Discoveroids: Two Darwinist Fallacies

This is very creepy. Yesterday we posted Two Creationist Fallacies. Today, at the website of the Discoveroids, they’ve posted an article about two “Darwinist” fallacies. Their article is Two Reasons Darwinism Survives. You must believe us, dear reader, we didn’t know that was coming. It’s really a coincidence.

The Discoveroids’ author is Granville Sewell — about whom we’ve written a few times before. Sewell isn’t a Discoveroid “fellow,” but they publish him, and Wikipedia informs us that he’s a signatory to the Discovery Institute’s “A Scientific Dissent from Darwinism” petition. Perhaps the most important thing about Sewell is that he’s very keen on using the Second Law of Thermodynamics as an argument for creationism — see Discovery Institute Gives Us Their Best Argument.

If that doesn’t impress you, we urge you to consider his Mt. Rushmore argument — about which we wrote Mt. Rushmore Is Designed, Therefore …. We’re going to call that his “Argument from Rushmore,” or to give it the stature it deserves, we’ll put it in Latin — it’s the Argumentum de Rushmoro.

Okay, let’s see what this mighty thinker has for us today. Here are some excerpts from his article, with bold font added by us:

I have always considered Darwin’s attempt to explain all of the apparent and obvious design in biology, and even human consciousness and intelligence, in terms of the accumulation of useful accidents to be the dumbest idea ever taken seriously by science. As scientific research continues to reveal the astonishing dimensions of the complexity of life, especially at the microscopic level, how does such a theory persist?

Yes, it’s a puzzlement. We are moved to quote from The King and I:

In my head are many facts
That, as a student, I have studied to procure
In my head are many facts
Of which I wish I was more certain, I was sure
Is a puzzlement.

Enough of that. Back to Granville:

I believe there are two main reasons why this extremely implausible theory continues to enjoy such widespread popularity, despite the absence of any direct evidence that natural selection can account for anything other than very minor adaptations.

Oh, goodie — let’s learn what those two reasons are. Granville tells us:

First, in every other field of science, naturalism has been spectacularly successful; why should evolutionary biology be so different? Is it really possible that science, after successfully explaining so many other phenomena in nature in terms of unintelligent laws, would hit a brick wall in evolutionary biology, and have to appeal to “design” here for the first time? Count this as a point in favor of naturalism, and against design, but it is fundamentally a philosophical point, not a scientific one.

Yes, yes! The error is materialism. Can’t you see? Isn’t it obvious? The world is really a supernatural construct! The Discoveroids have the genius to look beyond the shabby illusion that we call reality. They have unshackled themselves from that cumbersome impediment, and they want to lead you to an understanding of the glorious Contracosm, whence commeth Oogity Boogity!

Then he mentions quantum mechanics, which compels us “to recognize that some things in nature are, in principle, impossible to predict.” Oooooooh — quantum mechanics! He must be smart! He also mentions the Big Bang as evidence against the principle of causality, after which he declares:

So, yes, of course it is possible that evolutionary biology could be different, why not? And my 2013 Bio-Complexity article “Entropy and Evolution” explains why it is so different that it requires a different type of explanation.

BIO-Complexity. BWAHAHAHAHAHA! That’s the Discoveroids’ own, in-house, vanity journal. We posted about it here: Discovery Institute: Creationist “Peer-Review”. Let’s read on, as Granville gives us his other reason why Darwinism is bunk:

Second, there are many things about the history of life that give the impression of natural causes. The argument is basically, “This doesn’t look like the way God would have created things,” an argument used frequently by Darwin in Origin of Species.

We must confess, even your Curmudgeon has used that argument — see Buffoon Award Winner — The Intelligent Designer. Granville explains why we’re wrong:

But in fact, as I pointed out in a 2000 Mathematical Intelligencer paper, “A Mathematician’s View of Evolution,” although the history of life may not give the appearance of creation by magic wand, it does look very much the way we humans create things, through testing and improvements.

