Nick Matzke posted Entry 1328 on August 11, 2005 01:48 AM.
Trackback URL: http://www.pandasthumb.org/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb.fcgi/1326

http://a.abcnews.com/images/Technology/abc_darwin_bible_050503_t.jpgOh man.  The Discovery Institute Media Complaints Division really isn’t just going to like what just got broadcast on ABC’s Nightline.  Nightline essentially did an exposé on (1) how ID has no scientific support, but (2) has gained national attention through clever marketing. Nightline, unlike most other media which tends to rely on the “dueling quotes” model in a “controversy,” did the obvious thing for once. They contacted their partner U.S. News and World Report, got the list of the top ten biology departments in the country, and got the chair of each department to give their opinion on ID. This seems to have informed the rest of Nightline’s analysis.  Good for them.

Following the news segment was a discussion between Cal Thomas and George Will — theocon vs. neocon — on the politics of ID.  Refreshingly, Cal Thomas didn’t attempt to obfuscate the fact that promoting a particular religious belief is really what ID is about. Thomas argued that ID is part of a larger cultural battle involving school prayer, ten commandments, and similar religion-and-government issues — a politically astute analysis, by a supporter of this agenda.  George Will, on the other hand, acknowledged the political appeal of ID but made a stand for restricting science and science classes to studying testable empirical hypotheses, and leaving other discussions for other arenas.  At the end of the show I was left with this indescribable fuzzy warmness for George Will.  I assure you this is a singularly peculiar feeling for me — I may have to seek medical treatment if it doesn’t go away soon.

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Comment #42116

Posted by Joseph O'Donnell on August 11, 2005 4:41 AM (e)

Haha, the post over at the DI is just fantastic. I love their comment on ‘peer reviewed’ papers from ID scholars. That is, if a paper that essentially says nothing in a fringe journal that is home to various cranks (whom I am sure they like spending time with) is ‘peer’ reviewed. Not to mention Meyers hopeless monster but after that it’s really about all they’ve actually got in any form of ‘peer review’. Only massive obsfuscation can make publishing books through a university press equivalent to publishing a paper in Nature or Science.

Comment #42119

Posted by Jason Spaceman on August 11, 2005 5:53 AM (e)

There is a torrent of last night’s Nightline available here, in case anybody missed it.

Comment #42122

Posted by Jack Krebs on August 11, 2005 6:35 AM (e)

This sounds like a keeper - will Nightline offer a transcript?

Comment #42138

Posted by bill on August 11, 2005 8:00 AM (e)

Unless I was dreaming, there was Stephen Meyers, big as day, who said (and I’m quoting from my feeble memory)

“Well, I think the designer is God.”

Just like that. Not coy at all, our little Stevie.

Comment #42139

Posted by Rob Knop on August 11, 2005 8:04 AM (e)

For whether you agree with him or not, George Will isn’t stupid.

Cal Thomas? Cal Thomas… well, I suspect if he could get away with it without completely undermining his credibility, he’d be in favor of returning to racial segregation, to barring women from the workplace. OK, that was an ad hominim attack, and perhaps unfair. I will say, though, that the Cal Thomas columns I’ve seen in my local newspaper (The Tennessean) have me convinced that the man is odious. That is my judgement based on his words. More than once I’ve come close to cancelling my subscription to the local newspaper just because they somtimes reprint his columns. Perhaps my favorite ones are the ones where he justifies the USA’s use of torture.

Yes, unfair to say “well, look at these other terrible unrelated things this guy said!” in order to present an arguement against his stance on some issue. I’m not trying to do that. I am trying to point out, however, that even if you disagree with his politics, George Will has a MUCH better track record of thoughtfulness than does Cal Thomas.

I used to live in Berkeley, CA, and at the time thought that “Fundamentalism” was sort of straw man being used to obscure attacks on Christianity itself. Well, I was wrong. I was blinded by the fact that I lived in a location that is so politically extreme and one-sided. Now that I live in Nashville, TN, I have come to internalize that, yes, Christian Fundamentalism is real, powerful, and a threat to not only science, but also to my brand of Christianity.

-Rob

Comment #42140

Posted by Lisa on August 11, 2005 8:40 AM (e)

Response to Rob Knop from a fellow Tennessean subscriber:

I learned to dismiss Cal Thomas when he blamed the child sex molestation scandal in the Catholic Church on the “free love” movement of the 60’s. Never mind that such things are not limited to the last three decades of the 20th century nor to the Catholic Church. He and Santorum (who connected Boston Liberalism to the same scandal) are birds of a feather. They need to do their homework.

Comment #42141

Posted by fusilier on August 11, 2005 9:02 AM (e)

A Niggle:

George Will is not a “neocon,” that is, a former liberal who now describes himself as conservative. David(?) Horowitz, and Irving Kristol are “neocons.”

