PvM posted Entry 1086 on May 27, 2005 05:28 PM.
Trackback URL: http://www.pandasthumb.org/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb.fcgi/1084

It’s rather like a puddle waking up one morningó I know they don’t normally do this, but allow me, I’m a science fiction writeró A puddle wakes up one morning and thinks: “This is a very interesting world I find myself in. It fits me very neatly. In fact it fits me so neatly… I mean really precise isn’t it?… It must have been made to have me in it.” And the sun rises, and it’s continuing to narrate this story about how this hole must have been made to have him in it. And as the sun rises, and gradually the puddle is shrinking and shrinking and shrinkingó and by the time the puddle ceases to exist, it’s still thinkingó it’s still trapped in this idea tható that the hole was there for it. And if we think that the world is here for us we will continue to destroy it in the way that we have been destroying it, because we think that we can do no harm.

Douglas Adams

Relevant links

Privileged Planet website and the producers of the DVD Illustra Media.

New Mexicans for Science and Reason present: Illustra Media and Discovery Media appear to be linked

Detailed postings

  1. Kyler Kuehn, presentation given at the American Scientific Affiliation 2003 Annual Meeting A Critique of the Privileged Planet Hypothesis

  2. Kyler Kuehn, presentation given at the 2004 “Intelligent Design and the Future of Science” Conference The Potentials and the Pitfalls of the Privileged Planet Hypothesis

  3. Posted by Andrea Bottaro on March 25, 2004 10:22 PM A beautiful friendship?

  4. Posted by PvM on April 10, 2004 01:00 PM The Privileged Planet Part 1: Where Purpose and Natural Law freely Mix Part 1

  5. Posted by PvM on April 10, 2004 06:11 PM Where purpose and function meet

  6. Posted by PvM on April 11, 2004 01:59 PM The Privileged Planet Part 2: The failure of the ‘Design Inference’

  7. Posted by PvM on April 17, 2004 06:26 PM The Privileged Planet Part 3: The Anthropic principle

  8. Posted by PvM on April 29, 2004 07:41 PM Privileged Planet: The fallout starts

  9. Posted by PvM on June 26, 2004 09:59 PM Privileged Planet: Nature review

  10. Posted by PvM on July 31, 2004 03:08 PM The Privileged Wedge

  11. Posted by PvM on August 4, 2004 12:45 PM Icons of ID: Privileged Planet Authors respond to ‘unnamed’ critic

  12. Posted by PvM on August 4, 2004 08:46 PM Privileged Planet: Amazon Review

  13. Posted by PvM on August 26, 2004 09:22 PM The Privileged Planet: Single data points and naive falsification

  14. Posted by Jim Foley on October 18, 2004 06:00 PM Privileged Planet, Mk. 1

  15. By Lucas Grundmeier in Iowa State Daily October 12, 2004 A universal debate

    Hector Avalos, associate professor of religious studies, has debated the validity of creationism, the existence of God and Jesus’ resurrection, among other topics, while at Iowa State. He said Gonzalez’s work attempts to portray “a dressed-up version of Christian theology” as science.


    Patterson, who has written a review of the book and will present a scientific critique of it and intelligent design on Thursday, said he enjoyed “The Privileged Planet.”

    “The book is rich with good science in it,” he said.

    But, he said, the intentions of many intelligent design theorists were clear.

    “It is a religious apologetic disguised as science,” he said

  16. By: Scott Rank Iowa State Daily October 18, 2004 Is Intelligent Design Science or Creationism 2.0?

  17. Amazon.com

  18. Guillermo Gonzalez, Jay Richards Discovery Institute October 5, 2004 Paleomagnetism and The Privileged Planet

  19. Guillermo Gonzalez, Jay Richards Discovery Institute April 29, 2004 A Response to Some Objections by Kyler Kuehn to The Privileged Planet

  20. Guillermo Gonzalez, Jay Richards Discovery Institute August 2, 2004 Was Starlight Deflection Important for the Acceptance of General Relativity? A Response to Critics

  21. James Randi Educational Foundation offers $20,000 to Smithsonian not to show Privileged Planet

    Readers, do something about this. Please send an e-mail to addressed to Mr. Randall Kremer, Public Affairs. Tell him of your concern over this situation. And, you might add that the JREF is willing to donate $20,000 to the Smithsonian Institution if they agree to give back the “Discovery Institute” $16,000 and decline to sponsor the showing of the film. And the JREF will not require the Smithsonian to run any films or propaganda that favor our point of view…

  22. Denyse O’Leary Wednesday, May 25, 2005 UPDATED News alert! Smithsonian Museum warming to intelligent design theory

    PvM wrote:

    Denyse jumping to conclusions about the Smithsonian warming up to ID and continues her mistakes of referring to Sternberg as a Smithsonian scientists.

  23. Denyse O’Leary Friday, May 27, 2005 Further Update! National science institution warming to ID?

    PvM wrote:

    Time to add a question mark to the title…What a little bit of research can do for a story…

  24. Denyse O’Leary Friday, May 27, 2005   Prominent science institution calls off the war against intelligent design?

  25. UPDATED! New York Times learns about Smithsonian event (apparently from this blog)

    PvM wrote:

    Denyse once agains jumps to conclusion that the New York Times learned about the Smithsonian event from Denyse’s website.

  26. JOHN SCHWARTZ Published: May 28, 2005 New York Times
    Smithsonian to Screen a Movie That Makes a Case Against Evolution

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Comment #32854

Posted by Burt Humburg on May 31, 2005 3:36 AM (e)

Great idea, PvM. The Adams quote is a perfect rejoinder.

BCH

Comment #32855

Posted by PaulP on May 31, 2005 4:03 AM (e)

There is a wonderful phenomenon in physics that anyone favouring thinking a la “Privileged Planet” should ponder - the propagation of light.
Roughly: in a medium of constant density and composition (say air in a small room), light travels in a straight line. If it encounters a different substance (e.g. a piece glass ) then it will change direction at the boundary and proceed in a straight line (in the different direction) though the second medium, a phenomenon known as refraction.
Now it is an observed fact that if you take two points on the path taken by the light and look at the path taken by the light between them then the light will have taken the path of least time - in other words if the light had taken any other path it would have taken longer to travel between the points. How does light do this, given that when it starts out at the first point it does not know where it will end up?

Comment #32863

Posted by Martin Ek on May 31, 2005 6:49 AM (e)

Just wanted to point to a (free) video lecture with Feynman that explains the phenomenon described in PaulP’s post.

Enjoy!

Comment #32876

Posted by PvM on May 31, 2005 9:17 AM (e)

I wish I could take credit for it. Theoriste at amazon used the quote in her review of the book.

Comment #32880

Posted by Rich on May 31, 2005 9:48 AM (e)

Scott Rank wrote:

To critics, this “intelligent agent” sounds suspiciously like the Christian Triune God, but ID is a secular theory, and there are many ID researchers who are Jewish, Eastern Orthodox and Agnostic. The goal of the ID movement is not to kick evolution out of schools, but to allow students to question certain parts of Darwinian materialism.

But the god of ID cannot be the Christian Triune God or even a classically theistic one. Classical theism posits an omnipresent and immutable God. The god-of-the-gaps is definitely not like that. Of course, that is not the intent of ID and that’s why biological ID is rightly accused of dressed-up creationism and cosmological ID is rightly accused of dressed-up geocentrism. Thinking Christians and theists should realize that the ID proponents are more right than they think. ID thought they could pull a fast one on science but they ended up only fooling themselves by “proving” a different god than they originally set out to prove.

Comment #32883

Posted by PvM on May 31, 2005 10:04 AM (e)

Darwinian materialism? Interesting confusion about science (methodological naturalism) and philosophy. If ID’s only goal is to allow students to question science, then it serves no function but by focusing exclusively on biology, ID has shown its true colors by trying to “pull a wedgie” over the eyes. As far as ‘ID researchers’, most of them seem to be Christians and clear that to them ID is all about the Christian God. No wonder, that I have found that to some Christians, ID appears to be ‘deceitful’ and harmful.

Comment #32894

Posted by PvM on May 31, 2005 10:48 AM (e)

See The Purpose of Life is a Beach Part 1 where I (tongue in cheek) explore the relationship between habitability and pleasurability as it applies to the beach

Conclusion

One cannot escape the conclusion that these beaches were designed with a purpose in mind. A sceptic reader may object to the use of correlation to infer purpose but I intend to use a “cumulative case argument” to strengthen my case. By showing not only complexity but also a meaningfull pattern I will show how design is an INEVITABLE conclusion.

and
Life is a beach: Part 2

This morning, on my way to work, I listened to NPR. One of the guests, Ebbesmeyer described his recent work on tracking items found by beach combers. Once again I came to realize how the beach provides us not just with pleasurability but also measurability. Without beaches we would not be able to track Rubber duckies.

Time to continue my explorations of “Life is a beach”

Comment #32895

Posted by Randy on May 31, 2005 10:50 AM (e)

I was just looking at the enlarged version of the invitation for this event.
In the background is a stylized astronomical map that includes the constellation Leo, nice to have the Astology connection. I mean isn’t it just amazing that earth is just so positioned so that we can see the 12 signs of the zodiac so that we can discover what sign we were born under, why we are the way we are, and what our future holds. I am just astounded about how perfect our world is for providing with such knowledge.

Comment #32901

Posted by Rich on May 31, 2005 11:39 AM (e)

PvM wrote:

Darwinian materialism? Interesting confusion about science (methodological naturalism) and philosophy. If ID’s only goal is to allow students to question science, then it serves no function but by focusing exclusively on biology, ID has shown its true colors by trying to “pull a wedgie” over the eyes. As far as ‘ID researchers’, most of them seem to be Christians and clear that to them ID is all about the Christian God. No wonder, that I have found that to some Christians, ID appears to be ‘deceitful’ and harmful.

Christian critics of ID have to be silenced because it would invalidate the whole wedge thesis. Christians by definition are not materialists. So, we have to be “worse than atheists”. Since Christians also by definition believe in design, the opposition of some Christians to ID can be confusing. Thus, the following question is legitimate: Why do you oppose ID when you believe in design? [Note: this is different than the ASA which believes in design but takes no stand on the alternatives. They have to worry about the diversity of their members. As an individual, I need to choose and I personally oppose ID.]

Because as a Christian I believe in the truth and thus I only support valid arguments for design. To date, ID has produced only laughable arguments that only serve to falsify Christianity. But, that’s not the primary reason because we all produce dumb arguments from time to time. I also believe in the Ten Commandments and oppose any false accusation against my neighbor. This would include the false accusation that science is purely about promoting philosophical materialism. As noted by PvM, this accusation is done by falsely conflating philosophical materialism with methodological naturalism. It is this latter, moral, dimension that motivates my opposition to ID.

Comment #32904

Posted by Henry J on May 31, 2005 12:13 PM (e)

Re “How does light do this, given that when it starts out at the first point it does not know where it will end up?”

According to quantum mechanics, a bit of light (or any other particle) takes all possible paths, but the ones that don’t minimize travel time destructively interfere with each other, leaving only the one that’s far enough ahead of the rest to avoid the interference.

Henry

Comment #32905

Posted by Rupert Goodwins on May 31, 2005 12:14 PM (e)

There is a very pro-ID film doing the rounds at the moment, which goes to some lengths to describe how the Earth and all the life in it was created by intelligent designers. I saw it at the weekend, and can confirm that there is nothing in ID that could disprove the basic thesis of the movie. In fact, it should be taken as a very thought-provoking exploration of some of those ideas, and the Discovery Institute could easily take a lead from it to help them find the demonstration and verification of their theories that are so far so sadly lacking.

All they need to do is go to Norway, examine a few glaciers and check for the signature of Slartibardfast.

R

Comment #32910

Posted by Piltdown Syndrome on May 31, 2005 1:33 PM (e)

Henry wrote:

According to quantum mechanics, a bit of light (or any other particle) takes all possible paths, but the ones that don’t minimize travel time destructively interfere with each other, leaving only the one that’s far enough ahead of the rest to avoid the interference.

The ‘all possible paths’ or ‘sum-over-paths’ approach is a version of quantum mechanics proposed by Feynman. It is contrary to the more accepted ‘probability-wave’ approach of Schroedinger et al, though each are consistent with the data.

Comment #32943

Posted by Greg Peterson on May 31, 2005 4:27 PM (e)

Very nice, Rupert. I must say, there is not a single day, not a one, that goes by that I don’t find some occasion to miss Douglas Adams. It would not be too much to say that I miss him more than I do any other dead person, with the exception of one childhood friend. I can’t begin to explain it. I never met him, although we did exchange a few emails shortly before his death. It’s just when I read his stuff, especially nonfiction like “Last Chance to See,” I find such a kinship. And I miss him because, between Doug and Richard Dawkins, they would have found the exact right words to pillory this “Privileged Planet” nonsense.

Comment #32965

Posted by Paul on May 31, 2005 6:48 PM (e)

Rich wrote:

… I believe in the truth and thus I only support valid arguments for design.

What are these valid arguments you speak of? Additionally, what is this truth of which you speak?

Comment #32978

Posted by Arne Langsetmo on May 31, 2005 8:44 PM (e)

There is a wonderful phenomenon in physics that anyone favouring thinking a la “Privileged Planet” should ponder - the propagation of light.
Roughly: in a medium of constant density and composition (say air in a small room), light travels in a straight line. If it encounters a different substance (e.g. a piece glass ) then it will change direction at the boundary and proceed in a straight line (in the different direction) though the second medium, a phenomenon known as refraction.
Now it is an observed fact that if you take two points on the path taken by the light and look at the path taken by the light between them then the light will have taken the path of least time - in other words if the light had taken any other path it would have taken longer to travel between the points. How does light do this, given that when it starts out at the first point it does not know where it will end up?

I read the post about the quantum explanation, but I’m still a bit puzzled.

If you say that path A is the path that the light took between points X1 and X2 and then state that this path takes less time than any other path, there must be a another path B that the light could have taken had it not taken path A. But if that was the case, then if the light had taken path B between the two points, there would necessarily have been a different path, namely path A, that would take less time.

