Wesley R. Elsberry posted Entry 1274 on August 1, 2005 09:10 PM.
Trackback URL: http://www.pandasthumb.org/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb.fcgi/1272

Bush endorses teaching ‘intelligent design’ theory in schools

BY RON HUTCHESON
Knight Ridder Newspapers

WASHINGTON - (KRT) - President Bush waded into the debate over evolution and “intelligent design” Monday, saying schools should teach both theories on the creation and complexity of life.

[…]

Bush compared the current debate to earlier disputes over “creationism,” a related view that adheres more closely to biblical explanations. As governor of Texas, Bush said students should be exposed to both creationism and evolution.

On Monday the president said he favors the same approach for intelligent design “so people can understand what the debate is about.”

Bradenton Herald

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Comment #40801

Posted by Air Bear on August 1, 2005 9:51 PM (e)

We’re screwed.

Comment #40802

Posted by csa on August 1, 2005 10:00 PM (e)

Bush’s endorsement just lends weight to the fact that ID isn’t evidence-based. When has this administration ever let evidence stand in the way of policy?

Comment #40803

Posted by Albion on August 1, 2005 10:07 PM (e)

Bush favoured the teaching of creationism when he was governor of Texas, knowing that it was a Bible-based subject? The end justifies the means for some people, apparently.

And if he was OK with overtly Bible-based stuff being taught in school, of course he’s going to be OK with intelligent design. I wonder if he’ll also support teaching that HIV doesn’t cause AIDS since the alternative being pushed by the HIV deniers involves AIDS being caused by what amounts to a sinful lifestyle.

Comment #40804

Posted by Joseph O'Donnell on August 1, 2005 10:17 PM (e)

Or that AIDS was engineered by the CIA or any number of crackpot ideas.

I think this lends weight more to the idea that the current American administration is heavily anti-science more than anything else.

Comment #40805

Posted by Nic George on August 1, 2005 10:18 PM (e)

Face it there’s no hope people! Quick, get a plane ticket to Australia. We have creationists here but they’re still weak and pitiful. The forces of reason can consolidate our power Down-Under and crush the Aussie creationists using our scientific might! Then we start a fun and dandy cold war between our critical-thinking democracy the failed-democracy-come-theocracy that is America.

Comment #40807

Posted by Arun on August 1, 2005 10:19 PM (e)

Well, about as many creatures were designed by the Designer as there were WMDs in Iraq.

Comment #40808

Posted by Joseph O'Donnell on August 1, 2005 10:20 PM (e)

Zing!

Comment #40809

Posted by Mike Walker on August 1, 2005 10:29 PM (e)

Well, many on the left believe that where James Dobson leads, so goes President Bush (Terry Shiavo, Supreme Court Justices, abortion, gay marriage, etc, etc.)

It’s probably a coincidence, but Dobson’s “Focus of the Family” is doing a two-parter (today and tomorrow) on Intelligent Design with none other than Stephen Meyer and John West from the Discovery Institute:

http://www.family.org/fmedia/broadcast/a0037250.cfm

I only caught the final few minutes this evening, but these two shows appear to be a gold mine of misinformation and references to the religious aspect of their mission.

Only from what I heard, I caught them saying that it was important that ID was making great inroads in the publishing arena (funny, I thought research would be a little more crucial) but then they give “The Design Inference” as the main example, and that was published 7 years ago!

Meyer also stated that ID would be mainstream science within five years (start the clock, somebody) and then they could start to “get to the young people.”

Through Dobson, the DI is reaching out to its core constituency - the religious right and home schoolers. I would recommend that someone on the staff here listen to the shows and consider a more thorough write-up.

The first broadcast is online right now, the other should be tomorrow.

Comment #40810

Posted by JonBuck on August 1, 2005 10:29 PM (e)

This is a political fight, not a scientific one. The fact of the matter is that scientists often forget this. They need to wake up right now, find a political advocate, and get cracking.

Comment #40811

Posted by Mike Walker on August 1, 2005 10:33 PM (e)

Face it there’s no hope people! Quick, get a plane ticket to Australia. We have creationists here but they’re still weak and pitiful.

Yeah, that’s because you exported all the “good” ones to America to wreak havoc over here…. thanks ;-)

Actually the UK is still pretty evolution-friendly (my old home turf) but I was a little dismayed last night to find Stephen Meyer popping up on BBC Radio there too:

http://www0.bbc.co.uk/radio4/today/listenagain/ram/today4_darwinian_20050801.ram

Can’t they just leave well alone?

Comment #40813

Posted by Lurker on August 1, 2005 10:44 PM (e)

I think I put this news on par with the Dover fiasco – it’s good news. Bush supporting another wedge issue is just the sort of thing that will further alienate ID in public opinion, if anything, by providing more links between ID and old-fashioned Creationism. I think we should remember that for mainstream Christians, Bush is simply bad news. He is already the anti-science President many have come to know in recent times: challenging stem-cell research, and ignoring data about global warming and ecological effects of drilling in ANWR… His supporting ID is just icing on the cake.

Here’s the DIlemma: “teaching the controversy” for most fundamentalists is simply not enough. The DI knows it. Too bad for them, they let the cat out of the bag. The fundamentalists always want more. Can fundamentalists exert enough self control to simply stay on message with “teach the controversy”? I don’t think so. And neither does the DI. The problem here is that IDists know that when it comes time to put up, they got bumpkins. So, how do they spin the President’s endorsement of teaching Crea… uh “intelligent design” … when the official position of the think tank is the exact opposite? If Republicans pride themselves in party loyalty, then the only course of action is for them to rashly throw together a host of bills to teach ID. Each of them will just be another Dover delight.

Comment #40814

Posted by Joseph O'Donnell on August 1, 2005 10:45 PM (e)

Our creationists got exported to Australia and then onto America from there. Otherwise hardly anyone in New Zealand takes creationism seriously and it’s largely a non-issue. I know we have a few though, but they are ignored by everyone pretty much except extreme right wing magazines like Investigate.

Comment #40816

Posted by Geral Corasjo on August 1, 2005 10:49 PM (e)

Bah, what did you expect Bush to say? We know he’s not the smartest guy, and he certainly isn’t science oriented. I don’t think I’ll live to see the day where he says “Religion should be kept out of our schools, and evolution should be the only origins subject tought in biology”.

He didn’t have to come out and say he was for creation, we could of assumed years ago.

Comment #40817

Posted by Lupus on August 1, 2005 10:50 PM (e)

Wow. Bush is to the average person as the intellect of an amoeba is to omniscience.

Comment #40818

Posted by csa on August 1, 2005 10:51 PM (e)

It will be interesting to see how the DI spins this.

On the one hand, they can claim the Highest Support From The Administration. On the other, Bush is on record as endorsing the teaching of creationism in public schools.

How will the they promote the first, and bury the second?

Comment #40819

Posted by Ed Darrell on August 1, 2005 10:56 PM (e)

This is quite the blow to Bush’s science advisor, no? It indicates that Bush isn’t paying attention to his advisors in science, and that, contrary to the administration’s earlier statements of support for the guy, they just don’t give a damn about the facts (of anything!).

As NCSE put it:

White House Science Advisor:
Evolution a Cornerstone of Modern Biology
During an on-line colloquy about science policy in the Bush administration conducted by The Chronicle of Higher Education on March 5, John H. Marburger III, director of the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy, was asked about the Bush administration’s scientific credibility in light of the president’s reported skepticism about evolution. He replied, “Evolution is a cornerstone of modern biology,” adding, “Much of the work supported by the National Institutes of Health depends heavily on the concepts of evolution. President Bush has supported the largest increases in the NIH budget in history.”

March 5, 2004

http://www.ncseweb.org/resources/news/2004/US/187_white_house_science_advisorb_3_5_2004.asp

It looks to me as though NIH may be screwed – along with cancer research, research to stop HIV, and research to cure cystic fibrosis, etc., etc.

Let’s be clear – it’s not just a small group of “evolutionists” who have a stake in this. It is all of health care and all of agriculture. Beating the cotton boll weevil depends on evolution, not “intelligent design.” Finding oil depends on geology that supports evolution and falsifies creationism and intelligent design. Bush has announced in favor of cancer and malaria. Bush has announced in favor of American captivity to Arab oil.

Do we really think ADM and Exxon/Mobil will let him get away with it?

Comment #40820

Posted by Ed Darrell on August 1, 2005 11:00 PM (e)

And let’s keep this thing in context:

On other topics, Bush said he has no idea how Supreme Court nominee John G. Roberts would vote in a case challenging the legality of abortion because he never asked him about it. He also defended Baltimore Orioles first baseman Rafael Palmeiro, who was suspended Monday for using performance-enhancing steroids.

He’s probably pretty certain that bears don’t defecate in the forest, too.

Comment #40821

Posted by Albion on August 1, 2005 11:02 PM (e)

This is quite the blow to Bush’s science advisor, no?

Not really. Marburger must be painfully aware by now of his importance in the grand scheme of things. Science is fine as long as it isn’t contradicted by things that are more important to Buxh (which, let’s face it, is almost everything). I should hope that a person taking the job of science advisor to this president would have had very, very low expectations from the outset.

Comment #40822

Posted by Reed A. Cartwright on August 1, 2005 11:34 PM (e)

I think the idea of equal time has merit. How about the Republicans give equal time to the Democrats?

Americans can have Bush for president during the first part of the day and Kerry for the second part of the day. Americans should be exposed to both points of view of governing.

Comment #40825

Posted by jay boilswater on August 1, 2005 11:48 PM (e)

Reed, governing?
Bushco is to governing as YEC is to science.
In the year 2005ce why are we having this conversation?
THAT deserves study IMHO.

Comment #40826

Posted by natural cynic on August 1, 2005 11:50 PM (e)

I think this is a small, but important, step for government simplification and budget reduction. So I sent this note to the Office of Science and Technology Policy.

I’m glad to see that the president is now supporting creationism. This will help the government to reduce costs since your office will no longer be needed and can be incorporated into the office of faith based initiatives.

Comment #40827

Posted by Mike Walker on August 1, 2005 11:53 PM (e)

LOL! Nice one. Let us know if they reply.

Comment #40829

Posted by PvM on August 2, 2005 12:02 AM (e)

Cool, let’s teach the theory of ID in schools. Ooops I forgot there ain’t one. Of course the absence of supporting evidence has never deterred Bush from making assertions (WMDs come to mind).

Comment #40830

Posted by Randall Wald on August 2, 2005 12:08 AM (e)

Shit. I used to consider myself a moderate Republican (Libertarian at heart, but more in agreement with the Right than the Left), but with this sort of stuff going down…what the hell happened to the Republican party? (Answer: Religious nuts vote in larger numbers than the elderly.) This makes me retroactively glad that I voted for Kerry against my better judgement at the time, not that it did any good.

