Jack Krebs posted Entry 893 on March 22, 2005 11:01 PM.
Trackback URL: http://www.pandasthumb.org/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb.fcgi/891

In an article in the Wichita Eagle about Intelligent Design network leaders John Calvert and Bill Harris here, it says:

But Krebs, who is vice president of pro-evolution Kansas Citizens for Science, said Calvert refuses to answer some questions about the evidence for intelligent design or about Christians who accept evolution.

“There’s some really fatal flaws in his talk, but being a lawyer, he is used to building a case and won’t answer questions,” Krebs said.

Calvert denied dodging questions.

“If you can show me a question I refused to answer, I’d be happy to answer it,” Calvert said.

Well, good.  Thanks for the offer, John.

Here are some questions I’ve asked John that he’s refused to answer.  I’ll alert him (and the Wichita paper) that the questions are here, and we’ll see if he’s happy enough to answer my questions that he will come here and respond.

[Note: cross-posted to the KCFS forums here]

1. Here is the most important question: 

I shared the stage with John at a luncheon speech at UMKC.  I spoke first, and I concluded with this:

I would like to leave you [John] with one question.  There are millions and millions of people who from a religious point of view do not buy his argument that science is antithetical to theism.  I would hope that you would respond to that.

What do you think about these people who don’t believe that just because science seeks natural explanations it’s inherently materialistic and atheistic?  They don’t believe the theory of evolution teaches their children they’re mere occurences.  They believe that religious beliefs incorporate scientific beliefs about the physical world and other beliefs about meaning, purpose and values.  To put it bluntly, do you think they’re wrong?  How do you respond to this large silent majority of religious people who are being wedged out of the conversation?

John didn’t answer the question then, and he never has as far as I can tell.

Here’s an opportunity, John - what’s your answer to this question?

2.  Also, back in 2001 I sent John and others at the Intelligent Design network the following list of questions in response to their proposal at that time to add Intelligent Design -influenced material to the Kansas science standards.  Not only has John not answered these questions, but I think most of them have not even been addressed by the Intelligent Design movement as a whole.  Maybe, since it’s over four years later, John has some answers now.

from:  Jack Krebs

date:  January 6, 2001

to:  the IDNetwork

John, Jody, and others,

I believe it would be accurate to say that your position is as follows.  (Please correct or improve these statements if necessary.)

1)  science, by adhering to the use of naturalistic explanations only, excludes evidence and arguments for design,

2)  the naturalistic mechanisms of law and chance are insufficient to account for all aspects of biological diversity,

because

3)  certain aspects of biological diversity (most notably “irreducible complexity” and “complex specified information”) can only arise as the result of the activity of an intelligent designing agent,

and therefore

4)  the “theory of intelligent design” should be accepted as a legitimate part of science, and included in the public school science curriculum.

==================

However, as far as I can tell, there *is not* any “theory of intelligent design” that even attempts to describe details as to *how* the theory of ID accounts for those aspects of biological diversity about which it is concerned.  (Nor, for that matter, is there even a consensus opinion as to which particular features of biological diversity the theory of ID applies.)  All that seems to exist in the ID literature is explications of and arguments for the above four points.

And yet you claim that, assuming the definition of science is modified in order to include design as a cause, that ID is a scientifically viable theory.  If ID is to be considered as such a theory, then some details of the theory must be offered for consideration:  what are some hypotheses about what exactly has happened, when it happened, and how it happened?  If design theory is to contribute to science, it surely must aspire to make some concrete statements about how design has interacted with necessity and chance in order to produce life as we know it. 

Therefore, here is a list of questions that arise about “the theory of intelligent design.”  (I first summarize the questions, then provide more detailed explanations later.)

I challenge you and your fellow ID supporters to address these issues.

==================
Summary of questions:

1)  Who is the designer?  (I understand this question is considered unanswerable, but it is the obvious first question.)

2)  *How* is the design implemented?  What are the *mechanisms* by which the designer has caused its design concepts to be become actualized in the world? 

3)  Exactly which phenomena have been designed, and which haven’t.  Has design occurred once, a few times, every time a new species has arisen, or when?  More specifically,

  a)  Is every act of speciation a designed event?

  b)  What happens when a new species (or whatever) is designed.  What aspect of the world is changed, and what would be observed if we could watch the event taking place?

4)  How do you tell which features of the world have been designed, and which haven’t? 

5)  What is the nature of the relationship between design and naturally occurring processes (law and chance)? 

  a)  Can the designer design anything, biological or otherwise, or is the designer constrained in any way?

  b)  Is the designer active all the time, or only periodically?

  c)  Can the designer completely override the effects of law and chance, or does design interact with law and chance in ways that are beyond the designer’s control?

6)  In particular, how are all these questions answered in regards to human beings?  At what time, and in what ways, were humans designed so as to be distinguished from earlier hominids, and in what ways is there an naturalistic, evolutionary connection via common descent with those earlier hominids?

7)  Does ID accept the standard description of the geological history of the earth and the sequence of species of animals (and plants) that have existed?  That is, is the issue only *how* the various species have arisen, not which ones or when? 

==================
The questions themselves:

1)  Who is the designer?  No answer is possible, we are told.

2)  *How* is the design implemented?  What are the *mechanisms* by which the designer has caused its design concepts to be become actualized in the world?  Dembski addressed this at length in his essay “ID Coming Clean” -  we are again told that there is no answer.  ID does not have and does not require a detectable mechanism.  The results of ID are detectable, says Dembski, but the activity of ID is not.  We would never actually see any particular event that would in itself look different from a naturally occurring event. 

3)  Exactly which phenomena have been designed, and which haven’t.  Has design occurred once, a few times, every time a new species has arisen, or when?

More specifically, the following questions are not addressed. 

  a)  Is every act of speciation a designed event?  (Many claim that evolutionary processes can only work within the variational limits of the species, but cannot produce the new information needed to create different species, much less higher taxa.)  If not at speciation, is there a taxon level at which design must occur?

  b)  What happens when a new species (or whatever) is designed?  What aspect of the world is changed, and what would be observed if we could watch the event taking place?

Does a population of new organisms “poof” into existence?  Or, does one organism (or group of organisms) reproductively produce significantly different organisms, so that there is a sudden transition between species in one generation?  Or does the designer cause a series of smaller changes over a number of generations, so that it would look like naturally occurring common descent except for the improbably well-coordinated changes that would be noticeable over that time period?  Or what?

4)  How do you tell which features of the world have been designed, and which haven’t?  Dembski claims to have a mathematical procedure, but in fact no algorithm is offered which can be, or has been, used on any real phenomena.  Similarly, Behe has offered the concept of “irreducible complexity,”  but has offered no useable criteria for applying it other than the statement that, in some instances, all of the parts of a system could not have possibly arisen together via naturalistic means.

Critics of ID consider this a “God of the Gaps” argument, ascribing design only to those things which we can not currently explain.  What is a more positive, empirical definition by which we could, via research, identify those things which are truly designed and those that aren’t?

5)  What is the nature of the relationship between design and naturally occurring processes (law and chance)? 

One possibility is this:  Given that no mechanism for design is given, and no restraints on the powers of the designer are offered, it seems obvious that if the designer can influence “law and chance” so as to produce otherwise improbable events, it can also influence  events for which a set of reasonably probable options exist.  That is, the possibility exists that *everything* is designed to meet the unknown and unknowable intents and purposes of the designer, but we can only recognize those events which appear to be improbable.

Another possibility is this:  the world proceeds according to law and chance almost all of the time, but periodically the designer implements a design (maybe just once at the start of life, maybe often - see question 3.)  The rest of the time, the designer is not active, and has no control over what happens.

A third possibility is this:  The design, when applied (whenever that might be) can only interact with necessity and chance (but not necessarily override them), so that the results of a design event might not be certain, but rather somewhat contingent upon natural processes that are going on at the time. That is, attempts at design might sometimes, or always, not be exactly as intended by the designer.  In this case, if the design at any one moment does not turn out as intended, does the design process continue until the results are “good enough”, or what?

A second, related question is this:  does the designer have the power to influence any and all parts of the world, or is the designer constrained in any way (such as being able to only act on biological organisms, or possibly on genetic and cellular material only?  That is, what powers does the designer have?

And a different question:  if the designer has unconstrained powers, does the designer nevertheless *choose* to influence only parts of the world, letting other parts operate solely by necessity and chance, intervening only when it suits its purposes?

