Wednesday, January 17, 2007

"Incompetent Design"- All Hail the Church of Darwin!

Last April, while attending an intelligent design conference, a friend gave me a copy of this song, "Incompetent Design," which is sung to the "Battle Hymn of the Republic." Geologist Donald Wise (not to be confused with Kurt Wise) led some 300 professionals at the 2005 meeting of the Geological Society of America (GSA) in singing the song during his presentation.

A rendition of the song "Incompetent Design" (though not being sung at the GSA) can be found here.
An interview with Donald Wise about the song and the 2005 GSA conference can be found here.
The abstract Wise presented at the 2005 GSA conference can be found below:


WISE, Donald U., Geosciences, Univ of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA 01003,

Recognition is long overdue by the scientific community that creationism/ intelligent design is a well-organized, very effective political movement attempting to strike at the very heart of Science itself. Traditional methods of polite debate need to be replaced with rough and tumble political rules. (1) Don't waste time defending your position. (2) Focus on a few weak points of the opposition. (3) KISS (Keep it simple, stupid). (4) Stick to irrefutable facts with obvious relation to evolution and close relationship to individual voters. (Yes, voters are our real audience.) (5) Relentlessly repeat a few critical soundbites.

The courts have defined Creationism as religion so Science's past battles were commonly seen as attacks on sacred cows. Now ID has freed Science from these constraints by arguing very narrowly that intelligence exists in nature's designs but makes no mention of theological implications. Thus, Science need only show lack of intelligence in nature's designs, the human frame being a prime example.

One's frame is certainly close enough to the individual voter and contains obvious design defects easily explained by evolution but embarrassing for IDers. (1) Our pelvis slopes forward for knuckle dragging like all the great apes. Only by an extremely sharp bend of our spine can we stand erect: an evolutionary artifact or a design weakness obvious to any first-year engineering student? (2) Our mouths have too many teeth: either the result of an evolutionarily flattened mammalian muzzle or a design plan that couldn't count accurately above twenty? (3) Our facial bones are squashed by an expanded brain case to produce a sinus drainage system that would embarrass the local plumber: evolution or just plain stupid design?

Branding ID as Incompetent Design involves both humor and grit but avoids direct insult to the opposition, a mistake to be avoided in any political campaign. All the tools of political campaigns should be used: slogans, songs, bumper stickers ("Human skeletal errors: Incompetent Design or Evolution ?"), IDers will attempt to take us off-message with debates on origins of life, thermodynamics, etc., but instead we must continue to pound simple themes of obvious design failures. Science can win this battle only if we recognize this is not a Sunday school debating match but a deadly serious political contest.

From: Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, Vol. 37, No. 7, p. 195

It is ironic, given the song and the tune to which it is sung, that both Charles Darwin and Abraham Lincoln were born on February 12th. And it is more ironic that a newspaper column some time ago argued that Darwin should be celebrated more than Lincoln because Lincoln only freed a few slaves but Darwin has freed our minds. I'm not sure that even my southern friends would agree with that.

1 comment:

Zvi said...

James Shapiro, professor of microbiology at the University of Chicago, wrote in 1996:

"There are no detailed Darwinian accounts for the evolution of any fundamental biochemical or cellular system, only a variety of wishful speculations."

In 2001, Franklin Harold, professor emeritus of biochemistry at Colorado State University, said the same thing:

"we must concede that there are presently no detailed Darwinian accounts of the evolution of any biochemical system, only a variety of wishful speculations."

The ability to tell the difference between facts and "wishful speculations" is key to understanding the current status of evolution research.

In recent generations, biology students were brainwashed so well into believing what they were taught, that most of them lost the ability to tell the difference between facts, theories, and fiction. The teaching of wishful speculations as if they were scientific facts, played a key role in this brainwashing process. No students are ever informed of Darwin's own admission that his theory is founded on speculations full of flaws and holes.


Zvi Shkedi