Comment #40832

Posted by Reed A. Cartwright on August 2, 2005 12:12 AM (e)

I wonder if the IDists are going to chastise Bush for not following the party line: “we don’t want to teach ID, we want to teach the controversy.”

Comment #40841

Posted by steve on August 2, 2005 12:38 AM (e)

It looks to me as though NIH may be screwed — along with cancer research, research to stop HIV, and research to cure cystic fibrosis, etc., etc.

Let’s be clear — it’s not just a small group of “evolutionists” who have a stake in this. It is all of health care and all of agriculture. Beating the cotton boll weevil depends on evolution, not “intelligent design.”

Could you elaborate on how you think the NIH and medical science in general will be screwed? Do you think that the community of biology, chemistry, medical researchers will turn against evolution, and lose the ability to do research?

Comment #40842

Posted by steve on August 2, 2005 12:45 AM (e)

I should hope that a person taking the job of science advisor to this president would have had very, very low expectations from the outset.

When NCSU’s Chancellor Marye Anne Fox was rumored to be considered for the post, I believe it was the NYT which reported something about the rumor that she was declining due to the implied requirement to support whatever the Bush policy was. I don’t know if it’s true or not, but they reported something to that effect.

Comment #40843

Posted by Air Bear on August 2, 2005 12:48 AM (e)

steve wrote:

Could you elaborate on how you think the NIH and medical science in general will be screwed? Do you think that the community of biology, chemistry, medical researchers will turn against evolution, and lose the ability to do research?

They’ll lose the ability to do research when NIH funding for any evolution-related research dries up.

Comment #40845

Posted by Craig T on August 2, 2005 1:07 AM (e)

Are you sure he didn’t mean “Intelligence Design”? That’s where you create a “slam dunk” case for things that never happened. All of that evidence for WMDs was too complex to have been created by random errors in information.

Comment #40846

Posted by Stephen Erickson on August 2, 2005 1:20 AM (e)

In case anyone didn’t catch the message, Bush appointed Bolton (sidestepping the legislature) and made this announcement on ID in the same day.

People can joke all they want about his stupidity, this man is dangerous. And popular.

Now, I don’t think this is a moment for hopelessness. The U.S. occasionally surprised me, when for example over 70% felt that Congress overstepped its bounds in meddling with the Schiavo affair.

I hope this is the same kind of issue that will bite him in the ass, but to be honest I really don’t know.

Comment #40848

Posted by Bruce Thompson GQ on August 2, 2005 1:37 AM (e)

Bush doesn’t do well when unprepared. The true position of the White House will appear within a day or so from the spin doctors.

Comment #40849

Posted by ts on August 2, 2005 1:37 AM (e)

People can joke all they want about his stupidity, this man is dangerous.

It’s not a joke; his being stupid makes him even more dangerous. And his being stupid – in the sense of not being educated or able to reach valid conclusions from evidence – doesn’t mean that he isn’t cunning and vicious, and surrounded by others who are also cunning and vicious but not so stupid.

And popular.

A president whose job approval rating is around 45% is not “popular”, relatively speaking.

Comment #40851

Posted by Martin Wagner on August 2, 2005 1:50 AM (e)

This isn’t really shocking news. Ol’ Chimpy McCokespoon has been in the pocket of the Religious Right ever since his election. Er, selection.

The danger that looms as our nation becomes less rational and more attached to ancient superstitions is that we will no longer be a superpower other than militarily. Our students are already dead last out of 18 nations in terms of math and science education. Other countries, like Korea, are going to fly by us in fields like medicine and biotech. Any major scientific advancements – an AIDS vaccine (if the fundies are already trying to supress the morning-after pill, imagine how seriously they’ll try to supress that), radical life extension technologies – will come from foreign nations. Who will then dictate prices to us. And we’ll be as dependent on them for medicine as we are for mideast oil. All because our students’ educations were stunted by religious fanatics. Help. Am I slippery-sloping? I hope not.

Comment #40853

Posted by Richard Wein on August 2, 2005 2:03 AM (e)

Actually the UK is still pretty evolution-friendly (my old home turf) but I was a little dismayed last night to find Stephen Meyer popping up on BBC Radio there too:

Thanks for the link. I found that he was on the Today programme last year too, and got a sound thrashing from Steven Jones (who did rather better than David Attenborough):
http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/today/listenagain/ram/today5_id_20041217.ram

Comment #40855

Posted by steve on August 2, 2005 2:40 AM (e)

They’ll lose the ability to do research when NIH funding for any evolution-related research dries up.

That would be an enormous change in policy. I haven’t seen the first serious indication that this will happen. Sometimes religious conservatives even moderate their beliefs to support medical science, a la Bill Frist. On the other side, there have always been a few nutjobs like Joe Barton.
I think I would have to see a lot of evidence that unlike Reagan, Bush I, and the first term of Bush II, in the next three years Bush II will singlehandedly destroy medical research. The NIH budget has steadily increased (http://grants.nih.gov/grants/award/trends/airi2003.ppt slide three for instance) and I’ve never heard a biologist suggest that research based on evolution is being discriminated against by the NIH. Am I missing something? I mean, I don’t exactly keep up with lots of biologists discussing the NIH. Bush and the Republicans have controlled congress and the White House for a good 4.5 years now, is the NIH turning against evolution? Underfunding research related to evolution? Anybody in congress talking about ordering them to do such things?

Comment #40856

Posted by steve on August 2, 2005 2:44 AM (e)

an AIDS vaccine (if the fundies are already trying to supress the morning-after pill, imagine how seriously they’ll try to supress that)

I too have heard the occasional right-wing loony complain that vaccines for STDs would be a bad thing. I’m as concerned that they’re going to win, as I am that Bill Dembski will create a theory of Intelligent Design which explains evidence and makes predictions.

Comment #40857

Posted by natural cynic on August 2, 2005 2:52 AM (e)

There is a hope that this will not get too far. Remenber when Nancy’s astrologer had some influence on the goings-on in the White House?

Comment #40858

Posted by steve on August 2, 2005 2:53 AM (e)

Other countries, like Korea, are going to fly by us in fields like medicine and biotech. Any major scientific advancements — an AIDS vaccine (if the fundies are already trying to supress the morning-after pill, imagine how seriously they’ll try to supress that), radical life extension technologies — will come from foreign nations.

Perhaps the fact that I live within 45 miles of NCSU, UNC, Duke, Wake Forest, and a handful of lesser known private colleges, I can’t but be reminded that the US has the greatest collection of universities in the world. While we will eventually lose our premier status, we are not exactly Doomed.

Comment #40859

Posted by Ed Darrell on August 2, 2005 3:11 AM (e)

Steve, with regard to NIH funding – yes, you’re missing something.

At various times during the Reagan and Bush I administrations there was serious pressure inside government to stop funding projects that were seen by some advisors and important supporters of the presidents to be evolution related. The pressure has usually surfaced in areas that were more controversial for political reasons, such as any research that touches on abortion or right-to-life issues. Think of the ban on stem cell research. In the previous two administrations and up to now in this one, pressure from Members of Congress and from respected scientists kept the research going, and these countervailing pressures were manifested in statements like Marburg’s, that evolution wasn’t threatened.

I hope this was a momentary eruption of Bush being off the leash. In that case, those countervailing forces may, as someone above urged, manifest themselves in the next few days and weeks, and Bush’s statement may be spun and quietly countermanded. Or this may indicate that the anti-Marburg guys have won a larger fight inside, and NIH is really screwed. Sure, budgets have gone up. You may be too young to remember the good old days there was real money available, and solid and necessary research was nearly certain to be funded.

Oh, I posted a bit tongue-in-cheek. I hope.

Comment #40860

Posted by Vyoma on August 2, 2005 3:22 AM (e)

Intelligent Design is to science as the Bush Doctrine is to diplomacy.

It makes sense that a president who isn’t a product of evolution would come out against evolutionary biology. I wonder if he’ll incorporate this into his “No Child Left” policy.

Comment #40862

Posted by chris on August 2, 2005 3:40 AM (e)

I think we need to have a debate. Doorknobs created DNA. It is evident from the doorknobness of all things, particularly really hard to understand things like DNA. It’s just plainly obvious because complex things come from simple things, and what could be simpler than a doorknob? you can’t build a fort out of a house, you build a fort out of sticks – things that are simpler. We can have a “conversation” about what or who created Doorknobs, but it’s not important, because it is as plain as day that the doorknobs created life. Science has proven this, because look at how much life there is, and look at all the pretty doorknobs.

I wish Bush was a doorknob.

He might as well be.

Comment #40865

Posted by steve on August 2, 2005 4:03 AM (e)

Think of the ban on stem cell research.

I have. I would be worried for evolution research if the stem cell ban had a few different features. If it were:

1 An actual ban on stem cell research
2 Like all stem cell research
3 After such research became as important and extensive as evolution research
4 And the ban was highly popular

If those conditions pertained, I would be a little worried about evolution research.
It would demonstrate that these politicians had the power to seriously damage science. But they don’t. Even so, the fight against evolution in medical and biological research would be harder. Aren’t we always telling the creationists that evolution is a big and important part of such research? If it is, it’s a lot bigger than embryonic stem cell research is right now. Embryonic stem cell research is promising, but still young and tiny. The GOP controls congress and the white house, and this is the best it can do, even with the full enthusiasm of the anti-abortion community? A half-assed ban on federal funding of research on certain types of stem cells (minus the excepted lines) which appears unpopular and soon to be rescinded?
What the discussion of other administrations points out, I think, is that we’ve endured other politicians who had gripes with science, and they never manage to seriously hurt it. Science is bigger and better than ever. I’m not saying these daft people are harmless. But predicting the federal defunding of all evolutionary research? No chance.

besides–scientists would just global search-and-replace “evolution” with “micro-evolution”, and get back to the work. ;-)

Comment #40866

Posted by steve on August 2, 2005 4:08 AM (e)

Comment #40862

Posted by chris on August 2, 2005 03:40 AM (e) (s)

Science has proven this, because look at how much life there is, and look at all the pretty doorknobs.

No, science has discriminated against this. It is ‘doorknobistically naturalistic’. It arbitrarily prejudices scientists from accepting theories about magic doorknobs.

Of course, like ID, your theory lacks a certain, shall we say pathetic, level of detail.

Comment #40867

Posted by NDT on August 2, 2005 4:10 AM (e)

Actually the UK is still pretty evolution-friendly (my old home turf) but I was a little dismayed last night to find Stephen Meyer popping up on BBC Radio there too

Yeah, but Bush’s lackey Blair supported a publicly funded religious school that was teaching creationism.

