Intelligent Science

The American Spectator, September 2005 | Go to article overview

Intelligent Science


Dan Peterson's June 2005 article arguing for "Intelligent Design" ("The Little Engine That Could... Undo Darwinism") as an alternative to Darwinian evolution in our school science classes poses the usual items now expected from such aggressive advocates. May we now anticipate an equally lengthy article supporting Darwinian evolution, to be taught in Sunday school classes? Probably NO. Mayhap not even this letter.

Neither a detailed refutation of Peterson's many points nor a defense of evolution is necessary. Educated people the world over accept the concept of evolution. Only in our country has this quaint notion gained attention. The many specious arguments posed would be dismissed in any science or philosophy class. What maybe useful is an analysis of Peterson's article to examine whether it has any science in it. Six topics suffice to tell his intent.

Peterson's article uses adversarial rhetoric and several standard methods for defeating opponents. Each point is designed to overwhelm the unaware with poor or no science background with verisimilitude, complexities, nonsense, and foolishness.

1. Peterson opens his article with the knockdown blow, the very complex bacterial flagellum that does not function if only one essential part is missing. We are overwhelmed at the complexity of the argument. The same argument applies to the standard blood-clotting cascade. All too complex.

There is no point to bringing such complexity into the argument, save to overwhelm, to bamboozle the unaware. Any process that requires just two components cannot operate in the absence of one or the other, unless substitute means are present (evolution?).

Moreover, other than delivery of a knockdown blow at the very start, why begin with a complex matter? Science inquiry generally starts with simple things and builds to the complex. Spiritual or religious approaches observe the rhodora and ask whence.

2. The three "intelligent design" gurus Michael Behe, William Dembski, and Jonathan Wells all have Ph.D. degrees. Wow! Over my 60 years as boy-scientist almost everyone had a Ph.D. degree. That says nothing of their scholarship or judgment.

Scientists usually have a Curriculum Vitae that lists their published science journal articles. All we know for the three gurus is their books, books not subject to critical review by disinterested experts.

3. Another typical adversarial approach intended to overwhelm is multiple asseverations that a cadre of scientists is threatening Darwinian evolution with "Intelligent Design." They now announce that Darwinian evolution is "on the defensive!"

More unnamed scientists; no references cited to peer reviewed journal articles. There really is a threat, but not to science. It is to school science classes where the concept of evolution must not be taught, or must be taught with "Intelligent Design" equally prominent.

4. Then, God is brought into the argument, as the Intelligent Agent. By such a ploy we also must be allowed to bring Satan into the picture, as "Intelligent Design" is surely the work of the Devil.

5. Unnecessary unfathomable complex terms are used, for which no meaning is evident. Among the several enigmatic terminologies given us are "irreducibly complex," "contingency, complexity, and specification," "complex specified information," "atheistic materialism," and "universal probability bound."

Golly, how complex it all is! For even the most egregious fantasies of the last decades of the 20th century, the "polywater" episode and "cold fusion" we had science journal articles in support, sans crazy terminology.

6. The concept of life as information uses exponential arguments that it is just too improbable for life to be result of chance. If the chances are less than 1015"(!), it must be by "Intelligent Design." We are not told how to calculate chances of an event.

Another argument about DNA information can be cited as misleading. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Intelligent Science
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.