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Part 10 — Concluding Remarks

ES:
Gentlemen, we have come to the end of our time. Would you like, we haven't talked about this previously, if you would like, you could each take one minute for a final comment. These are not questions for one another, but if you have any final profound thoughts to give to us, and I would like to start at the far end of the table from me with Ken and work our way up here so that the two proponents of Intelligent Design do indeed get the last word. Would you like to do that? You don't have to take your minute! These people are probably awfully sore,… are probably, um, it's too bad ischial callosities didn't stay in the, in the hominid line here, because you're probably really tired of sitting. [laughter] Would you each like to take a minute? [laughter] Anthropology, what can I say. [laughter] Okay Ken, will you...

KM:
Madame chairwoman, that was a very disruptive introduction. [laughter]

ES:
You have one minute.

KM:
We all need a moment to compose ourselves. I'll, I'll answer a-, I'll answer as quickly as I can. I think intelligent design theory as it has presently been put forward fails the empirical scientific test, and it fails it on every score. Every single prediction that has been made, by Mike for example, in regard to biochemical systems, break down, breaks down on inspection and requires a constant retreat from saying, "Oh, the system is smaller" and, "Oh, I meant it applied to the whole system not to individual functions", and so forth and so on. And that's one of the reasons why this idea is attracting very little if any scientific support. And I'd also like to point out, um, to Professor Dembski, that there is a way, um to test his ideas and it would be a very interesting test. And that is to take the very experiment from the PNAS paper that I cited, that talked about the increasing fitness and the number of gene duplications and the amplifications and deletions that produce that and put that into his calculations based on the explanatory filter to see if what he's predicted as being impossible, if his technique says that what happened under the eyes of the investigator is impossible, it means that his technique is wrong. But I'd be interested in trying to make that test.

ES:
Okay...

WD:
I'd be interested in collaborating with you on it.

ES:
...Uh, Rob, would you like to take one minute?

RP:
Sure, um, this is something where the, the test of a scientific theory, in part, is: Can you tell what it is? Can you be specific? Uh, this is, this is the heart of Professor Dembski's view, specified complexity, being precise, being specific. But try as I might, I can't get a specific answer to some specific things. And here's, here 's the, the issue though about uh, a test case: If specified complexity is um, the way to find this out, then we should be able to identify here is a case that has it. Right. If irreducible complexity is meant to be an instance of that, we should be able to find a case that has it. Until we can identify what does, what doesn't, we're not in any way able to test this. In Professor Dembski's own definition of how the explanatory filter works, um, the options that are "swept clean,"-he says we sweep the field clean, of uh, of probabilities-he said we do this relative to the set, I'll quote here, "relative to the set of all chance hypotheses in the light of our context of inquiry"-that is to say, the one's we've thought of.

ES:
Thank you. And uh Mike, would you like to have a comment?

MB:
Thanks. Well, um as you might guess I disagree with Ken. I think irreducible complexity and the tenets of intelligent design are, are doing well, uh, but here I want to say, you know, this is a lot of fun, I really enjoy trying to get these ideas out and, uh in the, in the, discussed in public. But it really matters little what we four here are saying because it's the progress of science that's going to settle this once and for all. And I said, fifty years ago, it was a lot easier to believe Darwinian evolution was true. In the next twenty years, we'll learn a lot more about the cell and, I'm, I'm really rather confident that uh, design will be vindicated.

ES:
Thank you, and thank you for being short. [laughter].

MB:
Hey! [laughter/applause]

ES:
Look, you know...

KM:
You, you

ES:
Let's move on.

KM:
You heightist you! [laughter]

ES:
For which I apologize. Thank you, please...

WD:
I'd just like to make a comment about the nature of science; no it says that the nature of science is not fixed in stone. Uh, Science has been around for over two thousand years. So science used to be called natural philosophy. And, uh, I think what we're seeing here is really we're coming to terms, with what happened, not even so much with Darwin, but what happened with the rise of modern science, the rise of modern science as a mechanistic science. You had Newton, Copernicus, Galileo; they were looking at a world of particles in motion, trying to describe the dynamics of motion for these systems. It was not a world in which you could easily grasp design, even though these originators of modern science were theists. And so, this mechanical universe lead to actually the dissolution of design because you couldn't really make sense out of the … particles in motion do their own moving, they can do their own designing. And I think that what we're now finding is that information theory design is coming in, in a new way. And it's, uh, there's uh,

ES:
That's you.

WD:
So there, uh, are new, new possibilities for science.

ES:
I have a request, a good request, from an audience member. Would each of you gentlemen, very-, get out your pens and pencils boys and girls if you want to take down the websites they will recite them for you. Um, Ken, slowly recite your website and work our way up the table.

KM:
Um, yeah, I, I I'm going to recite it in a real simple way. I teach at Brown University, so go to brown.edu. Brown.edu it's an educational institution. Then I'm in the department of biology so go to academic departments, look at biology, look through the list faculty, my name is Miller, you'll find my web site with my, my smiling face on it, and there's a little link that says evolution and that's where you can go to. So, just, I'm Miller, I'm in biology, I'm at brown.edu. [editor's note: Dr. Miller's website is http://bms.brown.edu/faculty/m/kmiller/]

ES:
Do you want to give your website?

RP:
For me, I'm at Michigan State University and the easiest thing to do actually is just to open up Google and type in a name, Robert T. Pennock, and homepage, or just Robert T. Pennock and no doubt you will almost immediately find my direct home page there. [editor's note: Dr. Miller's website is http://www.msu.edu/~pennock5/]

MB:
For me I really don't have a web page, so why don't you go to that, uh, address I put up on the screen, it's www.crsc.org.

WD:
Let me direct you to the International Society for Complexity Information and Design. So it's www.iscid.org

AM3:
How do you spell it?

WD:
www.iscid.org and, uh play with that [?] program, see if it doesn't undermine your confidence in the Darwinian mechanism. [laughter]

ES:
And uh, for more analyses of all of this, which, as moderator, I'm not going to mention tonight, you can go to my web page, which is ncseweb.org. Ladies and Gentlemen, you've been a wonderful audience; it's been a wonderful panel. [long applause]