Tuesday, April 11, 2006

On contradictory claims

ID advocates confuse me at times. They spend a great deal of effort insisting that ID was a novel idea in the '80s that has nothing to do with creationism. On the other hand they'll insist that the concept wasn't invented in the '80s but has a long history.

The problem is that the concept of design which goes back to Aristotle has been rejected by science, while the concept that emerged in the '80s is indistinguishable in its claims from the scientific creationism which preceded it, or the Biblical literalism which preceded that. Either option is bad for ID creationism.

If it actually did emerge as a novel idea in the '80s, that would be much, much better for them. That's how scientific ideas tend to work. Someone thinks of something new, then tests the idea. If it works, more people jump in.

But ID is a very old idea, and the arguments in its favor today are indistinguishable from those advanced by WIlliam Paley 200 years ago. And it's easy to read Darwin's Origin as a response and refutation of the natural theology of his age. Dredging up a rejected idea and slapping a new coat of paint on it is not science, and it's barely thoughtful.