Comment #40874

Posted by snaxalotl on August 2, 2005 5:39 AM (e)

I think Bush is being more clever than it looks. He knows he can mutter something pro-creationism and it will appease the loonies, yet nothing is likely to come of it and thus upset the non-loonies.

Comment #40876

Posted by David Persuitte on August 2, 2005 5:49 AM (e)

Somewhere in Texas a village is missing its idiot.

Comment #40877

Posted by Frank J on August 2, 2005 5:50 AM (e)

Why are so many of you surprised that a politician who can’t even pronounce “nuclear” falls for pseudoscientific nonsense that he perceives helps his agenda? And since he’s a politician, do we really know that he personally buys it, or just plays along?

Charles Krauthammer is a conservative with quite a different opinion.

Comment #40879

Posted by steve on August 2, 2005 6:06 AM (e)

Comment #40874

Posted by snaxalotl on August 2, 2005 05:39 AM (e) (s)

I think Bush is being more clever than it looks. He knows he can mutter something pro-creationism and it will appease the loonies, yet nothing is likely to come of it and thus upset the non-loonies.

That’s why the fundies aren’t happy with him. They’re mad at republicans in general for not advancing the fundy agenda. They mostly get lip service, the occasional stopover at Bob Jones, etc. I personally know conservative catholics who don’t like Bush and company at all, but grudgingly support him because they’ve been convinced that the other side are all abortion-loving Marxists.

Comment #40880

Posted by steve on August 2, 2005 6:08 AM (e)

That Krauthammer link is not bad. Nice to see a conservative talk about “creationism’s modern stepchild, intelligent design, …this tarted-up version of creationism”

Comment #40882

Posted by Joe Blough on August 2, 2005 6:20 AM (e)

I wonder what Bush’s science advisor, John Marburger, thinks of all this. Earlier this year he stated that ID wasn’t science, now his boss comes out in support of teaching it in schools (presumably in science class).

Speaking at the annual conference of the National Association of Science Writers, Marburger fielded an audience question about “Intelligent Design” (ID), the latest supposedly scientific alternative to Charles Darwin’s theory of descent with modification. The White House’s chief scientist stated point blank, “Intelligent Design is not a scientific theory.” And that’s not all – as if to ram the point home, Marburger soon continued, “I don’t regard Intelligent Design as a scientific topic.”

Comment #40885

Posted by Reed A. Cartwright on August 2, 2005 6:28 AM (e)

Frank J wrote:

Why are so many of you surprised that a politician who can’t even pronounce “nuclear” falls for pseudoscientific nonsense that he perceives helps his agenda?

Hey, Jimmy Carter can’t “pronounce ‘nuclear’”. His statements converning evolution education and the giant media coverage around them is a major reason why we still have evolution in Georgia’s science standards.

Besides, I can’t “pronounce” it either.

Bashing a person for their dialect is little different than bashing them for their ethnicity, IMO.

Comment #40888

Posted by SEF on August 2, 2005 6:31 AM (e)

it will appease the loonies, yet nothing is likely to come of it

They mostly get lip service

So the biggest hope is effectively that Bush’s dishonesty and greed are larger forces than his stupidity and ignorance. What a great way to ru(i)n a country.

Comment #40891

Posted by a maine yankee on August 2, 2005 6:38 AM (e)

Let’s see: Use the Patriot Act to send evolutionists to Gitmo. Keep tabs on who is reading what. Darwin was (is) an enemy combatant. Require teachers fo teach nonsense. “Students” bill of rights.

The Great Turtle helps us all!

Comment #40892

Posted by GCT on August 2, 2005 6:55 AM (e)

Vyoma wrote:

I wonder if he’ll incorporate this into his “No Child Left” policy.

I believe Rick Santorum already tried this. Fortunately he wasn’t able to get it through.

Comment #40893

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on August 2, 2005 7:18 AM (e)

This is a political fight, not a scientific one. The fact of the matter is that scientists often forget this. They need to wake up right now, find a political advocate, and get cracking.

Amen.

Comment #40895

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on August 2, 2005 7:23 AM (e)

Do we really think ADM and Exxon/Mobil will let him get away with it?

No, and that is why the fundies will never win effective political power. The corporados don’t want a theocracy (it’s bad for business), and the corporados are who really run the Republicrat Party.

In any fight between God and Mammon, Mammon wins, every time.

Bush is just giving lip service to the fundies. He knows as well as we do that the fundies have zero chance of winning in Dover.

Anyway, Bush explicitly ties ID to creation “science”, and also advocates teaching a nonexistent “ID theory” — two things that the Wedge-ites have been falling all over themselves NOT to say.

Now the Wedge-ites will have to twist Bush’s arm to make him shut up, just like they did with Buttars.

Comment #40897

Posted by Jim Ryan on August 2, 2005 7:36 AM (e)

The other thing to remember about Bush is that the same intellectual laziness that leads him to accept tripe like creationism also keeps him from inquiring into the details of what the NIH is doing, unless it’s on some big, billboard issue like stem cells.

Therefore, he’s as likely to draw a connection between Darwin and antibiotic-resistant bacteria research as quote Proust in a press conference.

Comment #40899

Posted by Moses on August 2, 2005 8:36 AM (e)

Comment #40846 Posted by Stephen Erickson

People can joke all they want about his stupidity, this man is dangerous. And popular.

He’s not stupid, he’s just not particularly bright, is weak, a coward, a follower, emotionally & mentally ill and incurious. As a person, he is unfit for any position in which the health and/or welfare of another person may be at stake and should be working in a physical labor field with no supervisory duties.

He is not that popular. He was one, if not the, narrowestly re-elected Presidents in history. And without his phoney war on terror and “Commander-in-Chief” bull**** and a weak opponent he would have been swept from office. Today he has the worst second-term poll numbers of any US President in history. Including Richard Millhouse Nixon.

So, except for energizing his fundie base, this will do nothing but add to our national embarrassment.

Comment #40902

Posted by Tim Broderick on August 2, 2005 9:39 AM (e)

Absolutely the wrong president at absolutely the wrong time.

Comment #40904

Posted by Bayesian Bouffant, FCD on August 2, 2005 9:50 AM (e)

I wonder what Bush’s science advisor, John Marburger, thinks of all this. Earlier this year he stated that ID wasn’t science, now his boss comes out in support of teaching it in schools (presumably in science class).

Science advisor in the Bush administration has got to be a tough job. I’m sure Marburger will get a lot of interview requests in the next few days.

Any non-extremist right winger in the administration has a constant question to consider: stay and try to moderate, or abandon ship. Even Colin Powell is gone now, as Bush & Co are turning the GOP into the party of treason and torture.

Comment #40908

Posted by Bob A Deal on August 2, 2005 10:10 AM (e)

“Hey, Jimmy Carter can’t “pronounce ‘nuclear’”.”
I am sure That ‘ol Jimmy can pronounce nuclear correctly, as per his Naval Biography:

16 OCT 1952 - 08 OCT 1953 – Duty with US Atomic Energy Commission (Division of Reactor Development, Schenectady Operations Office) From 3 NOV 1952 to 1 MAR 1953 he served on temporary duty with Naval Reactors Branch, US Atomic Energy Commission, Washington, D.C. “assisting in the design and development of nuclear propulsion plants for naval vessels.” From 1 MAR 1953 to 8 OCT 1953 he was under instruction to become an engineering officer for a nuclear power plant. He also assisted in setting up on-the-job training for the enlisted men being instructed in nuclear propulsion for the USS Seawolf (SSN575).

I would think that someone with that close knowledge of Atomic and Nuclear stuff would know how to pronounce such words.

Comment #40909

Posted by HPLC_Sean on August 2, 2005 10:16 AM (e)

This is a political fight, not a scientific one. The fact of the matter is that scientists often forget this. They need to wake up right now, find a political advocate, and get cracking.

Science is not a popularity contest; it is the search for knowledge while politics is the search for power. The twain should stay as far apart as possible! The battle cry to advocate science in the political arena has risen here before and I denounce such an effort.
To SPIN the work of scientists that work so hard to maintain experimental objectivity in their studies is to doctor their results for the sake of popularity. Galileo was given the option of spinning his round-earth theory before he was excommunicated; he chose excommunication.

Comment #40912

Posted by Ron Zeno on August 2, 2005 10:46 AM (e)

It’s time to play “Spin the President”:

Once the intelligent design creationists take time from their celebrations to write a press release, how will they rectify their “teach the controversy” tagline with Bush comparing intelligent design creationism to creationism? Will they produce a new tagline, “who needs science when you’ve got politics?”

Will reporters confront Bush on this issue, or support him on his search for the real theory of intelligent design creationism?

Will the White House regroup or decide now is the time to start their “Big Brother is Watching You” campaign complete with the slogans “War is Peace” “Freedom is Slavery” and “Ignorance is Strength”?

;)

Comment #40915

Posted by Rob on August 2, 2005 10:54 AM (e)

I honestly think this quote is the least of our worries. If you analyze the quote Bush made, he really didn’t say much of anything of importance - his comment seemed more typical of the slippery evasion of a topic made by most eel-like politicians in his attempt to pander to the Christian right without putting his foot too far in his mouth.

More encouraging are the comments that Bush’s science advisor John Marburger made earlier this year regarding intelligent design (i.e. it is “not a scientific theory”):

LINK TO ARTICLE

The Bush Administration doesn’t have the courage to take a high-profile solid stand on this issue one way or the other, and from the looks of it, he never will have much to say about evolution. (I don’t really get the impression he cares.)

Comment #40918

Posted by Darrel Plant on August 2, 2005 11:00 AM (e)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'quote'

Comment #40920

Posted by Bayesian Bouffant, FCD on August 2, 2005 11:02 AM (e)

Here’s an interesting spin:

Bush encourages return to pantheism

President Bush today told reporters that schools should teach “Intelligent Design,” the most recent effort by creationists to drape the world’s most popular creation myth in scientific trappings, alongside the theory of evolution. Intelligent Design proponents insist on calling it a theory, but it meets none of the requirements of that designation.

Bush told the reporters that “I think that part of education is to expose people to different schools of thought. You’re asking me whether or not people ought to be exposed to different ideas, the answer is yes.”

In that expansionist intellectual vein, we suggest that schools avoid limiting their selection of creation myths to Intelligent Design. Native Americans, the Inuit people, Native Hawaiians and many other peoples and religions offer creation tales every bit as scientifically sound as, and far more entertaining than, Intelligent Design.

