You will have to reach your own conclusion on this one, dear reader. We found an astonishing announcement at the blog of the neo-theocrats at the Discovery Institute‘s creationist public relations and lobbying operation, the Center for Science and Culture (a/k/a the Discoveroids, a/k/a the cdesign proponentsists).
It’s an article by Casey Luskin, a Discoveroid non-fellow, the title of which proclaims: Pro-Intelligent Design Peer Reviewed Scientific Paper Argues for an “Engineered World”.
This is potentially important, because creationists are always trying to get their peculiar “science” into respected, peer-reviewed journals, and until now their efforts have been rather dismal. The best example is the notorious peer review controversy involving Stephen Meyer, a Discoveroid vice president and senior fellow.
Have the creationists finally broken the respectability barrier? We’ll take a look at some excerpts from Casey’s article and let you decide. The bold font was added by us. Casey begins:
A pro-intelligent design peer-reviewed scientific paper has been published in the International Journal of Design & Nature and Ecodynamics by Dominic Halsmer, a signer of the Scientific Dissent From Darwinism and Dean of the College of Science and Engineering at Oral Roberts University.
Multiple questions arise. First, what is that journal? Here’s their website. We haven’t heard of either them or their field of specialization — but that means nothing. Despite our ignorance, it’s possible that getting a paper accepted by that journal is a major accomplishment. Your Curmudgeon has doubts but we don’t know, so we express no opinion.
The next question we have is about the author. He’s said to be a signer of the much-touted Discoveroid statement they call Dissent From Darwinism. They’ve gathered the signatures of a few hundred social scientists, dentists, proctologists, and others. The author of the paper Casey writes about today is on that list. But who is he?
Casey says that Dominic Halsmer is Dean of the College of Science and Engineering at Oral Roberts University. Most of you know about Oral Roberts University. It seems like a fine place to go if one wants to be a creationist. As for Halsmer, here’s his webpage at Oral Roberts. We are told that he has a Ph.D in Mechanical Engineering from UCLA, so we can add to our errata file that we have now encountered a creationist mechanical engineer.
Fine, now what has Casey so excited? This is a link to Halsmer’s article: The coherence of an engineered world. Casey’s Discoveroid piece mostly consists of excerpts from it, but we’ll skip those and tell you only what Casey says:
[Halsmer’s] article looks at various facets of the natural world, particularly instances of cosmic fine-tuning, and argues that it is “engineered.”
At the threshold, we suspect this is little more than a regurgitation of William Paley’s watchmaker argument from 200 years ago, but we’ll keep an open mind. Let’s read on:
One reason the authors feel the universe is engineered is the fact that it is mathematically and scientifically comprehensible.
Okay, that’s Halsmer’s first argument — the universe is comprehensible. There was a time when nature’s incomprehensibility was an argument for supernatural design (e.g., see Job 37:5 “God thundereth marvellously with his voice; great things doeth he, which we cannot comprehend.”) but we’ll ignore that and continue:
Another aspect of the universe they claim shows evidence of engineering is its “biofriendliness.” They focus on the life-sustaining properties of water: [excerpts deleted].
Biofriendliness of the universe. The universe? We recall other creationists arguing that the unique life-sustaining properties of our privileged planet are evidence of a supernatural designer, but we’ll ignore that too. What else does this peer-reviewed paper say?
They then explore why the very elements that are most common in life — hydrogen, carbon, and oxygen — are so prevalent in the universe: [excerpts deleted].
But why did the designer — blessed be he! — create so much helium? That’s something else we’ll have to ignore. Anything more to report? According to Casey:
The authors then quote Fred Hoyle on the subject, who stated, “I do not believe that any scientist who examined the evidence would fail to draw the inference that the laws of nuclear physics have been deliberately designed with regard to the consequences they produce inside the stars.”
Creationists often quote Fred Hoyle, the astronomer whose reputation is unlikely to recover from his claim that evolution is as likely as the assembly of a jet aircraft by a tornado in a junkyard — a howler now known as Hoyle’s fallacy. Casey concludes with this teaser:
The article will be discussed further in two additional posts.
So there you are, dear reader. Is this a major milestone in establishing Intelligent Design as a genuine scientific concept; or is it merely more evidence of the Salem hypothesis, which suggests that engineering types have a tendency toward the creationist viewpoint? We suspect it’s more that latter than the former; but as we said at the beginning, it’s up to you to make the call on this one.
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