Kenneth R. Miller, Ph.D., Embarrassment to Brown University — Exemplifies Intelligent Design With Tie Clip!
Public Broadcasting (PBS) on November 13, 2007, aired their best shot at dogmatizing evolution in the name of countering the concept of Intelligent Design (ID). The television show is based on the Kitzmiller versus the Dover Board of Education trial that was concluded by the decision written by Judge Jones in 2005. The trial is over, the debate is just beginning. NOVA, in the episode entitled “Judgement Day – Intelligent Design On Trial” shows examples of evolution without critique, but in cases where examples of ID are illustrated, the show adds a negative or a rebuttal spin. As a scientist with a doctorate, as the author of this piece you are now reading, I’ve learned to be more the detective, more discerning, than what PBS has done with their programming. If I were to give ID a chance to be known for what it is, I’d engage in a more objective review. Which NOVA did not do … to the detriment of us all.
The Unsuspecting Viewers That We May Be
To the unsuspecting viewer, the anti-religion theme wins the day while leaving unanswered the real question as to whether any other theory offers sound thinking on the origins of complex life. Is it really (macro-) evolution? By the way ID proponents don’t think science evidence nor even the use of the word evolution is to be cast away. Micro-evolution is something ID considered as credible (follow the link to read about the difference between micro- and macro-evolution).
The notion that some highly specific examples within our bodies, organs, and cells, reveal evidence to life being by design was grossly misrepresented by PBS. Case in point, Dr. Kenneth Miller, of Brown University, makes a most UN-academic and scientifically humiliating example of himself, and thus of the Ivy League itself. During the Dover trial, Dr. Miller tried to make light or fun of the concept of intelligent design. In so doing, he only proved ID a possibility and perhaps simply correct.
A Trait of Design Comes With Complexity
In Dr. Michael Behe’s book (“Darwin’s Black Box”), a mouse trap is used as an analogy to illustrate design and complexity. Intelligent design appears in the form of irreducible complexity. The mouse trap is NOT a mouse trap without all its component parts. Take away any one part and the trap is non-functional–not a mouse trap. How could the trap evolve by a step-by-step process. It just has to be put all together at one time to work.
Dr. Miller, in the Dover courtroom, wore a mousetrap (minus two parts) to illustrate how the remaining parts make a tie clip. He wore the dismembered mouse trap as a clip on his tie when in the courtroom. NOVA used this example to make the point that something functional could still be derived from the parts of the mouse trap … as if to say the trap might still evolve from the tie clip. [In fact to de-evolve by loss of parts is something that indeed occurs in nature, in the other direction is a more improbable biological road to travel]
What the editors and producers of NOVA don’t want you to realize is that Dr. Miller had to THINK about the alternatives. Dr. Miller was a cause for the intelligent removal of two parts of the trap and he by his own directed intelligent agency placed the non-functional trap onto his own tie.
Intelligent Design is not only illustrated by Dr. Miller, a critic of ID himself mind you, but he opens the door to the concept that there is irreducible complexity in that if we remove yet one more piece, not even the tie clasp would function. Both the tie clasp and the mouse trap really have no progenitor other than by intelligence.
Design by Examples
Intelligence DESIGNS mouse traps, tie clasps, new models of automobiles (for every new model year, humans are the designers), and many other examples of highly specified structures that we commonly encounter in our daily lives. Why is it so hard to see how intelligence can easily be responsible for the complex molecular machines in cells, the incredibly mated structures of male and female reproductive organs (you think chance developed all that stuff?), the highly specific genetic code (that goes way beyond the complexity of computer code created by humans), and the fact that multiple mutations (that are presumed to drive evolution over time) are now shown to lead to lethal results. A single mutation might be benign or of some benefit, but add a second and third mutation in combination and evolution theory is in trouble! Is evolution and life by chance?
Dr. Miller should not be credited for an example of how ID fails–instead he only makes the point for ID!
The episode of NOVA fails to put all the cards on the table and the producers have played slight of hand–hidden key cards–failed to tell the whole story. But then the editorial staff has designed the show to tell the story the way they want you to see it.
See The Big Picture!
At Windowview we encourage our visitors and viewers to read more and to explore the depths of the issues. One of the religiously motivated persons on the NOVA episode was actually correct in saying “Why shouldn’t we examine all sides of the issue. Why shouldn’t that be the part of an open, free thinking curriculum in the public classroom?” [paraphrase]
Stripped of outside religious bias or spin, ID is really focused on the scientific evidence and where it leads. The NOVA episode barely showed the number of publications that span the sciences– ID looks at evidence from biology, chemistry, physics, microbiology, cell biology, genetics, information theory, astronomy, and more.
The conclusion we leave you with is simple … life, its origin, and your being conscious and being human is incredible! We know YOU ask the questions! You know that being alive is special. To explore for answers is really our task in life. To be empowered to seek answers truthfully is a wonderful place to be!
Perhaps Dr. Miller fails to open the door to free thinking–even in the face of compelling thoughts and evidence for ID. He used intelligence to design an illustration to mock ID, but then only proved the very point he was criticizing! “Go figure.” Go forth and figure for yourself!
Director, Windowview.org 11/16/07
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