Another way of summarizing this question is this:  How do we know that those things for which we *do* have adequate naturalistic explanations are not also in fact designed to be the way they are?  Or is the designer limited to doing *only* what nature itself cannot do?

6)  In particular, how are all these questions answered in regards to human beings?  At what time, and in what ways, were humans designed so as to be distinguished from earlier hominids, and in what ways is there an naturalistic, evolutionary connection via common descent with those earlier hominids?

7)  And last, although this question should probably be first:  Does ID accept the standard description of the geological history of the earth and the sequence of species of animals (and plants) that have existed?  That is, is the issue only *how* the various species have arisen, not which ones or when?  If not, what other aspects of science are in question according to ID?

Sincerely,

Jack Krebs
Lawrence, Kansas

www.sunflower.com/~jkrebs
home:  785-832-0739
work:  785-863-2281

Kansas Citizens for Science
www.kcfs.org

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Comment #21556

Posted by Air Bear on March 23, 2005 12:52 AM (e)

Judging from the full text of the article in the Wichita Eagle, it’s not surprising that Kansas is a hotbed of anti-evolutionism. The article, entitled “Two skeptics lead charge against evolution” is obviously very sympathetic to John Calvert and Bill Harris. Their biographies appear as sidebars while Kreb’s biography does not.

BTW, the Google sponsored ads at the bottom of the Wichita Eagle page include BenevolentDesign.com, the Magi Astrology people!

Comment #21558

Posted by matthew on March 23, 2005 4:03 AM (e)

If you see a building, you look up at that building, does it take any faith to say “someone built that”? NO because you can see it, it’s right there, for you to see, a bit like everyone in the world, they have a personal and unique ID, there is no denying that there MUST be a creator. If you evolutionists want to believe that it was made from dust…go ahead, i prefer the God angle of things…The proof’s out there guys, scientific or not, you have to be naive to not see that their is a higher being. YOu know what?! im happy there’s a God, cos we’re doing a pretty bad job of this…just watch the news tonight.

YOu know my GOd has grace and murcy, he will forgive anyone no matter what if they are truly repentent. Nature has NO grace or murcy, look at the tsunami…

Stop looking at GOD as a thing you need to prove wrong, think of him…imagine in your minds, that he was real(which i know he is) think how much more secure you could be, knowing its not just up to you he has a plan for you…think…the ball’s in your court.

Comment #21559

Posted by God Fearing Atheist on March 23, 2005 4:41 AM (e)

Matt said:

“…you can see it, it’s right there…”

You know Matt, I never found the “look, living things are designed, duh!” argument particularly convincing, but when you put it that way, I gotta say im starting to see your side of things.

Consider me a convert!

Comment #21560

Posted by matthew on March 23, 2005 5:16 AM (e)

Great! i think the problem with a lot of the people on these sites is they are too smart!! When you sit back and look, you can see there’s definately something there!

Comment #21561

Posted by Sandor on March 23, 2005 5:28 AM (e)

Indeed it’s interesting to see how only certain questions will ever be answered by creation/ID advocates; namely those which the individual advocate feels comfortable answering without undermining their position on the subject. It’s merely a “battle of wits” they want to engage in, afraid as they are to take position on those issues that can be scientifically tested.

Could it be that to take the creation/ID standpoint implies a deep founded hatred for science and human knowledge?

Comment #21562

Posted by matthew on March 23, 2005 5:38 AM (e)

No not at all, I am a christian creationist and I am studying science, i love it. But What you may not realise, or you might, that science infact means FACT. fact means something which is proven, neither evolution or creation have been proven 100% neither are science, they are both faiths. in which case…evolution and christianity alike are religions. Difference is, my faith involves a GOD who created us, your Faith involves dust…

Comment #21564

Posted by Paul Flocken on March 23, 2005 6:03 AM (e)

Comment #21558

Posted by matthew on March 23, 2005 04:03 AM

…think how much more secure you could be, knowing its not just up to you he has a plan for you … think … the ball’s in your court…

Matthew, I have never understood how self-deluding oneself with other peoples invented mysticisms was supposed to provide psychological security, but, what the hey, I’ll give it a whirl and become a Hindu right away. If that doesn’t work Shinto or Zorastrianism might. There are, after all, thousands of religions to pick from.

Paul

PS
Last time I checked even the bible said we were nothing but dust.

PPS
Because your god has such grace and murcy maybe he can give you some spelling lessons.

Comment #21566

Posted by Wayne Francis on March 23, 2005 6:13 AM (e)

Comment # 21562

matthew wrote:

Comment #21562
Posted by matthew on March 23, 2005 05:38 AM
No not at all, I am a christian creationist and I am studying science, i love it….

I think you need to go back to the start because science does not mean fact

I, like most people, use the definition of

a method of learning about the physical universe by applying the principles of the scientific method, which includes making empirical observations, proposing hypotheses to explain those observations, and testing those hypotheses in valid and reliable ways; also refers to the organized body of knowledge that results from scientific study

or some similar definition. If you don’t know this then you need to get your money back from the deploma mill you are getting your degree from.

What type of “science” are you studying?

Comment #21569

Posted by matthew on March 23, 2005 6:23 AM (e)

Yes i should work on my spelling (I’m only year 10, blame the school system, they should teach spelling instead of evolution;)!!!) ! But how insignificant is that, if I came from dust…and will go back to dust why bother being proper, I should have fun and live life to the max!!! But you and me know that’s not a good idea.

However, you have a very valid point, there are many religions out there, but My God performs miricles.

“Last time I checked even the bible said we were nothing but dust.”
The bible says we came from dust, however the dust didn’t do it itself, that’s where God comes into it!

The difference between my God and other gods is, my God has written a book (the Bible) that gives us some guidlines to live our lives by, there is stuff in there that answers questions with just as much validation as evolution. But my God still does things today, he saves lives, evolution has seemingly stopped, either that or accelerated incredibly in the last 2000 yrs. If we have been around for so long, why has technology accelerated so rapidly in the last 2000yrs?
My God answers prayer too. In the bible there is many stories to prove this.

When it comes down to it, they are both faiths with significant evidence, but I choose to believe in God rather than dust alone.

Comment #21571

Posted by Paul Flocken on March 23, 2005 6:48 AM (e)

Matthew,

You are polite and apparently read what is written. Two stars for that and additionally I’ll retract my sarcasm. But all you put forward is another tired iteration of Fermat’s wager and that conjecture is not logically sound.

When you say 10 do you mean 10 years old or 10th grade?

Also, why do you use the name travis in the Sci-Am thread?

As to being proper. Are the two statements you made mutually exclusive? Why can’t you be good and proper AND have fun living life to the max? Why do you equate having fun with doing bad things? Or, why do you need a god threatening you with eternal damnation to make you respectful of societal norms?

Sincerely,

Paul

PS
Why, when I Google your e-mail address, do I get a porn site?

Comment #21572

Posted by matthew on March 23, 2005 7:05 AM (e)

I used my middle name here because I didn’t want to make too many enemies! I am in the 10th grade (in Australia we call it year 10, im assuming you are American?)

I assosiate living life to the max with bad things, because this is the general way of non-Godly people. I live my life to the max! I share with people how God saved my life. I love it.
When i said God performs miracles, I gave no real situations, well I can tell you now, the fact I’m writing this now is a miracle, when I was born, I had a lung condition and was on life support. Now I play sport at atate level! I didn’t do it, if I had evolved surely I would be immune to sicknesses of that magnitude. There is a God, and it’s because of him i am talking to you all right now.

Now in answer to you’re final question about the porn site, I have no idea! God says that I can not indulge in lusts of the flesh, I’m not into that stuff. The adress was a fun one I made up when playing a joke on my friend. I used it simply to avoid potential junk mail!

Sincerely,

Travis Matthew!

Ps just because Im so young, don’t think I havnt thought this through myself, i havnt copied what other men have written, I don’t simply agree, I have decided to follow Jesus.

Comment #21573

Posted by Enough on March 23, 2005 7:13 AM (e)

Why not send a card to the doctors who actually saved your life, as opposed to God?

Comment #21574

Posted by Paul Flocken on March 23, 2005 7:21 AM (e)

Matthew, let’s carry this over to the Bathroom Wall. But for right now I have to go to work.
Expect some e-mail.

