least it’s not correct with the prevailing view of evolution that new species and novelties can come about without intelligence.  If, Demsbki (and Joe for that matter), think that biological novelties require an intelligence, then they should examine the Scottish fold breed of cat.  It’s a novel structure, novel mutation, simple dominant allele, no designer seen.  In fact, I predict (this is how science works) that if you examined the genes between siblings (one with the fold and one without), then you could show which gene contains the novel mutation.  I further predict that you could back trace that novel gene to find the mutation and I further predict that the allele in question would result from a known type of mutation that is perfectly reasonable from an evolution point of view.

No designer required.  Except that IDists will insist there was a designer there.

ID says that biological novelty cannot come about except by a designer.  Evolutionary theory says biological novelty can come about without a designer.  ID and evolution are opposites.  They can’t both be correct.  They are rivals.  The very definition of ‘anti-‘.

It’s really funny how Joe’s own opening support the ‘anti-‘view more than the ‘not anti-‘view.

The next quote that Joe uses continues in the same vein.

ID is a theory about the cause of genetic information, not about the modalities or the natural history of its appearance, and is in no way incompatible with many well known patterns of limited modification of that information usually defined as “microevolution.” ID affirms that design is the cause, or at least a main cause, of complex biological information. A theory which would indeed be alternative to ID, and therefore could prove it wrong, is any empirically well-supported “causal theory” which excludes design;

Evolution excludes design.  There is no version of evolutionary theory that supports any design.  It’s that simple.  Review the definitions of evolution that Joe provided in his opening.  Do any of them say anything about ‘design’?  No, they are purely based on chemistry, physics, and biology (“materialistic” according to Joe).  Therefore evolution is against ID, an alternative to ID, anti-ID if you will.

Whether evolution is true or ID is true is immaterial to the discussion here.  I want to make that point clear.  We’re not actually discussing the validity of Intelligent Design or Evolution and any attempt to do so, is automatically wrong.  This discussion is about whether the notion of Intelligent Design is anti-evolution.

Joe thinks that Intelligent Design is OK with Common Descent and mutation and differential reproduction and horizontal gene transfer.  Then, the very next statement is a quote from Dembski (not cited) that I will copy here:

As Dembski/ Wells said Intelligent design only has an issue with materialistic evolution- the idea that all organisms have descended from common ancestors solely through an unguided, unintelligent, purposeless, material processes such as natural selection acting on random variations or mutations; that the mechanisms of natural selection, random variation and mutation, and perhaps other similarly naturalistic mechanisms, are completely sufficient to account for the appearance of design in living organisms. (Also known as the blind watchmaker thesis)

Wait, I thought you said that ID was OK with all of that stuff.  It seems ID is OK with natural selection as long as the designer is doing the selecting.  ID is OK with random variation, as long as the random variation is front-loaded by the designer.  ID is OK with mutation, as long as the mutations are hand selected by the designer.

In other words, ID is OK with all of the aspects of evolution, but it’s not OK that it happens naturally without a designer being present.  At least, that’s what I get out of it.

Here’s the difference (and this is a critical point here):

Materialistic Evolution differs from Theistic Evolution in saying that God does not actively interfere with evolution. It is not necessarily atheistic, though; many Materialistic Evolutionists believe that God created evolution, for example. Materialistic evolution may be divided into methodological and philosophical materialism. Methodological materialism limits itself to describing the natural world with natural causes; it says nothing at all about the supernatural, neither affirming nor denying its existence or its role in life.

Gould, Stephen J., Rock of Ages: Science and Religion in the Fullness of Life (Ballantine Publishing Group, NY, 1999) (my emphasis)

That’s it.  That’s the whole discussion in a nutshell.  Materialist evolution says God wasn’t involved in evolutionary processes.  ID says God (excuse me, a designer) was involved (see my quotes from Dembski in my opening statement).

Intelligent Design would be OK with evolution if everyone would just admit that God is behind the whole thing.  That’s why Intelligent Design is indeed, anti-evolution.  ID cannot, will not admit that purely natural forces (chemistry and physics) are responsible for the diversity of life around us today.

Even those that may be materialistic evolution proponents can freely believe in the god of their choice.  There is nothing in evolution (or any science) that says you can’t believe whatever you want.  However, if you want to get into science, then you must support your statements with evidence.

