Wesley R. Elsberry posted Entry 1524 on September 28, 2005 11:32 PM.
Trackback URL: http://www.pandasthumb.org/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb.fcgi/1520

Remember growing up and playing pretend games as a child? Remember the geeky kid who would invent excuses as to why no negative consequence would ever touch him? “I had the super-special armor coat on” or “I had levitator shoes and you didn’t notice.” Yeah, you remember.

Ever wonder what sort of job awaited him in the grown-up world? Well, now he’s writing prose for the Discovery Institute. Here’s a bit from the press release:

Building on the mischaracterizations of the first day’s witness, the ACLU continued to put an imposter version of intelligent design on trial in the second day of the Kitzmiller v. Dover trial.

“I know what intelligent design is, and it sure isn’t what they’re talking about in Harrisburg,” said Casey Luskin, the program officer for public policy and legal affairs for Discovery Institute. Discovery Institute is the nation’s leading think-tank researching intelligent design.

We’ve wondered how the DI would take ID going down the tubes, and now we know: it’s full-blown hallucinatory denial of the bleeding obvious. Eddie Haskell would be proud.

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Comment #50057

Posted by Glenn Branch on September 29, 2005 12:00 AM (e)

The Discovery Institute wrote:

…the ACLU continued to put an imposter version of intelligent design…

Impostor, guys.

Comment #50061

Posted by KiwiInOz on September 29, 2005 12:53 AM (e)

Perhaps if the DI clearly defined what ID is, what its theory and predictions are, suggested some experiments or lines of research, and presented its bibliography of peer reviewed scientific research, then there would be no problems with mischaracterisation. From what I’ve seen it’s well and truly characterised.

Comment #50063

Posted by Mike Walker on September 29, 2005 1:12 AM (e)

“All intelligent design can do as a scientific theory is try to identify whether certain features of the natural world are the products of intelligence,” said Luskin. “We’re researching whether things were designed, not who the designer was.”

Oh, really? Pray…. do tell…

Comment #50072

Posted by Nic George on September 29, 2005 3:51 AM (e)

“Design scientists make standard experience-based arguments, appealing to what we know about information rich systems like books and software programs. Luskin noted that every time we know the cause behind information rich systems, intelligent design played a causal role”

The guy has basically said:

Books and Software CONTAIN information.
Books and Software ARE ALWAYS intelligently designed.
Living things CONTAIN information.
THEREFORE
Living things ARE ALWAYS intelligently designed.

Or to put it another way:

A CONTAIN B.
A ARE ALWAYS C.
D CONTAIN B.
THEREFORE
D ARE ALWAYS C.

My formal reasoning is a bit rusty but I think that the logic is technically invalid. We can’t conclude D ARE ALWAYS C. Even if we didn’t know anything about the intelligent design movement or evolutionary theory alarm bells should ring because their reasoning is bad.

Even if we include our prior knowledge books and software do not equate to living things so it is still a false analogy.

Also our standard experience-based knowledge is that we have no evidence that books and software can form by any process other than intelligently mediated ones. On the other hand we do have multiple lines of evidence that the chemistry known as living things probably can.

Comment #50073

Posted by Grey Wolf on September 29, 2005 3:57 AM (e)

“Books and Software ARE ALWAYS intelligently designed.”

As a frequent reader and, foremost, a CS, I have to say that that is a very false statement. And that’s not even going into genetic algorithms, mind you.

Hope that helps,

Grey Wolf

Comment #50074

Posted by Wesley R. Elsberry on September 29, 2005 5:04 AM (e)

The ID folks are really pushing this line of “reasoning”, as it were. They’ve never responded to my dissection of their “uniform experience” or “marker of intelligent agency” argument. And the facts go opposite their desired conclusion: whenever people have attributed some biological feature to non-natural causation in the past, and we’ve learned more about that feature, a natural cause has become the accepted explanation for that feature. In other words, our “uniform experience” is that in every case where the DI’s “logic” has been used in the way they suggest, it has been wrong. One would think that would give them pause. But apparently, like the weird kid on the playground, they are too caught up in the fantasy they’ve constructed to note any intrusion of reality into that world.

Comment #50075

Posted by David Persuitte on September 29, 2005 5:14 AM (e)

I have a good alternate meaning for ID. Though its proponents say it stands for Intelligent Design, it actually means Intellectual Defeatism. They say they can’t understand how certain complex systems came about, therefor those systems must have been intelligently designed and thus there is no sense in looking any further for an explanation.

