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Biology Evolution Intelligent design/creationism Science Skepticism/critical thinking

Sigh. Sometimes anti-evolutionists are so tiresome

There are certain bloggers who can reliably be counted on to deliver the stupid. We’ve met several of them over the time this blog’s been in existence. One such blogger, the born again Christian named LaShawn Barber, has been particularly good at it, although we’ve only met her a couple of times before, likening the NAACP to the white nationalist teen duo Prussian Blue as a means of trolling and saying rather odd things about Ted Haggard. Those were bad enough, but now she’s even more out of her depth than usual as she decides to pontificate about something about which it is brain-fryingly obvious that she knows nothing.

Yes, she thinks she knows enough about evolution to criticize it. She even thinks she knows enough to call it a “delusion.” She’s wrong, of course:

One doesn’t have to believe in the God of the Bible to hold the view that life’s complexity is evidence of an intelligent agent. The idea that an undirected, random series of events caused something as wonderfully complex, specifically magnificent, and infinitely beautiful as life is, to put it mildly, ludicrous. Living things look designed because they were designed.

Here we go again. It’s the old argument from incredulity. Just because Barber can’t understand how evolution works, she finds it “ludicrous.” Far more ludicrous is her arrogance in thinking that, just because she can’t understand evolution, it must mean that a supernatural force did it. Then she further reveals her ignorance by asserting:

Contrary to common belief, ID is not a negative argument against naturalistic evolution. It’s a positive argument for an intelligent designer based on observing the same informational properties in nature that are found in human-designed structures.

Darwinian evolution proponents twist themselves in knots trying to explain how something as complex and information-rich as a DNA molecule, for example, was the result of random processes. Utterly ridiculous. Information implies intelligence.

No, LaShawn, it is you who are utterly ridiculous. This sort of argument just gets old. For one thing, you can repeat the mantra that ID is not a negative argument against evolution all you want, but that doesn’t make it so. That’s really all ID is. For another thing, I’d bet that Barber hasn’t the slightest clue what “information” is. Indeed, it would be hilarious to see her try to define the term in any scientifically meaningful way. In the context of her argument, she seems to be conflating “information” with “order.” She’s also parroting the usual antievolution crank arguments about DNA. I’m just glad she resisted the urge to use the same canards preferred by our favorite creationist neurosurgeon Dr. Michael Egnor, in which the metaphor of DNA as “language” is stated as if DNA actually were language. It’s not. True, her blathering about “information-rich DNA” is basically the same thing, but I’m grateful she refrained from using the word “language.” Finally, just because something “looks” designed doesn’t necessarily mean that it is.

And don’t get me started on the commenters in her post, who parrot the same old lies and distortion such as “evolution is a ‘just a theory'” and the usual cast of characters.

In fact, it’d be quite entertaining to see LaShawn tell us exactly what criteria should be used to determine if a biological structure is “designed.” Luminaries of “intelligent design” such as William Dembski and Michael Behe can’t do it. In fact, they assiduously avoid getting too specific and concrete, because if they did they might actually generate a testable hypothesis and that’s something they certainly don’t want to do. After all, ID might then be subject to falsification, and that its advocates cannot permit.

At least Barber’s honest about one thing. She clearly believes that God is the designer. Of course, so do virtually all prominent advocates of ID (the sole exception that I’m aware of being the Raelian cult). They’re just too dishonest to come out and say it.

By Orac

Orac is the nom de blog of a humble surgeon/scientist who has an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent's posterior about his copious verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few probably will. That surgeon is otherwise known as David Gorski.

That this particular surgeon has chosen his nom de blog based on a rather cranky and arrogant computer shaped like a clear box of blinking lights that he originally encountered when he became a fan of a 35 year old British SF television show whose special effects were renowned for their BBC/Doctor Who-style low budget look, but whose stories nonetheless resulted in some of the best, most innovative science fiction ever televised, should tell you nearly all that you need to know about Orac. (That, and the length of the preceding sentence.)

DISCLAIMER:: The various written meanderings here are the opinions of Orac and Orac alone, written on his own time. They should never be construed as representing the opinions of any other person or entity, especially Orac's cancer center, department of surgery, medical school, or university. Also note that Orac is nonpartisan; he is more than willing to criticize the statements of anyone, regardless of of political leanings, if that anyone advocates pseudoscience or quackery. Finally, medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.

To contact Orac: [email protected]

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