Jack Krebs posted Entry 966 on April 17, 2005 08:39 AM.
Trackback URL: http://www.pandasthumb.org/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb.fcgi/964

The Discovery Institute’s blog ‘Evolution News and Views,’ supposedly in existence to correct ‘misreporting’ in the media about Intelligent Design, isn’t doing such a hot job itself.

Their latest post by Rob Crowther (here) is entitled ‘AAAS Issues Gag Order to Scientists, Seeks to Stifle Debate.’

The article starts by listing a number of public debates (just the kind of thing the DI like to point as evidence that Intelligent Design is credible) between such people as Nelson and Shanks, Provine and Meyer, and so on.

Then Crowther writes,

But, no Darwinist will testify to the Kansas board of education. Amazing. Simply amazing.

Why? Because the Darwinian high priests at the American Association for the Advancement of Science have issued a sort of scientific papal bull, a gag order to scientists, telling them not to debate the flaws in Darwin’s theory before the Kansas State Board of Education.

What a bunch of uninformed and dishonest bull!

Kansas Citizens for Science called for the boycott of the hearings a month ago, and the boycott has held: this fact is clearly stated in the AAAS statement. 

Furthermore, AAAS nowhere says that others should not participate — they merely say that they have declined, and they tell why:

AAS “Respectfully Declines” Invitation to Controversial Evolution Hearing

AAAS on Monday declined an invitation from the Kansas Board of Education to appear at a May hearing on teaching evolution in public schools after concluding that the event is likely to sow confusion rather than understanding among the public.

In a letter to George Griffith, science consultant to the Kansas State Department of Education, association CEO Alan I. Leshner sided with the leaders of the Kansas science community who have described the hearings as an effort by faith-based proponents of “intelligent design” theory to attack and undermine science.

“After much consideration,” Leshner wrote, “AAAS respectfully declines to participate in this hearing out of concern that rather than contribute to science education, it will most likely serve to confuse the public about the nature of the scientific enterprise.”

Where is the ‘gag order’ here?  Where is AAAS ‘telling them [other scientists] not to debate the flaws in Darwin’s theory?’

It ain’t there, and if Crowther has any intellectual honesty and/or reading ability, he would know that.

How can the DI’s complaints about the media have any credibility at all when their own reports are so obviously spin?  It looks like they better start cleaning their own house first, if you ask me.

As you might tell, Crowther’s piece makes me a little angry.  KCFS has led the way in asking scientists to not participate.  We obviously have no power to tell anyone to do anything.  Scientists have listening to our arguments and responded.  That’s all.

The DI blog doesn’t allow comments, so I have copied this to Crowther himself.  He’s welcome to come here and respond.

Commenters are responsible for the content of comments. The opinions expressed in articles, linked materials, and comments are not necessarily those of PandasThumb.org. See our full disclaimer.

Comment #25423

Posted by steve on April 17, 2005 9:25 AM (e)

Dear Mr. Crowther: I do not know what you wish to debate. To my knowledge, there is no “Intelligent Design Theory” Michael Behe attempted to formulate one, and failed badly. William Dembski attempted to repair it, and his notions have been completely discredited, including in some comical ways, such as when David Wolpert commented on Dembski’s use of Wolpert’s NFL theorems. Until anyone develops an actual ID theory, there’s just nothing to debate. Biologists don’t seriously discuss Discovery Institute biology, any more than physicists discuss Jay Richards’s Discovery Institute relativity. It’s nonsense.

Comment #25425

Posted by Jack Krebs on April 17, 2005 9:35 AM (e)

Of course, Crowther et al will tell you that there are not wanting to debate ID, but rather just certain weaknesses in evolutionary theory.

However, Steve’s comments apply to this also: the ID arguments against evolution have had no impact on science, in part because the ID movement doesn’t attempt to argue them in the science community.

I cross-posted my opening post on the KCFS Forums here, and csadams has made an excellent response to this point. In its entirety, she wrote,

One point Crowther makes is that the minority report isn’t asking to include intelligent design in the standards.

He’s right.

Just because John Calvert, founder/leader of IDNet, subcommittee members’ campaign contributor, is counsel to the minority surely doesn’t mean that ID is being given any preference.

Just because the list of witnesses is chock-full of ID proponents can’t mean ID is on the way into the standards.

Just because “teaching the controversy” is a political strategy endorsed by the Discovery Institute (the Seattle ID hotbed) doesn’t guarantee ID will make its way into science class.

And, just because the three subcommittee members were elected on anti-evolution platforms doesn’t mean they can’t be objective in this matter.

Now, if you honestly believe this stuff (and it would be an irrational, untenable, fly-in-the-face-of-evidence belief), then I’d really like to sell you a bridge or two.

Scientists are among the most prideful, arrogant, rude people I’ve ever known. Any organization that would “tell” them or “order” them to adhere to any irrational action or “papal bull” would be met with derision, rebellion, and perhaps the verbal equivalent of a common gesture. As noted elsewhere, there are few things scientists enjoy more than knocking down another scientist’s arguments in the scientific arena. Note that this arena is made up of other experts in the field, NOT the court of public opinion. This boycott is being supported because it’s right, not because of any orders from on high.

Like it or not, becoming a scientist takes years of study and education, and some folks just won’t make it, just as others will never become concert pianists or NBA stars. Will the anti-science board members next set themselves up as arbiters of classical music, or as NBA referees?

The pro-ID proposal has been reviewed by scientists and wholly knocked down. These Kansaroos have an overtly political agenda, one that is less concerned about the education of Kansas’ kids than it is the solidification of an anti-science attitude in the general public.

This is an excellent comment.

Comment #25429

Posted by Jack Krebs on April 17, 2005 9:53 AM (e)

P.S. “Kansaroos” is an excellent neologism.

Comment #25431

Posted by Mike Hopkins on April 17, 2005 10:07 AM (e)

Crowther’s article ends with:

No Comments/Trackbacks/Pingbacks for this post yet…

Hey guys, did someone forget to trackback Crowther’s post or have they cut it out? This is important since it give anyone visiting them the right to see what our side has to say which the DI simply can’t refute. And if they do refuse trackbacks, then our side can make sure the people are informed that the Discovery Institute does not want anyone to find out what the other side of the so-called “controversy” has to say.


Anti-spam: Replace “user” with “harlequin2”

Comment #25435

Posted by Russell on April 17, 2005 10:30 AM (e)

…if they do refuse trackbacks, then our side can make sure the people are informed that the Discovery Institute does not want anyone to find out what the other side of the so-called “controversy” has to say.

I’ll be following this closely. Maybe they’ll have to change the slogan from
Teach the controversy!
to
Teach the controversy*!
*(well, our side of it)

Comment #25437

Posted by Charlie Wagner on April 17, 2005 10:39 AM (e)

Rob Crowther wrote:

…the Darwinian high priests at the American Association for the Advancement of Science have issued a sort of scientific papal bull, a gag order to scientists, telling them not to debate the flaws in Darwin’s theory before the Kansas State Board of Education.

This de facto “gag order”, this refusal to debate the merits of evolutionary theory (or lack thereof) is not restricted to the Kansas issue, nor is it something new.

It has been in effect for quite a while, as I can testify from my own personal experience. You simply cannot get a reputable scientist to discuss these questions, either on the record or off the record and this has been going on for a while.
I often write comments to researchers regarding the interpretations and implications of their work on evolutionary theory and I am consistently met with absolute stonewalling. They simply don’t want to discuss it. And if they say anything at all, it’s something comical and useless like “we don’t know all of the specific mechanisms” or “evolutionsary theory adequately explains it”, or “it evolved..”. Now what the heck does that mean?
Even here at PT and over at T.O I find that, while “creationist bashing” is rampant, actual discussion of the science itself is almost completely absent.
I recently asked several reputable evolutionists if they cared to discuss the findings in this report and offer some kind of explanation as to how a highly organized and complex system such as described below could have emerged by mechanisms like those that are included in current evolutionary thinking.
I’m still waiting. So far the only response has been the sound of crickets chirping.

Resting Microglial Cells Are Highly Dynamic Surveillants of Brain Parenchyma in Vivo
Axel Nimmerjahn 1, Frank Kirchhoff 2, Fritjof Helmchen 1*

1 Abteilung Zellphysiologie, Max-Planck-Institut für medizinische Forschung, Jahnstr. 29, 69120 Heidelberg, Germany.
2 Abteilung Neurogenetik, Max-Planck-Institut für Experimentelle Medizin, Hermann-Rein-Str. 3, 37075 Göttingen, Germany.

* To whom correspondence should be addressed.
Fritjof Helmchen , E-mail: [Enable javascript to see this email address.]

Microglial cells represent the immune system of the brain and therefore are critically involved in various injuries and diseases. Little is known about their role in the healthy brain and their immediate reaction to brain damage. Using in vivo two-photon imaging in neocortex, we found that microglial cells are highly active in their presumed resting state, continually surveying their microenvironment with extremely motile processes and protrusions. Furthermore, blood brain barrier disruption provoked immediate and focal activation of microglia, switching their behavior from patrolling to shielding of the injured site. Microglia thus are busy and vigilant housekeepers in adult brain.

Published online 14 April 2005
Science Express

Comment #25441

Posted by Jianyi Zhang on April 17, 2005 10:54 AM (e)

Do you want to get answer? You are so naive.
I challenge Darwinists to falsify NS or geographical isolation in role of speciation six months ago, nobody steps out.

Comment #25442

Posted by Russell on April 17, 2005 10:55 AM (e)

Charlie - I’d be glad to discuss it with you. (Perhaps the After the Bar Closes would be a better venue than here - which is really all about Kansas.) Looking forward to it!

Comment #25443

Posted by Gary Greenberg on April 17, 2005 10:55 AM (e)

I thought Panda’s thumb would find this exchange of interest. A Kansas creationist psychoogist, Paul Ackerman (Wichita State University), just sent me the pictures of the T Rex soft tissue recently discovered adding his own comments, “If you haven’t seen these, here are the pictures of the recently announced T-Rex dinosaur tissue samples. Obviously these bones and tissues are not 70 million years old as portrayed by the rule-governed (‘only-natural-explanations-allowed’) constructions of earth history by the Darwinists.”

My response was, “How do you know how old this tissue is?”

He responded, “I don’t know how old it is, but surely you don’t suppose it is 70 million years old, unless, of course, you have a philosophical based rule that forces you to believe it is millions of years old. Or, unless, your professional reputation would be in the toilet if you don’t go along with the idea it is millions of years old.”

To which I added, “Paul: Since dinosaurs are millions of years old, their remains must be also. Let’s see what the dating reveals…oh, I forgot – you believe all dating techniques to be flawed and part of the “science conspiracy.” So, if I understand it, since you (and creationists) say it’s not millions of years old, that must be the truth.

Come on, Paul…last week you said you were not dishonest!”

Comment #25444

Posted by Charlie Wagner on April 17, 2005 10:59 AM (e)

csadams wrote:

Scientists are among the most prideful, arrogant, rude people I’ve ever known. Any organization that would “tell” them or “order” them to adhere to any irrational action or “papal bull” would be met with derision, rebellion, and perhaps the verbal equivalent of a common gesture. As noted elsewhere, there are few things scientists enjoy more than knocking down another scientist’s arguments in the scientific arena. Note that this arena is made up of other experts in the field, NOT the court of public opinion. This boycott is being supported because it’s right, not because of any orders from on high.

The facts prove otherwise. Like Michael tells Fredo in the Godfather:

“never take sides against the family”.

