Wednesday, July 13, 2005

New Scientist reaction interchange

"ID is not anti-evolution"

If ID isn't anti-evolution, why is the best-selling book promoted by ID advocates the rabidly anti-evolution (and grotesquely in error) Icons of Evolution by rabid anti-evolutionist Jonathan Wells?

Even if there is "something in" some of the icons, they are presented in a misleading way by biology textbooks - and they imply that darwinian evolution has everything sewn up, when in fact it has yet to show that it is capable of anything really substantial (origin of life, significant morphological changes, transitions between phyla, changes in numbers of chromosomes). However, most ID proponents believe in an old earth, and different ID proponents believe that evolution could have been responsible for different aspects of organisms.

As to why the book is best-selling - well, that's because people buy it. But that doesn't signify - I suspect that "The Blind Watchmaker" sells just as well ....

Also, nobody - not even the most fundamentalist Young Earth Creationist - argues against evolution in its broadest sense - which is what is implied by saying that ID and creationism are "anti-evolution", without defining evolution, and then ridiculing them for this stance - because that would include any form of descent with modification. Everybody accepts that descent with modification happens - it's what happens when humans breed animals, for example.

But suppose one were rather to say, "ID proponents don't believe that naturalistic mechanisms explain the initial origin of life." Or, "ID proponents don't believe that descent with modification as a mechanism is powerful enough to get us from the first prokaryotic cell to homo sapiens." Worded in those terms, suddenly the position of ID proponents looks a bit less stupid. But of course, because the game being played by the evolutionist establishment is every bit as political as that they accuse the ID community of playing, there is no way that they would use precision to ensure clarity in this debate.