Sunday, August 21, 2005

Aaargh!

In Explaining Life's Complexity, Darwinists and Doubters Clash, today's salvo from the Times, gets it wrong from the 5th word of the title! Atrios's quip yesterday "Shape of the Earth – Views Differ" is the perfect characterization for today's waste of trees.

The piece is an presentation of some of Behe's claims about the alleged "flaws" in evolution, balanced by scientists explaining how science works. It's the worst of bad science journalism.

Set aside the fact that there's no school of organized "Darwinists." Set aside the fact that Behe already trotted this nonsense out in the Times last February. Set aside that the Times itself criticized ID as intellectually vacuous on its editorial page, on its science page, and in other news stories.

The piece is too long, covers no new ground, and doesn't inform the public. Wilgoren's piece yesterday at least profiled the players.

Rather than presenting the IDC case, why not have a good science writer (I'm looking at you, Carl) write up a nice overview of the state of evolutionary biology?

Start with a clear statement of what evolution does and doesn't claim. Clarify that there's no moral or religious claim implicit in a statement of common descent. Then review the classes of evidence people examine. Talk about fossils and how they're studied. Talk about the advances in molecular technology and developmental biology. Then explain how the picture has changed in the last 10 years. Then point out that IDC's statements are all claims of a hole in our knowledge of X, Y, or Z, without offering a falsifiable claim about an alternative cause. That is to say, IDC offers neither a compelling theoretical framework nor compelling evidence against an existing framework.

Therefore, it's unscientific, and every scientist or philosopher of science who isn't employed or paid by DI says so.

End of story.

Besides, how does Mount Rushmore tell us anything about biology?

Instead, Kenneth Chang wastes vast swaths of the most valuable journalistic real estate in the world giving Michael Behe a sloppy blowjob. Forgive me for being disappointed.