Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Intelligent Design has a new party line

In a lot of respects the ID advocates remind me of a train of clowns headed towards disaster as soon as their 'experts' ended up deposed in court. Once that event happend at Dover, their train derailed and you can't help but watch the leading ID proponents as they continue to furiously pedal on their unicycles sailing through the air to their end. So tragic and yet so hillarious at the same time. Not the least of the casualties suffered by the ID movement was the blog of William A. Dembski, namely uncommon descent. Originally Dembski was just going to throw in the towel and shut the blog down but he's decided to reopen it, now run by some of the former contributors like Davescot.

Known for being a general collection area for various sycophants, it turns out that the ID movement is picking up a new party line by accepting common descent. Apparently ID now doesn't have any particular issue with common descent anymore, which has prompted Davescot to post the following over at Uncommon descent:
You certainly don’t have to agree here with descent with modification from a common ancestor but I’m going to start clamping down on anyone positively arguing against it. It’s simply counter-productive to our goals and reinforces the idea that ID is religion because nothing but religion argues against descent with modification from a common ancestor.
Which is quite sternly worded. Of course, the comments section of the blog is the most hillarious with numerous posters pointing out quotes from leading ID advocates rejecting common descent such as Dembski (who owns the blog in question). From ten questions to ask your biology teacher, it's important to remember Dembski advocating this position:

“Common design, perhaps expressed through evolutionary convergence, accounts for the repetitions of many biological structures (like the camera eye in humans and squids) far better than common descent or blind evolutionary convergence.”

This is obviously counter to the new strategy of accepting common descent, but I have to wonder now at what point is ID anything more than evolution with mandated God thrown in for good measure. It's looking more and more just like theistic evolution, just with the occasional waffle thrown in for good measure and the odd attempt to force teaching of it on American high-school children. It doesn't actually seem that ID, assuming it drops a lot of the former obvious former creationist 'dead horse' arguments like denying common descent, will actually have any content left that isn't actually just from evolution anyway.

The whole ID movement now seems to be completely pointless as they retreat more and more ground until they find they haven't got anything left to stand on. More on this can be found at the Pandas Thumb (of course) and also over at Thoughts from Kansas (which has a really good collection of quotes).

Update: The original thread over on uncommondescent has disappeared! What a shame...

Update II: It turns out that the internet, glorious as it is, has preserved the thread of shame online for all to see at an archive site here. For what it is worth, William Dembski has tried to haul back some of the credibility he lost with this follow up post.