Will, OTOH, is a conservative, and has pretty much always been one.

fusilier, who went door-to-door with Goldwater literature in 1964
James 2:24

Comment #42143

Posted by Ed Darrell on August 11, 2005 9:18 AM (e)

When George Will worked on the staff of the U.S. Senate, it was for a relatively liberal senator from Colorado. Does that make him a neocon? Or was it so long ago that “neo” just doesn’t apply?

What about former Democrat-New-Deal-Liberal Ronald Reagan? Since he converted in the late Holocene, is that too long ago for him to be a neocon?

Comment #42144

Posted by fusilier on August 11, 2005 9:54 AM (e)

Ed Darrell Wrote:
(Please, please, please let me get the tags right!!!)

When George Will worked on the staff of the U.S. Senate, it was for a relatively liberal senator from Colorado. Does that make him a neocon? Or was it so long ago that “neo” just doesn’t apply?

And the dates were…? My recollections of George Will as a conservative columnist date to the 1970’s, when Horowitz and Kristol still were doing their SDS or ADA thing.

What about former Democrat-New-Deal-Liberal Ronald Reagan? Since he converted in the late Holocene, is that too long ago for him to be a neocon?

“Paleocon” would do just fine, I think. As president of the Screen Actor’s Guild, he was, IINM, instrumental in exposing the Stalinist influences.

fusilier
James 2:24

Comment #42145

Posted by Mark D on August 11, 2005 9:56 AM (e)

The term “neocon” doesn’t refer to liberals who become conservatives at all. It’s about a “new conservativism” that espouses a more global ideology (as opposed to the traditional isolationism in conservatism). So in addition to supporting economic globalism, they support international military ventures like Iraq if they perceive them to be in the U.S’s best [business] interests.

Comment #42148

Posted by Steve Reuland on August 11, 2005 11:12 AM (e)

Neo-conservatism did, however, start off as “hawkish paleo-liberalism”. In other words, it began as liberals who upheld civil rights and the welfare state, yet wanted a more hawkish stance towards communism. It eventually morphed into what we see today, with most of its liberal roots gone, although neo-cons are still moderate on domestic issues. Or it’s more correct to say that they don’t really have a domestic agenda, just an extreme foreign policy agenda.

I agree that George Will shouldn’t be considered a neo-con. He is the very epitome of a paleo-con.

Comment #42151

Posted by Mike on August 11, 2005 11:33 AM (e)

I would be interested in knowing who the one department chair among the 10 was who did not respond to Nightline, and why. Anyone have any ideas? Someone ducking for cover? University officials who are not helping in this mess need to be outed.

Comment #42152

Posted by Nick (Matzke) on August 11, 2005 11:34 AM (e)

Yeah, but theocon vs. neocon has such a nice ring to it…

Comment #42154

Posted by Matthew on August 11, 2005 11:38 AM (e)

Nuts, I read somewhere that this was going to be on tuesday’s Nightline and I watched the show that night but it didn’t have anything about ID so I thought I watched on the wrong tuesday. Do they replay these ever, anywhere?

Comment #42155

Posted by Matthew on August 11, 2005 11:39 AM (e)

Nevermind, I see Jason Spaceman’s comment now. thanks.

Comment #42156

Posted by ts on August 11, 2005 11:45 AM (e)

George Will is not a “neocon,” that is, a former liberal who now describes himself as conservative.

That’s not the meaning of neocon. neocon is a political philosophy, not a description of someone’s personal political history.
See, e.g., http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neoconservatism_(United_States)

I agree that George Will shouldn’t be considered a neo-con. He is the very epitome of a paleo-con.

The fact that he opposed the invasion of Iraq is a pretty good clue.

Comment #42158

Posted by ts on August 11, 2005 12:02 PM (e)

I take it back; Will apparently did support the invasion, but later reconsidered. On the question of what sort of conservative he is, his article of May 2004 is relevant:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn?pagename=article&contentId=A64323-2004May3&notFound=true

Ron Chernow’s magnificent new biography of Alexander Hamilton begins with these of his subject’s words: “I have thought it my duty to exhibit things as they are, not as they ought to be.” That is the core of conservatism.

Traditional conservatism. Nothing “neo” about it. This administration needs a dose of conservatism without the prefix.

Comment #42159

Posted by steve on August 11, 2005 12:08 PM (e)

Cal Thomas opposing George Will is like a hunk of Velveeta opposing a chainsaw.

