Intelligent Design Papers Are Making Noise

The theory of intelligent design science considers itself to be a detector of patterns arranged in such a way, that it reveals something intelligent was beyond its cause.  There are similarities but also differences with creationism. Despite the differences, this blog does support the ID movement’s efforts to question Darwinism but do not encourage Christians to embrace all aspects of it.

Recently, it has been making some noise in peer-review papers. One was on “Plant Biology” Wolf-Ekkehard Lönnig, the author of this particular paper who is a biologist at the Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research, he writes…

“Many of these researchers also raise the question (among others), why — even after inducing literally billions of induced mutations and (further) chromosome rearrangements — all the important mutation breeding programs have come to an end in the Western World instead of eliciting a revolution in plant breeding, either by successive rounds of selective “micromutations” (cumulative selection in the sense of the modern synthesis), or by “larger mutations” … and why the law of recurrent variation is endlessly corroborated by the almost infinite repetition of the spectra of mutant phenotypes in each and any new extensive mutagenesis experiment (as predicted) instead of regularly producing a range of new systematic species…”

The research collected data from 240,000 plants. Lönnig then refutes the idea that a step by step process with an enormous amount of slight variations then sides with Michael Behe who is known for advocating concept of “irreducible complexity” and Dembski’s arguments which has to do with universal probability bound.

Dembski and Robert Marks who are major players in the intelligent design movement. Their paper was published in Journal of Advanced Computational Intelligence and Intelligent Informatics where they argue fitness fails (which is how evolution is measured) without specified information about its target.

“We prove two results: (1) The Horizontal No Free Lunch Theorem, which shows that average relative performance of searches never exceeds unassisted or blind searches, and (2) The Vertical No Free Lunch Theorem, which shows that the difficulty of searching for a successful search increases exponentially with respect to the minimum allowable active information being sought.”

In the International Journal of Design & Nature and Ecodynamics by Dominic Halsmer came out pretty strong in favor of intelligent design.  He writes

“Human-engineered systems are characterized by stability, predictability, reliability, transparency, controllability, efficiency, and (ideally) optimality. These features are also prevalent throughout the natural systems that make up the cosmos. However, the level of engineering appears to be far above and beyond, or transcendent of, current human capabilities. Even so, there is a curious match between the comprehensibility of the universe and the ability of mankind to comprehend it.”

“This unexplained matching is a prerequisite for any kind of reverse engineering activity to be even remotely successful. And yet, mankind seems to be drawn onward toward a potential wisdom, almost in tutorial fashion, by the puzzles of nature that are continually available for us to unravel. Indeed, the universe is so readily and profitably reverse engineered as to make a compelling argument that it was engineered in the first place, apparently with humanity in mind.”

While the modern intelligent movement avoids identifying what an intelligent agent is which is part of the problem, it lacks history, engineering has observed to be performed with intelligence. Engineering is not a natural phenomena that just happens on it’s own. Rather it’s a phenomena concerning a finely tuned universe which was produced by a highly advanced intelligence namely, God!

New Paper Advocates The “Genetics First” Hypothesis

Last year, William Dembski who is one of the key figures in the modern intelligent design movement recently debated Lewis Wolpert who is a developmental biologist. It was an interesting debate, but they were not the only ones butting heads, there was another ID proponent who reviewed the debate and found it to be not that impressive, he states…

“I am afraid I will have to disagree with the impression of the debate. While I give Wolpert a failing grade or at best a D, I cannot give Bill Dembski’s responses better than a C…”

“One glaring example was when Bill was asked whether Chemistry was designed. There was hesitation and then an attempt to get into the design of the universe. The better answer would have been that the laws of Chemistry flow from the characteristics of the elements and that these flowed from the basic laws of physics. To try to move it immediately to the design of the laws of physics left the impression that there was a designer behind every door.”

Dembrski takes issue with a fellow contributor of ID…

“Jerry, We have some history in which you find fault with my presentations, and in which you cite your Duke and Stanford degrees and experience in business communications as qualifications for offering up your criticisms.

As I point out in the debate, the arrangement of stones can signify design even if the stones themselves can’t be said to be designed. The same point can be made for chemistry — basic chemistry may be undesigned (I don’t believe this) but chemical arrangements might be. Thus there are nuances to the design question in chemistry and physics that I was not willing to slide over in my discussion with Wolpert.”