The self-deprecation in the first sentence does not apply to the majority of scientists I have met who are anxious to discuss their work, help other scientists, share their thoughts, render assistance to students and be civil and pleasant to each other and the public. It’s only when issues of evolution (or cosmology) come into the picture that they circle the wagons.
There are plenty of arguments *within* families, between brothers, sisters and parents but when the family is attacked from outside, blood is thicker than water and they unite against what they see as a common enemy.

Comment #25445

Posted by Wesley R. Elsberry on April 17, 2005 11:00 AM (e)

Trackback to the DI blog added.

Comment #25446

Posted by Paul Christopher on April 17, 2005 11:03 AM (e)

Charlie Wagner: Excellent work in completely evading the issue. Now try actually responding to the points Jack Krebs actually made.

Comment #25447

Posted by steve on April 17, 2005 11:04 AM (e)

You’re not being singled out, charlie. The NCSU physics department weekly gets letters, calls, emails, from laymen explaining their breakthrough ideas. In the case of the physics dept, the ideas are not about how evolution is wrong, they usually are about how Special Relativity is wrong, General Relativity is wrong, here’s a machine which can run perpetually, here’s an engine which doesn’t generate any waste heat, here’s how you make cheap and easy fusion, here’s why the Big Bang is wrong, here’s why Quantum Mechanics is wrong, etc. Researchers in all the sciences are contacted by cranks who don’t understand the fundamentals of the science, and think they’ve discovered deep flaws. Like you. Ignoring such people is the only way to get work done.

Comment #25448

Posted by Art on April 17, 2005 11:17 AM (e)

Hmmmm….

I’m a member of AAAS and I haven’t yet been ordered to boycott the KS proceedings. Anyone else here get the word from “on high”?

I wonder if the response to these proceedings would be different if the KS school board tried to lend some sort of accountability to the “debate” - such as agreeing to take an exam (based on any presentations made by scientists, and not dependent on affirmations of faith or belief) and recuse themselves from any votes if they failed the test. I know that I would be favorably impressed if an elected official in my state would make such an offer. Personal accountability in our elected officials is such a rare commodity.

Comment #25452

Posted by rampancy on April 17, 2005 12:08 PM (e)

Crowther and Wagner’s spin on the AAAS letter is just plain dumfounding, and are simply outright lies, plain and simple.

The AAAS and its members aren’t willing to engage in any debate, because they all know that it would be a waste of time. Even “if” any mainstream professional scientist “won” in that trial, the outcome would still be the same; the Creationists would trumpet their “victory”, and Creationism would be taught in Kansas schools. The Kansas trial wants the AAAS there so they can paint great big targets on their bodies, and the AAAS knows it.

Science is not determined in public show trials or in public debates: it is determined in the hard, hard work that scientists undertake, whether it be in the field or in the lab. That Creationists, trumpeting their “Protestant Work Ethic” have not even the slightest iota of appreciation for that insults me not only as a student of science, but as a Christian as well.

Comment #25461

Posted by "Rev Dr" Lenny Flank on April 17, 2005 1:20 PM (e)

the American Association for the Advancement of Science have issued a sort of scientific papal bull, a gag order to scientists, telling them not to debate

The DI blog doesn’t allow comments

Damn, broke ANOTHER irony meter ……

Comment #25462

Posted by "Rev Dr" Lenny Flank on April 17, 2005 1:23 PM (e)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'kwickxml'

Comment #25464

Posted by "Rev Dr" Lenny Flank on April 17, 2005 1:27 PM (e)

Even here at PT and over at T.O I find that, while “creationist bashing” is rampant, actual discussion of the science itself is almost completely absent.

Hey, I’m all ready to discuss ID’s “science”. All you need to do is PRODUCE some.

We can start with something simple. Such as “what IS the scientific theory of ID and/or creationism, and how do we test it using the scientific method?”

Wanna answer that simple question for me, Charlie? Or are you going to run from it in terror, just like every *other* IDer/creationist does?

Put up or shut up, Charlie. Fish or cut bait. Shit or get off the toilet.

What’s it gonna be …. .

Comment #25465

Posted by Frank J on April 17, 2005 1:35 PM (e)

Jack Krebs wrote:

Of course, Crowther et al will tell you that there are not wanting to debate ID, but rather just certain weaknesses in evolutionary theory.

Surely this has been mentioned before, but IDers were first to decline the debate by refusing to participate in the research arena. I should remind the lurkers that some IDers do publish peer-reviewed research, but it is unrelated to their ID claims and does not support their implied alternates to evolution. So, even with Meyer’s “peer-reviewed” argument from incredulity (that the journal publicly regretting publishing, no less) IDers still refuse to participate where it counts. So why should any scientist want to participate where it can only mislead?

Even without mentioning ID, if IDers had their way, the “Kangaroo Court” would consist of misrepresentations of evolution vs. defenses of evolution against them. The scientists would have little opportunity to put the “weaknesses” of evolution back in their proper context (where they lose “weakness” status), and some will even take the bait and argue on IDers’ terms. Once the filtered through the sensationalist media, little would remain of the outcome but the usual ID sound bites, and complaints of “sneaking in God.”

Comment #25466

Posted by Joe E. on April 17, 2005 1:49 PM (e)

Charlie Wagner wrote:

I often write comments to researchers regarding the interpretations and implications of their work on evolutionary theory and I am consistently met with absolute stonewalling. They simply don’t want to discuss it. And if they say anything at all, it’s something comical and useless like “we don’t know all of the specific mechanisms” or “evolutionsary theory adequately explains it”, or “it evolved..”. Now what the heck does that mean?
Even here at PT and over at T.O I find that, while “creationist bashing” is rampant, actual discussion of the science itself is almost completely absent.

I think of lot of responses like this that one might get from scientists can be explained by way of “conditioning”. For example, the undergraduate research that I am currently participating in involves looking at variable stars. We take, usually, a couple thousand images of one star over the course of a night for several nights, often over the course of months. After calibrating all that data, we do time-series photometry to find the precise brightness variations. After that, we use a mathematical tool called a Fourier Transform to find the period(s) at which the star is pulsating.

In all honesty, the theory behind what we do is not that difficult. The problem is, many, if not most, people just do not have the prerequisite knowledge to understand what I am talking about when they ask me to explain what it is that I do. Thus, whenever someone asks me “What is it that you do at that internsip thing?”, I get blank stares from about 85-90% of the questioners, and all I have to do is say the term “variable stars”. It can get massively frustrating.

Admittedly, not every one is like this, and you do not need a college education to understand what is is I do on a fundamental level. But when I start getting into intricacies, such as the theory behind and the use of Fourier Tranforms, it has been my experience that precious few people can still follow me. And it is not just me. The professional astronomers that I work for have said that they have repeatedly experienced the same thing, even from family members who have been asking “What is it that you do, again?” for years.

So back to the conditioning thing, I don’t believe that most (hopefully all) of these scientists are ignoring you based on a lack of a response. They are acting on experiences that have told them that it is often simply a waste of time to discuss scientific intricacies with laypeople.

Comment #25467

Posted by Charlie Wagner on April 17, 2005 1:49 PM (e)

Russell wrote:

Charlie - I’d be glad to discuss it with you. (Perhaps the After the Bar Closes would be a better venue than here - which is really all about Kansas.) Looking forward to it!

I started a thread there. “Microglial Cells: Evidence for Intelligent Input”

Comment #25468

Posted by Charlie Wagner on April 17, 2005 2:00 PM (e)

Joe E wrote:

So back to the conditioning thing, I don’t believe that most (hopefully all) of these scientists are ignoring you based on a lack of a response. They are acting on experiences that have told them that it is often simply a waste of time to discuss scientific intricacies with laypeople.

When I talk to a researcher about his/her work I make it clear that I’ve read the paper and that I understand the paper. I formulate meaningful questions that specifically address points raised by the paper. There should not be any doubt in the person’s mind that I am not a moron or a crackpot.
Not everyone who challenges accepted orthodoxy is a crackpot or misguided. And while I don’t work in scientific academia, it should be obvious to the least perceptive person that I am hardly your average “layperson”.

Comment #25471

Posted by Stuart Weinstein on April 17, 2005 2:32 PM (e)

Wagner writes “I often write comments to researchers regarding the interpretations and implications of their work on evolutionary theory and I am consistently met with absolute stonewalling.”

Yeah Charlie, what would we do without you?

So you bother professional researchers? I used to get letters from cranks regarding the formation of the Earth, Expanding Earth or bizarre ideas regarding the Earth’s interior.

THose letters mostly found their way into my waste paper basket. Thats probably where yours went.

Comment #25472

Posted by P. Mihalakos on April 17, 2005 2:40 PM (e)

Joe E. wrote:

So back to the conditioning thing, I don’t believe that most (hopefully all) of these scientists are ignoring you based on a lack of a response. They are acting on experiences that have told them that it is often simply a waste of time to discuss scientific intricacies with laypeople.

Joe, I agree with most of what you are trying to say. Everyone’s time, scientist’s or layperson’s, is valuable, and nobody likes to waste it, particularly on those who have little respect for the work we may have put much time and energy into.

However, there are many in the lay public who are genuinely interested in science, even re. highly specialized areas. What’s more, many are willing to invest much energy and time into understanding them. And for lack of a better word, I think that is just beautiful.

Unless you sense a feigned interest (usually a family member just trying to be polite) or unless you sense you are being set-up by a person with ulterior motives, it’s important to honor everyone’s curiosity, even if you do not have the time to satisfy it.

I have to remind myself sometimes of how crucial it is for science to remain consistently engaged in all levels of popular discourse, even though it can be tiring and frankly above my skills. Given the current political climate, the alternative could be much worse. That’s why good science reporters are so precious. (Kudos to Ira Flatow, and co.!)

The bottom line is this. If we allow a certain minority of the population to paint scientists as arrogant evil “magicians,” and science as a kind of irresponsible “religion,” then we truly will be stepping back into a darker time. And I mean both for authentic religious expression and for science.

If the space between science and popular culture becomes too distant, then in the minds of many science=technology=magic. It is a very slippery slope. This is what I try to keep thoroughly in mind when I am feeling bushed and someone (whom I have no reason to suspect of obscurantism) bumps into me while I’m trying to relax at my favorite pub and asks, “Now what’s that fellowship thingy you’re doing this summer, again?”

Ultimately, while I may be unable to teach them the words to the song, per se, I can usually get them to hum the tune.

Comment #25473

Posted by Stuart Weinstein on April 17, 2005 2:43 PM (e)

Joe E writes “They are acting on experiences that have told them that it is often simply a waste of time to discuss scientific intricacies with laypeople”

I think that is way to harsh an assessment.

I can only write for myself here. But on t.o, sci.geo.geology and the occasional letter I get, I will always do my best to answer straight forward questions regarding my research or science.

A. I owe at least that much to the taxpayer.

B. I actually enjoy it, and do what I can to increase people’s enthusiam for the subject.

Thats a far different thing then getting repeated emails and letters etc. from kooks. In those cases, when I respond, its only for sport, although people can learn something from the responses.

And I have found I do not normally have to get into the scientific intricasies of a subject to give lay people an answer that has meaning and value to them. If they want to get into the details I usually suggest references, and that they can wirte back with questions.

If somebody can’t explain the basics of what they are doing, then perhaps they don’t understand what it is they are doing.

Comment #25474

Posted by P. Mihalakos on April 17, 2005 2:49 PM (e)

Weinstein wrote:

If somebody can’t explain the basics of what they are doing, then perhaps they don’t understand what it is they are doing.

