Like the appearance of certain comets, once in a great while when I'm arguing with someone I realize I am wrong and change my mind. I think Gene has stumbled onto something quite brilliant (and I am not just throwing that term around flippantly) in this LRC article on Intelligent Design.
I think Gene is saying the following: The Darwinists claim that the first living cell gave rise to all terrestrial organisms through an undirected process of mutation and adaptation through natural selection. The ID people object to this and claim (a) that certain steps in the process are wildly improbable and hence (b) an intelligent designer must be controlling the whole thing.
Now Gene's point is that there is an element of truth (and hence, falsity) in both camps. For what if God set up the initial conditions of the universe such that the "improbable" steps had to occur? In that scenario, the Darwinians who watched a video of the origin of life would come away vindicated, but the ID people would also be correct in their criticisms. What's going on is that each side is making a metaphysical claim that goes beyond the natural facts.
I'm amazed that this never occurred to me before, but the most important part of Darwinian theory--the non-teleological character of evolution--is completely untestable.
Gene, have I got your views correctly?
(NOTE: When I say I changed my mind, I don't mean that I now endorse the theory of common descent. I just mean that I originally thought Gene's criticisms of ID were silly, but now I realize what Gene's saying. It's particularly ironic that I didn't see the point myself, since it's very similar to my own attempt to prove that miracles by definition don't violate natural laws.)
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