Jon Beckwith wrote:
>   I really liked H. Allen Orr's (an evolutionist) article on ID a 
>couple of years ago in the New Yorker.

If the article below is the one referred to, I hope my comments 
(inserted) will clarify IDT, concluding it's largely OK as far as it 
goes but amounts to very little.  More importantly I wish to 
encourage investigation of the limitations of neoDarwinism.  IDT 
keeps marching on the initial step in showing where neoDarwinism is 
limited; but it's not much use to keep marching on the spot injust 
one footprint made (by Paley) in 1802.



>   by H. ALLEN ORR

>   Why intelligent design isn't.
>   Issue of 2005-05-30


>I.D. is not Biblical literalism.  Unlike earlier generations of 
>creationists  -  the so-called Young Earthers and scientific 
>creationists  -  proponents of intelligent design do not believe 
>that the universe was created in six days, that Earth is ten 
>thousand years old, or that the fossil record was deposited during 
>Noah's flood.

	How could Orr know what they believe on these issues?
	Main IDTer Phil Johnson (a polemical lawyer and main 
strategist of the ill-conceived 'wedge' strategy) refuses to tell me 
how old thinks the Earth is.  Behe, a Roman Catholic, presumably 
believes according to RC doctrines (which are pretty sensible to my 
mind).  Dembski, so far as I'm aware, never answers q's about the 
nature, or even number, of designer(s).   There is no reason to 
believe that IDTers all or nearly all believe any one answer to each 
of these respective q's.

>  (Indeed, they shun the label "creationism" altogether.)  Nor does 
>I.D. flatly reject evolution: adherents freely admit that some 
>evolutionary change occurred during the history of life on Earth. 
>Although the movement is loosely allied with, and heavily funded by, 
>various conservative Christian groups  -  and although I.D. plainly 
>maintains that life was created  -  it is generally silent about the 
>identity of the creator.

	This should read 'creator(s)'  -  i.e the Christians and 
Judaists among them are failing to admit to main doctrines of their 
religions, starting with the First Commandment.  Hard-core IDTers, 
notably Dembski, refuse to say anything about the designer(s); they 
merely harp on the inference of design, waiting for Dawkins etc to 
admit it.  They have a long wait in store, with such radically 
illogical operatives as Dawkins.


>   by 1940 or so most agreed that natural selection was a key force 
>driving this evolution.

	Natural selection is actually claimed only to narrow the 
variance among the mutants, selecting against the less fit.   This 
fails to explain the emergence of new taxa, let alone their 
cooperation in ecology.  As a mechanism for evolution neoDarwinism is 
drastically incomplete, but has unfortunately become gravely 
entangled in metaphysical disputes.  NeoDarwinism, when claimed to 
explain evolution fully, is the biggest con-trick in intellectual 

>  Who says those thirty flagellar proteins weren't present in 
>bacteria long before bacteria sported flagella?  They may have been 
>performing other jobs in the cell and only later got drafted into 
>flagellum-building.  Indeed, there's now strong evidence that 
>several flagellar proteins once played roles in a type of molecular 
>pump found in the membranes of bacterial cells.

	Orr is either ignorant or dishonest on this point.  The 
'molecular pump' he mentions, more precisely known as the TTSS, is 
hundreds of millions of years newer than the flagellum.  Its function 
is to inject pathogens thru higher-cell membranes which didn't exist 
for most of the aeons that bacteria have been squirting flagellin 
along their hollow flagella using the basal structure from which the 
TTSS presumably evolved.


>  because subsequent evolution builds on this addition, a part that 
>was at first just advantageous might become essential. As this 
>process is repeated through evolutionary time, more and more parts 
>that were once merely beneficial become necessary. This idea was 
>first set forth by H. J. Muller, the Nobel Prize-winning geneticist, 
>in 1939, but it's a familiar process in the development of human 
We add new parts like global-positioning systems to cars not because 
they're necessary but because they're nice.

	Those who claim evolution is blind, unplanned, not designed, 
cannot validly use this analogy with technology which is planned.

>  It's important to see that this process is thoroughly Darwinian: 
>each change might well be small and each represents an improvement.

	This is Broom's strong charge against Dawkins  -  the swindle 
of assuming 'improvement' in creation of mutants when pretending that 
the process is random & blind.

>  The other leading theorist of the new creationism, William A. 
>Dembski, holds a Ph.D. in mathematics, another in philosophy, and a 
>master of divinity in theology.  He has been a research professor in 
>the conceptual foundations of science at Baylor University, and was 
>recently appointed to the new Center for Science and Theology at 
>Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.  (He is a longtime senior 
>fellow at the Discovery Institute as well.)  Dembski publishes at a 
>staggering pace.  His books - including "The Design Inference," 
>"Intelligent Design," "No Free Lunch," and "The Design Revolution" - 
>are generally well written and packed with provocative ideas.

	I disagree; I'd call them suspiciously verbose & obscure.