Comment #50077

Posted by Eugene Lai on September 29, 2005 6:07 AM (e)

“Design scientists make standard experience-based arguments, appealing to that we know about information rich systems like books and software programs.” Luskin noted that every time we know the cause behind information rich systems, intelligent design played a causal role.

This is saying that man-made systems are designed by man, hence… Just shut up, Luskin. We already know you are a fool

Comment #50084

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on September 29, 2005 6:49 AM (e)

“I know what intelligent design is, and it sure isn’t what they’re talking about in Harrisburg,” said Casey Luskin, the program officer for public policy and legal affairs for Discovery Institute.

Well, Casey, how about telling *us*?

What is this scientific theory of intelligent design. Ya know – the one that is not religion, not based solely on gaps in evolution, and explains life and the origin of species?

What, according to this theory of intelligent design, did the designer do, specifically?

What mechanisms, according to this theory of intelligent design, did the designer use to do whatever the heck you think it did?

Where can we see the designer using any of these mechanisms to do . . well . . anything?

(sound of crickets chirping)

Yep, that’s what I thought. DI is lying to us. Again.

Comment #50085

Posted by shafiq on September 29, 2005 7:01 AM (e)

There are some basic errors in our understanding of the space around us, which has contributed to a whole lot of misunderstandings about intelligent design!

I would like you to observe the world, imagining yourselfself as big as the galactic cluster, (this is the farthermost picture of the universe, that our most advanced telescopes have shown us! ) which contains our milky way, besides billions of other galaxies, , Just for one reason! because sitting there YOU can see “the powerful Giga atoms called galaxies” which have their own rotation and revolution cycles; galaxies which are made up of “powerful mega-protons” which burn up hydrogen and other fuels, which we had been calling stars!!
From there YOU can see that ‘ those mega-electrons ‘ which revolve around those ‘ mega protons ‘ are what we refer to as planets!And these mega-protons and mega-electrons are made up of micro-protons and micro-electrons which we have studied in detail. And these are constituted of Quarks and Gluons.
Our living space lies in the middle of these 4 layers of molecular array that we have discovered so far, and our living space is limited to a few kilometers on, above and below a Mega-electron, that we had been calling Earth!The limits of this living space, I would like you to consider as the horizontal frames of the window through which we are looking at the world! At the same time we have to remember the molecular array above the upper frame of the window and that below the lower frame, so that we can compare, so that we don’t forget the narrowness of our 1b) space window!
Is there any probability to consider that we are living inside the molecular structure of something VERY BIG?
http://sqsme@blogspot.com

Comment #50088

Posted by Staffan S on September 29, 2005 7:15 AM (e)

Nic: The logic is perfectly valid as you can see from this example:
Books and Software CONTAIN letters.
Books and Software ARE ALWAYS intelligently designed.
Mailboxes CONTAIN letters.
THEREFORE mailboxes ARE ALWAYS intelligently designed.

Sínce we know that the last statement is true, we can conclude that the logic is valid. [/Loki] Not.

Comment #50089

Posted by Grey Wolf on September 29, 2005 7:34 AM (e)

shafiq seems to be going for “grand spammer” title. He reminds me of JAD.

Grey Wolf

Comment #50095

Posted by mark on September 29, 2005 9:21 AM (e)

I can understand the motivation when a politician applies “spin” and the lies can fly out of his mouth like schit from a manure spreader. But why do some otherwise normal, educated people spew the spin with such religious zeal in support of such utterly preposterous nonsense? We’re not dealing with differences of opinion, we’re talking about facts that can be checked and compared–“super-special armor coats” are not valid in the real world, and any serious claim for something akin to special devices or conditions cannot be accepted in this world unless we’re presented with some real evidence for them.

But I guess this is something for sociologists to look into.

Comment #50098

Posted by Ian B in NJ on September 29, 2005 10:54 AM (e)

William Saletan is great today - http://www.slate.com/id/2127052/fr/rss/ - clearly makes the point that there is no substance to ID, thus no reason to teach it in bio classes.

Comment #50101

Posted by Beaming Visionary on September 29, 2005 11:05 AM (e)

“A CONTAIN B.
A ARE ALWAYS C.
D CONTAIN B.
THEREFORE
D ARE ALWAYS C.