Right! Why not feed genuine enthusiasm? Stuart’s is a succint and, therefore, more useful version of what I was trying to get around to saying above.

Comment #25478

Posted by Steve Reuland on April 17, 2005 3:25 PM (e)

Rob Crowther wrote:

Why? Because the Darwinian high priests at the American Association for the Advancement of Science have issued a sort of scientific papal bull…

I’ve always found it amusing, if slightly disturbing, just how badly the IDists seem to hate religion. If you’re an ID advocate who wants to insult scientists, there’s no better way than to compare them to clergymen. So we have the leadership of one of the world’s foremost scientific organizations referred to as “high priests” who have issued a “papal bull”.

Putting aside the obvious falsehood of the comparison, I wonder if Crowther thinks that high priests within the Christian are nothing more than narrow-minded dogmatists, and that papal bulls issued by, you know, the Pope, are nothing more than stifling enforcements of orthodoxy. Because that’s what he’s implying with the way he uses those terms.

The ID movement wants to “renew” the American political scene by injecting (or reinjecting) religious authoritarianism. They know that Americans by and large are manifestly against such a policy, so they have to be careful about what they say, using deceptive language to hide their goals. And so one of their most common tactics is to project all of their own worst beliefs and tactics onto their opponents.

Comment #25479

Posted by steve on April 17, 2005 3:40 PM (e)

Is there a difference between going to Dover to debate the creationists, and debating them interminably on this board?

Comment #25480

Posted by Great White Wonder on April 17, 2005 3:42 PM (e)

For the record, it would be interesting to know how many comments on this blog have been devoted to “discussing the science” with the likes of Charlie Wagner. I’m guessing on the order of hundreds.

And then at some point we grew tired of Charlie’s dissembling and his habit of quote mining biologists’ work as “evidence” that mysterious alien beings must have designed all the life on earth, and we learned – not agreed – to ignore his trolling.

Now he claims that there is some sort of conspiracy to stifle the “views” and “ideas” of uninteresting deluded cranks and Sasquatch-lovin’ charlatans.

The appropriate term is “deluded,” Charlie.

Comment #25481

Posted by Joe E. on April 17, 2005 3:44 PM (e)

Thanks for your input everyone. I will admit, sometimes I am not sure if someone gets lost during my expalanations because they can’t understand it or if it is just a result of my general difficulty in explaining things. I guess I just need to come up with better analogies, or something, so that I can be clearer.

Anyway, I would love to continue this discussion, but I have a mountain of homework that is not doing itself…

Comment #25482

Posted by fph on April 17, 2005 3:46 PM (e)

It’s a good point.

What Crowther et al. seem to want is a religious war. That’s the only reasonable conclusion from their invidious comparisons of science to religious elements. So the only question left is to ask how they wish to fight this war? Given that those who hate science with such religious fervor have had such a miserable track record, maybe they should finally do something about it? Perhaps they should begin car bombing Universities. Or start taking evolutionary biologists hostages, put them in jumper suits, and have them read denunciations of other scientists on videotape. Maybe some of them will have to take flying lessons, learn to pose as students, and infiltrate the grounds of infidels.

Or, will they, in the end, just hide behind their keyboards and type out whiny lies about scientists?

Comment #25483

Posted by bill on April 17, 2005 3:48 PM (e)

As a scientist and long time member of the AAAS I recently received notification that my membership would be cancelled forthwith if I used the word “Dumbski” in a blog comment section.

Uh, oh.

Comment #25484

Posted by Steve on April 17, 2005 3:58 PM (e)

Hey, charlie, you say that you are not a crank. What exactly distinguishes you from the hordes of cranks who do what you do?

Comment #25485

Posted by Stuart Weinstein on April 17, 2005 4:04 PM (e)

Steve R. writes “I’ve always found it amusing, if slightly disturbing, just how badly the IDists seem to hate religion. If you’re an ID advocate who wants to insult scientists, there’s no better way than to compare them to clergymen. So we have the leadership of one of the world’s foremost scientific organizations referred to as “high priests” who have issued a “papal bull”. “

Actually thats not surprising given the Protestant fundamentalist roots of creationism. For them, terms like “papal bull”, “high priests” are indeed perjoratives.

I don’t think these terms are used by *design*, but reflects there long ingrained fears of Catholicism.

Comment #25486

Posted by Malkuth on April 17, 2005 4:24 PM (e)

P. Mihalakos wrote:

If the space between science and popular culture becomes too distant, then in the minds of many science=technology=magic.

Remeber Clarke’s Third Law.

Steve Reuland wrote:

I’ve always found it amusing, if slightly disturbing, just how badly the IDists seem to hate religion. If you’re an ID advocate who wants to insult scientists, there’s no better way than to compare them to clergymen. So we have the leadership of one of the world’s foremost scientific organizations referred to as “high priests” who have issued a “papal bull”.

Not just advocates of ID, but creationists altogether. I find it more annoying than anything else, especially how they accuse scientists of being “dogmatic” so often. And how they acuse the theory of evolution of promoting racism when racism has historically been promoted by fundamentalists. Both excellent examples of projection… even if Freudian theories have been discarded.

Perhaps I take creationists too seriously, or don’t have enough of a sense of humor, but they really just frustrate me when they make such claims.

Comment #25487

Posted by P. Mihalakos on April 17, 2005 4:47 PM (e)

Arthur C. Clarke’s 3 Laws:

1.
When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.

2.
The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible.

3.
Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

Then another reference gives another #3.

“Any sufficiently advanced system that makes you re-examine your basic assumptions is indistinguishable from a cult.”

Either way, #3 gives me nightmares! I’d never seen Clarke’s laws before. Thanks for the reference, Malkuth.

Comment #25490

Posted by Alan Saunders on April 17, 2005 5:16 PM (e)

“Because the Darwinian high priests at the American Association for the Advancement of Science have issued a sort of scientific papal bull, a gag order to scientists, telling them not to debate the flaws in Darwin’s theory before the Kansas State Board of Education.”

Does that mean that he considers anyone who does turn up to debate the flaws to not be a scientist?

Comment #25494

Posted by Charlie Wagner on April 17, 2005 5:56 PM (e)

Bigdakine wrote:

Yeah Charlie, what would we do without you?

So you bother professional researchers? I used to get letters from cranks regarding the formation of the Earth, Expanding Earth or bizarre ideas regarding the Earth’s interior.

THose letters mostly found their way into my waste paper basket. Thats probably where yours went.

Now Stuart, be nice. We’re neighbors now, you know. I was so intrigued with Hawaii that I bought a place in Lahaina where I spend part of the year. I was thinking of Hana, but going down that road every day would be a nightmare!

Comment #25495

Posted by "Rev Dr" Lenny Flank on April 17, 2005 6:49 PM (e)

Actually thats not surprising given the Protestant fundamentalist roots of creationism. For them, terms like “papal bull”, “high priests” are indeed perjoratives.

I don’t think these terms are used by *design*, but reflects there long ingrained fears of Catholicism.

Which is why I like to remind IDers that not only does Behe accept that humans evolved from apelike primates, but Behe is also a Roman Catholic.

And Wells is a Moonie.

There is no enemy like the enemy within ……

Comment #25502

Posted by Frank Schmidt on April 17, 2005 7:48 PM (e)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'b'

Comment #25504

Posted by steve on April 17, 2005 7:58 PM (e)

so charlie, what makes you different from the cranks who do what you do?

Comment #25510

Posted by Keanus on April 17, 2005 8:55 PM (e)

The discussion here regarding folks like Charlie Wagner and his ilk reminds me of one of my favorite quotes (from German mathematician David Hilbert):

“A mathematical theory is not to be considered complete until you have made it so clear that you can explain it to the first man whom you meet on the street.”

I’ve always thought of it as equally applicable to science. Although Hilbert gave no assumptions for its application, from reading the deliberate misrepresentations by the DI on their blog and in their publications, I think a necessary one is that the proverbial “first man … on the street” be an open-minded and willing listener. No one from the DI, or the Kansas special hearing panel, is either, much less both.

Incidentally, although Hilbert is always credited for the saying, in the lecture he gave to the International Congress of Mathematicians at Paris in 1900 where he first voiced it, he credited an “ … old French mathematician.”

In that lecture he went on to say “This clearness and ease of comprehension, here insisted on for a mathematical [think scientific theory], I should still more demand for a mathematical problem if it is to be perfect; for what is clear and easily comprehended attracts, the complicated repels us.” Evolution in toto is complicated—after all it does involve all living organisms that ever existed on Earth—but the essential idea is elegantly simple. The willful ignorance and disregard for evidence, such at that evinced in the minority report of the Kansas science curriculum committee, by the DI, and by Charlie Wagner, makes those folks uneducable by any reasonable standard.

Comment #25515

Posted by FL on April 17, 2005 10:17 PM (e)

One point Crowther makes is that the minority report isn’t asking to include intelligent design in the standards.

He’s right.

Just because John Calvert, founder/leader of IDNet, subcommittee members’ campaign contributor, is counsel to the minority surely doesn’t mean that ID is being given any preference.

Just because the list of witnesses is chock-full of ID proponents can’t mean ID is on the way into the standards.

Just because “teaching the controversy” is a political strategy endorsed by the Discovery Institute (the Seattle ID hotbed) doesn’t guarantee ID will make its way into science class.

And, just because the three subcommittee members were elected on anti-evolution platforms doesn’t mean they can’t be objective in this matter.

Now, if you honestly believe this stuff (and it would be an irrational, untenable, fly-in-the-face-of-evidence belief), then I’d really like to sell you a bridge or two.

This is a “good post”? Really? Sorry, it just plain ain’t.

The fact is that this minority report IS NOT asking anybody to incorporate or even mention Intellgent Design in Kansas science standards nor in Kansas schools. Did somebody not read the minority report or something?

There is no end-running around this. There is no evidence–repeat:evidence–to the contrary of Crowther’s point there. None of the four “just because’s” that Csadams brought up show any evidence of the ID hypothesis being incorporated, mandated, or even mentioned in the standards if this specific minority report does happen to be adoped.

Only what’s actually proposed in the actual minority report is up for possible adoption. Neither Calvert, the DI, nor any number of ID-friendly scientists can magically modify the state standards to incorporate the ID hypothesis into them.

If there does exist any such evidence to the contrary of Crowther’s point, I respectfully ask Csadams to produce it now. Not spin. Not one-liners. Not well-pampered anti-ID fears.

Just actual evidence, please. I don’t see it in the actual copy of the proposed minority report. Nor has anyone else on the pro-evolution side offered any such evidence to counter Crowther’s specific point.

Hence, please show me at this time.

Otherwise, Crowther’s point stands, and strongly so.

FL

Comment #25518

Posted by Henry J on April 17, 2005 10:38 PM (e)

Keanus,

Re “I think a necessary one is that the proverbial “first man…on the street” be an open-minded and willing listener.”

And who doesn’t have to unlearn a bunch of wrong stuff first.

Henry

Comment #25521

Posted by Wesley R. Elsberry on April 17, 2005 11:52 PM (e)

The structure of antievolution argument, a primer.

“(1) Evolution sucks, (2) therefore an intelligent designer must have done it, and (3) the intelligent designer is the God of the Bible.”

The content of (1) across “evidence against evolution”, “intelligent design”, and “creation science” is a sequence of subsets: (1) seen in “evidence against evolution” is a subset of (1) seen in “intelligent design” which is a subset of (1) seen in “creation science”. The content of (1) also has little to do with what biologists actually think are the open questions in the field.

“Intelligent design” advocates generally, but not always, limit themselves to (1) and (2).

