Monday, November 07, 2005

The New Scholars: Giving a bad name to "scholarship."

Once upon a time, I wrote this piece (which, just coincidentally, has been nominated for a 2005 CBA award for "Best Blog Post" here, but don't feel any pressure to go and vote for it, oh no), in which I pointed out how, historically, the people who support creation science invariably criticize evolution for its lack of "directly observable" evidence.

It doesn't matter how much physical evidence you present to these people; it's inevitably dismissed as "indirect" evidence or something of the sort. If you can't actually see it happening, they'll tell you, it just doesn't count. Uh huh.

Fast forward to current events and the ongoing defense of "Intelligent Design," particularly this piece over at New Scholars (man, I need a nickname for them), in which author Kirk Durston spends eight pages laying out a case for Intelligent Design. And how does he do this?

Well, it would seem that a short and elegant proof for Intelligent Design would be to just produce the "designer," no? It doesn't get much simpler than that, does it? Talk about directly observable proof. Case closed.

Instead, Durston spends those eight pages producing ... a mathematical proof. Huh? More than anything else, this is a throwback to the Middle Ages when theologians insisted that they could prove the existence of God through logic. And we all know how well those arguments stood up to the test of time.

So here we are, having been for years pummelled for "directly observable" evidence for evolution by the same people who are now trying to establish the veracity of Intelligent Design through philosophical exercises and mathematical analysis.

There's a fine line between irony and hypocrisy, and I think Durston just crossed it.


Miss Cellania said...

Try this link for more on the Intelligent Design controversy. The graphic is priceless!

Grog said...

OMG - that's funny.

The flaws in Durston's derivation are amazingly obvious.

He basically trashes neo-Darwinian evolution based on the notion that fruit fly experiments haven't resulted in a new species or genus in the last 100 years.

Evolution operates in geological time scales - literally, thousands of years are but a blink of the eye. In the 100 years of fruit fly experiments, there have been a few thousand (maybe) controlled biological events taking place - whereas in the real world, there are many times that each day within each species.

Do these clowns not understand something that statistics calls 'The Law of Large Numbers"? (not to mention confidence intervals etc.)

Anonymous said...

> over at New Scholars (man, I need a
> nickname for them)

How 'bout "The New Dullards"...or is that too easy?