Monday, May 26, 2014

Are Critics Of Intelligent Design As Intelligent As They Propagandize?

A cartoon on the cover of the 11/2013 issue of the Reports For Science Education depicts a be-robed bearded figure holding a diagram labeled “flagellum”. The figure quips, “All right, it could be that stars, galaxies, living species, the eye, the immune system, and all sorts of complex things evolved on their own...but this, I made myself.”

The caption beneath the illustration reads, “The Intelligent Design God is something of an underachiever.” He apparently also has a high tolerance for guff as very few have poked as much fun at the venerated spokesman of a particular world religion with a fetish for explosives and flying jetliners into skyscrapers.

In all seriousness, the cartoon is a jab directed at the work of biochemist Michael Behe who popularized the flagellum in “Darwin's Black Box”. It was the likes of the Darwinists and the naturalists who first categorized the single cell and assorted microscopic organisms as “simple” in comparison to other biological, geological, and astronomical phenomena considered to be complex.

With the concept of irreducible complexity, pioneers of the Intelligent Design movement such as Michael Behe and Phillip Johnson popularized the concept how these simple cells and organisms were anything but with their entire systems breaking down unless all of the components work in tandem and likely worthless without the others. Likewise, these functions are of a magnitude so beyond the sum total of the constituted parts that it is unlikely that they would have arisen on their own over time through the minuscule accumulation of random genetic modifications.

It is not that the proponents of Intelligent Design have totally ignored these other scientific curiosities such as stars, galaxies, and other mind boggling wonders of the physical universe. In fact, a number of these are presented in a marvelous manner that can be appreciated by the scientist and understood by the enthusiastic non-technician alike in “I Don't Have Enough Faith To Be An Atheist” by Frank Turek and Norman Geisler.

Adherents of the worldviews of naturalism and scientism often stand behind their lecterns before their blackboards clicking their tongues how religious faith and its corollaries of intelligent design or some kind of creation theory cannot be categorized as true science because it is doubtful that the faithful believer would ever renounce their preferred theology no matter how overwhelming the evidence arrayed against traditional revelation and dogma. However, the subtitle of the organization's own newsletter is “Defending The Teaching Of Evolution And Climate Science”.

Just what evidence will adherents of these perspectives accept before themselves surrendering to the epistemological or paradigmatic inevitable?

For example, the newsletter's Dec 2013 cover might spoof the Intelligent Design movement's flagellum fetish. But haven't the Darwinists been harping their finches, fruit flies, and peppered moths even longer?

At the end of the day, no matter how much these creatures might change over the generations, they pretty much remain fruit flies, finches, or peppered moths begetting other fruit flies, finches, or peppered moths respectively not that dramatically different on the genetic or molecular level where it counts from the original. So should geneticists dig deep enough that it is discovered that, despite the considerable material similarities between the species, it is impossible for a chimp to make the leap to human being, will multitudes of academics come forward to renounce many of Physical Anthropology's cherished foundations?

The second area of focus in the mission statement is defending the teaching of climate science. There is hardly a Christian out there walking free this side of the funny farm fence that condemns meteorological forecasting. Even if they don't catch the segment on the 11 PM news or fiddle around with Doppler radar and satellite imagery, even the Amish probably consult their own methods to get some kind of idea what the weather will be like the next day.

The National Center For Science might go out of its way to position itself as one of Feurbach's cultured despisers of religion. However, what this organization really means by the term “climate science” is instead the faith of global warming and environmental extremeism.

And as in the case of the most diehard adherent of traditional theism, there will be nothing to dissuade these zealots that man (especially of the White industrialized variety) isn't the cause of climate change.

Had a warmer than usual winter? It's global warming's fault.

Had a colder than normal winter? That's global warming's fault also.

Had a summer or winter where the weather was for the most part within the range of what one should expect for that particular season? Surely, it was the fault of global warming.

Like any good revivalist, the goal of the ideologues at the National Center for Science Education is not so much to dispassionately impart a set of objective facts for the recipient to then make up their own minds as to whether they will accept them into their existential epistemic framework and then determine how these should be applied to life and policy. For example, it is doubtful the newsletter publishes articles detailing how the world really hasn't warmed for over a decade and how, when changes take place, they are more the fault of solar activity than the failure of the American people to willingly embrace a lifestyle virtually indistinguishable from that of Third World squalor.

One of the greatest gifts parents and educators can bestow upon a child is to cultivate an awareness of the assorted charlatans that will attempt to take advantage of the weak-willed and simpleminded. A considerable number will appear wearing the cloaks of a great many religions. However, just as dangerous are those wearing lab coasts that instead attempt to pull the wool over the eyes of the unsuspecting by rattling off numbers presented as statistics and obtuse obscure verbal formulations masquerading as facts.

By Frederick Meekins