“Creation science” advocates insist on having (3) as well as (1) and (2). This approach has been ruled out of bounds for science classes by the courts.

Anybody trying to claim that they weren’t ripping off a music album with as much content copied from that source as we see in the arguments in (1) having come from “intelligent design” and “creation science” would find themselves shortly paying a big judgment. The notion that “evidence against evolution” is not “intelligent design” is not a polite fiction, it is outright fraud.

Comment #25523

Posted by Mike Hopkins on April 18, 2005 12:20 AM (e)

Charlie Wagner wrote:

I recently asked several reputable evolutionists if they cared to discuss the findings in this report and offer some kind of explanation as to how a highly organized and complex system such as described below could have emerged by mechanisms like those that are included in current evolutionary thinking.
I’m still waiting. So far the only response has been the sound of crickets chirping.

You are being ignored for the same reason that reputable physicists usually ignore letters from nonscientists asking questions clearly aimed at debunking the theory of relativity.


Anti-spam: Replace “user” with “harlequin2”

Comment #25525

Posted by Zbigniew Woznica on April 18, 2005 12:32 AM (e)

There are no high priests of Darwinism. Evolution is a scientific theory, not religion. Scientists are always trying to find weaknesses in theories and welcome anyone to design experiments to disprove them. That is how progress is made in science. The new theories that arise explain the weaknesses of the old as well as confirm their strengths. They also allow further testing and newer uses of the information achieved. This process goes on and on. Faith is just that. There is no experimentation designed to disprove it. There are no new uses of the information provided by Faith. There is no scientific progress to be made with it.

Comment #25526

Posted by RBH on April 18, 2005 12:47 AM (e)

FL wrote

There is no end-running around this. There is no evidence—repeat:evidence—to the contrary of Crowther’s point there. None of the four “just because’s” that Csadams brought up show any evidence of the ID hypothesis being incorporated, mandated, or even mentioned in the standards if this specific minority report does happen to be adoped.

The Minority Report incorporates the Santorum language. In Ohio, that language was explicitly interpreted by the ID proponents to imply teaching Wells’s crap.

Further, the minority report redefines science, abandoning post-Enlightenment methodological naturalism for so-called “evidence based” science. (Remember the ID mantra: Follow where the evidence leads”. Meaning, if you can’t think of a natural explanation, it must have been magic.)

FL lives in a fantasy land if he thinks the Intelligent Design Network, the Discovery Institute, and their brethren are involved in this from purely scientific and educational motives. The leader of the Ohio Intelligent Design Movement advised an ID conference in Minneapolis two years ago that

This is basically a political struggle…. Science will have very little to do with the arguments on what science standards will look like. Education will have little to do with it. It’s basically how the politics will work in a particular state.

Kansas IDNet is following his script.

RBH

Comment #25535

Posted by Ed Darrell on April 18, 2005 3:00 AM (e)

FL said:

There is no end-running around this. There is no evidence—repeat:evidence—to the contrary of Crowther’s point there. None of the four “just because’s” that Csadams brought up show any evidence of the ID hypothesis being incorporated, mandated, or even mentioned in the standards if this specific minority report does happen to be adoped.

There is ample evidence to rebut Crowther’s bizarre claim.

Consider:

1. In courts of law, evolution has always been held to be science – not religion – and suitable for discussion in government-sponsored science classes. These issues have been litigated repeatedly since the mid-1960s and the post-Sputnik backlash against science by creationists. In each and every case, in a fair and impartial tribunal, evolution wins. The Supreme Court’s rules endorse evolution.

2. In courts of science, evolution proves useful as the explanatory framework behind most of medicine and agriculture. Creationism was once valid science, but it was abandoned when it was proven to be counter-explanatory in these uses. In any given week there will be a half-dozen major papers published either based wholly on an evolution construct, or illuminating a part of evolution theory or application.

3. In courts of commerce, evolution is traded every day on the New York Stock Exchange (among others), and deemed to be useful commercial science (see Genentech or ADM for examples). There is no commercial application of any creationist or “intelligent design” concept.

4. The official curriculum writing bunch for the Kansas Board of Education has rejected intelligent design for classroom use – based in no small part on the testimony of ID folk that they have nothing suitable for the curriculum. The reason the minority report IS a minority report is because, though the deck was stacked in favor of the minority, the truth won out. Facts are stubborn things, Ronald Reagan used to say. And when slapped in the face repeatedly by the cold hard facts, Kansas creationists demand to change the rules of the game rather than take a fairly-arrived-at loss.

5. The ONLY reason to discuss imagined faults of evolution in a classroom, such as the dishonest and cheap charges of Jonathan Wells, is to take away time to teach the facts to the kids. It would be unfair to assume this as a strategy by creationists, except that it is the explicit strategy used by Tennessee in 1925, Arkansas in 1966, Arkansas in 1981, and Louisiana in 1985 and 1986 – and it is the explicit strategy outlined in the political strategy document from the Discovery Institute known as “the wedge.”

You’re right, FL, there is no end running. The intentions of the ID folk are both cunning and dishonest, counter to good education, and IMHO unethical. Crowther’s arguments have failed in every fair forum they’ve been tried in. Clearly, the only way for Crowther’s side to win an argument is to do the moral equivalent of bribing the judges. The end run is being attempted by ID, after having been twice rejected in their unfair forums in Kansas.

It’s pretty bad when one bribes the judges and they won’t stay bribed. A religious person might see some divine interference afoot in ID’s difficulty in cheating its way into the curriculum.

Comment #25539

Posted by Wesley R. Elsberry on April 18, 2005 3:32 AM (e)

Just wanted to add an illustration to the final bit of my “primer” above…

Let’s say Band X releases a big new album, “Entropy Rules!”, with 21 selections on it. Once critics play it, though, they find that every one of the tunes is a cover of a tune on George Harrison’s “All Things Must Pass” album. Charged with copyright infringement of Harrison’s album, Band X counters, “You have no evidence of that. Why, look, we did not cover ‘My Sweet Lord’, so your claims are entirely groundless!”

The ID advocates in taking up “evidence against evolution” as a strategy are just like Band X, hoping that by dropping “My Sweet Lord” from the playlist they will cruise underneath the radar.

Comment #25541

Posted by Ed Darrell on April 18, 2005 3:49 AM (e)

Charlie Wagner said:

Not everyone who challenges accepted orthodoxy is a crackpot or misguided. And while I don’t work in scientific academia, it should be obvious to the least perceptive person that I am hardly your average “layperson”.

Not everyone who challenges the orthodoxy is a crackpot, true. This year we celebrate Einstein’s greatly productive year, with his publication in 1905 of at least three papers that would have been Nobel Prize-worthy. Physicist Jeremy Bernstein, years ago in The New Yorker, pondered just how it was that these papers got published at all. Bernstein pointed out, as others have confirmed here, that especially in physics, the journals get a relative deluge of crackpots who send in crank science.

How does an editor distinguish between crank science and real, contrary-to-the-orthodox science? It’s a constant problem.

Bernstein points to two characteristics in Einstein’s paperes that convinced the editors, and which he said have proven to be fair indicators of good science vs. crank science, over the years.

First, real scientists propose real experiments to falsify or verify their work. Science is inherently pragmatic and subject to testing, and real science comes with suggestions about how even an unorthodox idea might be tested. In his paper on gravity, for example, Einstein noted that if he was right, light would bend around stars. This could be tested during eclipses. In 1919, it was tested, and Einstein’s idea on gravity got new traction. As I have noted elsewhere and on Panda’s Thumb, that was 14 years from publication of the idea to verification. In contrast, intelligent design was first and most formally proposed at a conference at SMU in 1991, 14 years ago. So far no ID advocate has proposed any test of ID. On Bernstein’s first test prong, ID sits quite skewered. ID has had long enough to prove itself, and has failed to step up to take any test at all. ID walks, quacks and excretes a lot like crank science.

The second characteristic of non-crank science, Bernstein noted, was that the authors of the papers of non-crank, unorthodox science demonstrate that they understand the orthodox science very well, and then proceed to indicate why, in nature, other scientists might have missed the unorthodox explanation. In other words, they explain why their colleagues and science forebears honestly missed the observation. Crank science, on the other hand, usually comes couched in a fog of accusations that the ideas are stymied by oppression from “the establishment,” and/or accusations that other scientists are themselves, crazy, evil, jealous, or in some other way willing to ignobly stifle new ideas. All of the writings of the lawyer Phillip Johnson (the “grandfather” of ID, according to ID press flackery) and Jonathan Wells, all of the writings of Rob Crowther, and much of the writings of all other ID advocates, tend to dwell on the “unfairness” of scientists who insist on real tests for intelligent design proposals. The stated reasons of the school board in Dover, PA, for requiring the non-existent science of ID be taught was to make the science classes ‘safe for Jesus,’ for example. Most of the supporters of ID before the Texas State School Board in 2003 cited their views that Christianity was not adequately promoted in the science textbooks. In most cases, the ID advocates cannot cite specific instances of their understanding of evolution (Michael Behe being the refreshing, honest and interesting exception to the ID crowd), and in almost every published case an ID critique of evolution includes some gross distortion or classic misunderstanding of science.

You may want to review your communications to scientists, Charlie, and see if you might unfairly have been interpreted as misunderstanding the science, or of having made the classic crank accusations against scientists. Good ideas have a difficult time getting traction – the president of the society that first published Wallace and Darwin noted at the end of the year that the society’s publications that year included nothing of great effect – and bad ideas get the same testing that good ideas get. It must seem unfair, to the cranks. Such caution is good for science, however.

Comment #25542

Posted by a Creationist Troll, apparently on April 18, 2005 4:24 AM (e)

Real scientists propose real experiments to falsify or verify their work.

… which in the context of macroevolution, is singularly unforthcoming, hence the rise of dissent.

Comment #25546

Posted by jonas on April 18, 2005 7:11 AM (e)

CTa,

the proposed experiment (above and beyond looking for similarities in extant and fossil organisms most parsimoniously explained by common descent) for so-called macroevolution is simple enough to be called trivial, and requires two steps:

- observe and document as many cases of evolution within a species, speciation events and minor radiation beyond species level possible within human observation times (both in the wild and in the lab) and look for evidence of mechanisms leading to these events.

- check the mechanisms in evidence for any show stoppers preventing the observed changes to continue indefinitely, as long as they are beneficial to the populations involved (thus potentially forming new higher taxa).

This has been done for a while and the first step has produced a lot of positives while the second one, while lots of ‘information limitations’ and similar stuff has been proposed by interested parties has always come up blank in the experimental arena. So, if you actually cared about falsifying macroevolution, you would know what you had to do.

Comment #25548

Posted by Marcus Good on April 18, 2005 7:58 AM (e)

aCTa said:

“which in the context of macroevolution, is singularly unforthcoming, hence the rise of dissent”

Not necessarily. Case in point, many fossils. For a while, theropods were divided into coelurosaurs and carnosaurs. Then it seemed tyrannosaurids were closer to ornithomimids based on their foot structures. This meant that _T. rex_ would have been closer to the little feather birdinos. It was also thought they probably developed from ancestors with three fingers on their hands.

And then we found both _Eotyrannus_ - small, graceful, and three fingered like other “coelurosaurs”, and the recent _Dilong_ - similar, but with feathery integument.

So that helped support the argument that the mighty _Tyrannosaurus_ evolved from a little feathery thing - what would be called macroevolution.

Then you’ve got sirenians. Like whales, we figured they came from four legged land animals. Hello _Pezosiren_, four legged, but otherwise the body of a dugong or manatee.

