Uncommon Descent linked to my criticisms of the
Biology of the Baroque, Intelligent Design creationism’s latest misconception, that biologists believe every detail of every organism is the product of natural selection…but they didn’t bother to quote any of my criticisms. It’s weird. They could have quoted the gist of my complaint:
So evolution should produce only the biological equivalent of sterile gray Soviet architecture, and if you find something that is the equivalent of a Baroque church, then evolution is refuted. This entire argument is built around what Michael Denton calls the fundamental assumption of Darwinism…that all novelties are adaptive. To which biologists around the world can only say, “Fu…wha?” in total confusion. That is not one of our assumptions at all. Novelties are going to arise as a product of chance mutation; if they are not maladaptive (and sometimes even if they are), they can spread through a population by chance-driven processes like drift. And some elaborate fripperies can acquire a selective advantage, like that example of Soviet architecture, the peacock’s tail, which this video actually uses as an example of non-adaptive order.
But instead they quote my introduction, where I state that the Discovery Institute is always trying out new slogans and hoping that they’ll hit a sweet spot with the public…which history shows is also true, by the way. But my main point was that their new slogan,
non-adaptive order, relies on lying about what mainstream biology argues.
They can’t say that, though, so instead they suggest that I’m just a big meanie who calls them names, and then proceed to say that I’m a
senile old fool, and a
malignant narcissist and psychopath. While I’m quite savoring the irony, I’d rather they tried to wrestle with their real problem: modern evolutionary biology actually predicts that a majority of the fine details (and some of the major features) of organisms are not the product of selection, and that there are distinct limits to how precisely natural selection can work. Yet their
non-adaptive order argument rests entirely on the claim that biology insists that every feature is adaptive.
When your premises are totally false, shouldn’t all your conclusions be rejected?
Apparently, not if you are a creationist!
By the way, if miss the opportunity to rip into some old-school clueless creationists, they’re hanging out on my scienceblogs page.