PZ Myers posted Entry 1282 on August 3, 2005 08:17 AM.
Trackback URL: http://www.pandasthumb.org/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb.fcgi/1280

In response to George W. Bush's statement that he supports teaching Intelligent Design creationism in our public schools, I wrote my own reply, and also volunteered to collect links to other people's criticisms.

It was a little bit overwhelming. My site got 12,500 visits yesterday, and I was sent over 159 179 links to weblogs (I culled out some; if the post wasn't specifically addressing Bush's ID comments, but was instead more of a generic anti-Bush complaint, I didn't include it). More were still coming in this morning, but I've had to draw the line and stop updating, unless that's all I wanted to do for the rest of the day.

These entries come from all over the political spectrum, left and right, and even includes one Intelligent Design creationism blog that disapproves of Bush's "premature" (yeah, that's right, keep waiting and waiting…) announcement. Most of them are not generally about science, but again come from all over the spectrum of people's interests: blogs about politics, humor, social concerns, feminism, economics, literature, or just plain writing about life. They all have one thing in common: they agree that George W. Bush's attempts to stuff bad theology into our children's educations is a stupid idea.

Since these are all weblogs that are mostly on the informed side of the creation-evolution debate, I'm echoing all those links here on the Thumb.

The Panda's Thumb
Doing Things with Words
Stranger Fruit
Thoughts from Kansas
AmericaBlog
From the Rachel
The World-Wide Rant
Yowling from the Fencepost
My Corner of the Universe
Unscrewing the Inscrutable
the tife and limes
Applied Theology
Dharma Bums
jasonbock.net
Chris C. Mooney
The dubious biologist
Cosmic Variance
The rude pundit
Science and Sarcasm
Leiter Reports
Newton's Binomium
tongue but no door
Leaves on the line
Afarensis
The Polite Liberal
Song of Myself
Betty the Crow
Kele's Atheistic and Evolutionary Journey
Dynamics of Cats
10,000 Monkeys and a Camera
Ooblog
Philosophy of Biology
Pandagon
A Man with a Ph.D.
Ramblings from the Desert
Covington
Obsidian Wings
Stephanie's Sweet Blog
Backseat driving
Musings
The blue bus is calling us…
…of Cabbages and Kings
The Huffington Post
The Drunken Lagomorph
De rerum natura
Stephen Laniel’s Unspecified Bunker
false cognate
Stoopid Stuff
Cider Press Hill
Hank Fox
The Light of Reason
Amygdala
TAPPED
Andrew Sullivan
Corrente
Father Dan
lolife
Power Liberal
Politburo Diktat
Feministing
The Van Halen Radiation Belts
Linkmeister
Project Morningstar
Decorabilia
Nomadic Thoughts
Mike the Mad Biologist
A Voyage to Arcturus
Neurotopia
Sadly, No!
Philosophy, Practice, and Politics
Frothing at the Mouth
About Atheism
Wolverine Tom
archy
Brown Bag Blog
Jones Alley Magazine
Brad DeLong's Semi-Daily Journal
Marginal Utility
Sandt's Observations
Balloon Juice
Crooks and Liars
Quantum Pontiff
and meanwhile, gregor mendel labored in obscurity
Whiskey Bar
The Continuing Adventures of Starman
She Flies With Her Own Wings
Broken Nails
The Sleepy Sage
Corsair the Rational Pirate
Nathan Newman
Upon Further Review…
Left I on the News
Neurotopia
Proceed at your own risk
reality based community.net
Instapundit
Shakespeare's Sister
No More Mr. Nice Guy!
Imbecilities
Mixing Memory
Language Games and Miscellaneous Arbitrary Marks
Telic Thoughts
Wonkette
Gay Orbit
Don Surber
Right Wing Nut House
Changing Places
Ah Clem
The Devil's Robot
Abnormal Interests
The Liberal Avenger
Living the Scientific Life
The Carpetbagger Report
Decrepit Old Fool
The Examining Room of Dr Charles
The Loom
Alun
Minnesota Politics
Fafblog
Aeromondo
Three-Toed Sloth
Cinematic Rain
Evolving Thoughts
Pooflingers Anonymous
Strange Doctrines
Tiberius and Gaius Speaking...
Poor Richard's Anorak
Universal Acid
Peace Tree Farm
Desert Rat Democrat
Byzantium's Shores
Sappho's Breathing
God is for suckers!
Lance Mannion
The Boxter Babe Blog
The Quality Control Alliance
Blog, Jvstin Style
Opinions you should have
Cosmic Log
Uncertain Principles
Daily Kos
Ruminating Dude
History of Science
The Uncredible Hallq
ekzept
Singularity
FloridaBlues
Church of the Front Porch
Dump Michele Bachmann
Lloydletta
10,000 Birds
I'll explain it when you are older
Sceadugenga
Immanuel Rant
Blog of the moderate left
The Cardboard Box Mansion
Science and Politics
The Binary Circumstance
The Corpus Callosum
skippy the bush kangaroo
Societas
Bad Astronomy Blog
Biocurious
Respectful Insolence
Solipsistic Scribbling
Dubbings and Diversions
Roger L. Simon
Catallarchy
Right Thoughts
Bitch Ph.D.
Buridan's Ass
Big Brass Blog
Steve Gilliard's News Blog
Threading the Needle
Ancarett's Abode
Amicus Rationis
Axiom
Infidels of Every Denomination
Creek Running North
Axis of Evel Knievel
The Raw Story
Eschaton
Philomathean

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

Comment #41071

Posted by Bayesian Bouffant, FCD on August 3, 2005 8:49 AM (e)

President salutes the press - with one finger

His pet war is going badly, his lies are being exposed. His popularity is on the decline. His puppetmaster is under attack. He is looking more and more like a lame duck. maybe Bush just doesn’t care any more what people think of him.

You may have trouble keeping your list up to date. One blog created every second

Comment #41072

Posted by Krauze on August 3, 2005 8:53 AM (e)

For those who are straining their eyes at PZ’s gigantic list, trying to guess where the ID blog is, here’s the link:

Telic Thoughts

Comment #41077

Posted by Joel Shurkin on August 3, 2005 9:29 AM (e)

Don’t forget, Cabbages and Kings at www.cabbageskings.blogspot.com. You are complemented.

j

Comment #41079

Posted by melior on August 3, 2005 9:41 AM (e)

This is the President, you may remember, who justified lying about having smoked pot as something he did to protect the children.

If that was his real motivation, shouldn’t he also lie about his belief in superstition for the same reason?

Comment #41081

Posted by ThomH on August 3, 2005 9:47 AM (e)

Overwhelming perhaps, but still a great service you’ve performed first in contributing your own reply, and second in listing the broad and bi-partisan support for Science Education in America. With luck, the Daou Report or Slate’s Today’s blogs will also take notice.

Regardless, thank you – and everyone else who has contributed.

Comment #41082

Posted by Russell on August 3, 2005 10:08 AM (e)

With luck, the Daou Report or Slate’s Today’s blogs will also take notice

It is noted on the Daou Report, with a link to Pharyngula.

Comment #41083

Posted by wad of id on August 3, 2005 10:09 AM (e)

Krauze writes, “So, if there are any critics out there worried that this’ll be the end of science and that their kids will have ID taught to them, they can relax.”

Excuse me, but who are you to bring any relief to the critics of the ID movement? Especially for a President whose political influence regularly surpasses the Separation of Powers? Are we to take seriously your pretense that Telic Thoughts represents the majority view of ID supporters?

Sorry, but I find your denouncement of teaching ID just as disingenuous as the DI’s denouncements. Y’see, we know that whereas the DI supposedly rejects “teaching ID” they favor “teaching the controversy.” But, in reality, the two are synonymous. For them, it has never been about promoting a positive theory of design. Rather it is exactly about teaching pseudoscientific criticisms of evolution in the hopes of discrediting it. In the same vein, you advocate teaching other “interesting controversies in biology” to expose students to different schools of thoughts. For those critics who have been exposed to Creationist rhetoric, this sounds exactly like the proposals to “teach the controversy” for its characteristic features: the proposal singles out biology; it favors vague notions of “interesting controversies”; and it specifically suggests dubious pedagogical ends.

The similarities do not end there. There’s also this vague appeal that if the “scientific community” *requests* the teaching of design, then it is now legitimate. But, that also has been part of the Creationist rhetoric. What is the DI’s list of 400 scientists, but a growing “request” to teach ID? The YEC’s have a similar list too. The troubling part of this criteria is that IDists are well-known to reject mainstream notions of science, especially as a well-established means of empirical knowledge. Thus, it becomes meaningless for any ID proponent to say that ID isn’t a scientific theory, or to use that criteria as a means of justifying why some discipline should not be taught as science. Once again, the point for the IDist isn’t that ID is not a science, but that *evolution is also not a science*. The rhetorical device then cleverly forces the issue back upon the proponents of evolution why they are not as honest or forthright about the non-science of evolution as IDists are about ID. Clever, but transparent. Notice that in his blog, nowhere does Krauze explicitly state that evolution should be taught to children.

Finally, Krauze comforts himself in the safety net of the Internet as an alternate route for students to learn about ID. After supposedly declaring ID “not a science”, he still would rather imagine students defying teachers on taboo academic subjects (like how to have sex with a virgin, or how to build a bomb) and rush to that great Library of Truths that Mankind has invented. Why the double standards? It only goes to illustrate that the label “not a science” is meaningless for ID advocates. It is devoid of content, and has no value for the person paying it lip service, other than serving up convenient rhetorical devices. Is Krauze not ashamed to be serving pseudoscience on the greatest invention of Mankind much like pornographers serve up free sex? At least, he should be sad to know that between them, one will more likely be the subject of an Internet search.

Comment #41089

Posted by Grand Moff Texan on August 3, 2005 10:51 AM (e)

Teaching ignorance is an act of fraud.

Using public funds to teach ignorance should be criminal.

Superstition-as-policy is beneath the dignity of our country.
.

Comment #41093

Posted by Matthew on August 3, 2005 11:21 AM (e)

This would be a good thing to put into the talk.origins archive.

Comment #41104

Posted by Eli Stephens on August 3, 2005 1:19 PM (e)

You missed Left I on the News

Comment #41123

Posted by David Tisdale on August 3, 2005 3:29 PM (e)

If you believe in “teaching the controversy” shouldn’t you also believe in a Holocaust Denial module for history class?

Seriously, we need to wake up and smell the coffee. Why, after fifteen years of ID being revealed as crap theology masquerading as crap science is there a public perception that any controversy exists? Why are we losing the popular battle?

Comment #41141

Posted by Qualiatative on August 3, 2005 5:21 PM (e)

Spinning what the president actually said and grumbling about it on the Internet does little to help the anti-ID movement. All of the angry bloggers wasted their time.

Comment #41144

Posted by Steve Reuland on August 3, 2005 5:53 PM (e)

wad of id wrote:

Sorry, but I find your denouncement of teaching ID just as disingenuous as the DI’s denouncements. 

Come now, I found nothing to complain about in Krauze’s post. Except for the misspelling of “infamous”, but maybe that was a subtle joke a la The Three Amigos.

Comment #41149

Posted by ts on August 3, 2005 6:28 PM (e)

Come now, I found nothing to complain about in Krauze’s post.

So what? wad obviously did, and explained exactly what, and it all made pretty good sense to me.

Comment #41153

Posted by ts on August 3, 2005 6:42 PM (e)

To clarify Krauze’s POV, consider this from elsewhere on Telic Thoughts:

Krauze wrote:

I especially like the first one, which makes the perfectly reasonable point that “To dismiss arguments for ID merely because they have been hijacked by creationists is like dismissing Darwinism because social Darwinism lead to the holocaust.”

How exactly is a point “perfectly reasonable” when it so radically misrepresents why “the arguments for ID” are dismissed?

Comment #41166

Posted by Frank J on August 3, 2005 7:29 PM (e)

The thread on Charles Krauthammer does not accept comments, but since Krauthammer is a conservative who disagrees with Bush on this issue, it’s somewhat relevant here:

On ARN, Tom Magnuson wrote:

[Charles] Krauthammer is a well-known and respected (by many) commentator. He is supposed to give intelligent, well though out insights with regard to culture debates. Yet, his characterization of ID as a ‘God of the Gaps’ religious enterprise shows his ignorance, perhaps self-imposed, of the true debate. His idea that ID is nothing more than plugging the ‘holes’ in scientific theories with the divine is just silly. His inability to recognize Darwinism/atheism as a philosophical worldview, based on a good deal of blind faith, is inexcusable. And, his lack of knowledge regarding Kansas standards, which do not even mention ID, is baffling.

Rather, ID can simply be characterized as a ‘whodunit’ investigation, based on legitimate forensic (scientific) investigation.

How much in denial can these people be???

Krauthammer makes it clear that ID, if anything, undermines religion. In a classic ID double standard, Magnuson feels qualified to play the religion card with “Darwinism/atheism.” Magnuson’s fantasy of “Darwinism/atheism” may be a religion or worldview, but evolutionary biology is not. And whatever ID, and the designer-free education standards and lesson plans “designed” to misrepresent evolution (and indirectly pitch ID), are, they are not science. After many years, the “legitimate forensic (scientific) investigation” has not only failed to determine “whodunit,” it is even retreating from saying what the “it” is.

I read several other knee-jerk reactions to Krauthammer’s article, and they too offer the lame, unsupported assertion that Krauthammer doesn’t understand ID. In a perverse way, though, the authors have a point, because ID is one big bait-and-switch scam, and no one can do it justice in a short article like Krauthammer’s. But the panic is real, folks, because yet another conservative is revealing the well-kept secret that anti-evolution pseudoscience is no friend of mainstream religion or mainstream conservatism. And of course, no friend of science or education.

Comment #41171

Posted by Krauze on August 3, 2005 8:26 PM (e)

Hi Steve,

“Except for the misspelling of “infamous”, but maybe that was a subtle joke a la The Three Amigos.”

No, that was a genuine, bona fide spelling error. Although the telegraph sceen from The Three Amigos actually did flick through my mind as I wrote it…

Comment #41172

Posted by ts on August 3, 2005 8:40 PM (e)

Krauthammer’s article is surprisingly good, except for his standard-issue BS in his first paragraph about “The half-century campaign to eradicate any vestige of religion from public life”. Of course it isn’t about “public life”, but rather about public monies, public property, the color of government authority, and the establishment clause. All of which is relevant to the battle over ID. Every inroad made by the theocrats, from school vouchers to putting John Roberts (the religious right’s dream – see http://blog.au.org/2005/07/supreme_court_n.html) on the Supreme Court, helps “the wedge” dig deeper.

Comment #41174

Posted by Russell on August 3, 2005 9:02 PM (e)

If there’s anything that might cause me to give ID serious consideration, it would be Krauthammer* inveighing against it. It still comes up empty, though.

*(I take that back. If Robert Novak takes a whack at it, I’m joining my local IDEA club).

Comment #41176

Posted by frank schmidt on August 3, 2005 9:26 PM (e)

It should come as no surprise that W. is trying to undermine genuine knowledge in Biology by claiming that he wants people to “hear both sides” about the Evolution Controversy. Substitute any pair of words consisting of (a) a scientific discipline and (b) an issue it informs for the italicized terms above. For example, we could try the following to start:

a————– b

Climatology - Global Warming
Geology - Fossil fuel Conservation,
Epidemiology - Safe Sex,
Developmental Biology - Stem cells,

And so on and so on and so on…
It is doubtful that any President in history has been more ignorant of how science works…

Comment #41177

Posted by Data Monster on August 3, 2005 9:34 PM (e)

I am pleased that President Bush and my own Senator Rick Santorum have voiced their support for the teaching of “intelligent design” as an alternative to evolution in our public schools. This is because I, myself, have an alternative explanation to a scientific “theory” that I believe should also be considered for inclusion in the public school curriculum.

It has been apparent to me for some time that the sun revolves around the earth and not, as many scientists contend, the other way around. We can observe the sun circling around us in the sky everyday, yet the scientists stubbornly contend that this is because the earth is spinning as it orbits the sun. Surely, if the earth were spinning so rapidly we would be able to detect its motion. Yet I can stand perfectly still and I cannot detect any motion whatsoever.

Every scientist I’ve talked with about my explanation disputes my contention, and talk about how their “theory” of planetary motion successfully predicts or explains numerous phenomena (the turn of the seasons, space flight, eclipses, and blah blah blah); however, I believe it is critically important that both sides of this argument be heard in our public schools. The education of our children deserves no less.

I soon plan to write to President Bush and Senator Santorum to seek their support for my alternative explanation to the ”theory” of planetary motion. Given their track record of supporting alternatives to teaching science in our public schools, I am quite hopeful that my views will be favorably received.

Comment #41183

Posted by wad of id on August 3, 2005 10:54 PM (e)

Krauze apparently felt that his rejection of teaching ID was important enough to single out amongst the entire list posted above, and cited the link to it twice. Why? ts got it right. Krauze is a poseur performing the standard Creationist routine – namely to flip evolution by attacking it from a political perspective and try to gain some credibility points in the process. Thus, Krauze’s credibility problem is the same as any other IDist. I am merely exposing the emptiness of Krauze’s rhetoric, and draw the parallels with the playbook that Creationists know so well. That Krauze finds discomfort with my justified characterization of it seems beside the point. Rather it points out vividly that the true impediments to Krauze’s credibility problem are his political allies in the ID movement. After all, Krauze couldn’t very well complain directly about the Creationists and other more visible IDists for having so thoroughly discredited ID in the scientific mainstream. That would simply take too much intellectual honesty. And God knows, doing that would draw fire from both sides. Poor Krauze might not be able to take all that rejection. Rather, Krauze tries to blame the critics for his fellow IDist mistakes and political fumbles. Imagine that.

As I write this, it turns out that Krauze has replied to me from the safety of his own board. I won’t bore the readers with a detailed rebuttal of his page long whining, nor turn this thread into an interblog discussion. Suffice it to say, Krauze confuses the potency of Wedge-centrism. Wedge-centrism continues to work precisely because the IDists continue to engage in its tactics, and because no supporter of ID has conceived of denouncing its tactics. We see this all over Krauze’s page. On the one hand they pretend to denounce ID teaching, on the other they speak ID in the idiom of anti-evolutionism. They systematically engage in evolutionist bashing, but curl up on the floor in fetal position whenever the same sort of criticisms are reflected back at them. They throw all that energy at the politics and yet could not exert the same effort towards actual scientific research. For instance, of TT’s 16 categories of blogs, which has “science” or “research” in its labels? One, called the “Nature of Science.” Does anyone think that blog category is brimming with scientific data? To be fair, there is another called “intelligent design”, but Krauze warns us not to expect much there (he’s right!). TT has nearly 200 blog entries: how many of them would the readers care to guess are actually about science, data, or research pertaining to design? But wait, the IDists don’t believe in natural sciences, right? This is the real irony in Krauze’s citation of Paul Nelson for his own defense. Y’see, Paul Nelson should explain to his DI Fellow Steve Meyer that there is really a problem that ID doesn’t have a theory (note: “scientific” is not a necessary qualifier for Paul), y’know a theory like modern evolutionary biologists have. We should all picture Neslon dripping with jealousy as he makes the complaint. Come now. Let’s think like an IDist: would it be easier to do science, or would it be easier to redefine science and pretend not to know what the critics mean by the word?

Here’s the discrepancy. Krauze admits not to knowing of an ID theory (no matter that nobody seems to know what an “ID” theory is supposed to look like). Yet, TT, only several months old, is brimming with thousands of words per blog… exactly about what, pray tell? The reality is that wedge-centrism is alive and well in TT. Yet, apparently the only source of Krauze’s problems come from the critics. No, Krauze cannot be criticized for being a Wedge-centrist, because by golly, why else would he be accusing critics of it?

Comment #41184

Posted by ts on August 3, 2005 11:41 PM (e)

Krauze tries to blame the critics for his fellow IDist mistakes and political fumbles

Aye. Consider this, from http://telicthoughts.com/?p=185#comment-1475

Krauze wrote:

Since [MikeGene]’s just made all the points I wanted to, let me just add some more about the Darwinism/eugenics analogy. James Watson writes of a scientist who had such difficulties getting funds for his politically hot research that he had to seek support from a eugenics organization: […]

Might something similar apply to ID? Imagine a scientist who has stumbled across some clues of design, and, hearing all the rhetoric about lack of evidence being the only thing that holds ID back, decides to test his suspicions. But he quickly discovers that no one wants to fund what is seen as a ploy to bring down science and institute a democracy, so he goes to a conservative organization with ties to the Christian Reconstructionist movement, even though he don’t think his research supports such a sociopolitical agenda.

How might critics of ID interprete this, if not as another piece of evidence that ID is just repackaged creationism? And when the researcher denies having Reconstructionist views himself, he’s probably hiding his real motivation under of them Trojan Horses.

See, it’s all our fault that those poor IDists who think that aliensmighthavedoneit have to associate with the IDists who think goddidit.

Comment #41185

Posted by wad of id on August 3, 2005 11:45 PM (e)

Consider,

“It’s what I’ve been pushing, it’s what a lot of us have been pushing,” said Richard Land, the president of the ethics and religious liberties commission of the Southern Baptist Convention. Dr. Land, who has close ties to the White House, said that evolution “is too often taught as fact,” and that “if you’re going to teach the Darwinian theory as evolution, teach it as theory. And then teach another theory that has the most support among scientists.”

I am at a loss what this other “theory” supposedly is. Krauze? Paul Nelson? Ethically speaking, should Richard Land be admonished in such blatantly Wedge-Centric strategies?

Comment #41187

Posted by swbarnes2 on August 4, 2005 12:41 AM (e)

Any idea how many of the blogs listed are conservative? I see Andrew Sullivan there, but that’s the only one I can ID by name, compared to the number that have “blue” or “liberal” in the title.

Does anyone have a feel for the number of prominant conservative blogs that are expressing outrage over this incident?

My pessemistic fear is that none of them will touch the topic with a 10 foot pole.

Comment #41189

Posted by ts on August 4, 2005 12:52 AM (e)

An obvious candidate is “Right Thoughts”, which links to “Instapundit” (also listed above), which links to “Right-Wing Nuthouse” and “The Politburo”.

Comment #41206

Posted by Frank J on August 4, 2005 5:23 AM (e)

swbarnes2 wrote:

My pessemistic fear is that none of them will touch the topic with a 10 foot pole.

Political sites are not much on science. While liberal sites may endorse evolution or criticize anti-evolution positions, they have little to lose, even if the argument is poorly presented. But unless conservative commentators can speak intelligibly about the science they are usually hesitant to “open up a can of worms” by being misinterpreted or misrepresented. Only the extreme authoritarian or fundamentalist commentators unabashedly defend anti-evolution pseudoscience. Another common, but little-advertised, conservative position is where the commentator admits personally accepting evolution, but argues that students should learn “the other side,” presumably to find out for themselves how it fails. That was my position ~8 years ago. Actually it still is, but now I agree that it must be made clear that “the other side” is not science, but a misrepresentation of it.

Comment #41214

Posted by Sissy Willis on August 4, 2005 6:30 AM (e)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'URL'

Comment #41221

Posted by ts on August 4, 2005 7:27 AM (e)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'kwickxml'

Comment #41229

Posted by stuffedstich on August 4, 2005 8:49 AM (e)

hey Data Monster, it’s been PROVEN that the earth DOES revolve around the sun. It is physically IMPOSSIBLE for the sun to revolve around the earth. The sun has a much larger mass than the earth and a much larger gravitational pull than the earth.

As for every scientist who has detested you, i applaud them. perhaps you arent listening to them.

As for writing to the president, good luck. He will most likely laugh in your face.

Comment #41250

Posted by bcpmoon on August 4, 2005 12:08 PM (e)

See, ID and Irony
sit together in perfect harmony
side by side on my keyboard
oh Lord, why can’t we??

This song is for stuffedstich…

Comment #41263

Posted by MrDarwin on August 4, 2005 2:39 PM (e)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'URL'

Comment #41270

Posted by Dene Bebbington on August 4, 2005 3:46 PM (e)

As Dirty Harry once said, IIRC, “Opinions are like ass holes - everybody has one”. As Bush is known for his aversion to reading, I think we can safely assume his opinion is voiced from said orifice.

Comment #41313

Posted by Frank J on August 4, 2005 8:09 PM (e)

MrDarwin wrote:

Hmmmm, add (of all people) Rick Santorum:

Santorum is quite interesting. I don’t know if he’s flip-flopping, evolving his position as he learns, or just being a politician. He has not replied to my 4 emails other than with form letters, so it’s anyone’s guess. But here’s food for thought:

In 2002 he wrote an editorial vaguely suggesting that he might disagree with ID, but that it should be taught anyway.

Note his language in the original draft of the “Santorum Amendment” of “No Child Left Behind” (2001): Does he mean that “…good science education should prepare students to distinguish the data or testable theories of science such as evolution from philosophical or religious claims such as creationism or intelligent design which are made in the name of science.”? (bold inserts are mine) Or just the opposite? My guess is that it’s pure Phillip Johnson double entendre, and that Santorum was mostly oblivious at the time. But I could be wrong.

By 2004, with plenty of courting by DI personnel, he seemed to buy their latest strategy that public school time should be restricted to designer-free misrepresentation of evolution, which, thanks to common misconceptions, and no shortage of designer-friendly language in the media, promotes ID pseudoscience anyway. Or was he endorsing a real critical analysis that, contrary to popular propaganda, “evolutionists” actually encourage?