Snakes? _Haasiophis_ and _Pachyrachis_ - even down to the toe bones, it showed snakes evolved from animals with four legs, and seemingly in marine environments - we see a broad trend from varanids to mosasaurids and aigalosaurids to leggy snakes.

All these, granted, were subject to falsification in the notion that if we never found these fossils, we could never have been sure either way. But the *strength* they provide is that we thought about what *would* be in the gaps …. and were lucky enough to *find what we expected to find*.

Much of the history of pterosaurs is pterra incognita, but we can theorise - and we can gain validation if and when we find the pieces. ‘Falsification’ (or simply a case of not being sure) is if we never found them. Palaeontology keeps finding new verification for macroevolution.

Comment #25550

Posted by Joe Shelby on April 18, 2005 8:41 AM (e)

Ed Darrell wrote, “There is no commercial application of any creationist or “intelligent design” concept.”.

I would have to disagree. They seem to be making quite a pretty penny in book sales…

Comment #25553

Posted by Ed Darrell on April 18, 2005 9:00 AM (e)

Joe,

Check out the publishing houses who publish creationist tomes, and compare them with the publishing houses who publish popular (or science) books on evolution.

Would you invest in Regnery (publisher of Jonathan Wells) over Basic Books (publisher of Ernst Mayr)? I think that, even in publishing, where the actual value of the science is perhaps a little abstract, creationism offers no commercial application that any serious entrepreneur would pursue.

The Discovery Institute is not turning a profit. Only the donations from political activists keep them going. Genentech, on the other hand, trades on the New York Stock Exchange, and they file reports with the Securities and Exchange Commission. If one wishes to compare the relative wild frontier mentality of unregulated issue advocacy versus the tight restrictions of the current rules under the Sarbanes-Oxley, I think one gets an even stronger indication of the relative value of the enterprises, especially as to their redeeming social value.

Comment #25554

Posted by Ed Darrell on April 18, 2005 9:05 AM (e)

I said, “Real scientists propose real experiments to falsify or verify their work.”

Some wag responded:

… which in the context of macroevolution, is singularly unforthcoming, hence the rise of dissent.

I was watching PBS last night. I’d forgotten about Darwin’s out-on-a-limb prediction that there is a moth in Madagascar with a 12-inch proboscis or tongue – a prediction he made on the information that the comet orchid has a nectar pouch that hides its nectar 12 inches away from the opening of the flower.

Was it Nature? or Nova? In any case, the program covered biologists using modern tools. 142 years after Darwin made the prediction, high-speed infrared photography captured photos of the moth Darwin had predicted to live in Madagascar.

What part of Darwinian theory does Creationist Troll claim has been untested? What other science in biology has been half so productive in predictions?

Creationist Trolls should pay attention to the evidence. One could look it up, if one had a hankering for real knowledge.

Comment #25557

Posted by KC on April 18, 2005 9:26 AM (e)

If held at all,the hearing should have represntatives from both sides, but in proportion to the actual number of credentialed biologists who hold each position. That would put the scientific situation in stark relief, and give the public an honest picture of just how little support ID has in the scientific arena.

KC

Comment #25570

Posted by Evolving Apeman on April 18, 2005 10:34 AM (e)

All these, granted, were subject to falsification in the notion that if we never found these fossils, we could never have been sure either way. But the *strength* they provide is that we thought about what *would* be in the gaps …. and were lucky enough to *find what we expected to find*.

And so our Darwinist priests play re-arrangement games with taxonomy whenever a fossil doesn’t fit the current “tree of life”. Of course this straw dummy has absolutely has nothing to do with falsifying common descent via macroevolution. Common descent has its basis in philosophy not science as follows: athiesm -> naturalism -> common descent -> atheism.

Comment #25577

Posted by Jack Krebs on April 18, 2005 10:45 AM (e)

Hi eapeman. What about all the scientists that are not atheists who accept common descent? How do you account for them? Many mainstream Christians accept common descent

Comment #25579

Posted by Joe Shelby on April 18, 2005 10:51 AM (e)

Ed, keep in mind I never said it was a commercial application more profitable than true science publications, only that it was a commercial application. Dembski and Behe, et. al., make money by the books they write, regardless of whether or not the publication companies receive a decent return on that investment. if the DI pays for that, then at the very least the publishing companies make money if at the DI’s contributor’s expense. all depends on what point you call the profit center.

the DI doesn’t measure its success financially. the DI measures its success one corrupted school system at a time.

Comment #25580

Posted by Evolving Apeman on April 18, 2005 11:10 AM (e)

Sure Jack,

Most don’t understand the issue. Neo-darwinims proponets argue common descent via evolution as an undirected process. Many of these mainstream Christians believe in “God-directed evolution.” Clearly we have a contradiction of terms. To argue that human existence comes from a mindless chance driven process is philosophy not science.

Comment #25581

Posted by Aureola Nominee on April 18, 2005 11:22 AM (e)

Evolving Strawman:

Squirm as much as you want, the contradiction only exists in your own mind. You could just as well argue that, since God directs everything, the silly atheistic idea that a 12 turns out on average once every 36 tosses of the dice is incompatible with Christianity.

Comment #25582

Posted by Enough on April 18, 2005 11:24 AM (e)

“To argue that human existence comes from a mindless chance driven process is philosophy not science.”

It’s also wrong.

Comment #25584

Posted by Jack Krebs on April 18, 2005 11:29 AM (e)

to eapeman: we are discussing common descent. God could guide evolution through common descent. In fact, that is easier to envision bacause manipulating things at the genetic, or perhaps even quantum, level seems like a less invasive thing for God to do rather than crate whole organisms de novo.

So my point is that common descent is not incompatible with mainstream Christian beleif.

Comment #25585

Posted by Ed Darrell on April 18, 2005 11:33 AM (e)

Joe said:

the DI doesn’t measure its success financially. the DI measures its success one corrupted school system at a time.

I need to use emoticons. Yes, Joe, you’re right. Even though it’s a money losing proposition, and even though it’s a knowledge losing proposition, DI’s advocacy of ID isn’t measured by knowledge or profit.

Which leads to a question, of course: What does it profit a non-profit organization if it win its goals but lose the souls and minds of children?

Lysenko must smile in his grave …

Comment #25586

Posted by Flint on April 18, 2005 11:35 AM (e)

I don’t see apeman’s contradiction either. Evolution has produced what it has produced, and is slowly but steadily in the process of producing something different. Might there be some overmind consciously directing this process for purposes beyond our ken? Why not? Is it possible that no such mind exists? Certainly. Is such nonexistence required? Nope.

But the decision whether or not to project an overmind influencing what evolution produces, is quite separate from the decision to reject the process itself. The former is a personal policy decision the evidence neither supports nor refutes. The latter is clearly refuted.

Comment #25593

Posted by Evolving Apeman on April 18, 2005 12:10 PM (e)

the silly atheistic idea that a 12 turns out on average once every 36 tosses of the dice is incompatible with Christianity.

I’m not arguing that naturalistic processes don’t occur, science is based on naturalism. I’m arguing that science can’t answer every question, including the mechanism by which human existence occured. You need relevent data, which doesn’t exist to get common descent via evolution beyond the hypothesis stage.

Evolution has produced what it has produced, and is slowly but steadily in the process of producing something different. Might there be some overmind consciously directing this process for purposes beyond our ken? Why not? Is it possible that no such mind exists? Certainly. Is such nonexistence required? Nope.

When a bacteria becomes resistant to an antibiotic, did it require some “overmind to consciously direct this process”? We can even predict how long on average a wild-type bacteria colony will take on averge to become resistent to the antibiotic. Where is this “overmind consiously directing” microevolution?

When A Theist has a prayer answered does he/she attrbute it to a chance event or divine intervention? An atheist would attribute it to a chance event. But a true theist recognized that the reality (not the belief in) of the supernatural can also explain aspects of the world around us. Post-modern pseudo-theist turn to faith for personal gain, but ultimately explain their world completely in terms of a chance&natural law based framework.

Comment #25595

Posted by Aureola Nominee on April 18, 2005 12:25 PM (e)

Evolving Strawman:

I’m not arguing that naturalistic processes don’t occur, science is based on naturalism.

Wonderful. Evolution is just such a process, barring contrary evidence. You got any?

I’m arguing that science can’t answer every question, including the mechanism by which human existence occured.

Please tell me, when has “science” argued that it could answer every question?

You need relevent data, which doesn’t exist to get common descent via evolution beyond the hypothesis stage.

We know that you refuse to look at the evidence, Strawman. That in no way shows that evidence is not available; to the contrary, it only tells us something about your oxymoronic intellectual honesty.

Comment #25601

Posted by Flint on April 18, 2005 12:52 PM (e)

I’m not arguing that naturalistic processes don’t occur, science is based on naturalism. I’m arguing that science can’t answer every question, including the mechanism by which human existence occured. You need relevent data, which doesn’t exist to get common descent via evolution beyond the hypothesis stage.

Hard to get past this assertion. Like the flat-earther looking at the photographs of the planet taken from space and saying they are faked. The question is not only answered, it is answered probably more solidly than any other question science has ever considered. All we see here is that whoever cannot tolerate the answer, denies it exists.

When a bacteria becomes resistant to an antibiotic, did it require some “overmind to consciously direct this process”?

This overmind is NEVER required. It is always optional. My point, which you carefully dodge, is that there is nowhere we can draw a line and say “beyond this line requires an overmind.” The overmind is ALWAYS optional.

When A Theist has a prayer answered does he/she attrbute it to a chance event or divine intervention?

An interesting question, though irrelevant. My observation is that prayers are always answered, though they are answered as requested and anticipated no more than chance would suggest. The theist simply issues a prayer, observes what happens, and decides that God had a better answer – no matter what happens.

Comment #25603

Posted by Great White Wonder on April 18, 2005 12:58 PM (e)

Evolving Apeant

When A Theist has a prayer answered does he/she attrbute it to a chance event or divine intervention? a true theist recognized that the reality of the supernatural can also explain aspects of the world around us.

Do true theists pray that someone finds compelling scientific evidence for the creation of all life forms on earth by worship-worthy alien beings? If so, when did they start praying for that?

Comment #25635

Posted by Evolving Apeman on April 18, 2005 5:20 PM (e)

Flint responded: An interesting question, though irrelevant. My observation is that prayers are always answered, though they are answered as requested and anticipated no more than chance would suggest

It is entirely relevent! Do you know any Christians or other theists who regard the answer to their prayers as due to chance? I will agree that anyone who views the answer to prayer as a chance event will consistently conclude that human existence occured due to chance mutatations and undirected natural selection.

So we have allow athiests to teach this Darwinian fundamentalism under the false guise of science. This is truly the greatest hoax in history.

GWW, what do you have against aliens. On what basis have you concluded spontaneous evolution couldn’t have occured on other planets. It’s entirely consistent with your Darwinian fundamentalism?

Comment #25636

Posted by anon on April 18, 2005 5:29 PM (e)

Re #25635

What about those who regard human existence as the result of chance mutations and undirected natural selection, but who regard answered prayers as theological “evidence” of God’s love?

IMHO - God’s more concerned about our souls than our cells.

Comment #25640

Posted by frank schmidt on April 18, 2005 5:56 PM (e)

EA:

Neo-darwinims proponets argue common descent via evolution as an undirected process. Many of these mainstream Christians believe in “God-directed evolution.” Clearly we have a contradiction of terms.

And later:

Do you know any Christians or other theists who regard the answer to their prayers as due to chance?

Bing! Bing! Bing! Danger, Will Robinson! Strawman!