That’s how we create things, but shouldn’t we expect better of the intelligent designer? Why, for example, does he need to do any testing? We’re not told. Then Granville makes some really terrible analogies, using the development of increasingly complex computer programs, automobiles, etc. You can click over there and read that stuff if you like. After that he says:

Ken Miller challenged critics of Darwinism to explain why, in the fossil record, we find “one organism after another in places and in sequences … that clearly give the appearance of evolution.” I responded, in this ENV [the Discoveroids’ blog] article, with another question: “Why does the history of technology give the appearance of evolution, when it was really the result of intelligent design?”

Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. Here’s more:

So if the history of life looks like the way humans, the only other known intelligent beings in the universe, design things — through careful planning, testing and improvements — why is that an argument against design? Like many other arguments used by Darwin and Darwinists, this argument is fundamentally a religious argument, involving assumptions about how God ought to have created things: He should have used a magic wand.

Well, why didn’t the intelligent designer use a magic want? Granville never explains that. Apparently, the designer of the universe was content to blunder around in the biosphere as we would do. This is how the article ends:

Darwinism owes its popularity entirely to these two philosophical and religious arguments; as a scientific theory it has nothing else to recommend it.

So there you are. Once again, the Discoveroids have shown you to be a fool! When will you wake up and admit it?

Copyright © 2014. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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17 responses to “Discoveroids: Two Darwinist Fallacies

  1. Dr Sewell, it appears, is a veritable maestro of the Ludicrously Inapt Analogy™.

  2. Did Sewell just state that god is the magical intelligent designer? I thought ID wasn’t about religion. Or have they redefined god as being separate from religion?

  3. OK, I’ll ‘fess up to being a fool. I look at the immune system & don’t think, thank god for invading pathogens such as bacteria, viruses, helminthic parasites and then thank god for designing such a wonderful immune system, in which nobody dies on infections (well, maybe in Africa, but we all know god does not like Africa), is in no way full of duplications, redundancy and never, ever goes wrong. Which is why we don’t have allergies or autoimmune diseases like MS & Grave’s disease. And immunologists get paid huge amounts of money to peddle their Darwinistic lies & sit around in universities all day doing nothing. Sorry, rant over.

  4. Until Sewell starts publishing his cartoonish ideas about nature in main-stream peer reviewed science journals, I think he can be safely ignored as a kook just like the Discoveroids who publish him. UTEP must be very proud of their own crackpot . . . . just like Lehigh has their very own in-house kook.

  5. As I’m sure this brilliant philosopher supports teaching the “strengths and weaknesses” of evolution, I’d like for him to lay out some strengths for me. Maybe Diogenes could tweet that at him and some Discoveroids and then compare and contrast their answers. But they would never answer. Alas.

  6. “…to give it the stature it deserves, we’ll put it in Latin”
    I think Pig Latin would be more appropriate for the stature of this argument.

    “Argumentyay omfray Ushmoreray”

  7. I wonder if the people under that “big-tent” are content to have their god limited to being more like a flawed human, who needs to test and experiment with ideas to find what works best, rather than the grandiose, omnipotent creator that Hammy would have you believe in…

  8. So some all knowing, all powerful and very insightful god guy runs around making design errors a freshman engineer at Lehigh would avoid. Why, because he’s fond of tinkering like some apprentice watchmaker? That’s the news from Discoverville?

  9. They want you to know they’re watching you Dear Curmudgeon.
    Fear is the ally of ignorance.

  10. Ceteris Paribus

    Sewell gratuitously puzzles himself in public: “As scientific research continues to reveal the astonishing dimensions of the complexity of life, especially at the microscopic level, how does such a theory [Darwin’s fallacious evolution] persist?

    I dunno. Maybe Sewell should just ask himself the question “If Darwinism evolved from Creationism, then why are there still Creationists?

  11. Sewell rhetorically asks.

    “So if the history of life looks like the way humans, the only other known intelligent beings in the universe, design things…”

    The only other known intelligent beings? What “known” intelligence is he comparing humans to? Isn’t the idea that life looks (falsely) like humans might have created it supposed to suggest that there may be a designer, rather than be a talking point about how the “known” designer might have done his work? There seems to be some circular logic here.