Is it a requirement that both paths are physically possible to be traversed at the same time for this statement to hold? Surely if you blocked one path while making the observation of transit time, the other would give one time (hypothetically the “least” time). Then if you block the other path, the first would give a different transit time. And one would be less than the other (at least for most circumstances). So what does this mean?

If we take the quantum explanation, then yes, it would seem that the path taken would be the shortest one possible at any given instant. But how does that square with quantum uncertainty? While a naive quantum interpretation would say that if we were to put in two measuring points XA and XB respectively on the two paths, we should see both paths being taken (although not necessarily with the same frequency), the “shortest time” requirement would mandate that only one path should be taken. I guess that one “answer” to that is that our “measuing points” would have to intercept the photons in order to detect them, and in fact any photons measured or recorded wouldn’t ever reach the endpoint X2. Is that the answer to the conundrum here?

What happens if we put polarizers in the two paths at different orientations, and measure reception with a polarization detector? Is such a phenomenon responsible for birefringence?

Help me out, any of you folks of a physics bent….

Cheers,

Comment #32981

Posted by RBH on May 31, 2005 9:16 PM (e)

Addressing Rich, Paul asked

What are these valid arguments you speak of? Additionally, what is this truth of which you speak?

Did Paul happen to read the next sentence of Rich’s post?

If one wants to play theist-bashing games, go to Infidels. Let’s try to keep the focus on science here, hm? Thanks!

RBH

Comment #32988

Posted by Vic Stenger on May 31, 2005 10:34 PM (e)

A good rebuttal to Rare Earth is Life Everywhere by David Darling. I got it for $4 from Amazon.com.

What was expecially interesting is that Darling discovered that Rare Earth authors Ward and Brownlee had used Gonzalez as a major scientific source without being aware of his regular contributions to Reasons to Believe and other efforts promoting divine design. Golzalez later admitted to Ward, unapologetically, that his “theistic theological views motivate my science and vice-versa.” He said he has not been more open with his theological views at UW because of the “open hostility among many faculty.”

Comment #32990

Posted by Henry J on May 31, 2005 10:51 PM (e)

Re “I read the post about the quantum explanation, but I’m still a bit puzzled.”

Well, as one of the experts of Q.M. put it - anybody who thinks they understand Q.M. hasn’t been paying attention.

As I understand it (even if I don’t ;) ), anything that would reveal the presence of a photon along one of the possible paths would leave two possibilities: if “revealed” on that path, then it didn’t take any of the others, and if not revealed, then it didn’t take that one. I presume the probablity method of describing it would have its way of saying the same thing.

Henry

Comment #32996

Posted by Paul on June 1, 2005 12:03 AM (e)

RBH wrote:

Did Paul happen to read the next sentence of Rich’s post?

Indeed, I did. I should have elaborated, if someone says they only support “valid arguments for design” it implies the existence of a real argument. The adjective valid implies verification. It was my understanding that the PT was dedicated to thouroughly debunking the specious claims of the entire anti-evolution movement and was curious what valid arguments there might be. The ontological argument is the only creationist claim I personally find to be infallible.

Am I a bit spiteful of christians at the moment? Yes, I am. Let me give a brief explaination of how I got here (PT). At a large protestant university I attended, I read about a winterim course offering called cosmogony. I had a very misinformed view of what the ID/C was about. The content was likely quite similar to your typical young earth creationist weekend seminar. Except this was 3 weeks at 4 hours a day. I learned that if I believe in evolution I don’t believe in God (the case made against theistic evolution has me convinced.) Rather than be drawn with the power of an electromagnet to a 6-10 thousand year old earth for the sake of my salvation, I remained as the lone dissenter out of approx. 25 students. Do you know what it’s like when you find out that the Ph.D professors you held in such high regard, believe in all the tenets of young earth creationism? Are you one of their favorite students after they discover this? It made this past semester pretty difficult.

I apologize to you if you feel I degraded your thread in any way. I thought one of the main things ID and YEC talk about is their quest for “truth.”

I still have no clue what the message of Rich’s postings are, I don’t see where his legs are while he’s straddling both sides of the fence, and I can’t even see the fence. I wanted to know what he’s trying to say, I just went about it in a condescending way, and that was the wrong way.

Comment #32997

Posted by Paul on June 1, 2005 12:13 AM (e)

Sorry for the massive grammar and spelling errors, I should not drink and post.

Comment #32998

Posted by Paul on June 1, 2005 12:27 AM (e)

Thanks for the link, I feel like my mental accumen is well below par reading some of the stuff here. There I’m a self-assured genius once again.

Comment #32999

Posted by Sir_Toejam on June 1, 2005 12:33 AM (e)

just curious, Paul, which protestant university was that? have you transfered out of there?

one of the problems in this whole discussion is that there really is no “fence” on most of the issues concerned; there are those who believe that the scientific method has value in its application, and should not be denigrated or marginalized by those who believe that religion is a better “method” for practical application. no, the two are not mutually compatible. The explanatory and practical use of religion has been shown to be a failure. that’s why we switched to the scientific method hundreds of years ago.

However, there is nothing saying that faith in god as religion is of no value to a human being; in fact quite the contrary, many scientists that have faith in god also apply the scientific method when they test evolutionary theory. It’s sad that folks like behe and dembski can no longer apply the scientific method to their arguments; they abandoned reason long ago.

the whole argument shouldn’t even exist, except the evangelical movement has garnered a sufficient amount of cash to make it an “issue”. hell, the front page of my local paper even had a nice story on the shift in wealth over the last 25 years, and how evangelicals now hold a major sway in policy simply because of the wealth they have obtained. And this is a very conservative newspaper :)

it’s funny that the whole rest of the world for the most part has no problem with evolutionary theory and science in general. the only other places where religion essentially trumps science are in the middle east and South Africa, places where extremism have a stronghold.

I personally don’t want to be “saved” by any of these exremists, and see no “fence” in the middle.

I agree with your position that there are no valid scientific arguments that rich could have possibly put forward for design, because there simply aren’t any.

I don’t think you degraded the thread in any way; but that’s just my opinon.

cheers

Comment #33003

Posted by Arne Langsetmo on June 1, 2005 1:22 AM (e)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'quote'

Comment #33008

Posted by Koly on June 1, 2005 2:47 AM (e)

Piltdown Syndrome wrote:

The ‘all possible paths’ or ‘sum-over-paths’ approach is a version of quantum mechanics proposed by Feynman. It is contrary to the more accepted ‘probability-wave’ approach of Schroedinger et al, though each are consistent with the data.

Both approaches are mathematically equivalent, not in contradiction.

Comment #33009

Posted by fh on June 1, 2005 3:03 AM (e)

Arne wrote:

… but I’m still a little hazy on what it would show if we tried to detect the photons in flight on the different pathways

Try Feynman’s The Character of Physical Law for a description of the double slit experiment, and what happens if one path or another path is allowed.

Comment #33010

Posted by PaulP on June 1, 2005 3:27 AM (e)

When dealing with the phenomenon of light taking the path of least time, forget about quantim mechanics. When describing this phenomenon, we are talking about a “beam of light” that can be seen, as in the following:

Imagine a light source on a table in a darkened room. Physicists use a device called a collimator (essentially a narrow tube) to get a straight beam of light - cover almost all of the light source and put one end of the collimator right up against the uncovered bit, making sure that end of the collimator has a larger cross-sectional area than the uncovered bit. Then out of the other end of the collimator you will see a beam of light in the darkness. Put a piece of glass on the table so that the beam hits it. The direction of the beam will change by refraction.

Now if you take any two points on the path taken, the beam of light could not have travelled between the two points on another path and arrived at teh second point any sooner.

The reason you can forget QM is that if you put photon detectors anywhere in the darkness you will not detect any photons. This is not a version of a beam splitter experiment where you do not know the path taken by the photon.

Remember too that even in classical optics, by Huygens principle every point on a light wave front is the source of other light waves, which intefere with each other everywhere they meet. So if you have a straight beam of light as in the above setup, there are waves of light in the dark area of the room because at every point in the darkness the interfering waves cancel each other out.

Comment #33012

Posted by Koly on June 1, 2005 3:40 AM (e)

Arne Langsetmo wrote:

I read the post about the quantum explanation, but I’m still a bit puzzled.

Ok, let’s clear this thing up a little bit.

What PaulP mentioned is an instance of a general law at the classical (i.e.nonquantum) level called ‘The principle of minimal action’. This principle is the most fundamental law in classical physics and it can be used for describing of all phenomena. It is tight with quantum theory through Feynman’s path integral approach.

I believe the “minimal path of light” were the first know case sometime in the 19th century. Though far away from a complete classical theory of light (i.e.Maxwell equations), it gets the propagation thing right. It’s important to understand that light does not chooses ‘where to go’. It’s only that if you know that it propagated from point X1 to X2 (and you know the initial direction, or more precisely momentum), then you can conclude which path it has taken. If you block that path, let’s say A, no light will get to X2. So it’s a description of propagation of plain waves. A little analogy: if you throw a boulder from X1 to X2, then you can calculate the path it has taken. The boulder does not chooses the path, if you block it, it will not get to X2 (of course).

At quantum level, things got a little more complicated. Instead of plain waves you have photons which have momenta but cannot be localized. You cannot talk about the path photon has taken. For a more intuitive picture you can imagine that it propagates through all possible paths at once, each with some (amplitude of) probability. If you send a photon from X1 in the same direction and momentum as above and block path A (and it’s immediate surrounding), there is still a nonzero probability it will get to X2. However, it will be much lower than that with A not blocked. So if you send many of them and you do not care to detect each them, e.g. you don’t use a photomultiplier, but only your eyes, you’ll see an avarage. If you block A, your eyes will not detect anything as the few photons are not enough for you to register the light. If you do not block A, you will register much more light and you conclude that they propagated through path A, exactly as predicted by the principle of minimal action. This is how quantum phenomena appear to be classical at macroscopical level.

Comment #33013

Posted by PaulP on June 1, 2005 3:41 AM (e)

The reason you can forget QM is that if you put photon detectors anywhere in the darkness you will not detect any photons.

So how can you see the beam if there are no stray photons? I need to think about this a little more.

Comment #33014

Posted by Koly on June 1, 2005 3:46 AM (e)

Now there you see what you might get when a experimentator and theorist explain the same thing… ;o)

Comment #33015

Posted by Koly on June 1, 2005 3:53 AM (e)

PualP wrote:

The reason you can forget QM is that if you put photon detectors anywhere in the darkness you will not detect any photons.

This is not extremely correct anyway. At least in principle, you could detect photons everywhere (though with extremely low probability). The reason why you can forget QM is that you use high number of photons and don’t care about the individual events.

Comment #33018

Posted by PaulP on June 1, 2005 5:09 AM (e)

Koly wrote:
“Now there you see what you might get when a experimentator and theorist explain the same thing … ;o)”

Or even when an experimentor tries to explain it to himself.

Here in Ireland we have an expression: “it works in practice but not in theory”. Perhaps it’s relevant here.

Comment #33019

Posted by PaulP on June 1, 2005 5:14 AM (e)

Koly wrote:
“Now there you see what you might get when a experimentator and theorist explain the same thing”
It also applies when an experimentor tries to explain it to himself:-)

We have a saying in Ireland: “It works in practice but not in theory”. It might apply here!

Comment #33020

Posted by SEF on June 1, 2005 5:56 AM (e)

PaulP wrote:

So how can you see the beam if there are no stray photons?

You can’t! People use smoke/mist to make laser beams visible by causing a few stray photons.

Comment #33021

Posted by PaulP on June 1, 2005 6:36 AM (e)

People use smoke/mist to make laser beams visible

I knew I was forgetting something. That’s what a ban on smoking in public places does to the brain!

Comment #33023

Posted by Peet Naude on June 1, 2005 6:56 AM (e)

Sir_Toejam wrote:

the only other places where religion essentially trumps science are in the middle east and South Africa, places where extremism have a stronghold.

As a South African I’d like to know if this is the general perception of South Africa from other countries? I suppose that if you look at the fanatic evangelical white Afrikaans segment of the population you might get that impression. Why do you say that religion essentially trumps science?

PS. I’m Afrikaans so please forgive any bad spelling and grammar…

Comment #33032

Posted by Bayesian Bouffant, FCD on June 1, 2005 8:45 AM (e)

Sir_Toejam wrote:

However, there is nothing saying that faith in god as religion is of no value to a human being…

Such a case could certainly be made, but as already noted, this is not the place to make it.

As a South African I’d like to know if this is the general perception of South Africa from other countries? I suppose that if you look at the fanatic evangelical white Afrikaans segment of the population you might get that impression. Why do you say that religion essentially trumps science?

I am an American with no direct experience of South Africa. I have of course heard about apartheid and its demise in the news, but have no inkling of the situation there WRT religion or creationism. So, if some have perceptions of this, all I can say is that it not general enough to have reached me.

Comment #33062

Posted by Sir_Toejam on June 1, 2005 11:37 AM (e)

please correct me if i am wrong, but several south African public school teachers have written me and informed me that evolution is not taught in public schools at all. In fact, they gave me the impression that essentially creationism is what is taught, and that is pretty much decided at the level of government. I also have noted statistics indicating that 90% of South africans essentially would be classified as creationists (as opposed to about 45% here).

are they giving me total misinformation? would you care to add you perceptions to the mix? do you have more updated statistics on the issue?

cheers

Comment #33087

Posted by Peet Naude on June 1, 2005 1:40 PM (e)

Sir_Toejam wrote:

please correct me if i am wrong, but several south African public school teachers have written me and informed me that evolution is not taught in public schools at all. In fact, they gave me the impression that essentially creationism is what is taught, and that is pretty much decided at the level of government. I also have noted statistics indicating that 90% of South Africans essentially would be classified as creationists (as opposed to about 45% here).

I didn’t intend to sound “attacking”, so sorry if that was the impression that I gave. My experience of the school system in South Africa is a bit out of date (I was 13 in 1994 when the first democratic elections were held). It is true that there wasn’t any material on evolution in the Biology syllabus before 2000, the year that the new public education syllabus came into effect. If you’re like me and wanted more than the schools could offer in terms of knowledge you had to go to the public library.

