Science, Just Science

18 April 2007

Predictions Of Intelligent Design

Filed under: Creationism & Intelligent Design,SJS Comment — Kyuuketsuki @ 11:45 am

*** Originally posted by Chris Hyland of SJS ***

The DI points us to an article called The positive case for ID. The article claims to show that the concept of a designer leads to predictions that have been borne out by the evidence. While the predictions the article makes are indeed true, there are problems with each of them that mean they do not count as positive evidence for ID:

  • Natural structures will be found that contain many parts arranged in intricate patterns that perform a specific function (e.g. complex and specified information*).

This has been known for centuries in the case of anatomical features, and decades in the case of molecular features.

  • Forms containing large amounts of novel information** will appear in the fossil record suddenly and without similar precursors.

While palaeontologists do not agree with the ID proponents on their interpretation of the fossil record, the existence of apparent gaps was something that Darwin wrote about, and so is not new.

  • Convergence will occur routinely. That is, genes and other functional parts will be re-used in different and unrelated organisms.

Again convergence of anatomical features has been known for centuries and molecular features for many decades. This is perfectly well explained by the theory of evolution.

  •  Much so-called “junk DNA” will turn out to perform valuable functions.

This was known decades before the ID movement existed and even before the term Junk-DNA was coined.

The obvious problem here then is that none of these ‘predictions of ID’ were made before the information that confirmed then was widely available. Predictions in science involve predicting the outcome of an experiment or observation before you already have the data, therefore the DI’s ‘predictions’ are not predictions at all and are what is commonly referred to as ‘post-dictions’ or ‘predictions-after-the-events’, and do not count as positive evidence. Since ID proponents seem unwilling to perform any research, they are not likely to make any accurate predictions, and are left trying to guess the outcomes of other peoples work.

Furthermore no one has actually managed to calculate CSI for any biological structure, or give a method by which it may be calculated.

Note:
The article does not define what it means by ‘information’ in this case.

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