Saturday, October 13, 2007

NUS VCF Intelligent Design Talk

Go see for what the talk was supposed to be about

Yes, I was that annoying guy at the back of the room who made that outburst and repeatedly tried to pin the presenter down on an actual answer.

I made that outburst after sitting through a very bad presentation that had been billed as Evolution v. Intelligent Design but was actually (according to the good doctor) Paley's Argument from Design wrapped in the language of Intelligent Design. VCF's apologised and took responsibility for designing that poster which was good but doesn't explain the communication breakdown (or the unintelligent design of the explanation of the issue in that poster but I disgress)

Along the way he had misrepresented Anthony Flew's supposed conversion to Deism (he had been misled to believe there were no good theory for abiogensis), conflated abiogensis i.e. the origin of life with evolution, misrepresented the Big Bang as having a beginning (we don't know is the right answer), misquoted George Smooth (he actually said "If you're religious, it's like looking at God" and not the truncated version which omits the first part which is attributable to Hugh Ross), conflated complexity with intelligence, made arguments by big numbers (sorry Fred Hoyle is a bit of a crank and not an authority in this field anyway), misrepresented the state of the Urey-Miller experiments, quotemined Dawkins (yes Dawkins said that the cell was tremendously complex but the book from which that was quoted i.e. Climbing Mount Improbable is entirely and specifically about how evolution can achieve that complexity), claimed that there was no true definition of evolution on the basis that there were disputes as to the primary mechanism of evolution (and yes Gould's punctured equilibrium was misrepresented again) and asserted that there wasn't enough time for his version of evolution to occur and claimed that evolution was random chance.

For me, the snapping point was when he just said that Darwin was not religious despite clear evidence to the contrary (if he were any type of scholar) prompting me to say "For goodness sake, he entered a seminary" (I overstated the claim. He was studying theology with an aim to becoming a clergyman and did not in fact enter a seminary). More importantly, one of the reasons he took so long to publish his work was because he was very painfully aware of the religious implication of his work (this was still the time of young earth and divine creation after all) and felt guilt over it.

But for me, I was "apoplectic" (nah it's just me in debate mode) particularly once I saw how he refused to answer even straightforward questions and worse dismissed his quotemining of Darwin (he said Darwin had doubts about his theory because it could not explain the evolution of the eye WITHOUT mentioning that Darwin specifically refutes and addresses that doubt right after that paragraph!) as a small matter!


Labels: , , ,


At 4:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

minor spelling error: punctuated equilibrium.

At 2:06 AM, Blogger Shaun Lee said...

Mea culpa

At 1:43 AM, Blogger Lim Leng Hiong said...

Appalling. I doubt I would have the patience to sit through such nonsense.

In this post-genomic era where evidence of biological evolution is visible down to the DNA level, it's hard to believe that there are still people like this.

And yet there are Singaporeans who would find that talk enjoyable:


At 2:01 AM, Blogger Shaun Lee said...

It is in a way but worse, I just cannot find it within me now to show why he's wrong. It will take someone with much more patience and time to show why and how he's wrong.


Post a Comment

<< Home