The bottom line is that he got most of his science “education” from propaganda machines and the media. Not to mention ID critics who are more interested in criticizing God than keeping pseudoscience out of science class. And the mixed messages may just be confusing him.

Comment #41348

Posted by ts on August 5, 2005 2:25 AM (e)

stuffedstich wrote:

hey Data Monster, it’s been PROVEN that the earth DOES revolve around the sun. It is physically IMPOSSIBLE for the sun to revolve around the earth. The sun has a much larger mass than the earth and a much larger gravitational pull than the earth.

You need to get your sarcasm detector fixed. Also, you might want to learn something about Galilean relativity. Here’s a hint: if the earth and the sun had identical mass, which would be revolving around which?

Comment #41465

Posted by Tim Chase on August 5, 2005 3:07 PM (e)

Only Academically Published ID Article Retracted

At times like these, it might be worthwhile to point out how successful Intelligent Design has been…

The one article published in a legitimate academic journal (titled “The origin of biological information and the higher taxonomic categories,” author: Stephen Meyer) by the Intelligent Design movement was retracted. I thought it might be worthwhile to include a link to one of the first reviews – already published here at PandasThumb.

“Meyer’s Hopeless Monster”
by Alan Gishlick, Nick Matzke, and Wesley R. Elsberry
http://www.pandasthumb.org/pt-archives/000430.html

text

At one point, they state:

“We congratulate ID on finally getting an article in a peer-reviewed biology journal, a mere fifteen years after the publication of the 1989 ID textbook Of Pandas and People, a textbook aimed at inserting ID into public schools.”

But of course, the congratulations were given somewhat prematurely. For those who missed it, here is the link to the retraction:

Statement from the Council of the Biological Society of Washington regarding the publication of the paper by Stephen C. Meyer in Volume 117(2) of the Proceedings
http://www.biolsocwash.org/id_statement.html

Comment #41667

Posted by Dave S. on August 6, 2005 12:57 PM (e)

Tim,

That’s not actually a retraction, is it? To me, only Meyer himself can retract that piece of literary vommitus. The editorial board can say it wasn’t something they would have let get by, but their disapproval of the paper, however harsh, does not itself constitute a retraction in my opinion.

I think.

Comment #41669

Posted by realitybytes on August 6, 2005 2:19 PM (e)

Scary, in this context, to remember the following:

A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing
its opponents and making them see the light, but rather
because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation
grows up that is familiar with it.

– Max Planck (1858-1947)

Comment #41675

Posted by Matt Young on August 6, 2005 3:54 PM (e)

Planck was mistaken. See David Hull et al., “Planck’s Principle: Do Younger Scientists Accept New Scientific Ideas with Greater Alacrity than Older Scientists?” Science, 17 November 1978, pp. 717-723. (I have also discussed this paper in my 2001 book, No Sense of Obligation: Science and Religion in an Impersonal Universe, which I am cribbing from right now.)

Very briefly, Hull and his colleagues examined the beliefs of British scientists 10 years after the publication of the Origin of Species in 1859. They found that age was not a major factor that determined who accepted the new theory and who did not.

Planck’s principle has always seemed suspect to me anyway: Precisely who indoctrinates the younger scientists in the new theory if the older scientists will not teach it? Where do they learn it?

Comment #41677

Posted by steve on August 6, 2005 4:31 PM (e)

Huh. I am surprised. I believed Planck was right. I also liked his line “Science advances one funeral at a time.” But I guess that Science paper suggests otherwise. I guess I should have given people more credit.

Comment #41688

Posted by Pierce R. Butler on August 6, 2005 5:55 PM (e)

A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.

— Max Planck (1858-1947)

Obviously Prof. Planck never had the opportunity to witness the progress of the dinosaur-bird link hypothesis, asteroid-impact extinction models, dark matter/energy cosmological proposals, the punctuated equilibrium concept, or any other contemporary scientific debate from which a rough consensus has emerged.

Comment #41689

Posted by harold on August 6, 2005 6:12 PM (e)

realitybytes etc…

“A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing
its opponents and making them see the light, but rather
because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation
grows up that is familiar with it.”

Max Planck was guilty of having a sense of humor, which can cause confusion. Planck’s own contributions were obviously accepted widely within a short time.

Occasionally, older, prominent scientists can be very stubborn about abandoning a pet hypothesis. An extreme example, from the nineteenth century, was the great scientist Golgi refusing (at least for a time) to accept Ramon y Cajal’s demonstration of the cellular nature of the central nervous system (even though Ramon y Cajal used techniques invented by Golgi). Of course, this isn’t the equivalent of denying a major theory. Golgi hardly denied the existence of cells. Neither is it the equivalent of pompous pronouncements on fields one knows nothing of, a la Dembski.

Creationists love to use a quote along the lines of “every new idea is attacked when it is first proposed”. This is also nonsense, of course. New scientific ideas are greeted with healthy skepticism, but if they stand up to it, they are accepted. Bad ideas are usually rejected. By this common creationist logic, there would be no way to distinguish good ideas from bad ideas.

Comment #41707

Posted by Jim Harrison on August 6, 2005 7:51 PM (e)

Apparently the notion that old theories only die when their proponents grow old and expire will only die when their proponents grow old and expire.

I’m old enough to remember the blitzkrieg triumph of plate tectonics. In fact I attended a lecture at Pomona College in which a couple of geologists fresh from Iceland showed off the pattern of magnetic stripes on either side of the Mid-Atlantic ridge. Everybody in the room was rapidly convinced. Granted that geologists in California were already predisposed to plate tectonics–we were practically sitting on the San Andreas fault–the jig was obviously up for older theories. I can’t remember much in the way of rear guard action on the part of traditionalists.

Comment #41723

Posted by bernie on August 6, 2005 10:44 PM (e)

hope many of you very knowledgeable folks might consider stopping in on the discussions about ID over on Religious Right Watch. could be helpful to some readers over there….

see
http://www.religiousrightwatch.com/2005/08/bush_out_of_tou.html

Comment #41732

Posted by ts on August 6, 2005 11:33 PM (e)

Apparently the notion that old theories only die when their proponents grow old and expire will only die when their proponents grow old and expire.

LOL! But I fear this is a self-sustaining meme. I’m guilty of it myself, but hopefully I’ll remember your quip the next time I consider trotting it out.

Creationists love to use a quote along the lines of “every new idea is attacked when it is first proposed”. This is also nonsense, of course.

Even if it were completely true, it would be irrelevant, a fallacy of affirmation of the consequent, along the lines of

Plate tectonics was attacked when proposed, but is valid.
My theory is being attacked, therefore my theory is valid.

Comment #41737

Posted by jay boilswater on August 7, 2005 12:10 AM (e)

“They agree that George W. Bush’s attempts to stuff bad theology into our children’s educations is a stupid idea.”

If only that was the most dangerous stupid idea he has had!

Comment #41740

Posted by Jim Harrison on August 7, 2005 1:23 AM (e)

People have the notion that great scientific discoveries are usually met with scorn and derision. I don’t know anybody who has actually tried to count up the percentages, but my impression is that many if not most big discoveries were greated with enthusiasm, including, unfortunately, some that didn’t turn out to be for real (N-rays, polywater, cold fusion). I remember hearing about the Watson/Crick model of DNA the same year the structure was proposed and I was an 8-year old kid at the time. They certainly didn’t manage to bury that one. And the verification of Einstein’s general relativity during a total eclipse was greeted with a poem in the papers whose last lines were, if I remember ‘em correctly from memory, “This much is certain and the rest debate/ light rays near the sun do not go straight.” Not much hostility there.

The “they laughed at Edison” bit is often cooked up after the fact because of the psychological appeal of the canonical narrative, especially to individuals whose ideas really are worth laughing at. Compare the similar motivation of the American political tradition of representing every politician as a homespun man of the people even if he is born into the New England upper crust, gets educated at Ivy league schools, and set up in a series of no-lose business opportunities by rich foreigners eager to cultivate his family connections.

Comment #41747

Posted by bi on August 7, 2005 3:23 AM (e)

And as Carl Sagan rightly pointed out: “They laughed at Columbus, they laughed at Fulton, they laughed at the Wright brothers. But they also laughed at Bozo the Clown.”

Comment #41748

Posted by Rob on August 7, 2005 4:00 AM (e)

Creationists love to use a quote along the lines of “every new idea is attacked when it is first proposed”. This is also nonsense, of course.

What’s even more nonsensical is that this is indeed sometimes true about theories when they are first proposed. Biblical Creationism was first proposed at least 6000 years ago - I think the theory has had plenty of time to be tested for validity by its proponents.

Comment #41750

Posted by ts on August 7, 2005 5:13 AM (e)

the American political tradition of representing every politician as a homespun man of the people even if he is born into the New England upper crust, gets educated at Ivy league schools, and set up in a series of no-lose business opportunities by rich foreigners eager to cultivate his family connections.

But, but … he wears cowboy boots and owns a ranch!

Comment #41767

Posted by Thomas on August 7, 2005 9:47 AM (e)

Me and some people on my blog have had a long discussion about intelligent design:

http://goodmorninghouston.blogspot.com/2005/08/this-blog-has-been-intelligently.html

Comment #41770

Posted by Charlie Wagner on August 7, 2005 9:59 AM (e)

In plain sight
With the public distracted, George W. Bush is building a big government – of the right

http://tinyurl.com/dbl4y

BY ALLAN LICHTMAN
Allan Lichtman is a professor of history at American University and author of “The Keys to the White House.”

August 7, 2005

Like a master pickpocket, George W. Bush distracts the American people with one hand while reaching into their pockets with the other. The distraction comes through the flash and bombast of explosive social issues like abortion, gay rights, public displays of religion, end-of-life decisions and creationism, on which Bush has delivered little beyond rhetoric. The pilfering comes through initiatives that take from working- and middle-class Americans and give to Bush’s corporate backers, to whom he has delivered the goods big time.

This summer, with the public preoccupied over whether Bush’s nominee to the Supreme Court would vote to overturn Roe v. Wade, Congress passed an energy bill with $14.5 billion in tax breaks, most of which will flow to companies like Exxon, which last year made about $25 billion in after-tax profits, enough to float a small country.

Just before Congress broke for its summer recess, the administration also won ratification of a free-trade agreement with Central American nations that made it easier for companies to outsource jobs and investments, and that bypasses protections for workers and the environment. And it steered through Congress, even after negotiating down the final cost, the most expensive transportation bill in American history, laden with pork-barrel benefits for nearly every member’s state or district.

Last spring, with Americans riveted on the drama of the Terri Schiavo case, the Republican leadership steered through Congress a bankruptcy bill crafted by lobbyists for the credit card industry. According to authorities on the financial industry, credit companies stand to reap profits of several billion dollars from the law.

And let’s not forget the prescription drug benefit for seniors of two years ago that failed to restrain prices, handing big drug companies $139 billion in windfall profits and leaving seniors to navigate a gallingly complex system with gaps in coverage.

Comment #41813

Posted by Jeff Z on August 7, 2005 4:51 PM (e)

The ability of our side to throw away a victory never ceases to amaze me. (I say “our”; I am officially giving up.)

W has plenty of flaws, but he is a very good politician, and one of his strengths is his ability to address the key needs of his constituencies. This is why he keeps winning even though is a terrible candidate and poor communicator, and when he should be on the ropes politically, he is still pushing big parts of his agenda through congress.

Notice how there has been some controversy about this statement, but not enough for anyone to get any real traction. That is what W’s wording was designed to do, and that’s what it did.

At no point does he say ID or Creationism is true. He doesn’t say that they are science. He doesn’t even say specifically that they should be taught in Biology (as opposed to History or English (for forensic purposes)) class. He says that “ideas” should be “properly taught,” which means…which means…which means whatever you want it to mean.

He doesn’t say that ID or Creationism are the intellectual equal of evolution and science, that there is evidence for them, or even that they are good or respectable, he says “understand the debate…hear both sides…expose people to different schools of thought.” Look at his words closely. Is there anything in there with which you truly disagree? Only if you put in something that you disagree with. Also, only if the ID’ers and Creationist put in something that they disagree with will they be able to.

Bush (and his writers and advisors) found the one need that the ID’ers and the Creationists and the Darwinists and you and me have: We need to be right. His wording is designed so that any objection to it had to be based on the objector’s belief that his case is weaker than that of his opponents. His words are all about giving each side a fair chance. Well, the only way you would object to that is if you could not win fairly, because the other person’s case was stronger than yours.

W’s criteria:

1) “Properly taught:” In a science classroom, proper teaching is about science.

2)”People need to understand what the debate is about:” In the science classroom, the debate is about meeting sceintific criteria

3)”Part of education is to expose people to different schools of thought and…different ideas:” In the science classroom, the school of thought is how science thinks.

As far as “The jury is still out” line is concerned, I’d go along with that. After all, nothing is absolutely certain. The Messiah could show up five minutes from now and say, “Gotcha! I planned the whole thing out–even the Grand Canyon!” However, that’s not science. And once the argument is about what is science and what is not science, we win. Remember: That’s the goal, to get ID and Creationism out of science.

The critical thing is that Bush has shown us how to win, by giving us the criteria that is accepted by our opponents and that ensures our victory if we use it properly.

Was Bush intending to do this? Not at all; his goal was political. Won’t the other side fight back hard and try to frame Bush’s words to their own benefit? They can and they will.

So that means we have to fight them. However, evolutionists don’t want to fight. They want to scream and yell and proclaim their own superiority about everything in the universe, insult in the most scathing and vile terms anybody who disagreees with them, and let victory be handed to them in unanimous acquiescence to their shining brilliance.

As evidence, let me give you Paul Krugman’s understanding of one of the key reasons why people disagree with him, from Friday’s column “supporting” ID and Creationism:

“Do virtually all biologists agree that Darwin was right? Well, that just shows that they’re elitists who think they’re smarter than the rest of us.”

If you ever want to lose an argument, any argument you can think of on any subject with anyone regardless of how strong your case is, simply follow Krugman’s example here. You can’t miss.

There’s a word for most of the people who are supporting science and evolution against ID and Creationism:

Losers.

Comment #41838

Posted by Dark Matter on August 8, 2005 12:53 AM (e)

Jeff Z wrote:

There’s a word for most of the people who are supporting science and evolution against ID and Creationism:

Losers.

Hurry up and leave. You are just one less coward to worry about.

Comment #41839

Posted by darwinfinch on August 8, 2005 1:06 AM (e)

HEADLINE NEWS: JEFF Z. GIVES UP!!!!

Losers, eh? I’m sure George “Custer” Bu–sh– has us right where we want him.
What you, Jeff, if indeed you’re not simply trolling us all [and I believe you are generally disingenuousness, and the sheen of yellow that ver gives away the creationist outside its ark], don’t seem to grok is that “we” don’t want to “win” in ANY way that you would define “winning” at all. “We” are (pardon me for speaking for everyone - it’s just for effect) in life for the living, not any short-lived [snort!] victory.

Today’s various “conservative” groups, of so many varied, contradictory aims, are bound together only out of fear that too many of their sheep have started to wise up, and they are very right: their dirty meal tickets are almost punched out.

At least they will find us, barely organized as always, as generous in victory as they are petty and mean. In ten years, having been a Bu–sh–te will be a most hidden secret, like having been a Nazi (qualified apologies for the extreme term here, but no other modern political movement so matches the aims and methods of this pResident: think Nazis as in the period right around the Reichstag-burning, but without the ability to mobilize violence due to a deeper democratic tradition and a wealthier population).

There’s a colorful word for most of the people who are like you: assholes.

Comment #41840

Posted by ts on August 8, 2005 1:11 AM (e)

Jeff Z wrote:

They want to scream and yell and proclaim their own superiority about everything in the universe, insult in the most scathing and vile terms anybody who disagreees with them

The yelling Jeff hears is his own voice reverbrating in his brain. Here’s more of the same from him in the Krugman thread:

The responses you have received here are a perfect representation of the fanatical viciousness, self-rightousness, inability to learn, inability to respond to argument, etc. of these people….As an utterly pointless gesture of futility, I am going to respond to Panda’s latest post by explaining patiently why W’s pronouncement on Creationism and ID was a huge victory for our side, then stand back and watch the muck tide of hatred and idiocy roll over me.

This is from the Ann Coulter school of rhetoric, along the lines of “It’s impossible to discuss the issues with traitorous America-hating liberals because all they do is call conservatives names.”

Comment #41844

Posted by bi on August 8, 2005 2:21 AM (e)

Dark Matter, darwinfinch, ts: hey folks, why spend so much time on this goon? Just cite Lowtax’s Law of Claiming Frustration (http://fzort.org/bi/gloss.html#lex_Lowtax_s_Law_of_Claiming_Frustration) and get it over with already! :-)

By the way, if ID isn’t science, then what on earth is it? The best way I can think of to describe ID as some people see it, is as “an undeniable truth which cannot be empirically verified”. In short: religion.

– bi (http://fzort.org/bi/)

Comment #41865

Posted by Richard Bennett on August 8, 2005 5:00 AM (e)

I think Jeff Z makea a good point: George W. knows how to win at politics, and the Panda’s Thumb crowd doesn’t. It’s not clear to me, reading the last week’s postings and comments, thet the Pandists even want to win on the teaching of ID and Natural Selection; I think many would rather lose, the better to feel put-upon by the people who beat them up for their lunch money in sixth grade, or they would rather beat up on George W. than win the issue.

Of course, it’s a lot worse on Myers’ own blog, but that’s another story.

Comment #41866

Posted by ts on August 8, 2005 5:52 AM (e)

I think Jeff Z and Richard Bennett would be more at home somewhere like

http://post.news.messages.yahoo.com/bbs?.mm=NEWS&action=l&ft=1&board=37138446&sid=37138446&title=ABC%20News%20Anchor%20Peter%20Jennings%20Dies%20at%2067%0A&tid=apobitjennings&date=08-08-2005&url=story.news.yahoo.com%2Fnews%3Ftmpl%3Dstory%26u%3D%2Fap%2F20050808%2Fap_on_en_tv%2Fobit_jennings_1&.sig=HEZsEhp27j0G9N7216PPag–

Comment #41867

Posted by bi on August 8, 2005 5:55 AM (e)

Ooh… so what advice does the great political strategist Richard Bennett have to offer to us unwashed masses? Let’s see: “The people best situated to attack Bush on ID are those who generally support him on the war, the economy, school choice, and that whole set of issues.” Sounds like libertarians.

The question that naturally comes is, why are libertarians the people most suited to attack ID? As the genius Bennett informs us, this is because “The junk social science that’s been churned out of left-leaning universities is a scandal of major proportions, much bigger than funny games with climatology or the work of the tiny little Disco Institute club.”

Oh, I see. The Left™ must be seen as a huge Borg-like mass which has discredited itself as a whole because of some pseudo-scientists and postmodernists, so the only people who have the clout to criticize ID are the Infinitely Wise Libertarians With Their Flawless Philosophies™. And as Mike Huben reminds us (http://world.std.com/~mhuben/onelesson.html) libertarianism is indeed flawless! So what are you waiting for? Join the Libertarian Party now! Or better yet, join my True Capitalism Party! Viva la Liberation! All Hail Ayn Randy Rand! Conform to nonconformism! Individualists unite!

– bi (http://fzort.org/bi/)

Comment #41868

Posted by darwinfinch on August 8, 2005 6:08 AM (e)

bi:

First, who the hell ARE you!

In response, I felt like making my own silly little points, though troll-feeding is a delicate exercise. And it didn’t take very long, so why waste YOUR time commenting on our, etc. etc.

Second, Richard Bennett and his clones demand I redouble my fight against the evils of pride and vanity whenever I foolishly fail to scroll past quickly enough: what a empty cup he/they?/it? offers, and yet trying to pour out just a little more. It’s just impossible not to be rude. I apologize to third-party readers for this, and will again vow not to bother about such true losers, the “hollow men” of the modern age.

And give me an online kick if I ever bother to complain about our nation’s Resident here ever again!

Comment #41870

Posted by bi on August 8, 2005 6:22 AM (e)

darwinfinch: OK, OK, I apologize! But really, I’m seeing this “you closed-minded wonks can go hang I’m not going to try convincing you anymore buhbye” canned meme so much that I thought I’d point out that a canned meme deserves a canned response. That’s all… really…

– bi (http://fzort.org/bi/)

Comment #41873

Posted by ts on August 8, 2005 6:45 AM (e)

darwinfinch wrote:

It’s just impossible not to be rude.

I guess that explains you previous comments in the Krugman thread:

If Paul Krugman says it, either there’s something wrong with it, or its being abused for his own purposes.

and

ts, you’re being a real jerk, here. Do stop.

Of course, it wasn’t me being a jerk, it was Richard Bennett, but your sympathy with his Krugman bashing blinded you to that.

Comment #41876

Posted by ts on August 8, 2005 7:07 AM (e)

bi wrote:

darwinfinch: OK, OK, I apologize! But really, I’m seeing this “you closed-minded wonks can go hang I’m not going to try convincing you anymore buhbye” canned meme so much that I thought I’d point out that a canned meme deserves a canned response. That’s all… really…

And with a smiley, too. You have no reason to apologize.

OTOH, true libertarians don’t like Bush’s wild spending, on wars and other matters, nor his oppressive social policies. (Nor do I, but I’m not a libertarian. Libertarians are the sorts of folks who oppose speed limits because they never drive too fast.)

Comment #41901

Posted by Jeff Z on August 8, 2005 11:34 AM (e)

Richard Bennet: Thank you for your succinct phrase: “George W. knows how to win at politics, and the Panda’s Thumb crowd doesn’t.” If you have no objections, I plan to steal it shamelessly, replacing “the Panda’s Thumb crowd” with the relevant group. If you do object, let me know on this thread. I suppose I’ll do it anyway, but at least you’ll have grounds to sue me.

Also, if you have a moment, go back to the end of the Krugman thread, where your name came up a few times after your last post.

To everyone else, no, no, no thank you more than you can imagine for proving me absolutely right. Let’s look at most of your critques, analysis, modifications, and objections to my post, one by one:

1) Hurry up and leave. You are just one less coward to worry about.

2)There’s a colorful word for most of the people who are like you: assholes

3)The yelling Jeff hears is his own voice reverbrating in his brain. Here’s more of the same from him in the Krugman thread.

4) This is from the Ann Coulter school of rhetoric, along the lines of “It’s impossible to discuss the issues with traitorous America-hating liberals because all they do is call conservatives names.”

5) I think Jeff Z and Richard Bennett would be more at home somewhere like

http://post.news.messages.yahoo.com/bbs?.mm=NEWS&action=l&a…—

I’ll address these points:

1) I’m not giving up because I’m a coward; I’m giving up because my team doesn’t want to fight and I want a team that does (see the very end of this post, in my response to substantive critiques).

2) The term “assholes” is to me so trite and meaningless (why do you think it is “colorful?”) that I’m not sure of your specific objection. Would you mind clarifying?

3) That is the exasperated conclusion at the end of the Krugman thread. This criticism does not engage the content of that post (not that it can’t be criticized). TS, would you mind doing so if you have a few minutes?

4) My name calling is only in the last few paragraphs. I will be happy to discuss the rest. If you find the name-calling, which I have taken to be a part of the of this blog’s threadstyle (Neologism alert!) objectional, I will be happy to remove it.

5)I followed that link, but was unable to grasp the connection. Would you please explain?

Now let’s look at the substantive critques, analysis, modifications, and objections to my post:

1) If indeed you’re not simply trolling us all

2)I believe you are generally disingenuousness

3) the sheen of yellow that ver gives away the creationist outside its ark

4) don’t seem to grok is that “we” don’t want to “win” in ANY way that you would define “winning” at all. “We” are (pardon me for speaking for everyone - it’s just for effect) in life for the living, not any short-lived [snort!] victory.

5) Why spend so much time on this goon? and quote: “As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of people trying to end it by claiming that they are tired of debating with closed-minded wuckfits approaches one.

I’ll address these points:

1) My understanding is that a troll is one who “posts provocatively purely in order to generate an angry response.” (This definition modified from the “Libertarian Samizdata” blog. I Googled a bit and this seemed best.) I was certainly resigned to an angry response, but I was trying to provoke the precise opposite: a thoughtful response (which I only got from Richard Bennett, but he always does). Since that failed, and I got instead what I expected, this could be seen as making me a defacto troll, but it wasn’t my intent. Only through vigorous debate and discussion can we learn and grow. Nothing is more useful intellectually than constructive criticism.

2) “Disingenuous” means feigning sincerity and innocence in order to advance baser interests. I’m not aware of this, but that does not mean I could have been without realizing it (which would make me ingenuously disingenuous, I guess, but Freud got some books out of that). Would you point to a specific instance, please?

3) I’m not a Creationist in the sense of one who believes in Creation Science or that everything that exists was created in 144 hours, though I do believe in the literal truth of the bible, which is an altogether different thing. Putting Creationism and ID in the classroom would be a minor disaster for science, but a major disaster for religion. In fact, both Creationism and ID are anti-religious and unbiblical, as most religious people know or will quickly realize if you are willing to actually discuss the matter with them in an honest and intelligent manner. If you are interested in what I mean, I will be happy to explain, but only then. As far as the “sheen of yellow” comment goes, it seems to me that the reason we are having this problem is because the Creationists are not the least bit afraid to “step out of their ark.” Instead, they are charging out of their ark directly at Evolutionary Biology. Would you please elaborate on your assertion?

4) On the contrary; I understand perfectly that you don’t want to win. That was the entire point of my post. If you would be kind enough to reread it, I think you’ll see that.

