The Intelligent Design Underground and Other Reflections

Since Brian Miller is here at PS, let’s discuss his recent EVN piece.

@bjmiller, I’d like to see how you justify this. I’ve looked at this data, including the examples you cite. This fits perfectly the expectation of evolution. Why would you think any different? Do you even know what the expectations are?


At the lay level, Miller’s article rings true. A surprising number of atheists and agnostics I talk to don’t believe in the evolutionary account of man’s origin.

That mirrors my experience with random people too. It turns out that in every case, though, they’ve never really looked at the evidence for evolution and couldn’t even explain any single piece of it if asked. So their default is to not believe in something they’ve never studied themselves and have barely heard about. They’ve never looked into it, and forgot everything they were taught (if they even were) in biology class as kids or in high school.

Even in my own case, though I became an atheist in my mid twenties, I hadn’t looked into the question of human origins until several years later, and before that I couldn’t tell you the slightest thing about the evidence for evolution besides perhaps having heard about the fossil record. I think that’s about the level most laypeople (whether atheists or not) who aren’t engaged in this debate are familiar with the subject, that is to say somewhere between extremely superficially and not at all.

I’m moving on from biology because I’m burned out and just don’t care anymore so I don’t really read evolution news anymore but it’s not surprising that most of their top ten stories of the year is work they didn’t even do. It’s like that every year. That’s so frustrating.

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I read the article. It’s the usual steaming pile of misunderstandings, misrepresentations, and outright falsehoods about evolutionary theory. Followed by the usual request for money.

From the article:

Rarity of proteins confirmed : Numerous studies have demonstrated that typical proteins found in nature represent sequences of amino acids that are so rare they could never be generated through evolutionary processes.

This is a flat out falsehood. There is no scientific evidence anywhere which shows amino acids couldn’t have come about through evolutionary processes. Notice there are no links to the actual scientific literature, just links to other EN&V stories making the same unsupported claim.

Pattern of similarities : Similarities and differences among species are distributed across taxonomic groups in a pattern that is highly inconsistent with evolutionary expectations.

Another falsehood unsupported with any scientific evidence.

Genetic analysis of evolution : The most rigorous studies on the genetic basis for evolution demonstrate that most beneficial adaptations are the result of the degrading or the disabling of genes.

Finally a true statement but so? Science has known for 70 years evolution works by modifying existing structures. When the environment changes newly modified structures can work better than their ancestral forms. It doesn’t matter if the ancestral forms are “broken” since they’re no longer beneficial. Why Miller thinks this is a problem for evolution is unknown.



Perhaps you are just the right person to ask!

I am hoping you have seen the emergence of two separate themes here at @PeacefulScience.Org:

One theme acknowledges God’s role as designer of the Cosmos and all its works! Virtually all Christian participants here accept this role, even the Christians who support Evolutionary theory.

The second, more controversial theme is that God’s role as designer is somehow discernible by scientific method.

BJ, would you agree that between the two themes, the first is by far the more impoetant one?

Indeed. There is a massive amount of evidence that falsifies it, and every attempt they make to support it requires cherry-picking and ignoring most of the evidence.

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It’d be interesting to see links to this evidence.

My takeaway from reading the constant “IDist proves standard evolution claim X is wrong” -> “PS claims everyone already knows X is wrong, but that doesn’t falsify evolution” here is that high school biology class is a very bad source for evolutionary theory. Perhaps that’s the main reason most people don’t believe evolutionary theory, and so we should revamp the high school curriculum.

I’ve already provided them to @agauger, but here are >5000 just in a single, 32-year-old area:

Pubmed is quite convenient that way. Using this term actually searches for:
“antibodies, catalytic”[MeSH Terms] OR (“antibodies”[All Fields] AND “catalytic”[All Fields]) OR “catalytic antibodies”[All Fields] OR “abzyme”[All Fields]

It would be interesting to get your opinion on the logical proposition that someone claiming a global negative would have an intellectual and ethical duty to have made an extensive effort to be familiar with all the relevant evidence.

Would you say that @bjmiller and @agauger have done so with respect to their global negative claims?