Comment #21582

Posted by afarensis on March 23, 2005 7:50 AM (e)

Interesting post. I, for one would like to see Calvert answer the questions, but I don’t think he will. I expect he will respond with the usual ID double talk and never really address the questions you raise.

Comment #21583

Posted by matthew on March 23, 2005 7:54 AM (e)

My God saved me, because he had a purpose for me like he has a purpose for all. it is 10 pm over here in Australia so i’m going to bed!

Comment #21584

Posted by Tim Feinstein on March 23, 2005 7:55 AM (e)

In my grade-school years I had exactly one teacher who taught science the way that I, a scientist, understand it now, and five or six who taught it as if ‘science’ constituted a list of facts to memorize. It’s not hard to figure out why. Most students despised that one more than I’ve ever seen a teacher hated. By and large people crave certainty.

It follows that we shouldn’t be too surprised if Travis mistakes the nature of science. The dogmatic given-knowledge perspective from which he defends the idea of creation isn’t that different from the intellectual framework in which he’s learned science.

Comment #21588

Posted by Flint on March 23, 2005 8:25 AM (e)

I predict that Calvert will simply ignore all these questions. However if we are lucky (so to speak), Calvert will select one of these many questions which can be wildly misconstrued, provide a non-responsive answer to something that clearly wasn’t being asked, and use this non-response as a way of saying “I did too respond to these questions, look here!”

I will also guarantee that nobody in the ID community will provide an honest answer to a single one of these questions. After all, such an answer might find its way to the Wichita Eagle.

Comment #21593

Posted by Monty Zoom on March 23, 2005 9:13 AM (e)

To make ID fit the fossil record ID must stray from creationism. More specifically, it must stray from young earth creationism. The deeper you dig into the details of ID, the more it begins to become evolution. This is simply because the mechanisms must appear natural and gradual because that is what the fossil record tells us. Since ID is supposed to be anti-evolution, it can never ever give the details.

Comment #21594

Posted by Ed Darrell on March 23, 2005 9:20 AM (e)

The publisher, editors and writers at the Wichita Eagle deserve some praise for covering this issue as well as they have. For “mere journalists,”* they do a very good job, more fair than many other papers in the Kansas/Missouri area.

(My first degree is in mass communications, and I proudly practiced and enabled that profession for the first part of my working life. Journalists and trial lawyers do the work of God, IMHO.)

Comment #21598

Posted by Keanus on March 23, 2005 10:31 AM (e)

Like Ed, I too will defend the Wichita Eagle. Last fall an Eagle columnist (I don’t remember his name) wrote a column taking issue with ID and defending evolution and he even quoted me, anonymously. Given the tenor of the letters-to-the-editor the paper receives (heavily creationist), I have to give that columnist credit for being forthright.

Comment #21602

Posted by Fingolfen on March 23, 2005 11:23 AM (e)

Matthew,

Good to see that you’re excited about God and about your Faith. However, as a fellow Christian, I feel compelled to point out a couple of things.

First, Creationism isn’t science, it’s religion. There is no data out there to support ID. A “Theory”, as it is used in scientific parliance, is a hypothesis that has not been disproven. If there were these mountains of evidence against Evolution, it would no longer be a Theory in the scientific sense.

Second, coming from a purely Christian standpoint, Creationism is BAD THEOLOGY. Your theology sounds very fundamentalist to me. Be aware that while fundamentalists claim to have a theology that’s “back to the original” as it were - it’s not. Fundamentalism is a far more modern invention. If you read the writings of Augustine and many other early Christians, you’ll find a theology very different from your own.

I therefore encourage you to remove the lock holding your mind closed and realize that the world of science and theology is much bigger than what you’ve been exposed to - and what you hold dear.

Best regards,

Mike

Comment #21609

Posted by Ixpata on March 23, 2005 11:56 AM (e)

Saw this on the ID network website
(http://www.intelligentdesignnetwork.org/):

“Intelligent Design is an intellectual movement that
includes a scientific research program for
investigating intelligent causes”

Anybody have any idea what this “research program”
consists of or where I can find the results of said
research (other than in the Bible)?

Comment #21610

Posted by Prince Vegita on March 23, 2005 12:11 PM (e)

What, you mean you can’t find it on the ID websites? :)

Comment #21614

Posted by yellow fatty bean on March 23, 2005 12:43 PM (e)

In any of these ID/creationist websites, school board presentations, etc. are scientific results supporting their views ever actually presented and/or referrenced ?( By which I mean actual pulications in peer-reviewed jouranls, not crackpot “papers” of the Archimedes Plutonium variety ).

If not, then how on earth can there be any legitimate “controversy” here?

Matthew wrote:

.. Difference is, my faith involves a GOD who created us, your Faith involves dust …

All we are is dust in the wind

Comment #21619

Posted by Jim Harrison on March 23, 2005 1:31 PM (e)

Where ever you are your someplace. All scientific investigations begin with various assumptions and are conducted by researchers who have assorted personal and cultural prejudices. Western biology, for example, was invented by believing Christians who took various Semetic mythemes literally. What’s crucial, however, is not where an enterprise of knowledge begins, but where the evidence eventually takes it.

In one of these comment threads somebody pointed out that most scientists are agnostics or atheists. I expect that’s true—I’ve seen the long version of the same survey—but a peculiar conclusion is drawn from this observation. Agnostics don’t make science what it is. The facts make people agnostic. Most working scientists eventually recognize the sheer irrelevance of theological ideas to serious inquiry. Mythological themes like creation lost in the early primaries and rightly don’t appear on the final ballot.

Comment #21626

Posted by Tim Feinstein on March 23, 2005 2:00 PM (e)

I can sum up why agnosticism prevails in science in one sentence: skepticism is a job skill. People who don’t think critically and remain skeptical of authority don’t make it very far in this business. It happens that religion demands precisely the opposite mindset.

It wouldn’t do to make too broad a generalization: science seems very compatible with talmudic Judaism for various reasons so long as the sabbath is easily kept, and I’ve known a few Christians who’ve very successfully compartmentalized their scientific and religious aspects of their life. Not having known very many muslims in science I can’t really say, although one should remember that Islam kept alive the scientific and medical tradition of the Greeks while Europeans were burning calico cats.

Comment #21630

Posted by Jim Harrison on March 23, 2005 2:31 PM (e)

For the record: one can be utterly skeptical of theological explanations for natural phenomena and be highly respectful of much of religious thinking and practice. Even complete infidels like me recognize the value of relgious traditions. For example, just I can appreciate the insights made possible by a Marxist take on history without being a Marxist, I can value the perspectives of Christian thinkers without being a Christian.

In any case, religion plays such a huge role in human history that it’s kinda silly to claim that it is good or bad. Village atheist types who stage a perp walk for the usual suspects—the Inquisition, the Crusades, the Scopes Trial—are rather like people who denounce brunettes because several villains had dark hair. The factual claims of the various religions are routinely false, but that doesn’t make them or their advocates evil.

Comment #21636

Posted by Bayesian Bouffant on March 23, 2005 3:19 PM (e)

Ixpata wrote:

Saw this on the ID network website
(http://www.intelligentdesignnetwork.org/ … ):

“Intelligent Design is an intellectual movement that
includes a scientific research program for
investigating intelligent causes”

Anybody have any idea what this “research program”
consists of or where I can find the results of said
research (other than in the Bible)?

Here you go: The Non-Evolution Project

Documenting supernatural biology in the world around us.

It’s a bit sparse now, but as soon as that ID data starts flooding in, The Non-Evolution Project will document it.

For comparison, here is The Evolution Project

Comment #21638

Posted by Flint on March 23, 2005 3:46 PM (e)

The factual claims of the various religions are routinely false, but that doesn’t make them or their advocates evil.

Depends on how you categorize honesty. Making false claims knowing they are false, and repeating them ad nauseum following every correction, is mendacious. Is mendacity evil? How about if the religion has a hard commandment against bearing false witness? Is it evil to flout this commandment “routinely”?

Maybe we need a clearer definition of evil. The routine dishonesty of the creationists is at the very least frustrating.

Comment #21649

Posted by sir_toejam on March 23, 2005 4:38 PM (e)

“Matthew wrote:

.. Difference is, my faith involves a GOD who created us, your Faith involves dust … “

hmm, last i looked, didn’t the bible say that adam was created from dust? or am i imagining that?

