Over at Telic Thoughts Mike Gene makes the comment that “there is no Intelligent Design Theory”. Mike is a serious scientist but I am not so I like to take a slightly different view of ID and explain it here. Mike provides the quote from Rush Holt
Scientifically, a theory is an accepted synthesis of a large body of knowledge, consisting of well-tested hypotheses, laws, and scientific facts, which concurrently describe and connect natural phenomena. There are actually very few theories in science, including atomic theory, the theory of gravity, the theory of evolution, and the theory of the standard model of particle physics
IMO, “the theory of evolution” ToE sticks out like a sore thumb in that list. Before I go any further let me offer a couple of more quote to elucidate the definition of theory. From Biology-Online
In science, an explanation for some phenomenon which is based on observation, experimentation, and reasoning. In popular use, a theory is often assumed to imply mere speculation, but in science, something is not called a theory until it has been confirmed over the course of many independent experiments. Theories are more certain than hypotheses, but less certain than laws.
In common usage a theory is often viewed as little more than a guess or a hypothesis. But in science and generally in academic usage, a theory is much more than that. A theory is an established paradigm that explains all or much of the data we have and offers valid predictions that can be tested. In science, a theory is never considered fact or infallible, because we can never assume we know all there is to know. Instead, theories remain standing until they are disproven, at which point they are thrown out altogether or modified to fit the additional data.
For those familiar with Intelligent Design and the critics of evolution know there is a distinction between the theory of change over time (evolution) and the theory of common descent (Darwinian evolution). Darwinists conveniently obfuscate this distinction to their advantage. Does the theory of Darwinian evolution meet the criteria to be called a theory? What are the criteria of a theory? The explanation of a theory must be observable, testable and produce valid predictions (accurate deterministically reproducible). In other word, a theory must be empirically true., Darwinian evolution fails in all these counts.
The Discovery Institute also circulated a list of 100 scientists who are “skeptical” of the Darwinian theory of evolution. “Careful examination of the evidence for Darwinian theory should be encouraged,” said the statement.
One signer, chemist Henry Schaefer, a five-time Nobel nominee, said, “Some defenders of Darwinism embrace standards of evidence for evolution that as scientists they would never accept in other circumstances.”(PBS’ Evolution generates a debate)
The Darwinian theory of common descent from one species to another has never been observed and according to Darwinians it will never be observable due to the length of time required for this to occur. In fact the body of evidence shows the opposite of what the Darwinian premise expects.
The Darwinian theory is not testable. If the theory hypothesizes that all of life shares a common ancestry how would that get tested. Can you as Stephen J. Gould said rewind the tape of life and replay it to observe production of the diversity of life? This surely was the point that Henry Gee, Senior Editor for the Journal Nature, was making in his book “In Search of Deep Time”.
New fossil discoveries are fitted into this preexisting story. We call these new discoveries “missing links”, as if the chain of ancestry and descent were a real object for our contemplation, and not what it really is: a completely human invention created after the fact, shaped to accord with human prejudices. In reality, the physical record of human evolution is more modest. Each fossil represents an isolated point, with no knowable connection to any other given fossil, and all float around in an overwhelming sea of gaps… To recall what I said in chapter 1, no fossil is buried with its birth certificate. That, and the scarcity of fossils, means that it is effectively impossible to link fossils into chains of cause and effect in any valid way, whether we are talking about the extinction of the dinosaurs, or chains of ancestry and descent. Everything we think we know about the causal relations of events in Deep Time has been invented by us, after the fact.
From our vantage point in the present, we arrange fossils in an order that reflects gradual acquisition of what we see in ourselves. We do not seek the truth, we create it after the fact, to suit our own prejudices… To take a line of fossils and claim that they represent a lineage is not a scientific hypothesis that can be tested, but an assertion that carries the same validity as a bedtime story – amusing, perhaps even instructive, but not scientific. — (quotes are taken from Darwinism Watch)
To be fair so I am not accused of quote mining Henry Gee repudiates any usage of his quotes for the purpose of refuting Darwinism. This is to be expected from committed Darwinists and fear of backlash from the Darwinian Priesthood. Even with his disclaimer, he still invites sneering comments from his fellow Darwinists. From NY Times review of “Deep Time”
Gee makes the usual obeisance to Darwin, despite his lack of patience with the ”Origin of Species”
At least he was smart enough to make the usual sacrifice to the god of Darwin. Here is a letter from Gee protesting the usage of quotes from his book.
Darwinian evolution by natural selection is taken as a given in IN SEARCH OF DEEP TIME, … and then go on to make clear that this is the assumption I am making throughout the book. For the Discovery Institute to quote from my book without reference to this is mischievous.
