Friday, October 06, 2006

So, Is Intelligent Design Science? Is Evolution Science?

Actually, it is, pace Robert Miller (First Things), Fr. Fessio (Ave Maria U.) and several others who have fiddled with the definition of Science to conform to Political Correctness.

So states a friend who sent along his paper on the matter. The friend, Tom Phillips, holds TWO degrees in science (BA Bio and MS Educ Psych) and is a fairly rigorous thinker. He has a lot of fun with Miller (who holds no science degrees.)

On Miller, Tom starts by quoting Dr. Witt, Director/Prof, Physics, at the German Federal Institute of Technology:

The Laws of nature are based on experience. It is often asserted that the laws of nature are proved theorems, but we have to emphasize that the laws of nature cannot be proved! They are only identified and formulated through observation…We affirm: the laws of nature are nothing more than empirical statements. They cannot be proved, but they are nevertheless valid. The fundamental law of the conservation of energy is a case in point. It has never been proved, because it is just as unprovable as all other laws of nature. So why is it universally valid? Answer: Because it has been shown to be true in millions of experiences with reality. It has survived all real tests.

Phillips then states:

Not only is the expression of each scientific law a product of logical inference and intelligent design, but the universal or “necessary” aspect of all such laws is itself the product of “logical necessity.”

Miller's fundamental error was to define "science" but in so doing, to exclude 'the scientist,' man (as both subject of science and as scientist.) Hence:

Miller claims, “Intelligent Design theorists posit an intelligent designer…[and] do not explain by reference to generalizations that are necessarily true.” In fact, ID theorists do exactly...what scientists do in claiming that laws are universal: ID theorists draw “logically necessary” conclusions based upon generalized experience

Phillips goes on to demonstrate that ID theorists utilize the scientific laws of probability (inter alia) to make their case. With specific reference to proteins, Phillips cites a heavyweight who frankly thinks that the "evolutionists" are on very thin ice:

Nobel laureate Francis Crick, co-discoverer of the DNA molecule, calculated nature’s chances of randomly producing just one small protein: 1 chance in 10 to the 260th power.[i] 10 to the 260th power is a 1 followed by 260 zeros, an incredibly huge number. Crick reminds us there are only 10 to the 80th power atoms in the whole universe![ii] And he concluded that even the elementary components of life “cannot have arisen by pure chance." [i] Dr. Francis Crick, Life Itself (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1981), p 51.

Looks like the ice is 1/10 to the 260th power thin...

But there are others who share Crick's view, using somewhat different calculations:

Nobel laureate and mathematician Emile Borel stated that an event will never happen in the whole universe when the odds are less than 1 in 10 to the 50th power.[i]

Sir Fred Hoyle, the famous astrophysicist, calculated nature’s chances of randomly producing a special set of proteins, the 2000 enzymes necessary for life: 1 chance in 10 to the 40,000 power.[ii] He states: “The Darwinian theory of evolution is shown to be plainly wrong,”[iii] and concludes: “Life cannot have had a random beginning[iv]...but must have come from a cosmic intelligence.”[v]

Nobel laureate Ernst Chain, who won the Nobel Prize for his penicillin research, said: To postulate that the development and survival of the fittest is entirely a consequence of chance mutations seems to me a hypothesis based on no evidence and irreconcilable with the facts.[vi]

Nobel laureate Albert Einstein said, “I want to know how God created this world.”[vii]

Einstein knew the universe didn’t happen by chance. He famously said, “God does not play dice with the universe.” And he also said, “The more I study science the more I believe in God.”[viii]

[ii] Sir Fred Hoyle, Evolution from Space: A Theory of Cosmic Creationism (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1981), p 24. Hoyle further said that the chance that life forms might have emerged in this way is comparable with the chance that “a tornado sweeping through a junk-yard might assemble a Boeing 747 from the materials therein.” --Nature, Nov 12, 1981, p 105.

[vi] Ernst Chain, as quoted in Francis Hitching’s article, “Was Darwin Wrong?”, Life, Apr 1982, p 50. Ernst Chain’s quote continues as follows: “These classical evolutionary theories are a gross oversimplification of an immensely complex and intricate mass of facts and it amazes me that they are swallowed so uncritically and readily, and for such a long time, by so many scientists without a murmur of protest.”

The rest of Tom's paper can be made available--but this was the easy part to understand.

To re-state briefly: ID is, in fact, "science," and evolution is, in fact, speculation against all odds and probability.

1 comment:

Amy said...

If you want to read a good debunking of evolution as "hard science", read Ann Coulter's Godless. She devotes a large chunk of the book to thoroughly comparing ID to evolution, while completely trashing the arguments of evolution-only devotees.