Comment #21659

Posted by Ed Darrell on March 23, 2005 5:03 PM (e)

Mr. or Ms. Bean said:

In any of these ID/creationist websites, school board presentations, etc. are scientific results supporting their views ever actually presented and/or referrenced?(By which I mean actual publications in peer-reviewed jouranls, not crackpot “papers” of the Archimedes Plutonium variety).

If not, then how on earth can there be any legitimate “controversy” here?

No, science supporting ID is not presented – but the ID advocates will claim to have such stuff. When challenged to produce the evidence, before the Texas State Board of Education for example, ID advocates produced a list of about 50 publications in peer-reviewed journals.

Almost every one of the publications cited denies a claim of intelligent design. The advocates know that school board members will not check out the citations, and probably will not have access to the science journals to see what they say.

Jonathan Wells is particularly brazen in this effort. His book, Icons of Evolution, has a chapter denigrating the famous work of British biologist Bernard Kettlewell showing natural selection in action in the changing color of populations of peppered moths. Wells cites several well-known researchers in entomology, including people like Majerus, and Coyne. Each of the people Wells cites wrote disclaimers to Kansas media six years ago, noting that Wells’ claims about their views were exactly wrong. To a person, each said that Kettlewell’s research, despite whatever flaws it has, demonstrates natural selection in action.

In between that time and the 2003 contretemp in Texas, Judith Hooper’s sometimes bizarre and hyperventilated book on Kettlewell’s work was published, Of Moths and Men. In it she notes that though Kettlewell’s work gets criticism from scientists, all scientists working in the area agree that the demonstration of natural selection is solid science and accurate. She notes that many scientists expressed to her the fear that creationists, like Wells, would seize on public criticism of Kettlewell’s work as evidence that evolution is wrong. She carefully noted that such a claim would be a false, dishonest claim, based on her book.

So, of course, to his submissions to the Texas State Board of Education Wells included a new citation, to Hooper’s book, saying in essence she agrees that Kettlewell (and therefore Darwin) was wrong.

You couldn’t write up a soap opera script like that and get anyone to read it without guffawing. Most of the creationists on the Texas SBOE swallowed it hook, line and sinker. At least two of them, however, fell back on their Christian beliefs that honesty should be rewarded and dishonesty should not – and they voted against the proposal of the Discovery Institute.

Yes, ID advocates “reference” scientific papers. No, none of the real science supports ID.

Comment #21660

Posted by Chip Poirot on March 23, 2005 5:28 PM (e)

This was a really, really great post. In my long arguments with a colleague in philosophy about ID I have made many of the same points-but I have never made them so well, so concise or so cogently. My understanding is that for the most part the ID movement is now openly admitting not to be able to answer any such questions (I’ll have to check on the source for this). But this explains the tactic in Kansas of trying to chip away at the scientific foundations of evolution via half truth presentations on philosophy of science.

There is however, one odd exception to the lack of answers in ID. That is Johnathan Wells. He does indeed claim that ancestor species give rise to species that are “descendant species” but are not genetically related. He argues that they are similar enough that the parent species will provide care for the daughter species. And this is all of course, designed and planned, down to the environmental changes that are necessary for the new species to survive.

Comment #21664

Posted by Chip Poirot on March 23, 2005 5:55 PM (e)

This was a really, really great post. In my long arguments with a colleague in philosophy about ID I have made many of the same points-but I have never made them so well, so concise or so cogently. My understanding is that for the most part the ID movement is now openly admitting not to be able to answer any such questions (I’ll have to check on the source for this). But this explains the tactic in Kansas of trying to chip away at the scientific foundations of evolution via half truth presentations on philosophy of science.

There is however, one odd exception to the lack of answers in ID. That is Johnathan Wells. He does indeed claim that ancestor species give rise to species that are “descendant species” but are not genetically related. He argues that they are similar enough that the parent species will provide care for the daughter species. And this is all of course, designed and planned, down to the environmental changes that are necessary for the new species to survive.

Comment #21673

Posted by Russell on March 23, 2005 8:00 PM (e)

Johnathan Wells… does indeed claim that ancestor species give rise to species that are “descendant species” but are not genetically related. He argues that they are similar enough that the parent species will provide care for the daughter species. And this is all of course, designed and planned, down to the environmental changes that are necessary for the new species to survive.

Is this in his “secular” ID literature, or is this from one of his Moonie sermons?

Comment #21689

Posted by Ian Musgrave on March 23, 2005 9:53 PM (e)

Matthew wrote:

Yes i should work on my spelling (I’m only year 10, blame the school system, they should teach spelling instead of evolution;)!!!)

Well, I’m Australian, and I am familiar with the Queensland, Victorian and South Australian School systems[1]. Up to year 10, the exposure to evolutionary biology is minimal, while the exposure to things like spelling, grammar and writing is substantial. By year 7 (or 7th grade as it is in Queensland), one should be familiar with standard spelling. I’m working with my son practising for his spelling test next week. He is not impressed when I ask him to spell words (such as chocolate) at random times through the day. In years 11 and 12 (grades 11 to 12), people doing biological sciences will get some degree of grounding in evolution. Before this (depending on the state) science education is fairly general, and evolution is a small component of this general science education.

I will be (eventually, when the registration system is fixed) part of a highschool-twinning program where researchers are paired with high school teachers to help them keep up to date with the subjects.

[1]Note for Americans, Australian school curricula are based on statewide standards, set by experts in the field. We don’t have local school boards covering the curriculum. In most states, students enter the school system in a prep year (reception in South Australia) at age 5, and prep to year 7 is primary school. Years 8 to 12 are High School, with years 11 to 12 devoted to specialized subjects with the aim of either entering University or a defined vocation.

Comment #21690

Posted by Jack Krebs on March 23, 2005 10:50 PM (e)

The Wells article “Evolution by Design” is pretty interesting - Wells’ hypothesizes that the individual species have been created in sequence, but the changes couldn’t be very large at any one time because a parent of the previous species had to raise the newborns, despite the fact that there was not any biological common descent from parent to child. I asked Wells about this when I was on a TV pnanel with him, and he said that he had no evidence for his hypothesis.

The paper is at http://www.tparents.org/Library/Unification/Talks/Wells/nat-select.htm

Here are the most pertinent paragraphs:

Evolution by Design (excerpts)

By Jonathan Wells (1997)

Adapted with permission from the International Conference on the Unity of the Sciences. The original of this paper was presented at the Twenty-first International Conference on the Unity of the Sciences, which met in Washington, D.C., in November 1997…. For the remainder of this paper, I will assume that living things are designed–not necessarily in every detail, but in at least certain aspects. Specifically, I will assume that the human species was planned before life began and that the history of life is the record of how this plan was implemented….

The need for large numbers of organisms becomes even more evident when we try to imagine how human beings appeared on what was originally a lifeless planet….The first organisms must have been capable of surviving in those conditions and transforming them into an environment more favorable to human life….In other words, primitive organisms had to pave the way for the stable ecosystems we see today. A barren planet had to become a garden…

And because human babies are totally dependent on other creatures for their survival during early development, animals capable of raising the first human babies must have been a necessary part of the original plan. Human babies need milk to survive and grow, so mammals had to exist before humans appeared. And not just any mammal. The first human baby presumably had to be nurtured by a creature very much like itself–a humanlike primate. This creature, in turn, could only have been nurtured by a creature intermediate in some respects between it and a more primitive mammal. In other words, a plan for the emergence of human beings must have included something like the succession of prehistoric forms we find in the fossil record….

Although this process is superficially similar to the Darwinian notion of common descent, design theory differs from the latter in maintaining that predecessors need not be biological ancestors but only providers of essential nourishment and protection. Successive organisms are “related” in the sense that they represent planned stages in the history of life, but they are not genetically related as ancestors and descendants….

In conclusion, a design perspective on the history of life might turn out to account for the biological evidence better than Darwinian evolution can. For example, Darwinism fails to specify why any given organism exists, beyond insisting that it be able to survive. But for design theory, a variety of creatures–including green plants and humanlike primates–are necessary prerequisites for human life….

At least he tried to offer some details for an ID hypothesis - that’s more than we can say about anyone else, I think.

Comment #21694

Posted by Sandor on March 24, 2005 3:02 AM (e)

Although this process is superficially similar to the Darwinian notion of common descent, design theory differs from the latter in maintaining that predecessors need not be biological ancestors but only providers of essential nourishment and protection.

Then who or what gave birth to this new species?