5) Also on the contrary, I’m not tired of debate. I’m tired of not debating. Again, if you would be kind enough to reread my post, I think you’ll see that. I don’t think that the people here are close-minded per se, but I think that they are on this issue. I’m confident that were the discussion on a scientific or technical topic, they would be able to listen, question, critique, analyze, etc., much more effectively than they are able (or interested enough) to do here.

I’ll close with two points:

1) You may be familiar with the philosophical “Veil of Ignorance” exercise, popularized by John Rawls. This involves advancing one’s understanding of a moral problem by proposing a solution based on not knowing which of the parties affected by the decision you are a part of, but knowing that after the decision is made, you will be randomly assigned to one of them. As a variation of this, why don’t you look back at the comment you wrote me, and ask yourself, “If I didn’t know if I was the commenter or the commented upon, how would I write this?” Then ask yourself, “if the comment I wrote were instead directed at me, about a subject I cared deeply about, how likely would it be to make me take the commenter’s critique seriously?”

2) I am going to be working to keep ID and Creationism out of the classroom specifically and away from science in general with other religious people like me for the reasons seen in #3 above. If you believe that makes me a coward, I would like to hear why. Maybe you’re right.

Comment #41905

Posted by bi on August 8, 2005 12:50 PM (e)

So it seems Jeff Z has a powerful plan to keep ID out of the classroom. Mind enlightening us unwashed masses on what that plan really is? Or are you just going to say, “oh, but you’re closed-minded, I’m not telling you”, and continue to use that excuse to wallop people without giving details?

Unless your plan is the same as Bennett’s. Then forget it.

– bi (http://fzort.org/bi/)

Comment #41906

Posted by Mike on August 8, 2005 1:22 PM (e)

I don’t really understand his posts that well, but he seems to be saying that we should be making vague ambiguous statements that could mean anything any side wants them to mean. In that way, we could win the political game, just like super political genius George Bush, who recognises that we all want to be right. At least that’s what I gathered from his first post. I don’t really understand that since “our side” isn’t really taking Bush’s words to mean good things for science education, like he seems to be trying to spin it.

Plus he’s giving up…but not giving up and he’s going to continue protecting science from religion with other “religious” people, since it would be bad for religion. He also doesn’t seem to like anyone here. I think that about sums it up, but correct me if I’m wrong.

Comment #41912

Posted by Richard Bennett on August 8, 2005 2:31 PM (e)

Let me restate my point in hopes of clearing it up for people who didn’t understand it previously: in order to win on this issue (or any political issue, for that matter) it’s necessary to build a broad-based coalition that embraces a majority of the voting public. To build this coalition, it’s necessary to frame the issue in such a way that the majority can join without calling their political values into question. Framing it as liberal vs. conservative guarantees that the liberal side will lose, because very few Americans are liberals. John Kerry and Al Gore can explain the math on that to anyone who wants further education on it.

The debate between modern biological science and ID is a debate between the common sense consensus and a fanatical fringe of people who hold views that aren’t acceptable to the majority of religious people in America, let alone to the secular crowd. There is substantial opposition to ID among Republicans. Tap into it and you win, scorn it and you lose.

Do you want to win?

Comment #41918

Posted by Adam on August 8, 2005 3:14 PM (e)

The debate between modern biological science and ID is a debate between the common sense consensus and a fanatical fringe of people who hold views that aren’t acceptable to the majority of religious people in America, let alone to the secular crowd. There is substantial opposition to ID among Republicans. Tap into it and you win, scorn it and you lose.

Here here! Well said, Richard. It appears to me that many people involved in the political dabate over evolution are more devoted to the cause of the left than to the cause of science.

Comment #41920

Posted by guthrie on August 8, 2005 3:32 PM (e)

Oh well, lets have a go…
*Jumps into large swimming pool of HF, made up of what this thread and another have become.*

I think most people here do actually appreciate that what is needed is a broad based coalition to fight ID. The problem is that most of them are not politicians, are not politically minded, and what is needed here is a single issue determination. Certainly in the UK, thats about the only thing that has affected politics much recently.

Personally I am not convinced that the UD? evolution debate in the USA is about a common sense consensus versus fringe lunatics. What about the large number of people who just arent bothered? Who know little about evolution and dont actually have time to bother about it, in amongst all the hustle and bustle of living?

Which is not to say that we shouldnt talk to them, but, I am at least trying to point out that is it necessary to change your viewpoint to do so. As long as the people here stick to the science, everything is alright. The problem begins when politicians get mixed up in the science. So is Bush the biggest mess making stirrer of them all, or a cunning political strategist who has set up a good democratic dogfight?

Yet as has been repeatedly pointed out, democratic dogfights arent science.

(By the way, Jeff Z, could you explain a bit further how you can believe in the literal truth of the bible yet also think evolution is correct. Is it a “God set the ball rolling” kind of thing?)

Comment #41922

Posted by Mona on August 8, 2005 3:58 PM (e)

Richard Bennet’s #41912 is spot on. I voted for George Bush in ‘04, primarily because I support his foreign policy, and secondarily because the GOP appoints judges that have some sense that the Commerce Clause is not an open invitation for the Congress to legislate in any area it desires, and who would not have handed down an abomination like Kelo. (My sole compunction here is that this same cohort of jurists is somewhat more likely to uphold creationism and/or ID as scienc, appropriate for public school classrooms.) Further, I am disgusted by the leftist excesses in the academy, and have written about that in the journal of the National Association of Scholars.

But evolutionary scientists are *not* examples of leftist excess, no matter how shrilly the IDers and creationists insist otherwise. And the vast majority who speak out about the leftists’ stranglehold on universities are fully aware of this; the same NAS journal in whihc I published has carried at least one article insisting and demonstrating that creationism is BS.

Libertarian-leaning blogs that supported Bush in ‘04 are plentiful, and I know of none that has not scorned ID. In my strong opinion, Panda’s Thumb and other excellent engines for exposing the inanity of ID and the agenda of DI, err strategically in characterizing the issue as a left v. right one.

I am not a member of the left, and am not pleased to support a movement that would depcit me as working in the left’s service. And I’m not alone.

I am a libertarian who, among other things, stands for protecting the integrity of science. Those like me will hopefully be welcomed into folds such as PT.

Comment #41931

Posted by Jeff Z on August 8, 2005 5:11 PM (e)

bi: I don’t know where you get “ a powerful plan” from. I’m just to do what I do: Write articles, particpate in conversations, go on threads, try to get a blog going with a few like-minded people, etc.

Mike: Bush isn’t making “vague ambiguous statements.” He’s stated a goal and the criteria for fulfillng it. Of course I’m protecting science from religion, since it would be bad for religion. Also bad for science and the country as a whole. I don’t I don’t like or dislike anyone here, since I don’t know any of you, though I do find some people’s temperaments, based on very limited exposure, more congenial than other. If it’s any help, because of my social/political/economic background and milieu, all of my friends, and most of my family and coworkers are very liberal agnostics, atheists, or practice a very easygoing style of religion, to whom my politics and religion are something of a curiosity.

Sure Guthrie! Not “a get the ball rolling thing,” (though there is that), but for three big reasons:

1) First of all, the hard test of religious faith is believing in an omniscient, good G-d, in a world where the evil are so often victorious and rewarded, while the innocent and the good suffer, sometimes horribly (theodicy). If you can do that, then nothing that anybody says about a pile of rocks is going to affect you.

2) As a corollary to the above, putting your faith in science means that your faith only lasts as long as the science does. Any familiarity with the history of science reveals the shakiness of that proposition. One puts one’s faith in G-d, not anything else, no matter how noble.

3) ID and Creation Science are going backwards. G-d created the world. What is, is. We don’t impose our rules on it. If evolution is a fact, then it’s a fact. The truth shall set you free, etc. If we disagree with a scientific fact, then we are saying G-d is worng and if we’re saying G-d is wrong, then that puts us on the side of He Who Must Not Be Named, as one current usage puts it. (And before everybody starts screaming about my accusing Harry Potter of being devil worship, I am just goofing on you. But you get my drift.)

4) Beleiving the bible to be literally true does not mean understanding everything in it completely, just accepting it. Most of it is straightforward, but it does mean reading it very carefully, because a lot of that it is puzzling or barbaric is not. Referring to the original Hebrew or Aramaic is very helpful in this (I’m a Jew, so I don’t need Greek). The volumes written enabling us to understand the Jewish Bible runs far longer than the text itself. Science can help us to understand passages that otherwise are puzzling. This is hardly the time or place to go into detail, but I will give you a quick one. In Genesis, G-d created light before he creates the Sun, the planets, the moon, or the stars, let alone wood or oil for burning. In fact, when light is created, nothing exists except water, which to the pre-scientific mind would be its exact opposite. However, taking Physics 101 and learning more aobut the nature of light, such as wave-particle duality, makes it clearer what is really going on. In fact, Quantum Theory in general opens up all sorts of possibilities for understanding what is going on. You really need the Hebrew, though–not the whole language, just enough so you know where words have been imperfectly translated into English. All sorts of mischief (a euphemism here, to say the least) has come from this. One of the best known is using the English word “kill” to refer to words that can have meanings as diverse as pre-meditated murder to not being allowed to observe a religious practice.

Anyway, that’s more than enough, and I hope reasonably clear. The point is that religious people look at ID and Creation Science dubiously, and with good reason–unless we can’t give them a better alternative.

I don’t have time to edit, so please forgive the typos.

Comment #41933

Posted by ts on August 8, 2005 5:24 PM (e)

Jeff Z wrote:

ask yourself, “if the comment I wrote were instead directed at me, about a subject I cared deeply about, how likely would it be to make me take the commenter’s critique seriously?”

That’s certainly a good question. It should be applied, for instance, to

Krugman’s piece is childish McCarthyism, intellectually useless and dangerous to anyone who tries to use it against a knowledgeable opponent.

He is using you to pursue his squalid little academic vendettas

That is McCarthyism!

Ugh·I give up.

The responses you have received here are a perfect representation of the fanatical viciousness, self-rightousness, inability to learn, inability to respond to argument, etc. of these people.

As an utterly pointless gesture of futility, I am going to respond to Panda²s latest post by explaining patiently why W²s pronouncement on Creationism and ID was a huge victory for our side, then stand back and watch the muck tide of hatred and idiocy roll over me.

The ability of our side to throw away a victory never ceases to amaze me. (I say “our”; I am officially giving up.)

evolutionists don’t want to fight. They want to scream and yell and proclaim their own superiority about everything in the universe, insult in the most scathing and vile terms anybody who disagreees with them, and let victory be handed to them in unanimous acquiescence to their shining brilliance.

There’s a word for most of the people who are supporting science and evolution against ID and Creationism:

Losers

Comment #41935

Posted by ts on August 8, 2005 6:00 PM (e)

mona wrote:

Richard Bennet’s #41912 is spot on.

Presumably you mean the bit about building a coalition, and not the nonsense about “very few Americans are liberals”. Certainly very few Americans fit the propagandist stereotype of “elitist limousine liberal”, but about 20% of Americans self-identify as “liberal”, despite the demonization of that term. And if you poll Americans on issues, without labeling them or identifying them with parties, the majority of Americans favor strongly “liberal” policies.

But if the point is to build a coalition, then why does Richard Bennett come here and post one note after the other that bashes liberals? And why do you come here and bash “the leftists’ stranglehold on universities”, which is a David Horowitz propaganda phrase for his program to institute political quotas on academia?

evolutionary scientists are *not* examples of leftist excess …
I am not a member of the left, and am not pleased to support a movement that would depcit me as working in the left’s service.

These statements are strangely contradictory. Just what “movement” are you talking about? The depiction you refer to is flowing heavily from Richard Bennett, with a bit of help from a few others, now including you.

Comment #41938

Posted by Mona on August 8, 2005 6:34 PM (e)

TS asks: “And why do you come here and bash “the leftists’ stranglehold on universities”, which is a David Horowitz propaganda phrase for his program to institute political quotas on academia?”

First, I did not come here to bash anyone, including leftists. I seldom comment at PT, but read it often. My sense is that most anti-ID here are left-of-center and I observe a lot of Bush- and right-bashing. But I do not engage it.

However, I agree w/ Mr. Bennett to a great degree, and feel it would be tactically unwise to alienate the large number of pro-science, right-of-center Bush voters. So a lot of the anti-ID folks at PT think, say, the Iraq war is immoral and/or misguided. Fine, but excessive commentary on such themes runs the risk of losing supporters who don’t care for a milieu where their political beliefs are lampooned; the blogosphere is big, and there is no dearth of political blogs. This one, however, is a critical resource for info on a danger to science and a true theocratic threat (the agenda of the DI and their Christian Reconstructionist funders/supporters). “Big tentism” in matters political should be encouraged here and in the anti-ID movement in general, so that the common goal can be promoted.

Second, while I hold enormous sympathy for David Horowitz’s diagnosis of what ails the academy – and have addressed the issue myself formally – I strongly oppose his proposed cure. Legislating the “Academic Bill of Rights” would be a boondoggle of the highest order. (Libertarians do not tend to support the ABR.)

Finally, with regard to your assertion that most Americans are liberal, I doubt it. Not as that word has come to be understood. That is why it has become a label that many Democratic candidates have long been eschewing. Hillary is conducting a horse and pony show to convince the electorate she is not “one of those.” The lady is smart; she presumably understands why her posturing is necessary. Point being, Mr. Bennett is correct that it is unwise to depict opposition to ID as a left or liberal position, because it won’t sell said opposition in Peoria.

Comment #41939

Posted by Mona on August 8, 2005 6:58 PM (e)

I forgot to address this, that ts also stated: “These statements are strangely contradictory. Just what “movement” are you talking about? The depiction you refer to is flowing heavily from Richard Bennett, with a bit of help from a few others, now including you.”

(BTW, I can’t get the hang of your tag system here, so no nice boxed quotes from me, alas.)

Evolutionary scientists are not, as such, going about their studies and research as part of any left-wing agenda. I have fits when the ignorant try to lump those scientists in with an indictment of PC on campus. However, I have observed that some in the vanguard defending them against the IDers and Sci-creationists, depict the issue as one of left v. right. Much commentary here – that is wholly extraneous to the demerits of ID – constitutes right-bashing. I set forth some of my political views, which are shared by many like me, to demonstrate that such views are entirely consitent with hostility to ID purveyors. What I’m saying is: We exist; we aren’t few in number.

If you, and others, perceive your efforts to stop the IDers as left-wing activism, and if you are going to define the parameters of the issue in left v. right terms, and if your perception and depiction is predominant in the fold, I would not be comfortable as a member of the anit-ID (for lack of a better word) movement. But god knows I’ve put in my time mastering data at talkorigins and using it to make creationists and IDers look like the adherents of nonsense that they are. But when doing so at a site like the Freepers, I would be diffident about linking here, because they would find reinforcement for the view that opposition to ID is part of the Vast Liberal Conspiracy.

This isn’t my blog, but I greatly appreciate its resourece value and so wanted to address what I think is a weakness. In my opinion, a ban on gratuitous political commentary in the main threads would strengthen its value. But that’s just my opinion, and the owners can and should take it as they please.

Comment #41942

Posted by ts on August 8, 2005 7:29 PM (e)

a lot of the anti-ID folks at PT think, say, the Iraq war is immoral and/or misguided. Fine, excessive commentary on such themes runs the risk of losing supporters who don’t care for a milieu where their political beliefs are lampooned

In other words, you are depicting PT as a liberal blog. And you, like Richard, think liberals should shut up. Glad we’re clear on that.

with regard to your assertion that most Americans are liberal

I made no such assertion; you need to take your blinders off and see what I actually wrote.

Point being, Mr. Bennett is correct that it is unwise to depict opposition to ID as a left or liberal position, because it won’t sell said opposition in Peoria.

The point, again, is that it is Bennett who is doing so. OTOH, there’s a front page entry just below about Charles Krauthammer’s anti-ID editorial, and I myself have noted such blogs as instapundit and rightwingnuthouse.com that have written strong pieces against ID and Bush’s support of it.

In my opinion, a ban on gratuitous political commentary in the main threads

Well, I’m glad that we finally got to your point. But it smacks of hypocrisy, because in that case we should ban all of Richard Bennett’s posts, and your as well, since that is the only thing you’re talking about.

Comment #41943

Posted by Jeff Z on August 8, 2005 7:41 PM (e)

Don’t take it seriously, Mona. TS’s technique is to pick out everything from a post that is not sober argument, string it together, and then claim that is all that was said. He has no interest in dealing with any matter that would require him to question his own convictions–not change them, just quesiton and refine them. Sadly, he shares this with almost everyone here and in the scientific community as a whole, which is why we’re in this mess at all.

Comment #41944

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on August 8, 2005 7:43 PM (e)

We have a Left in the US? Where the heck has it been hiding since 1919?

In any case, Bush or no Bush, neocons or no neocons, liberals or no liberals, ID will not survive Dover. (shrug)

Comment #41945

Posted by ts on August 8, 2005 7:48 PM (e)

In my opinion, a ban on gratuitous political commentary in the main threads

I may have misinterpreted this comment. Since there are no auxiliary threads, I suspect this refers to the top level posts, as opposed to the comments. But in fact there is no “gratuitous political commentary” in the top level posts being discussed (there has been some, from the opposite political view, by another T.S., in the past). In fact, in the top level post here, we have the very explicit

if the post wasn’t specifically addressing Bush’s ID comments, but was instead more of a generic anti-Bush complaint, I didn’t include it

Surely you don’t think that merely mentioning Bush’s name is “gratuitous political commentary”? If not, then what the heck are you on about? And if you’re talking about the comments, rather than the top level posts, then you’re advocating active censorship, which the folks who run this place apparently don’t like and don’t have the time for. It seems to me that this amounts to a big hypocritical whine by people who are upset that their hero is widely disliked, much like the whine about “leftist” academia.

Jeff Z wrote:

Don’t take it seriously, Mona. TS’s technique is to pick out everything from a post that is not sober argument, string it together, and then claim that is all that was said.

Mona, if you have a shred of intellectual honesty, please point out to Jeff that I never made any such claim or anything approaching such a claim. What I posted was a direct application of Rawl’s “Veil of Ignorance” that Jeff referred to.

Comment #41951

Posted by Richard Bennett on August 8, 2005 8:43 PM (e)

OK, let’s all substitute “imply” for “claim” in our hymn books.

If a person was to pick all the nits in all the posts on all the Internets, he’d be busy for a long, long time.

Comment #41952

Posted by ts on August 8, 2005 8:57 PM (e)

OK, let’s all substitute “imply” for “claim” in our hymn books.

I clearly didn’t imply it either. Since it is blatantly obvious that the quoted material from Jeff isn’t all he has written, simply quoting that material can’t do the job of implying that it is all he wrote. And simply reading the post makes it clear enough what the point of the quote was. Clear even to someone as locked into ideological posturing as you are.

The point of my post was that Jeff Z explicitly complains that people don’t listen to him, then lays out a Rawlsian formula as to why one might not be listened to, and the quotes from Jeff fit that formula to a tee.

Comment #41956

Posted by Adam on August 8, 2005 11:28 PM (e)

I clearly didn’t imply it either.

Boy, TS never ceases in his quest to pick nits. Perhaps I can rephrase what Richard and Jeff are trying to say in a way even ts can’t even poke holes in:

TS’s technique is to pick out everything from a post that is not sober argument and only address that part of it, ignoring everytihng else.

How’s that?

Seriously, ts, I’m really puzzled as to why you’re so defensive on this matter. Just looking at the first 10 posts on this thread, I see 3 that take blatently gratuitous jabs at the president on matters completely unrelated to evolution. They’re practically parrotting DNC and moveon.org talking points. Other threads show simlar patterns. You’ve got to be completely blind not to notice a problem.

Why are you in such denial? Do you even care that the cause of science is becoming associated with the left in the minds of many people who would be otherwise be open to it?

Now of course, ts is going to nit-pick what I say. He’s going to say my sample size is not large enough. That I can’t draw inferences from just 10 posts in a single thread. Yada yada yada.

Have fun deluding yourself, ts.

Comment #41958

Posted by ts on August 8, 2005 11:41 PM (e)

y, TS never ceases in his quest to pick nits.

Excuse me? Jeff accused me of claiming something I never claimed. That makes him a liar, a scoundrel, and a piece of scum. And Richard and you are no better.

Comment #41965

Posted by Dark Matter on August 10, 2005 12:12 AM (e)

“Jeff Z”, this is DM again-

We are in *this mess* because a bunch of people with more
money than honesty are using religion as a front to create
a social order that favors obedience over the questioning
of tradition or authority. And before you try to
say “Darwinism” is a “established authority”- Evolution and
the rest of the products of science won widespread acceptance
because scientists are obligated to provide empirical evidence
rather than digging up passages from whatever religious
book is favored and thinking that long-term persistence of
a religion constitutes evidence that My God Is The Real
One.

You asked why I called you a coward-you call yourself a creationist that wants to keep religion out of science-

“ I am going to be working to keep ID and Creationism out of the classroom specifically and away from science in general with other religious people like me for the reasons seen in #3 above.”

Have you and “your friends” started posting 2 to 3 screen-
long political tracts on creationist websites yet? Or, as I suspect,
you are only targeting evolution websites?

I see from one of your your previous posts that you are a
creationist of the Abrahamic variety-

“If we disagree with a scientific fact, then we are saying G-d is wrong and if we’re saying G-d is wrong, then that puts us on the side of He Who Must Not Be Named”, as one current usage puts it.”

If your god put Dracunculus medinensis (guinea worms)
into the world, then your god is *wrong*.

If your god put RNA viruses like polio into the world, then
your god is *wrong*.

If your god put the kind of junk that causes leishmainiasis,
malaria, trypanosomiasis, amebic dysentary, typhoid fever,
tularemia, bubonic plague, tetanus, strep throat, anthrax, salmonellosis, typhoid fever, cholera, meningococcal meningitis, necrotizing fasciitis, AIDS, rubella, whooping cough, hemmoragic fever, leprosy, tuberculosis, rheumatic fever, rabies, influenza, smallpox, yellow fever and toxoplasmosis into the world, then yes I am saying your god is wrong.

Comment #41966

Posted by Dark Matter on August 10, 2005 12:20 AM (e)

(looks like this didn’t make it through
the first time, will repost…)

“Jeff Z”, this is DM again-

We are in *this mess* because a bunch of people with more
money than honesty are using religion as a front to create
a social order that favors obedience over the questioning
of tradition or authority. And before you try to
say “Darwinism” is a “established authority”- Evolution and
the rest of the products of science won widespread acceptance
because scientists are obligated to provide empirical evidence
rather than digging up passages from whatever religious
book is favored and thinking that long-term persistence of
a religion constitutes evidence that My God Is The Real
One.

You asked why I called you a coward-you call yourself a creationist that wants to keep religion out of science-

“ I am going to be working to keep ID and Creationism out of the classroom specifically and away from science in general with other religious people like me for the reasons seen in #3 above.”

Have you and “your friends” started posting 2 to 3 screen-
long political tracts on creationist websites yet? Or, as I suspect,
you are only targeting evolution websites?

I see from one of your your previous posts that you are a
creationist of the Abrahamic variety-

“If we disagree with a scientific fact, then we are saying G-d is wrong and if we’re saying G-d is wrong, then that puts us on the side of He Who Must Not Be Named”, as one current usage puts it.”

If your god put Dracunculus medinensis (guinea worms)
into the world, then your god is *wrong*.

If your god put RNA viruses like polio into the world, then
your god is *wrong*.

If your god put the kind of junk that causes leishmainiasis,
malaria, trypanosomiasis, amebic dysentary, typhoid fever,
tularemia, bubonic plague, tetanus, strep throat, anthrax, salmonellosis, typhoid fever, cholera, meningococcal
meningitis, necrotizing fasciitis, AIDS, rubella, whooping
cough, hemmoragic fever, leprosy, tuberculosis, rheumatic
fever, rabies, influenza, smallpox, yellow fever and toxoplasmosis
into the world, then yes I am saying your god is wrong.

Comment #41971

Posted by carol clouser on August 10, 2005 3:45 AM (e)

Jeff,

Along the lines of your post regarding mistranslations of the original Hebrew Bible, I highly recommend you read IN THE BEGINNING OF by Judah Landa. It is a real eye openner.

Also, real scientists know, or at least ought to know, that even established scientific principles are tentative working assumptions subject to revision as new and additional data is obtained. Let us recall that a little more than one hundred years ago we had neither relativity nor quantum mechanics.

Scientific work proceeds on the basis of unproven axioms, just as everything in life does. Even Euclidean Geometry with all its logic is based on such axioms. For example, much of the theory of evolution assumes that the laws of nature as we see them in operation today were applicable billions of years ago. That might appear to some to be an eminently reasonable assumption, but an unproven assumption it remains. To overlook this important point is to treat science as another religion.

The difference between the scienctific and other approaches to the mysteries of life is in (1) the methodology and (2) the choice of assumptions. (Scientists will perform experiments where others will consult a certain book.) This contrast is among the ideas that science teachers ought to be conveying to their high school or elementary students. The contrast between evolution and creationism or Intelligent Design is a good opportunity to do so. These are among the tough choices to be made in life and teachers ought to help their students navigate the stormy waters.

A buzzword recently in vogue in educational circles is “interdisciplinary”. Students are encouraged to see connections between the various academic disciplines that are usually kept apart. So let educators be educators. Science courses need not consist of pure science so long as the contarst in methodology and choice of assumptions is made clear.

In short, it is GOOD EDUCATION to compare and contrast evolution and faith-based approaches, and science classes are as good a place to do so as any other. It may even inject some life and excitement in some of those dead beat classes.

