Paley’s Design Argument Human camera-lens eye Chance? or Intelligent Design?
Darwin, The Origin of Species 1859 Neither chance nor intelligent design Paley’s argument a false dichotomy 3 rd option: Natural selection for improved function originating by blind mechanical forces Natural selection is ‘blind’ (no forethought or plan) but not a ‘chance’ mechanism
Richard Dawkins (1941-), evolutionary zoologist, Oxford
“Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist.” Dawkins, The Blind Watchmaker 1986
Scientific Creationism = The Genesis account of creation promoted as a scientific theory/explanation Courts rule against its inclusion in public school science classrooms on basis that it is a Religious doctrine not a Scientific one, thus in violation of establishment clause separating church and state
The cell is Darwin’s “black box” Too complex to have evolved gradually, piece by piece Must have been created all at once by some (unspecified) intelligent being. But who?
Irreducible Complexity A system is irreducibly complex if it is “composed of several well-matched, interacting parts that contribute to a basic function, wherein the removal of any of the parts causes the system to effectively cease functioning.” (Behe, 39)
Type III Secretory System Current locomotory flagellum evolved from a device originally employed for injection of toxins into host cells An exaptation, to use S. J. Gould’s term
Jonathan Wells, PhD in Molecular Biology UCLA, anti-evolutionist
Rev. Moon “[Father] frequently criticized Darwin’s theory that living things originated without God’s purposeful, creative activity… Father’s words, my studies, and my prayers convinced me that I should devote my life to destroying Darwinism.” http://www.tparents.org/li brary/unification/talks/well s/DARWIN.htm
Dover Area School Board, Pennsylvania Trial 2005-2006 School board members force inclusion of Intelligent Design theory in ninth grade biology class State judge rules ID is not science but creationism in disguise
The “balanced” approach “Teach both sides”, Pres. George W. Bush Encourage critical thinking; improve science education But where to draw the line?....
But what’s really going on here? Is this really a scientific debate? To answer that we must turn to the …
The Discovery Institute Center for the Renewal of Science & Culture Conservative lobby group for ID Theory The ‘Wedge’ Document Five year plan to use ID as a ‘wedge’ to split the tree of scientific materialism (Darwinism) http://www.discovery.org/csc/
“The proposition that human beings are created in the image of God is one of the bedrock principles on which Western civilization was built. …Yet a little over a century ago, this cardinal idea came under wholesale attack by intellectuals drawing on the discoveries of modern science…thinkers such as Charles Darwin, …portrayed humans not as moral and spiritual beings, but as animals or machines who inhabited a universe ruled by purely impersonal forces and whose behavior and very thoughts were dictated by the unbending forces of biology, chemistry, and environment. “The cultural consequences of this triumph of materialism were devastating. Materialists denied the existence of objective moral standards, claiming that environment dictates our behavior and beliefs…” “Discovery Institute's Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture seeks nothing less than the overthrow of materialism and its cultural legacies.” http://www.antievolution.org/features/wedge.html
Is this really about the scientific adequacy of evolution? Or is it about its perceived moral and social implications?
A Methodological Issue (the logic of scientific reasoning) Explanations versus scientific hypotheses: What’s the difference? ID does explain biological systems – but is it a good scientific hypothesis? Why or why not?
Explanations are cheap and easy A good scientific hypothesis should make specific predictions which are testable (falsifiable) They should suggest new research questions/programs to expand our knowledge Science not just about explaining stuff we already know, but discovering new stuff we didn’t already know