Monday, February 15, 2010

ID's last gasp

Future historians of real and fake science, looking for the anticlimactic death rattle of the Intelligent Design movement, might pinpoint the essay "The End of Intelligent Design?" in the religious-conservative magazine First Things, by Stephen Barr, whose book I reviewed a few years ago. (Essay found via Walter Olson.) For years, I tried to point out that the ID argument (that the laws of nature are inhospitable to life, which thus must have arisen by a miracle) is at odds with the anthropic type of argument propounded by Barr and others (that the laws of nature are strangely hospitable to life, and thus the laws were deliberately fine-tuned). Getting design enthusiasts to even recognize this tension was hard. When it comes to making a choice, they're well-advised to ditch the ID argument.

UPDATE: Unsurprisingly, Barr's essay gets a negative reaction from IDer William Dembski, who accuses Barr of trying to curry favor with his scientific colleagues. IDers at this point apparently care little for such respect, or have just given up on it.

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