Comment #41972

Posted by Grey Wolf on August 10, 2005 5:51 AM (e)

Note for readers: Carol Clouser has already tried to use this forum as a way to increase the sales of the book she mentions above. While she treats it with reverence and seems almost bending at the knees before it, from what she provided and others investigated, it is the same “trying to read the Bible literally while pointedly ignoring all the incovenient bits and contradictions” that has been peddled before. See:

http://www.pandasthumb.org/pt-archives/001161.html

Further adendum: we have had people posing as Carol, so I won’t say that it is definetely her

Hope that helps,

Grey Wolf

Comment #41973

Posted by GCT on August 10, 2005 5:51 AM (e)

Carol, please don’t shill for your publishing house’s book again.

Also, please elucidate us on what the assumptions of science are. I assume you mean a priori assumptions, right? I hope you don’t mean to equate ID to evolution by saying that they simply have a difference in “choice of assumptions.”

Comment #41977

Posted by Jeff Z on August 10, 2005 7:24 AM (e)

Carol: I think perhaps you mistake ontology (how we know something is true) for fact (that it is true). To take your geometry example, I suppose that I can’t prove that, say “if x = y and y = z, then x = z” in some absolute ultimate certain for all time way that would satisfy every hypothetical form of reasoning or mind, but that does not make it any less true. As for “The Laws of Nature” changing, again, I think that you are mistaking our changing ability to understand them for the “Laws” themselves. Telling students that observed data and fact-supported theories are unproven assumptions is extraordinarily dangerous. There was a very good reason that the entrance to the Academy in Athens had “No Entry Without Mathmatics” written above it. Or go to the “World Hiatory, 1914 to present” in your library.

Dark Matter: There is great suffering in the world. What a great point! I never thought of that. Oh, wait, I did. See my #1 response in my previous post. The idea that all “truth” is subjective and hence all viewpoints are equally valid have been eating away at the intellectual foundations of the world for several centuries. Science is the final bastion to fall, and the Creationists adn ID’ers are simply coming in for their piece of the pie. Everything in your post simply proves my point. I haven’t been going to the Creationist and ID websites, becasue I thought I would be more useful here, and I hav elimited time and want to finish up on threads I’ve started. As you can see in my respnse to Carol, I hope, I have no problem doing so,

TS: Okay. I apologize for what I said that you pointed out. Please accept my apology, and explain your other objections. However, if you don’t, I will ignore you (what a threat, huh?) and I suggest everyone else do the same. You’re the kind of person who deals with the world a certain way: Find another person’s weak spot and pound at it until the person your dealing with gives up and walks away. Ignore your own behavior and any other aspect of the other person’s behavior, no matter how innocuous or even kindhearted that person may be. It’s sad, and I’m sure the result of even sadder circumstances. You have my sympathy and I hope you can find a healthier way of living some day. Good luck!

Comment #41982

Posted by Bob Maurus on August 10, 2005 8:48 AM (e)

Way cool - a live segment on C-Span’s Washington Journal with Robert Boston, Asst Director of Americans United for Separation of Church & State, and Mat Staver, Liberty Counsel (Council?) President. Should be repeated at least once later today.

Bob

Comment #41987

Posted by Dark Matter on August 10, 2005 11:09 AM (e)

“Jeff Z.”-

“And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.”
-Genesis 1:25, King James Version

I bet guinea worms and poliovirus are a lot harder for creationists and other ID people to talk about than bacterial flagella and eyes aren’t they? You do know that humans are the only known resevoir of poliovirus don’t you? A magnificent example of “design”.

Scientists are right to question the intentions-and the existance- of
a creator that would burden his “prime creation” with *so many*
diseases to worry about. “There is great suffering in the world”
among people mostly due to the remainder of your god’s design.
The reason I am talking about diseases is because I am a microbiologist and a Medical Technologist. If you have a reference library of
biology books for your studies, do you have any covering bacteriology
or parasitology at all? If not, why? Afraid of what conclusion you
may come to?

Think about this- every time a scientist is successful in eradicating
a disease, a part of your god’s “design” is removed from the world.
These diseases *exist* and no amount of evasive language and debate
tactics will make them go away. The scientists of the world will
*fix* your god’s design to make it a better place for people to live
in, and if he doesn’t like it, too bad.

Comment #41990

Posted by Mona on August 10, 2005 12:26 PM (e)

One of my bookmarked, basically pro-Bush sites, TechCentralStation, has usually carried pieces critical of ID. However, on 8/8 they ran a vacuous piece of drivel by a climatologist who purports to see truth in ID and errors in evolution. Today, they ran one that is (hopelessly) trying to effect compromise. The author just does not get what the IDers agenda is.

In the comments section they (we) are mostly attacking ID. You can read it all: here.

Comment #41997

Posted by Miah on August 10, 2005 2:02 PM (e)

Ok, this is my first time posting on here. I have spent the last month reading so that I might get the general “lingo” and etc.

I was raised in a non-denominational church who I guess could be considered a somewhat fundamentalist group. I found a website http://www.creationtheory.org and ultimatly found this website through various links.

I have long doubted the existance of God, and it was the Church and representatives of that church that further drove me away. But I really didn’t have a choice. I was told to believe anyway. Since I have grown up and have had some time to research I have found that I definatly do NOT want to know this God of Christianity. I don’t feel it imperetive to discuss why in this posting.

I saw this post regarding Bush’s comments regarding ID and/or Creationism being taught in the classroom. I totally disagree with this. The “Church” had thier chance, do we all remember when that was…YUP the DARK AGES. It is my opinion that the “Church” had 1500 years to do something and FAILED. Move aside and let those who know what they are talking about have a chance. It has been working for a few centeries and our species has greatly advanced because of it.

Jeff Z wrote:

…I do believe in the literal truth of the bible…

What truth is there? “God” gave divine inspiration to some men. Men wrote the Bible claiming it came from “God”.
If I was to say that “someone” said something and you didn’t hear them say it…what is that called? Yup…Hearsay which is defined as unverified information heard or received from another.

I could go on and on…

Comment #42008

Posted by Amiel Rossow on August 10, 2005 4:00 PM (e)

Regarding Carol Clouser’s admiration for Landa’s book, here are some relevant facts: (1) Carol was the editor of that book. (2) Landa’s book is dedicated to “Carol.” (3) The email address of the JayEl publishing house that published Landa’s book coincides with Carol Clouser’s personal email address. She seems to have no shame. As to Landa’s book itself, I’ve gotten it and could endure only a few pages, as nausea was developing along with reading all that pile of nonsense, with its ridiculous idiosyncratic spelling of Hebrew words (for example Adam is spelled as Audum) and completely arbitrary interpretations of various biblical passages. She was warned that PT is not a proper medium to advertise Landa’s product which seems to have no impact whatsoever on readers and is largely unknown both to book sellers and readers but which obviously is something she was closely personally involved in. She brazenly continues misusing PT’s tolerance for her personal gain. Despicable. Of course, if the posts signed Carol Clouser were in fact placed by somebody else using her name, then it is that person whose behavior is despicable. This does not though make Landa’s book any better.

Comment #42009

Posted by Jeff Z on August 10, 2005 4:14 PM (e)

Dark Matter: Once again, I refer you to the post I mentioned. I don’t deny what you said in that res[ect. The bible is all about struggling against evil and suffering to be good, so I think what you are doing is G-d’s work. What can I say? When I was younger, I knew several people who had had their entire famlies wiped out in the Death Camps and had barely survived themselves, and still remained Orthodox Jews. I doubt I have that kind of faith. Maybe some day you scientists can find a cure for Xyklon-B.

Still, you are right about science, its unmitigated blessings and goodness far outshine G-d’s cruelty: antibioics, energy production, modern construction, sewage and water treatment, transportation; the list is endless: information processing, climate control, long-distance-communication; even more: atomic bombs, hydrogen bombs, napalm, land mines, machine guns, hand grenades, bullets, torpedoes, mustard gas, chlorine gas, artillery shells, high-altitude bombing, incendiary devices, nerve gas, ricin. And, as a microbioligist, a big thank you for the “weaponization of Disease Causative Infectious Agents,” as the current euphemism goes.

I admire your faith, though. It far exceeds mine.

Also, I am grateful to you for telling me that people get sick, suffer horribly, and die. I never knew that, but I don’t have you reference library. If only I weren’t too frightened, I’d read one of those books you mentioned.

Miah: “If I was to say that “someone” said something and you didn’t hear them say it…what is that called?” How about: A book, a newspaper article, television news, a phone conversation, reporting pf any kind, what you said you wrote on your post, but I didn’t see you do it so I’ll take your word for it? Any of those? You must be exhausted, believing nothing you hear until you verify it. Sounds like a lot of work.

Comment #42014

Posted by Miah on August 10, 2005 5:10 PM (e)

Jeff Z

Wait a minute. Television news??? I saw AND heard a person say something. I can only verify that they (the newscaster) said it. Phone conversation??? Again, I HEARD them (whomever it was talking) say it so I can verify that it was said.

You are putting words in my mouth which I did not say. I was applying the literal translation of the word hearsay.

Has nothing to do with belief. It does have a lot to do with trust. If my wife calls me on the phone and she says she is my wife, I can use my internal voice recognition to trust that she is my wife, because I know her voice.

I had to say something about your literal belief in the truth of the bible.

Course this has no bearing on the main topic at hand so I will not go any further.

Comment #42027

Posted by ts on August 10, 2005 6:17 PM (e)

You’re the kind of person who deals with the world a certain way

Go ad hominem yourself, Jeff.

Comment #42038

Posted by ts on August 10, 2005 6:37 PM (e)

I think perhaps you mistake ontology (how we know something is true) for fact (that it is true).

First, you’re mixed up – ontology is about what is true, epistemology is about knowledge. Second, the two are inextricable, since the statement “it is true” demands an epistemological explanation of its warrant.

I can’t prove that, say “if x = y and y = z, then x = z” in some absolute ultimate certain for all time way that would satisfy every hypothetical form of reasoning or mind, but that does not make it any less true.

If it isn’t true by transitivity, then there are no grounds for claiming that it is true. It is true precisely because we can prove it, analytically, as a matter of what we mean by those words, and if the words are construed in such a way that no proof is available, then the claim is no longer true. And there are in fact such circumstances where the wording invalidates transitivity and leads to claims that aren’t true, e.g.: Oedipus wanted to sleep with Jocasta; Jocasta was Oedipus’ mother; therefore Oedipus wanted to sleep with his mother.

Comment #42046

Posted by Jim Harrison on August 10, 2005 7:18 PM (e)

[in Elmer Fudd voice] “You should be wery careful in appealing to mathematical arguments especially when your dealing with those wascally wabbits. 1+1 doesn’t necessarily equal two when you’re counting wabbits slowly.”

Comment #42056

Posted by Jeff Z on August 10, 2005 8:12 PM (e)

ts: You’re absolutely right, and I’ll accept your (more than) charitable reason for my mistake, but the truth is that I have never been able to remember philosophical terms for more than a few minutes, and I’m speaking literally. Plead guilty on transitivity too.

Jim Harrison: Right, of course.

Explanation: I found “Carol’s” post to be bizarre and contradictory, and with a position the opposite of mine, yet dragging me in as an ally. (I was also insulted by the her book recommendation. I’ve just been talking about translation problems. I don’t need some…never mind) As far as I could (and can, for that matter; I just reread it several times), she seems to be indifferent to the differences among observable data and laws (axioms, corollaries, etc.) concluded from reproducible results; theories based on data which is still incomplete or uncertain; the methodologies, systems, measurement, etc. to obtain data; comprehending and understanding the irrational and unknowable; developing a philosophy of life; and wh9o knows what else. Instead of saying this straighforwardly (and in fewer words), I tried to get too fancy in too small a space and with too little thought. I appreciate the critique.

Ts: “Go ad hominem yourself,” huh? Excellent. If that’s original, you’d better copywrite it pronto, ‘cause it’s going to be all over the place in a few months.

Comment #42060

Posted by ts on August 10, 2005 8:36 PM (e)

Ts: “Go ad hominem yourself,” huh? Excellent. If that’s original, you’d better copywrite it pronto, ‘cause it’s going to be all over the place in a few months.

It seems pretty obvious to me, but google turns up only one instance, in talk.politics.drugs, about 5 years ago. So it seems you’re wrong about how quickly it would catch on. OTOH, if you start posting to a lot more venues, we may see a number of other people independently inventing the phrase in response.

Comment #42092

Posted by carol clouser on August 11, 2005 1:08 AM (e)

Hi there folks, this is the REAL Carol speaking and I am shocked to hear that others may have posted with my name. Why would anyone do such a thing, with all the grief “Carol” gets here?

Amiel,

I am actually glad someone here has gotten around to reading that book after extensively kicking it around without the benefit of doing so. But, alas, you have no specific criticism. Labeling something “arbitrary” does nothing for anybody, and Landa does little “interprering”. The book is about “translating” and if you know Hebrew you know the translations are correct. As to the transliteration system, it was chosen because it is simpler than the standard model and is thoroughly explained at the outset.

I will also repeat one more time and for the last time. I am not a “publicist” but an editor. I make no money from sales and it is ridiculous for any sane person to think that significant sales can be had by posting here. That is an obscene joke borne of an exagerated sense of self importance prevalent here. I do think highly of the book, which is why I CHOSE to work on it as editor and to pass the news on here. And to those of you who think the company or the book do not really exist, let me point out that the company pays my salary, IN THE BEGINNING OF has sales exceeding 4000 and one look at Amazon will reveal that quite a few bookstores are selling it.

Now to some substance, for a change.

Jeff, my point earlier (#41971) was simply that all human pursuits (no exceptions come to mind as I write this) are BASED ON adopted but unproven assumptions which then become the tools of adopted methods of operation. The statement “the sum of the angles of a triangle is 180” is considered proven in Euclidian Geometry (it is a “theorem”) but it is BASED ON the fundamental but unprovable axioms of Euclidian Geometry. (Non-Euclidian Geometry does not take these axioms for granted and has been quite useful to various branches of science such as General Relativity.)

The theory of evolution is strongly based on tons of data but, like other areas of science, is based on adopted unproven assumptions. I mentioned one such assumption, namely the notion that the laws of nature as we see them today were the same yesterday and a billion years ago, and will be the same tomorrow and a billion years fron now. This general and unproven assumption actually consists of a multiplicity of assumptions. Can it be proven that the value of G was always 6.67 X 10-11? Can it be proven that rates of decay of various isotopes have not changed? We can go on and on.

Science also treats the simplest theory as the likeliest to be correct. Thus the search for a unified field theory. A physicist named Wentzel actually explained all the facts of photoelectricity by treating light as a wave. When he presented this at a conference, people turned to Einstein (who resorted to a revolutionary
particulate model of light to explain these same phenomena). Einstein response was, “Das is ein shvindel” - it is a scam! He rejected it because it was too complex with too many ad hoc assumptions.

Now, you and I might prefer to live with these assumptions rather than buy into faith-based assumptions, which also are adopted unproven assumptions. But that is OUR choice. Others make a different choice. Until someone’s fundamental assumptions are proven or disproven all are intellectually equal. This is what creationists mean when they claim that evolution is based on a particular “worldview”, one they choose not to share.

There is much more to be said but this posting has gotten too long already and my fingers have had enough.

Comment #42098

Posted by ts on August 11, 2005 2:14 AM (e)

I am shocked to hear that others may have posted with my name.

There’s no reason to think anyone else posted with your name. One person floated that hypothesis, out of misplaced generosity.

Comment #42100

Posted by ts on August 11, 2005 2:30 AM (e)

unprovable axioms of Euclidian Geometry

The axioms of a FAS (formal axiomatic system) are not the same as assumptions. The development of non-Euclidean geometries was one key element in the conceptual revolution that led to the modern understanding of the foundations of mathematics. Unfortunately, most people are still stuck in 19th century thinking about these things.

Science also treats the simplest theory as the likeliest to be correct.

This is, in fact, now a theorem in information theory … except that “correct theory” is the wrong concept. The simplest theory is most likely to result in correct predictions. This is why science and religion aren’t simply different “worldviews” with equal standing. The scientific method is an empirically proven epistemological source – it produces claims (predictions) that repeatedly and reliably prove to be correct, whereas religion has failed miserably in this regard.

Comment #42104

Posted by Kevin Conrad on August 11, 2005 3:19 AM (e)

It never ceases to amaze me. On one side, the evidence is in ancient scripture. By reading these relatively short books, one can apparently learn about everything from the creation of the universe to the origin of the languages on our small rocky planet. The other side is represented by Universities and libraries full of seemingly endless volumes, physical evidence as displayed in the world’s most prestigious museums, and a countless number of scientists who are constantly trying to improve, modify, and test their own current theories. The choice is overwhelmingly obvious. I am always amazed when people make the wrong one.

Comment #42107

Posted by carol clouser on August 11, 2005 3:42 AM (e)

Now that my fingers have had a break, a few more points.

Amiel (#42008),

Landa’s book is not dedicated to “Carol” (the editor, me) but to “Carol and those who believe all things happen for a reason”. This alludes to Landa’s wife, Carol, the various challenges and tragedies the couple have had to endure and the boundless love for each other that has enabled them to survive. For you to twist the dedication to suit your polemic against the book is truly shameful.

What really bothers you here is that the book makes the Bible look good. That bugs you no end. You much rather would have the conflicts maximized so you can continue beating up on the Bible. I know you and your ilk very well.

Jeff (#42009),

I wish to attest to what you said about faith and disagree about science. I too am Jewish and have known many an orthodox Jew in my life. When it comes to faith these people do mean business. Judaism to them is more than just a religion, it is an unshakable way of life. But you need to distinguish between science and the use of science (technology). Scientist develop science, society develops its uses and sets policy regarding same. Sure, the US could not have developed the atomic bomb without scientists, but in some other societies scientists would have been forced to develop those weapons. The genie was out of the bottle by the 1940’s.

ts (#4200),

I essentially agree with you and shold not have used “assumption” and “axiom” interchangably. However, empirically “proving” some concept in a controlled experiment today does not prove it for all time and for all circumstances (unless tested). The concept becomes a working “assumption” until reason appears otherwise. I should also add that some folks will give you a run for your money regarding religion based predictions having “failed misreably”.

Comment #42108

Posted by carol clouser on August 11, 2005 3:46 AM (e)

Now that my fingers have had a break, a few more points.

Amiel (#42008),

Landa’s book is not dedicated to “Carol” (the editor, me) but to “Carol and those who believe all things happen for a reason”. This alludes to Landa’s wife, Carol, the various challenges and tragedies the couple have had to endure and the boundless love for each other that has enabled them to survive. For you to twist the dedication to suit your polemic against the book is truly shameful.

What really bothers you here is that the book makes the Bible look good. That bugs you no end. You much rather would have the conflicts maximized so you can continue beating up on the Bible. I know you and your ilk very well.

Jeff (#42009),

I wish to attest to what you said about faith and disagree about science. I too am Jewish and have known many an orthodox Jew in my life. When it comes to faith these people do mean business. Judaism to them is more than just a religion, it is an unshakable way of life. But you need to distinguish between science and the use of science (technology). Scientist develop science, society develops its uses and sets policy regarding same. Sure, the US could not have developed the atomic bomb without scientists, but in some other societies scientists would have been forced to develop those weapons. The genie was out of the bottle by the 1940’s. And the bomb could not have been built nor used without society’s decisive input.

ts (#4200),

I essentially agree with what you say and should not have used “assumption” and “axiom” interchangably. However, empirically “proving” some concept in a controlled experiment today does not prove it for all time and for all circumstances (unless tested). The concept becomes a working “assumption” until reason appears otherwise. I should also add that some folks will give you a run for your money regarding religion based predictions having “failed misreably”.

Comment #42109

Posted by carol clouser on August 11, 2005 3:49 AM (e)

sorry about that posting showing up twice.

Comment #42115

Posted by ts on August 11, 2005 4:36 AM (e)

However, empirically “proving” some concept in a controlled experiment today does not prove it for all time and for all circumstances (unless tested).

I didn’t refer to any of that. I referred to claims – specific predictions – that come true. That the sun came up yesterday morning can’t become false no matter how circumstances change in the future.

I should also add that some folks will give you a run for your money regarding religion based predictions having “failed misreably”.

No, they will lose their money if they put it on religious predictions. Even if they could demonstrate one successful prediction, the scientific method results in millions of confirmable predictions every day. Your statement is incredibly foolish, but that doesn’t surprise me.

Comment #42117

Posted by ts on August 11, 2005 4:51 AM (e)

And the bomb could not have been built nor used without society’s decisive input.

This is a strange statement. The bomb was a well-kept secret; there was no societal input into its development or use, which was purely a political decision by a very small number of men. It’s instructive to look at Truman’s announcement that the bomb had been used:

The world will note that the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, a military base. That was because we wished in this first attack to avoid, insofar as possible, the killing of civilians.

Lying to society is not the way to obtain societal input.

P.S. My parents both worked on the Manhattan Project and met there, so in some perverse sense I owe my existence to the bomb.

Comment #42153

Posted by Jeff Z on August 11, 2005 11:35 AM (e)

Carol: This is TS’s territory, so I’ll defer to his knowledge, but my response is to say that just because everything is arbitrary and/or provisional at some level, does not mean it is arbitrary and provisional at the same level or in the same way. Simple example: In the US, it is illegal to run a red light, to circulate counterfeit currency, libel an innocent person, and to commit premeditated murder, all for what are arbitrary reasons, but in wildly different ways. I’m still not very clear on what you are saying, so if you can take the time to tell me how what I said does not respond to it, that would be helpful.

Miah: Don’t read too much into my comment. I was merely pointing out that direct verification is far from the only criterion in believing something.

Kevin: You’re absolutely correct that people who believe: “On one side, the evidence is in ancient scripture. By reading these relatively short books, one can apparently learn about everything from the creation of the universe to the origin of the languages on our small rocky planet” are utterly wrong, which is why ID and Creationism makes me crazy. The first five books of the bible are a relgious text, not a scientific or historical one. Their purpose is to create a holy person, and they only say what they need to to accomplish this purpose: the truth, but not the whole truth. Science is one more aid to understanding their truth, not an enemy that’s pulling them down. I hate what I’m about to do, because one of the lessons I’ve “learned” (please, somebody stop me) is to keep these posts as short as possible, but a few examples of what I mean:

1) Pro-Science: The bible makes it very clear that natural phenomena are not gods, but physical entities ruled by physical laws, a singular development in its time. Other cultures (notably Hellenic) had developed some science, but Genesis made it a rule not an exception. In fact, it was (is) heresy to ascribe supernatural traits to divine objects.

2) Limited Information: When the sun is created, the bible mentions its specific purposes as: “to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years,” all of which are necessary for religious purposes (as well as non-religious), but neglects to mention the giving of warmth and growth of plants, which serve only biological needs.

3) Obscure meanings clarified by science: English translation is usually fine, but it does at times change the meaning of a phrase. Staying with the sun above, the accepted English translation of the sun and moon creation says: “And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven.” This is incorrect, though. The Hebrew uses a singular form to describe the creation. The most accurate English rendition would be: “Let there be a lights,” which makes no sense. “Lights” refers to the sun and moon, two things, but the singular form says “a,” which refers to one thing. Earlier commentators were baffled, saying that the torah sometimes mixes up these things, but Rebbeinu Bachya, writing in 13th century Spain, put the matter to rest by pointing out that only the sun gave off light, while the moon reflected it. Writing in Spain, one deduces that he must have had access to Anaxagoras, who first suggested it around 400BC and the Greeks who mentioned him. (Academic theory (not mine) is that Genesis is a combination of two separate works written 800-700 BC.)

NOTE: I’m not trying to convert or convince anybody, I merely wanted to demonstrate a few items for those who might be interested. I’m certainly not saying that the bible proves science or vice-versa, so please don’t accuse me of that. There is no agenda. Just for those who might be curious. Nothing more.

Comment #42162

Posted by guthrie on August 11, 2005 12:23 PM (e)

WEll Jeff, I am a little the wiser as to your position on religion and science, but dont really understand/ agree with the basis of your belief, but as long as your willing to not allow it to overshadow “science” and the use of “the scientific method” etc, then welcome aboard.

Comment #42232

Posted by Jeff Z on August 11, 2005 4:04 PM (e)

Guthrie: I know. Ridiculous length, right? But for the last time.

Comment #42238

Posted by carol clouser on August 11, 2005 4:19 PM (e)

TS,

The decision to construct and then use the bomb was made by our elected government. For better or for worse, like it or not, that was our society in action. All american citizens alive at the time are to some extent responsible for those decisions (which I happen to support).

Jeff,

The bottom line is that the process whereby opinions and beliefs are created, accepted and adhered to is a subject worthy of inclusion in the educational system. The contrast between scientific opinion and faith-based opinion could be a great vehicle for such a discussion in science class. If I were writing the guidelines for such a discussion I would probably generalize it to include other superstitions and fads such as astrology, Atkins’ diet, etc.

Also, those of us who probed the original (that is, Hebrew) Bible, as you seem to have done, have come to know it as a document that was way ahead of its time, by thousands of years, in many different ways. Which is one reason given for the belief that it was divinely inspired. The other being the miraculous survival of its main proponents - the Jews.

Comment #42251

Posted by shenda on August 11, 2005 4:56 PM (e)

“Go ad hominem yourself”

Isn’t that against Leviticus? Not to mention illegal in most red states?

Comment #42252

Posted by Russell on August 11, 2005 5:00 PM (e)

Am I the only one who is reminded of Chauncy Gardiner when the entire world takes seriously something Dubya has to say about science or science education?

