Re: Well-financed creationists?

Chris Cogan (
Wed, 13 Oct 1999 22:12:50 -0700

> ><< I have heard this argument a million times since I got into the
> > creation/evolution arena. The 'Oh if only the bad Feds would fund us we
> > could solve our problems' wail. What they need is good thinking, not
> >funding.>>
> >
> >It would be nice if we could test this. Have the Feds set aside two
> >a year targeted for "ID research." I suspect this is a form of
> >action the public would support (and it's also a very small amount of
> >money). Then, after 10 years of this research, have a big conference
> >presenting the results.
> The problem is, as Joel put it so well, the ID movement isn't interested
> the real world. By that I mean, they must present a testable hypothesis,
> which means they must tell the funding agency what they think happened in
> the past. They can't get funding for telling the funding agency, "I don't
> believe evolution happened, I don't know how life occurred, I don't know
> how life changes/evolves, I don't know whether geology and paleontology
> correct or not, but I want lots of money to run experiments to confirm
> I don't know." As we say down here in Texas, 'That dawg won't hunt'.

Now, if the ID movement would come up with a real research program and real
scientific propositions that *could* be tested, I suspect that there might
well be plenty of people willing to support it, and possibly even some of
the usual government teat money. What's missing is any actual scientifically
testable version of ID theory along with proposals for an actual scientific
test of that theory. When the ID types agree amongst themselves on some ID
hypothesis that *can* be scientifically tested, such as, perhaps, the idea
that the designer intervenes from time to time in genetic activity in such a
way that, statistically, there should be a deviation from what would be
expected on the basis of normal genetic theory), and a test that would be
sensitive enough to detect this deviation, they'd have something. Of course,
such a predicted deviation couldn't be *too* much, because then it would
conflict with existing data.

The problem is, for most ID theorists, ID theory is not a *scientific*
theory, and they wouldn't *want* it put to a real test because they (like
the rest of us) are pretty damn sure it would *fail* such a test. There are
plenty of ID sympathizers and fellow travelers who have the money to fund
such research, if they really wanted such research done, so money is not the
big problem. Glenn is basically right. As usual.