Friday, November 16, 2007

Intelligent Design On Trial

The PBS NOVA program has recently broadcast a program called “Intelligent Design On Trial” which was a documentary and re-enactment of the Dover School Board trial regarding whether Intelligent Design was science or religion. Naturally the outcome of the trial was a foregone conclusion because scientists are only exceeded in their close mindedness by University Professors. Nevertheless, it was interesting to watch because once again we are treated to the belief of scientists that if you can name something you understand it. Gravity being one of those things which everyone can observe, science has named it, and to a large extent it can be described operationally, but precisely what it is and how it works is not totally understood. Suppose I stated that gravity is simply an example of “Unity” where unity is the tendency of things – all things – to unite and to be drawn together and that this Unifying force could be applied to everything including people? Even though this is saying virtually the same thing as the Theory of Gravity, the challenges would be to prove that this unifying force even exists because magnets repel as well as attract, whereas gravity always attracts. The fact that no one really knows how magnetism or gravity operates or at what speed is simply ignored because it has been named and studied by science but Unity has not. This is a very simplistic analogy but it essentially describes how science operates -- no concepts not sanctioned by the scientific community are allowed.

The crux of this trial, which resembled the Salem Witch Trials, really revolved around Michael Behe (an addmitted religious man and thus guilty at the outset) and his postulation of the irreducible structure. Behe based his postulation on a flagellum which he has studied for most of his career. Essentially he stated that if any part of this simple organism was missing the flagellum wouldn’t work and the organism would die – ergo – it could not evolve. The trial lawyers offered a similar organism that looked similar but did not flagellate. Because these were similar in appearance they were cited as proof that the entire theory of an irreducible structure was wrong – not flawed – but wrong. Behe had used the simple mouse trap as a case in point –showing that if any part was removed it would not work. The scientists immediately disproved this analogy by showing they could remove the base plate and attach the remaining parts to the floor and it would work just as well. Of course this proof came from a Harvard professor so it was not surprising that he missed the point that the floor was simply a larger base plate. A less prestigious scientist attempting to recover from this logical failure, removed TWO parts of the mouse trap and demonstrated that it could now be used as a tie clip so the concept of an irreducible structure was wrong. What was ignored of course was that this was no longer a mouse trap but something totally different with a totally different functionality and purpose. The second attack rested on Behe’s statement that there is no scientific explanation for how the immune system developed. The lawyers jumped on this and produced a mountain of books written by prominent scientists explaining how the immune system MIGHT have developed. The fact that they offered scientific POSSIBLITIES was enough to prove intelligent design was wrong.

This has been the problem with evolution all along – scientists use words like could, may, might, and possibly but because the caveats are surrounded by technical jargon and are pinned to the coveted title of Professor, then no further proof is necessary. Things change but essentially remain the same -- academia is as much of a belief sysem as religion. Darwin never explained how species came to be and his seminal work “The Origin of Species” doesn’t address this at all but like all studies on Evolution it simply describes adaptation and none of the tests he described have been met yet science accepts Evolution as a fact and the scientists refuse to even consider any flaw much less and alternative.

The argument then progresses to the study of chromosomes and how in the process of reproduction chromosomes become damaged and the resulting organism is modified. This can be demonstrated in various examples of adaptation and is generally unchallenged. However, given this accepted fact, the scientists then show how the chromosome pattern for apes is telomere – centomere – telomere but for humans – who have one less chromosome it is telomere--centomere – telomere – centomere – telomere. The result is that humans have 23 chromosomes while apes have 24. This poses a rather interesting point and that is chimpanzees and humans cannot reproduce and this is a problem with most of these mutations – they are not all positive, the mutant does not always survive, and those that do may not be able to reproduce. So precisely how apes evolved into humans is really left unanswered and there is no proof one way or another that they did and really this is no different than intelligent design which cannot be proved either.

Of course this is the problem with the entire Theory of Evolution. Species come and species go and according to Darwin the losers could not adapt to changing conditions – fair enough and it seems logical that species change through adaptation, thus we have horses, donkeys, and zebras – but they are all the same species and thus capable of interbreeding. Dogs are an even better example of this kind of adaptation but at the end of the day they are all dogs and how one species becomes another remains unanswered. Another unanswered question is the explosion of life between the Pre-Cambrian and Cambrian. In the Pre-Cambrian the life forms were soft bodied animals like worms and pond scum but at the beginning of the Cambrian – the very beginning – we find an explosion of complex life forms like Trilobites complete with mouths, eyes, hard bodies and digestive tracts but no plausible explanation as to where these came from, how they evolved without leaving any trace of a predecessor or any transition fossil showing the development of the eye, mouth, foot, or hard shell -- so whatever it was WE KNOW it was random and not planned -- don't we?

The discussion branches off to the Big Bang and scientists KNOW that the Big Bang is a FACT and that all of the energy in the universe was initially contained in one teeny tiny dot, which instantaneously expanded into the universe as we know it. Where this teeny little dot came from is left unanswered, how long it existed before expanding no one knows, and since the big bang actually created SPACE where was this dot in the first place? Every proton, electron, and neutron in the universe is identical. In the chaos that followed the big bang we are told that these universal building blocks collided into each other and formed all of the elements and these elements combined to form planets, which then produced seas through other natural processes. The seas were filled with these random molecules which were bombarded with cosmic rays which created carbon atoms, which combined to from reproducible atoms that led to pond scum, then to humans and then to scientists and all of this was done through some sort of random process – there was never a plan it was all just an accident. God must be rolling with laughter at the sheer chutzpa of our scientific community.

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