ID proponents point to a chasm that divides how evolution and its evidence are presented to the public, and how scientists themselves discuss it behind closed doors and in technical publications.
This chasm has been well hidden from laypeople, yet it was clear to anyone who attended the Royal Society conference, as did a number of ID-friendly scientists.
Maybe that secrecy helps explain why the meeting was so muffled in mainstream coverage. In the Huffington Post, science journalist Suzan Mazur complained of a lack of momentousness: "[J]ust what was the point of attracting a distinguished international gathering if the speakers had little new science to present? " On the other hand, a write-up in The Atlantic by Carl Zimmer acknowledged a sense of strain between rival cliques of evolutionists: "Both sides offered their arguments and critiques in a civil way, but sometimes you could sense the tension in the room – the punctuations of tsk-tsks, eye-rolling, and partisan bursts of applause."Mild drama notwithstanding, why should anyone care?
(Not all the mechanisms addressed were necessarily new, by the way.Rather, these complex behaviors were taken as givens, leaving the critical question of their origins more or less untouched.While there is abundant evidence that animals can learn and transmit new behaviors to their offspring – crows in Japan, for instance, have learned how to use automobile traffic to crack open nuts – all such evidence presupposes the prior existence of specific functional capacities enabling observation, learning, and the like.Shapiro presented fascinating evidence showing, contra neo-Darwinism, the non-random nature of many mutational processes – processes that allow organisms to respond to various environmental challenges or stresses.The evidence he presented suggests that many organisms possess a kind of pre-programmed adaptive capacity – a capacity that Shapiro has elsewhere described as operating under “algorithmic control.” Yet, neither Shapiro, nor anyone else at the conference, attempted to explain how the information inherent in such algorithmic control or pre-programmed capacity might have originated.