Thursday, November 09, 2006

From Jonathan Witt’s review

If you haven’t read Witt’s review of Francis Collins's book that I referenced in an earlier post, please be sure to do so. People have been so misled by Darwinists as to what Intelligent Design actually says, and that needs to be remedied.

Here is an excerpt from the review which I particularly like:

Collins’s Flaw

Why hasn’t it? Because Collins accepts as a standard talking point the misleading description of intelligent design employed by its critics. According to them, intelligent design, or ID, is a purely negative argument against Darwinism coupled with a God-of-the-gaps theology.

They claim that design theorists poke holes in Darwinism and then insist that the holes prove that God designed life. More broadly, they claim that ID proponents supposedly argue from our present ignorance of any adequate material cause for certain natural phenomena directly to intelligent design.

But this is not the case. Design theorists in biology do offer an extensive critique of Darwinian theory, but they also offer positive evidence for intelligent design. They argue from our growing knowledge of the natural world, including the cellular realm with which Collins deals, and from our knowledge of the only kind of cause ever shown to produce information or irreducibly complex machines (both found at the cellular level): intelligent agents.

Take two examples from chapter three. First, he refers to the “backward wiring” of the vertebrate eye—an apparently inefficient structure that forces light to pass through the nerves and blood vessels on its way to the eye’s light sensors—and argues that this is evidence for neo-Darwinism and against the idea that a wise designer played a direct role in the evolution of this organism. “The design of the eye does not appear on close inspection to be completely ideal,” he writes, and its imperfection seems “to many anatomists to defy the existence of truly intelligent planning of the human form.”

This is a favorite argument of Dawkins’s, and of Darwinists generally. However, geneticist and physician Michael Denton has demonstrated that the wiring improves oxygen flow, an important advantage not achievable by the tidier approach demanded by Darwinism. Design theorists have called attention to this point repeatedly, but Collins shows no evidence that he is aware of it. He neither addresses it nor mentions it. (Dawkins and other Darwinists generally avoid discussing it.)