For example, Darwinism fails to specify why any given organism exists, beyond insisting that it be able to survive. But for design theory, a variety of creatures—including green plants and humanlike primates—are necessary prerequisites for human life….

This is simply not true. Common descent places even stronger demands on the prerequisites for a given new species:

The first human baby presumably had to be nurtured by a creature very much like itself—a humanlike primate.

As far as evolution through common descent is concerned, this is self-evident (given the fact that we are all human-like primates). From the ID perspective, I would like to know why the first human baby could not have been raised by a bear or a wolf. Folklore allows such things to happen, so why not ID?

Sándor

Comment #21695

Posted by Sandor on March 24, 2005 3:47 AM (e)

Although this process is superficially similar to the Darwinian notion of common descent, design theory differs from the latter in maintaining that predecessors need not be biological ancestors but only providers of essential nourishment and protection.

Then who or what gave birth to this new species?

For example, Darwinism fails to specify why any given organism exists, beyond insisting that it be able to survive. But for design theory, a variety of creatures—including green plants and humanlike primates—are necessary prerequisites for human life….

This is simply not true. Common descent places even stronger demands on the prerequisites for a given new species:

The first human baby presumably had to be nurtured by a creature very much like itself—a humanlike primate.

As far as evolution through common descent is concerned, this is self-evident (given the fact that we are all human-like primates). From the ID perspective, I would like to know why the first human baby could not have been raised by a bear or a wolf. Folklore allows such things to happen, so why not ID?

Sándor

Comment #21696

Posted by matthew on March 24, 2005 5:17 AM (e)

Yes I’m in Western Australia, and just this week I have had two assignments on Evolution versus creation (which is why I happened to find this site). I’m not too well read with evolution, however I look, not at the physical and scientific side of things (obviously you are much more advanced than I am in this area!) But in the way I have seen God work in peoples lives.

Where does ones conscience come from??
I have a conscience, given to me by God. Emotions are something that may have evolved, but my ability to develop my own morals is something deeper.
No one ever taught me to love, or to hate.
My parents can teach me all the right things, but I still have the ability to choose between right and wrong. My conscience is what determines that choise. Evolution could explain the physical changes, but the things that go on in my head are much more sophisticated and deeper than that of a monkey.

I have found no valid answer to that in what I have read of evolution literature, but creation (bible) literature has it in there.

Matthew

Comment #21697

Posted by matthew on March 24, 2005 5:20 AM (e)

Yes I’m in Western Australia, and just this week I have had two assignments on Evolution versus creation (which is why I happened to find this site). I’m not too well read with evolution, however I look, not at the physical and scientific side of things (obviously you are much more advanced than I am in this area!) But in the way I have seen God work in peoples lives.

Where does ones conscience come from??
I have a conscience, given to me by God. Emotions are something that may have evolved, but my ability to develop my own morals is something deeper.
No one ever taught me to love, or to hate.
My parents can teach me all the right things, but I still have the ability to choose between right and wrong. My conscience is what determines that choise. Evolution could explain the physical changes, but the things that go on in my head are much more sophisticated and deeper than that of a monkey.

I have found no valid answer to that in what I have read of evolution literature, but creation (bible) literature has it in there.

Matthew

Comment #21698

Posted by matthew on March 24, 2005 5:24 AM (e)

Yes I’m in Western Australia, and just this week I have had two assignments on Evolution versus creation (which is why I happened to find this site). I’m not too well read with evolution, however I look, not at the physical and scientific side of things (obviously you are much more advanced than I am in this area!) But in the way I have seen God work in peoples lives.

Where does ones conscience come from??
I have a conscience, given to me by God. Emotions are something that may have evolved, but my ability to develop my own morals is something deeper.
No one ever taught me to love, or to hate.
My parents can teach me all the right things, but I still have the ability to choose between right and wrong. My conscience is what determines that choise. Evolution could explain the physical changes, but the things that go on in my head are much more sophisticated and deeper than that of a monkey.

I have found no valid answer to that in what I have read of evolution literature, but creation (bible) literature has it in there.

Matthew

Comment #21699

Posted by matthew on March 24, 2005 5:35 AM (e)

Yes I’m in Western Australia, and just this week I have had two assignments on Evolution versus creation (which is why I happened to find this site). I’m not too well read with evolution, however I look, not at the physical and scientific side of things (obviously you are much more advanced than I am in this area!) But in the way I have seen God work in peoples lives.

Where does ones conscience come from??
I have a conscience, given to me by God. Emotions are something that may have evolved, but my ability to develop my own morals is something deeper.
No one ever taught me to love, or to hate.
My parents can teach me all the right things, but I still have the ability to choose between right and wrong. My conscience is what determines that choise. Evolution could explain the physical changes, but the things that go on in my head are much more sophisticated and deeper than that of a monkey.

I have found no valid answer to that in what I have read of evolution literature, but creation (bible) literature has it in there.

Matthew

Comment #21700

Posted by yellow fatty bean on March 24, 2005 5:35 AM (e)

Evolution by Design (excerpts)

By Jonathan Wells (1997)

/snip/

And because human babies are totally dependent on other creatures for their survival during early development, animals capable of raising the first human babies must have been a necessary part of the original plan. Human babies need milk to survive and grow, so mammals had to exist before humans appeared. And not just any mammal. The first human baby presumably had to be nurtured by a creature very much like itself—a humanlike primate. This creature, in turn, could only have been nurtured by a creature intermediate in some respects between it and a more primitive mammal. In other words, a plan for the emergence of human beings must have included something like the succession of prehistoric forms we find in the fossil record ….

For some reason this made me think of the movie “Sheena”, in which a white girl is raised by gorillas or tigers or something, then Sheena (Tanya Roberts) rides a zebra while topless for the next 80 minutes or so.

Inexplicably, the movie is rated PG. Even more inexplicably, the movie received exactly zero academy awards.

In any case, one would think that before ID or any other competitor to evoluiton could be included in a school cirriculum, there would have to be a peer reviewed publication – the gist of which would be “evolution predicts X, ID predicts Y, here is some empirical evidence for Y instead of X”

Comment #21701

Posted by matthew on March 24, 2005 5:37 AM (e)

Yes I’m in Western Australia, and just this week I have had two assignments on Evolution versus creation (which is why I happened to find this site). I’m not too well read with evolution, however I look, not at the physical and scientific side of things (obviously you are much more advanced than I am in this area!) But in the way I have seen God work in peoples lives.

Where does ones conscience come from??
I have a conscience, given to me by God. Emotions are something that may have evolved, but my ability to develop my own morals is something deeper.
No one ever taught me to love, or to hate.
My parents can teach me all the right things, but I still have the ability to choose between right and wrong. My conscience is what determines that choise. Evolution could explain the physical changes, but the things that go on in my head are much more sophisticated and deeper than that of a monkey.

I have found no valid answer to that in what I have read of evolution literature, but creation (bible) literature has it in there.

Matthew

Comment #21703

Posted by Marek14 on March 24, 2005 6:19 AM (e)

Matthew,

you should understand that evolution and religion are not incompatible. You can believe and still accept evolution. I don’t believe in God, yet I have conscience. I don’t see any contradiction in that, either.

The main thing you must be aware of is that there is no dichotomy where it counts. It’s evolution vs. creationism. NOT evolution vs. creation. NOT evolution vs. God. You can believe that some things are not approachable by evolution, but it would be very wrong to deny it just on that base.

Theory can be abandoned when facts are in CONTRADICTION with it. Not when it just doesn’t explain facts sufficiently, because EVERY theory is meaningless when applied to some set of facts. Gravity won’t explain nuclear reactions, but that is no reason to abandon it.

Evolution, likewise, does not strive to be an universal theory. It IS possible, that conscience and like phenomena can be explained by it. It IS possible that they can’t. For now, it’s undecided, and it can’t be used as argument neither for nor against.

Comment #21704

Posted by matthew on March 24, 2005 6:43 AM (e)

Yes, I can see where you’re coming from, but you can’t pick and choose the bits of the bible you believe in order to make you’re theory more sound.

The bible is Gods word, according to him it, ALL is real and correct.
In which case, if you believe in my God you cannot believe in evolution, the two do not go together.

If God was around during the evolution, why would he sit back for 20 billion years and watch it, when he has the power to click his fingers and make it happen.

Matthew.

Ps
sorry my last comment was posted so many times, Computer problems!