Comment #42292

Posted by Cyrian on August 11, 2005 8:57 PM (e)

People might be interested in this. If they’re going to teach ID they may as well give equal time to other theories as well.

Comment #42311

Posted by ts on August 11, 2005 9:59 PM (e)

The decision to construct and then use the bomb was made by our elected government. For better or for worse, like it or not, that was our society in action.

I’m not surprised that you’ve moved the goalposts.

those decisions (which I happen to support)

Most Americans do but, aside from the rank tribalism that assures such support from most people, they aren’t familiar with the relevant details – for instance, that Japan was already crushed and was seeking through back channels to surrender while retaining the dignity of the Emperor, who was revered on a level that Catholics regard the Pope, while some American elements would accept only complete unconditional surrender, with a fair amount of groveling thrown in. There was also the fact that the Soviets were due to enter the war in the Pacific on August 26, which would have meant their taking claim to the spoils. Scientists such as Einstein – who wrote the letter to FDR that got the Manhattan Project rolling but who was frozen out as a security risk – urged that the bomb be dropped on an uninhabited island. The Japanese of course didn’t believe that any weapon could have such firepower. And 3 days after slaughtering tens of thousands of Hiroshima civilians with the Uranium “Little Boy”, it was time to try out the Plutonium “Fat Man” on Nagasaki, with similar effect. But it’s very easy to “support” these actions from a goodly distance in time, awareness, and empathy for people of all ages, from infants to the elderly, when they’re “the other”. Robert Oppenheimer, the physicist and chief scientist for the project who brought many other physicists into it on the strength of his reputation and an appeal to patriotism (the physicists didn’t know what they would be working on until they got to Los Alamos), declared “Science has learned sin”, and struggled to prevent development of the hydrogen bomb, but he was painted with a McCarthite brush, was stripped of his security clearance, and died a broken man.

Comment #42374

Posted by TMN on August 12, 2005 9:28 AM (e)

I’d never heard this particular angle on ID from a proponent. The discussion started with Bush’s comments. Larry Mantle’s “AirTalk” show on So Cal’s NPR station KPCC had John Mark Reynolds out of Biola and the Discovery Institute vs. Michael Shermer. It’s on Podcast in iTunes and RealPlayer.
http://www.scpr.org/programs/airtalk/index.shtml
Who is this guy—Reynolds? He’s a good debater (which of course is not the same as a good argument.) Can someone comment on his argument? Seemed like a sophisticated (confusing?) rework of the God of the gaps argument.
INTELLIGENT DESIGN
Should intelligent design be taught in schools? Larry poses the question to John Mark Reynolds, Associate Professor of Philosophy at Biola University, and Michael Shermer, publisher of Skeptic magazine.

http://www.publicradio.org/tools/media/player/kpcc/news/shows/airtalk/2005/08/20050810_airtalk2?start=00:00:00&end=00:53:01

Comment #42379

Posted by Flint on August 12, 2005 10:00 AM (e)

ts:

This is a strange statement. The bomb was a well-kept secret; there was no societal input into its development or use, which was purely a political decision by a very small number of men…I’m not surprised that you’ve moved the goalposts.

But not all that far. The voting public is not generally consulted directly on nearly every decision the political process produces. And seriously, would you wish to spend all of your time considering every ramification and variation of every proposed bill? Even the professional, elected politicians must delegate most such attention to committees, and vote based on committee recommendations without any in-depth understanding of all the issues involved. There aren’t enough hours in the day for this.

Perhaps something as important as The Bomb should have been subjected to wider scrutiny, but Congress is leakier than any sieve. Matters of utmost secrecy and national security are problematic: Of necessity, a minimum number of people can be informed, and even those kept as incompletely informed as still permits them to contribute usefully.

So societal input is highly indirect: We elect politicians almost entirely based on our gut feelings about the nature and direction of their preferences and judgment. These politicians exercise that judgment (in this case) by starting secret military projects. There are surely many such secret projects going on at all times, and there may be no single individual aware of all of them.

So for Carol’s position to hold water, we need to examine whether or not a different set of politicians (presumably selected from those actually running for office but who lost) would have followed the same course. Personally, I think different politicians would have made different decisions; else why have parties and elections? But the voting public could not possibly have known about even the possibility of a Manhattan Project. Probably those they elected who kicked off that project didn’t know either when they were elected.

Electing those of “trustworthy judgment when faced with the currently unknowable” is both the best we can do, and very indirect, correctable only in retrospect if ever. Nonetheless, Carol is correct: this is a very real responsibility in a system where people select their leaders.

Comment #42396

Posted by SEF on August 12, 2005 10:45 AM (e)

Electing those of “trustworthy judgment when faced with the currently unknowable” is both the best we can do, and very indirect

Which is why one shouldn’t generally elect anyone who has been unthinkingly indoctrinated with religion. It is the same situation as with the modern fish parable:

Give a man a fish and he’ll be fed for that day. Teach a man to fish and he’ll be able to feed himself and his family for ever*. (* usual caveats apply)

Give a man some religious morals and, at best, he’ll be able to regurgitate them a few times - ie without genuine understanding or ongoing benefit and often with dangerous misapplication. Teach a man how ethical systems are constructed instead (ie typically from the evolutionary or atheistic points of view) and he’ll be equipped to deal rationally with future, currently unknowable dilemmas too.

Comment #42410

Posted by Soup on August 12, 2005 12:04 PM (e)

I don’t see why the Darwinists are so upset. Competition is healthy.

Comment #42416

Posted by Flint on August 12, 2005 12:50 PM (e)

Soup:

All competitions take place under an agreed-upon set of rules. There is plenty of competition in the world of science; it could almost be said that scientific progress would be anemic without it. But it takes place under the rules of science.

Here’s a case in point: Consider the last baseball game played in Cuba (in the International League, a triple-A league). The revolution had happened, Castro had just come to power, the situation was fluid. The Havana team was losing the game. Some of the fans pulled out guns and started shooting at the opposition. The third base coach of the visiting team was struck in the helmet.

This is NOT the set of rules under which baseball games are played. It is NOT “healthy competition.” Scientists would be delighted with healthy competition, and regularly BEG creationists to actually DO some science. Even a single testable hypothesis would be gladly welcomed. The Creationists want to “play science” under rules as different as baseball and guns - and they get the guns!

Comment #42425

Posted by ts on August 12, 2005 1:42 PM (e)

The voting public is not generally consulted directly on nearly every decision the political process produces. And seriously, would you wish to spend all of your time considering every ramification and variation of every proposed bill?

You’re flipping this around. Carol referred to “decisive societal input”. Pointing out that there isn’t decisive input on a lot of other issues doesn’t strengthen her claim. And in the case under discussion, the decisions were under lock and key, far more so than even Bush’s most secret machinations.

Nonetheless, Carol is correct: this is a very real responsibility in a system where people select their leaders.

Swell, now you’ve moved the goalposts even further. Once again, plain and simple: society did not have “decisive input” into the building and use of the bomb.

Comment #42426

Posted by ts on August 12, 2005 1:44 PM (e)

The Creationists want to “play science” under rules as different as baseball and guns - and they get the guns!

And they’re shooting them at school children.

Comment #42430

Posted by ts on August 12, 2005 2:01 PM (e)

It’s also worth looking at the context of Carol’s statement:

Scientist develop science, society develops its uses and sets policy regarding same.

Yes, generally, but

Sure, the US could not have developed the atomic bomb without scientists, but in some other societies scientists would have been forced to develop those weapons.

the general process described above is very much not how the bomb was developed. There was a secret decision to make the bomb. Leading and charismatic American physicist Robert Oppenheimer was brought on to recruit other physicists and scientists, who were begged and cajoled to leave their neighborhoods for a secret (to them) location on a secret (to them) project. Their country was at war, their patriotism was appealed to – no “force”, but plenty of coercion. They formed a closed society. There was none of the open research, published in peer reviewed journals and available to the society at large, that characterizes so much of science. Imagine if there were a similarly secret project underway to develop a human clone army, which on August 6 of 2006 invades Iran. Would we be talking about “decisive societal input”, of “society” developing the uses of clone technology and setting the policy regarding same? Don’t be ridiculous. Do be intellectually honest.

Comment #42432

Posted by ts on August 12, 2005 2:07 PM (e)

P.S. I know full well that cloning isn’t the sci-fi fantasy that produces fully developed adults, it’s just an illustration, an apt one because in fact there is so much “decisive societal input” on the issue of cloning.

Comment #42433

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

Carol: Understanding faith-based belief might have a role in a science class, but it is the same role, for example, as that of a discussion about differing moral opinons about material possessions would have in a Law School Contracts class: interesting and intellectually stimulating, perhaps, but an example of how not to approach contracts in a legal context. It would not be a question of what is right or wrong per se, but rather that it would be irrelevant to the class and inapplicable to legal procedure.

Or let’s go to the other extreme: suppose every one in the world suddenly thought, “Why, that Jeff Z is a genius! His brilliant comment #42153 has made me see the light! I’m going straight to church, right after I send him a check.” How would that change science class? Hardly at all. Take auto shop (is tht still taught?). How much time is spent studying the history of engine design, where it was manufactured, etc. A good teacher would probably want to spend a little time discussing that, so students could understand engine mechanics in their proper context, but it would be of little use otherwise.

Similarly, only proper scientific methodology is of use in a science class. Like it or not, ID and Creation Science are useful in a biology class only to the extent they meet its criteria, no matter how much one believes it. And as of yet, that criteria is not being met. It just doesn’t belong in a science class.

Comment #42435

Posted by carol clouser on August 12, 2005 2:21 PM (e)

TS,

If the Japanese were ready to surrender as you say and we knew about it, and we (Truman) dropped the two bombs due to the status of the emperor and to avoid yielding spoils to the Soviets, why then did we in the end, after dropping the bombs and thoroughly defeating the Japanese, magnanimously allow the emperor to retain his status and yield various spoils to the Soviets? Sounds to me like a lot of liberal claptrap typical of the American Left whose starting axiom is that if the American Government did it, it must be wrong. The only thing left to do is figure out why it is wrong.

I also moved no “goalposts” near or far. In distinguishing between science and the use of science, I was using the term “society” broadly. It is really quite simple. While scientists develop science, all of us are consumers of science and share in the responsibility and obligation to use it ethically and wisely.

Had Heisenberg’s team in Germany been first to develop the atomic bomb and had Germany used those bombs, decisions that the German people would have had even less of an opportunity to influence than the American people could influence Truman’s decisions, it still would be correct to hold Germany as a whole resposible for those acts. Hitler (may his name be obliterated) would have amounted to nothing absent the active support of a third the population, the passive support of another third, and the fearful silence of the final third. It would not be fair, however, to hold Rutherford partly responsible due to his pivotal contributions in initiating nuclear physics. It would be right to hold Heisenberg particularly responsible since he worked directly in the employ of the Nazi government. He was not working for “science”, per se, he was working for the “war effort”, on the wrong side.

Comment #42437

Posted by ts on August 12, 2005 2:32 PM (e)

Finally, I will note that all of Flint’s blather pertains to Carol’s statement after she moved the goalposts, a statement on which I didn’t comment and with which I don’t disagree:

For better or for worse, like it or not, that was our society in action.

Yes, it was “society in action” in a very broad sense, and we all have a responsibility to do our best to select leaders who reflect our interests and who will act wisely in our behalf. But only by the most absurd sophistry can one say that society has “decisive input” into a decision made by a handful of people about something that the rest of society was completely unaware of. And that’s true even if, as I suspect, the American people at the time would have voted to drop the bomb. So I’m not disputing that Truman represented the people, I’m only disputing a specific statement about “decisive societal input”, a statement which, as I said, was “strange”, given the facts surrounding the development and use of the bomb. If that involved “decisive societal input”, then every decision made by every President, including Bill Clinton deciding to get a BJ under the desk in the Oval Office while on the phone with foreign dignitaries, is a decision that involved “decisive societal input”.

Comment #42438

Posted by Steviepinhead on August 12, 2005 2:34 PM (e)

Huxley was termed Darwin’s bulldog. Now Dawkins is being called Darwin’s rottweiler.

Some of you have waxed a tad testy about ts in pages past.

As I cringe yet again at Carol’s tedious and interminable chutspah, I for one am perfectly content to step aside whilst ts whets his canines.

Comment #42440

Posted by ts on August 12, 2005 2:50 PM (e)

If the Japanese were ready to surrender as you say and we knew about it, and we (Truman) dropped the two bombs due to the status of the emperor and to avoid yielding spoils to the Soviets, why then did we in the end, after dropping the bombs and thoroughly defeating the Japanese, magnanimously allow the emperor to retain his status

You can read about it at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hirohito#Last_days_of_the_war

the Allies were determined not to settle for anything short of “unconditional surrender”, and as late as July 1945 neither the Emperor nor his government were prepared to consider that option: they insisted on at least one condition, a guarantee of the emperor’s continuing position in Japanese society….

Post-war reign

U.S. General Douglas MacArthur insisted that Hirohito remain Emperor to keep him as a symbol of continuity and cohesion of the Japanese people. Hirohito was spared trial and retained the throne, but Hirohito was forced to explicitly reject (in the Ningen-sengen (人間宣言, lit. “declaration of human being”) the traditional claim that the Emperor of Japan was divine

As for

and yield various spoils to the Soviets?

Ah, yes, how could I have overlooked East Japan vs. West Japan, and the eventual fall of the Tokyo Wall.

Sounds to me like a lot of liberal claptrap typical of the American Left whose starting axiom is that if the American Government did it, it must be wrong.

Sounds to me like you’re a typical right wing idiot who puts ideology before facts.

Comment #42444

Posted by Flint on August 12, 2005 3:12 PM (e)

ts:

You’re flipping this around. Carol referred to “decisive societal input”. Pointing out that there isn’t decisive input on a lot of other issues doesn’t strengthen her claim. And in the case under discussion, the decisions were under lock and key, far more so than even Bush’s most secret machinations.

My point (which you seem to prefer to dismiss as “blather” rather than actually thinking about it) was that we would be hard-pressed to find ANY political decision made in our American system, to which the societal input was “decisive”. The system doesn’t work that way. We don’t have direct real-time plebiscites.

I’m not talking about “a lot of other issues”, I’m talking about how political decisions are made in the American system. You know – blather.

Swell, now you’ve moved the goalposts even further. Once again, plain and simple: society did not have “decisive input” into the building and use of the bomb.

I notice that you have been careful not to define “decisive”. I don’t think anyone is claiming that the population at large made this or any other decision directly.

There was a secret decision to make the bomb. Leading and charismatic American physicist Robert Oppenheimer was brought on to recruit other physicists and scientists, who were begged and cajoled to leave their neighborhoods for a secret (to them) location on a secret (to them) project. Their country was at war, their patriotism was appealed to — no “force”, but plenty of coercion.

I don’t think any of this is in dispute. If there IS a dispute (not always clear in discussions with you), it’s what you sidestepped in using the passive voice – “there was a secret decision.” Yes, there was. Who made it? Truman? Would Dewey have made the same decision? Or maybe it would help to turn the question around: would the American public be justified in saying “we had nothing to do with this; our leaders did it to us”?

we all have a responsibility to do our best to select leaders who reflect our interests and who will act wisely in our behalf. But only by the most absurd sophistry can one say that society has “decisive input” into a decision made by a handful of people about something that the rest of society was completely unaware of.

Ah, sophistry. Is this because those we elected did not explicitly campaign on the issue, with the winner promising to build the bomb and the loser promising not to? But let’s say Dewey would have emphatically rejected any such suggestion, while Truman welcomed it. If that were the case (and for all we know it may have been), wouldn’t the election results have indeed been decisive with respect to the bomb? Elect Truman, get bomb. Elect Dewey, no bomb. Public’s decision.

If that involved “decisive societal input”, then every decision made by every President, including Bill Clinton deciding to get a BJ under the desk in the Oval Office while on the phone with foreign dignitaries, is a decision that involved “decisive societal input”.

Here we get to the heart of the matter. Yes, the Manhattan project, once started, was very secret (though perhaps not quite secret enough?). The decision to start it was a political decision. The public elected those politicians. The decision to begin the Manhattan Project was neither more nor less a decision on the part of the public than any other decision not explicitly campaigned for or against. Even matters directly raised in campaigns aren’t “decisive” in your sense, because politicians run on platforms making statements about hundreds of issues. So a “decisive societal input” would have to be a direct plebiscite, something our system uses only in very rare cases (propositions on some ballots).

Given how the system works, we must choose whether ALL, or NO, decisions have “decisive societal input.” As I see it, the societal input is always real, always indirect. “Decisive” seems to refer here to the identity of whoever made the decision most directly proximate to the action - whoever gave the final go-ahead. Which is never “the society” directly.

Comment #42445

Posted by Flint on August 12, 2005 3:16 PM (e)

Completely off topic but just for sheer speculation: Does anyone suppose that Truman would have dropped the bombs on Europe, regardless of provocation? I’ve always felt that the decision to drop them on Japan was at least subconsciously justifiable because the Japanese were in some sense considered “not quite real people.” But maybe I’m dreaming…

Comment #42447

Posted by ts on August 12, 2005 3:16 PM (e)

My point (which you seem to prefer to dismiss as “blather” rather than actually thinking about it) was that we would be hard-pressed to find ANY political decision made in our American system

It’s blather because, as I noted, I didn’t disagree with it, but it’s post-goal-post moving. So your claim about my not thinking about it is just more of your stupid lying crap.

Comment #42449

Posted by ts on August 12, 2005 3:24 PM (e)

Ok, I posted that a bit too quickly, out of reaction to the immensity of your dishonesty. Yes, indeed, no political decision has “decisive” societal input, if one insists, sophistically, on so trivializing the concept as to make that a tautology. But for any honest person, there are distinctions to be made, say between human cloning and building the atom bomb – just the sort of distinction I did make.

I’ve always felt that the decision to drop them on Japan was at least subconsciously justifiable because the Japanese were in some sense considered “not quite real people.”

I already commented on this, with my reference to “the other”. And if you look at WWII propaganda literature and posters, you will see that the “Krauts” were also dehumanized, although not to the degree of the “Japs”. To answer your question, look into Dresden.

Comment #42450

Posted by A Rational Being on August 12, 2005 3:34 PM (e)

I’d like to add another ID related post to your list.
Please visit
http://nonsequitur2.blogspot.com and see my post titled “Intelligent Wedge”

Thanks,
ARB

Comment #42452

Posted by ts on August 12, 2005 3:39 PM (e)

And for Carol and her absurd partisan filtering, we’re discussing American actions because that’s what she brought up. We could as well talk of Guernica, the Holocaust, Japanese torture, Soviet Gulags, Saddam Hussein’s Abu Ghraib torture chambers, the horrors of Sharia law, African infibulation of women, you name it. She’s got the formula backwards; it’s not that the left says that, if America did it, it’s wrong, it’s the right wing tribalist insistence that America can do no wrong. But I have a different American notion, captured in the partially famous quote by Carl Shurz, “My country, right or wrong. When right, to be kept right; when wrong, to be put right”, and the unknown stanzas of Katherine Bates’ beautiful song:

O beautiful for patriot dream
That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam,
Undimmed by human tears!
America! America!
God mend thine every flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self control,
Thy liberty in law.

Comment #42454

Posted by carol clouser on August 12, 2005 3:49 PM (e)

TS,

Do you not understand that the mere fact that one man can make such a decision, on our bahalf, using our resources, and endangering our lives, is itself a reflection on our society? Is not the american presidency a uniquely american institution? Did we not invent it and maintain it? Is not the fact that we elected a person who would get BJ’s in the oval office also a reflection of our society? Was he not a product of our society?(The two presidents before that person would not even enter the oval office without tie and jacket.) Is it not a fact that our society provided for those scientists, their education (emigration) and support, that made them capable of producing the bomb? Did not keeping the massive project secret entail the cooperation of many people? Is not the value system that encouraged their cooperation itself an aspect of our society?

We can go on and on. By now I think even you might be getting the point.

Comment #42455

Posted by Flint on August 12, 2005 4:06 PM (e)

ts:

Ok, I posted that a bit too quickly, out of reaction to the immensity of your dishonesty.

You might, just for the intellectual exercise, try on for size the thought that if people seem to disagree with you, it might not be due to dishonesty. They might have a different but valid point. You might even have misunderstood their point. My efforts to determine just where the goalposts were actually anchored (which was NOT made explicit) were required because my reading of Carol’s different claims found that the goalposts had not moved, while your reading found that they had. My goal was to clarify what appeared to be a legitimate misunderstanding. Your goal is to label others liars. I think we both succeeded, although I find your goal somewhat short of admirable.

I also agree (I don’t know who wouldn’t, but maybe you do) with Carl Shurz. I only hope that you aren’t trying to imply that the ways in which the country is right and wrong are obvious, or matters of widespread agreement, or (worst of all) matters of honesty or dishonesty. Intelligent and knowledgeable people can and do disagree about important matters. The “right wing tribalists” hardly insist that America can do no wrong; they tend to bemoan the recent rapid social and legal degeneration that has befallen us.

It’s easy to wax poetic about how we should identify and mend our flaws and put right what’s wrong, until we get into specifics. If I listed what I found most right about America, I suspect most of the items on my list would also be found on the “most wrong” lists of both far left and far right.

Comment #42459

Posted by Jeff Z on August 12, 2005 4:50 PM (e)

Flint: I don’t think you have to worry about the US going too easy on the Germans. I’m sure that we would have had no problem using nuclear weapons on them if they had been ready.

http://www.anesi.com/ussbs02.htm

Comment #42465

Posted by Steviepinhead on August 12, 2005 5:09 PM (e)

carol clouser

The decision to construct and then use the bomb was made by our elected government. For better or for worse, like it or not, that was our society in action. All american citizens alive at the time are to some extent responsible for those decisions .

While scientists develop science, all of us are consumers of science and share in the responsibility and obligation to use it ethically and wisely.

I ain’t getting in between ts and anybody else. But carol’s two statements above say two quite different things about society’s responsibility for the uses to which science is put–the first one directly attibutes some meaningful degree of moral responsibility for the cloistered executive decision to use the secretly-developed bomb to “all american citizens alive at the time.”

This is a controversial claim, one apparently intended to resonate, among other things, with the moral culpability attributed to some German citizens for Hitler’s rise to and retention of power.

But the two claims are not remotely consonant, since almost all German citizens certainly comprehended Hitler’s savage degree of antisemitism ahead of time (and a substantial number of them shared that antisemitism), substantial numbers of them nonetheless facilitated his rise to power, and many of them then acquired strong reasons to suspect the likely fate of the uprooted Jews.

The second statement–like others of carol’s more recent statements–makes the much more general and much less controversial point–indeed, one that is watered down to nigh-triviality–that the actions of a society’s leaders and scientists to some vague extent reflect and are an outgrowth of the total nature and history of that society. This is a very different claim, and ts’s insistence that carol has moved the goalposts in the course of her discussion is incontrovertible.

This remains true regardless what you think about the use of the bomb (my dad, for example, was trained at Fort Ord to be cannon fodder for the invasion of the Home Islands, but wound up running track for the army in Occupation Europe instead).

Comment #42470

Posted by ts on August 12, 2005 5:43 PM (e)

You might, just for the intellectual exercise, try on for size the thought that if people seem to disagree with you, it might not be due to dishonesty.

More dishonesty. I have disagreements all the time with people who aren’t dishonest. I call your statements dishonest because – try this thought on for size – they are dishonest, not merely because I disagree with them. As for the rest of your post, about me possibly disagreeing with Carl Shurz when I explicitly presented his thoughts as something I agreed with, and so on, to your missing the point of my commenting that it’s “partially famous”, for your failure to recognize how that relates to the right wing America-never-wrong mindset that can be seen so clearly in the defense of GWB’s actions no matter how foul, I credit that primarily to your mental feebleness.

Comment #42479

Posted by ts on August 12, 2005 6:01 PM (e)

ts’s insistence that carol has moved the goalposts in the course of her discussion is incontrovertible.

Especially when one contrasts the original statement

the bomb could not have been built nor used without society’s decisive input

to the later one:

Do you not understand that the mere fact that one man can make such a decision, on our bahalf, using our resources, and endangering our lives, is itself a reflection on our society?

Of course I agree to the latter statement – I even explicitly noted that Truman represented the people. But the context of the original statement was that “society”, rather than “scientists”, were responsible for the bomb being built. I didn’t disagree with that per se, but I noted that the statement was “strange”, because the bomb was built in secret – that, really, is all I said. But in this thread we’ve seen “decisive input” equated with “the value system … an aspect of our society”, and “society” equated with “many people” who kept the Manhattan Project secret. Aside from such a silly equation, it is extremely misleading. As I mentioned, my parents worked on the Manhattan Project. They weren’t physicists and were never told what its goal was.

Comment #42480

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on August 12, 2005 6:01 PM (e)

I don’t see why the Darwinists are so upset. Competition is healthy.

Gee, one wonders, then, why Christian churches don’t invite Muslim Mullahs or Buddhists or atheists or Moonies or Heaven’s Gate cult members to give sermons in their church.

What could be healthier?

Comment #42481

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on August 12, 2005 6:03 PM (e)

I have disagreements all the time with people who aren’t dishonest.

Name five from this blog.

Comment #42490

Posted by ts on August 12, 2005 6:17 PM (e)

I noted that the statement was “strange”, because the bomb was built in secret — that, really, is all I said.

I should correct that, because it’s not all I said. Here’s what I did say:

This is a strange statement. The bomb was a well-kept secret; there was no societal input into its development or use, which was purely a political decision by a very small number of men.