Comment #42171

Posted by Jim Harrison on August 11, 2005 1:12 PM (e)

There are a lot of tendencies floating around the right wing these days. Simple distinctions beween paleocons and neocons don’t yield a very satisfactory taxonomy. “Neocon,” for example, is pretty clearly a paraphyletic taxon. Some of the folks identified as neocons are indeed lapsed or Jack liberals, but the older stratum of the movement contains a lot of former Marxists–the hatred neocons sometimes express towards the liberal establishment of intellectuals and public servants echoes an ancient beef of Trotsky with what he called “the new class.” And what do you do with guys like Christopher Hitchens, who was literally a Trotskite before he became an adminstration supporter? His metamorphosis is not quite complete. He’s like a moth that just emerged from the pupa. His new exoskeleton is not completely hardened and he hasn’t finished inflating his wings. And then there is the whole Chicago lineage that connects back to Leo Strauss and, unfortunately, Carl Schmitt. For that matter, I’ve actually heard conservatives quote Foucault in favor of NAFTA. A lot of research remains to done in the systematics of political entomology.

Comment #42172

Posted by Hyperion on August 11, 2005 1:15 PM (e)

Ah, once again a political science education actually counts for something at the Thumb.

George Will is a Libertarian Conservative. This is sometimes referred to as “Classical Liberalism,” even though the term “liberal” in this sense is quite different from the modern connotation of “liberal,” used to describe Democrats.

Will’s philosophy appears to be lower taxes, smaller government, and less governmental regulation, especially at the federal level. Neocons sometimes want smaller government with less regulation, but only in some areas and not, for instance, with military, law enforcement, or other executive powers. Neocons also favor a more active government in all areas, whereas Libertarians like Will prefer the adage “that which governs least governs best.”

With regards to civil liberties, similarly, Neocons and Libertarians diverge. Libertarians would prefer strict limitations on governmental powers of search and seizure consistent with the Fourth Amendment. Neocons would argue that we’re at war (note that Neocons are always at war with something) and we must sometimes compromise our liberties if we want to catch terrorists.

With regards to separation of powers and divided government, Libertarians see our tripartite system as being essential to preserving freedom, in that no one branch of government can truly act on its own. Neocons see separation of powers as a hindrance to their governing style, preferring to act through executive order and cabinet positions. The most important thing, from their point of view, is being able to act, swiftly when necessary, to defend the country.

With regards to church-state relations, Libertarians sound more like modern Liberals, in that they would usually prefer church and government separate. Neocons usually don’t care, except to the extent that token support for church institutions can get votes from the proles and keep them in power. Theocons, or religious-social conservatives, would of course prefer religion to have a larger role within the state.

Interestingly enough, throughout most of America’s history, most American religious groups have supported church-state separation not because of a lack of social conservatism, but because religion in America was historically broken up among hundreds of different religious denominations, and so there was no real guarantee that any one religious group would have any power. No one wanted to mix church and state if they weren’t sure that their religion would be the favored one. It is likely that the rise of mega-churches and a unified evangelical movement is most responsible for the current Theocon successes, but eventually I do think that factionalism will prevent them from ever gaining much power.

Comment #42174

Posted by ts on August 11, 2005 1:17 PM (e)

political entomology

“Death To the Fascist Insect That Preys Upon the Life of the People!”

Comment #42177

Posted by natural cynic on August 11, 2005 1:26 PM (e)

My take on what makes a neocon is a kind of secular evangelism. According to some political sites (on the left), they come from two sources: “Scoop Jackson Democrats” - standard Democrats on domestic issues with a strong anti-communist foreign policy and “Trotskyites” - members of the far left that were particularly focused on worldwide revolutions and usually eschewed any of the cultural trappings of the left in the 60’s. This latter group never had much support, and Trotskyite or “Trot” was used pejoratively (back in the good ol’ days of late 60’s Berkeley) to describe someone on the left with a particular moralistic and secular evangelistic fervor. After their adoption of the Republican Party in the late 70’s and rise of Reagan, they focused on defeating the (supposed) power of the Soviet Union, which was ruled by the descendants of their old (literally) mortal enemy Stalin. The neocons during Reagan’s time were intent on building up the US militatily with Star Wars ABM’s etc. and totally missed the structural weaknesses and decline of the USSR that was evident to many analysts in the mid 80’s. Of course, they then claimed that they were the ones that drove the USSR into extinction. In the 90’s they became heavily aligned with the Likud Party in Israel and emphasized an aggressive (evangelical even) foreign policy - one that tries to export certain “American” values, democracy and free-markets. The alignment with Israel dovetailed strongly with Christian millenialism, and this alliance Christian evangelicals has now been manifested as part of the political support for anti-evolution policies.

Comment #42190

Posted by Nick (Matzke) on August 11, 2005 1:53 PM (e)

Whaddya know, the DIMCD didn’t like the Nightline show.

See also reaction from other blogs on Technorati.

