We have often noted that the Discovery Institute’s “theory” of intelligent design rests on two pillars. One is William Paley’s watchmaker analogy. That’s their “design inference,” which they have elaborated with undefinable terms such as “specified complexity.” Like Paley, they know design when they see it.
Their other pillar is God of the gaps, about which Wikipedia says: “God of the gaps is a type of theological perspective in which gaps in scientific knowledge are taken to be evidence or proof of God’s existence.” Those gaps in our scientific knowledge are the Discoveroids’ “evidence” allegedly supporting their “theory.” And that’s the reason for the pic above this post, from the Sidney Harris cartoon.
Today at the Discoveroids’ creationist blog they’re babbling about another gap. The title of their new post is Darwin, Design, and Phototropism. Their magical designer — blessed be he! — is now alleged to be responsible for Phototropism, about which Wikipedia says:
Phototropism is one of the many plant tropisms or movements which respond to external stimuli. Growth towards a light source is called positive phototropism, while growth away from light is called negative phototropism.
Here’s what the Discoveroids say, with bold font added by us:
The first exposure to scientific experimentationfor many a precocious youngster is putting a bean seedling in a box, poking a hole to let some light in, and watching the seedling grow toward the light even after it is turned around. The study of this phenomenon, called phototropism, has a long history — but questions remain.
Oooooooooooooh — questions remain! They discuss a book by Darwin, The Power of Movement in Plants, about which they say:
Progress has been made [since Darwin’s 1880 book], but recent advances show more of the “molecular complexity” of the phenomenon. Which theory — intelligent design or unguided natural selection — best explains it?
A profound question! Can phototropism be “best” explained by natural causes, or by Oogity Boogity? Then, like hard-core creationists, they declare:
The right question, though, is not about forces and methods. It should be whether naturalism is true. Do “natural forces… account for all botanical adaptations”?
Obviously, the Discoveroids feel that natural forces are inadequate. Were it otherwise, their intelligent designer would be out of a job. And if the designer goes on welfare, the Discoveroids would be right there in line with him. So they selectively quote from a recent article on the subject in Current Biology:
Plants are sedentary organisms that depend on sunlight for photosynthesis. Consequently, they have evolved the ability to alter their growth to optimise light capture and increase photosynthetic productivity. [Bold font added by the Discoveroids.]
Gasp, that’s an outrage! The Discoveroids declare:
We see this “argument by assertion” frequently in papers. Darwinists say this-or-that “has evolved,” then spend the bulk of their time describing the operation of the phenomenon, not its origin. That’s the case here.
Sleazy, low-life Darwinists! They can’t fool the Discoveroids. You can be certain that the Discoveroids would never claim “by assertion” that something is designed. Well, there’s the universe, and DNA, and the phyla emerging from the Cambrian, and a number of other things, but they aren’t making naked assertions about design. They know those things are designed. Oh yeah! Let’s read on:
Where has the Darwinian approach provided understanding? It’s been a fool’s errand. It started out being mysterious, and it’s still mysterious. All the investigative activity — admirable as it is — has been a distraction from the real question: can natural forces account for phototropism?
[*Curmudgeon swoons*] By golly — those Discoveroids are great! We’re skipping to the last paragraph:
In our uniform experience the only “force” or cause that can create functional systems at this level of complexity is intelligence. Intelligence can create information and impress it on matter, making it do things that unguided natural forces cannot (think: airplanes). Intelligence, further, cannot be reduced to the four fundamental forces of nature. So by both negative arguments (the inadequacy of material forces) and positive arguments (our uniformity of experience with complex systems), we can affirm that intelligent agency does “account for” the phenomenon of phototropism. To the Darwinians, after 135 years of trying, it’s still “largely mysterious.”
Did you get that? The Discoveroids “affirm” that phototropism is explained by an “intelligent agency,” and not by natural forces. No “argument by assertion” there!
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