Dear Steve: I’m ready to do Intelligent Design research!

Dear Steve,

I love that you are a Mormon Scientist. I have a question. I’ve decided to become an Intelligent Design scientist. I was wondering if you could give me some advice on how to get started? I’m really committed to this and ready to devote great resources (my family is independently wealthy) and the rest of my life to the cause. However, I can’t seem to find out exactly what I should do to proceed? Can you help? I set up my laboratory and I’m ready to start. I’ve got test tubes, DNA sequencer, all the latest equipment, but the Discovery Institute’s website seems not to have any practical advice on what to do at this point.

Yours Faithfully,

Lost in confusion.


Dear LIC,

I’m sorry I don’t know how to help. They really don’t have any research ideas on how to proceed. They’ve never done anything remotely science except publish pamphlets and t-shirts. Sorry.

Best,

Steve

Dear Steve,

But hasn’t Behe provided numerous examples of irreducible complexity? You know the bacterial flagellum and all that? Should I start maybe with looking at that?

Your Faithfully,
LIC

Dear Lic,

Maybe. But a bit of bad news on Behe. All of Behe’s examples have evolutionary explanations and have well known evolutionary mechanisms with genetic evidence. He’s never really responded in the literature. So they no longer seem irreducibly complex. In fact they don’t seem challenges at all to evolutionary explanation. And right now he has no examples of anything irreducibly complex. Sorry.

Best,

Steve

Hi Steve I’m glad I found you available to chat.

Well, maybe for my research, I could find something irreducibly complex.

How would you recognize it?

Well, Maybe I won’t be able to find an evolutionary explanation. If I can’t come up with an evolutionary explanation maybe no one can?

Maybe. But, it seems strange that not being able to explain a puzzle would be a science doesn’t it? Can calling something by fiat irreducibly complex really make it so? So far it hasn’t really produced any results. It’s sort of like calling ignorance of mechanism fixed and untouchable. It’s not gone well for them.

Steve, I’m getting frustrated. I’ve got a lab, money, equipment all ready to go here. I just want to know what do I do now? I’m ready to do Intelligent Design research. What do I do?

Well, you could make pamphlets, run a website, and print t-shirts? I’m not sure what else to tell you. I feel really bad for you.

Hey, I’ve got a cabinet of beakers here! I’ve got centrifuges! I’ve even got cool designer lab coats and mice! I’ve got mice. Just give me a hint. Surely there’s something I could do? Did I say I have mice and centrifuges?

Yes. You said that.

And beakers. I’ve got beakers too.

Yes. You mentioned that. You certainly sound ready to run with the ID ball. I wish they had one to hand you. But say, why are you so interested in ID? I thought you said you were a Mormon?

Yes?

Well, don’t Mormon’s talk about Natural Law as how God works?

Yes, but he can do miracles!

Even when He doesn’t need to?

???

I mean we have good explanations for why the moon is covered with craters, do you insist that each is a miracle?

Of course not.

Well we have equally good explanations of how species change. DNA. Fossils. Embryology all tell the same story.

But ID makes God explicitly part of the equation.

ID is the equivalent of looking for God in the pattern of craters on the moon. God’s influence is subtler I think. We are supposed to explore the universe. It’s a gift. One squandered by ID.

But I want religion and science both!

You can have it. There is an active and dynamic discussion between people of faith and science. People committed to both. Good theology blending with good science. Sorry, but ID is bad science and bad religion. Look at this new volume on Science and Religion (and maybe since you are independently wealthy you could by one?) I have a paper in there too. The discussion is happening between scientists, theologians, and others interested in the integrity of both science and religion. ID is interested in t-shirts.

Did I say I had mice?

Yes. Yes you did.

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13 comments to Dear Steve: I’m ready to do Intelligent Design research!

  • Now that is an impressive set of essays! I’ll have to check whether UW (Seattle) has it yet. Cheers Steve!

  • Steve

    Steve —

    Nicely done.

    I think it is hilarious how ID folks claim that the evidence for evolution is flawed (often failing to understand the evidence) — but they can produce nothing on their side.

    Another Steve

  • Cynthia L.

    Ha! Love it.

  • Cap

    Ha ha. I love it!!

  • The good Dr. Peck brings teh awesome.

  • Aaron B

    Awesome.

  • Dusty R.

    Totally awesome, Steve.

  • Jack

    This was all very amusing until I realized that the fictitious character was talking to an arch enemy of ID — and then it became even more amusing.

  • Cynthia L.

    Wow. I aspire to someday be called “an arch enemy of ID.” Congrats, Steve.

    But to be fair to the other side, Steve, you did omit some potentially helpful suggestions for “How would you recognize it?” These include things like “have the undergraduates in your general ed statistics course vote on whether something looks designed or not” and “see if it looks like a watch.” Hopefully your letter writer is following the comments so he’ll get this info.

  • Matt Thorley

    Steve,

    Methinks thou dost protest too much!

  • jim

    I enjoy the mildly egocentric and humorus flavor of this example of simply exposing the I.D. thought process for the unsubstantiated mess it is . . . The same flippant sarcasm and evidentuary arguments apply equally well in discussing the hollow belief and lack of any supporting evidence of invisable people living in invisable places that we communicate with telepathically. Replace any reference to I.D. with god and your creative dialog won’t sound so cute to you or your fans. No disrespect intended . . . I enjoy your blog.

  • Dave

    Jim,

    While I understand your point, there is supporting evidence for religion, in much greater abundance, than the evidence for ID. The reasons for devotion and worship are largely subjective, but there is also objective evidence when you study scripture and prophetic claims and other tangible materials. You may not acknowledge this, but religion isn’t simply belief in invisible people living in invisible places that we communicate with telepathically.

    Ironically, you use the same flippant sarcasm there that you seem to be cautioning Steve about.

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