The "contrived dualism" fallacy of Darwinism v. intelligent design
The court in McLean stated that creation science rested on a "contrived dualism" that recognized only two possible explanations for life, the scientific theory of evolution and biblical creationism, treated the two as mutually exclusive such that "one must either accept the literal interpretation of Genesis or else believe in the godless system of evolution," and accordingly viewed any critiques of evolution as evidence that necessarily supported biblical creationism. (page 21-22)
. . .the argument of irreducible complexity, central to ID, employs the same flawed and illogical contrived dualism that doomed creation science in the 1980's. (page 64)
ID is at bottom premised upon a false dichotomy, namely, that to the extent evolutionary theory is discredited, ID is confirmed. (5:41(Pennock)). This argument is not brought to this court anew, and in fact, the same argument, termed "contrived dualism" in Mclean, was employed by creationists in the 1980's to support "creation science." (page 71)
Though Judge Jones condemned proponents of intelligent design and creation science for allegedly promoting this "contrived dualism" fallacy, the chief promoters of this fallacy today are the Darwinists. Because intelligent design (including irreducible complexity, which is considered to be part of ID) was the only criticism of evolution that Judge Jones mentioned by name, the Darwinists have been trying to mislead the public into thinking that ID is the only criticism of evolution -- for example, the Ohio evolution lesson plan's non-ID criticisms of evolution were falsely labeled "ID" by the Darwinists. Many non-ID criticisms of Darwinism are not necessarily arguments in favor of ID. I have argued that co-evolution -- which is supposed to be the mutual evolution of co-dependent organisms such as bees and flowering plants -- is a dilemma for evolution theory because in co-evolution there may be nothing to adapt to because the corresponding co-dependent trait in the other organism may be initially absent. That is a non-ID argument. Jonathan Wells' books The Icons of Evolution and Politically Incorrect Guide to Darwinism and Intelligent Design contain non-ID criticisms of Darwinism. The Darwinists have tried to reinforce this contrived dualism idea by coining the term "intelligent design creationism," eliminating creationism as a 3rd alternative. Judge Jones himself showed that he really accepts the contrived dualism fallacy because his Dover opinion made a blanket prohibition of criticism of evolution ("we will enter an order permanently enjoining Defendants . . . . from requiring teachers to denigrate or disparage the scientific theory of evolution," page 138), even though ID was the only criticism of evolution that he reviewed (this prohibition was stated in the conclusion section but for some unknown reason was not included in the final order).
IMO many critics of Darwinism have also been promoting this "contrived dualism" fallacy, both deliberately and inadvertently, though to a lesser extent that the Darwinists. I heard of the concepts of ID and irreducible complexity decades ago, though not by those names. In the last few decades, ID got a big boost from the discovery that cells are not just amorphous blobs of protoplasm but contain amazingly complex and sophisticated nanomachines (e.g., the bacterial flagellum), chemical factories (e.g., the blood-clotting cascade), and informational databases (e.g., the DNA code). Even many non-fundies could not help thinking that these things appeared to be designed rather than the result of blind chance. Unfortunately, many people now believe or pretend to believe that there are only two possibilities or considerations, Darwinism and ID.
Judge Jones made another error. As noted above, he said,
The court in McLean stated that creation science rested on a "contrived dualism" that recognized only two possible explanations for life, the scientific theory of evolution and biblical creationism, treated the two as mutually exclusive such that "one must either accept the literal interpretation of Genesis or else believe in the godless system of evolution," and accordingly viewed any critiques of evolution as evidence that necessarily supported biblical creationism.
In making scientific (or pseudoscientific) arguments for biblical creationism, it is necessary to use the "contrived dualism" fallacy because independent scientific arguments cannot be made from the biblical account of creation because that account has no scientific ideas. However, independent scientific (or pseudoscientific) arguments can be made in creation science and intelligent design and hence -- contrary to what Judge Jones assumed -- the "contrived dualism" fallacy is not necessary in those fields.
Labels: Kitzmiller v. Dover (new #1)