As far as I remember no creationist teaching was taking place, the subject of the origins of life wasn’t discussed at all in school. Sunday school was of course a different matter. Unfortunately I don’t have any statistics but I feel that the 90% creationists statistic is way too high, you would probably only have gotten that kind of response amongst white Afrikaners which make out only about 13% of the total population (84% black and 3% from Asian descent) although even that should have drastically decreased by now.

AFAIK the new education curriculum does include the TOE, but as to how well it is implemented I have no idea. The biggest problem here is that there is a lot of pseudoscience going on e.g. our beloved (PUKE) head of the Department of Health that cheerfully states that the best way to prevent getting HIV\AIDS is to eat garlic. This in a country were about 30% of the entire population is HIV positive…

Comment #33090

Posted by Sir_Toejam on June 1, 2005 1:50 PM (e)

thanks, peete.

always looking to update my information.

cheers

Comment #33100

Posted by Henry J on June 1, 2005 2:42 PM (e)

Maybe the “shortest path” rule is for using when the light beam is unobstructed? Obviously if it bounces off some mirrors it can wind up hitting a point after taking a longer path than if it went straight. (I wonder if this physics stuff is getting off topic for this thread?)

Henry

Comment #33103

Posted by Boyce Williams on June 1, 2005 2:53 PM (e)

I know a way to combine puddles and sand: quicksand! No, wait; didn’t Mythbusters busted the one about quicksand sucking you under?

I know - it’s off topic, but I couldn’t resist.

Comment #33139

Posted by Rich on June 1, 2005 6:48 PM (e)

Indeed, I did. I should have elaborated, if someone says they only support “valid arguments for design” it implies the existence of a real argument. The adjective valid implies verification. It was my understanding that the PT was dedicated to thouroughly debunking the specious claims of the entire anti-evolution movement and was curious what valid arguments there might be. The ontological argument is the only creationist claim I personally find to be infallible.

Am I a bit spiteful of christians at the moment? Yes, I am. Let me give a brief explaination of how I got here (PT). At a large protestant university I attended, I read about a winterim course offering called cosmogony. I had a very misinformed view of what the ID/C was about. The content was likely quite similar to your typical young earth creationist weekend seminar. Except this was 3 weeks at 4 hours a day. I learned that if I believe in evolution I don’t believe in God (the case made against theistic evolution has me convinced.) Rather than be drawn with the power of an electromagnet to a 6-10 thousand year old earth for the sake of my salvation, I remained as the lone dissenter out of approx. 25 students. Do you know what it’s like when you find out that the Ph.D professors you held in such high regard, believe in all the tenets of young earth creationism? Are you one of their favorite students after they discover this? It made this past semester pretty difficult.

I apologize to you if you feel I degraded your thread in any way. I thought one of the main things ID and YEC talk about is their quest for “truth.”

I still have no clue what the message of Rich’s postings are, I don’t see where his legs are while he’s straddling both sides of the fence, and I can’t even see the fence. I wanted to know what he’s trying to say, I just went about it in a condescending way, and that was the wrong way.

It’s fun to see people talking about me while I was gone (at least from this thread). Boy, one missing word and everything goes to pot:

What I should have said:

Because as a Christian I believe in the truth and thus I should only support valid arguments for design.

I did not mean to imply the existence or lack of existence of valid arguments. As I used it, valid does not imply verification but logically coherent. Verification, for example, would eliminate all a priori argumentation such as the Ontological Argument you mentioned. On the other hand, for scientific arguments verification is the warp and woof of validity. The set size of the number of valid, scientific, arguments for design is zero.

Your points about your experience at school are well taken. Your story needs to be heard. As Christians, our “quest for truth” must be beyond mere words. Careless hypocrisy has devasting real-world consequences.

I have a good idea how you feel. A personal friend of mine was deprived of his church office in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church for believing in theistic evolution. His integrity and good will pulled me out of the creationist camp.

I hope this helps you understand where I am coming from. If some questions still remain, feel free to fire away.

Comment #33172

Posted by Arne Langsetmo on June 2, 2005 2:23 AM (e)

While I understand that the formalism says that the quickest path is the one taken, I still have some difficulties with that notion.

From what I Googled about “Huygens” and “minimal path of light”, it doesn’t even make sense to talk about which path the light takes (it’s taking them all or any, and all you can see is the result, and any attempt to look at how that happens, by measuring photons on a specifric path, invalidates the actual conditions). But I’m still curious about what happens with a lens. You can construct a classical lens with no (macro) spherical aberration for a given point source and destination (i.e. focal points) at least for a given wavelength. So if the “path of shortest time” is any of the many possible ones through a given lens system, why would F/stop make any difference?

Cheers,

Comment #33175

Posted by PaulP on June 2, 2005 3:10 AM (e)

Henry J wrote:

Maybe the “shortest path” rule is for using when the light beam is unobstructed? Obviously if it bounces off some mirrors it can wind up hitting a point after taking a longer path than if it went straight. (I wonder if this physics stuff is getting off topic for this thread?)

Bohr’s concept of complementarity was designed to allow us to talk about such situations.
Essentially: if you ask questions about the particle-like nature of light you get particle-like answers and ditto for wave-like questions.
So if you have an experiment to look at the path taken by a beam of light you are asking a particle-like question and you will detect a path which is a particle-like answer. On the other hand if you have an experiment to look at interference you are asking a wave-like question and you get a wave-like answer - an interference pattern.
If you take the interference experiment and try to detect which path is taken by the photons then you are asking a particle-like question, then you get a particle-like answer , which means you will know which path each photon took but the interference pattern disappears.

I apologize for any headaches the introduction of QM has caused. The reason I wished to mention this phenomeneon is that it is a process that has the same quality the “privileged planet” idea is so enamoured with. In each case you can take at a starting point and an end point, look at the path taken between them and say there is something special about the whole thing. In the case of the path of the beam of light we find a wonderful natural process with a beautiful mathematical characteristic. In the case of the “privileged planet”, they start babbling about designers and guides and intention and purpose.

Comment #33176

Posted by PaulP on June 2, 2005 3:22 AM (e)

Henry:
Because of the mirror it could not go in a straight line all the way along the path.

If you use a mirror to change the path of a beam of light you will still find that the path it actually took is that which takes the shortest time.

In case I did not make the point clearer: when discussing the path taken by a light beam or even an individual photon we are asking a particle-like question so you can forget about the wave properties of light.

Comment #33182

Posted by GCT on June 2, 2005 6:34 AM (e)

Arne, f/stop is a ratio of lens focal length to aperture diameter size. I’m not really sure why you think it has to do with the path of shortest time through a lens system. The f/stop is generally thought of as a measure of how much light is allowed into the lens. Any light that is allowed into the lens by the aperture would then take the path of shortest time.

Comment #33217

Posted by Henry J on June 2, 2005 1:54 PM (e)

Re “Bohr’s concept of complementarity was designed to allow us to talk about such situations. “

But was it intelligently designed? (heh heh)

Comment #33244

Posted by Ixpata on June 2, 2005 4:51 PM (e)

Anybody seen this yet?

I could only get the abstract of the study and it states: “Centrioles consist of nine microtubule triplets arranged like the blades of a tiny turbine. Instead of viewing centrioles through the spectacles of molecular reductionism and neo-Darwinism, this hypothesis assumes
that they are holistically designed to be turbines.”

Did Wells slip one by the editors by avoiding the term “intelligent design” and opting instead for “holistically designed,” whatever that may mean?

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE JUNE 2, 2005

Press Contact: Rob Crowther

Discovery Institute

(206) 292-0401 x.107

rob@discovery.org

Another Biology Journal Publishes Article Applying Intelligent Design Theory to Scientific Research

Seattle, WA – For the second time in nine months, an article explicitly applying intelligent design theory to scientific research has been published in an internationally respected biology journal–despite Darwinists’ claims that this never happens.

An article by molecular biologist Jonathan Wells, a Senior Fellow at the Discovery Institute, has just appeared in Rivista di Biologia / Biology Forum, one of the oldest still-published biology journals in the world. Wells’ article uses intelligent design theory (ID) to formulate a testable hypothesis about centrioles, which are microscopic structures in animal cells whose function is not yet understood. Wells’s hypothesis–if confirmed by experiments–would explain how centrioles function in normal cell division and malfunction in cancer. The hypothesis could also help to explain why there is a correlation between calcium and Vitamin D deficiency and major types of cancer.

“Darwinian evolution, despite the claims of its defenders, has been remarkably unsuccessful in guiding practical research in biology and medicine,” said Wells. “Although ID is still controversial in the scientific community, some of us are now using it to formulate testable hypotheses.”

“The interesting thing here is that scientists are applying intelligent design theory to cancer research,” said Discovery Institute President, Bruce Chapman. “Who knows what new avenues of research and experimentation this could open up. I think you will see more and more scientists applying intelligent design theory to their research in coming years.”

Intelligent design is an inference from scientific evidence. It maintains that certain features of the natural world–from miniature machines and digital information found in living cells, to the fine-tuning of physical constants–are best explained as the result of an intelligent cause.

Discovery Institute’s Center for Science & Culture was founded in part to help support the work of scientists researching the emerging theory of intelligent design. The Center’s website is at http://www.discovery.org/csc/.

Dr. Jonathan Wells earned two Ph.D.s, one in Molecular and Cell Biology from the University of California at Berkeley, and one in Religious Studies from Yale University. He worked as a postdoctoral research biologist at the University of California at Berkeley, taught biology at California State University in Hayward, and worked as the supervisor of a medical laboratory. He has published articles in Development, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, BioSystems, The Scientist and The American Biology Teacher. He is the author of “Icons of Evolution: Why much of what we teach about evolution is wrong” (Regnery Publishing, 2000).

Wells’ article is available from the journal’s publisher in Italy: http://www.tilgher.it/(m0h1zb55der2y545b3unsq55)/index.aspx?lang=&tpr=4

Comment #33248

Posted by Andrea Bottaro on June 2, 2005 6:31 PM (e)

Rivista di Biologia’s editor is Giuseppe Sermonti, a known Italian anti-darwinist of the structuralist persuasion. He allows all sort of crap to be published there.

To give you an idea, our own JA Davison is a regular contributor, YEC Jerry Bergman has published there several times, and I think Rivista also has the distinct honor of being the last mainstream science journal to have published a paper from Jacques Benveniste, right before he died last year. In it, Benveniste claimed that the explanation for “water memory” and his own unique ability to send prescription medications over a phone line (you read right, he was not claiming to send medication prescriptions over the phone, but the actual medication’s active principle) was - what else? - that last refuge of every self-respecting quack: quantum electrodynamics.

Comment #33250

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 2, 2005 6:44 PM (e)

Another Biology Journal Publishes Article Applying Intelligent Design Theory to Scientific Research

Does it tell us what the scientific theory of ID is and how it can be tested using the scientific method?

Why not?

Comment #33252

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 2, 2005 6:46 PM (e)

Dr. Jonathan Wells earned two Ph.D.s, one in Molecular and Cell Biology from the University of California at Berkeley,

Who paid for this PhD.

And why.

Comment #33256

Posted by Sir_Toejam on June 2, 2005 7:09 PM (e)

ouch. it always bothers me when i see such idiocy arising from my alma mater. I used to have quite a few MCB friends when i was a graduate student there, and none of them were creationists.

Comment #33315

Posted by Joseph O'Donnell on June 3, 2005 2:00 AM (e)

It’s also worth noting that Rivista di Biologia also publishes from the likes of Mae Won Ho, who tries to claim that viruses like AIDs appeared from genetic engineering. Although I’m not sure if her and other cranks still maintain that AIDs was the result of CIA projects to bring down the 3rd world (keep it in permanent poverty).

Comment #33316

Posted by PaulP on June 3, 2005 2:28 AM (e)

It’s also worth noting that Rivista di Biologia also publishes from the likes of Mae Won Ho, who tries to claim that viruses like AIDs appeared from genetic engineering

In which case would not Wells et al be to detect the design and prove her right?

And in the meantime leave the rest of science to get on with life?

Comment #33318

Posted by Joseph O'Donnell on June 3, 2005 2:33 AM (e)

Yes, that would be one idea and it would in fact prove that ID has some sort of scientific worth. But they aren’t interested in doing anything scientifically worth-while instead of peddling disguised creationism.

Comment #33319

Posted by SEF on June 3, 2005 2:55 AM (e)

PaulP, that seems like an excellent test case.

If HIV was intelligently designed by humans, then they ought to be able to detect it - especially since they base their analogising on human designs. If HIV was instead intelligently designed by one or more sky-fairies, then they should be able to detect that (their main claim which they have so far failed to support). If they can’t tell the difference between the CIA (for example) and their sky-fairy, then they are in even more theological difficulty than before. Otherwise they should be forced to concede:
(a) Their ideas/methods are vacuous.
(b) HIV (and a bunch of other stuff) evolved.

Comment #33331

Posted by GT(N)T on June 3, 2005 6:14 AM (e)

Excerpts from Wells’ abstract:

“Do Centrioles Generate a Polar Ejection Force?
Abstract…. In the hypothesis proposed here a polar ejection
force is generated by centrioles, which are found in animals but not in
higher plants…. Instead of viewing centrioles through the spectacles
of molecular reductionism and neo-Darwinism, this hypothesis assumes
that they are holistically designed to be turbines. Orthogonally oriented
centriolar turbines could generate oscillations in spindle microtubules that
resemble the motion produced by a laboratory vortexer. The result would be
a microtubule-mediated ejection force tending to move chromosomes away
from the spindle axis and the poles. A rise in intracellular calcium at the
onset of anaphase could regulate the polar ejection force by shutting down
the centriolar turbines, but defective regulation could result in an excessive
force that contributes to the chromosomal instability characteristic of most
cancer cells.”

Par for the id/creationist course, Wells claims that complexity requires design. He
posits no testable hypothesis that would allow one to distinguish between design
of centrioles and evolution of centrioles. He describes no actual research he or his
colleagues performed in the field or in the lab that would support his conjecture. He
simply describes a complex system, claims naturalistic explanations are inadequate to
explain that complexity, and suggests that only an intelligent designer is left to
account for the structure.

Congratulations to our own Dr. John Davison, whose ‘Prescribed Evolutionary Hypothesis’ appeared in the same volume of Rivisti di Biologia. There was also a fascinatinf piece titled, ‘Darwinian Criminality Theory: A Tragic Chapter in History’. I haven’t read it yet but, Oh, my!
his colleagues or him self in the lab or in the field.