We would also urge that other neglected areas of science be returned to the classroom. Flat Earth theorists have received short shrift these past several centuries, and when was the last time exponents of Apollo’s charioteering got a fair shot at debunking the notion that nightfall occurs when the earth “rotates” away from the sun?

We applaud the president for this breathtaking display of pandering to a relatively small segment of the electorate. It isn’t often you find an elected official willing to consign entire generations of American school children to ignorance for the sake of a few votes.

Mount Rushmore it is, then, for our favorite box of rocks.

Comment #40921

Posted by Frank J on August 2, 2005 11:16 AM (e)

Reed A. Cartwright wrote:

Bashing a person for their dialect is little different than bashing them for their ethnicity, IMO.

Agreed. I’ll stop using that one.

Either way, we shouldn’t be too surprised when a politician defends some trendy pseudoscience. Especially when he gets most of his science education from the pseudoscience peddlers.

Comment #40922

Posted by harold on August 2, 2005 11:17 AM (e)

ID is a purely political entity. It was invented as a lame way to help fundamentalists attack “evolution”, because creationism had been rejected by the courts (including by plenty of right wing, conservative judges).

But ID satisfies no-one, because it all, every single word of every single verbose book, boils down to this - “If there’s a detail in biology that hasn’t been explained perfectly yet, then that detail will never be explained, and therefore, that detail must have been ‘intelligently designed’. But not necessarily by the Christian God. It just MIGHT HAVE been the Christian God (wink, wink)”.

It’s not science, its an insult to serious theology too, and of course, since it’s just the “god of the gaps” with the word “designer” substituted for the word “god”, it’s made a mockery of when science does explain whatever is claimed to be “designed” (with the very claim potentially drawing the attention of scientists to the issue).

Bush is not a “popular” president. Despite quantifiable media bias in his favor in the 2000 election, he lost the popular vote to Al Gore (an infamously poor campaigner), and controversially beat Al Gore by a few hundred votes in Florida, a state in which 90,000 votes went to Ralph Nader. Bush’s plan was apparently tax cuts and an invasion of Iraq in the first term, right wing appointments and program cuts in the second term. He was immensely helped by what was presumably a coincidence - the viscious terrorist attacks of 9/11, 2001. He enjoyed a brief surge as Americans rallied around their national leader, as any president would have, including the likes of Millard Fillmore, in the same situation.

Despite exploiting war and “patriotism” to suppress dissent, Bush soon became fairly unpopular again, “approved of” by about 50% but strongly opposed by the other 50%. As an incumbent, during an ongoing war, with “terrorism” still dominating the domestic debate, with the with intense financial resources, and with supporters willing to engage in character assasination and more, he nevertheless barely beat the rather weak opponent John Kerry. It was one of the narrowest re-elections in history. Since re-election, Bush’s “approval rating” has declined to as low as 44%, in polls (that’s from a recent CNN poll). “Approval ratings” tend to be fairly generous, because people who didn’t support a candidate will often relax and “approve” of the status quo once he’s in office.

Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton were also perceived as “divisive” in some ways, but both routinely enjoyed far higher approval ratings. One-term presidents like Ford, Carter, and George H. W. Bush weren’t able to rally as much election day support, but neither did they provoke the intense domestic and international dislike that George W. Bush has. In terms of the number of people who have strong negative feelings about him, Bush is probably the most unpopular president since the civil war.

I’m not whether his garbled defense of ID will help them or hurt them. I suspect the latter. Given that Bush is at his most unpopular on science issues like stem cells and the environment, it may hurt him, too.

Comment #40923

Posted by Robert on August 2, 2005 11:20 AM (e)

“Hey, Jimmy Carter can’t “pronounce ‘nuclear’”

-At least any inflection of Carter’s part is a genuine accent from growing up in Plains, GA. Where Conneticut(?)yankee in Robert E. Lee’s court- W -got his half-assed Texas ‘accent,’ I don’t know. Jeb, Bush Sr, his Mom-no accent. Maybe playing hooky in the Alabama national guard after the coke wiped hsis brain clean.

Has anyone noticed he also talks out of one side of his mouth-like someones who’s had a stroke, or has done chaw for a long time?

Comment #40925

Posted by richard palk on August 2, 2005 11:27 AM (e)

Since Mr. Bush is so enamored with the need to point up the differences between evolution and intelligent design, maybe he would be interested in scrapping half of the curiculum at our major medical schools and substituting courses on shamanism and voodoo in order to point up the differences between medical science and alternatives in order that dicerning students can make an intelligent choice.

Comment #40927

Posted by frank schmidt on August 2, 2005 11:31 AM (e)

Why am I not surprised?

Comment #40940

Posted by Russell on August 2, 2005 2:08 PM (e)

Somehow this series of comments got sidetracked by, or concerned about, Bush’s remarks being a threat to research funding. I think you can relax on that score. First of all Bush and his fundy followers wouldn’t recognize the evolutionary significance of almost any research, and so wouldn’t have a clue what to cut. Secondly, I can’t imagine how congress or the executive branch could fiddle with the funding mechanisms, at least of NIH, to accomplish such a targeted cut.

No, the president’s comments were in the context of education, and in that realm I think he really does serious harm. First by influencing public perceptions of the validity of IDC, second by encouraging and arming the DI with his blessing (look how far they got with the nonexistent Santorum amendment), and third by providing cover for wing-nut legislators and school board members.

The damage to research will not come directly through funding. It will come from acceleration of the deterioration in the preparedness, and interest in science, of future students.

Comment #40942

Posted by Bayesian Bouffant, FCD on August 2, 2005 2:20 PM (e)

No, the president’s comments were in the context of education, and in that realm I think he really does serious harm.

He’s already shown that any idiot can be elected to the highest office in the land, thus submarining academic motivation.

Comment #40946

Posted by Russell on August 2, 2005 2:44 PM (e)

the Discovery Institute weighs in:

… “President Bush is to be commended for defending free speech on evolution, and supporting the right of students to hear about different scientific views about evolution,” said Dr. John West, Associate Director of the Center for Science and Culture at Discovery Institute, the nation’s leading think tank supporting research on the theory of intelligent design. Intelligent design proposes that some features of the natural world are best explained by an intelligent cause rather than an undirected process such as natural selection….

Comment #40951

Posted by Z.W. Dickason on August 2, 2005 3:19 PM (e)

Aside from the obvious political advantages of having the president come out in favor of your flavor of research, in an ideal world this shouldn’t mean a thing since politicians are hardly scientists. IDers can’t possibly be planning on using “the president endorses us”, as some sort of macabre scientific credibility. Who could be a worse spokesperson for a “scientific” movement than someone who isn’t even indirectly connected with the research? I have always thought it seems as though IDers are more concerned with marketing their ideas than expanding on them; or, to uncover the elephant in the room, researching them. The sad part is that today’s monolithic figures, (Tom Cruise, Bono, Oprah, pundit after pundit after pundit), have the average joe’s of the country hanging on their every word. While our generation’s Einsteins and Emersons, (Cornell West, Chomsky, Derrida, Foucault, Gould, etc.) go completely unnoticed by the mainstream.

For more on sensationalism read some George Santayana.

-Zach

Comment #40952

Posted by Adam Ierymenko on August 2, 2005 3:35 PM (e)

Bush is moderately popular among the general public, but he is *fanatically* popular among the religious right. I heard people on the day he was reelected calling into radio shows literally in *tears* (yes, crying) thanking God that he had blessed us by putting a Christian back into the white house.

The left absolutely hates Bush, as do most “off the normal spectrum” types like Libertarians, etc. The moderate center tolerates him but all things considered does not approve of him very strongly…. but the important point is that he enjoys absolutely *fanatical* support from a sizeable chunk (probably about 1/3) of the American electorate. While his poll numbers might not be that great, he has the kind of fanatical base that few modern politicians have. When you have a largely apathetic body politic, a very determined minority can get a lot done. I think our country is closer to becoming some kind of theocracy than many people realize.

I would also speculate that all this fanaticism is related to the fact that the expected flying saucer did not come in 2000 to pick up all the fundies and whisk them away before the apocalypse. Since the flying saucer didn’t come, that must mean that we’re not being sufficiently faithful.

Comment #40954

Posted by qetzal on August 2, 2005 3:56 PM (e)

“President Bush is to be commended for defending free speech on evolution, and supporting the right of students to hear about different scientific views about evolution,” said Dr. John West, Associate Director of the Center for Science and Culture at Discovery Institute, the nation’s leading think tank supporting research on the theory of intelligent design.”

That’s great! I think students should get to hear different scientific views about evolution, too!

Too bad West and his DI buddies don’t have any.

Comment #40956

Posted by Arne Langsetmo on August 2, 2005 3:59 PM (e)

Finding oil depends on geology that supports evolution and falsifies creationism and intelligent design.

Dunno about that…. Seems I read an article recently about a guy that was going to do oil prospecting in Israel based on Biblical analysis after careful perusal of the “correctly” translated verses. We’ll just have to see how that turns out, right? ;-)

Cheers,

Comment #40959

Posted by Arne Langsetmo on August 2, 2005 4:20 PM (e)

“President Bush is to be commended for defending free speech on the existence of Iraqi WoMD, and supporting the right of students to hear about different scientific views about the faint possibilities that such WoMD might actually exist even though there’s no evidence they do, good evidence that they don’t, and the impossibility of testing such miraculous occurences scientifically,” said Dr. John West, Associate Director of the Center for Science and Culture at Discovery Institute, the nation’s leading think tank supporting research on the theory of intelligent design.

Ooops. Nevermind. Seems that my cut’n’paste buffers got jumbled from two different sources….

Cheers,

Comment #40960

Posted by tytlal on August 2, 2005 4:23 PM (e)

Great! Hopefully he’ll “correctly” translate the rest and get rid of the gosh-darn slavery references! :)

Agreed. Bush’s casual statement regarding ID gives the fundies far too much hope.

Is there an answer as to why the US has such an ignorant population? We are not talking about a scant few here. What is the source of the problem?

Comment #40961

Posted by Kay on August 2, 2005 4:25 PM (e)

Heh, I can see it now…

Teacher: “Now children, today we shall be learning the theory of Creationism: God did it. Now, if you would like to open your textbooks, we can move onto the theory of Evolution.”

Comment #40963

Posted by Kevin Dowd on August 2, 2005 4:37 PM (e)

Here is an interesting commentary from http://coldfury.com/reason/?p=782

The question was “Where is the conservative outrage? After all, the man outed an undercover CIA agent…Isn’t that the kind of thing about which patriotic conservatives profess to care?”

