Those “intelligent design” cheerleaders keep coming back

October 25, 2008 | By | Reply More

Steve Fuller, who supported the wrong side at the 2005 evolution trial in Dover, Pennsylvania, has now written a book making the entirely discredited argument that intelligent design is “science.”

Fuller’s book (“Dissent over Descent”) has been reviewed (actually, savaged) by philosopher Michael Ruse, whose review “A Challenge Standing On Shaky Clay,” appears in the October 3, 2008 edition of Science (available online only to subscribers).

How long will it be necessary for scientists and scientifically savvy writers to spend their valuable time pointing out yet another intelligent design fanatic’s inability to understand the scientific method as applied to natural selection? Apparently, it will be necessary today, next month, the following month and so on, for decades to come. As long as the intelligent design community chooses to ignore well-supported facts and first-rate scientific arguments, it will be necessary for thoughtful friends of real science to valuable take time out of their schedules to show the world that intelligent design is garbage, not science.

Ruse summarizes Fuller’s arguments that Charles Darwin failed to show that natural selection causes evolution. He argues that Darwin did not “unify the field,” but only gives us unpersuasive lists of facts. Ruse characterizes these argument as follows: “At best, Darwinism is a kind of tarted-up natural theology and, this being so, why not IDT?”

For Ruse “all of this is completely wrong and is backed by no sound scholarship whatsoever.” Here’s the truth about Darwin:

First, he showed how organisms can be changed by human picking or selecting. Although Fuller repeatedly claims that Darwin intended no analogy here, that is simply not true…. Darwin insisted we can gain confidence about selection in nature from what happens when humans are active. Second, Darwin brought everything together in a “consilience of inductions.” He argued that if you take selection as the causal mechanism, then you can explain instinct, the fossil record, geographical distributions of organisms, anatomy, systematics and embryology. In turn, the success of these explanations feeds back to support the belief in selection. About as unifying a setup as it is possible to imagine.

First of all, a tip of the hat to Michael Ruse, who has been doing this distasteful work well for many years.

Now, something for me. When I get frustrated with fundamentalists, I often turn to the words of Jesus. You won’t find Jesus speaking these words in the Bible. Rather, when I get frustrated with Fundies, I just make up words of Jesus, just like the intelligent design advocates make up their facts and arguments. Therefore, listen to Jesus and learn, especially you Fundies out there (click on the image for a more readable version):


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Category: Evolution, Religion, Science, snake oil

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

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