Comment #33332

Posted by GT(N)T on June 3, 2005 6:24 AM (e)

Please go to, http://www.tilgher.it/chrCorrelati/upload/doc/Abs_Bergman.pdf
to read the abstract of the ‘Darwinian Criminality Theory:…’ I referred to
in my previous post. It will make your day.

By the way, sorry about the extra verbiage in the other post. Self-editing
is not my strong point.

Comment #33362

Posted by a Creationist Troll, apparently on June 3, 2005 9:31 AM (e)

The Adams quote is nothing to do with “Privileged Planet”. To use it in relation to the book simply shows you haven’t the first idea what’s in it.

Comment #33372

Posted by Jon Fleming on June 3, 2005 10:06 AM (e)

The Adams quote is nothing to do with “Privileged Planet”. To use it in relation to the book simply shows you haven’t the first idea what’s in it.

My dear aCTa, exactly the reverse is true. The Adams quote nicely sums up the entire contents of the book.

Comment #33399

Posted by PvM on June 3, 2005 12:20 PM (e)

Creationist Troll wrote:

The Adams quote is nothing to do with “Privileged Planet”. To use it in relation to the book simply shows you haven’t the first idea what’s in it.

The quote exemplifies that which is wrong with the argument of PP which is based on a (spurious, single observation) correlation between habitability and measurability. That the authors, like the puddle, reach the conclusion that the hole/universe was designed ‘for them’ shows the error in simple terms.

Have you read the book?

Comment #33426

Posted by a Creationist Troll, apparently on June 3, 2005 1:52 PM (e)

Yes. And seen the film. And they are right, and you are simple. :-P

Another quote from DNA:

“There is such a thing as the burden of proof, and in the case of god, as in the case of the composition of the moon, this has shifted radically. God used to be the best explanation we’d got, and we’ve now got vastly better ones. God is no longer an explanation of anything, but has instead become something that would itself need an insurmountable amount of explaining. So I don’t think that being convinced that there is no god is as irrational or arrogant a point of view as belief that there is. I don’t think the matter calls for evenhandedness at all.”

Unfortunately, he had only spoke to biologists who - like the present company - were already convinced that there was no God, and would interpret everything they saw in the light of that presupposition. Another quote - talking about his vague atheism: “Sometime around my early thirties I stumbled upon evolutionary biology … particularly … Richard Dawkins … and suddenly it all fell into place.”

He apparently knew nothing about cosmic fine-tuning, nor about the fact that fine-tuning is apparently so closely linked with our ability to observe the universe.

You can glibly regard this as an anthropic coincidence, if you like, but if you toss a coin 1000 times and it comes up heads every time, that isn’t a coincidence. You look for a better explanation.

Comment #33433

Posted by Flint on June 3, 2005 2:02 PM (e)

You can glibly regard this as an anthropic coincidence, if you like, but if you toss a coin 1000 times and it comes up heads every time, that isn’t a coincidence. You look for a better explanation.

But the coin has been tossed ONLY ONCE. It came up heads. How many other sides does it have? Who can know? What distribution of that unknown number would a very long sequence of random flips have produced? Your imagination is your only limit.

The puddle sits in only a single hole. If the hole count were large and it fit every one perfectly, would it be more justified in considering every hole to have been customized for its needs?

Comment #33436

Posted by a Creationist Troll, apparently on June 3, 2005 2:04 PM (e)

Yes. And seen the film. And they are right, and you are simple. :-P

Another quote from DNA:

“There is such a thing as the burden of proof, and in the case of god, as in the case of the composition of the moon, this has shifted radically. God used to be the best explanation we’d got, and we’ve now got vastly better ones. God is no longer an explanation of anything, but has instead become something that would itself need an insurmountable amount of explaining. So I don’t think that being convinced that there is no god is as irrational or arrogant a point of view as belief that there is. I don’t think the matter calls for evenhandedness at all.”

Unfortunately, he had only spoken to biologists who - like the present company - were already convinced that there was no God, and would interpret everything they saw in the light of that presupposition. Another quote - talking about his vague atheism: “Sometime around my early thirties I stumbled upon evolutionary biology … particularly … Richard Dawkins … and suddenly it all fell into place.”

He apparently knew nothing about cosmic fine-tuning, nor about the fact that fine-tuning is apparently so closely linked with our ability to observe the universe.

You can glibly regard this as an anthropic coincidence, if you like, but if you toss a coin 1000 times and it comes up heads every time, that isn’t a coincidence. You look for a better explanation.

Comment #33439

Posted by a Creationist Troll, apparently on June 3, 2005 2:10 PM (e)

(Hmm. I can just tell that the other hit of “Post” really did work, and the copy of this is lurking around the IP-aether somewhere. Oh, well, I’m sure there’s an editor out there somewhere)

Yes. And seen the film. And they are right, and you are simple. :-P

Another quote from DNA:

“There is such a thing as the burden of proof, and in the case of god, as in the case of the composition of the moon, this has shifted radically. God used to be the best explanation we’d got, and we’ve now got vastly better ones. God is no longer an explanation of anything, but has instead become something that would itself need an insurmountable amount of explaining. So I don’t think that being convinced that there is no god is as irrational or arrogant a point of view as belief that there is. I don’t think the matter calls for evenhandedness at all.”

Unfortunately, he had only spoke to biologists who - like the present company - were already convinced that there was no God, and would interpret everything they saw in the light of that presupposition. Another quote - talking about his vague atheism: “Sometime around my early thirties I stumbled upon evolutionary biology … particularly … Richard Dawkins … and suddenly it all fell into place.”

He apparently knew nothing about cosmic fine-tuning, nor about the fact that fine-tuning is apparently so closely linked with our ability to observe the universe.

You can glibly regard this as an anthropic coincidence, if you like, but if you toss a coin 1000 times and it comes up heads every time, that isn’t a coincidence. You look for a better explanation.

Comment #33442

Posted by neo-anti-luddite on June 3, 2005 2:29 PM (e)

Although the acta’s triple post is porbably an error, it does graphically demonstrate the creationists’ general means of “argument”….

Comment #33444

Posted by steve on June 3, 2005 2:31 PM (e)

Unfortunately, he had only spoke to biologists…
He apparently knew nothing about cosmic fine-tuning,

Aha! You damned dirty scientists. Behe has proven creationism!

What? What’s that?…hmm…hmmm.

Aha! You damned dirty scientists. Dembski has proven creationism!

Do what? But….but…hmmm…ugh.

Aha! You damned dirty scientists. Gonzalez has proven creationism!

Comment #33472

Posted by a Creationist Troll, apparently on June 3, 2005 5:10 PM (e)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'url'

Comment #33480

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 3, 2005 5:48 PM (e)

You look for a better explanation

What is the “better explanation” that ID, uh, “theory” offers.

What the heck IS this scientific theory of ID that I keep hearing so much about. Why won’t any IDer every produce it for me. Why won’t any IDer ever apply it for me — show me what the designer does, what mechanisms it uses to do whatever the heck it does, and where we can see these mechanisms in action today.

For the past ten years, every time I’ve asked any IDer to simply tell me what the scientific theory of ID is, the only “answers” I ever get are various versions of (1) “Jesus saves!!!!” or (2) “I don’t have to tell you”.

Why is that?

Comment #33482

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 3, 2005 5:54 PM (e)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'kwickxml'

Comment #33503

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 3, 2005 7:13 PM (e)

But there are lot more physicists/astronomers/cosmologists who are open to the possibility of external agency than biologists.

You mean THIS “external agency”?

“some people might think that the designer was a space alien” – Michael Behe

“It could be space aliens. There are many possibilities.” – William Dembski

Do you think the Raelians are correct, after all? Were we designed by space aliens? Did space aliens design the universe?

Oh, wait, that’s NOT the “external agency” you obliquely refer to, is it …. ? And Behe and Dembski are just being deceptive, evasive and dishonest in their statemetns above, aren’t they … ?

Tell me, again, how ID has nothing to do with advancing religion? Nothing at all?

Liar.

Comment #33532

Posted by PvM on June 3, 2005 10:46 PM (e)

Funny how our friendly troll has nothing much to contribute. The puddle indeed is a very good example of the simplistic argument known as the Privileged Planet which based on a correlation obtained from a single data point (and don’t get me started on the authors’ claim that they use multiple datapoints…. They contradict themselves..).

Troll wrote:

However, FWIW, I have still to see a convincing case made that either Behe or Dembski are fundamentally wrong.

Let me guess, you don’t read much now do you? What about the explanatory filter being useless? THat conclusion follows from Dembski’s own arguments.
Or what about Behe watering down his definition of IC so much that nothing much remains?

So far the observations that ID is scientifically vacuous seems to hold as strong as ever. Or can our troll explain how ID explains the flagellum?

Poof…?

Comment #33538

Posted by steve on June 3, 2005 11:06 PM (e)

A Creationist Tard, apparently said:

But there are lot more physicists/astronomers/cosmologists who are open to the possibility of external agency than biologists.

I’m not in astronomy or biology, I’m in physics. The best studies indicate that 60-80% of physicists are atheist/agnostic. So if you want to take their authority as evidence, I agree–ID is probably wrong.

Comment #33583

Posted by a Creationist Troll, apparently on June 4, 2005 9:54 AM (e)

Sleeve: So 20-40% of physicists are theist? That sounds like quite a lot, to me - more than I thought - and would be consistent with my statement. Hardly a small dissenting minority - 22% of the electorate in the UK returned an overall majority in parliament. Do you have the percentage for biologists, for comparison?

Blink: Actually, it was 5% of an eye - and the argument still hasn’t been refuted (yeah, 6% would be better - but only if it worked). What is the theory of ID? It is, in short, that naturalistic mechanisms aren’t sufficient to explain life, the universe and everything. IC, CSI and PP are just different demonstrations of this.

Incidentally, why is PT so het up about a book that is nothing to do with evolution? Here is your mission statement: “The Panda’s Thumb is the virtual pub of the University of Ediacara. The patrons gather to discuss evolutionary theory, critique the claims of the antievolution movement, defend the integrity of both science and science education, and share good conversation.” What does this have to do with an analysis of cosmic fine tuning?

Comment #33584

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 4, 2005 9:56 AM (e)

Why oh why why why don’t IDers ever answer my simple questions to them?

Comment #33592

Posted by neo-anti-luddite on June 4, 2005 10:49 AM (e)

aCT,a wrote:

…I have tried to explain that it isn’t simply a case of a puddle like what DNA says. Because the imagery of the metaphor is of just another puddle after a rainy night. But the puddle is remarkable, because there are no other puddles. And in fact, there are no other places where the puddles could form. And there was no rain.

And how do you know there are no other puddles, or even places where the puddles could form? We couldn’t detect a planet the size of Earth even if it were orbiting the Proxima Centauri system, so your claim is utter crap. One solar system doesn’t make a trend in a galaxy as big as ours. (Hell, one galaxy might not even make a trend in a universe as big as ours, but at least it would be a slightly larger data set.) Sure, it’s possible that there is life in other star systems in our galaxy, but until I have more data, I would have no more credibility saying “there are definitly other life forms in the universe” than you do claiming the reverse. Please, by all means, show me how I’m wrong here.

As for the “and there was no rain” bit, what exactly is the “rain” supposed to represent? Abiogenesis? Evolution? Water? Do you even know?

But despite all of that, there’s an even bigger problem with your argument: you’re missing the point of the metaphor entirely. Even if there were no other places for the puddle to form in the entire universe, the puddle would still fit the hole perfectly, because that’s what liquids do: they conform perfectly to the space that contains them (as long as there is sufficient liquid to fill up the space; otherwise, it only fits some of the space. But it still fits that subset of the space perfectly). And that’s what the analogy is all about. Life will evolve to fill up the available space. Perfectly. So your implication that the Earth (the hole) was specifically created to support the kind of life we currently see (contain the “remarkable” puddle) is like saying that my beer stien was specifically designed to hold one particular pint of Guiness, and that that particular pint of Guiness wouldn’t conform to the shape of any other beer stien (nor, in fact, would my beer stien be able to hold any other liquid, even a different pint of Guiness).

And that’s just stupid.

Comment #33594

Posted by Rilke's Granddaughter on June 4, 2005 10:50 AM (e)

ACT - your remarks appear to be informed by misconceptions…. Consider,

Sleeve: So 20-40% of physicists are theist? That sounds like quite a lot, to me - more than I thought - and would be consistent with my statement. Hardly a small dissenting minority - 22% of the electorate in the UK returned an overall majority in parliament. Do you have the percentage for biologists, for comparison?

The percentage for scientists in general is around 40% - the percentage among biologists is much lower - less than 5%, I believe.

But the actual numbers are irrelevant: the question is whether these ‘theist’ scientists use ‘theistic explanations’ in their work. And THAT percentage is vanishingly small.

Blink: Actually, it was 5% of an eye - and the argument still hasn’t been refuted (yeah, 6% would be better - but only if it worked).

The argument has been refuted hundreds of times; the confusion is created because ‘creationists’ confuse 5% of the human eye structure with 5% of eye functionality. They are not the same. 5% of an eye may be no more than a cluster of light-sensitive cells attached to some basic nerve cells. And 6% might add more complex receptor cells.

Jerry Don Bauer is a particularly egregious example of this kind of limited thinking.

What is the theory of ID? It is, in short, that naturalistic mechanisms aren’t sufficient to explain life, the universe and everything. IC, CSI and PP are just different demonstrations of this.

And here we see another of the limitations of ‘creationist’ thinking. THAT IS NOT A THEORY. IT’S NOT EVEN A GOOD HYPOTHESIS. IT’S JUST AN IDEA. Where are the tests? Where are the experiments? Where are the predictions?

Saying that ‘something was designed because we don’t know if it came about naturally’ is NOT A THEORY.

Incidentally, why is PT so het up about a book that is nothing to do with evolution? Here is your mission statement: “The Panda’s Thumb is the virtual pub of the University of Ediacara. The patrons gather to discuss evolutionary theory, critique the claims of the antievolution movement, defend the integrity of both science and science education, and share good conversation.” What does this have to do with an analysis of cosmic fine tuning?

