Wednesday, September 21, 2005


Cowbirds, Parasitism, and Intelligent Design

Red State Rabble reader Neil M. was eating lunch at his desk, reading Scientific American, and thinking about the many spurious arguments for intelligent design coming out of Seattle's Discovery Institute when it suddenly occurred to him that -- huge though their brains may be -- the boys at Discovery could not possibly have come up with any of their many arguments for intelligent design in the absence actual science.

Behe, Dembski, and others talk about irreducible complexity, their favorite examples are the many proteins in the blood that are involved in clotting. They talk, also, about the structure of the eye, and bacterial flagella. They talk, and they talk, and they...

But, Neil asks, how would anyone know anything about the structure of the eye, or proteins in the blood, or even what a protein is, for that matter, without science?

Infallible though it may be, you can’t look any of these things up in the Bible.

This is an excellent point that set RSR to thinking:

Perhaps we should begin to think of intelligent design not as a theory, or an intuition, or even a glimmer in Behe's eye, but rather as a form of intellectual parasitism -- a half-baked concept become cowbird that propagates by laying its eggs in the nests of other birds leaving its young to be raised by the unfortunate hosts.

In the same way the cowbird slips into the nests of others to lay her eggs, dissolute intelligent design "theorists" want to drop their ill-formed idea off in science classrooms with a note pinned to its jacket -- "please take care of little so and so."

The intelligent design dilettante -- like the cowbird -- refuses to do the hard work of field or laboratory research to feed and clothe their gawky child. They refuse to nurture the little monster they've so crudely stitched together in that Frankensteinian laboratory in Seattle.

I'm told that robins push cowbird eggs out of their nests...


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