There ought to be some special award for the Discovery Institute to let them know how much we appreciate the brazen other-worldliness of the title they gave to the newest post at their creationist blog: Intelligent Design is Testable. Is Darwinism? It was written by Jonathan Witt, a Discoveroid “senior fellow.” Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis:
A familiar canard is that intelligent design isn’t science because it makes no empirically testable claims or predictions. The objection is a canard because intelligent design makes many empirically testable claims and predictions.
BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Hey, you gotta admit — that was good! And the fun is only beginning. Then Witt says:
Consider Darwin’s Black Box, [in which] molecular biologist Michael Behe points out that the neo-Darwinian mechanism lacks foresight. [So does gravity.] It requires a functional system at each mutational step on the evolutionary path, and it doesn’t give a fig for some distant goal. If the thing can’t compete, survive, and reproduce, it gets weeded out of the evolutionary game of life — plain and simple.
Okay, what of it? Witt tells us:
Behe went on to argue that bacterial flagellum needs all of its parts to work and there’s no pathway for it to have evolved one small neo-Darwinian step at a time, even allowing for the possibility of nature co-opting simpler machines serving other functions.
Uh huh. If you’re confused, dear reader, you should know that Michael Behe is a Discovery Institute Senior Fellow. He’s also a professor of biochemistry at Lehigh University. His colleagues at Lehigh are so impressed by his brilliance that they publicly disassociated themselves from him by issuing this statement: Department Position on Evolution and “Intelligent Design”. Also, Wikipedia has an article on Evolution of flagella. Okay, Witt continues:
Behe calls this feature “irreducible complexity,” and says it’s a hallmark of intelligently designed systems. Whether it’s a mousetrap, a bicycle, an integrated circuit, or any of countless other machines, any time we find an irreducibly complex device and can trace it back to its source, the source always turns out to be an intelligent agent.
BWAHAHAHAHAHA!. “The source always turns out to be an intelligent agent.” Let’s read on:
Behe predicted that scientists would not uncover a continuously functional Darwinian pathway from a simple precursor to the bacterial flagellum, and that any evolutionary pathway that someone might describe would presuppose other irreducibly complex systems. He further argued that for all of the above reasons taken together, intelligent design is the best explanation for the origin of the bacterial flagellum.
How might one test and discredit Behe’s argument? Demonstrate, or at least describe, a realistic, continuously functional Darwinian pathway from simple ancestor to present motor. This would falsify Behe’s design argument.
But wait — Witt isn’t done yet. He has even more evidence:
Consider another design argument, this one in astronomy and cosmology. In The Privileged Planet, Gonzalez and Richards show that there is a striking correlation between the conditions needed for life and the conditions needed for making many types of scientific discovery. They argue that such a correlation, if true, points to intelligent design.
Yeah, we know. In all the universe, Earth was specially created, just for us. The Discoveroids have no evidence for that — none at all — other than the fact that we exist. Nevertheless, like all creationists who assert Oogity Boogity, they insist they’re correct, and you have the burden of proving that their claims are wrong. Witt quotes Gonzalez and Richards:
The most decisive way to falsify our argument as a whole would be to find a distant and very different environment, which, while quite hostile to life, nevertheless offers a superior platform for making as many diverse scientific discoveries as does our local environment. The opposite of this would have the same effect — finding an extremely habitable and inhabited place that was a lousy platform for observation.
It’s difficult to digest that. Witt quotes them further, but we’ll skip that. You can click over there to read it all if you like. We’re getting near the end now. Here’s another excerpt:
I’ve offered only a couple of examples of testable design arguments here, but there are many others [link to stuff from Discoveroid Stephen Meyer’s book]. Of course, if the arguments are true, then they’re falsifiable only in principle, but not in fact — hardly a weakness in a scientific theory!
And now we come to the thundering climax:
So, rather than beating the dead horse of un-testability, design doubters would do well to focus on a more fruitful question: Where does the evidence lead? What is the best, most causally adequate explanation for things like the bacterial flagellum, biological information, the fine-tuning of the laws and constants of physics, and the strong correlation between life and discovery?
[*Groan*] What can we say? To begin with, the Discoveroids’ “theory,” like every appeal to supernaturalism, is untestable. Then, of course, it’s utterly lacking in evidence. Where’s the designer? What does he do? When? How? Why? The same arguments presented by the Discoveroids could also be offered for the Olympian Gods — or any other variety of Oogity Boogity. Enough said.
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