If you are unable to see how the book is related to ID and evolution and religion, then your confusion on the first two points is perfectly understandable. Perhaps you should try reading the book?

Comment #33604

Posted by Flint on June 4, 2005 11:33 AM (e)

aCTa wrote:

This completely fails to grasp just how unusual our cosmic environment is.

Baffling. Unusual compared to what? What would you consider “usual” and how would you determine this? After all, “unusual” is a strictly comparative term, and we have nothing whatsoever to compare with.

Instead, this is a policy position. I think the only way you could possibly make such a statement is if you WISHED that it were true, because if it’s true, it would lend general support to the superstrucure of your preferences. Otherwise, you don’t need to be a rocket scientist to realize that nothing can possibly be unique and unusual at the same time.

Comment #33616

Posted by steve on June 4, 2005 12:24 PM (e)

What is the theory of ID? It is, in short, that naturalistic mechanisms aren’t sufficient to explain life, the universe and everything.

HAHAHAHA.

“This word…I do not think it means, what you think it means.”

Comment #33622

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 4, 2005 2:01 PM (e)

What is the theory of ID? It is, in short, that naturalistic mechanisms aren’t sufficient to explain life

So you keep saying.

What I want to see is YOUR ALTERNATIVE.

What ***IS*** sufficient to explain life. What did the designer do to produce life. What mechanisms did it use to do whatever the heck you think it did. And how do we test it using the scientific method.

Why do you keep avoiding that simple question?

Or is all you have to offer your religious opinions, and are IDers simply lying to us when they claim that ID isn’t about advancing religious opinions?

Comment #33623

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 4, 2005 2:05 PM (e)

It is, in short, that naturalistic mechanisms aren’t sufficient to explain life

Alas, your non-answer here just raises another question for me (which, of course, you also will not answer):

*ahem*

What, precisely, about “evolution” is any more “materialistic” than, say, weather forecasting or accident investigation or medicine. Please be as specific as possible.

I have never, in all my life, ever heard any weather forecaster mention “god” or “divine will” or any “supernatural” anything, at all. Ever. Does this mean, in your view, that weather forecasting is atheistic (oops, I mean, “materialistic” and “naturalistic” —- we don’t want any judges to think ID’s railing against “materialism” has any RELIGIOUS purpose, do we)?

I have yet, in all my 44 years of living, to ever hear any accifdent investigator declare solemnly at the scene of an airplane crash, “We can’t explain how it happened, so an Unknown Intelligent Being must have dunnit.” I have never yet heard an accident investigator say that “this crash has no materialistic causes — it must have been the Will of Allah”. Does this mean, in your view, that accident investigation is atheistic (oops, sorry, I meant to say “materialistic” and “naturalistic” — we don’t want any judges to know that it is “atheism” we are actually waging a religious crusade against, do we)?

How about medicine. When you get sick, do you ask your doctor to abandon his “materialistic biases” and to investigate possible “supernatural” or “non-materialistic” causes for your disease? Or do you ask your doctor to cure your naturalistic materialistic diseases by using naturalistic materialistic antibiotics to kill your naturalistic materialistic germs?

Since it seems to me as if weather forecasting, accident investigation, and medicine are every bit, in every sense,just as utterly completely totally absolutely one-thousand-percent “materialistic” as evolutionary biology is, why, specifically, is it just evolutionary biology that gets your panties all in a bunch? Why aren’t you and your fellow Wedge-ites out there fighting the good fight against godless materialistic naturalistic weather forecasting, or medicine, or accident investigation?

Or does that all come LATER, as part of, uh, “renewing our culture” …. . ?

Comment #33633

Posted by PvM on June 4, 2005 2:20 PM (e)

What is the theory of ID? It is, in short, that naturalistic mechanisms aren’t sufficient to explain life

according to behe it is only about natural selection being unable to explain particular aspects of life. It’s a typical argument from ignorance and in case of behe a meaningless strawman.

Comment #33642

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 4, 2005 2:47 PM (e)

according to behe it is only about natural selection being unable to explain particular aspects of life. It’s a typical argument from ignorance and in case of behe a meaningless strawman.

It gets worse than that; Behe has already stated that there is NOTHING, nothing AT ALL, about the appearence of life that, in principle, requires anything supernatural, and thus NO reason, NONE AT ALL, why “natural laws” cannot, in principle, produce life. So when our evasive and dishonest friend here says that the “theory of ID” is that “naturalistic mechanisms aren’t sufficient to explain life”, he is not only wrong, but **Behe himself** declares that he is wrong.

An exchange between Behe and a fellow member of a creation/evolution email list I used to be on:

Mr. Behe, may I get your comment or opinion on the theistic verses atheistic nature of intelligent design theory?

It seems to me that ID proposes that all life requires an intelligence to design it. So, if God did not design life on Earth, then some other intelligent creatures (space aliens presumably) must have. These creatures would then require an intelligence to their design, and so on for as many level of regression as one my choose to suggest.

Since life could not have existed at the first instant of the Big Bang, there must be a terminal point to this regression, requiring that the original intelligent designer must have been God. Thus, ID theory is inherently theistic.

Or would you and other ID proponents suggest that only life on Earth would require an intelligent designer, but life elsewhere would not require an intelligent designer? Would you suggest that a Godless abiogenesis could occur elsewhere giving rise to extraterrestrial intelligence, which in turn designed life on Earth, thus making ID theory potentially atheistic?

Neil Habermehl

Hi, Mr. Habermehl. Yes, perhaps life elsewhere doesn’t require irreducibly complex structures. So maybe it arose naturally by chance and then designed us, as I speculated in Darwin’s Black Box (“Aliens and Time Travelers”, pp. 248-250). I don’t think that’s the case, but it isn’t logically impossible. Best wishes.

Mike Behe

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/creationevolutiondebate/message/37191

So there you have it. Behe admits that life does not require any god or gods, and may indeed have appeared “naturally through chance”.

That is in addition to his statements that life evolves through common descent and that humans and primates share a common ancestor.

Makes me wonder if the brainless minions who parrot Behe so breathlessly really know how much of a heretic he is.

What a tangled web Behe weaves when first he practices to deceive . .

Comment #33777

Posted by a Creationist Troll, apparently on June 5, 2005 3:05 PM (e)

How the evolutionists refused to be taken in.

The dwarfs had a very odd look. They weren’t strolling about or enjoying themselves (although the cords with which they had been tied seemed to have vanished) nor were they lying down and having a rest. They were sitting very close together in a little circle facing one another. They never looked round or took any notice of the humans till Lucy and Tirian were almost near enough to touch them. The the dwarfs all cocked their heads as if they couldn’t see anyone but were listening hard and trying to guess by the sound what was happening.

“Look out!” said one of them in a surly voice. “Mind where you’re going. Don’t walk into our faces!”

“All right!” said Eustace indignantly. “We’re not blind. We’ve got eyes in our heads.”

“They must be darn good ones if you can see in here,” said the same dwarf whose name was Diggle….

“Are you blind?” said Tirian.

“Ain’t we all blind in the dark!” said Diggle.

“But it isn’t dark, you poor stupid dwarfs,” said Lucy. “Can’t you see? Look up! Look round! Can’t you see the sky and the trees and the flowers? Can’t you see me?”

“How in the name of all Humbug can I see what ain’t there? And how can I see you any more than you can see me in this pitch darkness?”

“But I can see you,” said Lucy. “I’ll prove I can see you. You’ve got a pipe in your mouth.”

“Anyone that knows the smell of baccy could tell that,” said Diggle…. “Who are you anyway?”

“Earth-man,” said Tirian, “she is the Queen Lucy, sent hither by Aslan out of the deep past.”

“Well if that doesn’t beat everything!” exclaimed Diggle. “How can you go on talking all that rot? Your wonderful lion didn’t come and help you, did he? Thought not. And now – even now – when you’ve been beaten and shoved into this black hole, just the same as the rest of us, you’re still at your old game. Starting a new lie! Trying to make us believe we’re none of us shut up, and it ain’t dark, and heaven knows what…. Well, at any rate there’s no humbug here. We haven’t let anyone take us in. The dwarfs are for the dwarfs.”

“You see,” said Aslan. “They will not let us help them. They have chosen cunning instead of belief. Their prison is only in their minds, yet they are in that prison; and so afraid of being taken in that they cannot be taken out.”

From “The Last Battle”, C.S.Lewis

Comment #33778

Posted by SteveF on June 5, 2005 3:11 PM (e)

Got a bit too much time on your hands aCTa?

Comment #33781

Posted by a Creationist Troll, apparently on June 5, 2005 3:28 PM (e)

No - not enough. That’s why I haven’t responded to everybody individually.

Rilke's Granddaughter wrote:

ACT - your remarks appear to be informed by misconceptions …. Consider …
The percentage for scientists in general is around 40% - the percentage among biologists is much lower - less than 5%, I believe.

But the actual numbers are irrelevant: the question is whether these ‘theist’ scientists use ‘theistic explanations’ in their work. And THAT percentage is vanishingly small.

aCTa wrote:

But there are lot more physicists/astronomers/cosmologists who are open to the possibility of external agency than biologists.

So you collectively agree with me there. Tell me, supposing evolution wasn’t true. How many “atheist” scientists actually rely on “atheistic explanations” in their work? Would biology fall apart? I don’t think so.

Comment #33792

Posted by SEF on June 5, 2005 4:36 PM (e)

You see, fairy tales is all the creationists have to offer … and not even new fairy tales at that - just stolen ones, mangled a bit. How about a line from Aladdin instead: “New lies for old. Get your new religious enlightenment here.” - except they never had a magic lamp of enlightenment in the first place … just those lies of theirs.

If ignoring the possibility of the supernatural because it is unlikely in the extreme, completely unevidenced and always going to cheat means that scientific explanations are atheistic by your personal definition, then yes, all genuine scientists (atheistic or theistic) rely on atheistic explanations. If you don’t label scientific explanations as inherently atheistic, then obviously not. Most creationists do label natural explanations this way however - which is why creationists are so anti-science, including biology.

Comment #33809

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 5, 2005 8:29 PM (e)

No - not enough. That’s why I haven’t responded to everybody individually.

That’s nice.

You seem not to have answered any of my simple questions. I’ll ask them again:

What, precisely, about “evolution” is any more “materialistic” than, say, weather forecasting or accident investigation or medicine. Please be as specific as possible.

I have never, in all my life, ever heard any weather forecaster mention “god” or “divine will” or any “supernatural” anything, at all. Ever. Does this mean, in your view, that weather forecasting is atheistic (oops, I mean, “materialistic” and “naturalistic” —- we don’t want any judges to think ID’s railing against “materialism” has any RELIGIOUS purpose, do we)?

I have yet, in all my 44 years of living, to ever hear any accifdent investigator declare solemnly at the scene of an airplane crash, “We can’t explain how it happened, so an Unknown Intelligent Being must have dunnit.” I have never yet heard an accident investigator say that “this crash has no materialistic causes — it must have been the Will of Allah”. Does this mean, in your view, that accident investigation is atheistic (oops, sorry, I meant to say “materialistic” and “naturalistic” — we don’t want any judges to know that it is “atheism” we are actually waging a religious crusade against, do we)?

How about medicine. When you get sick, do you ask your doctor to abandon his “materialistic biases” and to investigate possible “supernatural” or “non-materialistic” causes for your disease? Or do you ask your doctor to cure your naturalistic materialistic diseases by using naturalistic materialistic antibiotics to kill your naturalistic materialistic germs?

Since it seems to me as if weather forecasting, accident investigation, and medicine are every bit, in every sense,just as utterly completely totally absolutely one-thousand-percent “materialistic” as evolutionary biology is, why, specifically, is it just evolutionary biology that gets your panties all in a bunch? Why aren’t you and your fellow Wedge-ites out there fighting the good fight against godless materialistic naturalistic weather forecasting, or medicine, or accident investigation?

Or does that all come LATER, as part of, uh, “renewing our culture” …. . ?

Um, how many, again, of the 23 champions of ID selected to testify in Kansas, were YECs and denied the common ancestry of humans and apes ….?

Can you name just ONE argument used by IDers today that wasn’t already used twenty years ago by creation “scientists”? Just one? ONE????

What is the “better explanation” that ID, uh, “theory” offers.

What the heck IS this scientific theory of ID that I keep hearing so much about. Why won’t any IDer every produce it for me. Why won’t any IDer ever apply it for me —- show me what the designer does, what mechanisms it uses to do whatever the heck it does, and where we can see these mechanisms in action today.

For the past ten years, every time I’ve asked any IDer to simply tell me what the scientific theory of ID is, the only “answers” I ever get are various versions of (1) “Jesus saves!!!!” or (2) “I don’t have to tell you”.

Why is that?

Take your time. I don’t mind repeating my questions, as many times as I need to, until you either answer them or run away.

Comment #33844

Posted by Jeffahn on June 6, 2005 7:56 AM (e)

Sir_Toejam wrote:

“the only other places where religion essentially trumps science are in the middle east and South Africa”

I know there was a bit of discussion about this, but I’d just like to confirm that neither Evolution nor creationism were taught as science when I was at school in SA, and there was no official policy endorsing either.

Biolgy is taught in a very rote way. Things like the circulatory and digestive systems for instance. Just know the names of everything is about 60-75% of the work, on stadard grade at least.

My one Biology teacher was also the Bible Education teacher(standard fare when I was at school, not sure about these days) but he did not feed us anything on creationism, though there were some off-hand debates in which he expressed some rather interesting opinions. I remembering him once telling us to read “Bone of Contention” (which was in the school library, I think) after one of the off-hand discussions.

He mentioned something about dinosaurs’ body mass and something to with respiration, but I can’t recall exactly what he was alluding to. When somebody questioned him abou dinosaurs he told us something like they were part of a previous creation which had died-out and were therefore not saved on the ark. We also had guy who came to talk to us in bible education who I would now call a OEC/theastic evolutionist. His basic premise was that the relativety could explain how the 6-day creation took 4 billion years.

I learnt about Evolution from watching documentaries on state-run television and books that were freely available. It’s true that the Afrikaans population is somewhat conservative, but they display very little of the Evolution/creationism-related fanfare I’ve read about in the US.

I do know that there is currently some debate now about inculding Evolution in the Sa schools curriculum.