Comment #21710

Posted by Ian Musgrave on March 24, 2005 7:27 AM (e)

Matthew wrote:

Yes I’m in Western Australia,

Okay, on Saturday 26 (this saturday) at 22:10 AWST Jupiter will be covered by the Moon in South West Western Australia. This event will be interesting to the unaided eye, nice in binoculars and spectacular in a small telescope. For more details see link above.

Matthew wrote:

and just this week I have had two assignments on Evolution versus creation (which is why I happened to find this site).

Ah, that would be the Society and Environment subject then. Pity about the timeline. You actually need www.talkorigins.org and www.talkdesign.org for web based information. Good books include Mark Ridley’s “Evolution” (as you have to know what evolution is to discuss it, call number 575 1996 EVO at Uni WA), Roger Pennock’s “Tower of Babel” (call number 576.8 1999 TOW at Uni WA, not in state library) and Eugenie Scott’s “Evolution vs Creationism” (which is acually designed for High School students, but isn’t in the WA state library or the Uni WA catalog).

Matthew wrote:

I’m not too well read with evolution

Well, that’s a problem then, isn’t it. If you are going to critique a scientific theory you need to know a reasonable bit about it. Start with the “what is evolution” FAQ at www.talkorigins.org and the evolution and religion FAQ. If at all possible get ahold of Mark Ridley’s “Evolution” or Carl Zimmer’s “Evolution: the triumph of an idea” (call number 576.809 2001 EVO at Uni WA, 576.8 ZIM at the WA state library). Eugenie Scott’s book is an excellent resource, and is even on the shelves of the tiny Sempahore Library. Ronald Numbers “The Creationists” is at the State Library (231.765 NUM). A combination of Zimmer and Scott would be ideal for a year 10 essay. Books are always better than web sites for essays, even an excellent site like www.talkorigins.org.

Cheers! Ian

Comment #21711

Posted by Wayne Francis on March 24, 2005 7:29 AM (e)

Comment # 21696

matthew wrote:

Comment #21696
Posted by matthew on March 24, 2005 05:17 AM
… Evolution could explain the physical changes, but the things that go on in my head are much more sophisticated and deeper than that of a monkey….

Do you think other great apes don’t have emotions? Do you think other great apes are not self aware? Do you think other great apes don’t understand things like death?

You might be better at math and other learned skills but don’t assume that much of what you think are core human traits are restricted to humans. There is a reason why there is a movement to get great apes their own set of rights recognised by the UN. In NZ the great apes can not be used for any experiment unless it directly benefits their species or they give willing consent. And yes they can and do consent, sometimes they don’t.

Personally I’d like to think that if I have a soul so do all other animals. I find it disgusting how humans put themselves higher then everything else. Maybe I’m just looking forward and thinking if we are ever visited by aliens I wouldn’t want them to treat us like we treat animals.

Matthew, I wish you luck in your paper. Remember nothing in evolution is at odds with a personal God. If your God is all knowing then it is no issue for your God to be able to have created the universe and let it go forth creating all that we see. Your God would know from the beginning all that would happen including the appearance of life and subsequent evolution of man and billions of years into the future to whatever life forms would exist then. Science says life evolves. No where does it say “Life evolves therefore there is no God” only people like DonkeyKong and other creationists that try to warp science say that. Some scientist may say there is no God but that is their belief and not what science says.

Also remember if you don’t like evolution because of a literal reading of the bible then remember God did not write the bible. Men wrote it. I’d encourage you to learn the history of the bible. This shouldn’t weaken your faith to see how its changed over the last 3,000 years. It’s a set of stories expressing the relationship between man and God. Even I as an agnostic can appreciate its worth for that.

Comment #21714

Posted by afarensis on March 24, 2005 8:12 AM (e)

From Wells:
“A design perspective requires progressive stages in the history of life, as seen in the fossil record, but unlike Darwin’s theory it does not predict innumerable transitional forms that do not exist.”
Yet earlier he says:
“The first human baby presumably had to be nurtured by a creature very much like itself–a humanlike primate. This creature, in turn, could only have been nurtured by a creature intermediate in some respects between it and a more primitive mammal. In other words, a plan for the emergence of human beings must have included something like the succession of prehistoric forms we find in the fossil record.”
He also says:
“Similar reasoning could be applied to earlier episodes in the history of life. For example, just as mammals were necessary predecessors of the first humans, mammallike reptiles were presumably needed to precede the first mammals, and so on.”
It seems to me that quotes two and three contradict qoute one.At any rate he seems to be recycling the scala natura concept, which went out of date several hundred years ago. This is one really bad article, which I encourage everyone to read (you will find a link in comment 21960).
To get back to the original idea of Jack’s post, has John Calvert answered any of your questions yet?

Comment #21715

Posted by Flint on March 24, 2005 8:23 AM (e)

Matthew:

The bible is Gods word, according to him it, ALL is real and correct.

You may be far enough along in school to recognize circular reasoning. You claim a book is the word of God, and you claim you know this because the book says so! But surely you can see that I can write anything I wish in a book, and include the assurance that the book is correct, and just because my book promises my book is correct, doesn’t make it correct. You need some independent, outside verification, combined with NO outside, independent contradiction. And you can’t identify outside contradiction if you start with the conviction that my book is so correct that contradictions cannot exist, so you will simply ignore all that you find, or re-interpret them wildly to force them to fit your preferences. Out in the real world, things don’t become true because you wish them to be true, or because you get together with others sharing the same desires and agree to think they’re true.

If God was around during the evolution, why would he sit back for 20 billion years and watch it, when he has the power to click his fingers and make it happen.

This is an excellent question. It’s entirely possible that your God did all you say, and that your assessment of His character and motivations are right on the mark. Scientists, unfortunately, have a requirement that their proposals be supported by evidence while not being contradicted by evidence. In the absence of any evidence, no statement can be scientific. It might not be wrong, of course, but it’s not scientific. Scientific statements require evidence.

This is perhaps a subtle point – certainly creationists never seem to grasp it. The theory of evolution was developed to explain how natural processes could have produced the evidence we see all around us. If a supernatural processes was used instead, then science can make no statement about it. The supernatural pricess might be correct, for all anyone knows, but there is no evidence for or against it. There is no evidence of the supernatural at all. Indeed, nobody has ever even been able to describe what evidence of the supernatural might look like.

And so scientists, who require real evidence, keep asking creationists for evidence. Or failing that, asking for some method by which evidence might be found. Or failing that, asking whether a method of finding evidence for creation is possible in the first place. In response, creationists pull out their Bibles and say “here is truth”. When anyone says “show us outside, independent evidence” the creationists say “God’s word is Truth. No further evidence is required. My book is true because it says it’s true. God said it, I believe it, that settles it.”

And such a person might be secure and happy with their belief, and (absent any evidence) nobody can say they’re wrong. But science cannot advance on the basis of belief, preference, or make-believe. Science requires evidence. It’s just not considered good enough evidence to say “God exists because nobody can prove He doesn’t exist.” Inability to produce evidence against something does not support that something. Support comes from actual, positive evidence in support.

But how can we tell if something is positive evidence, or something is being interpreted as positive evidence by someone so convinced of his Truth that’s all he can see? A good test is to find people of another religion (or none). If they all agree, there’s a good chance it’s positive evidence. If they all disagree, chances are you’re kidding yourself. And this is how science works: a scientist makes a claim by publishing not just his conclusions, but his methodology and his data, and invites others (of different faiths and convictions) to critique his work. Creationists never do this.

And if other scientists successfully refute the claim, the originator admits his errors. Creationists NEVER admit errors. Since their claims are not based on any evidence, they don’t have to admit errors. They know this, which is why there is no creationist research program.

Comment #21717

Posted by frank schmidt on March 24, 2005 8:48 AM (e)

Matthew, remember that there is one lesson that we can learn from both religion and science: Be humble. You are not the center of the Universe.

Scientists are humbled every day, as we see new complexities and beauty in the observable Universe.

I wish I could say the same for the creationists, who are so puffed-up that they truly believe that their own personal interpretation of a bunch of lessons told to a tribe of sheep-herders cannot be illuminated by new knowledge about the observable world. How sad for them.

Comment #21725

Posted by Henry J on March 24, 2005 10:58 AM (e)

Flint,

Re “Indeed, nobody has ever even been able to describe what evidence of the supernatural might look like.”

Maybe “supernatural” just means things for which we don’t present have a way to collect and verify evidence relevant to understanding them?

