I’ve committed the unpardonable sin several times of criticizing other ID proponents publicly, but when I think claims or methods need to be challenged, I feel obligated to speak out because I find myself contesting certain ways the ID argument is presented when I make presentations about ID and/or special creation.
The conflicts are over the relevance of the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics, Information Theory, Specified Complexity, Conservation of Information, Framing Probability Arguments, and whether ID is science.
Many ID proponents and creationists privately concede the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics is not an argument against the evolution biological organization. If I asked sophomore chemistry, physics, and mechanical engineering students to use standard molar entropy tables, they can demonstrate a living human has MORE entropy than a frozen dead rat. Thus, it is silly to argue that somehow lowering entropy is a requirement for making complex biological systems. There are many cases the opposite is necessary! Nuff’ said…
AE Wilder-Smith in his famous debate with Richard Dawkins introduced the idea of chemicals plus information are necessary for the origin of life. Generations of ID proponents and creationists have equivocated, confused, and muddled the issue with conflicting definitions of information ever since Wilder-Smith, and the outcome has had mixed results.
Contrast Wilder-Smith’s arguments with how James Tour (620 peer-reviewed articles, 77,000+ citations) argues against natural origin of life. He doesn’t need information theory!
Worse, consider the following simple example of design in the arrangement of dominoes standing up. If I asked why is this arrangement of dominoes likely designed based on ID information theory arguments, Specified Complexity, Conservation of Information, one will quickly realize all ID information theory arguments confuse the issue at best. Simpler arguments based on expectation and law-of-large-numberESQUE arguments will suffice.
Ask yourself, if one can’t even apply Specified Complexity, Conservation of Information Arguments, to trivial designs like dominoes, how can these arguments be persuasive to much more involved designs like that in the Origin of Life, Zinc Fingers and Nuclear Localizations Signals in Eukaryotes? Eeesh! More mathematical theatrics does not make an argument better. Substance rather than theatrics is better.
The way to frame probability arguments so as to avoid the claims of after-the-fact-Texas sharpshooter fallacies needs to be addressed more. It can be done, but not enough has been done on this…
ID proponents do not serve their cause well, imho, by saying, “ID is science.” It ends up being a red herring, and opponents of ID would love ID proponents to make this claim because ID proponents will be taken to task for saying it. I get a lot of hatred from ID types for saying things like ID falsifiable, not science, not positive, not directly testable. But if I, as a card carrying creationist and card carrying Discovery Institute donor can see the problems of saying “ID is science,” how much more anyone else, especially those on the fence.
The best pro-ID talk I’ve ever heard was by someone who doesn’t even identify as an ID proponent, James Tour. His infamous talk at a Discovery Institute-sponsored event is the model that ID proponents should follow. [See the ironically titled article James Tour: Liar for Jesus]. The other model of arguing for ID AND special creation was by John Sanford at his infamous talk at the NIH. [see Famous Geneticist Tells NIH that Humans Are Going Extinct].