In conclusion, SA is certainly nothing like I’ve heard of what goes on in Turkey for instance. The country has some backwards elements, but is generally regarded as advanced in many scientific fields (we even had a space program at one stage, I’ve seen the launch platforms). Medicine, arms and conservation are just a few areas I can think of off the top of my head. Bet you didn’t know they made Hum-vees in SA? (for export at least).

Comment #33937

Posted by a Creationist Troll, apparently on June 6, 2005 4:17 PM (e)

Flank: “Can you name just one?” No, probably not. However, can you name just one of the objections from ID that has been satisfactorily answered? If you expect answers to your questions when you keep on asking them, don’t you think that might be the basis upon which non-believers in darwinism operate as well?

“What precisely about evolution … is more materialistic?” The fact that it allows one to become an “intellectually fulfilled atheist”. You can believe in a philosophically “closed” or “open” system and this won’t have an effect on how the weather works (except on the very unusual occasions that God intervenes), on whether and how people get diseases (except on the very unusual [and generally difficult to verify] occasions that healings occur), and on how air crashes happened. However, the whole point about evolution is that it is designed to provide a mechanism to explain how life came about without having an “open” system. Yes, I know there are theistic evolutionists - in the weak sense, this basically means “evolution happened, but I still want to believe in God.” Personally, I agree with those who say that this “liberal” analysis is scientifically not even wrong. A god who is incapable of acting within creation is not a god at all, it might as well be a figment of somebody’s imagination.

How many of the 23 were YEC’s? Dunno - you tell me. What does that have to do with the value of x?

Comment #33956

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 6, 2005 6:21 PM (e)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'kwickxml'

Comment #33957

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 6, 2005 6:24 PM (e)

How many of the 23 were YEC’s? Dunno - you tell me. What does that have to do with the value of x?

Ummm, perhaps you’ve forgotten all about THIS statement of yours …. .

The usual confusing of ID with creationism

Since most of the 23 witnesses for ID *were* indeed creationists, that would seem to indicate that YOUR statement is the one that is “confused”.

And for some odd reason, you STILL have not answered the very first simple question that I asked of you:

What is the “better explanation” that ID, uh, “theory” offers.

What the heck IS this scientific theory of ID that I keep hearing so much about. Why won’t any IDer every produce it for me. Why won’t any IDer ever apply it for me —- show me what the designer does, what mechanisms it uses to do whatever the heck it does, and where we can see these mechanisms in action today.

For the past ten years, every time I’ve asked any IDer to simply tell me what the scientific theory of ID is, the only “answers” I ever get are various versions of (1) “Jesus saves!!!!” or (2) “I don’t have to tell you”.

Why is that?

It’s a simple question. Why do you keep avoiding it?

Comment #33958

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 6, 2005 6:27 PM (e)

Yes, I know there are theistic evolutionists - in the weak sense, this basically means “evolution happened, but I still want to believe in God.” Personally, I agree with those who say that this “liberal” analysis is scientifically not even wrong. A god who is incapable of acting within creation is not a god at all, it might as well be a figment of somebody’s imagination.

Thanks for sharing your religious opinions with us. Thanks for once again showing so clearly to all the lurkers that ID is nothing but religious apologetics, and that IDers are flat-out lying to us when they claim otherwise. I hope we can count on you to come to Dover and testify on our behalf that ID is religious opinion – nothing more, nothing less, nothing else.

But the fact that you seem so eager to share your religious opinions with us raises yet another simple question from me (which, of course, I also don’t expect you to answer):

*ahem*

What exactly is the source of your religious authority. What exactly makes your (or ANY person’s) religious opinions more (or less) authoritative than anyone else’s. Why should anyone pay any more attention to my religious opinions, or yours, than we pay to the religious opinions of my next door neighbor or my gardener or the guy who delivered my pizza last night. It seems to me that no one alive would or could know any more about God than anyone else alive does, since there doesn’t seem to be any potential source of such knowledge that isn’t equally available to everyone else. You pray; I pray. You read the Bible; I read the Bible. You go to church and listen to the pastor; I go to church and listen to the pastor. So what is it, exactly, that makes your religious opinion any more (or less) valid than anyone else’s. Are you more holy than anyone else? Do you walk more closely with God than anyone else? Does God love you best? Are you the best Biblical scholar in human history? What exactly makes your opinions better than anyone else’s? Other than your say-so?

Is it your opinion that not only is the Bible inerrant and infallible, but YOUR INTERPRETATIONS of it are also inerrant and infallible? Sorry, but I simply don’t believe that you are infallible. Would you mind explaining to me why I SHOULD think you are? Other than your say-so?

It seems to me that your religious opinions are just that, your opinions. They are no more holy or divine or infallible or authoritative than anyone else’s religious opinions. No one is obligated in any way, shape, or form to follow your religious opinions, to accept them, or even to pay any attention at all to them.

Can you show me anything to indicate otherwise? Other than your say-so?

Comment #33997

Posted by a Creationist Troll, apparently on June 7, 2005 3:12 AM (e)

Flank: FYI evolution is just as much a religious/philosophical opinion as ID or creationism. Because it is fundamentally a denial that there could be a God. That is a religious statement. Dennett quoting Sterelny: “I do think this objection [that current explanations of evolution of stick insects] is something of a quibble because essentially I agree that natural selection is the only possible explanation of complex adaptation. So something like Dawkins’ stories have got to be right.” O’Leary’s commentary: “Essentially, Dennett is saying that we must accept the Darwinist explanation for the evolution of a stick insect not because it is an especially good explanation, but we must consider other explanations impossible.”

She goes on: “In the same way, Franklin Harold … admits that Darwinism is not producing answers, but nonetheless argues: ‘We should reject, as a matter of principle, the substitution of intelligent design for the dialogue of chance and necessity; but we must concede that there are presently no detailed Darwinian accounts of the evolution of any biochemical or cellular system, only a variety of wishful speculations.’ [They are saying, in effect] We must soldier on with the improbable in order to protect Darwinism.”

Can’t you see what’s happening here? Regardless of where the evidence leads (and THAT is what ID is seeking to show: it has no prior to commitment to any religious revelation), REGARDLESS of that, there MUST be a darwinian explanation. Remember that the initial challenges to evolution came from within the evolutionary community. Denton is an agnostic. Most of the ID community don’t believe in a young earth.

So whose operating on the basis of a faith position? The ID’ers who are looking at the evidence? Or the darwinists who insist that, regardless of the evidence, darwinism must be right?

But I know it’s a waste of time telling you all this. Because you are just like those dwarfs sitting in a small circle in the darkness, looking at each other. Nothing can make you see - you are imprisoned by your own minds. Personally, I found the passage from the Last Battle really helpful, and I am a lot more sympathetic to you poor things now I understand how much you have to lean on your faith, regardless of how shaky the stick is.

Comment #34000

Posted by SEF on June 7, 2005 3:28 AM (e)

evolution is just as much a religious/philosophical opinion as ID or creationism. Because it is fundamentally a denial that there could be a God

Rubbish. There could be any number of gods still involved. Just apparently not the particular god you’ve created in your own head and on which you’ve placed specific limitations. Other people’s gods might be better than yours.

However, postulating and accounting for the existence and thus potential interference of all these gods when trying to do science is counter-productive. So science sticks to ignoring the relevance of any gods until such time as any should actually turn up to be probed and dissected.

Comment #34004

Posted by a Creationist Troll, apparently on June 7, 2005 4:57 AM (e)

SEF: “Rubbish” Sorry, I meant darwinism. But in any case, your answer doesn’t bear any relevance on my statement that it is a religious/philosophical opinion.

“Postulating … when trying to do science is counter-productive”. Now whose talking rubbish? Or are you just completely ignorant? Or are you just spouting the nonsense you’ve heard people say on this website without thinking about it? This assumes a closed system, and methodological naturalist, which isn’t the only way to do science. See also O’Leary “By Design or by Chance” - it didn’t stop Copernicus, Galileo, Kepler, Pascal, Newton, Faraday, Kelvin or Maxwell.

Comment #34005

Posted by a Creationist Troll, apparently on June 7, 2005 5:01 AM (e)

naturalist => naturalism.

Science doesn’t assume there is no design, only darwinism. If a system is (really) irreducibly complex, it is just as much of a science stopper to say “evolution did it somehow” as to say “God did it somehow”. Also, note that your argument is reflexive. If there is design, darwinism is a science stopper. “Only research in both directions will determine which is true.”

Comment #34006

Posted by PaulP on June 7, 2005 5:15 AM (e)

Science doesn’t assume there is no design

Science assumes nothing, it has a look with an open mind and proceeds on the basis that it will introduce a new way of thinking only if the old ones fail. Similarly we throw out ideas that fail.
For example it was thought for a long time that God intervened in the motions of planets to keep them on the orbits we observe. Laplace got rid of that requirement. Since then physics has been free of such ideas.

You comment is laughable. Not only is it ignorant of how science works, it is a perfect description of where creationists go wrong. They are totally closeminded, convinced without reason that their interpretation of one religion among many is the truth no matter how much evidence there is to the contrary.

Comment #34009

Posted by PvM on June 7, 2005 5:40 AM (e)

Science doesn’t assume there is no design, only darwinism. If a system is (really) irreducibly complex, it is just as much of a science stopper to say “evolution did it somehow” as to say “God did it somehow”. Also, note that your argument is reflexive. If there is design, darwinism is a science stopper. “Only research in both directions will determine which is true.”

The research was done and Darwinism replace the ‘God did it’ explanation, taking biology into the realm of sdcinece. Of course, by giving a naturalistic explanation for evolution of life, science never assumed that there is no design, in fact, Darwinism looked at the design in nature and explained it. IC has nothing to do with intelligent design however, it merely proposes a system which could not have arisen via Darwinian direct pathways.
Creationists seem to be confused by Behe’s leap of faith that from this one can infer ‘intelligent;y designed”.
Miller and others have done a good job exposing these fallacies, seems that the idea that somehow nature cannot deal with design or that it excludes design is based on ignorance rather than fact. Darwinism is an excellent example of science rather than ignoring design, explains it in scientific terms.

What again is the scientific explanation that ID has for IC systems?

Poof…

I thought so.

What research ‘in both directions’ has ID to offer?

Silence?

I thought so.

Nice trolling though

Comment #34010

Posted by SEF on June 7, 2005 5:45 AM (e)

a Creationist Troll, apparently wrote:

“Postulating … when trying to do science is counter-productive”.Now whose talking rubbish?

A perfect example of a creationist quoting out of context. With the original middle intact it isn’t rubbish at all.

Postulating sensible, testable things is part of science. Postulating an uncountable number of unevidenced supernatural things is not. The reason that sort of silliness isn’t part of science is because, without some evidence that the fairies exist at all which would indicate their properties, they don’t have any measurable qualities which could be taken into account. The only testable statements made by creationists were already shown to be false long ago, eg the order of events in Genesis, the method of Thor for making all lightning bolts.

Comment #34012

Posted by a Creationist Troll, apparently on June 7, 2005 6:11 AM (e)

SEF: Sorry. I thought you would realise that I was taking the middle out for conciseness. I didn’t think you were so paranoid about creationist trolls as to think I was trying to distort what you were saying, or that I didn’t understand what you were saying. I thought that if you read my answer you would understand what I was getting at. I underestimated your blindness.

“However, postulating and accounting for the existence and thus potential interference of all these gods when trying to do science is counter-productive.” There you go, it’s all back again. Rubbish. The existence of God was assumed by scientists, including those I listed (and still is by, apparently, 40% of non-biologist scientists) without getting in the way of their ability to do science. It only affects people’s ability to do darwinism.

I’ll say it again. YOU ONLY NEED TO GET RID OF GOD FOR DARWINISM TO WORK, NOT FOR SCIENCE TO WORK.

PvM: Darwin proposed a theory - he didn’t prove it. There is still no evidence that it works as a “theory of everything”.

PaulP: Your comment is laughable. Not only is it ignorant of how science works, it is a perfect description of where darwinists go wrong. They are totally closeminded, convinced without reason that their interpretation of one religion among many is the truth no matter how much evidence there is to the contrary. See? It works both ways.

Comment #34013

Posted by PaulP on June 7, 2005 6:16 AM (e)

aCTa:
I have shown wherwe scientists changed their minds when evidence came in. Can you show me the same for creationists?
See? It does not work both ways.

Comment #34014

Posted by SEF on June 7, 2005 6:32 AM (e)

I did read your answer, aCTa. You are wrong though. The only way the statement is rubbish is with the middle removed.

Scientists did assume the existence of gods (depending on where they were) but only as part of their cultural indoctrination and not as part of or relevant to science. I would say it was very much against them that they failed to apply good standards of investigation to their gods more than they did. The only good science ever done has been by ignoring more and more the possible intervention of gods - and has tended to get the scientists into trouble with their more religiously bigoted contemporaries. Very few manage to reject the whole lot in one go. Usually just little bits of superstition get eliminated each time.

Newton is rather a good example and one I would cite myself because he did reject part of his indoctrination. He was brought up with a trinity. He rejected that view on the grounds of lack of evidence for it even when dodgy things like scriptures are counted as evidence. He was one of the earliest unitarians (hence the name uni in contrast with trinity). But he valued power more than honesty in that instance. So he kept fairly quiet about his faith to keep his position at Trinity etc. If Newton had still been alive while the rest of the intervening evidence came to light, he might well have been one of those to reject the rest of the lies about his god’s properties and become one of the modern fluffy unitarians who barely remember their authoritarian christian roots.

Comment #34015

Posted by Pastor Bentonit on June 7, 2005 6:43 AM (e)

aCTa wrote:

But I know it’s a waste of time telling you all this. Because you are just like those dwarfs sitting in a small circle in the darkness, looking at each other. Nothing can make you see - you are imprisoned by your own minds. Personally, I found the passage from the Last Battle really helpful, and I am a lot more sympathetic to you poor things now I understand how much you have to lean on your faith, regardless of how shaky the stick is.

Projection. Strike three, you´re out.

Comment #34016

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 7, 2005 6:50 AM (e)

Flank: FYI evolution is just as much a religious/philosophical opinion as ID or creationism. Because it is fundamentally a denial that there could be a God.

