The plaintiffs in the Dover Intelligent Design case called Brown biologist Ken Miller to the stand as an expert witness today. In the course of his testimony Miller challenged the accuracy of Of Pandas and People, the intelligent-design textbook to which Dover students are referred. Miller said the book omits discussion of what causes extinction. Since nearly all original species are extinct, he said, any intelligent design creator would not have been very intelligent.
This statement is so absurd that it's hard to believe it comes from a prominent scientist at a prestigious school. In fact, Miller's entire testimony was riddled with so many examples of sloppy thinking that it will no doubt be an everlasting embarrassment to him.
Miller's complaint that the designer must be unintelligent since its work tends to go extinct is ridiculous. It might be relevant if ID advocates claimed that the designer was an omniscient, omnipotent being, although even then it would presume an insight into that being's purposes to which Dr. Miller could hardly be privy. As it is, however, ID makes no claims about who the designer is or what its nature is. Extinction is no more evidence that the designer is unintelligent than obsolence in automobiles or computer software platforms is evidence that the engineers who designed them are not intelligent.
Miller simply assumes that God is believed by ID advocates to be the designer, but in so doing he confuses the personal beliefs of some ID advocates with the logical entailments of their theory.
By focusing on extinction Miller is simply seeking to deflect the court's attention from the much more pertinent issue of how those extinct organisms ever reached the level of sophistication and complexity they achieved in the first place.
Mike Gene and others at Telic Thoughts romp through Dr. Miller's testimony ripping it to shreds. Gene's imaginary cross-examination of Miller is especially whithering. Don't miss it.
Unfortunately, the media won't be nearly as insightful and analytic as the folks at Telic Thoughts, and Miller's claims will sound perfectly reasonable to a public which really has a very nebulous understanding of what, exactly, ID asserts.