Comment #42210

Posted by Matthew on August 11, 2005 3:03 PM (e)

^^^^^^ sounds like he’s angry that Nightline went to, *gasp*, biologists to learn about biology.

Comment #42239

Posted by EmmaPeel on August 11, 2005 4:20 PM (e)

That was one excellent Nightline! I loved the debate between Cal Thomas & George Will. This places the debate squarely where it needs to be, IMO: Within the conservative movement. The more creationists see that they’re hurting conservatism, the more some of them will be willing to drop the defensive reflex and give their Morton’s Demon a break.

The DI’s spokespeople have been amazingly coy lately, claiming in the press and on radio talkshows that they’re not at all motivated by any religious committments, and they don’t want ID to be taught, etc. It almost made me wonder why they even cared about the subject at all.

To preserve my sanity, I went to the Wayback Machine and compiled some of their more rumbustious statements from back when the CRSC first got started & put them on my site. They were refreshingly upfront & honest about what they were trying to accomplish.

Comment #42242

Posted by Matthew on August 11, 2005 4:38 PM (e)

Wow, that was incredible. I don’t think I’ve ever watched the show in full before, but this might have converted me. They actually brought up the Wedge Document, I don’t think I’ve ever seen the media mention it before; probably because none of them do actual research into their stories.

Comment #42270

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on August 11, 2005 6:34 PM (e)

George Will is not a “neocon,” that is, a former liberal who now describes himself as conservative.

Another nitpick — “neocon” is not “a former liberal who is now a conservative”. The “neocon” label applies to a specific political program as set out mostly by the Project for a New Amerikan Century (sorry for the mis-spelling), one that should scare the living hell out of everyone – especially people who are NOT Americans.

Check out:

http://www.newamericancentury.org/

and

http://www.pnac.info/

Comment #42272

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on August 11, 2005 6:45 PM (e)

eventually I do think that factionalism will prevent them from ever gaining much power.

It is already preventing them from any realistic chance of winning in Dover. Witness the power struggle between the Discovery Institute and the More Law Center over who are the “real IDers”.

That was the problem, from the beginning, with DI’s “Big Tent” strategy. It was doomed to failure, simply because the various fundies all hate each other more than they hate “evolutionists”.

But then, the DI’s entire approach was doomed from the start anyway, since it required that all the various religious nuts in their Big Tent stay silent, indefinitely, about the one thing they care most about in the world — their religious opinions. They can’t do it. They don’t WANT to do it. And that is now killing them in Dover.

As I’ve always said, creationuts have always been their own worst enemies. Let them talk long enough, and they shoot themselves in the head every single time. (shrug)

The Wedge-ites can rephrase their arguments any way they like. They can rename their movement anything they like. They will still be facing the very same problems, and those problems will still be just as fatal.

It’s why they will *never* win under any constitutional democracy. Their only chance to win is to DISMANTLE constitutional democracy. And if they try that … well … I comfort myself with the fact that, no matter HOW holy or divine they think they are, the fundies are not bulletproof.

Comment #42278

Posted by Bill on August 11, 2005 7:10 PM (e)

If you thought Nightline did a good job of researching the subject instead of just presenting he said/she said journalism, please ccontact them to express your appreciation.

Comment #42285

Posted by Frank J on August 11, 2005 8:04 PM (e)

Nick Matzke said: “I may have to seek medical treatment if it doesn’t go away soon.”

You may have to take one of those “all natural” pills, the ones that mother gives you, that don’t do anything at all (apologies to Jefferson Airplane). Because you also have the likes of yours truly (to the right of Bush on some issues), Charles Krauthammer, and (as of 5 years ago at least) Dr. Laura, defending evolution. Face it, liberal or conservative, religious or not, most of those who understand evolution, accept it. Even the seemingly clueless conservative columnists who rave about ID are more “shock jock” than anything else.

Comment #42289

Posted by RBH on August 11, 2005 8:39 PM (e)

Frank J wrote

Nick Matzke said: “I may have to seek medical treatment if it doesn’t go away soon.”

You may have to take one of those “all natural” pills, the ones that mother gives you, that don’t do anything at all (apologies to Jefferson Airplane). Because you also have the likes of yours truly (to the right of Bush on some issues), Charles Krauthammer, and (as of 5 years ago at least) Dr. Laura, defending evolution. Face it, liberal or conservative, religious or not, most of those who understand evolution, accept it. Even the seemingly clueless conservative columnists who rave about ID are more “shock jock” than anything else.

I’ll mention that I’m old enough to have voted for Goldwater after I got out of the military (honorably discharged after four years of active duty and still carry my dogtags), and am currently (though not for much longer) an elected officer of the local Republican party. The left does not have a monopoly on the value of good science, the perniciousness of trash science, and the dangers of theocracy.