Intelligent Design is OK with all individuals in a population generally having the same number and types of genes and that those genes give rise to an array of traits and characteristics that characterize that population. It is OK with mutations that may result in two or more slightly different molecular forms of a gene- alleles- that influence a trait in different ways and that individuals of a population vary in the details of a trait when they inherit different combinations of alleles. ID is OK with any allele that may become more or less common in the population relative to other kinds at a gene locus, or it may disappear. And ID is OK with allele frequencies changing as a result of mutation, gene flow, genetic drift, natural and artificial selection, that mutation alone produces new alleles and gene flow, genetic drift, natural and artificial selection shuffle existing alleles into, through, or out of populations. IOW ID is OK with biological evolution. As Dr Behe et al., make very clear, it just argues about the mechanisms- basically design/ telic vs spontaneous/ stochastic.  (I assume Joe’s emphasis.)

Since Joe pretty much described the entirety of the Theory of Biological Evolution (barring drift, founder effect, epigenetics, etc) previously, then ID is Ok with all of that.  The only thing ID wants to talk about is the “mechanisms”.

Let me requote from Behe here (as speaking under oath in a court of law)

Q. And before we leave the blood clotting system, can you just remind the Court the mechanism by which intelligent design creates the blood clotting system?

A. Well, as I mentioned before, intelligent design does not say, a mechanism, but what it does say is, one important factor in the production of systems, and that is that, at some point in the pathway, intelligence was involved.

Dover Trial Testimony – A = Dr. Michael Behe

So the same guy who describes ID as “just argues about the mechanisms” has told a federal judge that “intelligent design does not say, a mechanism.

For some reason, I am reminded of a classic children’s game.  “You sank my battleship.”

Rumor has it that Joe will use another set of Behe’s testimony from the Kitzmiller/Dover trial (I keep calling it Dover, it’s really the Kitzmiller Trial).  And that this is what Michael Behe (A) wrote in Of Panda’s and People.

Q Now, you say you would have written it differently. Is there another reference or another section in Pandas that you could direct us to to emphasize that point?

A Yes. I wrote the section at the end of Pandas which is discussing blood clotting. And on page 144 of the text there’s a section entitled “A Characteristic of Intelligent Design.” And it begins, “Why is the blood clotting system an example of intelligent design? The ordering of independent pieces into a coherent whole to accomplish a purpose which is beyond any single component of the system is characteristic of intelligence.”

Q And why did you direct us to that particular section?

A Because I think it more clearly conveys the central idea of intelligent design, which is the purposeful arrangement of parts.

Q Do you see that then as a, perhaps a better characterization, or more accurate characterization of intelligent design?

A Yes, I like this a lot better

OK, Behe likes that definition of ID better.  That’s fine.  He can.  I don’t like using ‘microevolution’ and ‘macroevolution’.  That’s OK too.

“Intelligent Design is the purposeful arrangement of parts.”  There is nothing about a mechanism in there.  There is nothing about information in there.  There is nothing about the designer in there.  So, you might like this better Joe, but how does it help you?

It doesn’t.  It’s just another definition of ID that doesn’t actually mean anything.  There’s no definition of parts (proteins, amino acids, alleles, genes, collections of proteins???).  There’s no definition of purposeful (non-coding DNA isn’t designed?  What’s the purpose?  How do you know?)

It’s just another way for Behe to avoid actually having to do anything like test or support ID and to try to avoid getting in trouble with the court.

I’ll begin the end with one last quote from Joe’s opening.

            Now we are left with the only way Intelligent Design can be considered anti-evolution is if and only if the only definition of evolution matches the definition provided for materialistic evolution. However I cannot find any source that states that is the case.

Of course you can’t Joe, because ‘materialistic evolution’ is the exact same thing as ‘evolution’.  The defining characteristic of ‘materialistic evolution’ vs. ‘deistic evolution’ vs. ‘evolution’ is not evolution.  It’s god.

Joe and my readers, look very carefully at what the various ID proponents have said, both in my opening and Joe’s opening.

If ID is perfectly fine with every part of evolution, as Joe says, then why are virtually all ID arguments, anti-evolution arguments?  If ID is perfectly fine with every part of evolution, then why does Joe say “to disprove ID, you have to prove evolution” (paraphrase)?

The answer is that assumption is wrong.  Intelligent Design is NOT fine with evolution.  In fact, it is anti-evolution.

This entry was posted in Creationism / ID, Culture, Debate, Evolution, Kookiness, Science, Skepticism, Society and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Intelligent Design is Anti-Evolution (Support Rebuttal)

  1. Pingback: Intelligent Design is Anti-Evolution – A formal debate | Cassandra's Tears

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