Thursday, May 31, 2007
This Flock of Dodos
The most cogent concept I got out of the documentary was that the Intelligent Design (ID) folks are stuck at an "intuitive" apprehension without progressing concretely through the experimental/confirmation stages of proving the theory. In other words, a kind of intellectual exercise based on gut feeling rather than proof. This shows particularly in the similes employed by the ID crowd. Comparing a normal, non-altered mountain range with Mt. Rushmore is supposed to show that one is obviously created by an intelligent hand.
This is a chump's game though. The human mind is always seeking patterns. Finding them doesn't always mean such patterns were planned. I've heard Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon album syncs quite nicely with the film The Wizard of Oz. The question is: Were they deliberately intended to do so? Back in my sometimes artificially mentally altered youth, I would sometimes put on a favorite vinyl album with headphones and watch movies late at night with the sound off. No videotape or Tivo, just whatever was on at the moment. I was surprised at how often musical buildups and crescendos would sync up with the dramatic action on the TV. Part of it was sheer coincidence but another part was the fact that both music and drama contain segments of building tension and release of the tension. Much of the common significance I perceived was a product of my conscious mind trying to mesh the two disparate items into a whole.
Here's a quote from a review on LiveScience:
Olson himself is also a central character in the film. He provides a running commentary of the issues discussed and even weighs in on the debate. As a marine ecologist with more than 20 years of research experience, Olson ultimately sides with evolution and concludes that intelligent design is at best an idea stalled at the intuition stage.
"There isn't much to intelligent design," Olson told LiveScience. "These guys have this really deep-seated intuition that they can look at nature and see a designer at work, but the problem is they've failed to advance it to any kind of science so far."
I think the doc is worth watching but it's difficult for me to wholeheartedly recommend it. Most significant to me was being able to see some of the players on the ID side of things and hear them discuss their views. But little of what was said by them could be called "science".