Maybe there's hope for the Huffington Post after all

In the cause of going back to blogging about topics less controversial than the alleged thimerosal-autism connection or dubious Nazi analogies and the people who love them, I note that there is actually a nice article by Michael Shermer on intelligent design at the Huffington Post. An excerpt:
Since the U.S. Constitution prohibits public schools from promoting any particular brand of religion, this has led to the oxymoronic movement known as “Intelligent Design” (ID) where ID (aka God) miraculously intervenes just in the places where science has yet to offer a comprehensive explanation for a particular phenomenon. ID used to control the weather, but now that we have a science of meteorology He has moved on to more obdurate problems, such as the origins of DNA or the evolution of cellular structures such as the flagellum. Once these problems are mastered then ID will presumably find even more intractable conundrums. Thus, IDers would have us teach students that when science cannot fully explain something we should look no further and declare that “ID did it.” I fail to see how this is science. “ID did it” makes for a rather short lab lecture.

By contrast, a scientist would want to know how ID did it. Did ID use known principles of chemical bonding and self-organization to create the first DNA molecule? If so, then ID appears indistinguishable from nature. Is this the God IDers worship? No. IDers want a supernatural God who uses unknown forces to create life. But what will IDers do when science discovers those forces? If they join in the research on them then they will be doing science. If they continue to eschew all attempts to provide a naturalistic explanation for the natural phenomena under question, IDers will have abandoned science altogether. This is, in fact, what they have done.
Isn't this what I've been saying all along? If God did create it all, that would not change the desire of real scientists to figure out as much as they can understand about how He did it.


  1. That's been my experience with the Huffington Post. Some really good stuff, and some really bad stuff, and some stuff that it's hard to imagine anyone cares about. I get the impression that there is either minimal editorial control, or none at all.

    Articles are chosen as much by the star power of the author as by quality, content, or relevance.

    Personally, I think that's fine, so long as the reader knows that is how the site is produced.

  2. I finally got to watch Dr. Shermer "debate" Kent Hovind yesterday. It was funny, but frustrating at the same time. Like you say, ID and nature should be indiscernible from one antother. This is where I think a lot of normal people get confused.

  3. Go to any chidren's hospital and check out the kids dying of dread diseases, the kids who can't even be diagnosed, and the kids born with genetic defects that used to kill them but now will just haunt them for the rest of their lives. Where's the "Intelligence" in Intelligent Design?

    I think that attibuting the biology of this crazy world to the intentional design Almighty is blasphemy all by itself.
    - precision blogger

  4. The above comment reminds me of a somewhat elegant comment Sir David Attenborough once made in an interview during a biographical piece on him:

    'My response is that when Creationists talk about God creating every individual species as a separate act, they always instance hummingbirds, or orchids, sunflowers and beautiful things. But I tend to think instead of a parasitic worm that is boring through the eye of a boy sitting on the bank of a river in West Africa, that's going to make him blind. And I ask, 'Are you telling me that the God you believe in, who you also say is an all-merciful God, who cares for each one of us individually, are you saying that God created this worm that can live in no other way than in an innocent child's eyeball? Because that doesn't seem to me to coincide with a God who's full of mercy'.

  5. That's the most eloquent and pithy critiques of ID I've ever seen. Outstanding!

  6. I may have been too quick to let up on the Huffington Post. There's a whole load of antivaccination stuff over there again....

  7. Orac: - you gave Hpost too much credit. The new posts are horrible - I await your repsonse to them.

  8. You'll have it on Monday!


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