RBH

Comment #42296

Posted by steve on August 11, 2005 9:08 PM (e)

good idea bill. I just sent them this:

I appreciated your program on the Discovery Institute and Intelligent Design. You did the right thing by refusing to create fake “balance”, instead talking to the leaders of the top 10 biology departments. Evolution is science, and ID is garbage, and I’m glad your program did not avoid that fact.

Comment #42298

Posted by steve on August 11, 2005 9:14 PM (e)

Face it, liberal or conservative, religious or not, most of those who understand evolution, accept it.

An underappreciated fact. How often to you run into evolution-deniers who actually know what evolution is? Not often.

The left does not have a monopoly on the value of good science, the perniciousness of trash science, and the dangers of theocracy.

RBH

That is true. The far left contains the anti-nuclear power and anti-GMO crowds, as well as a lot of ignorant people who glorify ‘natural’ things over ‘artificial’ etc. The right has been a stronger force for anti-science messages, but maybe this is just because they’re politically stronger than the other side.

Comment #42300

Posted by Mona on August 11, 2005 9:22 PM (e)

natural cynic writes: “After their adoption of the Republican Party in the late 70’s and rise of Reagan, they focused on defeating the (supposed) power of the Soviet Union, which was ruled by the descendants of their old (literally) mortal enemy Stalin. The neocons during Reagan’s time were intent on building up the US militatily with Star Wars ABM’s etc. and totally missed the structural weaknesses and decline of the USSR that was evident to many analysts in the mid 80’s.”

This is a surprising claim to me. I was doing the undergrad thing in the 80s, and virtually all my profs – I minored in poli sci – felt the USSR was strong and here to stay; I was exposed to no analysts arguing for the weakness and imminent decline of the USSR. But maybe I missed them. What are your sources from that era to the contrary?

Comment #42324

Posted by tytlal on August 11, 2005 10:40 PM (e)

Watched the show. Ted was clearly skeptical of ID and George Will did come off as being intelligent and informed.

Quite frankly, if Cal Thomas believes what he says (as well as other ID’ers), it scares the bejesus out of me.

Comment #42331

Posted by Rob Knop on August 11, 2005 11:26 PM (e)

tytlal wrote:

Quite frankly, if Cal Thomas believes what he says (as well as other ID’ers), it scares the bejesus out of me.

I suspect that Cal Thomas is in fact a young-earther, not an IDer. I don’t know that for sure; I just base that on the fact that in his columns, he comes across as always predictably and jingoistically extreme radical right. (Not conservative, but “the USA should be torturing people to fight the war on terrorism” nutty, which he claims is conservatism. Conservatives should be embarassed.)

He’s also come across with the statement that things like Islam and Athiesm are evil. (Not quite so direclty, but not really all that obliquely either.)

Given all that, I’d be surprised if he weren’t a young-earther. He was coy about it in the Nightline interview, but he never did directly say he wanted ID; he may just be realistic enough to realize that that’s the best alternative to evolution he might get right now.

-Rob

Comment #42385

Posted by Lurker on August 12, 2005 10:22 AM (e)

Now, if they can only do a piece like that during prime time…

Comment #42422

Posted by natural cynic on August 12, 2005 1:24 PM (e)

To Mona:
(since a ? was directed at me that is peripheral to the topics under discussion)

A slight mea culpa about my comments on the threat assessment of the USSR in the 80’s. Some of the neocons came from what was known as “Team B” during the Ford admin. Team B was organized to reassess CIA findings about the Soviet threat and pushed for more aggressive arms development. Then many of the members of Team B became ascendant during Reagan’s admin. The original assessment of the CIA during the 70’s about the relative lack of economic strength of the USSR certainly became more evident at the end of the 80’s.
As an exapmle of the screw-ups in history repeating, some of the same Team B characters were involved in the Pentagon’s erroneous reassessment of CIA intel on Iraq. Anybody that pays attention to the topics on PT knows that bad arguments rarely become extinct.

Comment #42900

Posted by Jeff Frazee on August 14, 2005 2:03 PM (e)

As a matter of honesty… I follow Jesus Christ and the Bible as truth. Understanding that most people don’t, let us set that aside. Nightline did a good job… in the sense that I didn’t budge for the entire show. What happened? George Will and the top 10 biologists vs. a syndicated columnist. To be generous the evolution side looked educated while the creation side looked assinine.
Other points to consider:
Of course creation isn’t scientific. Supernatural events, by definition, aren’t scientific.
I can’t prove creation, but the kicker is, you can’t prove evolution. There is no verifiable evidence for either.
Irreducible complexity. I just tried to explain it all, but then I deleted it. I’m not able to convince you. As I’ve already established, both take faith. A simple internet search will get you started.
You find a watch, you assume there is a maker. You see a painting, you wonder about the painter. You look at yourself, and there are far greater consequences. To make a person you have to be a person. You can’t create something beyond yourself. Why would God make us?

