When i met Marcos Eberlin the first time at the 8º congress of theology of the Editora Vida Nova , where William Lane Craig held his speeches, Marcos said : We live and presence a shift of paradigm, away from the Theory of Evolution, towards Intelligent Design. It will take about a generation for this shift, and we are right in the middle. It started back in the ninties, and in about twenty years, we will see a different landscape , where Intelligent Design will be a view held by many more biologists, chemists and scientists in the respective fields, upon the fact that evidence is growing that points to the deficiencies of macro-evolution, mutations and natural selection as the driving force of morphological novelty, towards intelligent design, which has more and more predictions confirmed. Specially the new generation, which has far more access to information, is and will be more open to give a honest analysis of the evidence, and will replace a older generation of professionals and scientists, which grew up with the indoctrination of Darwinism and the assertion that evolution is a fact. I think this is true. If we look around, ID is gaining force, while the ToE is losing ground. Proponents of naturalism are confronted with a growing body of arguments and evidence, which they are unable to top with better arguments and inferences. Side-stepping, and argue that " because we don't know" does not mean ID is true, are common excuses, forgetting, that IF we don't know, you cannot fill the gap with evolution. The evolution-creation debate has also too long focused on issues like evolution, when in my view the best is to discuss, where the evidence is the clearest. That is in my opinion abiogenesis, and molecular biology.
The debut at #7 on the New York Times best seller list last July of Stephen Meyer’s new book Darwin’s Doubt is evidence that the scientific theory of intelligent design (ID) continues to gain momentum. Since critics often misrepresent ID, and paint ID advocates as a fanatical fringe group, it is important to understand what intelligent design is, and what it is not.
Until Charles Darwin, almost everyone everywhere believed in some form of intelligent design (the majority still do): not just Christians, Jews, and Muslims, but almost every tribesman in every remote corner of the world drew the obvious conclusion from observing animals and plants that there must have been a mind behind the creation of living things. Darwin thought he could explain all of this apparent design through natural selection of random variations. In spite of the fact that there is no direct evidence that natural selection can explain anything other than very minor adaptations, his theory has gained widespread popularity in the scientific world, simply because no one can come up with a more plausible theory to explain evolution, other than intelligent design, which is dismissed by most scientists as “unscientific.”
But, in recent years, as scientific research has continually revealed the astonishing dimensions of the complexity of life, especially at the microscopic level, support for Darwin’s implausible theory has continued to weaken, and since the publication in 1996 of Darwin’s Black Box by Lehigh University biochemist Michael Behe, a growing minority of scientists have concluded, with Behe, that there is no possible explanation for the complexity of life other than intelligent design.
But what exactly, do these “ID scientists” believe? There is no general agreement among advocates of intelligent design as to exactly where, when, or how design was manifested in the history of life. Most, but not quite all, accept the standard timeline for the beginning of the universe, of life, and of the major animal groups. Many, including Behe, accept common descent. Probably all reject natural selection as an adequate explanation for the complexity of life, but so do many other scientists who are not ID proponents. So what exactly do ID proponents believe?
Perhaps the best way to answer this question is to state clearly what you have to believe in order not to believe in intelligent design. Peter Urone, in his 2001 physics text College Physics writes, “One of the most remarkable simplifications in physics is that only four distinct forces account for all known phenomena.” The prevailing view in science today is that physics explains all of chemistry, chemistry explains all of biology, and biology completely explains the human mind; thus physics alone explains the human mind and all it does. This is what you have to believe to not believe in intelligent design, that the origin and evolution of life, and the evolution of human consciousness and intelligence, are due entirely to a few unintelligent forces of physics. Thus you must believe that a few unintelligent forces of physics alone could have rearranged the fundamental particles of physics into computers and science texts and jet airplanes.
Contrary to popular belief, to be an ID proponent you do not have to believe that all species were created simultaneously a few thousand years ago, or that humans are unrelated to earlier primates, or that natural selection cannot cause bacteria to develop a resistance to antibiotics. If you believe that a few fundamental, unintelligent forces of physics alone could have rearranged the basic particles of physics into Apple iPhones, you are probably not an ID proponent, even if you believe in God. But if you believe there must have been more than unintelligent forces at work somewhere, somehow, in the whole process: congratulations, you are one of us after all!
