Joined: Oct. 2006
|Now if I may be so bold as to ask that ID theorists be allowed to make predictions based upon their own theory, and detractors are gracious enough to let us make our own predictions, then I don’t want to hear any more nonsense about ID making no predictions. This is a prediction. It will play out soon enough. Let the chips fall where they may.|
As all "predictions" proffered by ID, this one is parasitical upon genuine science. One might suspect this given that no ID theorist need leave his or her armchair to "test" DS's prediction. But ALL predictions asserted to arise from ID prove to be equally parasitical.
A good recent example: Scott Minnich claims to have proposed a theoretical prediction that is a test of ID, and to have made experimental headway vis this prediction. This concerns Behe’s flagellar mechanism, which he argues is incapable of having originated by means of natural selection because irreducibly complex, and Kenneth Miller’s rejoinder that components of the flagellar mechanism actually arose first for other purposes (as a secretory pump) prior to their exaptation to locomotion. Minnich has argued that if it can be demonstrated that secretory pumps arose after the flagellar mechanism, Miller’s argument would be refuted and Intelligent Design supported. Here, he claims, we have a clear demonstration of the empirical testability of ID.
But this is exactly backward. It is indeed true that Miller’s model may be falsified through experimental investigation. That the secretory mechanism will be found to have arisen before flagellar propulsion is a prediction of Miller’s evolutionary hypothesis regarding this particular bit of contingent evolution. Miller’s model would indeed be falsified were it found that the secretory mechanisms arose after the flagellum. Miller would take his lumps and move on. This is how science works, and evolutionary biology is a science. And testable predictions such as these, which arise every day within biological science as evolutionary pathways are teased out, give the lie to DS' blank, dumb-ass statement that evolutionary theory makes no predictions, and hence has no value.
What Minnich’s test of Miller’s model does not exemplify is an empirical test of ID. Quite the reverse: ID makes no predictions on this score. A designer - particularly one with no hypothesized characteristics that would permit the generation of a prediction - could have fabricated these molecular components in the order predicted by Miller, caused them to arise simultaneously, or given rise to the secretory mechanisms after the design of the flagellar mechanism. Hence empirical findings regarding the order in which the secretory and flagellar mechanisms arose can never be a test of ID. Indeed, Minnich's example again demonstrates that ID arguments boil down to attacks on evolutionary science that are otherwise devoid of testable content.
DaveScot's latest prediction is, at a much grosser level, parasitical in exactly the same way. It is the Harvard project that places hypotheses "at risk" through exposure to experimental test, and ID that lolls about in its increasingly threadbare armchair, sniping at the outcome. Indeed, the facts of recent history show that regardless of what Harvard manages to demonstrate, proponents of ID will dismiss, deconstruct, distort, and ignore those results. Now there is a prediction for you.
Myth: Something that never was true, and always will be.
"The truth will set you free. But not until it is finished with you."
- David Foster Wallace
"Hereâ€™s a clue. Snarky banalities are not a substitute for saying something intelligent. Write that down."
- Barry Arrington