Obviously, Dembski went into is comfort zone which is physics rather than chemistry. Most likely Stephen Meyer could have addressed the chemical aspect. But this brings up the “Genetics First” hypothesis (chance formation of nucleic acids) verses metabolism coming into existence first. The later has been rising in popularity in certain camps. Evolutionists believe replication of chemicals must be in play before natural selection can pick the best material so it can build it into elephants, sharks, humans, you name it.

Two Darwinian schools of thought on origins butting heads and falsifying each other. Three European scientists who published a paper in PNAS, said stated the following…

“A basic property of life is its capacity to experience Darwinian evolution.  The replicator concept is at the core of genetics-first theories of the origin of life, which suggest that self-replicating oligonucleotides or their similar ancestors may have been the first “living” systems and may have led to the evolution of an RNA world.”

“But problems with the nonenzymatic synthesis of biopolymers and the origin of template replication have spurred the alternative metabolism-first scenario, where self-reproducing and evolving proto-metabolic networks are assumed to have predated self-replicating genes.  Recent theoretical work shows that “compositional genomes” (i.e., the counts of different molecular species in an assembly) are able to propagate compositional information and can provide a setup on which natural selection acts.”

“Accordingly, if we stick to the notion of replicator as an entity that passes on its structure largely intact in successive replications, those macromolecular aggregates could be dubbed “ensemble replicators” (composomes) and quite different from the more familiar genes and memes.”

We know metabolism-first scenario is plagued with many problems of its own as indicated in this paper. Anyone can generalize the notion of a replicator up to a system or network of molecules instead of requiring a genetic code but replication has to be accurate! In a designed world we live in, there is not much room for error, in the story of evolution there is plenty room for errors which supposedly result in updates or upgrades.

The “Genetics First” hypothesis have it’s problems as well. Leslie E. Orgel of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies who has spent a lifetime studying origins from an evolutionary framework.  His final paper published in 2007 in PLOS, was not very encouraging for evolutionists, it was called; “The Implausibility of Metabolic Cycles on the Prebiotic Earth.”

The caption reads like this…“In this essay, the final contribution of his scientific career, Leslie Orgel explores the severe difficulties that arise when these proposals are scrutinized from the standpoint of chemical plausibility.”

Their hope is fading, the story of  complex polymers to arise naturally. Rather, they are starting to settle for more on untested ideas such as simple compounds arising instead. Orgel in his final criticisms of the field are so broad and so damaging to the ability of natural processes to produce life at all by any method.  He states…

“It must be recognized that assessment of the feasibility of any particular proposed prebiotic cycle must depend on arguments about chemical plausibility, rather than on a decision about logical possibility.”

Does this sound familiar? I have repeated this theme many times in various topics when it comes to the scientific method concerning data. Just because there is a claim that it could happen, doesn’t mean it ever will. For example, some might believe O2 levels increased sizes of animals and could test O2 levels in tanks to see if it had effects on smaller animals. Then say well we haven’t found it yet, but we believe it will show results. This doesn’t mean certain O2 levels can evolve by a million-fold.

“Whatever the original input, one would finish with an equilibrium mixture, the composition of which is determined by thermodynamics.” Equilibrium means you are at a standstill and nothing more will happen.

Back to the ID debate which I opened up with. Even though Jerry was vague in his assertion that the laws of chemistry  should have been included in the debate for ID, it’s certainly in the debate for creationism. Science has said “no” countless times to evolutionary prediction, assumptions, and other stories. But science has said “yes” to a creator, an intelligent designer, namely God!

Nick Matzke Makes Common Accusation Against ID

Most liberals with a particular agenda are relentless in their quest to accuse others for the purpose of stereotyping them which they consider a much easier way of disqualifying their opposition.  Now there are flaws in the modern intelligent design movement which has been pointed in here. We also have observed the modern intelligent design movement trying to distant themselves many times  from creationism as pointed out in here. Nick Matzke using some sort of conspiracy style in his writing in which he claims to be collecting evidence and then showing it in Pandas Thumb, calling ID proponents, young earth creationists…

He writes…

“There was a huge stink raised over the alleged inappropriateness of linking ID to creationism. After much argument the anti-linkage people more or less conceded that there were some good reasons to link ID to a somewhat generic definition of creationism (relying on special creation), but still protested loudly about how inappropriate it was to make the linkage, because most people (allegedly) would assume that creationism = young-earth creationism, and linking ID to young-earth creationism was oh-so-wildly unfair.

Well, it’s now a week later, and, what do you know, but right there on the latest blogpost on William Dembski’s Uncommon Descent is a big fat advertisement for a straight-up young-earth creationist conference.”