“My formal reasoning is a bit rusty but I think that the logic is technically invalid.”

The first two premises can be combined into one: “C CONTAIN B.” This leaves us with a genuine sylogism:

C CONTAIN B
D CONTAIN B.
THEREFORE
D ARE ALWAYS C.

This is clearly invalid, as a Venn diagram or basic intuition reveals. But I’m really no good at this sort fo thing, so it’s fortunate that ID flops spectacularly on its own non-merits.

As much as I wish these assbags would disappear from the fringes of school curricula forever, a morbid side of me is curious as to what sort of belligerent tomfoolechicanery the IDiots wll be compelled to produce next.

Comment #50102

Posted by stefan on September 29, 2005 11:17 AM (e)

The analogy of comparing “known” designed systems to living systems falls flat in another fundamental way: in all examples - books, software, cars, paintings, etc - we know that they are designed because we know HOW they were designed. We can go into the car factory, watch an author write a book or a painter painting a picture, and so on. The processes for each are understood. We don’t know they are designed because they “just are” but because we know (at least generally) HOW they were designed or where to go to find out.

The challenge that ID people haven’t even attempted to meet is to identify a single processes (or that it even occurs, either). All they do is engage in feeble word-play why it SHOULD occur, but carefully avoid having to explain anything about it.

Comment #50103

Posted by steve on September 29, 2005 11:25 AM (e)

Nic: The logic is perfectly valid as you can see from this example:
Books and Software CONTAIN letters.
Books and Software ARE ALWAYS intelligently designed.
Mailboxes CONTAIN letters.
THEREFORE mailboxes ARE ALWAYS intelligently designed.

pugs CONTAIN dna.
pugs ARE ALWAYS about as smart as a 2 year old human.
Casey Ruxpin CONTAINS dna.
THEREFORE casey ruxpin IS ALWAYS about as smart as a 2 year old human.

Comment #50114

Posted by PvM on September 29, 2005 12:23 PM (e)

Look, the level of ‘sophistication’ of the ID argument is pretty low. We do not understand how X arose naturally, it looks complex thus it must have been intelligently designed. Never mind mechanisms, pathways, or explanations as to how or why.

The continued confusion of rarefied and ordinary design seems prevalent amongst ID proponents whether it be Luskin or Gonzalez.

ID is a scientifically vacuous theory and by placing the designer outside nature, it is clear what ID is talking about.

Or as one of the plaintiff’s lawyers remarked, and I paraphrase “denying the identity of the intelligent designer, is like refering to Valerie Plame as ‘Wilson’s wife’”

I really need to get a reference to that one, even the judge chuckled….

Comment #50124

Posted by Ginger Yellow on September 29, 2005 1:02 PM (e)

“Design scientists make standard experience-based arguments, appealing to what we know about information rich systems like books and software programs. Luskin noted that every time we know the cause behind information rich systems, intelligent design played a causal role”

For the millionth time, and repeating what has been said above: Books and software programs are designed by humans (when they’re designed by any intelligence at all). We know this because we can ask the humans who designed them. Or film them designing them. Or read their autobiographies. Et cetera. If ID has any valid hypothesis (which it doesn’t) it’s that organisms were designed by humans. Obviously this is very silly indeed. I do wish people would consider this very simple point before giving any credence to the IDiots.

Comment #50164

Posted by Mona on September 29, 2005 3:29 PM (e)

PvM, it is philosopher of science Dr. Robert Pennock’s testimony you are thinking of. This is from the ACLU PA blog:

The morning session included several light moments. Dr. Pennock testified that referring to a “designer” rather than “God” is like referring to “Ambassador Wilson’s wife” rather than “Valerie Plame Wilson.” As the gallery laughed, Judge Jones chuckled and said, “As an example.”

Comment #50171

Posted by K.E. on September 29, 2005 4:14 PM (e)

“With our thoughts we create the world”
A quote attributed to Bhudda circa 500BCE

Rational thinkers and scientists need not worry about
IDDI..s

Creationists are just flogging a dead dinosaur.

Lets be real here, when they talk of an “Intelligent Designer” they are talking about GOD.

Their arguments are simply tailored to meet
an end and quite obviously not one of them will be buried in Westminster Abbey as Charles Darwin is.
That space is reserved for true greats.

Through the Church of England, religion stands as an equal to science in the age of enlightenment for recognizing genius and the acknowledging his contribution to the Mans understanding of Man.