I stand by that, by a reasonable understanding of “societal input”, as we might measure it in regard to something like human cloning, abortion laws, and whether to teach creationism in schools. I suspect that, had I claimed that there was “decisive societal input” into building and dropping of the bomb, Flint would be arguing with me over it.

I also noted that, when Truman announced the bombing of Hiroshima, he lied about it, claiming that it was a “military base”, and that
“That was because we wished in this first attack to avoid, insofar as possible, the killing of civilians.” I think that lie tells us something about how societal input operates, as do the lies about the Maine, Tonkin, Iraqis slaughtering Kuwaiti babies in incubators, Iraqi drone planes that could deliver nuclear weapons in 45 minutes, and so on. There are also plenty of lies that the leaders of other countries tell, but I’m not as familiar with, say, what was printed in Pravda. Also, in a republic such as ours where public opinion is very important, molding that opinion, by lies or other means, takes on added importance.

Comment #42500

Posted by Flint on August 12, 2005 6:28 PM (e)

ts:

As for the rest of your post, about me possibly disagreeing with Carl Shurz when I explicitly presented his thoughts as something I agreed withI neither said nor implied any such thing. But I think you know that. In your unseemly eagerness to call others dishonest, you stoop to lies to “support” your case. You need to take a long look in the mirror – you are projecting like mad.

Meanwhile, we BOTH agree with Shurz. And the “never wrong” mindset is limited as I pointed out and rather than understand what I wrote, you decided to attack me. A good, *honest* response, to be sure. As many others here have noticed, this is how you typically respond to valid posts not congruent with your opinions, and the more valid the point, the more personal your attack.

As usual, your determination to have the biggest dick on the block is draining the blood from your brain. This limits you to the kind of simplistic pedantry that undermines what (for all anyone knows) might actually be good points. I credit this to incredible insecurity. And it’s not necessary. When you’re not busy waving your dick, you make good points. Keep them up.

Comment #42501

Posted by ts on August 12, 2005 6:29 PM (e)

I have disagreements all the time with people who aren’t dishonest.

Name five from this blog.

Tell you what, Lenny, I’ll let you name them. If you can’t, then I will concede that not even five of the people I’ve disagreed with in this thread are honest.

Comment #42504

Posted by ts on August 12, 2005 6:37 PM (e)

I neither said nor implied any such thing. But I think you know that.

Well, Flint, here you go committing the sin you accuse me of. You wrote

I also agree (I don’t know who wouldn’t, but maybe you do) with Carl Shurz.

I misread that as saying that maybe I’m among those who wouldn’t agree with Shurz, rather than that I might know someone who doesn’t. So credit my mental feebleness, but stop projecting your own insecurity with your drivel about waving dicks around.

Comment #42511

Posted by ts on August 12, 2005 6:58 PM (e)

the “never wrong” mindset is limited as I pointed out

Ok, let’s see:

The “right wing tribalists” hardly insist that America can do no wrong; they tend to bemoan the recent rapid social and legal degeneration that has befallen us.

This isn’t about America doing wrong, but rather elements in America, elements that they explicitly label as traitors and associated with the devil, as doing wrong to America. The point about “tribalism” doesn’t go to this sort of internal matter, but to America vis-a-vis the rest of the world. And on that count, America is never ever in the wrong, in the view of the right. Sure, we aren’t always America enough, sometimes we’re too kind, too forgiving, pay too much attention to the U.N. and foreign opinion, give too much foreign aid to those ingrates who can’t appreciate the trade benefits of Americans using 25% of the world’s resources. Yeah, those kinds of wrongs. But we’re always on the right side, and God is always there with us. Tribalism, Flint.

And nowhere in the right wing mindset is there any acceptance of responsibility on their own behalf, whereas the left is constantly accused of navel gazing and self flagellation – the sort of accusation Carol made. George Bush is asked what mistakes he has made, and he can’t think of a single one, and his supporters cheer. OTOH, Moveon.org was founded for the specific purpose of Congressional censure of Bill Clinton. And so it goes.

Comment #42515

Posted by ts on August 12, 2005 7:12 PM (e)

Steviepinhead wrote:

This remains true regardless what you think about the use of the bomb (my dad, for example, was trained at Fort Ord to be cannon fodder for the invasion of the Home Islands, but wound up running track for the army in Occupation Europe instead).

While it may be a difficult moral equation to weigh the deaths of 300,000 people (estimated final toll) against the possible death of one’s own father, my point was that no such weighing is necessary because, by July 1945, it was known to the Allied leaders that an invasion wasn’t necessary. If you haven’t already, take a look at
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hirohito#Last_days_of_the_war

Comment #42521

Posted by Dark Matter on August 12, 2005 7:36 PM (e)

Well “Mr Z.” since you are too much a scaredy-cat to read
up on your god’s tiniest creations here is something else
for you to read instead….….….….….….….….….….….….….…….

Summary of creation myths from
http://www.crab.rutgers.edu/~goertzel/creationmyths.htm

Creation Myths

Hungarian

[Excerpt from The Saga of the Legend of the Stag, as collected by Adorjan Magyar]

The seeds of the Holy Sea break out of your shell.
The eternal sea’s waves are waving, and rolling.
Their waves are rocking and their foam is hissing.
There is no earth yet anywhere, but in the immeasurable heights,
Above in his golden house, sits the great heavenly father on his golden throne.

He is the old, white haired and white bearded God of eternity.
On his black robes there are thousands of sparkling stars.
Besides him sits his wife, the Great Heavenly Mother.
On her white robes (palast) there are thousands of sparkling stars.
She is the ancient material of which everything is made.
They have existed from eternity in the past and will exist for all eternity to come.

In front of them stands their beautiful golden sunbeam haired son,
The sun God Magyar. The boy asks of his father:
“When shall we create the world of the humans my dear father?”

The Eternal Sea just waves and rolls.
Its waves are rocking and its foam is hissing.
The old gray-haired heavenly father lowers his head .
He ponders the question a while and a little longer,
Then he lifts his white haired head and talks to his son.

– My dear sweet golden haired son, let us create then
For the humans their own world, so that they, who will be
Your children shall have a place to live in.

– How shall we create such a world, my dear father?

– This is the manner in which we can create it:
In the depths of the waving, blue Sea of Eternity are the
Sleeping eyes (seeds), sleeping seeds [sem=eye/small seed]
The sleeping Magya’s [ Mag=seed, Magyar=man].

Descend therefore to the depths of the Great Sea.
Bring up the sleeping seeds and dreaming eyes, so that
We can create a world out of them.

The son followed the direction of his father.
He turned himself into his image of a golden bird, into a golden diving duck.
Then he flew down to the expanses of the Endless Sea.

He swam for a while on top of the water,
Rocked by the waves of the sea for a while.
He then dived down into the depths of the blue,
Searching for the bottom, but unable to reach it.
Out of breath, he was forced to resurface.

He swam on top again, rocked by the waves,
He gathered his strength, for a long time.
After taking deep breaths he submerged again into the blue depths,
Diving deeper, into the darkness, slowly releasing his air
Which like vibrating pearls rose to the top and popped on the surface of the rolling sea.

However now his beak hit the bottom of the sea, into its sand.
He took some of it into his beak and like an arrow,
He shot up to the top of the water with it
From the surface of the sea bed, he brought up the
Sleeping eyes/seeds, silver white “ügyücske” [small eyes?].
The sleeping eyes awoke, the sleepy eyes opened and grew up and became living beings.

Iroquois

About 1390, today’s State of New York became the stronghold of five powerful Indian tribes. They were later joined by another great tribe, the Tuscaroras from the south. Eventually the Iroquois, Mohawks, Oneidas, Onondagas, and Cayugas joined together to form the great Iroquois Nation. In 1715, the Tuscaroras were accepted into the Iroquois Nation.

Long, long ago, one of the Spirits of the Sky World came down and looked at the earth. As he traveled over it, he found it beautiful, and so he created people to live on it. Before returning to the sky, he gave them names, called the people all together, and spoke his parting words:

“To the Mohawks, I give corn,” he said. “To the patient Oneidas, I give the nuts and the fruit of many trees. To the industrious Senecas, I give beans. To the friendly Cayugas, I give the roots of plants to be eaten. To the wise and eloquent Onondagas, I give grapes and squashes to eat and tobacco to smoke at the camp fires.”

Many other things he told the new people. Then he wrapped himself in a bright cloud and went like a swift arrow to the Sun. There his return caused his Brother Sky Spirits to rejoice.

Another Iroquois story:

In the beginning there was no earth to live on, but up above, in the Great Blue, there was a woman who dreamed dreams.

One night she dreamed about a tree covered with white blossoms, a tree that brightened up the sky when its flowers opened but that brought terrible darkness when they closed again. The dream frightened her, so she went and told it to the wise old men who lived with her in their village in the sky.

“Pull up this tree,” she begged them, but they did not understand. All they did was dig around its roots, to make space for more light. But the tree just fell through the hole they had made and disappeared. After that there was no light at all, only darkness.

The old men grew frightened of the woman and her dreams. It was her fault that the light had disappeared forever.

So they dragged her toward the hole and pushed her through as well. Down, down she fell, down toward the great emptiness. There was nothing below her but a heaving waste of water. She would surely have been smashed to pieces, this strange dreaming woman from the Great Blue, had not a fish hawk come to her aid. His feathers made a pillow for her and she drifted gently above the waves.

But the fish hawk could not keep her up all on his own. He needed help. So he called out to the creatures of the deep. “We must find some firm ground for this poor woman to rest on,” he said anxiously. But there was no ground, only the swirling, endless waters.

A helldiver went down, down, down to the very bottom of the sea and brought back a little bit of mud in his beak. He found a turtle, smeared the mud onto its back, and dived down again for more.

Then the ducks joined in. They loved getting muddy and they too brought beaksful of the ocean floor and spread it over the turtle’s shell. The beavers helped – they were great builders – and they worked away, making the shell bigger and bigger.

Everybody was very busy now and everybody was excited. This world they were making seemed to be growing enormous! The birds and the animals rushed about building countries, the continents, until, in the end, they had made the whole round earth, while all the time they sky woman was safely sitting on the turtle’s back.

And the turtle holds the earth up to this very day.

Native American Myths and Legends by O.B. Duane

Judeo-Christian

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the Spirit of God was moving over the face of the waters.

And God said, “Let there be light” and there was light. And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, one day.

And God said, “Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.” And God made the firmament and separated the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament. And it was so. And God called the firmament Heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, a second day.

And God said, “Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.” And it was so. God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good. And God said, “let the earth put forth vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind, upon the earth.” And it was so. The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed according to their own kinds, and trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, a third day. And God said, “Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to separate the day from the night; and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years, and let them be lights in the firmament of the heavens to give light upon the earth.” And it was so. And God made the two great lights, the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night; he made the stars also. And God set them in the firmament of the heavens to give light upon the earth, to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, a fourth day.

And God said, “Let the waters bring forth swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the firmament of the heavens.” So God created the great sea monsters and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarm, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. And God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” And there was evening and there was morning, a fifth day.

And God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds, cattle and creeping things and beasts of the earth according to their kinds.” And it was so. And God made the beasts of the earth according to their kinds, and the cattle according to their kinds, and everything that creeps upon the ground according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.

Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.” So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.” And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed which is upon the face of all earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food. And to every beast of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so. And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, a sixth day. Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God finished his work which he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and hallowed it, because on it God rested from all his work which he had done in creation.

Salish

Old-Man-in-the-Sky created the world. Then he drained all the water off the earth and crowded it into the big salt holes now called the oceans. The land became dry except for the lakes and rivers. Old Man Coyote often became lonely and went up to the Sky World just to talk. One time he was so unhappy that he was crying. Old- Man-in-the-Sky questioned him.

“Why are you so unhappy that you are crying? Have I not made much land for you to run around on? Are not Chief Beaver, Chief Otter, Chief Bear, and Chief Buffalo on the land to keep you company?”

Old Man Coyote sat down and cried more tears. Old-Man-in-the-Sky became cross and began to scold him. “Foolish Old Man Coyote, you must not drop so much water down upon the land. Have I not worked many days to dry it? Soon you will have it all covered with water again. What is the trouble with you? What more do you want to make you happy?”

“I am very lonely because I have no one to talk to,” he replied. “Chief Beaver, Chief Otter, Chief Bear, and Chief Buffalo are busy with their families. They do not have time to visit with me. I want people of my own, so that I may watch over them.”

“Then stop this shedding of water,” said Old-Man-in-the-Sky. “If you will stop annoying me with your visits, I will make people for you. Take this parfleche. It is a bag made of rawhide. Take it some place in the mountain where there is red earth. Fill it and bring it back up to me.”

Old Man Coyote took the bag made of the skin of an animal and traveled many days and nights. At last he came to a mountain where there was much red soil. He was very weary after such a long journey but he managed to fill the parfleche. Then he was sleepy. “I will lie down to sleep for a while. When I waken, I will run swiftly back to Old-Man-in-the-Sky.” He slept very soundly.

After a while, Mountain Sheep came along. He saw the bag and looked to see what was in it. “The poor fool has come a long distance to get such a big load of red soil,” he said to himself. “I do not know what he wants it for, but I will have fun with him.” Mountain Sheep dumped all of the red soil out upon the mountain. He filled the lower part of the parfleche with white solid, and the upper part with red soil. Then laughing heartily, he ran to his hiding place.

Soon Old Man Coyote woke up. He tied the top of the bag and hurried with it to Old-Man-in-the-Sky. When he arrived with it, the sun was going to sleep. It was so dark that the two of them could hardly see the soil in the parfleche. Old-Man-in-the-Sky took the dirt and said, “I will make this soil into the forms of two men and two women.”

He did not see that half of the soil was red and the other half white. Then he said to Old Man Coyote, “Take these to the dry land below. They are your people. You can talk with them. So do not come up here to trouble me.” Then he finished shaping the two men and two women – in the darkness.

Old Man Coyote put them in the parfleche and carried them down to dry land. In the morning he took them out and put breath into them. He was surprised to see that one pair was red and the other was white. “Now I know that Mountain Sheep came while I was asleep. I cannot keep these two colors together.” He thought a while. Then he carried the white ones to the land by the big salt hole. The red ones he kept in his own land so that he could visit with them. That is how Indians and white people came to the earth.

Shillluk (Africa)
[Excerpted and edited from Folklore in the Old Testament, J.G. Frazer.]

The creator Juok moulded all people of earth. While he was engaged in the work of creation, he wandered about the world.

In the land of the whites he found a pure white earth or sand, and out of it he shaped white people. Then he came to the land of Egypt and out of the mud of the Nile he made red or brown people. Lastly, he came to the land of the Shilluks, and finding there black earth he created black people out of it.

The way in which he modeled human beings was this. He took a lump of earth and said to himself, “I will make humans, but they must be able to walk and run and go out into the fields, so I will give each of them two long legs, like the flamingo.” Having done so, he thought again, “They must be able to cultivate millet, so I will give each of them two arms, one to hold the hoe, and the other to tear up the weeds.” So he gave humans two arms. Then he thought again, “They must be able to see the millet, so I will give them two eyes.” He did so accordingly. Next he thought to himself, “They must be able to eat their millet, so I will give each a mouth.” And a mouth he gave accordingly. After that he thought within himself, “They must be able to dance and speak and sing and shout, and for these purposes they must have tongues.” And tongues he gave accordingly. Lastly the Deity said to himself, “They must be able to hear the noise of the dance and the speech of the great ones, and for that they need two ears.” So two ears each he gave, and sent them out into the world as perfect humans.”

Sikh

For millions upon millions, countless years was spread darkness,
When existed neither earth nor heaven, but only the limitless Divine Ordinance.
Then existed neither day or night, nor sun or moon;
As the Creator was absorbed in an unbroken trance.
Existed then neither forms of creation, nor of speech; neither wind nor water.
Neither was creation or disappearance or transmigration.
Then were not continents, neither regions, the seven seas, nor rivers with water flowing.
Existed then neither heaven or the mortal world or the nether world;
Neither hell or heaven or time that destroys.
Hell and heaven, birth and death were then not–none arrived or departed.

Then were not Brahma, Vishnu or Shiva:
None other than the Sole Lord was visible.
Neither existed then female or male, or caste and birth–
None suffering and joy received.
Unknowable Himself, was He the source of all utterance; Himself the unknowable unmanifested.
As it pleased Him, the world He created;
Without a supporting power the expanse He sustained.

Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva He created and to maya-attachment gave increase.
(To a rare one was the Master’s Word imparted.)
Himself He made His Ordinance operative and watched over it:
Creating continents, spheres and nether worlds, the hidden He made manifest.
Creating the universe Himself, He has remained unattached.
The compassionate Lord too has made the holy center [the human being].
Combining air, water, and fire, He created the citadel of the body.

The Creator fashioned the Nine Abodes [of sensation];
In the Tenth [the superconscious mind] is lodged the Lord, unknowable, limitless.
The illimitable Lord in His unattributed state of void assumed might;
He, the infinite One, remaining detached:
Displaying his power, He himself from the void created inanimate things.
From the unattributed void were created air and water.
Raising creation, He dwells as monarch in the citadel of the body.
Lord! In the fire and water [of the body] exists Thy light;
In Thy [original] state of void was lodged [unmanifest] the power of creation.

Tahitian

He was. Taaroa was his name.
He stood in the void: no earth, no sky, no men.
Taaroa calls the four corners of the universe; nothing replies.
Alone existing, he changes himself into the universe.
Taaroa is the light, he is the seed, he is the base, he is the incorruptible.
The universe is only the shell of Taaroa.
It is he who puts it in motion and brings forth its harmony.

Vodun

Damballah (Sky-serpent loa and wise and loving Father archetype) created all the waters of the earth. In the form of a serpent, the movement of his 7,000 coils formed hills and valleys on earth and brought forth stars and planets in the heavens. He forged metals from heat and sent forth lightning bolts to form the sacred rocks and stones.

When he shed his skin in the sun, releasing all the waters over the land, the sun shone in the water and created the rainbow. Damballah loved the rainbow’s beauty and made her his wife, Aida-Wedo. (Aida-Wedo represents the sky powers and is symbolized by the rainbow; wife of Damballah, she shares his function as cosmic protector and giver of blessing.)

The revelations of the loa (deity) descended upon the first faithful in Ifé, a legendary city located in Nigeria. Therefore, everything in life and all spiritual strength comes from Ifé. The homeland of all vodun devotees, where Ifé is located, is Ginen, from where they were forced to flee in the African Diaspora. In death, the higher soul will return to Ginen (the world of the dead, said to be under the water below the earth) to reside with the loa and the ancestral spirits. Because of this, all practitioners of vodun refer to themselves as ti guinin, sons or daughters of Ginen.

[From Vodun Creation Mythology (Site is currently inoperative.)]

Yokut

A Great Flood had occurred upon Earth long, long ago. While Earth was still covered with water, there were no living creatures upon the land. Then out of the sky one day glided an enormous Eagle with a black Crow riding upon its back, searching for a place to light.

Around and around Eagle flew until he discovered a projecting tree stump, or what appeared to be a stump, upon which he landed to rest. There was a home at last upon the flat surface, which was amply large enough for Eagle and Crow to roost upon. From here, they surveyed the greenish gray water as far as they could see. The sky was a gorgeous bright blue with a few white drifting clouds, occasionally swirled by a passing breeze. All seemed serene to Eagle and Crow.

Small fish were visible below the water, sometimes leaping out of the sea playfully. Hunger caused Eagle and Crow to swoop down, catching a meal for themselves from time to time. Soon a game developed between the two birds to see which one would be the winner in the fish-catching contest. Upon their return to the stump, however, they always shared the reward.

Because of Eagle’s great size and wingspan, he soared to great heights and surveyed widely, as the two birds often flew in opposite directions exploring for land. But no land did they find. No other flying creatures did they see. But they always returned to their home base on the tree stump. Between them, they wondered “How can we possibly think of a way to make land?”

“We know we cannot dive deep enough to find dirt, and the fish are of no help except to provide food.” Day after day these scenes were repeated, exploring in search of land or wondering how to create land, only to return to their stump and catch more fish.

One morning soon thereafter and much to their surprise, a Duck was swimming around and around their stump. Occasionally, it dived deep in the water, rose to the surface chewing small fish, twisting its head from side to side trying to swallow its meal. One time, Duck emerged with more mud than fish in its mouth. Eagle and Crow bird-talked excitedly about this! “Can Duck possibly bring up enough mud for us to build land?” they wondered. How could they let Duck know that mud was what they needed most?

An idea occurred to Eagle, which he bird-talked to Crow, “If we supply fish for Duck, maybe he will bring up more mud than fish.” By trial and error, the two birds caught fish for Duck, placing them at the edge of the stump, until Duck learned that the fish were for him in exchange for mud!

When Duck appeared on the surface after a deep dive, Eagle and Crow brushed off the mud from Duck’s bill and his body with their wings. Progress was slow but steady. Gradually, Eagle had a pile of mud on his side of the stump and Crow had a similar pile on his side. Each placed fish on his own side for Duck, who now responded by carrying more and more mud to Eagle and Crow. This became a great game of fish-and-mud exchange.

Duck worked very hard, consequently he was always hungry. The birds were surprised at how large each one’s mud pile grew every day. In bird talk they said, “Duck is helping us to make a new world. This we will share equally.”

Occasionally, Eagle and Crow flew toward the horizon, exploring for any new signs of land. But they returned with nothing new to report; however, they noticed a slight lowering of water around the tree stump.

“Surely, the flood must be coming to an end,” Crow and Eagle bird-talked. Each day they watched for a change in the waterline. Each day their piles of mud seemed higher and higher. Faithful Duck kept up his good work as Eagle and Crow caught fish for him and scraped off mud from him for each side of the new world.

Another time, Eagle flew high and far in search of dry land, not returning until late. The sun set and darkness enveloped his world on the stump. Next morning, to Eagle’s surprise, he saw how much more mud he had acquired, and he was pleased. But after looking across at Crow’s mud pile, Eagle was astounded to see that Crow had given himself twice as much mud while Eagle was away. “Was this Crow’s idea of sharing the new world equally?” accused Eagle.

Of course, they quarreled all that day and the next over Crow’s unfairness. But the following day, they went back to work making their new land. Eagle decided that he must catch up. He caught two fish for Duck and put them in his usual place. Duck responded by bringing up mud twice to Eagle in exchange for his two fish. All three worked very hard for many, many moons.

Gradually, Eagle’s half of the new world became taller and taller than Crow’s half, even though Crow seemed to work just as hard as Eagle. Duck was faithful to his task, never tiring in his effort to supply mud. Of course, Duck continued to give Eagle twice as much mud for his two fish. Crow never seemed to notice why Eagle’s half became higher and higher than his half.

One morning, as the sun rose brightly, the two birds looked down through the water and saw what appeared to be land!

“So that is where Duck finds the mud,” they bird-talked. They were pleased to see that the water was subsiding. How they hoped that soon they would be high and dry on their new world.

But all was not so easy, for that very night lightning flashed across the waters and thunder rolled and rolled from one horizon to the other followed by a heavy, drenching rain. Eagle and Crow sought shelter in holes they dug into the sides of their mud piles. All night long the rain continued to fall, washing away much of the new world into the sea.

As the rain stopped and the sun rose, Eagle and Duck looked out upon the waters and saw an arc of many colors reaching from one edge of the horizon across the sky to the other horizon. This brilliant display held their eyes in wonderment. What did it mean? They marveled at how long the colors lingered in the sky. Eagle flew toward the scene for a closer look, returning when the arc disappeared.

In bird talk, Eagle and Crow decided that the storm of the night before must have been a clearing shower. They began their land-building project again, hoping that Duck would resume his work as mud-carrier. Soon the sun’s rays burned strong and hot, packing the mud until it was hard. Duck appeared and the team of three continued to build the two halves of the new world.

Day by day, the waters subsided and new land began to show above the waterline but far, far below the new creation by Eagle and Crow. Eagle’s half became taller and taller and hard packed by the hot sun. Crow’s share of the new world was still great, but never could become as large as Eagle’s half of the new world.

In retelling this creation story, Yokut tribal historians always claim that Eagle’s half became the mighty Sierra Nevada Mountains. They also tell how Crow’s half became known as the Coast Mountain Range. Yokut historians end their tale by saying that people everywhere honor the brave and strong Eagle, while Crow is accorded a lesser place because of his unfair disposition displayed during the creation of the new world by Eagle and Crow.

———————————————–

Of course, the Judeo-Christian story is the right one of course….

(Jeff Z. *starts Qliphothic Chant of Nazi Zombie Summoning*)

Comment #42525

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on August 12, 2005 7:43 PM (e)

As usual, your determination to have the biggest dick on the block is draining the blood from your brain. This limits you to the kind of simplistic pedantry that undermines what (for all anyone knows) might actually be good points. I credit this to incredible insecurity. And it’s not necessary. When you’re not busy waving your dick, you make good points. Keep them up.

Amen.

Comment #42530

Posted by Steviepinhead on August 12, 2005 8:06 PM (e)

ts, I’m planning too many other things to do on a stand-out Friday night in Seattle to disagree with you. :=)

But, as it happens, I probably don’t disagree with you; I just didn’t want to tangle the debate about “whether” the bombs should’ve been dropped with the separate debate about “who” made the decision to drop them: entirely apart from the devastating effects of the blasts themselves, “the bomb” has had a corrosive effect, not just on how the rest of the world looks at us, but on what America means to itself.

