Statesboro, GA, USA
I look forward to reading it, meaningful debate is easier if opposing viewpoints and the evidence for such are clearly stated - proving your own position is far easier than criticizing the opposition. The danger in relying on criticism is that your own premise goes unproved and unnoticed.
Before I go on, I would like to clarify my personal position, as perhaps a bit different than mere "ID". I am certainly not closed to any of the positive arguments of Intelligent Design ... ranging all the way from Michael Denton's doubts about the sufficiency of random mutation and natural selection, to account for the complexities of biological life, to Behe's presentation of Irreducible complexity on a micro-bilogical level, to William Dembski's mathematical "explanatory filter" to detect the high probability of design in nature. But at the same time, I believe that large inference is strong in the ID view of things. Their "proofs" also have problems, gaps, and still require an inferential "leap" to believe that design is at work. When we are studying what happened long ago, we are discussing a distant and highly speculative area ... where "reconstruction" of large segments of biological history must be hazarded, regardless of one's position. This, by nature, is the business, more of artists than of scientists. You might call it, scientific art. But if so, there is also no artist, comparable to the creative flair of the Neo-Darwinist.
To me, there is a great value in ID, for helping to challenge the NeoDarwnistic paradigm, and show that it is a grand inference ... most likely built upon philosophical presuppositions, and held with yeoman-like passions (much like a religious view). There is an indomitable resilience to Evolution ... an uncanny ability to recover and always smooth it's difficulties (or to ignore them), that is only characteristic of a pietistic belief. When something cannot be disproved, or even seriously called into question, on the basis that we "may know a purely naturalistic explanation someday", it falls well out of the realm of science ... into the pale of ardent devotion, or at least metaphysical tautology. And I actually have no problem, with that. I deeply hold religious faith myself. But let's call it what it is. It doesn't bother me that you believe in evolution, only that you and others call it indisputable fact. Hopefully your devotion does not extend to the priestly level of someone like Richard Dawkins who wrote , "It is absolutely safe to say that if you meet somebody who claims not to believe in evolution, that person is ignorant, stupid or insane (or wicked, but I'd rather not consider that)". If anyone is blind to the "design" of his own precommitments to philosophical naturalism, it is Richard Dawkins.
As far as the positive "proof" claims of ID, I do not doubt that there are some stretches, akin to the kinds heard of in DE. However, I am not even sure that we (at PIP) can debate the intricacies of microbiology enough to evaluate Michael Behe's ideas ... or that we can meaningfully evaluate whether or not Dembski's "explanatory filter" is valid. Much of this goes beyond our knowledge of biology, or mathematics. That doesn't mean I'm unwilling to try. I can "google", copy, and paste as fast as Brad can. But I would encourage you to read some the prominent thinkers of ID, for yourself, if you are interested in knowing what their ideas are. Don't just read the opponents of their books, if you want to give it a fair hearing. Why doubt the opponents enough to read otherwise, you ask? I think the historically demonstrated devotion involved with Darwinism, as a totalistic belief system, ought to at least give you pause. (I actually plan to post a separate thread soon, presenting the case that Evolution has a long presuppositional pedigree of developmentalism in philosophy ... and that it's acceptance, defense, and propagation, has been largely motivated by anti-religious sentiment.)
My aim, has never been just to jump on the ID bandwagon, and say "What they say is irrefutable and absolutely true". But to protest, "criticizing the opposition" as you do, seems to me another telltale sign of a devotee. GeoCentrism was surely criticized along with any said evidence of Heliocentrism. Roman Catholics who were committed to Aristotelian views of astronomy and science, didn't tolerate such "criticism". Every time there is a paradigm shift in science, there is a "wedge" of doubt that comes in, and is resented by many.
So, having said that, I would like you to explain / defend your view that "criticism" of a status quo is never a valid part of finding truth. I don't think that ID has nothing to say, positively ... But I would like to ask, even IF it didn't, would that automatically make it's criticisms of Neo-Darwinism invalid?
Alvin Plantinga put it this way: "I think Cardinal X will be the next Pope; you think that is unlikely, but don't have a candidate of your own; there is no one such that you think it is more likely than not that he will be the next pope. Is there something wrong with your procedure? I think not." (On Rejecting The Theory of Common Ancestry: A Reply to Hasker)
Again,it seems to me that your insistence on the invalidity of criticism, is evidence of something akin to Papal devotion, on your part. But I could be wrong. That's a question for you to ponder.
In the meantime here are some links to books by ID authors...
Evolution: A Theory In Crisis, by Michael Denton
Darwin on Trial, by Phillip E. Johnson
Darwin’s Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution, by Micheal J. Behe
Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe (Proceedings of the Wethersfield Institute)
The Design Inference: Eliminating Chance through Small Probabilities (Cambridge studies in Probability, Induction, and Decision Theory), by William A. Dembski
No Free Lunch: Why Specified Complexity Cannot be Purchased Without Intelligence, by William A. Dembski
The Design Revolution: Answering the Toughest Questions about Intelligent Design, by William A. Dembski
That’s enough to get you started. And though criticism of “Evolution” is to be found among these books (more in some authors than others), I think there are positive arguments put forth as well, If you really want to take the time to look.
We also know the single celled creatures can share DNA. This is called lateral something or other.
Brad, respectfully, your examples only reiterate the problem of incompleteness in the Darwinistic proposal. Worms or Coral that can “reproduce both sexually and asexually” exhibit both kinds of reproduction, yes. But I was asking you to give me examples of what may lie between asexual and sexual reproduction. You only provide me with examples with BOTH already fully intact, and fuctioning in the enterprise of reproducing. Quite a ladder is required here. If you provide some more tangible steps, we could discuss the plausibility. From a design standpoint, I could just as easily infer that such organisms were designed to reproduce both ways. Just because an organism has both systems doesn’t prove that one system came from the other. Again, a gross overconfidence in the explanatory power of “Evolution”. Neither can sharing DNA between organisms, convincingly bridge the gap, as no reproduction of a new organism occurs, only change of an existing one.
Stephen, can you give me a compelling reason why I should read it? What is the big biological/medical disaster that reading it will avert? Are we missing curing disease because of this big 'conspiracy' of text-book publishers?
I’m really glad Darwinistic “Evolution” as a theory came along. Just think how it has been pragmatically useful in curing diseases, among other things. And, no, I am aware that mutation and natural selection is a real process, within species, which has given us understanding of drug resistant bacteria, among other helpful things. But I am referring to the overly ambitious “Macro” metanarrative that Darwin’s humble truth has given way to.
Your point is a double-edged sword. Demanding present usefulness out of a theory of developmental processes which span large periods of time, is questionable. It would seem that any theory of “origins” or even of the “how” of development would be subject to your criticism .... including Macro-evolution.
Truth is not always measured by sheer pragmatism. In fact I would say, philosophically, that truth is always primary, and the practical aspect secondary.
I did read his introduction, and his argument is fairly convincing. There must be a conspiracy -- all the books give the same evidence for evolution. Wow. There must be a conspiracy on the value of Pi too. Not to mention every text book on English uses a 26 letter alphabet. Kind of makes you wonder doesn't it?
So, majority rules? End of story? What about when “flat earth” was in the majority, or Geo-centrism, or spontaneous generation? I think looking at the issues at hand, is a better approach. The merits of one thing, such as “Pi”, cannot be used to validate something entirely different.