Discovery Institute: The Miracle of Phototropism

Intelligent Design

Intelligent Design

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!

Copyright © 2015. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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22 responses to “Discovery Institute: The Miracle of Phototropism

  1. I’m not sure I understand how an “argument from affirmation” differs from an “argument from assertion”. Apparently the discoveroids lack of data is exceeded only by their lack of logic.

  2. michaelfugate

    Ever see an eyespot on a Euglena?

  3. Auxins ?

  4. Diogenes' Lamp

    Our daily DI pubjack!

    A day in the life of a DI fellow:

    1. Wake up

    2. Drink coffee

    3. Skim the TOC of “Current Biology” to find out what breakthroughs evolutionists have achieved today

    4. Invoke “God of the Gaps”

    5. Go to the park & feed pigeons

  5. michaelfugate

    You forgot
    6. Read Bible.
    7. Attend Prayer Meeting/Bible Study.

  6. Charles Deetz ;)

    8, Pang of guilt for lying
    9. Hollow feeling
    10. Talk to the pigeons

  7. michaelfugate

    11. Chant over and over “the ends justify the means.”

  8. waldteufel

    12. Argue with the pigeons. Lose.

  9. 13. Take jacket to dry cleaners after losing argument.

  10. i genuinely could make no sense out of the Discoveroid article–until I ran it through Google Translate to render it from Creationese into English, as follows:

    In our uniform experience the only “force” or cause that can create functional systems at this level of complexity is intelligence magic. Intelligence Magic can create information a spell and impress it on matter, making it do things that unguided natural forces cannot (think: airplanes). Intelligence Magic, 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 magic does “account for” the phenomenon of phototropism.

  11. I give up😦 HTML went stupid on me yet again. Apologies.

    [*Voice from above*] It was an ambitious attempt. You left out only one tag, and a space after another.

  12. 14. Claim the dry cleaner is part of the International Darwinist Conspiracy when he refuses to accept your polyurethane jacket for cleaning.

  13. 15. Cover self in breadcrumbs and roll around with a flock of pigeons in attempt to cover the whole polyurethane jacket in pigeon poop, thereby disguising the original stain.

  14. @michaelfugate –

    Read the Bible with the same attention as for Current Biology.

  15. michaelfugate

    Look for the parts that fit your pre-conceived notion of right and wrong, truth, God, etc. even if you need to fudge or misquote.

  16. 837. Nearing the end of that busy, exhausting day: don’t forget to claim that Hitler was a Darwinist. A creationist day without that claim is a day lost.

  17. Another tip for our dear SC when suffering from quiet days:

    http://www.trueorigin.org

    Do I like the first sentence – “The TrueOrigin Archive comprises an intellectually honest response to what in fairness can only be described as evolutionism.”
    If that isn’t a contradictio in terminis dry water isn’t either.

  18. 850. Just before going to bed, threaten everyone who disagrees by saying “You’re gonna go to hell!”

  19. docbill1351

    92. Put whoopie cushion on Klinkerklanker’s chair and wait for him to sit on it … AGAIN!

  20. 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”?
    No, the “right question” should be whether ID’ers have any actual proof that any “botanical adaptations” are permanently inexplicable (rather than merely unexplained so far) in “naturalistic ” terms, or is that just a statement of faith?

  21. @Eric Lipps
    Can any transcendental (spiritual, supernatural, omnipotent, …) thing or event account for any natural phenomenon?
    Give an example.
    Keep in mind that an account distinguishes between what actually happens and what does not.

  22. Mary L. Mand

    1000 After prayers, sing lullaby, “All the world seems in tune on a spring afternoon…”