[Intelligent Design] has been hijacked by a narrow group of creationist fundamentalists in America to mean something it didn't originally mean at all. It's another form of the God of the gaps. It's bad theology in that it turns God once again into the pagan god of thunder and lightning.
Death of "molecular Darwinism" imminent!
Sure, the "atheists discredited" prediction didn't come to pass by its deadline of February this year. But fear not, for the faithful have another chance at prophetic jackpot waiting in the heavenly wings.
I stumbled across another prediction over at The Panda's Thumb, via a 2004 post on Pharyngula. This one comes from famed Intelligent Design (née Creationism) proponent William A. Dembski, in a Touchstone Magazine interview:
Touchstone: Where is the ID movement going in the next ten years? What new issues will it be exploring, and what new challenges will it be offering Darwinism?
Dembski: In the next five years, molecular Darwinism — the idea that Darwinian processes can produce complex molecular structures at the subcellular level — will be dead. When that happens, evolutionary biology will experience a crisis of confidence because evolutionary biology hinges on the evolution of the right molecules. I therefore foresee a Taliban-style collapse of Darwinism in the next ten years. Intelligent design will of course profit greatly from this. For ID to win the day, however, will require talented new researchers able to move this research program forward, showing how intelligent design provides better insights into biological systems than the dying Darwinian paradigm.
– (Anonymous (Touchstone Magazine), (July/August 2004). “The Measure of Design: A conversation about the past, present & future of Darwinism and Design.” Touchstone, 17(6), pp. 60-65.)
A little background for those not up on their devotional readings:
Touchstone Magazine bills itself as "A Journal of Mere Christianity", published by the Fellowship of St James. The interview in question solicits answers from a number of Intelligent Design's guiding lights, some of whom contributed other articles to the same issue: Dembski (Winning by Design: How ID Advocates Can Effectively Respond to the Growing Backlash), Phillip E. Johnson, Paul Nelson, Edward Sisson (Darwin or Lose: Evolution's Defense Attorneys Are Intent on Winning - Even If They're Wrong), Richard Wiekart (Eugenocide: Darwinism & the Rise of German Eugenics), Jonathan Witt (The Gods Must Be Tidy!: Is the Cosmos a Work of Poor Engineering or the Gift of an Artistic Designer?), and Jed Macosko.
Of those luminaries, only one had the penlight bulbs to make an actual prediction – and it's two prophecies in one!
First, there's the death of "molecular Darwinism". Please see both the Panda's Thumb and Pharyngula sources for immediate rebuttals to that. Yet those rebuttals were then, and the five-year mark is almost upon us. I myself have seen absolutely nothing to suggest anything but continued strengthening of molecular support for the theory of evolution, but I'm not a scientist. Scientists and ID supporters alike, how about it? Is there anything out there to suggest a crumbling, even a crack, in claims of molecular evidence for Darwin's theory?
There's not much time left for that augury to manifest. There's no date given for the interview, but given that it's the July/August issue, how about we set the deadline to a full five years from the end of August 2004? That's more generous a grace period than your VISA card grants, I'll wager. I eagerly look forward to Darwin-defeating revelations in the remaining two and a half months!
The second prognostication, the "collapse of Darwinism", gains a deadline of August 31, 2014. Unfortunately, unless he makes it clear in other writings, Dembski doesn't spell out for us what the "collapse of Darwinism" will look like. Perhaps it'll work like pornography, i.e., we'll know it when we see it. Actually, it shouldn't be too hard to detect; after all, it's going to take place with "Taliban-style" flash! Get ready to wake the kids; this should be a heck of a show.
A final note of interest: As The Panda's Thumb pointed out, Dembski responded to the question about the future of ID with a prediction about the future of Darwinism, and no specific mention of the future of ID. He does, however, note that ID needs research to move it forward, a ball which Nelson then picks up:
Nelson: Easily the biggest challenge facing the ID community is to develop a full-fledged theory of biological design. We don’t have such a theory right now, and that’s a real problem. Without a theory, it’s very hard to know where to direct your research focus. Right now, we’ve got a bag of powerful intuitions, and a handful of notions such as “irreducible complexity” and “specified complexity”—but, as yet, no general theory of biological design.
It's too bad there was no prediction made for the appearance of that general theory. Given that there's been no theory yet (nor even any research out of ID), I'll have to wager against an appearance before the soon-arriving five-year mark. Would any ID proponents like to place a few quid on ten years?