The answer is that they really don’t care about anything factual or actual but they care about the point of view. This is so close to the critique of Gilder’s statement: ““What’s being pushed is to have Darwinism critiqued, to teach there’s a controversy. Intelligent design itself does not have any content”

and, it seems, none of the ideas offered up by the right-wing have any content. The policies and arguments are not in-and-of themselves important, they are only important as a means to impose a particular world-view which is itself ISOLATED from any facts, logic or analysis. – Just like ID!

TEXT Follows:”
But to return to Alterman’s question: the question assumes that the ideas conservatives talk about actually mean something to them. That in turn means something else, and something much more important: it assumes that conservatives’ ideas properly connect back to the facts out there in the world to which they refer. Rather than engage in a technical discussion about epistemology, let me put the point more simply: ideas and concepts are the means by which we hold knowledge—but the knowledge expressed in terms of ideas must always refer back to specifics in reality. If the ideas don’t ultimately refer back to reality in this manner, they are literally meaningless. They refer to nothing. Everything that exists is something particular. Ideas as such don’t exist at all, except as symbols and summations of the particulars in a certain category to which they refer.

But conservatives lionize a President who speaks of “freedom,” as he enacts a program which threatens civil liberties here at home on the most fundamental level (some recent examples: here, here and here), and who speaks of “progress” in Iraq as that country descends further into bloody chaos with each day that passes. Bush is a man for whom concepts mean precisely nothing. The phrases he employs to justify his actions are devoid of content, and they refer to no specifics at all. And almost all his actions lead to results in reality which contradict the “ideas” he says he supports in utterly disastrous ways.”

Comment #40964

Posted by Bayesian Bouffant, FCD on August 2, 2005 4:51 PM (e)

The moderate center tolerates him but all things considered does not approve of him very strongly

A broad generalization. I consider myself a moderate centrist (are there any extremist centrists?) but hate Bush for his anti-reality stance on just about anything. He is trying to take the country so far to the right that I probably appear to be a leftist to him, but in saner times I would claim the center.

Comment #40969

Posted by frank schmidt on August 2, 2005 5:13 PM (e)

No wonder Bush never could find any oil back in Texas. That takes an understanding of Geology, which he demonstrably lacks.

Comment #40977

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on August 2, 2005 6:03 PM (e)

President Bush is to be commended for defending free speech on evolution, and supporting the right of students to hear about different scientific views about evolution,” said Dr. John West, Associate Director of the Center for Science and Culture at Discovery Institute, the nation’s leading think tank supporting research on the theory of intelligent design.

Does this mean that Discovery Institute has now flop-flipped AGAIN, and is now in FAVOR of teaching a “scientific theory of Intelligent Design” in classrooms …. …. . ?

Make up your friggin mind, West.

Comment #40995

Posted by ts on August 2, 2005 8:04 PM (e)

Isn’t that the kind of thing about which patriotic conservatives profess to care?

They’re patriotic in the sense of clicking their heels and raising their fists on cue, hating whomever they’re told to hate, and rationalizing and supporting anything whatsoever that is done by a “leader” with whom they identify. If you understand that that’s what “patriotism” now means in America, then you won’t have any trouble understanding why outing CIA operatives, turning Iraq into an Al Qaeda training ground, selling off natural resources, destroying the social safety net, defunding education, muzzling dissent or labeling dissenters traitors, and other acts that weaken and lessen their country don’t enter into their consideration.

Comment #41010

Posted by PT on August 2, 2005 10:12 PM (e)

An agenda-free and open-minded person who has spent much more time actually studying in a wide variety of scientific disciplines than reading agenda-centric blogs would see that science and Christian faith go hand-in-hand. There is all kinds of room for a large part of evolutionistic theory (for which almost zero true evidence exists) within the ID/Creation argument.

Comment #41018

Posted by Jack Doolan on August 2, 2005 10:55 PM (e)

“There is all kinds of room for a large part of evolutionistic theory (for which almost zero true evidence exists) within the ID/Creation argument.”

Where do these morons come from?

Comment #41019

Posted by csa on August 2, 2005 11:03 PM (e)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'sarcasm'

Comment #41024

Posted by PT on August 2, 2005 11:34 PM (e)

Where do these morons come from?

Uh… from spending “much more time actually studying in a wide variety of scientific disciplines than reading agenda-centric blogs.”

No need for name-calling or for your emotions and feelings to get the best of you, Mr. Doolan. I forgive you.

Comment #41025

Posted by Russell on August 2, 2005 11:34 PM (e)

We were wondering what John H. Marburger III thought about all this. From that NY Times article:

At the White House, where intelligent design has been discussed in a weekly Bible study group, Mr. Bush’s science adviser, John H. Marburger 3rd, sought to play down the president’s remarks as common sense and old news.

Mr. Marburger said …. that Mr. Bush’s remarks should be interpreted to mean that the president believes that intelligent design should be discussed as part of the “social context” in science classes….
Mr. Marburger said it would be “over-interpreting” Mr. Bush’s remarks to say that the president believed that intelligent design and evolution should be given equal treatment in schools.

But Mr. Bush’s conservative supporters said the president had indicated exactly that in his remarks.

Comment #41026

Posted by ts on August 2, 2005 11:43 PM (e)

An agenda-free and open-minded person

Is that what you call someone who drives by with an agenda-laden close-minded post?

When did “open minded” come to mean “disbelieving anything established through science”?

Comment #41027

Posted by pt on August 2, 2005 11:58 PM (e)

“When did “open minded” come to mean “disbelieving anything established through science”?”

Exactly! Thank you for making my point! At least two of us understand that science could never disprove God’s existence or actions in creating the universe, for two irrefutable reasons. We’ll let them speculate those reasons for now.

Thank you, ts for speaking up.

Comment #41028

Posted by ts on August 3, 2005 12:08 AM (e)

Thank you, ts for speaking up.

You need to work on your reading comprehension.

science could never disprove God’s existence or actions in creating the universe

Everyone at this site understands this, and most understand that it isn’t at issue.

Why would someone claiming to be agenda-free come to what they see as a site with an agenda and post potshots? Stupidity? Lack of moral integrity?

Comment #41029

Posted by pt on August 3, 2005 12:17 AM (e)

Uh…that was sarcasm, and I’m sorry it was too subtle for you to recognize it. We’re glad to see you admit your agenda.

I forgive you for implying I am stupid, too. I started my life in your camp with an inherited faith of no faith, so I know and remember where you are coming from.

Ok, use your moral integrity and science to prove there is no God, and don’t forget the entropy thing.

I’m waiting.

Comment #41030

Posted by Pete K on August 3, 2005 12:25 AM (e)

The trouble with arguments such as “teach both theories” is that it could be applied to pretty much any phenomena. There are alternative theories we could postulate for pretty much any phenomenon, moan deserve equal time, but could not back up scientifically. On the whole, people would consider them ludicrous, anyway. Not even Mr Bush would opine that school physics classes should teach the hypothesis that angels push the planets around the sun as a serious alternative to the accepted science of both Newtonian and Keplarian gravity etc.

Comment #41033

Posted by ts on August 3, 2005 12:43 AM (e)

that was sarcasm

No, it wasn’t, it was simply stupidity. That you label denial of a large amount of established scientific fact as “open minded” remains unchallenged.

use your moral integrity and science to prove there is no God

Since I just asserted that there is no such proof and that it isn’t at issue, the stupidity is further established; you’re just yet another moron who equates the theory of evolution with atheism and proponents of that theory with atheists. And lack of moral integrity is evident from the trolling, not least from using “PT” as a moniker.

Comment #41035

Posted by Beham on August 3, 2005 1:34 AM (e)

If we look at this debate logically, and not as another polemic monologue….. It bodes ill with me that many science advocates are so opposed to the teaching of intelligent design. The token liberal— I myself a liberal— has strayed far from his beginnings of tolerance and understanding to a close-minded conservative. Oh how naive we are as to believe that we are governed with enlightened thought when really we are characterized by the same blind distrust as conservatives. Let the facts speak for themselves, and be “intelligent” if i will about this. Evolution is still a theory as science goes. Intelligent design is also a theory. Neither can be proven or disproven. Allow both to be taught in schools, and the facts will do the talking, not some blatently charismatic ideologue from EITHER side of the fence.

Comment #41039

Posted by YIBAIN EMILE-AIME CHAH on August 3, 2005 2:19 AM (e)

I support Mr. Bush, for endorsing Intelligent Design creationism to be taught in schools. I have been waiting for this for several dacades now. I have been wishing that a world leader should say something like this.
Teaching this is going to solve several problems:
1st-It is going to solve the problem of racism(the black man being the 2nd-Hand Human being stuff or simply a monkey).
2nd-The problem of missing gaps that should link the various stages of evolution will be solved.
Creationisn contrally to what many scientist say is more scientific than Evolutionism, and it makes many times more sens than evolutionism. This evolution theory is pure nonsens to anyone who asks the right questions.
“Species evolve only as those species, and not from one species to another”.
If we consider:- God to be absolute Time ( the Alpha & Omega),
-The Universe to be a gigantic mind,
-Space to be a certain degree of freedom of that mind, then you,ll see how scientific creationism is. In that case, from now on, we shall be talking of not just a Big Bang, but Endless Bangs(THE BIG ROAR).
THANK YOU MR. BUSH, YOU HAVE FOR PAVING THE WAY.

Comment #41042

Posted by ts on August 3, 2005 2:34 AM (e)

Beham wrote:

If we look at this debate logically, and not as another polemic monologue

And then launches into an illogical polemic monologue.

Evolution is still a theory as science goes. Intelligent design is also a theory. Neither can be proven or disproven.

No, sorry, completely false, and indicative that you are unfamiliar with the issues, the literature, and the subjects of biology and philosophy of science. Evolution is a proven fact – even many IDists acknowledge this. There is also a scientific theory of evolution, which is an explanatory framework supported by evidence and reasoning. There is no theory of intelligent design; “intelligent design” is an unsupported opinion.

Comment #41049

Posted by ts on August 3, 2005 4:13 AM (e)

Here’s a rabid right winger with strong words for Bush and the IDiots:
http://rightwingnuthouse.com/archives/2005/08/02/dear-mr-president-shut-your-yap/

Comment #41050

Posted by SEF on August 3, 2005 4:14 AM (e)

tytlal wrote:

Is there an answer as to why the US has such an ignorant population? We are not talking about a scant few here. What is the source of the problem?

I strongly suspect that it always was that way (and not just in the US!). The ultimate source of the problem is humans being humans. The poor education system doesn’t help either of course. However, the immediate source of the “problem” is your perception of it, ie as new. What has changed is not the background level of stupidity and ignorance but the degree to which it is given voice.

