Behe & 39 Scientific Arguments
Written By: Wendell Krossa
As I finish the book I am intrigued by Behe’s arguments. He notes that Darwin stated: ‘If it could be demonstrated than any complex organ existed which could not possibly have been formed by numerous successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down’. Behe then shows several (blood clotting, flagella, etc.) and says there are many more. He continues to argue that intelligent design is not a religious position but an empirical one. In another Appendix he looks at science and its methodology. He has issues with naturalism and the refusal to consider any other alternative if it is not ‘natural’.
Another comment: ‘evidence of common descent is not evidence of natural selection’
He then tackles falsifiability. For this he looks at an experiment done by Kenneth Miller (and Doolittle- some protein thing- again there is intelligent design in the experiment with the inclusion of a chemical inducer IPTG). His argument is that design is falsifiable but what the experiment really falsified was Darwinism. It did not falsify Intelligent Design. ‘Darwinism seems quite impervious to falsification’. When the results turned out to be the opposite of what he had originally thought, Professor Doolittle did not abandon Darwinism’.
Meyer then continues with the methodology of naturalist science- ‘Throughout the twentieth century those attempting to defend naturalistic evolutionary theories from challenge by any non-naturalistic origins theories have often invoked various norms of scientific practice. These norms have typically been derived from the philosophy of science, most particularly from the logical positivists’ (the religious element entering here). He continues that the methodological yardsticks or demarcation criteria (separation of science from religion) are deficient in that they can be deployed with equal warrant against strictly naturalistic evolutionary theories. ‘Indeed, a body of literature now exists devoted to assessing whether neo-Darwinism with its distinctively probabilistic and historical dimensions, is scientific when measured against various conceptions of science’. This is serious stuff.
Karl Popper the father of logical positivism once declared Darwinism un-testable and a ‘metaphysical research program’. He later revised this assessment. Apparently, the whole enterprise of demarcation has now fallen into disrepute.
I am seeing now that both Darwinism and Creationism are creationist viewpoints. Both are religious. Only Darwinism tries to find cover under naturalism and pretend to be science. Let me interject that there is still a very useful distinction here between naturalism and the old supernaturalism. No one is taking this down.
Both Creationism and Darwinism are indeed views of creation. Darwinism as strict naturalism just limits its explanation to the naturalist viewpoint and refuses to include intelligence. It then ends up with an un-provable thesis and refuses falsifiability (signs of dogmatic commitment to belief).
It would appear that if traditional creationists would adapt and accept more historically recent discoveries such as long time frames then they may have more evidence in the end than Darwinism.
But lest I leave confusion- we still need the separation for science to be workable as a discovery of material functions thing. Why not then let all this other debate continue but in another arena clearly demarcated from simple ‘how it works’ science. Simple description is desirable to explanation. Keep the explanation elsewhere. I realize Behe argues against this.
Naturalist Darwinism provides no supporting evidence and it has been falsified. It appears to be very much a religious-like belief. And can intelligence be demarcated out of the picture? There are lots of unanswered questions here.
It is good to see the challenge to the consensus going on here. It has exposed some very religious like fundamentalism in this evolutionary viewpoint.
One alternative- As DNA unfolds a single biological organism (and no one knows how this mystery works- what sets off genes at different stages), but as it does this on the individual level, so maybe it does over history- unfolding new stages of life and new advances to new forms. This is just speculating. So many times we find in the microcosm an example of the larger flow of life. This, of course, accepts design at the start, but why exclude it along the way? Maybe Behe is right