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People are working on that, and today’s high-school students appear to be less confused.

But why don’t you accept (“believe” is a poor semantic choice) evolutionary theory?

I was struck by this paragraph from the article:

Equally exciting, members of our scientific community have used the design intuition to guide their research. As a result, they have made several key discoveries that have been published or will soon be published in prominent research journals. Naturally, they have not directly connected their research to the conclusion of intelligent design — this is to avoid the inevitable censorship and other consequences that would have followed. Nevertheless, they have added to the growing body of knowledge pointing in that direction.

For years I’ve been asking ID advocates to name what they consider to be the most important scientific discoveries brought about by “ID theory”. And because robust scientific theories involve predictions which can be tested, I’ve asked about the predictions made by ID theory which led to those important scientific discoveries. The aforementioned article excerpt appears to claim that such ID predictions and resulting “important scientific discoveries” do indeed exist—but that they can’t be named because of “the inevitable censorship and other consequences that would have followed.”

Seriously?? Am I to believe that ID advocates have finally used ID theory to produce “important scientific discoveries” but they can’t even be safely mentioned in Brian Miller’s article or anywhere on the Discovery Institute website? (Or did the ID scientists simply have very general “design intuitions” which motivate their pursuit of science, just as Francis Collins and Kenneth Miller have theologically-related intuitions?) Are we to believe that these alleged successful predictions and scientific discoveries must be kept disassociated from “ID theory” and the Discovery Institute helping to keep them secret—and is not shouting them from the housetops? (Apparently, Brian Miller knows of these important discoveries but hasn’t told us how he became aware of them nor how the associated network of secrecy has been maintained.)

Logically, if these are truly “important scientific discoveries” which can survive the scrutiny of peer-review, I don’t understand why there is any risk. After all, everybody knows that biologists like Francis Collins and Kenneth Miller believe that their scientific research is the study of God’s creation and that they expect to see the Creator’s handiwork in the biological world. Yet I don’t see that getting in the way of their scholarly publishing nor their prestige within the science academy. And if there truly is unjustified suspicions towards ID advocates within the scientific community, isn’t the publication of “important scientific discoveries” based upon “design intuitions” or ID theory the best way to address that problem?

Let’s suppose that such ID predictions and significant scientific breakthroughs exist just as Brian Miller described them. Will such alleged successes continue to be kept secret? I would suggest that Peaceful Science could be a good place to disclose these important discoveries—that is, after the associated peer-reviewed papers are published. And if those publications are truly sound and compelling, I’ll be among the first to help publicize their significance.


Playing the poor persecuted victim card is a tactic the IDers swiped directly from the YECs. They have all this gobs and gobs of evidence and tons of professional scientist supporters but none will speak up for fear of being “EXPELLED”. :smile:

It’s even funnier since the DI has its own vanity “science” journal Bio-Complexity. Somehow this new ID verifying evidence is so sooper dooper ultra top secret even the DI won’t publish it. :slightly_smiling_face:


@EricMH Stay away from the high school curriculum. :sunglasses:

No actually the main reason is that they’re brought up to be religious by their parents before they are old enough to think critically. And are told for decades on end that accepting evolution leads to Hitler, Communist gulags, pedophilia, eugenics, abortion, drugs, and so on and so forth. That’s it really.

The greatest predictor of resistance to evolution acceptance is, consistenly across borders, states, countries and continents, and econimic backgrounds, religiosity.

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I’m not sure that is true. Evolutionary theory makes some pretty surprising and tall claims. There are many people who doubt it for non-religious reasons.

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Rofl. No there isn’t.

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We’ve had some of them come through here. Usually we assume they are religious, till we find out they are not. Evolutionary science is strong, and I agree with its conclusions. Let’s not forget that its claims are amazing too, even if they are true.

To put this in context, there are plenty of theories in science that some atheists reject because those theories make quite extraordinary and counter-intuitive claims. I am sure that an internet search could find atheists that reject special relativity, quantum mechanics, heliocentrism, and the Big Bang theory. Incredulity and scientific ignorance can be found in all groups of humans, including atheists.

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