I don’t for a moment think the bomb is or was “the responsibility of every citizen living.” Or that it has somehow tainted our good-but-imperfect nation forever. But it’s something that still needs working on, and–if we want this country to be what it should be–then we’re the ones that’re gonna have to do that work.

Just as we ought to justifiably congratulate ourselves, for example, on our national parks–and visit and support them!–we also need to ponder upon and make pilgrimage to places like Alamagordo and Los Alamos.

There’s some memorable artwork mounted in an outdoor courtyard in the native arts museum in Santa Fe, an iron box fashioned something like a Hispanic confessional, with little cutouts in the iron dividers like the ones meant to “shield” the penitent from the confessor. Except the cutouts are repeats of little miniature bombers, alternating with five-pointed AAF-style stars…and the Santa Fe sun that shines through them may stand for the much hotter sun that struck down upon Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

But I think my dad has, understandably, always held a different view. You and I may disagree with him on the facts; he remains unalterably convinced that he dodged a bullet.

Comment #42553

Posted by ts on August 13, 2005 2:33 AM (e)

Stevieph, I suspect that, were I in your dad’s place, I would feel the same way. Given the tremendous relief he surely felt when he learned that the war was over, and the association that had with the dropping of the bomb, the claim that it wasn’t necessary would be a very extraordinary claim, far more so than it is to Americans without so strong an emotional attachment, and it’s quite extraordinary to them. And, as we know, extraordinary claims demand extraordinary evidence. I understand why people don’t believe it; I was quite skeptical when I first heard it. But with the publication of Truman’s diaries, the release of a lot of archival material over the last few years, the publication of a number of histories, as cited by that Wikipedia article, and having heard with my own ears a recording of Truman’s radio announcement about a “military base”, my skepticism became unmaintainable.

P.S. One of the coolest things about the internet is those Annie Hall moments when Marshall McLuhan steps out in the form of an online article that verifies your claims.

Comment #42554

Posted by ts on August 13, 2005 2:35 AM (e)

Amen.

Once again Lenny doesn’t even grasp what he just agreed with.

Comment #42561

Posted by SEF on August 13, 2005 3:55 AM (e)

I’m in the UK. I had never heard that there was a US pretence of the target being a military base. From over here it was my understanding that the war was effectively over by the time the US got the bomb ready (was mostly done by the time they even deigned to join in at all) and that they bombed “innocent” civilians (just because they could) in a big grand-standing gesture of a bomb test as part of their attempt to take the credit for “winning” after arriving late.

Comment #42566

Posted by ts on August 13, 2005 4:46 AM (e)

I’m in the UK. I had never heard that there was a US pretence of the target being a military base.

Very few Americans now living have ever heard that either, but anyone can hear it for themselves at
http://historymatters.gmu.edu/d/5143/

(was mostly done by the time they even deigned to join in at all)

Odd then that the war in Europe lasted another 2.5 years. The common American notion that they won the war singlehandedly and that the Europeans should grovel in gratitude is quite offensive, but that doesn’t warrant misrepresentation in the other direction.

and that they bombed “innocent” civilians

Inappropriate scare quotes. You would have to agree that, at the very least, the civilians under 5 were innocent.

(just because they could)

Which you immediately contradict by giving other reasons.

in a big grand-standing gesture of a bomb test as part of their attempt to take the credit for “winning” after arriving late.

Well, your “understanding” sounds like a fact-free hypothesis based upon animosity toward the U.S. due to the arrogant American take on the war in Europe, probably among other reasons (including other aspects of American arrogance).

Comment #42571

Posted by SEF on August 13, 2005 5:23 AM (e)

a fact-free hypothesis

From UK syllabus political history ‘O’-level level only (and stopping at approximately the world wars) plus a little from family members involved. The announcements included in the course-work (and from family) were the UK ones, eg the farce of obtaining an undertaking from Germany not to invade, not the US ones to their people. I never said I entirely bought into all of it though - just that that was the general impression put out over here. Perhaps I wasn’t clear enough on that. The main point being that people in different countries hear different versions.

Comment #42572

Posted by SEF on August 13, 2005 5:28 AM (e)

Inappropriate scare quotes. You would have to agree that, at the very least, the civilians under 5 were innocent.

Hence the scare-quotes which I don’t regard as inappropriate. I could hardly guarantee that all the people over that age (and even some under) were completely innocent. Just mostly technically innocent of being involved in warring against other countries. It’s possible the US did manage to kill a handful of people actively involved as well as all the ones who weren’t but who might have been liars, thieves, wife-beaters etc.

Comment #42574

Posted by ts on August 13, 2005 6:07 AM (e)

I never said I entirely bought into all of it though

You said it was your understanding. But thanks for clarifying that that’s not quite what you meant.

I could hardly guarantee that all the people over that age (and even some under) were completely innocent.

You also can’t guarantee that they were all civilians, because they weren’t, but in neither case does it change the fact that innocent civilians were killed. Therefore the scare quotes were inappropriate.

who might have been liars, thieves, wife-beaters etc.

Another instance in this thread of dishonestly trivializing a word to the point of tautology. If “innocent civilians” meant innocent of every conceivable thing, then we would have to always put scare quotes around the word. And we can connect this to Carol’s logic: every member of Japanese society provided “decisive input” into Japanese warmaking.

Comment #42577

Posted by Lloyd Spencer Davis on August 13, 2005 6:45 AM (e)

This is an issue that needs balance…I’d like to recommend my own site to readers that want baalance:

http://www.lookingfordarwin.com

Comment #42578

Posted by ts on August 13, 2005 6:56 AM (e)

I don’t grasp what you’re balancing or how, but good luck on your book, which looks interesting, and congratulations on that Writer’s Award.

Comment #42587

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on August 13, 2005 8:20 AM (e)

Once again Lenny doesn’t even grasp what he just agreed with.

Au contraire, I understood exactly.

Perhaps you need some work on your mind reading.

Comment #42598

Posted by Jeff Z on August 13, 2005 9:18 AM (e)

Dark Matter: Thanks for the creation myth website. It’s a marvelous resource. The Hungarian story is beautiful poetry, and the folk tales are fascinating. It would be illuminating to do a “compare and contrast” of their religious and moral (and any other, for that matter) assumptions. (I also couldn’t help but notice that Salish prose style is Hemingway centuries before Hemingway!) That will have to till retirement, I suppose, G-d and Social Security solvency willing.

It’s funny, as I was looking them over, for a few minutes I became excited at the shared imagery, but then it occured to me that water, floods, shaping dirt or clay, and so forth were among the major physical realities that people in this stage of development would all have, so if anything, it would be more surpirsing if they didn’t share this imagery than if they did.

As far as your “Of course, the Judeo-Christian story is the right one of course,” point, it is, for the purpose it is intended to serve. If I didn’t make it clear in my previous posts, I’ll say it again: The bible is not a science or history book; it is an instruction manual for the attainment of as much holiness as is possible on this earth. Not just in terms of what is on the page, but also in how it is read and interpreted. For example, one of its chief purposes is to teach readers to analyze actions for their moral consequences. An instance: Abraham disagrees with G-d about the destruction of Sodom and Ammorrah (there’s no “G” in the Hebrew) and argues with him. This occurs immediately (I mean, immediately)after G-d has granted Abraham and Sarah’s deepest wish, to perform a miracle and give them a son (they are 100 and 90, respectively at the time). Yet Abraham doesn’t hesitate to put it all on the line on behalf of what everyone knows are a thoroughly rotten bunch of brutes. Now, this isn’t just a fable of moral instruction. It’s a deeply complicated story. It is in the intellectual struggling with it that the reader learns about holiness and goodness, including the pitiless and cruel consequences of upholding them. To be good and holy, Abraham has to chance losing his son for the sake of humannmosters. It is in the effort to understand this that the reader grows into the sort of person that G-d wants him to be.

You can believe it or scorn it. That’s your decision, and I certainly don’t know what G-d’s plan for you is. It is plain to me from looking at your posts that your anger comes from your goodness: your devotion to your work for the sake of ending human suffering.

All I ask you is to consider (just consider; if you come to a different conclusion, though, it would be a favor to me to hear why, if you have the time)that:

1) My devotion to my work is for the same reason: to alleviate human suffering such as I am able.

2)To accept the bible on its own terms. The ID and Creation Scientists don’t, and neither do they accept science on its own terms. I don’t question that their motivations are good, but, as Abraham demonstrated in the example above, good motivations are not enough (a well-known road is paved with them). One has to be courgeous enough to act in accordance with one’s faith, regardless of the consequences, among which are children learning about evolution on its own terms. Also as I mentioned earlier, if one’s faith can’t past that test, it wouldn’t last a minute in the face of real life, such as a visit from one of your microscopic nightmares.

Comment #42602

Posted by ts on August 13, 2005 9:46 AM (e)

Once again Lenny doesn’t even grasp what he just agreed with.

Au contraire, I understood exactly.

Perhaps you need some work on your mind reading.

Ah, so you understood that you were agreeing with Flint that I should keep making good points. Well, then, thanks for your support.

Comment #42603

Posted by Geoffrey on August 13, 2005 9:52 AM (e)

The following strikes me as relevant not only to the general ‘reaction’ thread but to some of the political discussion occurring here in the comments. It is a pro-science editorial from no less conservative a place as GOPUSA.com

http://www.gopusa.com/commentary/guest/2005/jm_08121.shtml

Comment #42604

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on August 13, 2005 9:54 AM (e)

Ah, so you understood that you were agreeing with Flint that I should keep making good points.

Yes.

And that you should stop waving your dick around while you are doing it.

Comment #42608

Posted by ts on August 13, 2005 10:14 AM (e)

And that you should stop waving your dick around while you are doing it.

Oh, that’s snappy, Lenny. A good ten inches you’ve got there.

Comment #42635

Posted by steve on August 13, 2005 1:47 PM (e)

The frequently-broken Bathroom Wall is broken again. Somebody tell the Super.

Comment #42641

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on August 13, 2005 2:18 PM (e)

Hey idiot, I am on YOUR side in this thing. But you are too busy waving your dick around to notice that.

I’m done with you. Wave your dick all you like. I’m not even remotely interested.

(shrug)

Comment #42646

Posted by ts on August 13, 2005 2:35 PM (e)

Hey idiot, I am on YOUR side in this thing. But you are too busy waving your dick around to notice that.

Oh, the irony. Which one of us is talking about kicking the other’s ass out, and which referred to the other’s article as a tour de force?

Comment #42683

Posted by guthrie on August 13, 2005 4:34 PM (e)

Now gentlemen, since all this argument has gone beyond my ability to work out who started what, I would like to remind you about the purpose of this website.

As far as I understand it, it is to create and disseminate information and arguments for the destruction of creationism, ID and whatever religion based attempts to mess about with “science” are attempted. It is a way of creating a single issue front based on the fairly obvious truth that evolution is the current best scientific overarching theory of biology, and therefore attempts to destroy it politically etc are wrong.

So, if you’ll all quite arguing about religion and politics, both of which are not science, and get back to the biology, we can all get on with winning this battle.

Comment #42783

Posted by The Sanity Inspector on August 13, 2005 9:19 PM (e)

Nice job! Doubt I’ll make it through that whole list, but there are some that do look interesting.

Comment #42794

Posted by carol clouser on August 13, 2005 10:19 PM (e)

Getting back to the issue that started this silly argument about what I meant with “decisive” societal input, the bottom line is that the science community ought not be singled out for blame for the sometimes terrible applications of science that society is resposibale for. By the same token, the science community ought not be singled out for approbation for such achievements as disease eradication that society should get the credit for. The pursuit of knowledge is a neutral activity, while puting that knowledge to use is where blame and credit belongs.

So we return to Jeff Z’s weak response (#42009) to Dark Matter’s lament (#41987) against God, the Bible and all folks who believe in them. Which is: God’s design provides for terrible diseases, microbes and viruses, and by attacking and defeating them scientists get credit for “fixing” God’s lousy design. What is the believing person’s response to this?

Well, listen up. The point of creating humankind “in God’s image” (Genesis 1:27, quoted above by dark matter (#42521) is that the creator, after endowing humankind with free will (which requires that the creator’s presence not be obvious), invites humankind to become partners with God in creation. It is our God-given task to improve God’s creation.

What is the point of this? Well, if the universe were absolutely perfect what would we be striving for? The fact that we even have the gall to demand of the creator, who has already provided so much despite owing us nothing, that He should have provided more to the point of leaving nothing out, shows how spoiled rotten we are or have become. On top of which we do not feel other people’s pain, yet we claim to deserve that the creator feel our pain. The creator’s message is: I have provided you with a cup half filled with goodies and opportunities. You have the tools to improve upon my handwork. Go and do so!

Of course this is all based on certain unproven axioms, as discussed earlier.

Comment #42800

Posted by ts (not Tim Sandefur) on August 13, 2005 10:56 PM (e)

You mean it’s a fairy tale. Meanwhile, science is a proven (in the vernacular sense) epistemic source, without any need to assume unchanging laws, or anything of the sort. Of course, if the laws start changing arbitrarily, then science will cease to function as an epistemic source. But hey, I’m repeating myself, and I’m way overextended, so that will be the end of it for me.

Comment #42817

Posted by steve on August 14, 2005 12:28 AM (e)

carol said:

The fact that we even have the gall to demand of the creator, who has already provided so much despite owing us nothing, that He should have provided more to the point of leaving nothing out, shows how spoiled rotten we are or have become.

Yikes. Good luck with all that, Carol.

Comment #42826

Posted by carol clouser on August 14, 2005 1:13 AM (e)

TS,

No, I don’t mean it’s a fairy tale. To say that would require that I disprove those axioms, something I cannot do. Can you?

The other side of the story is that science too is based on unproven axioms, also discussed earlier. You decide which of the respective axioms seem more reasonable to you, while treating others who decide otherwise with respect. There is no escaping this quagmire. Life is tough.

Also, if we are to extrapolate from current epistemological evidence into the past and future, as we must do with evolution, we MUST assume unchanging laws of nature, an axiom for which there is no evidence. Otherwise on what basis do we make said extrapolation? And the further backward or forward in time we extrapolate, the further removed we are from the data and evidence and the weaker the extrapolation. That renders multibillion year extrapolations quite weak. Interpolations, on the other hand, seem much stronger. By repeating experiments again and again, scientists can make predictions that are interpolative and thereby increase the level of confidence.

Comment #42882

Posted by steve on August 14, 2005 11:59 AM (e)

I don’t know how many of you saw this at Red State Rabble:

S.C. Schools Candidate to Push ID
Christina Lee Knauss reports in the South Carolina State that state superintendent of education hopeful Karen Floyd of Spartanburg says she will encourage the teaching of intelligent design in public schools when she runs in 2006.

# posted by Pat Hayes @ 6:01 AM Comment (0) | Trackback (0)

(bathroom wall’s broken so i’m putting it here)

Comment #42929

Posted by Jeff Z on August 14, 2005 5:37 PM (e)

Carol: My response is not “weak” (or, if it is, not for the reason you mention). If we’re going to have a productive conversation, we need to endeavor to exercise basic intellectual discipline, and

1)Stick to the topic under discussion, which is the place of ID and Creationism in the classroom.

2) Respect the beliefs of the person to whom your responding.

Most of the other posters here do not believe in G-d, and G-d has chosen to reveal proof of his existence in his own way and time. If a person here has not had that experience (or not recognized it or rejected it or tken the Ivan Karamazov route), then that’s the end of it.

This gets back to my whole point of why IT and Creationism do not belong in science class. They are not provable according to scientific criteria.

For you and me, it would be a different matter. For example, you and I might be “spoiled rotten,” but I doubt anyone suffering as the victim of DM’s microscopic enemies is. Trying to maintain faith in the face of the suffering of the innocent is one of the very hardest tasks of a believer. How can we ask it of an unbeliever? At times, I cannot bear it either.

Comment #43009

Posted by carol clouser on August 15, 2005 2:01 AM (e)

JEFF Z,

I am not sure at all that most of the posters here don’t believe in God, despite what they say. Most of the scientists I know do believe in God, although by the time some of them are done defining what they mean by God you’re not quite sure exactly what they believe. And some of the greatest scientist, from Newton to Einstein, believed in God. Believing in the Bible as the inspired words of God is another matter entirely, but this too is believed by a decent portion of the scientific community.

I have also not discerned a trend whereby suffering people and their families discard their faith. Quite the opposite is usually the case. They turn to their faith and derive strength from it. They may ask poignent questions about God’s sense of justice but they mean to argue with God, so to speak, when they do so. This is really a form of prayer. As you probably know, in Judaism one is permitted to “argue” with God. In the example you cited earlier, Abraham does just that. I would not, however, be engaged in debates about God with suffering people, much as you would not do so, because those are stressful and emotional circumstances, on their part and my part, not conducive to rational analysis. I would have other more pertinent and hopefully more helpful things to discuss in those situations.

I disagree with you about creationism (including ID)in the science classroom. Not that it should be “taught”. That would run afoul of the Establishment clause. But students need guidance as to how opinions are to be formed. Comparing and contrasting the basic assumptions and methodologies of science and faith would be healthy, in my opinion. It would also enable science to get its views across without both its hands tied behind its back, as is now the case. Science teachers cannot now even broach this topic, but the students’ fundamentalist parents, ministers and friends have no cause for pause. It is in the interest of science that science teachers get in on the discussion.

Please don’t take my catagorization of your respons to DM as “weak” as a criticism. I merely thought the nail ought to be hit a bit harder on the head.

Comment #43013

Posted by SEF on August 15, 2005 2:26 AM (e)

I would not, however, be engaged in debates about God with suffering people

Not you perhaps and not a “debate” but that is exactly the sort of vulnerable time when religious proselytisers traditionally prey on people.

Comment #43016

Posted by ts (not Tim Sandefur) on August 15, 2005 3:26 AM (e)

Not you perhaps and not a “debate” but that is exactly the sort of vulnerable time when religious proselytisers traditionally prey on people.

Unless you’re Newt Gingrich, in which case you go to the hospital bed of your wife, who has cancer, and force her to sign divorce papers.

Comment #43017

Posted by Bruce Beckman on August 15, 2005 5:55 AM (e)

Carol wrote:

“But students need guidance as to how opinions are to be formed. Comparing and contrasting the basic assumptions and methodologies of science and faith would be healthy, in my opinion.”

This is certainly an excellent idea and I would encourage school districts to develop such a course. Science classes are unfortunately not the best place to teach this subject, since by naming it science one has already explicitly taken a position on how the opinions are formed.

Comment #43216

Posted by Sir_Toejam on August 16, 2005 12:45 AM (e)

Hey all,

been gone for a while. Missed a bit i see, tho none of it seems very surprising.

I have seen comments by Steve and a couple of others indicating a head-in-the sand approach to the steady erosion of scientific interest and funding in this country. If you don’t beleive there is a problem, why do you bother posting here? You can do the research yourself: RELATIVE funding levels (spendable dollar amounts - actuall research “purchasing power”) have declined steadily under all republican administrations since Reagan. this is absolute fact. NSF has published several reports on it over the years, which you can easily look up.

as to the specific danger of this president; I refer you to commentary by dozens of nobel laureats accusing this president of being the worst in history at not only utilizing scientific assesment in policy, but of actually coercing misinformation from scientific organizations, skewing results and conclusions published by government scientific institutions, and actually making stuff up to replace that published by same institutions.

This IS different.

check out what the Union of Concerned Scientists has been saying about the Bush administration for years now, and you will see there IS a difference. The level of anti-science and out and out misinformation being promulgated by this administration is unprecedented.

I’m sorry those of you who refuse to actually do your history research can’t see this, but to ignore it and then encourage others to ignore it as if it will all go away, is irresponsible at best.

check out UOCS here:

http://www.ucsusa.org/

you will find documentation of actual abuses made by the current administration, as well as indications as to why this is different than standard politics.

I’ve had this argument with Steve before, i think, but it bears repeating. If you think this has no influence on science, you forget where your next crop of students will be coming from. Students will “go with the flow” and if it looks like the country in majority believes that evolution is bunk… not only will funding dry up, but so will the crop of scientists to teach it in the future.

oh, the joy of returning to relieve myself with such a rant :)

cheers

Comment #43218

Posted by SEF on August 16, 2005 2:55 AM (e)

With Blair being Bush’s poodle (a common enough non-obscene UK opinion), the crop of UK scientists is already drying up.

The methods used to “achieve” that here were reducing the quantity of science education; reducing the standards of exams drastically (and lying about it a lot); insisting more students go to university so that many of them choose fake, easily-passed subjects; changing/axing funding of students and universities so that newly unpopular (and costly experiment-based) subject departments would be closed and pseudo-subject departments would replace them (ones where you don’t have to be any good to pass and which don’t involve many materials or costly intelligent staff input); opening faith-based schools (or selling existing schools to religious extremists) which explicitly don’t have to meet all education standards and giving much of the education budget to them instead of the rest; sending spin doctors to tell the favoured religion pushers how to dodge the remaining education checks.

Comment #43226

Posted by Alan on August 16, 2005 6:15 AM (e)

Welcome back Sir T

Hope you’ve got a good tan!

Comment #43228

Posted by Alan on August 16, 2005 6:52 AM (e)

Comments on Dembski thread seem disabled. Surely we can’t leave Sal with the last word.

Also bathroom still locked. Maybe a better place for some of these recent philosphy posts?

Comment #43229

Posted by Alan on August 16, 2005 6:54 AM (e)

Excuse typo: “philosophy”

Comment #43230

Posted by Alan on August 16, 2005 7:04 AM (e)

Sorry, folks, thread back working now.

Comment #43237

Posted by Rusty Catheter on August 16, 2005 8:33 AM (e)

I’m not sure where Carol is coming from, but I suspect a subset is baseless,

Carol in 42092:

“Now, you and I might prefer to live with these assumptions rather than buy into faith-based assumptions, which also are adopted unproven assumptions. But that is OUR choice. Others make a different choice. Until someone’s fundamental assumptions are proven or disproven all are intellectually equal. This is what creationists mean when they claim that evolution is based on a particular “worldview”, one they choose not to share.”

No, Carol, they are not “intellectually equal” except insofar as they might with effort be summarised in similarly massive books. They may or may not be artistically, grammatically or emotionally equal, but not intellectually or practically.

When a child approaches an adult and explains how it would be fun if this or that baseless imaginary thing were true, an adult might indulgently agree. If the child demanded that such be delivered, the adult might reasonably refuse. Both individuals have a basis for possessing their thought, but the uninformed idea is not the intellectual equal of the informed one. Creationists, like children, might be indulged to the extent of having their “beliefs”, but not to the extent of letting these be regarded as having influence on *other people* by means of binding law or regulation. For exactly the same practical reasons that children are not permitted to fly commercial aircraft or drive motor cars, to prescribe medicine or to advise governments.

Your apparent assertion that intellectual *exercises* in religion and theology are equal to the intellectual *labours* that help us genuinely understand and manipulate the proximal environment to extreme accuracy and reproducibility (science and engineering) constitutes rubbish that I and others here need not respect. It is dismissed.

Do not bring up such matters unless you can preface them with remarks of the general form “Since the independently (ie: not by a former or current beneficiary/adherent of church “X”) recorded public manifestation and physically verified miracles of deity “X”…”.
Without such preface you may as well cite the Magic Roundabout, whether you “buy into it” or not.

Carol, much later in 42826:

“The other side of the story is that science too is based on unproven axioms”

Really? Truly? Perhaps unproven in all posssible circumstances but hardly baseless, you *must* agree. Since even quite disparate individuals agree on the subjective experiences generated by various repeatable actions and are able to communicate same in even quite disparate languages and cultures it is reasonable to assert an objective reality. For practical purposes there is such an objective reality, in which beings equivalent to oneself exist, about which and with whom it is possible to communicate meaningfully. These are the only axioms absolutely required for the execution of natural philosophy as we (as opposed to “I”) know it. I will stipulate the existence of PZM, JAD, TS, myself and notable others if you will (with the possible exception of JAD). Hardly radical stuff, yet comprising all the axioms necessary for modern science. If you are proposing anything deeper, you might want to move to some other forum until you have demonstrated your own existence without recourse to language, memory, or personal experience.

Further in 42826:

“Also, if we are to extrapolate from current epistemological evidence into the past and future, as we must do with evolution, we MUST assume unchanging laws of nature, an axiom for which there is no evidence. Otherwise on what basis do we make said extrapolation? And the further backward or forward in time we extrapolate, the further removed we are from the data and evidence and the weaker the extrapolation. That renders multibillion year extrapolations quite weak. Interpolations, on the other hand, seem much stronger. By repeating experiments again and again, scientists can make predictions that are interpolative and thereby increase the level of confidence”

It vastly more reasonable to assume *some* invariant laws of nature, given that we have *some* timeline over which they *are* invariant (given the validity of personal experience and language), than to assume significant alteration. *Actually observed to exist*, we note, by shool children, no less. Daily. We know a few constants which would *appear* to *extremely* diligent study to be universally applicable and constant. We have a few generalisations which would similarly appear to be universal. This constitutes *evidence*. On what basis besides pharmacological would anyone make the leap that they are *not* invariant over the time scales specified, given that *evidence* such as astronomical observations would *appear* to confirm such? You, or those you *seem* by your posts to indulge *must* point to a known and measured part of the observed universe in which they are *not*, or positively state that you are ignorant of such (wouldn’t it be cool if…) when making such speculations (which are not intellectually equal, by the way). In practical work extrapolation from actual data *is* useful, whereas picking random points and assigning them relevance equal to an extrapolated curve is not. Natural laws have that distinction of nomenclature by means of being valid in absolutely *all* cases investigated.