There are different groups of people who are in the modern intelligent design movement. Dr. Dean Kenyon doesn’t represent everyone in ID. In fact, there are atheists and agnostics who have a connection in some particular way with the organization and yet, ID proponents will not throw out their membership per say because of their views about the supernatural. Most ID proponents don’t believe in the earth being six thousand years old, rather they accept the evolutionary viewpoint when it comes to the age of the earth.

ID can be compared to something like the 12 steps which has been used by the US government for rehab, the higher power is never defined to any particulars, it could be yourself, it could be the supernatural like God, it could be the devil, or any other religion or non-religion. It’s similar to how the modern intelligent design movement is run today.

Just like Dawkins who uses Fox News to promote his books, William Dembski uses various conferences to promote ID. He writes in Uncommon Decent“For the record, just because various non-ID conferences and events are reported here at UD (e.g., creationist, atheist, or theistic evolutionist) does not constitute an endorsement of those events.

Nor does the appearance of an ID proponent at such events constitute complicity with the positions of the organizers. I myself have appeared at atheist (World Skeptics Congress), theistic evolutionist (Templeton conferences), and young-earth creationist (local gatherings here in Texas) events. I believe in getting the word out about ID and, frankly, am happy to have the opportunity to address people on the other side of these issues.”

Nick Matzke like many liberals with an agenda hammer time and time again lame accusations towards a group of people in whom they disagree with, thinking this has won the debate when in fact it shows how much dislike they have for people in general whom they disagree with which provides no real evidence for their position! If Nick Matzke was able to produce proof that leading figures in ID like William Dembski were embracing not just attending some young earth creationism conference or skeptics conference, then it would be another story.

A Critical Look At Intelligent Design

Robert Crowther wrote a column in the Vancouver Sun, boasting how intelligent design is in going into different fields. “But it’s not Creationism” he states. Then he goes on into the history, names an expert or two and so on. There are a few things Christians should know about this movement…

1) There are many in the movement who do not hold to the literal view of Genesis including one of main proponents of ID, William A. Dembski.

2) Intelligent design claims to be a winner for public debates over biological origins not only because it has they believe it has the backing of powerful ideas, arguments, and evidence but also because it does not turn this debate into a Bible-science controversy.

3) ID proponents say Christians need to view this as a strength rather than as a weakness of intelligent design.

4) ID proponents claim the evidence of cosmology and geology strongly confirms a universe that is not thousands but rather billions of years old…The scientific evidence for an old Earth and old universe seems unanswerable to them.

5) Intelligent Design proponets claims it can destroy the atheistic legacy of Darwinian evolution on it’s own. Because they claim, Intelligent design makes it impossible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist. This gives intelligent design incredible traction as a tool for apologetics, opening up the God-question to individuals who think that science has buried God.

By the way all these points were made by William A. Dembski. There are a number of things to go through about the claims of ID. The very foundation of this movement is flawed. By not letting Scripture interpret Scripture (taking a literal stance with Genesis) has created conflict with the teachings of the Bible with this movement.

As far as debating evolution in public, ID shows another foundational flaw, it has no history on who the designer is or what the designer created or when did it start or stop, unlike Creationism their points are explained. So intelligent design is not a champion of origins. Another thing to note, there are many in ID who believe in biological evolution, just not naturalism.

IDers like Dembski accept evidence of cosmology and geology from evolutionists but reject the massive amounts of evidence gathered by Young Earth Creationists.  To even suggest the claims from evolutionary scientists about on how old the universe are unanswerable according to Dembski, shows his inadequate view of the nature and history of science.

Intelligent design which rejects the Bible, convert scientists and other believers in Darwinism to Christ? That’s like saying, Jesus didn’t have to be God manifested in the flesh, and not identify how He died on the Cross and rose again for the sins of His people. It’s quite possible for a person to question their belief in evolution as a result of ID or become an ID proponent or even a creationist, but it’s God who leads a sinner to Himself through His Word.

The whole line of thinking, is very shallow to say the least and not biblical. I want to point out, and make this very clear, this is not to say intelligent design doesn’t have some good points that reveals major flaws in evolution. Indeed it has some valid points that creationists agree with and have been advocating long before the modern ID movement was around. You can listen to it here with this video below…

While using such things as specified complexity is not against any biblical teaching, there is a problem with using it to tell Christians how to interpret the Bible the wrong way. And accepting the propositions by evolutionists that doesn’t deal with their main principles of ID. So Christians ought to be careful with this movement as we discern the bad and the good.