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Karl Giberson Has a Problem With Bill Dembski’s “View of Science”

Anika Smith

. . . though you have to wade through a few pages on young-earth creationism, global warming, and the “humiliating” rejection of consensus science by the evangelical community (also noted in his subheading for being “intellectually impoverished”).
I don’t question that Karl Giberson has thoughts worth reading on these subjects, but what they all have to do with Bill Dembski and the points he raised earlier in their discussion at Patheos remains to be seen.
When he finally does get around to addressing Dembski himself, Giberson objects to Dembski’s use of marketing metaphors as an ad hominem attack, which is strange considering that Dembski wrote that this is something that scientists and people with ideas generally ought do to communicate and advance them, with nothing cynical or slimy about it. Either Giberson is hypersensitive and looking for an excuse to display his lofty umbrage, or he is working to avoid the actual questions raised by Dembski’s review. Most likely it’s both.
He does, however, give us a nice quote for giggles:

The scientific literature is not filled with growing concerns about the viability of the theory; scientific meetings do not have sessions devoted to alternative explanations for origins; and leading scientists are not on record objecting to the continuous and blinkered embrace of evolution by their colleagues.

Has he never heard of Jerry Fodor? Lynn Margulis? The Altenberg 16?
Apparently, these scientists (who are emphatically not ID proponents) and these meetings and these papers are somehow overlooked by Giberson. This may be because he’s not engaged with the science himself, trusting in others to tell him whether or not it works out, which is what he recommends we all do:

My response, which I provided at greater length a while ago on the BioLogos site, is “Of course we cannot confront the data ‘on our own’.”

It’s strange that Giberson would emphasize the need for logic and reasoning, then go right back to his appeal to authority — as long as it’s the proper, respected authority in the right community. (You know, not those evangelicals who are so intellectually impoverished.)
This may explain why Giberson considers the problems these other scientists have with Darwinism to be “anomalies,” “small puzzles inviting scrutiny, and almost never pointers to some wholesale replacement theory.”
Unfortunately for his argument, the evidence Dembski brought to fore isn’t something like the inability of the theory to explain the stripes on clown fish; it’s a complete lack of evidence that the mechanism can do anything other than preserve trivial adaptive adjustments in pre-existing species, as well as strong theoretical arguments for why no relevant evidence will ever be forthcoming.
Giberson concludes with the classic chestnut — if you challenge evolution, you challenge all of science! — designed to shut doubters up. This is just plain wrong, as doctors who doubt Darwin know very well, not to mention the scientists who actually test Darwin’s theory in the lab. His point seems to be that training is necessary to properly evaluate the evidence, something neither Dembski nor any other ID proponent would disagree with. Of course training is necessary; that’s why we tell our summer scholars to go as far as they can. But once they get there, we leave it to them to use their own good judgment and evaluate the evidence for themselves — like any scientist should. Don’t be disappointed if more of them signal that Darwin is wrong, not just in anomalies here and there, but across the entire spectrum of biology.