The role of religion is not to seek the truth of fact but the beauty of truth (and Art the truth of beauty).

If science can say that something can exist and not exist at the same time (quantum mechanics) then it is religions role to make us all feel good about it not to argue the point. Even if it takes 350 years as in the case of Galilleo.

If debate is to communicate an understanding why debate with someone who has a closed mind?

The real question that needs to answered and scientists need to brush up their philosophy here is why does GOD exist?

Here is a question for IDDI..s. Did Dinosaurs believe in GOD?

And if they didn’t, did that mean GOD still existed 65 million years ago.

Home work:- Figure out when GOD came into existence….. not so fast kiddies give examples of various prototypes for GOD before and after the major eastern and western religious beliefs formulated their particular versions of GOD.

Include in your dissertation belief systems from primitive and remote tribes before European contact. By the way own work only accepted, all attributions must be acknowledged, no plagiarism etc, etc
For starters try reading “The Hero with a Thousand Faces”
By Joseph Campbell (now THERE is genius)

Speculate on why it might be advantageous for survival as a species to be able to completely program a child by the age of 5 with a belief system he/she is able to take through their entire life uncritically even if it irrational? And why that might actually benefit society? Trace the survival of your favorite religion to the present day. Gee did 2000 years go by that quickly?

In your own words (not less than a thousand) describe in non-gender specific terms what the “Intelligent Designer” is.. Tautology and dogma not accepted.

If GOD exists, why do we need priests?
(No I don’t hear voices and I’m very skeptical of people who did)

The oldest profession in the world is shepherding sheep (the 2 legged variety) and collecting foreskins. Which is the primary aim of IDDI

IDDI is unable to evolve to a higher form of religion and scared of loosing its monopoly on easy prey. They will simply go the way of the dinosaurs!!!

So take the argument right back up to them on their own ground and get the damn name and address of this so-called intelligent designer. Better yet get them to describe the mechanism that the “designer” used.

As Buddha once said (something along these lines). “If someone claims they know what GOD is, when asked they will not be able to explain what it is”

K.E.

Comment #50216

Posted by atd on September 29, 2005 9:42 PM (e)

As a physics and engineering undergraduate and a recent convert to Christianity, I have spent the last 5 years thinking through the various issues surrounding creationism, intelligent design and evolution. I am by no means an expert on the issues involved - but I think I have a general grasp on the differing arguments.

While my fields of study were largely a product of the enlightenment, I can’t help but wonder what disservice the enlightenment has performed in causing the disconnect between the spiritual, emotional and physical worlds. This has not always been the case - but the times when the spiritual, emotional and physical worlds connected are largely viewed as outdated, uniformed, antiquated. I wonder if they weren’t onto something after all.

Polyani’s work suggests that all epistemological acts require some act of faith. If he’s correct, then we can’t know anything without a leap of faith at the beginning of the learning process (not to mention several more leaps along the way). He also suggests that learning happens in a trajectory over time as groups of people explore in a given direction. But, he suggests, that not all directions are 100% correct - and they’re often in need of correction over time.

While the Dover school board is concerning to me - equally concerning is the intellectual arrogance of many anti-ID advocates. If we’ve learned anything over the course of human history - it’s that we’re incredibly inadequate to explain most of the universe. We’ve come along way. Who knows how much further we might have to go. A dose of humility and compassion would go a long way in this discussion.

The more answers physicists find - more questions arise. And the harder the questions become. Is it really so hard to believe that our understanding of the universe is but the tip of the iceberg - and even more shockingly, that there may be things we never understand? Why is it so hard to say “I just don’t know?”

The same critiques apply to Christians as well. We seem to make very poor advocates of ID most of the time - and this illegitimizes some of the critiques of Darwin that ID presents. Behe’s theory of irreducible complexity seems to be a stumbling block for blindly applying Noe-Darwinism. Yet, it is often used by Christians to push ID as a way around evolution - and it is dismissed by many biologists with competing presuppositions. If the purpose of faith and science is a pursuit of truth - why is it that they fall on seemingly different sides of the argument so often?

Perhaps we all need the humility to say “we just don’t know - but it will be fun exploring together.”

Andy

Comment #50229

Posted by Eugene Lai on September 29, 2005 11:22 PM (e)

Andy,

equally concerning is the intellectual arrogance of many anti-ID advocates

I am very surprised that you don’t see where the source of the apparent arrogance is coming from.

