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Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Quick letter to USA Today

To whom it may concern;

I would like to call attention to a statement made yesterday, whereby Intelligent Design was designated a "new and developing theory" by USA Today in their dictionary primer provided by Alejandro Gonzales. Firstly, ID is not "new". It based upon a religious idea that dates back to a 1802 publication by William Paley, entitled Natural Theology. In fact, the notions put forth in this book were clearly debunked by... Charles Darwin.

Secondly, ID is not "developing". For it to be developing there would have to be research being conducted on ID. This is not the case. Evolution has been observed in the laboratory and in the wild many times, and literally thousands upon thousands of experimental papers over the last 140-odd years. ID, on the other hand, is an appeal to ignorance, with no actual experiments to back it up; after all these years, the only things they have to offer are an analogy to a mousetrap and an analogy to a watch. After stripping away equations and jargon, all ID arguments can be simplified to "This structure could not have evolved, therefore it must be designed". Unfortunately for ID supporters, every "impossible" example they provide has a plausible pathway through which it could evolve detailed in the scientific literature, meaning ID scholars are either very sloppy or very dishonest. At any rate, no experiments have been conducted that demonstrate biogical structures cannot evolve, so should not pretend that ID is "developing" any more than we should pretend it is "new".

Lastly, ID is not a theory. Theories in science provide mechanistic explanations for how a phenomenon works; ID does not. Evolution happens via mutation, natural and sexual selection, genetic drift and recombination, all of which are well-tested, verified mechanistic explanations. ID does not even purport to offer a mechanism, indeed, ID supporters cannot even offer a coherent, testable definition of what qualifies as "design".

ID is an old, debunked conjecture that should not be elevated to the same status as evolution, but rather tossed in the dustbin alongside dowsing. Perhaps ID supporters should spend more time in the laboratory and less on public relations, if they wish to gain credibility.

1 Comments:

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