Comment #43239

Posted by NItai on August 16, 2005 8:41 AM (e)

Nothing can happen without consciousness. In other words life comes from life, or where there is life there is consciousness. Only because of its presence things can develop.

The very beginning how life came into being, many evolutionists say, it is not the subject matter of evolutionary theory. But that’s the ground base of anything as previously mentioned. That means, even if we accept that evolution occurred it could certainly not occur without consciousness. That’s very clear just like the difference between the death and living bodies.

Although scientists have very elaborate explanations how genes changed in one species so that it developed into another, by genetic manipulation no scientists created other types of species, only some variations within the species. It seems that the “conscious nature”, or however you call it, still deserves the greatest noble prize for creating varieties of thousands and thousands of different species by conscious genetic manipulation.

What is the proof? Just as in the laboratory there is a need for conscious involvement in an experiment so is and was consciousness necessary in the big laboratory of nature. To defeat this argument one would have to completely reject the existence of consciousness, but in that case one would boil down everything to insentient, immovable, unintelligent and immovable or static dull mater.

NItai

Comment #43311

Posted by Matthew on August 16, 2005 2:23 PM (e)

“Nothing can happen without consciousness. In other words life comes from life, or where there is life there is consciousness. Only because of its presence things can develop.”

Evidence?

Comment #43312

Posted by roger tang on August 16, 2005 2:27 PM (e)

“I can’t prove creation, but the kicker is, you can’t prove evolution. There is no verifiable evidence for either. “

[Bang head against the wall]

ARGGGGGHHHHHH!

[/Bank head against the wall]

Comment #43327

Posted by Chance on August 16, 2005 3:13 PM (e)

‘but the kicker is, you can’t prove evolution. There is no verifiable evidence for either’

Almost to funny. If it wasn’t so sad.

Comment #43432

Posted by Nitai on August 17, 2005 4:00 AM (e)

*** “Nothing can happen without consciousness. In other words life comes from life, or where there is life there is consciousness. Only because of its presence things can develop.”

Evidence?

Go to the graveyard.

Comment #43434

Posted by SEF on August 17, 2005 5:15 AM (e)

> “Go to the graveyard.”

Eh? Are you talking about the alive but non-conscious breeding bacteria and growing grass or the dead and non-conscious remains of people - and pretending one of more of those is conscious? Or are you pretending that the whole world isn’t a graveyard anyway and it required humans to make an official one which counted? You seem to be both incoherent and wrong on every count.

Comment #43438

Posted by ts (not Tim Sandefur) on August 17, 2005 5:50 AM (e)

Jeff Frazee wrote:

I can’t prove creation, but the kicker is, you can’t prove evolution. There is no verifiable evidence for either.

Ignorance of evidence is not absence of evidence.

http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/comdesc/

Comment #43439

Posted by ts (not Tim Sandefur) on August 17, 2005 5:59 AM (e)

SEF wrote:

Eh? Are you talking about the alive but non-conscious breeding bacteria and growing grass or the dead and non-conscious remains of people - and pretending one of more of those is conscious? Or are you pretending that the whole world isn’t a graveyard anyway and it required humans to make an official one which counted? You seem to be both incoherent and wrong on every count.

I think Nitai may be erroneously equating

If alive then conscious.
to
If not alive, then not conscious.

Comment #43440

Posted by Nitai on August 17, 2005 6:51 AM (e)

“Are you talking about the alive but non-conscious breeding bacteria”

Even if you would tell me that this is a scientific definition that a living entity can be alive and simultaneously not conscious I will not accept it. Where there is action there is thinking, feeling and willing like i.e. the breeding. All this is made possible only because of the presence of consciousness. The bacteria therefore, is conscious and you can say that its level of consciousness is lover then in other species, but never that there is no consciousness when there are symptoms of life.

“growing grass”

yes, one more example, living grows non-living dries up.

“dead and non-conscious remains of people”

Good example for absence of consciousness: thinking, feeling, willing and activity.

So, this consciousness, the symptom of life is not the combination of matter. Take a dead body in perfect condition without any damage and inject some chemical you think will bring him back to life. You will never make it. Consciousness is not a chemical.

Nitai

Comment #43441

Posted by Sir Isaac Newton on August 17, 2005 7:27 AM (e)

Nitai

As ts and SEF have pointed out, you are using a meaning of “conscious”, synonymous with “alive”. This is not the accepted meaning. Would you accept that a person could be unconscious and alive (if anaesthetized, for example)?

Do you have an idea where consciousness would reside in a bacterium or a tree, for instance?

