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Monday, November 14, 2005

Stick to cartooning

Scott Adams, of Dilbert fame and fortune, just can't make up his mind about the whole Intelligent Design vs. Evolution debate:
    To me, the most fascinating aspect of the debate over Darwinism versus Intelligent Design is that neither side understands the other side’s argument. Better yet, no one seems to understand their own side’s argument. But that doesn’t stop anyone from having a passionate opinion.

    For example, Darwinists often argue that Intelligent Design can’t be true because we know the earth is over 10,000 years old. That would be a great argument, supported by every relevant branch of science, except that it has nothing to do with Intelligent Design.

That'd be a good point, if that's what "Darwinists often argue". Surely, "Darwinists" (his use of this label is a strong sign that Adams is sympathetic to the I.D. argument) don't think the earth is less than 10,000 years old, because things like the fossil record, geology, cosmology, etc. all point to the earth being billions of years old, and "Darwinists" generally accept what science has discovered. But, the 10,000 year-old earth claim is what you hear from Young Earth Creationists, not from I.D.ists. Intelligent Design is much more subtle about what it claims; it doesn't stick to a Biblical timeframe, or many other Biblical literalisms, by design. I.D. just says what we see is too complex for it have happened by any natural mechanism, therefore, [a, though really the Christian] God Made All This. Many who preach I.D. accept an old earth, as long as God Made It All. So, to "Darwinists", the fact that the earth is older than 10,000 years only proves that Young Earth Creationists are wrong, not I.D.. What was that about understanding the argument ?

    The other problem for people like me is that the “good” arguments on both sides are too complicated for me to understand. My fallback position in situations like this has always been to trust the experts – the scientists – of which more than 90%+ are sure that Darwin got it right.

    The Intelligent Design people have a not-so-kooky argument against the idea of trusting 90%+ of scientists. They point out that evolution is supported by different branches of science (paleontologists, microbiologists, etc.) and those folks are specialists who only understand their own field. That’s no problem, you think, because each scientist validates Darwinism from his or her own specialty, then they all compare notes, and everything fits. Right?

    Here’s where it gets interesting. The Intelligent Design people allege that some experts within each narrow field are NOT convinced that the evidence within their specialty is a slam-dunk support of Darwin. Each branch of science, they say, has pro-Darwinists who acknowledge that while they assume the other branches of science have more solid evidence for Darwinism, their own branch is lacking in that high level of certainty. In other words, the scientists are in a weird peer pressure, herd mentality loop where they think that the other guy must have the “good stuff.”


    I’d be surprised if 90%+ of scientists are wrong about the evidence for Darwinism. But if you think it’s impossible, you’ve lived a sheltered life.

So, Adams is uncomfortable making up his mind based on the science, but is apparently convinced by the controversy that the I.D.ers have a good case ?

Stick to cartooning, Mr. Adams.

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