>  Dembski's arguments have been met with tremendous enthusiasm in the 
>I.D. movement. In part, that's because an innumerate public is 
>easily impressed by a bit of mathematics. Also, when Dembski is 
>wielding his equations, he gets to play the part of the hard 
>scientist busily correcting the errors of those soft-headed 
>biologists. (Evolutionary biology actually features an 
>extraordinarily sophisticated body of mathematical theory, a fact 
>not widely known because neither of evolution's great popularizers - 
>Richard Dawkins and the late Stephen Jay Gould - did much math.)

	Can it really be claimed that Dembski did much math, either?

>  Organisms aren't trying to match any "independently given pattern": 
>evolution has no goal, and the history of life isn't trying to get 

	It is good to have this slogan spelt out;  Orr should make 
clear that it's a statement of faith, an axiom, rather than a fact.

>  Darwinism is one of the best theories in the history of science: it 
>has produced countless important experiments (let's re-create a 
>natural species in the lab - yes, that's been done)

	Again Orr is either drastically ignorant or dishonest. 
Nothing remotely approaching the (re)creation of a natural sp in the 
lab has been achieved, even by big-time businessman J Celera Venter 
who declared a few y ago that he was setting out to do it.


>  the idea that Darwinism is yoked to atheism, though popular, is also wrong.

	This is a confusing statement.  Prominent Christian 
biologists e.g J E Morton, less prominent such e.g myself, and the 
whole church of Rome, have found Darwinism to be fully consistent 
with monotheism.  The problem arises when Dawkins, L Wolpert, S 
Weinberg, etc claim that (neo)Darwinism fully explains the creation 
of spp. and generally obviates religion.  This pose is possible only 
by studious ignoring of 2 of the 4 causes.  One of my reasons for 
spotlighting that lacuna in their discourse is my repeated experience 
that as soon as the concept 'final cause' (a technical term defined 
in previous posts) is mentioned, the most savage personal insults are 
forthcoming from militant atheists who had, up to that time, been 
behaving in the manner of philosophers.  Today's trendy atheists not 
only refuse to acknowledge final & formal causes but regularly cut up 
ugly as soon as either is mentioned.  The extreme rabidity of their 
refusals to acknowledge these concepts is highly significant.  They 
are right in that materialism can suffice only within a philosophy 
which acknowledges material cause and efficient cause  -  the two 
categories addressed by science  -  but imposes a crude scientism by 
denying the other two causes.  This amounts to a modern version of 
denying metaphysics  -  not novel, but please do note how these 
scientism proponents behave when challenged by Big Ari's Four Causes 
(updated by Morton).

>  Pope John Paul II himself acknowledged, in a 1996 address to the 
>Pontifical Academy of Sciences, that new research "leads to the 
>recognition of the theory of evolution as more than a hypothesis."

	Right on J P.  On the level of fact, evolution is proven. 
What is in dispute is whether neoDarwinism provides a full 
explanation  -  a full ascription of causes  -  for evolution.  The 
sequence of ecosystems over 4By, and even more importantly the 
coherence of ecology at those successive times, requires final 
cause(s).  That point, well made by Paley (tho' he forgot to 
explicate that the watch is running when found), is exactly the point 
of IDT today.  It's OK, but let's keep moving, can we, IDTers?


>Intelligent design has come this far by faith.

	- and so too has the atheistic version of Darwinism so 
crudely asserted by Dawkins.
	The only question is where you will place your faith.  It is 
not possible to live without faith.  To take up Orr's word in his 
title, the main devolution this past half-century has been the 
emergence of aggressive crude atheists masquerading as intellectually 
	In pointing out this dismal state of intellectual stagnation, 
I grieve for the once-strong the tradition exemplified by my hero Wm 
Temple (Abp of Canty d. 1944) whose 'Nature Man and God' (the Gifford 
Lectures 1932-33) conducts natural theology  -  i.e with no recourse 
to special revelation, with a scrupulous fairness hard to find today.
	Spare a thought, youse marxists, for a scientist within the 
Anglican church who wants his main men e.g Abp of Canty to speak up 
on behalf of the intellectual tradition sketched Temple - Sir Alister 
Hardy - Darwin - Grosseteste - Aquinas  -  Big Ari.  Each of these 
geniuses made serious mistakes, but at least they acknowledged The 
Four Causes in careful attempts to think properly. ( Sheldrake is my 
pick for the next in that list.)   This intellectual tradition has 
nothing to say today at any high rank of Temple's church; they're too 
preoccupied with fanatical attention-craving campaigns for 
legitimising homosexuality.
	When Temple attained the no. 2 position, Abp of York (from 
which position he was to toss off, as if an elegant hobby, those 
monumental Gifford lectures), that keen atheist Shaw said what a 
pleasant surprise that the most intelligent man in England was being 
promoted to such high rank.
	These are all scholars willing to discuss metaphysics 
politely  -  as marxists turn out not to be.