If the purpose of faith and science is a pursuit of truth - why is it that they fall on seemingly different sides of the argument so often?

Perhaps we all need the humility to say “we just don’t know - but it will be fun exploring together.

Not because a lack of humility, that’s for sure. I think I know the answer though: the IF statement needs to be true first before the question is valid.

Humility is not just saying “we don’t know”. It is knowing what we know, why we know we know; AND knowing what we don’t know, and why we know we don’t know.

Humility is not to stand still and yap about how we can’t know any thing without faith. You will not hear someone say that “I witnessed the two cars collided - I have faith that a motor accident occured”. That’s just nonsense, isn’t it?

Faith is belief without logical proof or material evidence, otherwise it won’t be called faith. Ask yourself if that is true.

Also, an argument is not validated or invalidated by the tone it is delivered. It stands or falls on its merit. Always remember that.

Comment #50234

Posted by poolboy on September 29, 2005 11:40 PM (e)

I have been thinking along that line for while. There should be a study done in the human genome for the “faith” gene.

What is the evolution of religion in humans? I cannot go back to far, but remember that there was mass de-selection of non-believers over many years. (of course the believers can say they had it done to them first.) But for most of the ages, if you weren’t religous, you were de-selected. Those not deselected are held by fear of such. Fear is a most basic trait to humans. Fear is then expoited by the church hierarchy, I mean “faith community leaders”.

The benefits are that the hierarchy likes power. Therefore they limit de-selection. People like stabilty, not being deselected. People like being a part of the “faith” community.

Instrinsically, this specialized fear becomes rigously embedded in the DNA, as the “faithful” faithfully procreate. The cycle continues.

The irrational trait shows itself when the religion, learned when you are five, is falsified. Rational logic gets overloaded with fear of instant smoting by the “faith” community or possible brain meltdown. The reasoning switch is forced to disconnect. No amount of arguing logically can undue this until said falsification is gone, anialiated, killed.

Comment #50235

Posted by poolboy on September 29, 2005 11:46 PM (e)

Sorry, KE. My quote link back to you (post #50171) did not work on my previous post.

Comment #50239

Posted by K.E. on September 30, 2005 12:08 AM (e)

A recent convert to creationism or leading a life following the actual published teachings of Christ? I can’t remember off the top of my head where he said anything about God creating anything. If except you mean that life and god are connected in some way. No science needed here just replace god with life, nature, and yes creation and vice-versa in your next parable.

The enlightenment did not disconnect the emotional and physical world, why? Because it is mans need to know and understand the world around us by the power of his own intellect, that is, to discover the nature of nature. This my friend is an emotional/religious need. If your belief or faith can’t accept a change in dogma then just change your dogma, science has to do it all the time. If a pope can change a concept to keep up with science then that means mere mortals can change.

Some branches of religion just cannot accept that science has removed the need to explain the physical world, why the stars are in heaven and where we came from. The religious explanations were pretty weak why can’t they be glad to get back to the real work of the church(es) and tend to their flock :) fleecing, husbandary, circumcism;)

Your conclusion of Polyani’s work is (sound of one hand clapping) …… science.

“anti ID advocate” is an oxymoron; ID is anti common sense.

Scientist say all the time they don’t know why such and such is, they can either give up or better yet get a another mind onto the problem a PhD student not a super naturalist. The questions will not go away just because they are not solved …yet.

Why do insert favorite religion> need to advocate ID? My view of the purpose insert favorite religion> is to recognize and acknowledge the divine in my fellow man.

“If the purpose of faith and science is a pursuit of truth - why is it that they fall on seemingly different sides of the argument so often?”

Once you get this, it will all make sense. Science is the pursuit of the external logical truth , actually quite simple since peer review will generally weed out the nonsense. Religion is the pursuit of an internal truth, enlightenment, tolerance etc something that is far more demanding and full of charlatins because (blind) faith is the easiest thing in the world to subvert.

Comment #50250

Posted by Ginger Yellow on September 30, 2005 4:34 AM (e)

“The more answers physicists find - more questions arise. And the harder the questions become. Is it really so hard to believe that our understanding of the universe is but the tip of the iceberg - and even more shockingly, that there may be things we never understand? Why is it so hard to say “I just don’t know?”

