The comments to the first post with this title were quite interesting. Rather that respond at length there, I've decided to put my thoughts in a new post so that the conversation stays near the top of the queue.

I think Ben Bateman has done an admirable job, and his eloquent explanation of Intelligent Design is well worth reading. In response to commenters Bernardo and Mauyr, I think there are a couple of points that Mr. Bateman made that got lost in the shuffle.

1) Mutations are in exponential space, information is in linear space. I don't see how this can be overcome, and in fact long periods of time and large populations work against information accumulation. Despite Mauyr's characterization of natural selection as "aggressively favoring" beneficial mutations, that's only true for mutations that accumulate to the point of being useful. So even if Behe isn't convincing to you, you must concede that his arguments drastically weaken the power of natural selection.

2) Mutations don't seem to be randomly distributed. From my limited research there appears to be a rather small set of very common mutations, all harmful, largely cancerous. (Mostly studied in humans, for obvious reasons.) So the information generation through mutation is probably significantly less than linear in an exponential space. Perhaps logarithmic, but that's purely speculation.

Finally, I think Darwin's motivations and beliefs matter more than, e.g., Newton's or Shakespeare's. Plenty of people have used Darwin's theories to support all sorts of evil, from fascism to eugenics to genocide. I'm not aware of any fans of Newton with an aggressive alchemy agenda. Nor, to my knowledge, does Shakespeare's antisemitism provoke many non-fictional villains.

In fact, I believe that the rise of Darwin's dogma and the vehemence of some of its defenders can be traced back to the same philosophy that motivated Darwin. There are a great many people who desperately want to believe that men are no better than apes, that the human race is a cancer on the planet, that a man is worth no more than what he produces, and that the role of government is to protect and coddle a population that is incapable of self-determination. These are all pernicious deceptions, and evolution is the cornerstone of this philosophy.

People who push evolution would have you believe that they approached the question with complete neutrality, performed some intellectually rigorous research, and subsequently concluded that evolution is the most likely explanation for life as we know it. In fact, their journey was more like this: starting with rejection of God as an axiom, man spent thousands of years searching for an explanation for life that could explain existence without him. Darwin proposed an untestable process that cannot be refuted because it cannot be observed, and because of this non-falsifiability the people who were already eager to discard any notion of the divine latched onto it and built their secular humanist religion upon it. They present evolution as the cause and their disbelief in God as the effect, but in reality those roles are reversed.

Questioning the validity of evolution is unacceptable and provokes rage because it threatens the very foundation of secular humanism. Without a godless creation myth secularists would be forced to confront spiritual matters on a personal level rather than with skepticism and detachment, which is a scary prospect for any man.

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