Intelligent Design is Boring
At a thread at another website discussing the idea that ID is "boring", an ID supporter wrote this:
"[ID] is boring to Will [Provine] I suspect (and to others for the same reason) because they rule out the possibility of an intelligent designer."
Actually, knowing Will Provine pretty well and hearing him say that ID is "boring" on several occasions, I can confidently state that the reason he finds it "boring" is that whenever something interesting in biology is discovered and somebody asks "Why is that thing the way it is?" Will hears most ID supporters answer "Goddidit". His opinion of ID is that it's a science-stopper because rather than suggesting new and interesting ways of trying to figure out how something came to be the way it is, he thinks that IDers simply throw up their hands and say "It's too complicated, so God / the Intelligent Designer must have done it".
Personally, I don't find ID boring for quite the same reason, as I don't always see ID supporters resorting to the "Goddidit" pseudoexplanation. No, the reason I tend to find most ID boring is it's relentlessly negative. That is, people like Michael Behe and William Dembski observe something marvelously complicated and say "That's Irreducibly Complex!" or "That's Complex Specified Information, so it couldn't have evolved via naturalistic means"...and then they leave it at that. No alternative means of creating the marvelously complicated thing is proposed (unless you credit Behe's "puff of smoke" pseudoargument).
Furthermore, I generally don't see ID supporters doing any original empirical research. In particular, I don't see any of them going out into the field (my favorite place to discover things) or into the lab and "getting down and dirty" with some biological phenomenon that they find absolutely fascinating.
My friend, Harry Greene (the world's authority on rattlesnakes) is my idea of a real scientist. He absolutely loves snakes, talks about them at the drop of a hat, has spent his entire professional life studying them in the field and in the lab, and has revolutionized our understanding of the ecology, ethology, and evolutionary biology of reptiles. To me, he's the epitome of an evolutionary biologist, because he has what we call "a feel for the organism" which goes far beyond simply studying it as an experimental subject.
And my friend, Lynn Margulis (the world's authority on endosymbiosis) is also my idea of a real scientist. She absolutely loves getting knee-deep in the mud of some tropical lagoon and scraping scum off of rocks to look at under the microscope. She's spent her entire professional life studying microorganisms in the field and in the lab, and has revolutionized our understanding of the evolutionary biology of microorganisms. Like Harry, she's the epitome of an evolutionary biologist, because she also "a feel for the organism" which leads her to discover things nobody ever thought to look for before, such as symbiotic bacteria embedded in the cell membranes of symbiotic protozoa from the guts of termites.
I have yet to meet or hear about or read about any ID supporter who does anything like what Harry and Lynn do. Yes, Michael Behe is a biochemist, but the things he does in his laboratory at Lehigh have little or nothing to do with ID. And William Dembski wouldn't know an actual living organism if it lunged out and bit him on the ankle.
Biology, and especially evolutionary biology, is that branch of the natural sciences founded and maintained by people who loved and were obsessed with nature and natural things. Darwin and Wallace and Fisher and Haldane and Wright and Dobzhansky and Mayr and Simpson and Stebbins and Hamilton and Trivers and Margulis and the two Wilsons (Edward O. and David Sloan): these are my heroes, and they are the "naturalists" (see how the word has another, much more positive meaning?) who have been the inspiration for my research, insignificant as it is compared with theirs.
And all that IDers can generally do is say "No, you're wrong, it can't happen that way, in fact it can't happen at all without a deus ex machina?" Ugh: boring, pointless, and most of all, no "feel for the organism".
As always, comments, criticisms, and suggestions are warmly welcomed!