Comment #43443

Posted by ts (not Tim Sandefur) on August 17, 2005 7:31 AM (e)

The bacteria therefore, is conscious and you can say that its level of consciousness is lover then in other species, but never that there is no consciousness when there are symptoms of life.

Actually you can say it, just as you can say otherwise. However, just saying things doesn’t amount to much.

So, this consciousness, the symptom of life is not the combination of matter.

It’s an effect of a combination of matter, just as, say, good health or smiling are.

Comment #43444

Posted by ts (not Tim Sandefur) on August 17, 2005 7:36 AM (e)

Do you have an idea where consciousness would reside in a bacterium or a tree, for instance?

Daniel Dennett has noted that, if your arm is severed and you’re operated on to have it reattached, they anaesthetize your brain but not your arm.

Comment #43454

Posted by Nitai on August 17, 2005 9:35 AM (e)

** However, just saying things doesn’t amount to much.
## I explained more things but you missed the points.

## So, this consciousness, the symptom of life is not the combination of matter.

** It’s an effect of a combination of matter, just as, say, good health or smiling are.
## ask a dead man to give you a conscious healthy smile. He has the same chemical combinations like the living man.

## And…inject some chemical in the dead body and make him living again.

** where consciousness would reside in a bacterium or a tree, for instance?
## it is pervading the whole body and is not demaged when the part of material body is cut off. That also proves its non-material nature.

Nitai

Comment #43565

Posted by Christopher Howard on August 17, 2005 4:19 PM (e)

Hello all:

I have come somewhat late to the Intelligent Design “debate” and am still trying to formulate a coherent impression of what hard and fast hypotheses the ID community has advanced about two specific questions.

1) Have any of the primary luminaries (Dembski, Behe, Charles Colson?!?) or anyone else in the movement purported scientific evidence about the age of the Earth? I know that they seem to refute Young Earth Creationism on this point (or at least say that a 6,000 year-old Earth is not a necessary condition for their belief system), but I have not seen any specific assertions on this point. Do most in the ID camp believe, along with most evolutionists, that the world is 4.5-billion years old or do they advance another number? Or any number at all?

2) Since proponents of ID have rejected new species evolving through natural selection in favor of an intelligent designer – and considering that many of them seem to finally concede that micro-evolution can at least explain differences within a species, though not the emergence of new species – how do they propose that wholly new species first debut on the planet?

In other words, do they believe that the vanguard member of a new species is born from a wholly different species, or do they contend that they somehow appear through a divinely inspired abiogenesis?

I know that they have rejected abiogenesis in a long-ago primordial soup as being beyond their “universal probability bound,” but unless I am missing something, the only two possibilities for the non-evolutionary birth of the first member of a new species is either the afore mentioned miraculous birth, or by Aristotelian Abiogenesis (the old belief that maggots sprang forth from rotting flesh sans eggs, or that mice were created by mixing dirty cloth and grain). Either outcome seems like it would not pass the smell test in a science class room. Is there an alternate theory that they have proposed?

While I am a long-time believer in evolution through natural selection, I am not without a spiritual side and was at least open to solid science that could challenge my views on this matter. Most of what I have read to date from Intelligent Design FAQs on the internet, however, seems to shy away from making positive claims to support their own position, instead concentrating on legal strategies and attacking perceived flaws in the evolutionary position. I am curious to know what, if anything, ID proponents of note have to say on these questions.

Thanks,

Chris

Comment #43569

Posted by Flint on August 17, 2005 4:39 PM (e)

Chris:

To preserve the Big Tent, the ID proponents are all over the map on the questions you ask. Age of the Earth: ID doesn’t address this. Whether evolution happens? It might, but it’s not the whole story. How species are formed? They don’t specify.

Basically, ID consists of two general statements:
1) Life is far too complex to have happened naturally, and therefore it must have been designed at some point.
2) Evolutionary theory is a huge mess of flaws, errors, and assumptions. ID people have identified a very large number of these flaws, none of which is in fact correctly identified or characterized, but that’s OK if the target audience (uneducated voters) has no way to realize that.

So ID is not exactly a religion, it’s more the political action group of fundamentalism, a composite of creationists of various persuasions who agree not to disagree on matters of doctrine until after they have achieved the political and judicial influence necessary to “disappear” inconvenient parts of science from our educations and public discourse.

Comment #43574

Posted by Christopher Howard on August 17, 2005 4:58 PM (e)

Flint:

Thank you very much for your swift and helpful reply. I was well aware of IDs political/religious origins and intentions (heck, Regnery Press has gotten in on the act), but was incredulous that anyone would advance a “scientific” hypothesis without at least pretending to address these very basic questions.

I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. Common sense and intellectual rigor has long since departed our political discourse, but I had hoped for a higher order of debate in the scientific arena.

