RE: [asa] FYI: Arrogance, dogma and why science - not faith - is the new enemy of

From: John Walley <>
Date: Sun Aug 19 2007 - 22:35:30 EDT

This excerpt proves my point. Here Korthof concedes the limitation of random
mutation to produce meaningful complexity in life like Behe says and instead
turns the debate to put the onus on Behe to provide a theory of design, and
then launches into a philosophical and theological debate on what God would
or would not do. Korthof is equally lacking a theory of evolution to produce
complexity if random mutation doesn't work.

Behe is "driven by theological notions" but Korthof and the others are
driven by naturalistic notions. Why does Behe have to produce an alternative
to dismantle random mutation but Ken Miller and others dismantle irreducible
complexity without offering any alternative? Why is one good science and the
other "scientifically vacuous"?

I appreciate that Korthof below is gracious enough to offer that readers of
Behe may find new insights. I think that because his rebuttal is entirely
non-scientific, he like Coyne are both in this category, since they are now
forced to take on the possibility of something besides naturalism producing
life, thus these subjective, pejorative comments like "Great Mutator" and

It is appropriate that this thread is title "Arrogance" and "dogma". It
should be obvious to all that there is a shifting double standard applied to
ID and not mainstream science. The truth is that there is dogma on both
sides, and both sides are just as guilty of appropriating the imprimatur of
science for their dogma.

To be clear, I am not defending Behe's insistence on Design and I agree he
crosses the line from science to faith there, but Darwinism has been on the
other side of that line along. It is to Behe's credit that he is redrawing
the line commensurate with what the science actually shows and doesn't show.

This is what ID has contributed including Wells, by showing the limitations
of the strict Darwinist dogma and the double standard shell game they hide
behind to defend it.


-----Original Message-----
From: [] On
Behalf Of PvM
Sent: Sunday, August 19, 2007 9:57 PM
To: AmericanScientificAffiliation
Subject: Re: [asa] FYI: Arrogance, dogma and why science - not faith - is
the new enemy of

Oops make that "The Edge of Evolution". So much new 'materials' coming
from the ID movement that it sometimes becomes confusing.

Gert Korthof's review is quite interesting

<quote>It is possible that some readers will find new facts or
insights in The Edge of Evolution. It depends on the reader. However,
let this not distract us from the fact that the book does not deliver
a theory of design, but instead discusses the limits of evolution.
That is remarkable for someone who calls himself a proponent of
intelligent design. Yet, design dominates Behe's thinking, but it
easily escapes our notice that a crucial logical step is without
justification. Behe has given no reason for the main claim of his book
that the other side of the edge of evolution is the domain of design.
Indeed, why would a designer act according to design principles
determined completely by our 21st century knowledge of the world? On
an even deeper level it is unclear why a god would create anything at
all. One reason for the absence of a design theory is that one cannot
know what a designer would do or would not do, effectively closing of
any knowledge about the designers goals and methods. How can one
search for proofs under such conditions? The lack of positive
knowledge of design and designer forces Behe to focus exclusively on
the limits of Darwinian evolution. Another reason is that you can't
construct a theory on broken natural laws. That Behe still managed to
write an ID-book must be explained by the fact that he most certainly
has a theological theory - in his head. Driven by theological notions,
but prevented by a self-imposed restriction to talk about it, Behe
persistently searches for proofs of God in nature at all costs. The
final result is a clumsy, inefficient DNA-manipulator who needs
billions of years to create a human being and is a bioterrorist who
excels in making human life as miserable as possible. There could be
no greater incompatibility between claims that 99% of life was
designed and common descent. Common Descent is based on genetic
continuity in the history of life on earth and ultimately based on
unbroken natural law. Design, as Behe describes it, is based on the
discontinuity of the tree of life (broken natural law). Therefore,
design and common descent are incompatible. It is either design of
common descent. It is logically impossible to hold both.

The key part is "Driven by theological notions, but prevented by a
self-imposed restriction to talk about it," since it is this which
renders ID scientifically vacuous. After all, if one is unwilling or
unable to describe the powers and limitations of the designer, it can
explain anything and thus nothing. In fact, by arguing for limits to
evolution, Behe is increasing the scientific status of evolutionary
theory. For Behe, these limits are the end of the research, for
science they form the beginning.

I always enjoyed Ruse's writings where he pointed out how history and
constraints are what guide evolution and give it a teleological

On 8/19/07, PvM <> wrote:
> Let's for the moment not get carried away from the issue here which is
> whether or not some ID proponents actually do science.
> So far, ID's approach remains without content, as it refuses to admit
> the necessary side assumptions for ID to have scientific relevance,
> unlike forensic science which is based on many positive assumptions
> which have been tested, and verified.
> ID has nothing to offer in this area.
> On 8/19/07, Alexanian, Moorad <> wrote:
> > Forensic scientists do not do science; they use the results of the
experimental sciences to do their detective work. One can say the same for
evolutionary theory. One can easily show the good science done by
experimental physicists, chemists, biologists, geneticists, etc. What good
science has evolutionary theory done?
> >
> I am not sure why some are taking Wells' Icons of Evolution seriously
> as somehow positive contributions to science. As to the case of
> malaria, a simple reading of the many refuttals of Behe's claims
> should say enough about the level of his claims. It's the nitpicking
> of details which make ID so irrelevant since it fails to take these
> cases into consideration.
> I am not very impressed by Behe's Explore Evolution especially since
> it fails to deliver the rhetoric of the press releases that
> accompanied it.
> Behe's level of math is almost as earth shattering in my opinion as
> Dembski's calculations of the probability of a protein arising by
> chance. Sufficient to make people believe that there is some real
> data, but insufficient to really defend the premise.

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Received on Sun Aug 19 22:35:46 2007

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