Alas, Apeman, there are such beings. Your theology is immature. I suggest you read When Bad Things Happen to Good People by Rabbi Harold Kushner, his meditations on the death of his son from progeria. In fact, there is a tremendous comfort in attributing chance events to just that. Otherwise you are left in the position of the members of Kushner’s congregation who felt guilty about the death of their son in an auto accident, because they weren’t more attentive on High Holy Days. What a miserable God, to would cause such suffering over a trifle! (And if you don’t think that’s a trifle, what did the Jews do to justify the Holocaust?)

Comment #25663

Posted by Evolving Apeman on April 18, 2005 9:53 PM (e)

anon:

What about those who regard human existence as the result of chance mutations and undirected natural selection, but who regard answered prayers as theological “evidence” of God’s love? IMHO - God’s more concerned about our souls than our cells.

Interesting… So from your theological viewpoint:
Did God create our souls or did they evolve as well?

Franky:

on the death of his son from progeria. In fact, there is a tremendous comfort in attributing chance events to just that.

What basis do you use to decide whether a theology is mature or immature? I think its pretty sad that a person would find “comfort” in concluding the death of their son was due to meaningless chance.

Comment #25665

Posted by Great White Wonder on April 18, 2005 10:06 PM (e)

Evolving Apeman, master of the non-sequitur, struggles to master the subtleties of puncuation …

GWW, what do you have against aliens.

Nothing, particularly if they have sexy accents.

On what basis have you concluded spontaneous evolution couldn’t have occured on other planets.

That strawman is so huge – did Finley help you build it? I never reached any such conclusion.

It’s entirely consistent with your Darwinian fundamentalism?

What’s the frequency, Kenneth?

Comment #25666

Posted by fwiffo on April 18, 2005 10:44 PM (e)

I think its pretty sad that a person would find “comfort” in concluding the death of their son was due to meaningless chance.

Yeah, cause the idea of a omnipotent, malevolent being is just as fun as a barrel of monkeys.

Comment #25669

Posted by Sir_Toejam on April 18, 2005 11:52 PM (e)

shhh! he’ll hear you…

Comment #25677

Posted by Ed Darrell on April 19, 2005 4:10 AM (e)

Apeman said:

Interesting … So from your theological viewpoint:
Did God create our souls or did they evolve as well?

Bizarre question, no? I have heard it from several rock-ribbed anti-scientists.

But I’ve never heard anyone, scientist or not, propose that souls evolve. Why do you ask, Apeman? Where did you get such a bizarre idea?

Comment #25679

Posted by NDT on April 19, 2005 5:08 AM (e)

So if I got some Holocaust deniers to set up a discussion on whether the Holocaust really happened, how many history professors do you think I could get to show up?

Comment #25685

Posted by Flint on April 19, 2005 8:59 AM (e)

I will agree that anyone who views the answer to prayer as a chance event will consistently conclude that human existence occured due to chance mutatations and undirected natural selection. (My emphasis, because I don’t understand why this distinction matters)

Again, we dive directly into a mutual blind spot. Certainly I wouldn’t regard “answer to prayer” as a chance event, because I wouldn’t know how to identify the supernatural. My understanding (as an admitted outsider) is that prayer is generally a request for intercession: Please make things happen differently. But time moves on, things happen. Given (for the most part) no particular deadline for an “answer”, and no predetermined form either, one is free to select anything they become aware of as the prayed-for “answer”, including wishful thinking. By (my) observation, the “answer” need bear no resemblance at all to the original request! Given the breadth of scope this “answer” might assume, it’s nearly impossible NOT to conclude that prayers are answered. Pray for food, stub your toe, and decide that was God’s answer. When the target is whatever gets hit, you can’t miss.

But how this is relevant to drawing conclusions from evidence escapes me. Somehow apeman leaps directly from the matter of prayer to rejecting the notion of drawing such conclusions, saying that the scientific method of hypothesizing, testing, and iterating is somehow a hoax unless one believes prayers are “answered” in some supernatural manner. Perhaps the connection between the two is obvious to Apeman, but I admit I just can’t see it.

I think its pretty sad that a person would find “comfort” in concluding the death of their son was due to meaningless chance.

Teleology lives again! Their son died from progeria, which while rare is quite real. It strikes some people. Perhaps researchers will learn enough about it to prevent or cure it. Why is it necessary to conclude that disease is either “meaningless chance” or imposed by a malevolent Spirit? We all die of something eventually. Which causes are “meaningless”? Does Apeman reject science (claiming that science is unscientific where he perceives his faith is challenged) because he fears science will deprive his life of “meaning”? Does he need make-believe to find meaning? I too would consider that an immature theology.

Comment #25686

Posted by frank schmidt on April 19, 2005 9:00 AM (e)

EA:

What basis do you use to decide whether a theology is mature or immature? I think its pretty sad that a person would find “comfort” in concluding the death of their son was due to meaningless chance.

Question 1: One way to tell is whether the theology is the result of using all of humanity’s gifts including careful thought and reason, and not just parroting fundie talking points. Your position is just like those steroid-clogged football players who thank God for winning the Super Bowl. I doubt God gives a rat’s caudal extension which team of worshippers wins a football game. And if God is responsible for suffering, why would anyone worship or love Him? Why couldn’t God just scold and forgive Adam and Eve, and get on with it?

Question 2: So would you rather have suffering be the result of some sin? How did Kushner’s son sin, to be born with such a horrible disease? He suffered more than anyone from it, but could not have personally sinned - the disease was inborn. And it’s pretty hard to imagine a “mediocre rabbi” (Kushner’s self-characterization) doing anything that would be commensurate with his son getting such a horrible disease.

In an effort to bring this back on topic, note how a mature theology allows humans to be humble enough to realize that naive notions about a “designer” cannot limit the power of a Divine Being, hence, mature theology allows and even embraces the grandeur of evolution. Kushner’s explanation for diseases fits this as well:

The work of creation is still unfinished.

And, finally, my name is Frank. You wanna be a jackass, do it somewhere else.

Comment #25694

Posted by Chance on April 19, 2005 10:15 AM (e)

hence, mature theology allows and even embraces the grandeur of evolution.

I don’t think it’s more mature or less mature. Your still talking about something for which you have zippo for evidence which means you can talk about it however you please.

To term it as mature or immature is to assume you are closer to an answer than another, which in this case is impossible.

Comment #25701

Posted by Flint on April 19, 2005 11:01 AM (e)

Your still talking about something for which you have zippo for evidence

If this were even remotely true, your claim might have some force. However, the evidence is overwhelming, and it is stonkingly dishonest to deny it. You might say that your faith requires you to reject any and all evidence supporting conclusions you can’t accept, however strong that evidence may be. I doubt anyone would hold this against you. You need not be dishonest to remain ignorant, you know.

Comment #25705

Posted by Mike Kelly on April 19, 2005 11:11 AM (e)

Benford’s Corollary: “Any science distinguishable from magic is insufficiently advanced”

Sorry, couldn’t resist

change to mike150160

Comment #25711

Posted by Chance on April 19, 2005 11:23 AM (e)

If this were even remotely true, your claim might have some force. However, the evidence is overwhelming, and it is stonkingly dishonest to deny it.

There is evidence for a deity? Please present it.

You might say that your faith requires you to reject any and all evidence supporting conclusions you can’t accept, however strong that evidence may be.

You might say that indeed.

I doubt anyone would hold this against you. You need not be dishonest to remain ignorant, you know.

If you see mountains of evidence and you deny it’s existence you are being dishonest and forcefully ignorant with yourself.

Comment #25714

Posted by DC on April 19, 2005 11:28 AM (e)

the evidence is overwhelming

I’m confused.

Evidence for evolution—yes

evidence for any theology over another–zippo

Comment #25727

Posted by Sir_Toejam on April 19, 2005 12:28 PM (e)

“So if I got some Holocaust deniers to set up a discussion on whether the Holocaust really happened, how many history professors do you think I could get to show up?”

ya know, it’s funny, but it seems that Holocaust deniers run a similar gamut as the creationists:

there are those who believe none of it ever happened, all the way to those who simply think the “numbers are slightly off”.

one wonders if it is not some natural aspect of human behavior that this kind of reactionary phenomena exists. Maybe some sort of psychological defense mechanism that those employing project externally, then develop rationalizations to support it?

hmm.

Comment #25732

Posted by Sir_Toejam on April 19, 2005 12:38 PM (e)

“Please tell me, when has “science” argued that it could answer every question?”

Speaking for all of science, I say it can. You just wouldn’t understand the answers.

;)

(pssst: 42!)

cheers

Comment #25737

Posted by Sir_Toejam on April 19, 2005 12:50 PM (e)

@chance, Flint and DC.

you are right: you guys are confused.

Chances point wasn’t arguing that there was “zippo” evidence for evolution, rather that there is no evidence to support the relative maturity of one religious school of thought over another.

I think Chance mistakes the use of the word “maturity” however, in that in this case i believe it was used in the context of “maturity of mind” in a more ontogenetic context, rather than a theological one. More applied to folks who have actually logically pondered the issues over a period of time, rather than take spoon fed information and regurgitate it.

could be wrong, but I think you guys are arguing across definitions.

cheers

Comment #25752

Posted by DC on April 19, 2005 1:52 PM (e)

No I think your correct

Comment #25761

Posted by Evolving Apeman on April 19, 2005 2:33 PM (e)

Frank(without the y)’s definition of theological maturity describes Darwinian Fundamentalism at its finest:

hence, mature theology allows and even embraces the grandeur of evolution

Of course it does! After all the only real source of knowledge is science. Spirituality is no more that an evolved psychological behavior that allows us to find comfort from chance events.
However, your real religion is the nihilistic “grandeur of evolution”. That’s the convenience of “spirituality” these days, since we have concluded life is ultimately meaningless, we can each make up our on religion as we see fit and be our own gods.

Ho would you rather have suffering be the result of some sin?

The concept of Karma is common among many religions. However, I see horrible diseases more consistently as evidence for a “fallen world” that is explained in Christianity as original sin.

Maturity is recognizing your inherent metaphysical assumptions. Darwinists look at the universe with colored spectacles that force them to only allow for naturalistic explainations and of course that is all they ever see.

Somehow apeman leaps directly from the matter of prayer to rejecting the notion of drawing such conclusions, saying that the scientific method of hypothesizing, testing, and iterating is somehow a hoax unless one believes prayers are “answered” in some supernatural manner. Perhaps the connection between the two is obvious to Apeman, but I admit I just can’t see it.

I’m not sure how you concluded that I believe the scientific method is a hoax without prayer. I agree with you that a naturalistic method (science) cannot study the supernatural. My point is that if you conclude the answer to prayers as chance events, then you will be consistent in concluding human existence is based on undirected chance events. However, if you conclude the answer to prayer was directly related to intervention of a supernatural deity, you may also conclude that your existence was not an undirected chance event.

Some Darwinists want to:

regard human existence as the result of chance mutations and undirected natural selection

but also:

regard answered prayers as theological “evidence” of God’s love?

This is an incoherent though post-modern viewpoint. They’ve been duped by their atheist colleagues who have convinced them that undirected common descent is science.

Comment #25765

Posted by Aureola Nominee on April 19, 2005 2:44 PM (e)

Evolving Strawman:

pot… kettle… black…

Darwinists look at the universe with colored spectacles that force them to only allow for naturalistic explainations and of course that is all they ever see.

IDiots, on the other hand, close their eyes and shout out loud what they want the universe to look like.