Henry

Comment #21726

Posted by Descent & Dissent on March 24, 2005 11:07 AM (e)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'kwickxml'

Comment #21730

Posted by neo-anti-luddite on March 24, 2005 11:21 AM (e)

Matthew,

Concerning your statement:

“If God was around during the evolution, why would he sit back for 20 billion years and watch it, when he has the power to click his fingers and make it happen.”

I have to ask: what is 20 billion years to God? How do you know that 20 billion years isn’t a “click [of] his fingers”?

PS: I’m ignoring a fallacy (or, perhaps, fallacies) inherent in your statement for the purpose of making a point. Evolution on Earth cannot, by definition, have been going on for more than ~4.2 billion years (and it almost certainly has been going on for less than that), and the Theory of Evolution has absolutly nothing to say about either cosmology (the development of the universe) or abiogenesis (the development of life from non-living matter); the Theory of Evolution only deals with changes in populations of living organisms over (usually vast streches of) time.

Comment #21808

Posted by evilgeniusabroad on March 24, 2005 7:34 PM (e)

Mathew wrote:

“I have a conscience, given to me by God.”

Evidence?

Didnt think so.

Comment #21819

Posted by Henry J on March 24, 2005 8:30 PM (e)

Jack,
Re “At least he tried to offer some details for an ID hypothesis -“

Trouble is, that model doesn’t account for the observed genetic “distance” between species in the same genus, order, family, etc. It would allow “related” species to be completed unrelated genetically. It would also allow species to be too closely related, i.e., possess much too much identical dna for genes for shared functions. Which I guess is a prediction of sorts, or two different predictions depending on details of the model. (But afaik it’s already a failed prediction.)

Not to mention that this “care taking” thing only applies to species that do take care of their young. Those that don’t wouldn’t be under any constraint as to when they might “appear”.

Henry

Comment #21940

Posted by Paul Flocken on March 26, 2005 7:41 AM (e)

Evolution by Design (excerpts)

By Jonathan Wells (1997)

Adapted with permission from the…(blah,blah,blah)

… For the remainder of this paper…(blah,blah,blah)

The need for large numbers of organisms…(blah,blah,blah)

And because human babies are totally dependent on…(blah,blah,blah)

Although this process is superficially similar to the Darwinian…(blah,blah,blah)

In conclusion, a design perspective on the history of life…(blah,blah,blah)

There is an interesting implication here that I did not see mentioned. Does the above mean that J. Wells specifically rejects the doctrine of special creation? And, can that be used against him in a court of lawcreation. A tool is a tool. Just because ID has picked up a wedge doesn’t mean evolution supporters can’t use one too.

Sincerely,

Paul

PS
As much as IDC’ers want to be against science they don’t see the irony of being dependent upon the two thousand+ year old Archimedean science of simple machines (i.e. the wedge).

Comment #22028

Posted by matthew on March 27, 2005 1:01 AM (e)

Is there evidence my conscience was given to me by evolution of monkeys?

Comment #22170

Posted by neo-anti-luddite on March 28, 2005 10:15 AM (e)

Well, Matthew, since monkeys have demonstrated close group and famillial bonds, including grieving, and an inherent sense of fair-play, I’d say yes, there is evidence that evolution provided your conscience.

Of course, it wasn’t just the “evolution of monkeys”; it was the evolution of primates (which includes both you and monkeys) from their common ancestor that likely provides such.

Comment #22567

Posted by matthew on March 30, 2005 3:19 AM (e)

Okay you have the answers for all my questions! Well done, your science has been manipulated to prove what you want it to prove.
The only way you can see what I see, is to open your heart to the fact that you might not be incharge. If evolution will sufficiently satisfy you, then good for you, it fails to satisfy me, and subconsciencly I think all men have a knowledge of the presence of God, open your self to listen to what it is, if you do that and find nothing then believe what you will.
I hope it goes well for you, because when my God comes back to earth, He will say to me: well done good and faithful servent.
It’s not too late for everyone else, I just hope and pray you make the right choise.

Comment #22699

Posted by neo-anti-luddite on March 31, 2005 10:33 AM (e)

matthew wrote:

…your science has been manipulated to prove what you want it to prove.

Science isn’t my science, and just because you don’t like what it has to say doesn’t mean that it’s been “manipulated.” It is what it is: an eternally incomplete study of reality based on observations of reality. Nothing more, nothing less.

I always find the “open your heart to the fact that you might not be incharge” argument very curious. What on Earth makes you think that I think that I’m “in charge”? I have absolutely no control over the majority of forces that affect my life, just like you, and just like the vast majority of people on this planet, religious or not. I suspect that you think I’m arrogant, or that I look down on you for not thinking/believing as I do; that seems to be a common theme among people who dislike evolution. Personally, I’ve found that people usually see in others what they themselves are most guilty of (although an addendum to this observation is that people also see in others what they themselves have been most hurt by).

If you do think that I look down on you for your beliefs, let me ask you a simple question (if you don’t think that, then by all means ignore it): do you look down on me or think me stupid becasue I can’t quote the Bible? I’ve never read it, I’ve never attended a church of any kind, and I know very little about it; am I stupid? Or am I just focused on other things?

Anyone who doesn’t know something she wasn’t taught is just a normal human being. Anyone who expects someone else to know something she wasn’t taught is an idiot. But then, that’s just my opinion.

And in the interest of accuracy, I’d have to say that it’s extremely unlikely that I actually do have “the answers for all [your] questions.”

Comment #22702

Posted by Russell on March 31, 2005 10:46 AM (e)

when my God comes back to earth, He will say to me: well done good and faithful servent.

Actually, I think He might say, “Matthew, could we have a little chat about humility?

Comment #23176

Posted by matthew on April 4, 2005 3:23 AM (e)

NO, I dont think he would say anything about humility, because i’m not taking the glory, infact i’m giving it to God. So if he did indeed wish to talk about humility I think he would say, “thanks for not taking the glory”

And in reply to neo-anti-luddite. I think it is curious that you would gratefuly accept the evolution theory without even so much as attending church once. I don’t think you are stupid, just slightly naive. We’re not perfect.

It’s interesting that you say your’e not incharge, hmmm if you’re not who is? You don’t think it’s God, so is it nature?
Nature has no grace, it doesn’t perform miracles(as have been witnessed by many-there’s some evidence for you)
God does, or something does. I can’t prove God, if God could be proven there would be no faith. So I’ve done what I need to do…tell you what you have probably heard already.
It’s up to you, not me or anyone else.

Comment #23196

Posted by neo-anti-luddite on April 4, 2005 10:25 AM (e)

matthew wrote:

I think it is curious that you would gratefuly accept the evolution theory without even so much as attending church once.

As I understand it, most Christians don’t see any conflict between their religion and science (as measured by the number of people who belong to churches that accept the theory of evolution as an accurate representation of reality), so I’m not sure why attending a church would matter one way or another in terms of accepting (gratefully or not) the theory of evolution. For the sake of argument, however, I’ll temporarily assume that religion and science are in direct opposition (ie: that believeing the one means denying the other) and explain why I would accept a scientific explanation for the variation of life over a religious one (remember, the theory of evolution doesn’t cover the origins of life, just its diversity).

If the only possible choices are to accept religion completely or accept science completely, then I am willing to trust ~250 years of peer-reviewed research over the word of people who claim to speak for God, especially if the only support for that claim is a book (or, in some cases, books) written centuries ago (and which has gone through a number of translations between languages that are so radically different that some concepts are essentially untranslatable) by other people who also claimed to speak for God. For me, it’s that simple.

In my experience, people are fallible. Some even lie. Consequently, I have far more confidence in the accuracy of claims made by people whose every word is checked and rechecked by others who are actively looking for fault in those claims than in the accuracy of claims made by people who just say “trust me” (or, in this case, “have faith”).

Let me put it this way: You know that the scientists are wrong. Why? Becasue your faith tells you so. But did you come to your faith through your personal exploration of your own connection with God, or did you come to your faith by listening to what others told you was your connection with God? If the former, why does “not going to a church” matter at all in terms of accepting evolution, and if the latter, why do you take the word of human beings as the word of God? Assuming the latter and even granting that Jesus was, in fact, divine, he didn’t write a single word of the Bible. Every bit of it was written by human beings with human failings, human conceits, human memories, human perspectives, and human naivete. As you say, “we’re not perfect.”