When you look back into history, mostly only the best voices come through. Obviously some good ones are lost and some bad ones have power but the general effect is a filtering one in which precious resources meant that only the best words/ideas could get written down and would get preserved. It’s easy to imagine that the rest of the enforcedly silent population were in informed accord. I claim that imagining is false.

In recent history, the arrival and popularisation of radio, then TV and the internet have each in turn allowed more opportunity for the worst in the population to receive equal time with the best. The idiots have been given voice by technology made available and easy enough for any idiot to have and use it. As idiots gain credibility among their peer group they start to take over such institutions, lowering even the minimal standards that might be imposed - especially as the ratings and advertisers would be pushing in the direction of where the market is.

It is somewhat analogous to what could happen if ID/creationism is given equal time in science lessons (as it already effectively is by the worst teachers in the under-monitored schools anyway). The bad ideas will start being seen as normal and acceptable because they get seen around more. It’s not that many people didn’t already have the bad ideas. Creationism of some form or other isn’t exactly new and ID is nothing new onto that. It’s just that before now, only the best ideas were highly visible and the idiots could more easily see that they were idiots and would have to be fools not to realise that if they contradicted from ignorance they would be seen to be fools.

Wide availability of communication inevitably, by statistical effect, lowers perceived standards overall - just by existing. Something much more pro-active is required to counteract that by imposing some other artificial standards hurdle/filter since the physical/financial one is gone - and no-one seems to have realised the need to do this in advance. Or they don’t want to do it (for various reasons). It may be impossible anyway if the majority of people below the standard don’t value any such standard. The way people already reject the best standards of testing medicines in favour of using untested or failed quack remedies suggests that would be the case.

Comment #41055

Posted by Michaelrody on August 3, 2005 6:36 AM (e)

Since nonscience shall be taught in the science classroom, I propose to modify the Driver Ed. curriculum to include Faith-Based Driving, whereby students close their eyes behind the wheel and let God tell them when to brake and turn. After all, as the President says, it is important to teach our kids alternative theories; and this anti-God “looking down the road” tyranny is just another belief system.

Comment #41059

Posted by Russell on August 3, 2005 7:00 AM (e)

Evolution is still a theory as science goes. Intelligent design is also a theory

Great! I’ve been able to get a pretty good idea what Evolution is all about. There are lots of good books on that. (I particularly like Ernst Mayr’s “What is Evolution” for an overview for the nonexpert). Now, where can I read about this “Intelligent Design” theory? I’ve been trying to figure that out for years. What mechanisms does it postulate to explain life’s unity and diversity? What predictions does it make that have been, or can be, tested experimentally?

The problem with this vacuous Bush endorsement of this nonexistent theory is that there seems to be a huge fraction of the US population that takes its cue from him, in total disregard of facts and logic.

Comment #41069

Posted by Bayesian Bouffant, FCD on August 3, 2005 8:38 AM (e)

Beham wrote:

If we look at this debate logically, and not as another polemic monologue….. It bodes ill with me that many science advocates are so opposed to the teaching of intelligent design. Evolution is still a theory as science goes. Intelligent design is also a theory…

Paul Nelson says Intelligent Design Creationism has no theory. George Gilder says Intelligent Design Creationism has no content. What exactly do you think should be taught?

Comment #41070

Posted by Bayesian Bouffant, FCD on August 3, 2005 8:43 AM (e)

pt wrote:

Ok, use your moral integrity and science to prove there is no God, and don’t forget the entropy thing.

Prove that invisible monkeys are not exploding out of your ***, or else shut up and go learn some logic.

Comment #41074

Posted by Kevin Dowd on August 3, 2005 9:11 AM (e)

For every issue in science, we should teach a theology based version and a “scientific version” and let the class vote on which is correct.

That is democracy in a free country

HA!

Comment #41075

Posted by Deaddog on August 3, 2005 9:26 AM (e)

So, in the discussion of the President’s remarks, where are the clarion calls for scientists of all stripes to effectively counterbalance these misguided views? It’s time the scientific community, from the National Academy on down, actually stood up for science. Writing wry comments in the Panda’s Thumb is one thing; actually standing up as a community for what we know to be true is quite another. At the least we should pressure Marburger to resign, given his mealy-mouthed explanations. Write your Congress-critter, talk to anyone in the scientific community you know, but it’s time to educate this President … with prejuidice.

Comment #41076

Posted by Z.W. Dickason on August 3, 2005 9:27 AM (e)

Fine, if your prepared to acknowledge every known religions ideas. Please can we stop pretending that ID is some benevolent call to scientific/religious tolerance, “we just want the students to get a grasp of every idea that’s out there”. Your bad at lying, and you need to button up your shirt a bit more, I can still see the cross ‘round your neck. This is dishonesty…prove it isn’t.

-Zach

Comment #41078

Posted by Suzy on August 3, 2005 9:37 AM (e)

SEF is right. Bush’s comments will indeed hurt the advance of science in our country by helping to stunt education. Consider the differences between a nation where many children have to take a few years to sort out the difference between scientific theories and philosophical theories before they can engage in quality research, and a nation where children are raised to understand science from the beginning of their education. We’re shooting ourselves in the foot. And no, I hope that ADM and Exxon-Mobil won’t let him get away with it. A pretty sad day when you have to look to such corporations for security in the face of intellectual degeneracy, but at least we know they want to make money, and they won’t survive for long if they embrace this sort of idiocy.

Comment #41080

Posted by Suzy on August 3, 2005 9:42 AM (e)

Please let me clarify that by idiocy, I mean simply the idea that ID is a scientific theory. In no way do I mean that Bush is an idiot–he’s incredibly savvy and cunning. Dismissing him as stupid was a failed election strategy in 2004, and it’s not going to solve this problem about education today.

The very people who need to be educated about science, so that they will understand why this policy is wrong, are the ones you’ll offend by calling Bush stupid. They don’t know any better themselves, and need information, not the cheap (and inaccurate) insult.

Intelligent design is also not an idiotic philosophical theory. Many great thinkers have advanced it; many have considered it. If I may propose a “political” strategy on this issue, it would be to celebrate the TRUE location of Intelligent Design theory. In other words, let people know about Hume’s Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion, about Aristotle, and about other philosophical and theological sources of the ID theory. Then it can be explored in the classroom in which it belongs, rather than fouling up the Biology education of our children.

Comment #41086

Posted by GCT on August 3, 2005 10:26 AM (e)

Beham wrote:

Let the facts speak for themselves, and be “intelligent” if i will about this. Evolution is still a theory as science goes. Intelligent design is also a theory. Neither can be proven or disproven. Allow both to be taught in schools, and the facts will do the talking, not some blatently charismatic ideologue from EITHER side of the fence.

Beham, do you have some scientific facts to back up ID?

Comment #41087

Posted by PT on August 3, 2005 10:31 AM (e)

ts wrote:

“No, it wasn’t, it was simply stupidity.”

ts, your constant name-calling and insults serves to erode your already weak credibility. You don’t hear your high-brow scientists calling anybody junior high school names, do you?

ts wrote:

“And lack of moral integrity is evident from the trolling, not least from using “PT” as a moniker.”

And what is your “ts” moniker? Highly developed morality, I assume. Maybe I should lose the caps…

Bayesian Bouffant wrote:

“Prove that invisible monkeys are not exploding out of your ***, or else shut up and go learn some logic.”

You’re welcome to perform a close inspection to answer this question you are fixated on. While you’re in there, explain why you and ts and some others here seem to think your $&@% doesn’t stink, but anyone who comes close to disagreeing with you is, like a kid with glasses in junior high school, “a studid moron.” Get ahold of your feelings and emotions! And when you’re done in there, be sure to pull your head out. Ahem…

I don’t get the impression that anyone here is stupid or moronic; the vast majority of posts I have read are well-constructed and show evidence of intelligence and thoughtfulness (yes, even most of ts’s posts). And I say that even though I don’t agree with a lot of what is being tossed around here. Of course, I appreciate first-hand that a wealth of “book knowledge” as opposed to real-world, hands-on scientific study often leads to false feelings of intellectual superiority. Dang those feelings and emotions!

My first impression of this being a civilized discussion was proven wrong by so many contempuous and threatening posts and emails, so this is my last post here. I forgive you and pray for you. Now grow up.

Comment #41090

Posted by GCT on August 3, 2005 10:54 AM (e)

Who wants to bet PT will post again?

If you are reading this, PT, challenging us to prove there is no god is a completely worthless statement, as ts pointed out. If you just don’t want to hear it from him, I’ll echo his sentiment that it has no bearing on the discussion. Science can not disprove god. By the same token, science can not prove it either. It’s a non-starter of an argument.

Comment #41091

Posted by Bayesian Bouffant, FCD on August 3, 2005 11:10 AM (e)

Science can not disprove god. By the same token, science can not prove it either.

That depends on the nature of god(s). All we can say is that all gods that can be and have been scientifically tested for, do not exist.

Comment #41103

Posted by GCT on August 3, 2005 1:17 PM (e)

Bayesian Bouffant, FCD wrote:

That depends on the nature of god(s). All we can say is that all gods that can be and have been scientifically tested for, do not exist.

Not to get into an argument, but I’m curious as to which god(s) you are referring to. I would say that some religions make empirical claims that can be tested and many (if not all) are shown to be false (like the biblical creation myth) but it doesn’t do anything to falsify the existence of the god.

Comment #41121

Posted by Arne Langsetmo on August 3, 2005 3:24 PM (e)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'quote'

Comment #41132

Posted by ts on August 3, 2005 4:43 PM (e)

My first impression of this being a civilized discussion was proven wrong by so many contempuous and threatening posts and emails, so this is my last post here.

Good riddance, troll.

Comment #41135

Posted by Bayesian Bouffant, FCD on August 3, 2005 5:02 PM (e)

GCT wrote:

Not to get into an argument, but I’m curious as to which god(s) you are referring to. I would say that some religions make empirical claims that can be tested and many (if not all) are shown to be false (like the biblical creation myth) but it doesn’t do anything to falsify the existence of the god.

This may be a semantic point.

If someone says “there is a god who answers prayers by healing sick people faster”, then we can test that. We have, and the results are clearly negative (except for two major studies which have reported positive results in the last decade; one is known to be fraudulent and the other is strongly suspected). So then, I would say the god who answers prayers by healing sick people does not exist.

Perhaps you would respond: “there is a god, but he just cannot or does not answer prayers by healing sick people when anyone who understands statistics is paying attention”. I would respond that that is a different god, since the description of him/her/it is different. I think the monotheism dominating Western culture may be affecting your perception of this. At any rate, the point is semantic, and we are talking about disproving gods or disproving ideas about god; I won’t spend time trifling over the wording.

