One day, what we’re writing about here will be as interesting as an ancient religious tablet from the Babylonian empire. It was written by John West,whom we affectionately call “Westie.” He was an early winner of the Curmudgeon’s Buffoon Award, thus the jolly logo above this post. Westie is now President (or maybe vice President) of the Discovery Institute, which makes him one of the chief Keepers of their wedge strategy.
Westie’s post at the Discoveroids’ creationist blog is Darwin and “Providential Design”. It’s difficult for us to write about, because it’s his latest rebuttal to a dialogue he’s been having in some other publication and it’s loaded with quotes from that dialogue. The way we’ll deal with it is to avoid the original article he wrote, the responses it attracted, and his replies to those responses.
That means we’ll be chopping up some of Westie’s prose in order to give you only those excerpts that set forth Westie’s position on Darwin, evolution, and intelligent design. Westie’s words are orthodox Discoveroid dogma, and nothing else matters. Okay, let’s get started:
[D]ebates over science and faith might have played out much differently had the scientific community embraced a guided form of evolution rather than Darwin’s blind and unguided version.
BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Yes, that’s true, but as Westie ought to know, scientific explanations are based on evidence that can be detected and tested. That necessarily excludes the notion of an unseen “guide” — which, given the mechanisms of mutation and natural selection, simply isn’t required. Westie’s lament is that science isn’t the same thing as theology. Then he says:
… Darwin’s version of evolution (unlike Alfred Wallace’s or Robert Chambers’ version) was framed as a rejection of “providential design.” And while Darwin’s rejection of providential design took him all the way to agnosticism (and beyond), it is certainly true that many theists have tried to syncretize Darwin’s version of evolution with their faith. These theistic Darwinists continue to believe in God, but they seek to make Him compatible with the Darwinian idea of unguided evolution.
Aaaargh!! Darwin didn’t “reject” providential design; but he couldn’t find any evidence to support such a notion. Indeed, he mentioned specific instances of evidence (like the geographical distribution of species) that seemed inconsistent with special creation. He found that was able to explain speciation without it. Let’s read on:
Whether the traditional belief in providential design is truly “outdated” … is another matter. I see no reason, certainly no scientific reason, why this must be the case. Even if one were to accept the Darwinian version of evolution as completely true, it only rules out purposeful design once life itself has begun. It leaves untouched the growing evidence for design that can be found in physics, cosmology, and in the chemical origins of life.
We don’t need to comment on that, do we? Well, okay — the scientific reason for ignoring providential design is that there’s no verifiable evidence for it, and no way to test the concept. Westie continues:
In the realm of biology, it is Darwinism’s attempt to reduce everything to blind material causes — not intelligent design’s effort to discern purpose in nature — that seems to me to be increasingly outdated. In an age when genetics has revealed the universe within that is replete with codes, instructions, and information processing systems, Darwinism’s insistence on reducing everything in living things to blind matter in motion seems quaint, to say the least.
Ooooooooooooh — codes, instructions, and information processing systems. Here’s more:
How were all of those biological instructions produced? In our uniform and repeated experience (the basis of modern scientific reasoning), instructions are a hallmark of intelligent activity, not blind material causes.
Yeah, okay. Moving along:
[There is] the spectre of “bad design” as a defeater for intelligent design in nature. But I think this is a bit of a red herring. First, many claims of “bad design” are not in fact supported by the evidence. Second, bad design is not equivalent to no design. The fact that my Toyota Corolla has been the subject of multiple recalls does not mean that it was originally produced by an unguided process.
BWAHAHAHAHAHA! That’s one of the rare times a Discoveroid insists on evidence — in this case for the claim that there is bad design. But the evidence for that is overwhelming — see Buffoon Award Winner — The Intelligent Designer. Another excerpt from Westie’s post:
Finally, the fact that some things in nature may not have been designed does not disprove the massive amount of evidence that other things were.
BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Except that there’s no way to distinguish one from the other. This is our final excerpt:
Darwinism is no more beneficial for the scientific enterprise than it is for theology, encouraging biologists to blind themselves to the exquisite functionality of living things anytime it doesn’t fit their preconceptions. During our own lifetime, many Darwinian biologists wrote off more than 90 percent of the genome as “junk DNA” …
“Darwinism” is no more beneficial for science than it is for theology? What does that mean? As for junk DNA, we’ve posted about that a number of times — the most recent was Casey: 50% Junk DNA Is Proof of Design.
So there you are, dear reader. That’s the holy writ from Westie. Let us all praise the intelligent designer — blessed be he! — without whose benevolent activities we’d all be … just as we are.
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