Uh, then why are so many evolutionary biologists, Christians. And why do the vast majority of Christians worldwide accept all of evolution and think creationists are nutters who do tremendous harm to Christianity by making it look silly, stupid, medieval, backwards and pig-ignorant?

And why didn’t you answer any of my questions?

What is the scientific theory of ID?

Why is atheism acceptable to you in some areas, but not in others? How do you decide which areas atheism is acceptable in, and which areas it’s not?

Why should anyone pay any mor attention to your religious opinions than they should to mine, my next door neighbor’s, my car mechanic’s, or the kid who delivers my pizzas?

Is it your opinion that not only is the Bible inerrant and infallible, but YOUR INTERPRETATIONS of it are also inerrant and infallible? Sorry, but I simply don’t believe that you are infallible. Would you mind explaining to me why I SHOULD think you are? Other than your say-so?

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

I weary of your arm-waving.

Comment #34018

Posted by a Creationist Troll, apparently on June 7, 2005 7:06 AM (e)

PaulP: Not necessarily for creationists in the public gaze. Because regardless of the repetitive, thoughtless protestations on here that creationism=ID, creationists aren’t working on evidence, unlike the ID proponents, but on revelation. However, I can point to a good few people I know who started out by believing in evolution but were convinced on the basis of the evidence to abandon that belief.

However, some of the people in ID were taught evolution as they grew up, and only came to see that darwinism didn’t work as they started to look at the evidence for themselves. In fact, they believed in darwinism … now how did you put it? … “as part of their cultural indoctrination and not as part of or relevant to science. I would say it was very much against them that they failed to apply good standards of investigation to their gods more than they did.”

Comment #34019

Posted by SEF on June 7, 2005 7:20 AM (e)

creationists aren’t working on evidence, unlike the ID proponents, but on revelation

In other words (ones you won’t like): on mental aberration of the type which gets people locked up for being dangerously insane.

I can point to a good few people I know who started out by believing in evolution but were convinced on the basis of the evidence

Which people? What evidence? All the people investigated so far have turned out never to have understood evolution in the first place and to have succumbed not to real evidence but to religious “evidence” such as scripture and to the lies told about science by other religious people. There are many incompetent and dishonest religious people out there who belive ignorance is bliss and lies lead to salvation. Even if you can’t name the people because they are shy, you could at least name the evidence they say was conclusive. Then we’ll show you where they failed to apply good standards of investigation.

Comment #34020

Posted by PaulP on June 7, 2005 7:20 AM (e)

aCTA:
Your last post makes no sense.
1) Scientists do not “believe in “ Darwinism, they accept it pro tem, like all scientific theories.
2) I did not post the quote you cited. That’s a small issue because despite your repeated statments, no scientific theory is treated as a “god” by scientists.
3) Creationism is not ID but ID is (a form of) creationism.
4) ID is a failed attempt to produce a scientific theory that shows the Judeo-Christian God intervening in the evolution of life forms on this planet. It failed on purely scientific grounds, using the same criteria that all scientific theories must be judged by. Your claim that IDers are working on evidence not revelation misses the rather basic point that they start with their own revelation and then try to justify it scientifically. The problem is that nothing at all will convince them of the incorrectness of that revelation.

Comment #34021

Posted by a Creationist Troll, apparently on June 7, 2005 7:27 AM (e)

Flank: “Uh, then why are so many evolutionary biologists, Christians.”

Oh, gee, sorry. I thought that we were arguing in this thread that so few evolutionary biologists were Christians? Which way do you want it? You can’t have it both ways. Fish or cut bait.

Flank: “And why do the vast majority of Christians worldwide accept all of evolution and think creationists are nutters who do tremendous harm to Christianity by making it look silly, stupid, medieval, backwards and pig-ignorant?”

The vast majority of Christians worldwide, eh? Know them and their opinions, do you? The 50 million or so in China? It was a professor from China who was surprised that in the US you could criticise the government, but couldn’t criticise Darwin.

And do they accept all of evolution? I don’t think so. Opinion surveys in the US show that a majority of people believe in a young earth. However, if lots of people do believe in darwinism, it’s probably something to do with the fact that it’s the only thing that’s taught, and evidence that might challenge it is airbrushed out. By organisations like NCSE, with its stupid statements about pictures of peppered moths being “historical reenactments”.

And why do you continue to obfuscate the argument by talking about reaction to Young Earth creationists, but using a term that you will then blithely apply to both OEC’s and ID’s? You don’t need to answer that, I will interpret your right to withhold an answer under the fifth amendment appropriately.

What is the theory of ID? Well, according to ID people, it isn’t a “scientific theory” at the moment, so much as a proposition. And the proposition is that evolutionary mechanisms are not sufficient to explain the existence of life.

I’ve told you why “atheism is acceptable in some areas and not in others”. However, let me try again. A good atheist weather forecaster doesn’t say, “and the fact that I can predict what the weather will be like in 24 hours demonstrates that there is no need for a God.” A good darwinist biologist says … well, of course, he can’t predict anything, because darwinism is such a plastic theory … but he does say, “because I have this mechanism, I don’t need a designer.”

Why should anybody pay any attentions to my opinions? No reason at all. And no, my opinions and interpretations aren’t infallible. I don’t give a hoot what you think of me or my opinions. I only spend time here because I’m sorry for you all. However, if there actually is a God, then it might be important to find out what his (or her) opinions are.

Comment #34022

Posted by a Creationist Troll, apparently on June 7, 2005 7:35 AM (e)

PaulP: In what sense is ID a form of creationism?

You’re right about the quote - but I was using “you” in the plural; I am trying to respond to (at least) three people at once. As to people’s religious attitude to darwinism, I beg to differ. Unfortunately, you (pl) are too captive by its doctrines to be in a good position to make an objective judgement about your (pl) behaviour.

Comment #34023

Posted by a Creationist Troll, apparently on June 7, 2005 7:47 AM (e)

PaulP: “Pro Tem” - tell me, what evidence would convince you that darwinism was wrong? What would falsify it? For Darwin, it was if it were possible to show that any organ could not arise through a gradual process - something that irreducible complexity should demonstrate. Do you believe that it is possible to show that something could be irreducibly complex? Or do you believe that, even though we have no actual mechanism to show how (eg) the genetic code came about, only some vague stories, with no mathematical assessment of their possible validity, historical justification or other basis, there must be a darwinian explanation? If the latter, then I repeat the question, what would falsify darwinism for you?

Dawkins said that, if he saw the arm of a statue of Mary suddenly move, he (in effect) wouldn’t believe it was supernatural. If you think this way, then you simply aren’t going to accept the possibility that there might need to be a supernatural explanation for anything - so you have to look for a natural explanation, regardless of how unfeasible it is. Are you in that position? If so, and if you claim that you only hold darwinism as “a scientific theory pro tem”, then what could possibly make you change your mind? You don’t think you are adhering to this theory religiously - but I would say from your commitment to it, this is a religious/philosophical position, not a scientific one.

Comment #34024

Posted by steve on June 7, 2005 7:48 AM (e)

In what sense is it creationism? Have you not been reading anything here?

At Hillsdale, after his public lecture, I challenged Behe in a small-group discussion to give us a positive statement of exactly how the “Intelligent Designer” creates bacterial flagella. As usual, he was evasive. But I didn’t let him get away. And finally, he answered: “In a puff of smoke!” A physicist in our group asked, “Do you mean that the Intelligent Designer suspends the laws of physics through working a miracle?” And Behe answered: “Yes.”

Comment #34025

Posted by PaulP on June 7, 2005 7:52 AM (e)

In what sense is ID a form of creationism?

Can you show me on IDer who does not believe in creationism?

Comment #34028

Posted by PaulP on June 7, 2005 7:59 AM (e)

what evidence would convince you that darwinism was wrong?

Proof of the inheritance of acquired characteristics; proof that a life form evolved by a non-Darwinian mechanism etc

Dawkins said that, if he saw the arm of a statue of Mary suddenly move, he (in effect) wouldn’t believe it was supernatural.

I wouldn’t either. But them I am very familiar with how our perceptions lead us astray - read e.g http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/0140167269/qid=1118149057/sr=1-3/ref=sr_1_8_3/202-9743966-6879009. I mean, I’ve seen many more amazing things than a statue move: I’ve seen people sawn in two with no ill effect.

Comment #34029

Posted by a Creationist Troll, apparently on June 7, 2005 8:00 AM (e)

PaulP: That isn’t an answer. You need to define ID, and then define creationism, and then show how ID is a subset of creationism.

Steve: Behe’s opinion as to how ID happened is not the same as ID. The opinion Behe expressed there may have been a creationist opinion (albeit not necessarily a YEC opinion), but that doesn’t mean that it is the only possible creationist opinion, or only possible ID opinion. In fact, the conclusion I would draw from that is the other way round - creationism is a special case of ID. Bear in mind that dissent from darwinism isn’t confined to creationists and proponents of ID. If you want to show that ID is creationism, you have to do what I told PaulP just now - tell me what ID is, and what creationism is, and then show that one is a subset of the other.

Comment #34030

Posted by PaulP on June 7, 2005 8:04 AM (e)

aCTa wants me to show that ID is a form of creationism:
From the home page of the ID movement, http://www.intelligentdesignnetwork.org/

“The theory of intelligent design (ID) holds that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause rather than an undirected process such as natural selection”.

Intelligent cause = creator

Comment #34031

Posted by Flint on June 7, 2005 8:13 AM (e)

Unfortunately, you (pl) are too captive by its doctrines to be in a good position to make an objective judgement about your (pl) behaviour.

I suppose there are two classes of scientists here: Those who are too captive to the doctrine that evidence matters to be objective, and those who have Seen The Light and “know” (objectively, of course) that the Christian God is responsible for the biology part of science (which is investigated using the same rules and assumptions as any other part of science, but which comes to non-Christian conclusions and must therefore be wrong. The only challenge is to understand WHY unGodly conclusions must be wrong. Objectively, of course).

There is only one reason weather forecasters do not deny magical Divine interference in the weather: Because there is no army of Creationists attacking “atheistic” weather, demanding at continuous high volume that meteorologists acknowledge the role of (their particular) god, and forcing meteorologists to explain, endlessly and to deaf ears, that religious faith is not a factor in their profession. And THEN using that very explanation as “evidence” that (their particular) god must indeed play a role: Aren’t meteorologists talking about it all the time?

Maybe it’s time, once again, to point out that no scientific explanation of anything involves or requires anything supernatural. What distinguishes evolution in aCTa’s mind, and makes it different from other science, is aCTa’s personal requirement that evolution be supernatural, while the rest of science gets a pass. So the distinction exists entirely within the context of aCTa’s personal needs, and nowhere in the context of the scientific method.

Comment #34032

Posted by steve on June 7, 2005 8:13 AM (e)

Behe says god did it. Dembski says all scientific theories have to include jesus. Until you can provide us some reason to think otherwise, we will continue to see ID for what it is–Creationism with the religious parts intentionally obscured.

Comment #34033

Posted by steve on June 7, 2005 8:17 AM (e)

Of course, what I’m discussing is the political/social movement known as ID. there is no scientific theory called ID. It just dresses in scientific jargon, kind of like Eddie Izzard wears high heels.

Comment #34034

Posted by SEF on June 7, 2005 8:18 AM (e)

I thought that we were arguing in this thread that so few evolutionary biologists were Christians?

That’s very dishonest of you aCTa. Very few real biologists are creationists because they can see how stupid creationism is. However, quite a few biologists (and other scientists) are Christians because they don’t have a problem with putting their religion away when they do science.

You are falsely equating two separate things in your misrepresentation. Not all Christians are creationists. Very few are these days because it has become quite obvious over the centuries that all the proposed versions of creationism are rubbish. Similarly, not all creationists are Christians. The different versions of creationism disagree with each other as well as all being anti-science.

The good thing about science is that people of all sorts of religions can see it makes sense - evolution included in science and various sects of Christians included among the religions. It’s just that the set of people capable of accepting science does not include the utter nutters who want to deny reality and who all claim theirs is the one true religion.

Comment #34035

Posted by PaulP on June 7, 2005 8:20 AM (e)

Quoth aCTa:

A good atheist weather forecaster doesn’t say, “and the fact that I can predict what the weather will be like in 24 hours demonstrates that there is no need for a God.” A good darwinist biologist says … well, of course, he can’t predict anything, because darwinism is such a plastic theory … but he does say, “because I have this mechanism, I don’t need a designer.”

Wrong again:
If there were people claiming that we need God to predict the weather, and putting idiotic stickers on textbooks because of it, and we could make forecasts without invoking God’s intervention, then meteorologists would definitely be saying “there is no need for a God” in meteorology.

Comment #34036

Posted by a Creationist Troll, apparently on June 7, 2005 8:23 AM (e)

PaulP: OK. So you are using “creationism” in the sense of saying that the universe has an intelligent cause. You are not using it in the sense of saying that the first three chapters of Genesis are a scientific description of how the universe came about, which is more widely considered to be what “creationism” is. You are also not using it in the sense of saying that the universe is therefore less than 10000 years old, which is what Young Earth Creationism is - and is generally considered to be the least scientific, most revelation based version of creationism. You are also not using it in the sense that most creationists would recognise it. In fact, the way you are using it is so far removed from the conventional understanding of the word, that you really need a different, more descriptive term. Which, I guess, is why they came up with “Intelligent Design”.

For the sake of clarity in argument (which in actual fact most darwinists are quite happy to obscure) it would be helpful to make those things clear.

Comment #34037

Posted by GCT on June 7, 2005 8:34 AM (e)

aCTa wrote:

What is the theory of ID? Well, according to ID people, it isn’t a “scientific theory” at the moment, so much as a proposition. And the proposition is that evolutionary mechanisms are not sufficient to explain the existence of life.

That is a negative definition. Even if evolution is falsified/disproved, it would not lend one shred of evidence to ID. Please formulate a positive definition for ID.

Also, please explain why you say in one breath that evolution and ID are both just as religious, while in the other you claim that evolution is dogma while ID is not.

Comment #34038

Posted by a Creationist Troll, apparently on June 7, 2005 8:36 AM (e)

SEF: You are wrong. That’s not what we were talking about.