If anyone else has any info on the above, even half-hearted attempts or on-the-record evasions by the ID side, I would still be interested in hearing them.

Thanks again,

Chris

Comment #43607

Posted by Henry J on August 17, 2005 7:39 PM (e)

Re consciousness “is not demaged when the part of material body is cut off.”

What if the part cut off includes part of the brain?

Henry

Comment #43612

Posted by Paul Flocken on August 17, 2005 8:23 PM (e)

Nitai wrote in Comment #43432

Go to the graveyard.

Indeed go to the Graveyard.

Comment #43622

Posted by Flint on August 17, 2005 9:38 PM (e)

Chris:

incredulous that anyone would advance a “scientific” hypothesis without at least pretending to address these very basic questions.

What’s being advanced is an attempt to get fundamentalist and creationists beliefs taught as “scientific fact” in high schools. And the best way to do this is to simply make the claims that ID is science, that a genuine scientific controversy exists, that ID “researchers” are doing science, and any other related claims that aren’t intended so much to be believed (though of course PR hay can be made from anyone who falls for these claims), as to be pointed to as “evidence” of “real science” by those with political impact who want a convenient justification that will satisfy their (fundamentalist) constituency.

We’ve had a poster here for quite a long time, who pops up whenever a creationist starts weaseling, and demands in a straightforward fashion to see a *single testable hypothesis* that any “ID scientist” might investigate. So far, out of dozens of creationists, a total of zero hypotheses have been suggested. I imagine that on Creationist blogs, where “teach the controvery, show both sides” is the mantra, such demands would be deleted on sight. If there is anything in life as sure as death and taxes, it is that “the other side” will be banned wherever Creationists control the forum.

And this is why Creationists need not “pretend to address these very basic questions” – where they run the show, such questions are not permitted. Where they do not run the show, such questions are ignored, sidestepped, or deliberately misinterpreted. Underlying this is something discussed from countless angles here: Creationists’ religious claims consist, unlike many religious doctrines, of entirely and perfectly testable statements about the objective universe. As such, they have been subjected to exhaustive testing, and have utterly, totally failed every test. And this, in turn, means there’s only one way to support ANY school of Creationism – to lie. At which Creationists are admirable masters. As someone once said of Napoleon and it applies here, they are such excellent liars you can’t even rely on the opposite of what they say. Everything is a misrepresentation, a distortion, a quote out of context, based on an unsupportable assumption, a false accusation based on a deliberate mischaracterization, and the like.

You want examples? Stick around. Periodically, Creationists show up and say something. And POOF!, you have an instant example. Every time, without fail.

Comment #43637

Posted by Nita on August 17, 2005 11:34 PM (e)

Re consciousness “is not damaged when the part of material body is cut off.”

What if the part cut off includes part of the brain?

# If doctors do that, they know what they do, if in accident and the body is not anymore suitable for dwelling in = reincarnation, gets a knew body. It is like changing the cloths.

But the original point was that without presence of the consciousness nothing can happen.

Go to the following link

www.iitk.ac.in/hall4/docs/sec6.pdf

have a nice reading.

Nitai

Comment #43640

Posted by Nitai on August 18, 2005 12:02 AM (e)

Sorry, a small correction. The link is

www.metanexus.net/conference2004/pdf/singh2.pdf

Ram Ram
Nitai

Comment #43696

Posted by Christopher Howard on August 18, 2005 8:19 AM (e)

Flint:

Thanks again. It would be an interesting experiment to ask these questions on ID sites, cache the submission and replies (if any) and then record how long it takes before the questions are “disappeared.”

Chris

Comment #43702

Posted by Flint on August 18, 2005 9:25 AM (e)

Chris:

Been done. On Dembski’s site, these questions vanish within a couple of hours, and often within minutes. What I’d like is a site where the “disappeared” posts are all replicated in one place. As things stand, most of them are just lost, and those that were cached are reposted hither and yon.

Comment #44004

Posted by Tom Morris on August 19, 2005 5:53 PM (e)

Emma: “It almost made me wonder why they even cared about the subject at all”

Read the Wedge Strategy. They’ve lost the baton. Johnson, Dembski, Behe and friends can’t keep up with the movement’s speed. I’m thinking (and have posted on my blog) that the speed of takeup by the fundies is actually limiting the movement. That’s why DI are stepping away from the political side of it, as are some IDers - Bruce Gordon, for one (see my blog for the link).

Johnson has said it should be a slow thing, and that they shouldn’t see the results in their lifetimes. Perhaps, though, what’s gonna happen is ID will get thrown around now rather than later, which will have disasterous results for ID, since they’re shooting for a very slow-boil approach, which goes along with the whole ‘don’t talk about the Bible’ routine, for instance.