Sunday, June 05, 2005

Orr Strikes Again

Alan Orr is once again taking on Intelligent Design. You can read his piece in the New Yorker here. Orr is hardly new to the Intelligent Design / Evolution debate, and as usual he mixes in the sort of prejudicial 'descriptions' of his opponents that have absolutely nothing to do with the power of their arguments but rather are merely ad hominem smears. Orr does do a credible job of reproducing, in summary form, some of the main themes of I.D. and in sketching the arguments of some of its prominent scholars (Dembski & Behe). Other critics (John Derbyshire of NR and others, as I have pointed out here and here) haven't done as well. However, he provides little in the way of rebuttal (again resorting to 'just so' evolutionary hypotheticals)...and his 'this is politics and religion, not science' speel is tired and trite. However, his point regarding the prospects of ID as a scientific paradigm are well taken...but are perhaps premature. But his argument sets this up as a straw-man. Most ID'rs don't reject 'evolution' in its entirety (as he acknowledged in describing the differences b/w Dembski & Behe), and thus aren't arguing that evolution hasn't been a profitable scientific paradigm. His description of ID arguments belies his conclusions regarding their motivations, and he portrays both Behe and Dembski as having 'backtracked' when, in fact, neither have one bit. And whining about the fact that most Americans aren't buying what atheistic evolutionists are selling isn't particularly relevant to the scientific debate. So Orr is no more innocent of 'politics' in this discussion that any ID'r. And as much as he wants that debate not to occur at all, it has, it is, and it will continue. I'll do a more detailed Fisking when I get the opportunity.


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