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An Irreducibly Complex Strategy

August 13th, 2005 · No Comments

In a very good anti-ID cover story in the current New Republic, scientist Jerry Coyne describes the “wedge strategy” motivating ID advocacy:

[The strategy] begins with the adoption of intelligent design as an alternative theory to evolution, after which ID will edge out evolution until it is the only view left, after which it will become full-blown biblical creationism. The ultimate goal is to replace naturalist science with spiritualist thinking, and the method is to hammer the wedge of ID into science at its most vulnerable point: public education.

Now, what’s amusing here is that the stages here point to exactly what’s wrong with the cherished idea of “irreducible complexity” that purports to show why, for instance, the fabulously complex mechanism by which our blood clots couldn’t have emerged piecemeal (since it doesn’t work if you remove any one of a number of complimentary components). The transition from evolutionary science to creation theology is supposed to be midwifed by ID, which throws the former into doubt and provides an opening for the latter to gain a foothold. But then—and here’s the key—the ID part drops away, since it’s still too tainted with materialist, scientific methodology and inconvenient acknowledgements of facts (yes, the earth probably is older than 10,000 years) to sit comfortably with a fully biblical story. In the future republic of Gilead, it’ll seem incredible that a Biblical origin story could’ve displaced evolutionary theory in the form it will then take unless you consider the facilitating structures that, having become redundant, later dropped away. Of course, by then, that line of thought will probably be crimethink.

Tags: Science