The multibillion year extrapolations that would appear to be “weak” in your comment are fairly reasonable, as there is supporting evidence from geology, astronomy, radiometry and biology. Such evasions as you present are hardly invalidating in any case, as sufficient biological evolution (the original topic, I believe) is demonstrable within the formation of terrestrial geology, during which period those you *appear* to irresponsibly indulge will be incapable of demonstrating *any* let alone *functionally* significant variation in natural laws or physical constants. You are not seriously suggesting that the gravitational constant *has* changed significantly since the formation of the earth and the observable dynamic structures therein, are you? Let alone measures of spatial curvature? The Planck Constant etc? If so, are you or those you *appear* to defend genuinely proposing that such vary so much as to alter their *relative* significance in derivative matters such as thermodynamics and gravity and if so why not in the appropriate journals where such would be intersting news? Why in a “popular” book, whose audience can hardly be genuinely critical? “Weak” would be a compliment exceeding the merit displayed.

Later still, Carol in 43009:

“But students need guidance as to how opinions are to be formed.”

…particularly scientific opinions, in which the elimination of fancy is singularly difficult. It is difficult enough to get students to see what they see, and ignore an imagined preconception (regardless of veracity), let alone rubbish unrelated to observable cause and effect. In a school science class the distinction between verifiable observations (indeed, even informed speculation) and outright fancy leaves all currently existing religions and other such fiction firmly outside the door. Until a deity manifests in verifiable manner, or at least produces a few verifiable miracles at odds with known phenomena, it has no place in a science classroom (perhaps not even then, please note) nor in any but the most idle of contemplations. If any place at all, it is as a warning to others, an example of how “traditional” thought distorts objectivity, and of the traps and limitations it imposes. Consider Kepler: How much more might he have achieved if needlessly dogmatic faith had not so limited his own more radical speculations on the mind of his (genuinely sought) deity? His analyses of planetary motions achieved that much earlier, what might he have achieved? Later, if freed from worry about religious persecution of his imprisoned mother (an informal apothecary who *helped* people) over baseless matters of religious dogma, how much more bold and informative might he have been to his contemporaries? Or might he simply have enjoyed deserved rest and a longer life? How much of his own life was spent indulging the worthless fancies of the religiously and the supernaturally obsessed? There are lessons to be learned indeed.

Your defensive statements have no basis. Why make them? You didn’t write the book, nor do you “buy into faith-based assumptions”. Rubbish is rubbish, and deserves no respect whatsoever without hard evidence. Such does not deserve the wasteful and dangerous indulgence of being regarded as “intellectually equal” in a world where the vote of the uninformed and easily misled is as valid as that of the working professional in the field in question. Would you so indulge faith-based racism or sexism that demanded legislative or educational recognition?

I’m not really sure what you mean by “predictions that are interpolative” as such don’t count as predictions of any interest in the lab where I work (tell me something I didn’t already know!), nor in the classes I attended - in school, let alone uni. I suspect you just made a grave error of understanding.

Big words, philospohy and dicussion of the limitations of language is very interesting for some, but so far has cured no diseases, discovered no natural laws, got left way behind by Mendeleef and Mendel, hadn’t even got its boots on before Watson&Crick and probably won’t cure cancer before those (g_d)damned irresponsible cowboys making unjustifiable but annoyingly predictive extrapolations.

Your comments *appear* to be based on tolerance of a bogus cultural and intellectual relativism that is necessarily invalid in practical matters of science, engineering, and appealable law, and demeaning to all in a world where all are capable of learning and understanding and in which all might suffer by the ignorance of another. Just because someone “believes” in something emotionally or by indoctrination does not make it so in the face of facts, experience and diligent study. To assert otherwise merely generates an artificial and inappropriate adversarialism which undermines the dignity of private personal belief and the validity of informed public consensus.

Take it away Carol. In any fight of sustainable facts, religion and theology loses. Get used to it.

Rustopher.

PS: Apologies to regulars for belabouring the obvious at such length, but even the learned need correction from undergrads……”It is our God-given task to improve God’s creation.”……and the proposed deity has done so little that it has become necessary to postulate its non-existence to explain the present state of affairs. RC

Comment #43246

Posted by Russell on August 16, 2005 9:13 AM (e)

On a related note (related, that is, to Bush’s endorsement of ID), today’s Columbus Dispatch reveals that Ohio Gov. Bob Taft (loyal Bushman from the get-go) pressured the state BoE adopt the DI’s “teach the controversy” scam.

Comment #43280

Posted by Jeff Z on August 16, 2005 12:26 PM (e)

I thought this thread wad petered out, but it seems to have sprung back to life.

Carol: I hope that Rusty’s comments will give you pause to reconsider the point I’ve been trying to make, which is simply that ID and Creationism do not belong in science class. Science has its own goals, methods, ways of thinking, etc. They are not those of religon. If religion is put in a science class, everyone loses, because it is subjecting itself to evaluative criteria that are at best of only secondary and/or subjective importance, but are much more likely only serve to aggravate ignorance and misunderstanding.

This is not unique to religion; it is true of any other major human intellectual endeavor. Again refer back to Rusty’s post: On matters of science, Rusty is knowledgeable, perceptive, and subtle. As soon as he strays into history, philosophy, theology, semantics, or law–well, you can see it for yourself, his post evokes the shameful fascination of a train wreck or the sideshow, giving it the saving virtue of being too silly to be irritating.

I’ll leave it at that, thanks to TS, who has taught me a very useful lesson (and he only had to hit me over the head four times or so before I got it!) about not induldging in another shameful pleasure, the joy of ad hominem.

Comment #43306

Posted by carol clouser on August 16, 2005 1:56 PM (e)

JEFF Z,

I am not proposing to “put religion into science class”. I am proposing setting aside one or two lessons (out of about 180 in the typical school year) dedicated to “opinion formation” in which these things are to compared, not “taught”. And as I mentioned earlier, educators are into “disciplinary” approaches to education these days. It is considered a great educational innovation, for example, to mix Mathematics and English or History and Physical Education. So why are we so worried about a day or two of “comparative opinion formation” in the science classroom? Obviously teachers would need to be given strict guidelines to make sure they do not cross certain lines. Such guidelines in other sensitive areas (such as discussions of homosexuality) already exist and have been successfully implemented.

As to Rusty’s comments, try as hard as I might I could not find one coherent sentence worthy of response. And I never engage in ad hominem exchanges, even in response to those directed at me.

Comment #43334

Posted by Jeff Z on August 16, 2005 3:39 PM (e)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'kwickxml'

Comment #43344

Posted by Sir_Toejam on August 16, 2005 4:09 PM (e)

Rusty - very well said.

Carol, as so many other non-thinkers i have met, simply is not able to produce coherent thought, hence her inability to find “one coherent sentence worthy of response”.

sadly enough, i have found there is no reaching people with such mindsets. There is little point in arguing with them; the best you can do is point out their specific fallibilities and dangers to others. She shows a consistent inability to grasp the difference between basic subjects like science and philosophy, and realize the dangers of mixing the two, especially in the young. Carol is an excellent example of the kind of thinking we need to constantly point out to others as a danger to rational thought, as Rusty has so aptly done. Kind of like pointing out an open manhole to those who have been looking up instead of down.

to Carol: get a clue. there was nothing at all ad hominem in Rusty’s response. Just because you deliberately choose to ignore the facts presented to you, does not actually mean there was nothing coherent presented. in fact, your response is exactly what i have come to expect from folks with your mindset: Reverse what is best applied to your own thinking and posts to that of those you choose to oppose. It seems to be the entire republican strategy for success since Reagan. The ad-hominem exchange came from yourself, not rusty.

I doubt seriously there is any point in actually continuing to define the issues in fact for you, but it sure was fun trying, as the many responses to your posts suggest.

As Steve so aptly put it:

“Yikes. Good luck with all that, Carol.”

Comment #43346

Posted by tytlal on August 16, 2005 4:10 PM (e)

Carol,

One or two lessons … a day or two? Just how long does it take to say, “Goddidit … just because.”?

This brings absolutley nothing to the science classroom. I’m not sure how else to say this as others so eloquantly have …

Education “innovation” is one thing, just flat-out wrong is another.

Comment #43349

Posted by Sir_Toejam on August 16, 2005 4:15 PM (e)

Now THAT’s an ad-hominem attack :)

Comment #43367

Posted by ts (not Tim Sandefur) on August 16, 2005 6:19 PM (e)

> I’ll leave it at that, thanks to TS, who has taught me a very useful lesson (and he only had to hit me over the head four times or so before I got it!) about not induldging in another shameful pleasure, the joy of ad hominem.

I must say, Jeff, I was shocked when you did a turnaround, and very impressed. Rawls really had something there, didn’t he? I think you’re a better man than I at actually following the prescription.

Comment #43453

Posted by Stuart Weinstein on August 17, 2005 9:26 AM (e)

Carol writes: “I am not sure at all that most of the posters here don’t believe in God, despite what they say. Most of the scientists I know do believe in God, although by the time some of them are done defining what they mean by God you’re not quite sure exactly what they believe. And some of the greatest scientist, from Newton to Einstein, believed in God”

Newton was an Airian, Einstein did not accepth the concept of a Personal “God” in any sense.

Carol, next time you name drop, make sure you know what you are doing.

Comment #43459

Posted by ts (not Tim Sandefur) on August 17, 2005 10:15 AM (e)

What the heck is an Airian? Whatever it was, Newton believed in God enough to write
“The true God is a living, intelligent, and powerful Being. His duration reaches from eternity to eternity; His presence from infinity to infinity. He governs all things.”

Comment #43466

Posted by Alan on August 17, 2005 10:32 AM (e)

ts wrote:

What the heck is an Airian?

Someone who believes in a divine God but a human Jesus, more info here. The quote of Newton’s would appear compatible with both Christianity and Arianism. Newton’s later private beliefs are the subject of debate, but he did refuse the last Sacrament.

Comment #43491

Posted by Jeff Z on August 17, 2005 11:59 AM (e)

TS: This is the first long comment thread I have particpated in, and I have found it a treacherous medium. Posting to a comment thread seems to aggravate the flaws of written and verbal communication while diluting their virtues.

From this perspective, the strength of writing is that it allows the writer to think through the topic and revise while writing, designed for a reader who can take the time necessary to study the what has been written. The strength of talking (verbal) is that the speaker can see the listener, adjust what is being said by the listener’s reaction to it, and immediately reconsider and revise.

The weakness of writing is that the writer cannot see the reader and revise or adapt accordingly, while the weakness of talking is that, barring a specialized audience, the speaker cannot expect the listener to be able to fully comprehend a long and/or complex presentation.

In posting to a thread, there is not much time (of course there will be some exceptions) to think through what we are going to write, nor do most readers have the time to analyze it, so there goes the writing advantage. At the same time, we cannot see or hear our readers, so we cannot gauge the affect of what we are saying.

In looking back over this thread and the Krugman thread, I see myself engaging in behavior–chiefly ad hominem, but also some poor communication techniques–that I would never (or very rarely) do when speaking or writing (both of which are a big part of my professional and avocational life). Ad hominem?! Man, I never do ad hominem, but I lapsed into it so easily here.

I’m not going to insult you and pretend that you don’t do it either. We all have our strengths and weaknesses, but I was as shocked and impressed at your turnaround. I had completely misjudged you, and I wasn’t simply reacting; I had looked over your posts and thought I had come to a pretty clever conclusion.

(Prior acceptance of responsibility: what I’m going to say next is going to sound condescending, probably because it somewhat is, but I don’t mean it that way. I am taking the risk of saying it because I have come to respect you. If you want to ad hominem me, I can take it.):

TS, Forget Rawls and anybody else. I think you are unnecessarily handicapping your perceptions and narrowing your intelligence by allowing whatever it is–and I’m not going to speculate, that’s another lesson I’ve learned–that, well, (I’m trying to choose my words carefully), causes you to give too little consideration to the points of people with whom you disagree. Of course, there always has to be a filtering process, but sometimes I learn a lot from what you have to say, but at others my reaction is more nearly the opposite.

Okay, I’ve said it, and that’s it. As I said, I don’t know you, so far all I know I’m completely wrong. If so, my apologies.

Comment #43520

Posted by ts (not Tim) on August 17, 2005 1:36 PM (e)

Someone who believes in a divine God but a human Jesus, more info here.

Thanks for the info. But Carol didn’t say Newton was a Christian, just that he believed in God, so Stuart pointing out that he was an Airian doesn’t amount to anything.

Comment #43525

Posted by ts (not Tim) on August 17, 2005 1:59 PM (e)

Jeff Z wrote:

but I was as shocked and impressed at your turnaround.

I’m honestly not aware of having done a turnaround. When/how did I do that?

TS, Forget Rawls and anybody else. I think you are unnecessarily handicapping your perceptions and narrowing your intelligence by allowing whatever it is—and I’m not going to speculate, that’s another lesson I’ve learned—that, well, (I’m trying to choose my words carefully), causes you to give too little consideration to the points of people with whom you disagree.

We all do that to some degree, don’t we? But I honestly don’t think I do it to an unusual degree, in fact quite the opposite; I make a very conscious effort to try to understand what people are really saying, rather than applying an a priori interpretation to their words.
And you’re suggesting that there’s a special or specific causal “whatever it is” that applies to me – perhaps so, but you’re being so vague that I haven’t any clue as to what it might be. But thanks for your comments and the friendly tone; that in itself encourages me to be more charitable and forgiving, and less antagonistic (perhaps that’s the “whatever it is”) toward people who are (sometimes vehemently and rudely) disagreeing with me.

Cheers.

Comment #43532

Posted by ts (not Tim) on August 17, 2005 2:27 PM (e)

Alan wrote:

Someone who believes in a divine God but a human Jesus, more info here.

Actually, your source doesn’t say that at all: “… the Son, while divine and like God …”

Comment #43538

Posted by Sir_Toejam on August 17, 2005 2:49 PM (e)

Sef said:

“…changing/axing funding of students and universities so that newly unpopular (and costly experiment-based) subject departments would be closed and pseudo-subject departments would replace them (ones where you don’t have to be any good to pass and which don’t involve many materials or costly intelligent staff input)”

I saw a similar pattern when I was a graduate student at UC berkeley; funding for organismal biology was receding drastically, funding for Molecular and Cell biology was increasing, and entire departments were being combined to save money. the 100 year old zoology department was destroyed the year i arrived, and recombined with all other organismal biology departments (botany, ecology, paleontology, etc.) into one “grand” dept. called “integrative bilogy” - they had the gall to try and convince us that this was intended as a means to foster cooperative research between depts. LOL; hell even as a noob i could tell this was bs. Similar things were happening throughout the entire UC system. A growing lack of interest in funding organismal biology in favor of molecular biology - a trend also apparent in popular research journals like science and nature. It reflects, imo, an adminstrative shortsight into how valuable organismal and evolutionary research really is. Administrations see immediate profit from applied results of research into molecular biology, but forget the long term benefits of organismal and evolutionary research.

sad, really.

Comment #43556

Posted by Steviepinhead on August 17, 2005 3:54 PM (e)

Getting back, just for a moment, to the “reaction,” here’s http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/opinion/236793_inteldop.html an “insightful” (gotta put that in quotes, now that Sal’s debased it) guest op in today’s Seattle Post Intelligencer from, ahem, an actual scientist working in the field.

Didn’t get the KwickXML tags on that quite right, and now I can’t find the tutorial, so that’ll have to do, pretty or not.

Comment #43563

Posted by Alan on August 17, 2005 4:13 PM (e)

ts wrote:

Actually, your source doesn’t say that at all: “… the Son, while divine and like God …”

I was trying to be brief. Perhaps not eternal would have been better.

I find it fascinating that people have managed to link the cult of Isis via an Egyptian Jesus to the cult of John the Baptist via Arius and the Visigoths to the Cathars, notable for having a crusade launched very successfullty against them.

Anyway, the point is who knows what Newton’s inner beliefs were; his own private writings are equivocal. It’s easy to marshall him to either side of an argument as we can’t ask him now.

Comment #43613

Posted by carol clouser on August 17, 2005 9:01 PM (e)

Alan,

I beg to differ. It is abundantly clear from Newton’s writings and pronouncements that he believed in the existence of God. He even stated that a key motivation for his looking into the motion of the planets was to find a pattern and thereby reveal to all the hand of God at work. Do some research into this and get an education before you criticize.

It is also widely known that Einstein believed in the God “of Spinoza” which is a real God albeit one who is not concerned with the fate of men. Again, look into it and get an education.

Comment #43615

Posted by carol clouser on August 17, 2005 9:09 PM (e)

My previous post (#46313) should have been addressed to Stuart. Sorry about that Alan.

Comment #43618

Posted by Sir_Toejam on August 17, 2005 9:15 PM (e)

hey carol, not that i am any expert on the spirituality of einstein or newton, but since you seem to be such an expert, why not provide references to your source materials for the rest of us to look at, eh?

Comment #43621

Posted by Don P on August 17, 2005 9:33 PM (e)

Carol Clouser:

Most of the scientists I know do believe in God, although by the time some of them are done defining what they mean by God you’re not quite sure exactly what they believe. And some of the greatest scientist, from Newton to Einstein, believed in God. Believing in the Bible as the inspired words of God is another matter entirely, but this too is believed by a decent portion of the scientific community.

The evidence suggests that the vast majority of professional biologists and the vast majority of all top natural scientists do not believe in God in any traditional sense of the word. It is not clear that the God Einstein believed in was anything other than a metaphorical one. And I don’t know what “a decent portion of the scientific community” is supposed to mean, but all the evidence I have seen suggests that Christianity is even rarer amoung scientists than theism.

Comment #43623

Posted by Sir_Toejam on August 17, 2005 9:49 PM (e)

so.. continuing the request… this IS supposed to be a scientific forum, yes?

I find this argument about the percentage of religious scientists or speculation about the spiritual leanings of dead people to be pretty worthless without some backing resources.

I’m sure these wouldn’t be terribly hard to locate if you all are really that interested in the subjects, but it gets pretty boring watching discussion based on pure speculation bantered about.

anybody as convinced of their positions as the ones i have seen here seemingly are, must have materials they are basing their opinions on.

Is it too much to ask that someone start referencing the materials used to support your argument?

I have hear folks mention newton’s private writings as one source; prove it - let’s see some link to the appropriate resources to see if newton was wishy washy or abundantly clear on his spirituality, eh?

don mentioned that “the vast majority… do not believe in god in any traditional sense…” what is the source of that generalization, don? poll data? cite the source please. I think that kind of poll data may be available, if you don’t already know the source; it shouldn’t be too hard to find and would add volumes of support for your position, yes? at the worst, it would provide a legitimate source of debate over the statistics, how they were gathered, and the conclusions made.

try searching gallup poll data, as a start.

Comment #43625

Posted by Jim Harrison on August 17, 2005 9:55 PM (e)

Since avowels of atheism or even religious doubt subject individuals to social penalties, I assume that surveys of the religiosity of scientists are going to over report belief. Has anybody ever tried to estimate the appropriate correction for this obvious biasing effect?

Comment #43627

Posted by Sir_Toejam on August 17, 2005 10:09 PM (e)

good question. i doubt seriously any standard polling companies (including gallup) do this; you would have to examine specific polling exeperiments done by universities most likely.

Comment #43628

Posted by Sir_Toejam on August 17, 2005 10:10 PM (e)

otoh, why do you think that simply remaining anonymous doesn’t give one protection from persecution when participating in such polls?

Comment #43636

Posted by carol clouser on August 17, 2005 11:29 PM (e)

There are many scholarly books out there about Newton and Einstein. Just google either name and, presto, see what comes up! Why do some people here need to be the not only “led to the water” but also “made to drink”?

As to the prevalence of religious belief in the scientific community at large, may I recommend Jastro’s “God and the Astronomers” for starters. And, no, I was not the editor for that book.

Don P,

Since when is “believing in the Bible” synonomous with christianity? You have heard of Judaism? My understanding is that Jews (of all its branches) constitute a significant number of the scientific population, far greater a number than one would expect from their percentage of the overall population. This is certainly true for the number of Nobel prizes issued in the past one hundred years.

Comment #43647

Posted by ts (not Tim) on August 18, 2005 12:18 AM (e)

Sir_Toejam wrote:

don mentioned that “the vast majority… do not believe in god in any traditional sense…” what is the source of that generalization, don?

Try this for starters:

A survey of American scientists conducted in 1997 found that 40% believed in a personal God, the same number as was found in similar surveys conducted in 1914 and 1933 (See the article on “Scientists and Religion in America”, in the Sept. 1999 issue of Scientific American magazine.)

Carol wrote:

It is also widely known that Einstein believed in the God “of Spinoza” which is a real God albeit one who is not concerned with the fate of men. Again, look into it and get an education.

No, it’s not “a real God”, or the term loses all meaning. “Deus sive Natura” – Spinoza equated God to Nature.

Einstein wrote:

“It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, a lie which is being systematically repeated. I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it.”

Carol wrote:

Since when is “believing in the Bible” synonomous with christianity? You have heard of Judaism?

Have you ever heard of the Torah, Carol?

Comment #43651

Posted by Jim Harrison on August 18, 2005 12:58 AM (e)

My father would certainly have claimed that he believed in God had he been asked in a survey, if only to keep my mother happy. (Darwin also finessed things for the benefit of his wife.) In fact my Dad, who was trained as a geologist, was a Spinozist, though he never told me about his beliefs until he was very old indeed. He read Spinoza in college and thought the man simply got things right about Deus sive Natura.

Comment #43653

Posted by ts (not Tim) on August 18, 2005 1:16 AM (e)

My father would certainly have claimed that he believed in God had he been asked in a survey, if only to keep my mother happy.

Well, that’s the thing about surveys of belief – which violates Leibniz’s Law.
Had your father been asked if he believed in a non-natural God, he would have hard a harder time answering honestly and keeping your mother happy at the same time.

Comment #43655

Posted by Jim Harrison on August 18, 2005 2:14 AM (e)

In my experience, scientists and mathematicians tend to be rather irenic folks. Most of ‘em aren’t going around looking for a fight. At the same time, they’re likely to be among the most honest or perhaps just the most literal people you encounter. For them, developing an extremely noncommital and vanilla sort of religiosity is one way to avoid arguments without riling up your own conscience too much.

I’ve also noticed that older scientists tend to be less shy about dismissing religious ideas than the young ones, though I don’t know if this is because the mature scientists are further away from the cultural indoctrination they got as children or simply because they are better established and don’t have to give a damn about what people think. And there’s the additional complication that young scientists were born into a period of political and cultural reaction while the 50 and 60 year olds grew up in a more liberal time.

Comment #43660

Posted by carol clouser on August 18, 2005 3:13 AM (e)

TS,

Here are some Einstinian quotes pertaining to God.

“I want to know how God created this world… I want to know His thoughts, the rest are details”

“I believe in Spinoza’s God who reveals himself in the harmony of all that exists…” (Einstein, the Life and Times, by Ronald W. Clark)

And yes, I have heard of the Torah but why don’t you tell me about it? Not sure I get your point, sine the Torah IS the Hebrew Bible and by extension all that is based on it and the commentaries.

Comment #43680

Posted by SEF on August 18, 2005 3:44 AM (e)

why do you think that simply remaining anonymous doesn’t give one protection from persecution when participating in such polls?

Because it has already been shown not to do so in surveys about sexual habits - another culturally touchy subject. Anonymity wasn’t enough to get people to tell the truth even to a pollster they weren’t going to see again. Men typically over-reported and women under-reported the number of sexual partners and encounters they had had - just as you might expect from cultural double-standards. The researchers had to go as far as strapping people into convincing looking lie detectors to get answers out of them which were plausible. Then the rates of sex claimed by men and women matched up at last. When interviewed afterwards on the nature of the experiment, people admitted to having under- or over-reported before.

Comment #43682

Posted by ts (not Tim) on August 18, 2005 4:12 AM (e)

Here are some Einstinian quotes pertaining to God.

I already provided the relevant quote that clearly indicates what Einstein meant by God, and the relevant quote from Spinoza. Their “God” was not supernatural.

Not sure I get your point

That doesn’t speak well of you.

sine the Torah IS the Hebrew Bible

Yes, it is the “Hebrew Bible”; it is not, however, “the Bible”, and playing such word games is dishonest rhetoric. “believing in the Bible”, when the term isn’t qualified, always refers to the Christian Bible, and you know it.

Comment #43721

Posted by Jeff Z on August 18, 2005 12:01 PM (e)

I’m not a historicist, but it is very difficult (but not impossible) to fully understand people from the past on their own terms:

“The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there.”
* L. P. Hartley

That being said, even on his epoch’s own terms, Newton was, to paraphrase Ray Stantz, both a certified genius and an authentic wacko. Today, he’d be a great scientist, a devout religious believer (details uncertain), and thrown off the Home Psychic Network for his lack of intellectual rigor.

TS: I was looking back over the thread to be more specific, when I suddenly realized that I’ve unthinkingly been evaluating these posts the way I would a screenplay, where even a character with a few lines has to be fleshed out as a real, three-dimensional person. I’m going to stay with my statement, but I need to be much more analytical and look over the thread more carefully, which I won’t have time to do until at soonest tomorrow.

Comment #44060

Posted by Rusty Catheter on August 20, 2005 4:06 AM (e)

Now *this* is ad hominem:

Rusty: “Carol, Your house is on fire, with you in it, GET OUT!”

Carol: “You didn’t say “Simple Simon Says” so Nyer”

Rusty: *shrugs*

Darwin Wins again, in a setting well described by Dennett.