I was looking forward to Darwin Day this 2008… Until… Until I visited the website for a documentary coming out on Darwin Day called Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed.
You might have guessed it… It’s a documentary about “Intelligent Design.” In the slogan, Intelligent Design =
Creationism a smart new idea. It’s the “theory” that God an “Intelligent Designer” put all life on the planet in its present form. Doesn’t sound like Creationism to me…
Anyway… it’s the part where they call Intelligent Design a “smart new idea” that bothers me. Basically, Intelligent Design’s argument is that things in nature are irreducibly complex and they can not imagine how it could possibly have evolved through natural processes. So, instead of trying to find evidence of how things like the flagellum might have evolved, they gave up, and said that
God an Intelligent Designer did it. What sets this apart from Creationism is that they don’t jump the gun and say that the Intelligent Designer was God. In fact, it could have been as equally likely that it was an alien!
And how could an alien complex enough to design life have come about?
I always love it when they say that since the universe exists, it had to have a causal agent, but even though God exists, “God just is”… That’s seriously what they say. Oh, but ID isn’t about God! Bad example.
But despite the fundamental problems with it…
The main argument of the movie is that “Big Science” is suppressing Intelligent Design because it challenges Evolution. While it is true that scientists are adamently opposed to teaching ID in the schools, there’s a good reason for it.
Scientific theories require evidence.
What has Evolution got?
Fossil records. I even had the pleasure of walking through a pretty damn complete fossil record when I walked through an exhibit at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science today.
What evidence does ID have?
They like to point to things like the bacterial flagellum, a mechanism bacteria use to propel themselves, saying that it’s so complex that take any part away and it won’t work… Well… they debunked that… Take a few of the proteins that allow the rotary movement in the flagellum, and you get the exact mechanism other species of bacteria use to inject toxins into cells. With enough evidence, irreducible complexity fails. And what evidence do they have that the Intelligent Designer actually exists?
ID is not accepted in the scientific community because… here’s the shocker… it’s not scientific!
But look. The last time science worked the way ID works was in the Dark Ages. Back then, all the gaps in knowledge were explained by “God did it, God did it, God did it.” Why were people dying from the Black Death? Because witches were doing it of course! As a result, hundreds of cats were slaughtered, and as a result of Dark Age science, the only means of controlling the spread of the plague was eliminated. Then, something wonderful happened, and science no longer had to go to supernatural explanations to explain phenomena. Of course if you fill in all the gaps with “God did it, God did it, God did it” you’re going to make yourself look like an idiot and your reputation as a scientist won’t be all that great. Would you hire a doctor who thought disease was caused by demons?
Intelligent Design is not smart. It’s not new. It’s Dark Age thinking with a new name.
But, I’m going to go see the movie anyway. But here’s the thing, I’m going to buy a ticket for another movie to get in, and go to another theater so that I see it and the bastards don’t get my money. I can think of better ways to spend my Darwin Day… but to debunk, you must know. I’ll post my review so remember to check back…