Intelligent design theories way off, scholar says

The highly-debated issue of the universe's beginnings and the emergence of humans came to the forefront of discussion at Saturday's Lawrence J. King Memorial Lecture, entitled "Intelligent Design: Scientific Creationism's Next Generation. Faster, Smarter and Still Wrong."

Dr. Charles E. Mitchell, the chair of the geology department at SUNY Buffalo and a distinguished SUNY professor, delivered the lecture in Newton Hall. He stated that his research was, "motivated by a desire to understand the evolutionary processes that have formed the world in which we live and that have given shape to its history."

Mitchell's lecture examined the, "if not A, then B" dichotomy of Darwinian evolution and intelligent design through the refutation of modern rhetoric. According to Mitchell, the preoccupation with this "two model fallacy" has hindered the advancement of the intelligent design argument. This fallacy focuses on determining a plausible alternative by shooting down the competing rhetoric.

Using textual support, Mitchell attempted to disprove modern theorists such as Richard Dawkins, Michael Behe, Richard Dembski and George Gaylord Simpson in hopes of establishing theoretical accuracy.

Mitchell stated that Behe is "just flat wrong" in his work concerning irreducible complexity, a concept introduced in Behe's book, Darwin's Black Box. That argument for intelligent design says that biological systems are too complex to have evolved from simpler predecessors, and are also too complex to have emerged through chance mutations.

Meanwhile, Mitchell accused Simpson of departing from the realm of science and entering that of philosophy and, therefore, of invalidating his argument.

Another theorist, Dembski, attempts to use "irrelevant math" to illustrate the improbability of the evolvement of flight, Mitchell said. Mitchell stated that Dembski and most theorists are "asking the wrong question" and that "our commitment to progress is so strong and inherent that we disregard our voracity and subjectivity when attempting to reach a general understanding of this subject."

Anst-Bidry Gelin, a junior, disapproved of Mitchell's approach: "As individuals, we shouldn't be shutting down theories. We should aim towards using both creationism and intelligent design to find the ultimate truth."

Junior Yolanda Gonzalez, however, expressed her overall opinion of Mitchell's lecture. "I thought he did a really good job of not criticizing religion but trying to represent both sides of science and philosophy," she said.