In the Darwin Debate, How Long Before the Tide Turns in Favor of Intelligent Design? 2
A student emails me to ask how long it will be before the "tide turns from Darwinism to ID." He follows the debate over intelligent design and is aware that the Darwin lobby's rhetoric typically fails to address ID's actual arguments (which are scientific in nature), instead focusing on personal attacks or trying to claim ID is religion. This student feels it is obvious that ID has the upper hand in the argument, but wonders when the majority opinion will also recognize this.
I agree that in the long-term, the position of the anti-ID lobby is simply not sustainable. You can't keep claiming forever that ID is just "religion" or "politics" when the ID camp is producing legitimate science, and even non-ID scientists keep making discoveries that confirm the predictions of ID. Or I suppose you can keep claiming whatever you want, but it will become increasingly difficult to get people to believe you.
What are my reasons for optimism? One of the strongest signs is that in head-to-head debates over ID and Darwinism, the ID proponent generally wins hands down. In that respect, we've had many key intellectual victories in recent years, including:
- Lots of pro-ID peer-reviewed scientific papers being published.
- Experimental peer-reviewed research coming out showing the unevolvabilityof new proteins.
- Theoretical peer-reviewed papers taking down alleged computer simulations of evolution, showing that intelligence design is needed to produce new information.
- A major ID research conference at Cornell leading to the publication of the volume Biological Information: New Perspectives.
- Huge victories for ID in the area of junk DNA, thanks to the ENCODE results.
- Data supportive of ID coming out all the time as the epigenetic revolution proceeds.
- ID pretty much shut down the competition in debates relating to Stephen Meyer's book Darwin's Doubt. The book was appraised by one of the world's top two science journal, Science, (in a tellingly weak review).
- Brown University biologist Kenneth Miller's No. 1 argument in the Dover trial has now been shot down as the beta-globin pseudogene was found to be functional.
- The Darwin brigade's favorite argument against Michael Behe was refuted aschloroquine-resistance turns out to be a multimutation feature.
- Major concessions from leading atheists like philosopher Thomas Nagel that ID arguments have merit and should be taken seriously.
- Concessions from influential evolutionists that neo-Darwinism indeed faces serious criticism in biology.
- In recent years, many peer-reviewed articles in the mainstream scientific literature have critiqued Darwinism .
- And revealingly, the more that victories for ID multiply, the more the Darwin lobby tries to suppress free speech for ID proponents, and in turn is forced to squelch their own criticisms of the orthodox evolutionary paradigm.
I could list many more successes, as well as ways that we could be hoping for more and doing more, but the point is this: ID has had plenty of intellectual "wins" of late, and the future is bright. The problem is that much of the public isn't hearing about these wins for ID.
For the time being, ID critics control the microphone. They generally determine what students hear in the classroom, what the public reads in the media, and what scientists read in the journals. They can often prevent the public, students, and scientists from hearing the facts about ID. This has a major impact on the way many people perceive this debate because they can't make a fair evaluation when they are only hearing one side of the issue, dominated by spin and caricature. This is one of the biggest obstacles facing ID.
That's why a lot of our energy in the ID movement is devoted to "getting the word out," broadcasting the facts and correcting misinformation from our critics. ID blogs like Uncommon Descent and Evolution News & Views do a great job of this (if we do say so ourselves). There are other good sources out there as well.
The Summer Seminar on ID, organized by Discovery Institute's Center for Science & Culture, has now graduated some 250 students, many of whom are going on to get PhDs and seed the next generation of scientists. There's a lot to look forward to.
Don't expect a revolution overnight. We are in this for the long haul, recognizing that it can take time for the truth to slip past the checkpoints that the Darwin lobby sets up to keep the public uninformed. In the end, though, I'm optimistic because the fundamentals of ID -- the science underlying the inference to design in nature -- are sound. The truth will win out, though it may tarry in doing so. Or to put it another way, the tide of ID is already well on its way in. We need to focus on telling people about it.