Sleeve: So 20-40% of physicists are theist? That sounds like quite a lot, to me - more than I thought - and would be consistent with my statement. Hardly a small dissenting minority - 22% of the electorate in the UK returned an overall majority in parliament. Do you have the percentage for biologists, for comparison?

The percentage for scientists in general is around 40% - the percentage among biologists is much lower - less than 5%, I believe.

Uh, then why are so many evolutionary biologists, Christians.

We had emphasis on how few biologists were theists, and then later on we had emphasis on how many biologists were Christians.

Perhaps you subscribe to the Gouldian NOMA perspective on science and religion? That religion can say whatever it likes as long as it makes no truth claims, or has no bearing on anything other than people’s private opinions? But if that’s what religion is like, then it could be done away with entirely - it’s only left as a post-modern concession to try and avoid alienating everybody who might believe in something.

Comment #34040

Posted by PaulP on June 7, 2005 8:45 AM (e)

aCTa:

Have a look at that quote from the ID site:
“The theory of intelligent design (ID) holds that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause rather than an undirected process such as natural selection”.

Why did they not have the intellectual honesty to say “creator” rather than “intelligent cause”? Because of the wedge strategy. They have to hide their true beliefs behind would-be obscure jargon .

Look at what was already pointed out to you by steve:

Dembski says all scientific theories have to include jesus

If ID is a scientific theory, as the IDers would have us believe, then it must include Jesus if “all scientific theories have to include jesus” according to the man who created it. Which means the “intelligent cause” of ID is indeed the God of Genesis.

Comment #34041

Posted by PaulP on June 7, 2005 8:51 AM (e)

The world is a mirror representing the divine life … Intelligent design readily embraces the sacramental nature of physical reality. Indeed, intelligent design is just the Logos theology of John’s Gospel restated in the idiom of information theory.”

- William A. Dembski, Touchstone Magazine, July/August 1999.

from http://home.kc.rr.com/bnpndxtr/HorsesMouth-BP007.htm

aCTa: How much more explicit do you want it?

Comment #34043

Posted by Pastor Bentonit on June 7, 2005 9:01 AM (e)

aCTa wrote:

Why should anybody pay any attentions to my opinions? No reason at all. And no, my opinions and interpretations aren’t infallible. I don’t give a hoot what you think of me or my opinions. I only spend time here because I’m sorry for you all. However, if there actually is a God, then it might be important to find out what his (or her) opinions are.

Is it only me, or does this just make no sense at all? aCTa, pretty please with sugar on top, would you just proselytize - or get off the d*mn toilet?!

Comment #34044

Posted by neo-anti-luddite on June 7, 2005 9:03 AM (e)

Hmm…and here I though we were talking about priviledged puddles. So, aCTa, I notice you haven’t bothered to try and back up your claim that:

aCTa wrote:

…the puddle is remarkable, because there are no other puddles. And in fact, there are no other places where the puddles could form.

Does that mean you concede that, as far as those statements go, you were full of crap?

Comment #34049

Posted by Wesley R. Elsberry on June 7, 2005 9:30 AM (e)

Rilke's granddaughter wrote:

The percentage for scientists in general is around 40% - the percentage among biologists is much lower - less than 5%, I believe.

I’m going to challenge you to come up with a source for those numbers. If the second is supposed to represent the percentage of biological scientists who are theists, it’s way off.

It’s a common misconception, though. William Dembski pulled a number (1 to 2%) out of his nether regions concerning the fraction of believing biologists, too.

That, though, is not consistent with the numbers reported by Larson and Witham in a poll of scientists conducted in 1996.

So, if either you or Dembski want to proceed, please provide the citations that back up your numbers.

Comment #34050

Posted by PvM on June 7, 2005 9:33 AM (e)

PvM: Darwin proposed a theory - he didn’t prove it. There is still no evidence that it works as a “theory of everything”.

Theories are never ‘proven’ and who is arguing that it works as a theory of everything? Darwin merely dealt with the issue of design in nature and formulated a theory which has withstood the attacks of time.

aCt about ID: And the proposition is that evolutionary mechanisms are not sufficient to explain the existence of life.

An interesting argument from ignorance. Does ID propose any ID mechanisms that do explain the existence of life? Of course not.

YEC is more ‘scientific’ than ID as it makes actual claims that have been disproven. Both suffer from the same problem however, a distrust in what God is showing them in the world around them. ID seems to insist on hiding their God in the gaps of our ignorance.

Comment #34052

Posted by Flint on June 7, 2005 9:46 AM (e)

Perhaps you subscribe to the Gouldian NOMA perspective on science and religion? That religion can say whatever it likes as long as it makes no truth claims, or has no bearing on anything other than people’s private opinions? But if that’s what religion is like, then it could be done away with entirely - it’s only left as a post-modern concession to try and avoid alienating everybody who might believe in something.

Hard to tell if this comment reflects the SOP Creationist dishonesty, or genuine misunderstanding. On the off-chance it’s the latter, it’s an interesting statement. Gould does NOT say that religion can make no truth claims, only that there are different classes of truths, and the realm of science is limited to truths that can be tested against a presumed “objective universe”, subject to agreement between people of all faiths willing to examine the same evidence. Gould works hard to make it clear that this is far from all the truths there might be, and may be only a small percentage of them. It could be argued that science gains its strength by limiting the scope of its truths so narrowly.

The reference to “everybody who might believe in something” sounds childish. In deploying this phrase, aCTA seems to be saying that science’s narrow scope is the only “something” worth believing in, but this is absurd. As has been pointed out by many, scientists believe in an impressively wide variety of things beyond the scope of science. Some are Christian, of course, but even the belief that science is a worthwhile pursuit, itself is not testable by science!

As far as I can tell, aCTA is complaining that science is hogging for itself, authority over truths aCTa prefers belong to his religious doctrine, as it did (by default) for so long before science began to carve out a niche within which the scientific method was more effective in achieving goals people generally wanted to achieve.

In a large sense, I doubt religion can ever be “done away with” because it remains necessary to make statements about matters beyond the scope of science. What has been done away with instead, is religious statements about matters subject to test and evidence, and which fail the tests and contradict the evidence. Gould’s position is that religion is mistaken in making such statements. Dawkins, more extreme, holds that the larger sense (all nontestable statements) isn’t religion at all – that religion consists of statements about gods and miracles and fables which are simply fiction. It seems that aCTa’s concept of religion matches that of Dawkins, rather than Gould.

Comment #34060

Posted by steve on June 7, 2005 10:28 AM (e)

Vague memory of Larson and Witham, btw, is where I got my number, though it was a little high.

Comment #34071

Posted by Arden Chatfield on June 7, 2005 11:11 AM (e)

Of course, what I’m discussing is the political/social movement known as ID. there is no scientific theory called ID. It just dresses in scientific jargon, kind of like Eddie Izzard wears high heels.

It’s funny, but this matches a mental image I’ve long had of creationists/IDers – that of a couple of children up in their parent’s attic, getting into the trunk and dressing up in their parent’s clothes, which are much too big for them, pretending to be grownups.

YOU ONLY NEED TO GET RID OF GOD FOR DARWINISM TO WORK, NOT FOR SCIENCE TO WORK

in typical creationist fashion, you’re avoiding the real question here: what about the scientists who, despite your ‘edicts’, operate on the assumption that Darwin was right? Are they all wrong? Are they getting Christianity ‘wrong’? Are they heretics? Going to hell, even? If that’s what you think, let’s hear you say so, please. Up front.

But I know it’s a waste of time telling you all this. Because you are just like those dwarfs sitting in a small circle in the darkness, looking at each other. Nothing can make you see - you are imprisoned by your own minds. Personally, I found the passage from the Last Battle really helpful, and I am a lot more sympathetic to you poor things now I understand how much you have to lean on your faith, regardless of how shaky the stick is.

‘Dwarfs sitting in a small circle in the darkness’. Some heavy duty poetry there. Don’t quit your day job.

Thanks for the clear admission that you’re here for no other reason to evangelize, that you’re not a scientist in any meaningful way.

Also, I suggest you get used to the fact that the, uh, force of your personality isn’t going to make any converts to Jesus here. You seem to be yet another one of those people who claim that science is a ‘rival religion’. it’s not. Only fundamentalists think that. And no one, aside from people who already think exactly like you, is buying it.

I would urge you to quit being so ‘imprisoned by your own mind’ for a bit and to seriously ask yourself why other Christians don’t demand the same closed mind of themselves as you do, and to consider whether you might benefit from their example.
.

Comment #34113

Posted by a Creationist Troll, apparently on June 7, 2005 2:18 PM (e)

“What about the scientists who, despite your ‘edicts’, operate on the assumption that Darwin was right?” In what sense is this the real question? What about them? Actually, for the most part, whether Darwin was right or wrong is completely irrelevant - because darwinism has hardly any impact on science. What I am taking issue with is the impact it has on “religion”.

The reference to dwarfs was a reference back to an earlier post (#33777). You’re right it isn’t poetry - it’s a children’s story that is a useful if obvious metaphor.

I am not here to evangelise. If I tried, the post would be deleted or bathroom-walled before I refreshed the page.

I don’t make converts to Jesus. That’s God’s job. I’m just trying to show you that darwinism doesn’t work. But if there is a designer, and you do end up giving an account to it of your life, you won’t be able to say that nobody told you. Of course, if there isn’t one, I’ll look stupid. But I’ll be dead, so it won’t matter.

Comment #34117

Posted by Aureola Nominee, FCD on June 7, 2005 2:28 PM (e)

Well, who would have guessed: today’s menu includes frozen Pascal’s Wager, microwaved. Mmmmmm… tasty!

Comment #34125

Posted by Jim Wynne on June 7, 2005 3:02 PM (e)

CTa wrote:

But if there is a designer, and you do end up giving an account to it of your life, you won’t be able to say that nobody told you.

I will too be able to say that no one told me. I’ll lie. If the one I have to give the account to is just the (unnamed) designer what leads you to believe that she’s also VP in charge of disposition of immortal souls? If, on the other hand, the designer is the Evangelical Christian God, why would anyone need to give an account of his life to an omniscient being?

Comment #34126

Posted by neo-anti-luddite on June 7, 2005 3:14 PM (e)

aCTa wrote:

What I am taking issue with is the impact it (darwinism) has on “religion”.

Okay, then, aCTa, to bastardize the good “Rev Dr”:

Why should anyone take your opinions about evolution more seriously than, say, those of people who actually do work in the field? You claim that “darwinism” is anti-religion; evolutionary biologists, many members of the clergy, and bunches of regular citizens, all from many different countries, don’t agree. Furthermore, you keep saying things that are quite blatantly false, and yet you seem to keep expecting us to take you seriously. Why do you think you have any credibility on this subject? Are you insane?

Comment #34131

Posted by Scott Davidson on June 7, 2005 3:33 PM (e)

a Creationist Troll, apparently wrote:

But if there is a designer, and you do end up giving an account to it of your life…

If we’re going to wind up giving accounts of our lives, does it not make more sense to actually judge us by the substance of our lives rather than by whether or not we just happened to believe some particular creed?

The reference to dwarfs was a reference back to an earlier post (#33777). You’re right it isn’t poetry - it’s a children’s story that is a useful if obvious metaphor.

Quite.

The last time I was at a church service (memorial service early last year), the Pastor was telling a story. I guess he was trying to empahsize the importance of his faith.
He told the assembeled people how he could look out from his living room window and see the street his house was on, the houses of his neighbours, with the Tararua Ranges as a backdrop. Unfortunately he wasn’t all that comfortable with looking out at the world through that window.

He was much more comfortable looking out at the world through the stained glass window in the church. You couldn’t actually see anything through that window, the only thing you could see was the cross depicted within the window.

What really struck me at the time and still does when I think of it was that the then went on to say that the picture from the stained glass window was more real.

More real?

Whereas what was happening was that the light from the outside world was being filtered through the stained glass window. A nice metaphor I guess. He was using his religion to filter the real world through, and if it didn’t make it through the filter, then it wasn’t important.

Sounds kind of similar to the dwarves tha tyou were talking about a little bit earlier, doesn’t it?

Comment #34136

Posted by Arden Chatfield on June 7, 2005 4:00 PM (e)

Why should anyone take your opinions about evolution more seriously than, say, those of people who actually do work in the field?  You claim that “darwinism” is anti-religion; evolutionary biologists, many members of the clergy, and bunches of regular citizens, all from many different countries, don’t agree.  Furthermore, you keep saying things that are quite blatantly false, and yet you seem to keep expecting us to take you seriously.  Why do you think you have any credibility on this subject?  Are you insane?

Not necessarily, I think egomania and confusion would pretty much cover it.

What I am taking issue with is the impact it (darwinism) has on “religion”.

Ah, there we go again. A staple of fundies. It comes so naturally they don’t even know they’re doing it. Their particular religious beliefs are what ‘religion’ is. The people who disagree with them are, by definition, not religious. There’s just one big ‘religion’ (implicitly, fundamentalist Christianity), all ‘religious’ people share it, and anything different is atheism.

So whose ‘religion’ are you talking about? Yours, I assume?

“What about the scientists who, despite your ‘edicts’, operate on the assumption that Darwin was right?” In what sense is this the real question? What about them?

What about them? You are the one who said:

YOU ONLY NEED TO GET RID OF GOD FOR DARWINISM TO WORK

(It’s in all caps, I figured you must have thought it was pretty important when you wrote it.)

The point is that you seem to be bemoaning the effects of Darwinism on your religion (what are they, BTW?), yet others who seem to share your religion seem not to share this anxiety. At first you seemed to deny that this was the case, now you’re trying to say it’s not important.

Don’t act surprised when people here get on your case for being inconsistent and obfuscating.

If this is just you struggling with your religious issues, fine, I can sympathize. Just don’t try to claim it’s science’s (or Darwinism’s) problem.

Comment #34267

Posted by PaulP on June 8, 2005 9:10 AM (e)

Said aCTa:

YOU ONLY NEED TO GET RID OF GOD FOR DARWINISM TO WORK, NOT FOR SCIENCE TO WORK

This is nonsense. Care to provide some evidence to back up your claims? The concept of God is absent from the theory of evolution in the same way it is absent from all scientific theories. Or can you explain how say the absence of the concept of God from Special Relativity is different to its absence from the theory of evolution?