That it is impossible to trace direct lineages of ancestry and descent from the fossil record should be self-evident. Ancestors must exist, of course — but we can never attribute ancestry to any particular fossil we might find. Just try this thought experiment — let’s say you find a fossil of a hominid, an ancient member of the human family. You can recognize various attributes that suggest kinship to humanity, but you would never know whether this particular fossil represented your lineal ancestor – even if that were actually the case. The reason is that fossils are never buried with their birth certificates. Again, this is a logical constraint that must apply even if evolution were true — which is not in doubt, because if we didn’t have ancestors, then we wouldn’t be here. Neither does this mean that fossils exhibiting transitional structures do not exist, nor that it is impossible to reconstruct what happened in evolution. Unfortunately, many paleontologists believe that ancestor/descendent lineages can be traced from the fossil record, and my book is intended to debunk this view
Thank you for that clarification Henry. In the words of Shakespeare, The lady doth protest too much, methinks. No one is accusing Gee of not giving obeisance to Darwinism. No one is accusing Gee of being anything less than a committed Darwinist who believes in common ancestry. However, it is fair to point out that in his moment of intellectual lucidity that he recognizes that the inference of common descent is NOT a testable hypothesis. Therefore Darwinian common ancestry cannot be considered a scientific theory.
Furthermore, his analogy of human kinship and human hominid ancestry is a category mistake. It is an empirical fact the human being give birth to human being but as Gee has illustrated we have no empirical evidence of a hominid giving birth to human beings.
The Darwinian theory has no valid predictions. From NCSE
A plausible model: We have several plausible models of how speciation occurs-but of course, it’s hard for us to get an eye-witness account of a natural speciation event since most of these events happened in the distant past. We can figure out that speciation events happened and often when they happened, but it’s more difficult to figure out how they happened. However, we can use our models of speciation to make predictions and then check these predictions against our observations of the natural world, and the outcomes of experiments. As an example, we’ll examine some evidence relevant to the allopatric speciation model.
This is so rich, “it’s hard for us to get an eye-witness account of a natural speciation event” This is a Darwinian size understatement. It is not hard. It is impossible. Let’s be honest here, Darwinian theory takes 2 disparate pieces of data and connects them together without an empirical “how”. It is just a fairy tale. It also follows that if you don’t know “how” it happened, the “what” and “when” is nothing more than conjecture.
“we can use our models of speciation to make predictions and then check these predictions against our observations of the natural world” I have to say this is masterful. Who can argue against using models to test and verify with observational data. Models are indispensable in science for testing and predicting working theories. For instance, models are an integral part of electronic engineering for designing IC chips. It would be virtually impossible to design the chips that are in your computers today without models. There is only one catch to modeling. The model that you use must represent real world empirical reality. If I want to model a transistor, it must have characteristics of a real piece of silicon. It must have the size, shape, and response of the actual silicon. Similarly, if I want to model Darwinian speciation, the model must have the characteristics of common descent. It must have the behavior, and result of common descent. The only problem is that Darwinism has never produced an empirical model where speciation events are observed and measured. Conversely, in electronic engineering models can be built to test, measure and predict the interaction of transistors and higher logic functions. Darwinists are masters of misdirection. They will use terms from established engineering and science and cozy up to those terms as a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Underneath these scientific terms they are vacuous of any empirical science.
Let’s be fair and examine a specific example NCSE uses as a case for verified prediction.
If allopatric speciation happens, we’d predict that populations of the same species in different geographic locations would be genetically different. There are abundant observations suggesting that this is often true. For example, many species exhibit regional “varieties” that are slightly different genetically and in appearance, as in the case of the Northern Spotted Owl and the Mexican Spotted Owl.
Some might object to my early statement that Darwinists are masters of misdirection. Frankly, with examples like this I can’t see how anyone could disagree with my statement. I like to know where in that prediction does it model or empirically demonstrate the Darwinian theory of common descent. It doesn’t. It is an example like many others of microevolution, change within a species. There are breeding programs with centuries of results without evidence of producing a new species. The fact of the matter is that up to this point in time evolution has not validated the prediction of Darwinian theory of common descent.
Now let me circle back to the beginning of this post. If there is no ID theory, then there is no Darwinian evolution theory. If we can teach Darwinian evolution in school and call that a well tested theory then ID is much more of a theory.
Some well-respected scientists have fostered the spread of intelligent design. Henry F. Schaefer, director of the Center for Computational Quantum Chemistry at the University of Georgia, has written or co-authored 1,082 scientific papers and is one of the world’s most widely cited chemists by other researchers.
Mr. Schaefer teaches a freshman seminar at Georgia entitled: “Science and Christianity: Conflict or Coherence?” He has spoken on religion and science at many American universities, and gave the “John M. Templeton Lecture” — funded by the foundation — at Case Western Reserve in 1992, Montana State in 1999, and Princeton and Carnegie Mellon in 2004. “Those who favor the standard evolutionary model are in a state of panic,” he says. “Intelligent design truly terrorizes them.” — A Professor Turns Heckler, WSJ November 14, 2005; Page A1
This document is edited on 12-14-06 to correct formatting problems.