But your argument essentially rests solely on the assumption that the religion you follow is perferct, and that religion is, as I have pointed out, based upon the words of human beings who, as you have noted, are not perfect. Therefore, in order to assume that your religious views are correct, you must assume that the statement “we’re not perfect” doesn’t apply to certain people when they are discussing God. Even if one grants that to be the case (which I’m not willing to do, except temporarily for the sake of argument), then the question becomes how do you know you’ve correctly identified the people who actually are perfect when discussing God? There are, after all, many different - and usually conflicting - interpretations of the same book (all of which is further assuming that you’ve correctly identified the book that is perfect when discussing God). As far as I can tell, this means that you are essentially claiming that you are infallible when discussing God (which, incidentally, is also exactly what you’d be claiming if you came to your faith through your personal exploration of your own connection with God).

I don’t claim to know what God says, does, thinks, or wants, so if it’s either science or religion, I’ll go with science, which admits that it is never completely correct and works to fix errors in our understanding as soon as it finds them. I’m just not certain enough of the infallibility of my own judgement to be willing to follow a religion.

matthew wrote:

It’s interesting that you say your’e not incharge, hmmm if you’re not who is?

Well, the answer to that depends on what you mean by “in charge.” Obvioulsy, here in America, one could credibly say that the President, the Congress, and the Judiciary are “in charge”; of course, one could equally credibly say that large corporations are “in charge.” As I am neither a politician nor a CEO, that would obviously mean that I’m not “in charge.”

But I’m fairly certain you’re taking a larger (and longer) view, and when you ask “who’s in charge” you’re asking “what makes things happen the way they do”? (If this is incorrect, please let me know.) Although I would take issue with your claim that “nature has no grace,” I don’t believe that “nature” is “in charge”; I don’t think anything is “in charge” in the sense of guiding us towards a particular purpose. I believe that everything there is, the entire universe, is an extended response to stimuli, with each response in a set of responses becoming the next stimulus for another set of responses. I may not know what the “First Stimulus” was, but to be perfectly frank, I don’t need to. By my very existence, I know there was one, but I’m okay with uncertainty as to what it was and how it came about. I know that I will always be hugely ignorant of the vast majority of things in this universe; hell, I know that I will always be hugely ignorant of the vast majority of human knowledge, and human knowledge isn’t even a measurable portion of the knowledge that is possible about the universe (and that’s not even addressing the likelyhood that there are things outside the universe, which further increases the scope of my own ignorance). But the immense scope of my own ingnorance doesn’t mean that I can’t know anything.

I certainly know when I’m not “in charge”….

Comment #23334

Posted by Paul Flocken on April 5, 2005 5:09 AM (e)

Matthew,
Available to you right now is the combined intellect and experience of the couple dozen professional scientists responsible for this site and perhaps a hundred different commentators, and all you want to do is proselytize to them. You stated at the very beginning that you are studying science and you love it. Wouldn’t it really be neat to actually learn some real science from them instead. Instead you have to reveal how threatened you are by the discoveries of modern biology. Well maybe if you learned something of it your threat level would be reduced.

Sincerely,

Paul

Comment #23335

Posted by matthew on April 5, 2005 5:46 AM (e)

The bible was not directly written by Jesus, and information regarding evolution was not written by monkeys. Either way the authors were not present at the time of the events, or were told through word of mouth what happened. God used his disciples, and followers to write the bible; quoting him. Hence if one is arguing the creation theory, they can be pretty cirtain they are perfectly right, if they stick to the facts, in the bible.

So far as people who believe evolution and God are linked, and work together are fooling themselves. The GAP theory (stating there was a gap of millions of years somewhere in Genesis)is completely unbiblical, nowhere does it mention this, it was made up to satisfy “Godly people” so they could fit in with the evolutionists.

You say that evolution adresses the diversity of life not its origins, can you explain the origins?

My other interesting question (and i might add-completely of the topic) is what about things such as oiuja boards, the reality of these things cannot be denied, they are proven, however evolution states that when we die, we are re-incarnated as another life, so it isn’t dead people. What is it? I believe it is demons, angels of satan.

So far as the accuracy of the bible goes, in your earlier statement you said that you have never read the bible…How do you know, as you claim, men lie, how do you know that people arn’t lying to you regarding the accuracy of the bible??
I think you need to have a read.

Paul Flocken, While I admit I am not as advance as all on this site, I do understand the evolution theory very well, I have explored it well, I’m not as ignorant to science as you may believe!!
Now I appreciate what you’re saying, and I wish not to get into a science argumenty with you, but you all say I’m ignorant to you’re evidence, I believe you are all ignorant to my God. If you look for God (genuinely) you WILL find him.
And I am by no means ‘threatened’ by modern biology! I believe we have adapted to environment, not form monkeys, but to climate etc.
However I think that modern biology is threatened by God, because all you’re arguments, strive to fight against christianity(creation) but never once have I heard you mention the other theories created by other cultures. Thats because creation has some backing to it, because it all adds up. It explains the diversity of life, and the origins of live, not just diversity.

Praying for you always,
Matthew

Comment #23340

Posted by Paul Flocken on April 5, 2005 6:27 AM (e)

Comment #23335

Posted by matthew on April 5, 2005 05:46 AM (e) (s)

Thats because creation has some backing to it,

Well you’re right there, and his name is Howard Fieldstead Ahmanson.

I’ll write more tomorrow morning. Right now I have bigger fish to fry.

Sincerely,

Paul

Comment #23341

Posted by Ian Musgrave on April 5, 2005 7:02 AM (e)

Matthew wrote:

however evolution states that when we die, we are re-incarnated as another life …. I do understand the evolution theory very well, I have explored it well …

Well, it was a nice Troll while it lasted, but trying to bridge the gap bewteen ignorance and understanding has finally gotten my goat, so I’ll just trit trot off before I get too gruff. I suggest everyone else does too.

Comment #23345

Posted by matthew on April 5, 2005 7:46 AM (e)

Im not sure if my last comment was posted, baisically I find it humerous that neither of us have changed our opinions, and we are in an argument (debate) and still you say that I am the ignorant one. Hmmm seems I’m not the only one…

Comment #23347

Posted by Jack Krebs on April 5, 2005 8:08 AM (e)

Mathew, the theory of evolution says absolutely nothing about reincarnation. To say that and then to also say that you understand evolutionary theory well shows that at least on this subject you are ignorant. Reincarnation is a ancient religious belief of some Eastern religious as well as a belief of some New Age religions based on Eastern ideas. This has absolutely nothing to do with the theory of evolution.

Comment #23349

Posted by matthew on April 5, 2005 8:17 AM (e)

Then where do the bodies go?

Comment #23350

Posted by Jack Krebs on April 5, 2005 8:25 AM (e)

I don’t even understand your question - what bodies? Reincarnation is a religious belief about souls, not a belief about bodies.

Perhaps it would be helpful if you explained in a sentence or two what you think a belief in reincarnation means, and why you think it has to do with evolution. Then maybe we can clear some of this up.

Comment #23355

Posted by neo-anti-luddite on April 5, 2005 10:32 AM (e)

matthew wrote:

The bible was not directly written by Jesus, and information regarding evolution was not written by monkeys. Either way the authors were not present at the time of the events, or were told through word of mouth what happened. God used his disciples, and followers to write the bible; quoting him. Hence if one is arguing the creation theory, they can be pretty cirtain they are perfectly right, if they stick to the facts, in the bible.

So basically, you know that the Bible is true becasue the Bible tells you that the Bible is true. I’m glad that works for you; it doesn’t work for me. Obviously, there’s no point in further discussion. Thank you for your civility, and I wish you a long and happy life.

Comment #23409

Posted by Ian Musgrave on April 5, 2005 4:04 PM (e)

Well, subtlety didn’t work did it.

Folks, please do not feed the troll.

Comment #23413

Posted by Paul Flocken on April 5, 2005 4:17 PM (e)

Ian Musgrave, Does anything work? Or are human insecurities to powerful for reality to sink in?

Paul

Comment #23492

Posted by matthew on April 6, 2005 2:14 AM (e)

Are you calling christianity a ‘human insecurity’?
If so you’re wrong it’s the ultimate security, I believve I have a glorious after life. The majority of people don’t know what they believe!

Comment #23508

Posted by Jack Krebs on April 6, 2005 6:49 AM (e)

I’m going to close comments on this thread. Thanks to all for the discussion.