Stanford Student Debate: Is Intelligent Design Science?
Michael Behe, author of Darwin’s Black Box, spoke recently at Stanford. This led two students to publish reviews, one pro and the other con, about intelligent design in the Stanford Review. Tristan Abbey asked, “Are Darwinists Chickens?” for their reluctance to allow critical scrutiny of their theory. Paul Laddis tried to debunk irreducible complexity in his rebuttal, “The Dogmatists’ New Clothes.”
It’s good to see students engage the controversy when so many Darwinists don’t even want to debate this issue (see 04/29/2005 and 04/27/2005 entries). Paul Laddis, despite his valiant attempt at overcoming irreducible complexity with the co-option argument, fails to mention that there is irreducible complexity everywhere, not just with the bacterial flagellum. Like Scott Minnich emphasizes in the film Unlocking the Mystery of Life, Darwinists need to address not only the parts that are similar between different structures, but the assembly instructions, which are even more complex. You cannot invoke co-option endlessly; Minnich says, “You can only carry that argument so far” until you wind up borrowing parts from nothing. Laddis starts with a complex protein: stop right there! Tell us how the complex protein arose, when getting a precise sequence of left-handed amino acids to perform a function is astronomically improbable (see online book). Don’t grant a Darwinist any unwarranted boundary conditions (see “Get your own dirt” on the Humor page).
Darwinists have a besetting sin that might be dubbed the Cartoon Method of Science. They don’t need data. If they can just imagine an evolutionary sequence and draw cartoons of it, they feel they have done their job. Using a common Darwinist trick, Laddis tells an imaginary tale of sequences (notice his phrase “to visualize how this works…”) and expects us to believe it is plausible just because he says so. Then he has the gall to turn around and tell the intelligent design empiricists that they don’t understand science (see 01/15/2004 commentary). It’s time to call the Darwin Party’s bluff and point the accusation where it belongs.
Laddis thinks he can co-opt the Emperor’s New Clothes metaphor (see 01/31/2003 entry) and call his opposition the dogmatists. Maybe the rituals in the Temple of Charlie (see 01/12/2004 and 04/21/2005 commentaries) require taking the Hypocritic Oath.