Posted: Jun 07, 2014 9:19 pm
by Bob@RealScienceRadio
As I go through the posts in this thread, there are so many that bring up such big and important issues, as with byofrcs.

byofrcs wrote:The problem with Dawkins' use... and the creationists use of design is that no one can tell the difference between a design that has been evolved and a design that has been created manually. ... they are unable to show how you can tell the difference.

Hello byofrcs! Both sides have long offered their methods of demarcation. Perhaps like you, I've been reading mainstream evolutionary work for decades, since the 1970s for me, and reading Dawkins specifically along with creationist writings since the 80s, and the "old-earth" ID movement since the 90s. The Darwinist camp offers a philosophical, and the ID camp provides a mathematical method of demarcation.

For decades Dawkins has joined in with anti-creationist long-time president of the Nat'l Ctr for Sci Education, Eugenie Scott, and the wider Darwin community, by making a philosophical argument against design. Essentially, their claim is: An all-wise designer *would not* make certain design decisions, like our retina wiring, or pseudogenes (aka junk DNA). For their part, the ID movement has provided a mathematical definition for discerning intentional design, as in their little book by Dembski & Witt, Intelligent Design Uncensored (after that brief read I interviewed one of the authors).

Notice that Dawkins, Scott, et al., do not provide a scientific rebuttal to design but they offer a philosophical (theological) argument: That God wouldn't have done it that way. No good designer would fill his design with junk and wire things backwards. Much of the primary evidence offered up as conclusively showing bad design (badly wired retina, useless dna, etc.) has already turned out to be an argument from ignorance. For researchers have found more and more important functions in the alleged poor design.

Back in the 1990s, I debated Eugenie Scott (good friend of physicist Lawrence Krauss) for an hour on national TV, and I repeatedly asked her for evidence for the evolution of higher biological function (flight, circulatory system, vision system, echolocation, whatever). She eventually offered an argument: Junk DNA. (That wasn't responsive to my request, but at least it was something.) We still sell the DVD of that debate, and occasionally we play the audio on the radio, when I, the young earth talk show host, said to Eugenie that genetic science is still in its infancy, and we don't have enough knowledge to proclaim that most of the genome has no function. She disagreed. Who was correct? The leading anti-creationist scientist, or the Bible believer?

Even Richard Dawkins now agrees that there is function throughout the genome where the Darwinists worldwide were saying that it was non-functional junk that falsified creation and was great evidence for evolution. He's now accepting the science on this, yes, but in an expression of a zero concession policy, hasn't admitted that his side (the evolutionists) had gotten this very wrong, and instead, he pretends that this new knowledge is just what the Darwinists always had hoped for.

In 2009:
Richard Dawkins wrote:
It stretches even their creative ingenuity to make a convincing reason why an intelligent designer should have created a pseudogene -- a gene that does absolutely nothing and gives every appearance of being a superannuated version of a gene that used to do something -- unless he was deliberately setting out to fool us. p. 332.

And on the next page:
Richard Dawkins wrote:Leaving pseudogenes aside, it is a remarkable fact that the greater part (95 percent in the case of humans) of the genome might as well not be there, for all the difference it makes. p. 333.

(I'm a fundamentalist Christian pastor and I had been ahead of Dawkins on this for more than a decade.)

Fast-forward to 2012:

Richard Dawkins wrote:I have noticed that there are some creationists who are jumping on [the ENCODE results of apparent 90%+ genome functionality]... Quite the contrary it's exactly what a Darwinist would hope for... Whereas we thought that only a minority of the genome was doing something... [the majority] ...had previously been written off as junk.

byofrcs, it's not just that they had "thought" there wasn't function. Rather, they had trumpeted the genome being full of junk as powerful evidence for evolution (which being unguided, could be expected to leave a mess everywhere) and against a Designer (who, philosophically they claimed, would never fill His work with junk).

When he makes this bad design argument (as with pseudogenes, or the retina, or the plica semilunaris as in my debate with that Univ of Calif professor), Dawkins' risk is that there is an army of anatomists and geneticists who then turn their attention to such things. And just as has happened with about 100 claimed vestigial organs in humans, they find that this stuff is fully functional and so amazingly well designed that it sends chills up the spine of even thousands of scientists.