Little to say for myself

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

"Intelligent Design" loses again

Nothing fuels my sense of scientific self-righteousness more than another blow to the Creationists and Intelligent Design advocates. OK, so I can give up the self-righteous bit.

In talking about this at the coffee machine just now, I learned two little nuggets which help put things into perspective for me (as if I needed any more convincing).
  1. We must never forget that the Old Testament is a book written during the Bronze Age. Look at the level of knowledge and cultural development in other surviving artefacts from the Bronze Age, and you'll get a good idea of the environment which gave rise to the book.
  2. If you want a good example of evolution at work, just take a look at the way the species "Homo Creatiens" has been evolving over the last few years into the species "Homo Intelligens Designum".

I'm told (but haven't bothered to look) that the New Scientist recently created a graph showing an evolutionary property of the book "Of Pandas and People", which posits the "controversy" surrounding evolutionary theory. The NS charts, over successive editions of that book, the declining incidence of the keyword "creationism" and the rising frequency of the keywords "Intelligent Design".

[Update: I have bothered to look now, and here's a reference to the graph at The Razor.]

They show remarkable similarity to the incidence of the two types of Peppered Moth (Biston Betularia) beloved of many biology students. In Kettlewell's (flawed, but still valid) experiments on these moths in the 1950s, the darker variety Carbonaria (not to be confused with my favourite pasta dish) survived better on the soot-blackened trees of industrial areas, whereas the paler typica variety thrived on the lichen-mottled trees of rural areas. He attributed this to predation by birds who could pick out the worse-camouflaged variant more easily - i.e. natural selection.

In the same way, Creationists are now easier for predatory critics to pick off from today's secular tree-trunk, whereas I-D fans are better camouflaged against the background of cod-scientific and paranormal "entertainments" populating our current media. Interesting...

posted by Plig | 13:30 |

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