Darwinists Dig In Heels Against I.D.
“We aren’t going to convince them and they aren’t going to convince us,” said Vittorio Maestro of Natural History magazine, quoted at the end of a piece entitled, “US scientists battle over challenge to Darwinism” in ABC News Online. The article gave quite a bit of space to quotes by Michael Behe and Jonathan Wells, proponents of Intelligent Design (ID). The only rebuttals from Darwinists consisted of religious arguments: e.g., claiming that ID is inherently religious or motivated by the Christian right, and that it is not scientific by definition: for example, a dismissive statement by John Marburger, “I don’t regard intelligent design as a scientific topic.”
In the Wichita Eagle, pro-ID writer John Calvert made a case that the “Science, religion debate [is] asking the wrong question.” The paper gave him a respectable byline: “John Calvert of Lake Quivira is managing director of Intelligent Design Network Inc., an organization that seeks institutional objectivity in origins science.”
Both these articles gave ID a respectful forum. Neither of them quoted a Darwinist able to answer the scientific questions. The ABC article explained Behe’s claim about the complexity of the bacterial flagellum and molecular machines being inexplicable by Darwinian mutation and natural selection. The wimpy counterargument was, merely, “Darwinists, who still comprise the large majority of scientists, say Professor Behe and others are simply appropriating what is yet unknown to conclude that it must be created by a higher intelligence.” This is a tacit admission that they have no answer.
Instead, the Darwinists show obstinacy and unwillingness to think. Maestro’s statement, “We aren’t going to convince them and they aren’t going to convince us,” conveys a spirit of cold war, not negotiation. The statement is not symmetric. It’s not that the I.D. scientists are equally dogmatic; they are the ones willing to debate, and trying to get these issues out on the table for consideration. It’s the Darwin Party that has no scientific response to the design arguments and refuses to consider them on a priori philosophical grounds.
Some churchmen in 17th century Europe refused to look through Galileo’s telescope for fear it would jeopardize their views. Now, the roles are reversed. Some naturalistic scientists are figuratively refusing to look through Behe’s microscope at the irreducible complexity of molecular machines. To avoid looking like modern dogmatists, the Darwinists need to debate and show their explanatory muscle. They either need to provide detailed mechanisms by which specified complexity could arise – and did arise – by natural means, or else concede that they are beholden to a philosophical preference. Only unequivocal success at the former approach will permit them any claim to privilege in academic circles.