There are many other examples. The gods who allegedly lived on top of Mt. Olympus are disproven. Any gods, children of gods, or consorts of gods who allegedly bodily ascended into heaven can be tested, just as soon as we locate heaven.

Comment #41142

Posted by grbl on August 3, 2005 5:44 PM (e)

I’m actually somewhat disappointed that PT has signed off, because I was hoping he/she would explain what was meant by ‘the whole entropy thing.’ To those of you who would prefer no attempt be made to draw PT back into this forum, I understand and apologize.

Comment #41154

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on August 3, 2005 6:47 PM (e)

So, in the discussion of the President’s remarks, where are the clarion calls for scientists of all stripes to effectively counterbalance these misguided views? It’s time the scientific community, from the National Academy on down, actually stood up for science. Writing wry comments in the Panda’s Thumb is one thing; actually standing up as a community for what we know to be true is quite another. At the least we should pressure Marburger to resign, given his mealy-mouthed explanations. Write your Congress-critter, talk to anyone in the scientific community you know, but it’s time to educate this President … with prejuidice.

Alas, no one cares what scientists think about it. (shrug)

If you think ID can be beaten by science “counterbalacing” it, you are in for a rude surprise.

Comment #41205

Posted by GCT on August 4, 2005 5:15 AM (e)

@Bayesian Bouffant, FCD

I agree that this is largely a semantic argument of (dis)proving existance vs. (dis)proving works. I just think that “prove” is far too strong a word. We are overwhelmingly justified in believing that Zeus, for example, does not exist, but belief is different from proof.

Comment #41209

Posted by Udo J. Müller on August 4, 2005 5:57 AM (e)

Tertullian, De praescriptione haereticorum, c.7 (Migne, Patrologia latina 2, 23A)

Comment #41210

Posted by ts on August 4, 2005 6:13 AM (e)

I was hoping he/she would explain what was meant by ‘the whole entropy thing.’

Well, applying a little intellectual competence, I googled God+entropy and this was the second hit:

Entropy and Causality used as a proof for God’s existence
http://www.carm.org/atheism/entropy.htm

This goes seriously awry starting at step 3:

3. All events have causes.
a. There cannot be an infinite regress of events because that would mean the universe were infinitely old.

This makes no sense at all. An uncaused event doesn’t imply an infinite regress of events; just the opposite.

It gets a lot weirder when we get to stuff like “A single uncaused cause of the universe must be greater in size and duration than the universe it has brought into existence.” So I guess a bullet is larger and longer in duration than death.

And then there’s the fact that this is a proof of God’s existence, not a proof of God’s nonexistence, so it seems that “PT”’s challenge was misdirected.

Comment #41213

Posted by ts on August 4, 2005 6:26 AM (e)

We are overwhelmingly justified in believing that Zeus, for example, does not exist, but belief is different from proof.

Well, there’s formal deductive proof (which is how I used it because it was apparent that that’s how “PT” was using it), but that’s by no means the extent of proper use of the word:

http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=proof

1. The evidence or argument that compels the mind to accept an assertion as true.

2. a. The validation of a proposition by application of specified rules, as of induction or deduction, to assumptions, axioms, and sequentially derived conclusions.

2. b. A statement or argument used in such a validation.

3. a. Convincing or persuasive demonstration: was asked for proof of his identity; an employment history that was proof of her dependability.

Comment #41218

Posted by GCT on August 4, 2005 6:58 AM (e)

Which takes us back to the semantics of the argument.

ts, I think you are entirely correct that PT meant “formal deductive proof,” which is why I agreed with you that his “argument” had no bearing on anything.

Comment #41220

Posted by ts on August 4, 2005 7:20 AM (e)

Empirical conclusions aren’t the result of formal deductive proofs. I think it’s perfectly reasonable to say that science has proven that there’s no phlogiston, spontaneous generation of maggots from meat, or canals on Mars, even though it’s logically possible that there are such things. I think we have equally good proof that there are no tooth fairies, Easter bunnies, or any of the deities that occur in any of the religious traditions, even if these are not logically impossible. It is of course possible to keep moving the goal posts to avoid any conflict between descriptions of gods and empirical observation, abstracting the notion of God until it isn’t distinguishable from “the way things are” – but for that God there’s no disproof because it’s a tautology. And if one takes that a little further and says that this abstract God – with no physical characteristics other than those possessed by the universe as a whole – loves us, created us in its image, is omniscient, omnipotent, or benevolent, then one is simply talking nonsense.

Comment #41226

Posted by GCT on August 4, 2005 8:18 AM (e)

@ts

First of all, thanks for the link to carm. I’ve been looking at that site all morning and having a good laugh.

Second, I’m finding it hard to express myself because I agree with most of what you’ve said. I find, however, that I still think science can not prove or disprove god(s). If we were to look at a supposed role for god in evolution, for instance, one could say that god guides evolution and that would not be provable by science. Is it necessary for god to guide evolution? Certainly not. That’s not really the question at hand though, at least it wasn’t the question in my mind when I first posted. I guess I don’t see how one can scientifically test for a god’s existence. Gods by their nature are supernatural, and therefore beyond our testing. We can test any empirical claims made by a religion, but not whether supernatural entities exist. Is this not correct?

Comment #41228

Posted by Bayesian Bouffant, FCD on August 4, 2005 8:49 AM (e)

I agree that this is largely a semantic argument of (dis)proving existance vs. (dis)proving works. I just think that “prove” is far too strong a word. We are overwhelmingly justified in believing that Zeus, for example, does not exist, but belief is different from proof.

I submit that:

Saying that Zeus, as usually described, does not exist

and

saying that Zeus, if he exists, differs from the usual descriptions

are semantically identical. We’ve been to the top of Mt. Olympus and he ain’t there.

Comment #41230

Posted by grbl on August 4, 2005 8:55 AM (e)

Not that I have any great desire to become embroiled in this matter, but in response to the patronizing remark about ‘intellectual competence,’ I thought I should point out to TS that my reason for asking PT about ‘the entropy thing’ was not to educate myself but rather to ask for clarification, since the argument TS cites is certainly not the only way in which apologetics like to argue from the concept of entropy (see the third hit that results from a god + entropy google, under the heading ‘entropy and life’). To assume that this argument is what he had in mind is not ‘intellectually competent,’ its actually somewhat sloppy. Further, I was politely trying to call his bluff.

I am also aware that some very misinformed people think that the second law of thermodynamics (The entropy of an isolated system increases in the course of a spontaneous change - Atkins, Physical Chemistry, 6th ed., p 99) is inconsistent with the spontaneous development of living systems, and in fact the same kind of ‘reasoning’ is a lynchpin in the argument for intelligent design - namely that the second law would not permit the spontaneous development of these ‘low entropy’ systems, so they had to be designed, and thus there must have been an intelligent designer, i.e. god, preferably the judeo-christian one (try visiting the Access Resarch Network website to see what I mean).

Comment #41240

Posted by GCT on August 4, 2005 9:46 AM (e)

We’ve been to the top of Mt. Olympus and he ain’t there.

This is moving the goal posts, but how do you know that he didn’t move before we got there? How do you know that you can even see a supernatural being? We could go up to the top of Mt. Olympus and not be able to see Zeus, even if he is there.

No, the semantic difference that I’m talking about (and I thought you were talking about) is the difference between definitions of proof, and also the difference between proof and justified belief. As I’ve said before, we are justified in believing that Zeus does not exist because we have been to the top of Mt. Olympus and haven’t found him there. But, when it comes to having actual scientific proof of the supernatural, we don’t have it, nor do we have any proof that the supernatural does not exist. I feel justified to disbelieve in the supernatural, but I don’t have concrete proof and I don’t think that science can provide that proof.

Comment #41246

Posted by Bayesian Bouffant, FCD on August 4, 2005 11:25 AM (e)

How do you know that you can even see a supernatural being? We could go up to the top of Mt. Olympus and not be able to see Zeus, even if he is there.

The Greek gods, as classically described, are generally visible and even sometimes take on the form of an animal.

If a believer wants to define a god that cannot be seen and has no testable interactions with the natural world, then it is up to the believer to explain why that god has any relevance. Usually the ‘invislbe pink unicorns’ come into the conversation at this time as well.

Comment #41252

Posted by GCT on August 4, 2005 12:16 PM (e)

If a believer wants to define a god that cannot be seen and has no testable interactions with the natural world, then it is up to the believer to explain why that god has any relevance.

I agree completely. This is, however, a description of what some people consider the Christian god to be. Whether one is justified or not in defining this god and whether one can explain why this god has any relevance or not still does not mean that the posited god is detectable (provable) by science.

Comment #41253

Posted by frank schmidt on August 4, 2005 12:26 PM (e)

Gotta love that CARM site - among other things, “Catholics are not Christians.” So we know the answer to the question “Is the Pope Christian?” Gotta be no because we know the answer to “Is the Pope Catholic?”

We will soon see the fundies’ “Big Tent” collapse…

Comment #41314

Posted by dave on August 4, 2005 8:12 PM (e)

“There cannot be an infinite regress of events because that would mean the universe were infinitely old.”

This makes no sense at all. An uncaused event doesn’t imply an infinite regress of events; just the opposite.>>

I’m seeing sense in his assertion and babbling in yours. He said an infinite regress of events means the universe is infinitely old, and if it was infinitely old it would be dark and gray and motionless.

It gets a lot weirder when we get to stuff like “A single uncaused cause of the universe must be greater in size and duration than the universe it has brought into existence.” So I guess a bullet is larger and longer in duration than death.>>

He meant, I think, greater in power (or force) and duration. The “first cause” must itself be older, thus ‘longer in duration’, then the event it caused. But it is not itself caused by a previous event. The first cause must also be “greater” in some real sense than that which it caused. AFter all, energy transfer can only reach 100%, right? Not 1000% or 10000%. The billiard ball cannot deliver more than the force it brings through its mass and momentum when it hits another ball. Likewise the first cause could not cause something that is 10000% of its own force or energy.

This means the big bang wasn’t as big as the thing that caused it.

Not complicated.

Comment #41321

Posted by the pro from dover on August 4, 2005 8:34 PM (e)

regarding behan comment 41035 evolution cant be disproven. try this one: perhaps not disprove but would totally torpedo all current understanding of it. all it takes is some cash, a few cheap tools, a coupla days, and a willingness to bribe a low level govt. worker and for this the Discovery Institute will give you a medal!!! fly to calgary alberta, rent a car drive to banff stay overnite in the chateau lake louise even get in a rounda golf. get up early next AM drive up kicking horse pass to Yoho natl. park hike in 4 miles to the Burgess shale and with your trusty pickaxe chip any of the following out of the shale beds: a dinosaur, a mammal, a bird, a flowering plant, a lizard, a frog, a snake, a turtle, or a crocodile. you could be famous! youll have to bribe the park guard to get your specimens out, but it would be worth it doncha think? go for it!!!

