2005/08/22

Intelligent research

The credentialed crackpots who are promoting "intelligent design" -- because they don't trust their own intelligence to tackle the hard scientific problems -- are performing one valuable service: they are stimulating the real scientists to explain their research and thinking more clearly to the rest of us. Some of their answers to the "intelligent design" folks are captured in this NYT article by Kenneth Chang.

I've always been amazed that anybody could seriously advance this sort of illogic: that "Biological marvels like the optical precision of an eye, the little spinning motors that propel bacteria and the cascade of proteins that cause blood to clot... point to the hand of a higher being at work in the world" because they are too complex to have occurred by chance. It is precisely their complexity that is the strongest argument that they did evolve over a long series of chance mutations; they are far too complex to have been planned out beforehand. The most profound and basic statement of this matter is one I first found quoted by the noted philosopher (and my college classmate) Daniel C. Dennett, who attributes it to "the great biologist D'Arcy Thompson":

"Everything is the way it is because it got that way."

Here's a biographical note on D'Arcy Wentworth Thompson, 1860-1948

1 comment:

PineRoot said...

I am new to this whole concept of "Intelligent Design", I never have heard of it until I came to the University of Minnesota, Morris, I'm originally from Chicago, IL. My main concern is how it (ID) recieved so many followers if it is illogical and hence flawed? Obviously the intelligent being they speak of is God, so this leads me to the conclusion that hardcore Christians are the only follwers they have. Even then, how can people try to teach something that is not corect to others?