    Sewell turns nature on its head by suggesting that the history of life looks like the way humans might have designed it. Humans create entirely new objects routinely by combining various separate technologies in a manner that does not occur in nature. Something equivalent to a smartphone which combines a phone, camera, GPS unit, computer, flashlight, accelerometer, etc… if found in nature would be an intelligent winged centaur with gills and the ability to perform photosynthesis – or more. Actual nature does not produce such chimeras, which are absolutely characteristic of human designs throughout history. Sewell’s analogy is common in ID circles but it is, quite frankly, stupid. The history of life has nothing in common with human design.

  12. Psssst, Granville. Since you’re obviously reading this blog, welcome! It’s nice to be in your head…

  13. Mark: “Maybe Diogenes could tweet that at him and some Discoveroids and then compare and contrast their answers. But they would never answer.”

    Yeah. I tweeted at Klinghoffer 8 times and his only reply was one link to an ENV article that didn’t answer my question, natch.

    I wouldn’t ask them questions about evolution– worse, I’d ask them questions about ID theory. They never answer. If you read enough creationist books you compile a list of their self-contradictions. So then an obvious strategy of exposing their falsifications is to ask a yes-no question to which either answer will lead to them contradicting their own doctrine.

    I have a list of about > two dozen questions that creationists and IDers durst never answer. I whip them out in online arguments, but ID proponents never, ever answer, even when they raised the topic themselves. They just change the subject to either OOL, “something from nothing”, or Darwin = Hitler. So then you need a counter-strategy against subject changing.

    I’ve seen it happen so many times that I now know it’s a conscious and deliberate strategy. They know their “theory” is incoherent and based on false facts. But they have faith in a strategy– the Wedge Strategy– never answer questions, never admit you’re wrong even when confronted with evidence, never do experiments, just change the subject and attack.

    And never debate people who read creationist books and know creationism. That’s why they’ll never debate me or Aron Ra.

  14. It’s not surprising that Sewell cites

    ” a Nature Encyclopedia of Life Sciences”

    article. It is the one article that W.E. Lönnig Germany’s top ID-Creationist had the chace to publish in that volume. It is not openly proclaiming creationism as an alternative to evolution theory but he tries to raise doubts by citing Behe’s black box, the notorious Lönnig and Saedler Annual Reviews of Genetics paper, his self-published book Gregor Mendel, der Wasserschlauch (Utricularia) und die Evolution and some other sources like. Creepy stealth creationism at its best.

  15. I have not heard of Loennig and his Ann Rev Gen paper. Tell me more.

  16. I’m late to this thread, but I’d like to ask Sewell (or other IDiots) some questions. To wit:

    A) Why would the Grand Ol’ Designer (G.O.D.) give one species an advantage over another? For instance, why is the cheetah able to run faster than a springbok? What does the G.O.D. have against small antelopes?

    B) Corollary to A: if everything is perfectly designed to begin with, why do we not have any saber-tooth tigers around today? Not to mention giant sloths, mammoths, mastodons, and all the dinosaurs?

    C) Again, if the G.O.D. is capable of perfect design, why does every living thing seem to be “designed” just “good enough”? Could it be that “the G.O.D.” is actually Mother Nature, doing her work through a process of elimination? She eliminates the genes from the gene pool that are less well-adapted to the organism’s environment, which would then naturally favor the better-adapted organisms. That would explain why all organisms seem to be “designed” to be “just good enough”.

    To me, these points would be among the strongest arguments we have (along with the progression of species we see in the fossil record) favoring evolution by natural selection, as opposed to either an original creation of all species (ala Genesis), or evolution by continuous intervention of a Grand Ol’ Designer.

  17. RSG, I think it was Dembski who said that “intelligent design does not mean optimal design.” So everything is fine-tuned and perfect except when it isn’t.