Comment #41323

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on August 4, 2005 8:56 PM (e)

AFter all, energy transfer can only reach 100%, right?

Only in a Newtonian world.

In the quantum world, particles routinely reach levels of energy higher than they actually “have”. Quantum tunneling, for instance.

Comment #41376

Posted by Antiquated Tory on August 5, 2005 6:01 AM (e)

Forgive me for resurrecting the troll:

pt wrote:

An agenda-free and open-minded person who has spent much more time actually studying in a wide variety of scientific disciplines than reading agenda-centric blogs would see that science and Christian faith go hand-in-hand.

This is neither original nor really debatable, but requires a more sophisticated understanding of science (what the devil did PT mean by saying he ‘conducted real scientific research in a number of fields [as opposed to] book learning?’ This may have been a meaningful statement in Kepler’s day, when booklearning=Aristotle and theology, but now?) and a deeper and more mature theology than pt expressed. From Warfare of Science with Theology, Andrew Dickson White, 1896:

The great body of theologians who have so long resisted the conclusions of the men of science have claimed to be fighting especially for “the truth of Scripture,” and their final answer to the simple conclusions of science regarding the evolution of the material universe has been the cry, “The Bible is true.” And they are right - though in a sense nobler than they have dreamed. Science, while conquering them, has found in our Scriptures a far nobler truth than that literal historical exactness for which theologians have so long and so vainly contended. More and more as we consider the results of the long struggle in this field we are brought to the conclusion that the inestimable value of the great sacred books of the world is found in their revelation of the steady striving of our race after higher conceptions, beliefs, and aspirations, both in morals and religion. Unfolding and exhibiting this long-continued effort, each of the great sacred books of the world is precious, and all, in the highest sense, are true. Not one of them, indeed, conforms to the measure of what mankind has now reached in historical and scientific truth; to make a claim to such conformity is folly, for it simply exposes those who make it and the books for which it is made to loss of their just influence.

That to which the great sacred books of the world conform, and our own most of all, is the evolution of the highest conceptions, beliefs, and aspirations of our race from its childhood through the great turning-points in its history. Herein lies the truth of all bibles, and especially of our own. Of vast value they indeed often are as a record of historical outward fact; recent researches in the East are constantly increasing this value; but it is not for this that we prize them most: they are eminently precious, not as a record of outward fact, but as a mirror of the evolving heart, mind, and soul of man. They are true because they have been developed in accordance with the laws governing the evolution of truth in human history, and because in poem, chronicle, code, legend, myth, apologue, or parable they reflect this development of what is best in the onward march of humanity. To say that they are not true is as if one should say that a flower or a tree or a planet is not true; to scoff at them is to scoff at the law of the universe. In welding together into noble form, whether in the book of Genesis, or in the Psalms, or in the book of Job, or elsewhere, the great conceptions of men acting under earlier inspiration, whether in Egypt, or Chaldea, or India, or Persia, the compilers of our sacred books have given to humanity a possession ever becoming more and more precious; and modern science, in substituting a new heaven and a new earth for the old - the reign of law for the reign of caprice, and the idea of evolution for that of creation - has added and is steadily adding a new revelation divinely inspired.

Comment #41378

Posted by ts on August 5, 2005 6:24 AM (e)

GCT wrote:

Gods by their nature are supernatural, and therefore beyond our testing. We can test any empirical claims made by a religion, but not whether supernatural entities exist. Is this not correct?

Nothing supernatural exists, so if this is what Gods are by their nature, they don’t exist. QED

If you disagree, then explain what “supernatural” means, and what “exist” means in this context. I say that, by “exist”, in this context, we mean “is a feature of nature, aka the natural world” (there are other contexts, such as “there exist real roots of polynomial P”). Supernatural entities are figments of the imagination, partially formed conceptions, not real entities at all.

Comment #41379

Posted by ts on August 5, 2005 6:36 AM (e)

grbl wrote:

To assume that this argument is what he had in mind is not ‘intellectually competent,’ its actually somewhat sloppy.

I didn’t assume that; pick any one of them, they’re all equally bogus.

Further, I was politely trying to call his bluff.

Uh, some random anti-evo troll has disappeared after having his bluff called by several people, but you want him to come back so you can call his bluff? Weird.

Not that I have any great desire to become embroiled in this matter

Sometimes we fool ourselves about what we desire.

Comment #41380

Posted by ts on August 5, 2005 6:40 AM (e)

dave wrote:

I’m seeing sense in his assertion and babbling in yours.

Better get your eyes examined.

Comment #41382

Posted by GCT on August 5, 2005 6:43 AM (e)

@ts

I’m not arguing for the validity of the stance that there are supernatural beings called “gods” that did things like create the universe or anything like that. I’m arguing that people do make those claims that supernatural entities exist (rightly or wrongly) and science can not empirically prove or disprove the existence of the supernatural. If the claim also comes with a claim about the natural world, like man was made from dust, then science can investigate that and show that it is a ridiculous claim.

Comment #41383

Posted by ts on August 5, 2005 6:55 AM (e)

I’m arguing that people do make those claims that supernatural entities exist (rightly or wrongly) and science can not empirically prove or disprove the existence of the supernatural.

Science disproves (in the empirical sense we’ve already discussed) the empirical claims, semantic analysis disproves, or renders empty of content, the metaphysical claims. Talk about a “supernatural being” with no physical characteristics is like saying that the square root of two created the universe and loves us.

Comment #41415

Posted by Bayesian Bouffant, FCD on August 5, 2005 9:19 AM (e)

Talk about a “supernatural being” with no physical characteristics is like saying that the square root of two created the universe and loves us.

Make it the negative square root of two, and I’ll help you found a religion around it.

Comment #41416

Posted by GCT on August 5, 2005 9:28 AM (e)

Make it the negative square root of two, and I’ll help you found a religion around it.

If we can bilk people out of money as well as the Creationists can, then count me in as well.

Comment #41417

Posted by ts on August 5, 2005 9:35 AM (e)

You guys are on your own; I’ve just converted to Flying Spaghetti Monsterism:
ttp://www.venganza.org/

Comment #41533

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on August 5, 2005 6:18 PM (e)

Off to the races again, huh.

Who was it who said this would no longer be a problem …. ?

Comment #41614

Posted by ts on August 5, 2005 11:51 PM (e)

Off to the races again, huh.

Who was it who said this would no longer be a problem … . ?

Harold did. As I pointed out and explained, he was wrong. In this case you have a troll, “PT”, start it off challenging scientists to disprove the existence of God. I responded by noting that no one here thinks there is such a proof, and that the subject isn’t relevant. A fallout of this was this exchange:

GCT wrote:

Science can not disprove god. By the same token, science can not prove it either.

Bayesian Bouffant, FCD wrote:

That depends on the nature of god(s). All we can say is that all gods that can be and have been scientifically tested for, do not exist.

And off we go. If you don’t want to participate in the discussion, Lenny, then don’t.

Comment #41657

Posted by Leah on August 6, 2005 10:10 AM (e)

Does DumyaDubya really want me (lowly teacher)to put MY spin on “intelligent design” when I teach?

Comment #41703

Posted by Ron Tarter on August 6, 2005 7:40 PM (e)

I am the author of a book entitled “The God Theory” (can be ordered anywhere using ISBN 1-59129-380-4) The book examines the interface of science and religion. This comment isn’t about me pushing my book - though I obviously regard the book as “must” reading for anyone concerned with subjects such as “intelligent design” and “creationism.” What I want to very briefly assert is that there IS direct empirical as well as circumstantial evidence for the notion of “intelligent design.” (If you want the arguments why, read the book.) The problem with the issue of “intelligent design” is the people who are pushing it. For the most part, the intelligent design agenda is managed by biblical literalists who are hell-bent on bringing down Darwinism and enshrining the notion that the universe was created in six 24-hour days. This is why they have (and will continue to have) virtually no credibility within the scientific community. The vast majority of scientists support (and will continue to support) Darwinism for a number of very sound and objective reasons. As “The God Theory” notes, there are also sound and objective reasons for belief in deity - reasons that have nothing to do with the typical creationist viewpoint. The president has a right to push his beliefs, but intelligent design will not enter the mainstream until it takes up the crucible of objectivity and gains substantial scientific support.

Comment #41704

Posted by Ron Tarter on August 6, 2005 7:43 PM (e)

I am the author of a book entitled “The God Theory” (can be ordered anywhere using ISBN 1-59129-380-4) The book examines the interface of science and religion. This comment isn’t about me pushing my book - though I obviously see it as “must” reading for anyone concerned with subjects such as “intelligent design” and “creationism.” What I want to very briefly assert is that there is direct empirical as well as circumstantial evidence for the notion of “intelligent design.” (If you want the arguments why, read the book.) The problem is that the people who are pushing the “intelligent design” agenda are biblical literalists, in the main, who are also hell-bent on bringing down Darwinism. This is why they have (and will continue to have) virtually no credibility within the scientific community. The vast majority of scientists support (and will continue to support) Darwinism for a number of very sound and objective reasons.

Comment #41714

Posted by ts on August 6, 2005 8:43 PM (e)

What I want to very briefly assert is that there IS direct empirical as well as circumstantial evidence for the notion of “intelligent design.” (If you want the arguments why, read the book.)

Which the troll isn’t pushing, of course.

Comment #41762

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on August 7, 2005 8:27 AM (e)

Who was it who said this would no longer be a problem … . ?

Harold did. As I pointed out and explained, he was wrong.

Indeed, I noted that he was wrong, too.

I also noted why it would continue ….

And off we go. If you don’t want to participate in the discussion, Lenny, then don’t.

Thanks, dad.

Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as me not participating.

Comment #41798

Posted by ts on August 7, 2005 2:57 PM (e)

Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as me not participating.

Ok, so there’s also your whining about it.

Comment #41833

Posted by Paul Flocken on August 7, 2005 10:58 PM (e)

To offer something a little more productive than current fare of this thread:

For those who were commenting about how funding for the NIH might change here was a NPR story from July 20 about just that subject.
Sincerely,
Paul

Comment #41913

Posted by Bayesian Bouffant, FCD on August 8, 2005 2:33 PM (e)

It’s a good thing we have a president who’s a uniter, not a divider.

Comment #67880

Posted by Hadi Zaheer on January 5, 2006 10:12 AM (e)

Well, a president who wins his presidency through church support is certainly gonna try to convert us all into religious and creationist zealots with no knowledge of evolution and science.