You’re hopeless. You toss around philosophical terms you very clearly don’t understand, you erect and knock down several strawmen in every post, and say nothing constructive at all.

Is this what your religion does to its adherents? This is not even immature theology; this is immaturity plain and simple.

Comment #25766

Posted by Uber on April 19, 2005 2:51 PM (e)

However, I see horrible diseases more consistently as evidence for a “fallen world” that is explained in Christianity as original sin.

How freaking stupid can a human be, of course bacteria and viruses have nothing to do with it. By your logic when we cure a disease we have conquered ‘sin’.

I agree with you that a naturalistic method (science) cannot study the supernatural.

What is supernatural exactly? If you can’t study it how do you even know it exists? How can you qualify it’s existence? How does something become supernatural?

Give 3 proven examples of supernatural occurences.

Comment #25768

Posted by P. Mihalakos on April 19, 2005 2:55 PM (e)

So, this is really what it boils down to:

evolving apeman wrote:

… That’s the convenience of “spirituality” these days, since we have concluded life is ultimately meaningless, we can each make up our on religion as we see fit and be our own gods.

Nothing but another “the world going to hell in a handbasket” garden variety temper tantrum.

Who has concluded that life is ultimately meaningless?

Who are you really so angry at? I’m sure nobody here today deserves your ire. I can suggest a good 12-step program (that is still posted on the bathroom wall) to help you reconcile yourself to your mortality. I think you will find that doing so assuages the fevered compulsion to control other individuals’ spiritual lives.

Comment #25769

Posted by Sir_Toejam on April 19, 2005 2:56 PM (e)

“Frank(without the y)’s definition of theological maturity describes Darwinian Fundamentalism at its finest:”

I’m sorry, but that makes no sense whatsoever.

“ Spirituality is no more that an evolved psychological behavior that allows us to find comfort from chance events”

interesting hypothesis; however it’s not original. The “religion as opiate of the masses” hypothesis goes a wee bit further back…

“However, your real religion is the nihilistic “grandeur of evolution”.”

er, isn’t nihilism the LACK of religion? how can you define a religion as nihilistic? it would imply finding meaning in nihilism itself… or is that what you ARE implying?

“we can each make up our on religion as we see fit and be our own gods”

sounds good to me. Do i still get tax exempt status when i create my church based on my made-up religion?

“However, I see horrible diseases more consistently as evidence for a “fallen world” that is explained in Christianity as original sin.”

ah, i see, so you aren’t a christian then, as christianity dealt with original sin as documented in the new testament, yes? So which is it? are you an old testament tub-thumper, who believes in the consequence of sin being visited by god in the mortal realm, or a new testament evangelical who believes christ died for our sins? or don’t you know yourself?

it is your apparent lack of any consistent belief structure that makes some label you as “immature”. you seem to borrow from several religions and philosophies at once, in a kind of mix-and-match scenario, with no regards to inherent philosophical conflicts.

what question are you trying to answer for yourself? it does not appear emergent from your babbling.

“ Darwinists look at the universe with colored spectacles that force them to only allow for naturalistic explainations and of course that is all they ever see”

you commonly accuse us of such, when it is readily apparent that you yourself are the one most guilty of blurred vision. suggest you take a close look at your own spectacles.

“ I agree with you that a naturalistic method (science) cannot study the supernatural”

ah, then if so, here is a question for you. WHY do you believe that is so?

spend less time throwing out babbel, and more time in a bit of self reflection.

cheers

Comment #25770

Posted by Malkuth on April 19, 2005 2:58 PM (e)

Evolving Apeman wrote:

I’m not sure how you concluded that I believe the scientific method is a hoax without prayer. I agree with you that a naturalistic method (science) cannot study the supernatural. My point is that if you conclude the answer to prayers as chance events, then you will be consistent in concluding human existence is based on undirected chance events. However, if you conclude the answer to prayer was directly related to intervention of a supernatural deity, you may also conclude that your existence was not an undirected chance event.

You can personally believe that life is the result of a directed process being utilized by God if you wish, just as you can personally believe that answers to your prayers are the result of God’s love, but in either case the belief wouldn’t be scientific, because both invoke the supernatural, which is outside the realm of science.

Comment #25771

Posted by Flint on April 19, 2005 3:00 PM (e)

My point is that if you conclude the answer to prayers as chance events, then you will be consistent in concluding human existence is based on undirected chance events. However, if you conclude the answer to prayer was directly related to intervention of a supernatural deity, you may also conclude that your existence was not an undirected chance event.

Apeman, you are presuming your own answers. Prayers are formalized wishful thinking. They are not “answered” in any sense other than to pacify the concerns of whoever prays. There being no “answers” in any real way, how can these non-answers be regarded as either chance or intervention? Praying is simply one means by which members of certain religions (but not others) pass the time.

However, I will grant you the converse: If you believe “someone up there” is actually listening to your prayers, you are probably psychologically oriented to believe whatever you wish or need to believe, and (as a direct result) oriented NOT to honor or respect evidence, which so often tends to conflict with personal wishes. I admit I find it really difficult to picture what it must be like to ‘believe’ that if I pray at the nonexistent, I suddenly become justified in rejecting or distorting evidence in favor of “meaning.” Perhaps I simply can no longer remember outgrowing this phase. I can only shake my head when I watch you trying so desperately to look down at those who can only see what’s there, lacking the fabulous glory some figment of your imagination substitutes for reality in your own mind.

But I agree with Aureola Nominee, this seems to be what religion does to its adherents. As Dawkins writes, the very top priority of any parasite is to disable its host’s defenses. All of these discussions only underscore the scope of what has been disabled.

Comment #25772

Posted by Evolving Apeman on April 19, 2005 3:03 PM (e)

The problem we scientists and philosphers have on this site is that the comprehension level among Darwinists is quite low. This seems to be true no matter how much we dumb down our explainations for you. Or perhaps it is that narrow-minded Darwinian fundamentalists refuse to see things beyond the tip of their nose.

Comment #25775

Posted by Flint on April 19, 2005 3:15 PM (e)

Pray for us

Comment #25776

Posted by Aureola Nominee on April 19, 2005 3:15 PM (e)

Evolving Strawman:

…we scientists and philosphers…

BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHHAHAHAHAHAHA!

We have a comedic talent, I tell you!

Comment #25777

Posted by Evolving Apeman on April 19, 2005 3:15 PM (e)

Flint:

Prayers are formalized wishful thinking. They are not “answered” in any sense other than to pacify the concerns of whoever prays.

And I would argue that you have presumed your own answer as well:
Atheism->Naturalism only source of knowledge->Common Descent by chance and undirected selection ->Atheism

Comment #25782

Posted by Sir_Toejam on April 19, 2005 3:32 PM (e)

“The problem we scientists and philosphers have on this site is that the comprehension level among Darwinists is quite low. This seems to be true no matter how much we dumb down our explainations for you. Or perhaps it is that narrow-minded Darwinian fundamentalists refuse to see things beyond the tip of their nose.”

I see, just to amuse us, he takes exactly what we say, reverses it, and then regurgitates.

oh yes, your barf does so amuse us. very witty.

I’ve got one for you:

“his majesty is like a stream of bat’s piss.”

Comment #25783

Posted by P. Mihalakos on April 19, 2005 3:32 PM (e)

Apeman, the problem is that in order for YOU to feel connected to your fellow human beings, you also must feel that they share your religion. Are you blind to how completely aggressive such an idea is? How territorial it is? How insecure it is? You do Christians everywhere a profound disservice.

While you can continue to puff yourself up into a state of pious indignation all you want, you will ironically remain exactly what you hope to transcend. Namely, an animal. With your nose pressed to the ground.

Hear this: you will not be allowed to arbitrarily change the rules of science just to validate your personal idea of what it means or does not mean to be spiritual.

Comment #25787

Posted by Malkuth on April 19, 2005 3:43 PM (e)

Evolving Apeman wrote:

The problem we scientists and philosphers have on this site is that the comprehension level among Darwinists is quite low. This seems to be true no matter how much we dumb down our explainations for you. Or perhaps it is that narrow-minded Darwinian fundamentalists refuse to see things beyond the tip of their nose.

Is there really any reason for you to be so immature, Apeman? Do you think that because one-liners such as your own are used to insult religious fundamentalists that it’s alright to act in such a way yourself? Do you want to be as immature as you are? Do you use others’ treatment of fundamentalists as an excuse for acting that way, or would you make such comments regardless?

Really, what the hell is with you people trying to compare Darwin’s theory to religion? Are you trying to mitigate negative feelings you have towards yourself and others like you? Are you trying to tell yourself that we’re just as bad as you are? Do you do this just because you want to annoy us? Why?

And then there’s that whole “if you don’t believe in my religion your life is meaningless” attitude. I hate that. I myself am an atheist, and get a bunch of conceited fundamentalists telling me that my life is meangingless and that I shouldn’t be happy because I don’t share their religion. They also claim that it’s “sad” that I’m an atheist at my age (I’m a teenager; apparently, not having a religion at my age is the equivelent of something between having given up my life’s ambitions and having died) and say they pity me. They claim to be beneficent, but they’re just arrogant. I have no trouble finding meaning in my life, and am happy enough. Why the hell is it that you have this kind of attitude towards us (atheists)? Do atheists ever tell you that you must living a despairing, meaningless life because your beliefs regarding God are not the same as theirs? Or do you just pretend to feel pity and think that our lives are meaningless because it’s a cheap way of making yourself feel superior?

Comment #25789

Posted by Aureola Nominee on April 19, 2005 3:50 PM (e)

Or do you just pretend to feel pity and think that our lives are meaningless because it’s a cheap way of making yourself feel superior?

Bingo, Malkuth.

Comment #25791

Posted by Great White Wonder on April 19, 2005 3:57 PM (e)

Apeboy

Darwinists look at the universe with colored spectacles that force them to only allow for naturalistic explainations and of course that is all they ever see.

What an asinine and bigoted statement. Despicable.

I’ll ignore the “Darwinist” idiocy for a moment and just focus on the idea that just because one isn’t a devourer of pseudoscientific garbage, that one is necessarily a deluded soulless geek.

This is Apeboy’s absurd smear, repeated ad nauseum.

For whatever reason – probably because Apeboy is drunk on fundamentalist kool-aid – Apeboy is incapable of understanding that many of us who understand that the evidence for evolution is overwhelming neverthless enjoy and seek out spiritual, irrational and transcendent experiences.

Apeboy’s most despicable trait is not that he is an arrogant robotically evangelizing ass. It’s that he’s clueless and deaf.

Show me, Apeboy, what wonderful insights into the supernatural world await me if I drink your rotten kool-aid and become a moronic creationist apologist like you. Tell me what I’m missing because everything I’ve read on this blog to date indicates that my spiritual life is far more exhuberant and healthy than the constipated puffed-up self-proclaimed “Christians” who troll here.

Comment #25792

Posted by Evolving Apeman on April 19, 2005 3:58 PM (e)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'quote'

Comment #25793

Posted by Malkuth on April 19, 2005 4:15 PM (e)

Evolving Apeman wrote:

No, but if you believe in the “your” religion of Darwinian fundamentalism then you will conclude that your life is meaningless to be intellectually honest.

Darwinian evolution is a scientific theory, not a religion. Everyone here knows better than to think it’s a religion. We’re not idiots.

