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Getting “Intelligent Design” Backward

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A post yesterday at Evolution News, “Retraction Watch Guys Hallucinate ‘Intelligent Design’ Yet Again,” bears a further comment. An article by Ivan Oranasky and Adam Marcus, co-founders of the website Retraction Watch, mischaracterized the view of mathematician and intelligent design proponent Granville Sewell. They wrote about 

a paper by an intelligent design advocate questioning the validity of the second law of thermodynamics as it pertained to evolution…

That framing is backwards, or perhaps upside-down, probably in order to make the paper sound unreasonable. The proper and accurate framing of Sewell’s writing would be to call it:

a paper by an intelligent design advocate questioning the validity of evolution as it pertained to the second law of thermodynamics…

The paper by Dr. Sewell accepted the second law as a given, and never “questioned” it. Rather, Sewell said that certain arguments for evolution would violate the second law. (Not evolution generally, as some creationists argue, just certain defenses of evolution offered by evolutionists.)

Sewell did not accept evolution as a given, and did not, then or ever, question the second law of thermodynamics. Rather, he accepted the second law as a given and then questioned certain arguments in favor of evolution in light of the second law. This might help to clarify what’s really going on here. So, hey guys, how about a retraction?

Photo credit: Randy Jacob via Unsplash.

Casey Luskin

Associate Director, Center for Science and Culture
Casey Luskin is a geologist and an attorney with graduate degrees in science and law, giving him expertise in both the scientific and legal dimensions of the debate over evolution. He earned his PhD in Geology from the University of Johannesburg, and BS and MS degrees in Earth Sciences from the University of California, San Diego, where he studied evolution extensively at both the graduate and undergraduate levels. His law degree is from the University of San Diego, where he focused his studies on First Amendment law, education law, and environmental law.



Adam MarcusevolutionevolutionistsGranville Sewellhallucinationintelligent designIvan OranaskyRetraction WatchSecond Law of Thermodynamics