And what the hell do you mean by that statement? That because I don’t believe that a supernatural deity created me in order to acheive for a particular reason that my life is without meaning? If my ‘meaning’ or ‘meaninglessness’ in life simply refers to whether or not one exists for some purpose layed out by someone or something other than themself, then I can still say that I was created by my genes with the purpose of keeping them around and making more of them. It’s a superficial kind of meaning, and I don’t concentrate on it. If you’re using ‘meaning’ to mean that one was created by a conscious entity for some purpose, then you’d be right in saying that I don’t believe my life has ‘meaning’. But that’s not what people assume you mean when you use the word ‘meaning’ in the fashion you do, and you know that. ‘Meaning’ is interperted to mean, in that context, to be any kind of purpose which one has in life, regardless of whether the person was created by some other agent to carry out that purpose or if the person assigned that purpose to themself. That statement–“If you don’t believe my religion your life is meaningless”–always carries connotations of the person being addressed being without goals and in despair. And that’s pretty damned easy to infer when the same people who make statements with that message also often claim that atheists secretly live lifes of despair, pretend to feel pity, and sometimes even say that they believe it’s part of their purpose to ‘help out’ people like myself.

Comment #25796

Posted by Scott Davidson on April 19, 2005 4:26 PM (e)

Evolving Apeman wrote:
No, but if you believe in the “your” religion of Darwinian fundamentalism then you will conclude that your life is meaningless to be intellectually honest.

?!

Ignoring your Darwinian fundamentalism rubbish.
So because I don’t believe in your imaginary sky fairy my life is meaningless?
Now this is arrogance on a grand scale.

Intellectually honest may well be a phrase that you can type but I suspect that is your only familiarity with it.

Some religion is mythology I agree.

But to conclude that all religion is mythology is arrogant.

I take this to mean that those religions that differ from your beliefs are mythology, but by the gods’ we shouldn’t dare to claim that your religion is mythology?

Comment #25798

Posted by Flint on April 19, 2005 4:32 PM (e)

And once again, the Flat Earther looks at the phogographs taken from space and declares them fakes. And those of the “round earth religion” foolish enough to consider those pictures to be entirely normal and unexceptional are dismissed as intellectually dishonest. At some point, Apeman decided that distorting and misrepresenting what evidence he could neither deny nor ignore was the key to finding “meaning” in his life. How very strange to fear reality quite that fiercely.

But at least we’ve got to the point where the theory of evolution is no longer being misrepresented as the the topic of discussion. Now we’re all on the same page: we’re discussing religion, period. Some of us have a religion that embraces reality; others suffer a faith that has no choice but to reject it. I can honestly say that everything science learns (that I become aware of and can understand) adds meaning to my life, as does every correction or improvement science makes in the process. What sort of life defends “meaning” by preserving ignorance? I shudder to imagine.

Comment #25802

Posted by Sir_Toejam on April 19, 2005 4:48 PM (e)

ok. I’ve seen enough of EA’s posts over the last several weeks to come to the conclusion that he is nothing more than a troll.

can we please treat him as such and banish him to the BW??

it is a TOTAL waste of time and space to continue responding to his posts. I’m even tired of throwing rocks at him

all in favor signify by saying I.

Comment #25818

Posted by Evolving Apeman on April 19, 2005 5:55 PM (e)

Sir Toe-jammed:

ok. I’ve seen enough of EA’s posts over the last several weeks to come to the conclusion that he is nothing more than a troll.can we please treat him as such and banish him to the BW??

And did you just come to that conclusion today. I think you called me a troll the first time I posted. However, I’ve come to learn that anyone who questions your religion (Darwininian fundamentalism) is a troll. Why are you so afraid of me dialoging with other people that you want to censor me? I have no problem ignoring your babbling. Its actually quite cute how you suck up to your “priests” here.

Malkuth asked me the following question:

And what the hell do you mean by that statement? …If my ‘meaning’ or ‘meaninglessness’ in life simply refers to whether or not one exists for some purpose layed out by someone or something other than themself, then I can still say that I was created by my genes with the purpose of keeping them around and making more of them. It’s a superficial kind of meaning, and I don’t concentrate on it.

If you were “created” by your genes with the purpose of keeping them around and for making more of them, why is that superficial and not worth concentrating on? How do you escape this important “discovery” of nihilism. Do you turn to drugs, pornography, etc. to escape the emptiness of your existence.

Or perhaps you were created by an intelligent designer and your life isn’t meaningless. But you’ve been duped by the Darwinists who want to be their own ‘god’ and deny the self-evident transcendent characteristics of human life.

Comment #25827

Posted by Great White Wonder on April 19, 2005 6:44 PM (e)

Do you turn to drugs, pornography, etc. to escape the emptiness of your existence.

No, to please my master: Satan. Now, BEGONE!

Comment #25835

Posted by Aureola Nominee on April 19, 2005 7:16 PM (e)

Evolving Strawman:

You would have us believe that, if somehow you reached the conclusion that you’ve been fed a false delusion instead of the ‘Truth’, you would fall into nihilism and “turn to drugs, pornography, etc. to escape the emptiness” of your existence.

You know what? I don’t believe you.

I believe that, behind the mask of Internet anonymity, you are a regular (if deluded) human being, and that, should this fundamentalistic infatuation of yours fade like it does for so many other people, you would find purpose and meaning in yourself, in accomplishing something, in helping other people, fellow human beings just like you.

That‘s where intellectual honesty would lead you, were you to take a good, hard look at yourself and the rest of mankind.

I’ve never (do you hear me? NEVER) met any atheist who reasoned like you pretend they do. I’ve NEVER met an agnostic who reasoned like you pretend they do. I’ve NEVER met a non-fundamentalist theist who reasoned like you pretend they do.

In short, you are attacking strawmen. I’ve been telling this to you over and over, and yet you insist that you know everybody else’s mind better than they do.

No, you don’t. You should stop trying to demean people who don’t share your beliefs, and pursue knowledge and the quest for small-case truths. At least those, from time to time, do not completely elude our grasp.

Comment #25837

Posted by Malkuth on April 19, 2005 7:18 PM (e)

Malkuth wrote:

That statement—“If you don’t believe my religion your life is meaningless”—always carries connotations of the person being addressed being without goals and in despair. And that’s pretty damned easy to infer

When people who assert such claims also say:

Evolving Apeman wrote:

Do you turn to drugs, pornography, etc. to escape the emptiness of your existence.

Which leads me to my final words on this subject. I shall bring up another quote:

Sir_Toejam wrote:

ok. I’ve seen enough of EA’s posts over the last several weeks to come to the conclusion that he is nothing more than a troll.

can we please treat him as such and banish him to the BW??

it is a TOTAL waste of time and space to continue responding to his posts. I’m even tired of throwing rocks at him

all in favor signify by saying I.

And say, “The square root of negative one.”

Comment #25840

Posted by Sir_Toejam on April 19, 2005 7:23 PM (e)

“In short, you are attacking strawmen. I’ve been telling this to you over and over, and yet you insist that you know everybody else’s mind better than they do.”

uh, to borrow a bit of 80’s pop culture trivia…

‘coz dat’s vot trollies do! little girlie men. Not properly pumped.

Comment #25889

Posted by Evolving Apeman on April 20, 2005 8:33 AM (e)

Aureola:

Many see and do not perceive, hear and do not understand. My beliefs and your beliefs our irrelevent. We’re talking about absolute truth, something you clearly fear. An honest look at the failings of modern Western culture can almost all be traced back to the pervasive influence of Darwinian fundamentalism.

I am often disappointed with the lack of interest in science. But then again I’m not surprised as Darwinism has wrongly teaches that science proves nihilism. Thus, people turn to fairy tales. Disagree, then answer the challenge I have repeated over and over. What aspect of human existence cannot be explained by neo-darwinism (i.e. random mutations and undirected natural selection)?

Comment #25890

Posted by Aureola Nominee on April 20, 2005 9:10 AM (e)

Evolving Strawman:

Once again you make up your own version of reality. I don’t fear “absolute truth” any more than I fear “god”; one can’t fear what one hasn’t been given any compelling reason to believe exists.

Your claim that “the failings of modern Western culture can almost all be traced back to the pervasive influence of Darwinian fundamentalism” is just that: a claim, and a baseless one.

Tell me, how can the AIDS pandemic in Africa be traced back to […] “Darwinian fundamentalism”? Catholic opposition to condoms plays an obvious role, but the theory of evolution? And I’d say that a pandemic that is wiping out a generation of Africans should qualify as a major failing of modern society!

Of course, if one regards things like the abolition of slavery, the push towards gender equality, the breakthroughs against age-old diseases and the like as failings, then yes, the theory of evolution and its derivations have played a major role.

Please tell me, which biology textbook includes the teaching “that science proves nihilism”?

As to your bogus “challenge”, since you claim to be a scientist (another thing I find very hard to believe about you), you should know that terms must be accurately and inequivocally defined (at least since Galileo, another scientist who dealt a blow to religious fanatics… while being a good Christian himself!). Are you talking about our bodies, our minds, or what?

Because our current state of knowledge and theorizing has barely scratched the surface of the evolution of human minds, and throwing around vague terms like “love”, “hate”, “self-sacrifice”, “religiosity”, “fundamentalism”, and so on, demanding that an evidence-based theory accounts for these evanescent concepts, is merely playing with words.

Just like those who purposefully confuse everything else with evolution, and throw around “challenges” that “random mutation + natural selection” explain abiogenesis, the Big Bang, and so on and so forth.

And “fairytale” accurately describes a narrative full of wonder and mysterious magical events… oh, I don’t know: things like people coming back from the dead, or a few pieces of bread and a few fishes nourishing a crowd numbering in the hundreds, or walls crumbling at the sound of trumpets, or the universe being created over six days by the willpower of a tribal chieftain writ large… you know, magic!

Comment #25918

Posted by homer on April 20, 2005 1:40 PM (e)

I can honestly say that everything science learns (that I become aware of and can understand) adds meaning to my life, as does every correction or improvement science makes in the process. What sort of life defends “meaning” by preserving ignorance? I shudder to imagine.

Hmmm. Sounds familiar. Larry, is that you?

Comment #26001

Posted by Jack Krebs on April 20, 2005 7:31 PM (e)

Concerning the comments about today’s newspaper stories in Kansas:

The newspaper reports around the state didn’t get things completely right last night.

What they did get correct is that KCFS will be working with others to provide daily events associated with the hearings.

However, it is not correct to say that Mr. Irigonegaray is represented the majority on the science committee. As a member of the science committee, I know for sure that our position is that Draft 2 is what represents us. Mr. Irigonegaray may represesent the majority, mainstream viewpoint, but he doesn’t represent the actual members of the committee.

Also, I have listened to a recording of last night’s meeting. I am pretty sure that Mr. Irigonegaray did not say, as the KC Star says, that

quote:Defenders of evolution, despite earlier pledges of a boycott, plan to present three days of evidence in support of the scientific theory at hearings next month.

What Mr. Irigonegaray did say was that, as the paper quotes,

quote:Our witnesses will be called in a timely manner, and they will have relevant and important information.

And last, I can imagine that one reason Mr. Irigonegaray did not want to name witnesses is that he doesn’t know completely, or at all, who they will be. This was his “first day on the job,” so to speak. As far as I know he has not been involved in science activism in the state in the past, so it will probably take some work on his part to find witnesses and to prepare a plan.

If people have further questions, please feel free to ask.

Comment #26006

Posted by Sir_Toejam on April 20, 2005 8:20 PM (e)

keep us posted, please.

Comment #26154

Posted by colleen on April 21, 2005 7:15 PM (e)

Ed+Ed, PZ Myers, Dr.GH, Nick Matzke and many others at PT: Thank you so much for your time and eloquent arguments for evolution. Keep fighting against the tide of ignorance that gaining power in this country.