It isn’t. Biologists (evolutionists if you prefer) say it all the time. The problem is that ID’s (illegitimate) approach is to seize hold of every occasion when science says “I don’t know, yet” and to insist that God must have done it. Instead of asking more questions, ID attempts to end all further research - it’s no coincidence that the ID “research programme” is non-existent. This is utterly antithetical to the way science operates. And that’s when the ID proponents aren’t outright lying about what evolutionary theory says and explains. Surely you can understand why, in the circumstances, scientists get defensive about what they do know.

Comment #50251

Posted by atd on September 30, 2005 6:10 AM (e)

Eugene (#50229),

Good comments. You’re right that there is arrogance from the Creationist side…and I didn’t specifically mention that. And your critique of my use of humility is also right on.

Two responses:
“Humility is not just saying “we don’t know”. It is knowing what we know, why we know we know; AND knowing what we don’t know, and why we know we don’t know.”

The problem with this is that we don’t know what we don’t know. If we knew what we didn’t know all the time - we would know a whole lot more. But you’re right - humility is recognizing we have blind spots even if we don’t know where they are.

“Also, an argument is not validated or invalidated by the tone it is delivered. It stands or falls on its merit. Always remember that.”

I would disagree with this statement from the perspective that the right words delivered in the wrong way are wrong words. If you tell an overweight girl that she is fat - you may be factually correct (or it may be your opinion) - but it doesn’t mean the words are justified or useful. That said, wrong words said in the right way are equally useless.

Andy

Comment #50252

Posted by atd on September 30, 2005 6:33 AM (e)

K.E. (#50239),

“A recent convert to creationism or leading a life following the actual published teachings of Christ? I can’t remember off the top of my head where he said anything about God creating anything. .”

I would consider myself to be a follower of Christ. Literal creationism is hard for me to swallow for a number of reasons. One, I am a scientist. Two, I am not sure that the creation account was intended to be read as literal history - other parts of the Bible are - but I am not sure Gen 1-3 are. I still believe they are true - but not because they convey the mechanics of creation specifically or accurately. Rather, they tell the beginning of the story that centers on God’s relationship to mankind. The rest of the book hinges on that - not on the specific creation account itself.

With regard to God creating everything - the book of John refers to Christ as the logos - the word - who was with God in the beginning. Many biblical scholars believe that it was actually Christ who was involved in the creating process.

“The enlightenment did not disconnect the emotional and physical world, why? Because it is mans need to know and understand the world around us by the power of his own intellect, that is, to discover the nature of nature.”

The enlightenment did attempt to disconnect the emotional from the physical. The search for the objective viewpoint demands freedom from subjective (emotional) thought. Postmodernism suggests that there is no objective vantage point (that humans can obtain). This will hopefully be helpful in allowing emotion and spirituality back into the picture.

“Science is the pursuit of the external logical truth , actually quite simple since peer review will generally weed out the nonsense. Religion is the pursuit of an internal truth, enlightenment, tolerance etc something that is far more demanding and full of charlatins because (blind) faith is the easiest thing in the world to subvert.”

This statement, while held in agreement by many, betrays the dichotomy between which spiritual and physical truths are viewed by modern thinking. I suspect that if there is a spiritual truth out there (as I believe there is) - it will be found to be deeply intertwined with our physical experience of truth. Indeed, it will likely be the wellspring of physical reality.

One problem with science is that it can become a religion of its own (as can most things I suppose). It’s abuses are no different than the abuses sometimes seen in the church - those with knowledge hold the power. Unfortunately might doesn’t make right.

Andy

Comment #50253

Posted by Ron Okimoto on September 30, 2005 6:44 AM (e)

The Discovery Institute had years to put up their version of ID. Even when they advocated teaching ID in the schools they never put up a lesson plan to demonstrate that they actually had something to teach, now they cry about the rubes that were scammed by the ID propaganda not getting the ID scam correct.

It isn’t even like they aren’t getting the old scam right, they just haven’t been clued into the new replacement scam that the Discovery Institute has been cooking up (they claim since 1999). The new scam doesn’t even mention that ID exists. So how can they complain about the rubes getting the ID scam wrong? There seems to be a failure to actually tell the rubes what ID is. Apparently all the DI has been doing is lying to the rubes about ID.

Comment #50255

Posted by fred on September 30, 2005 6:57 AM (e)

the ID manner of reasoning and drawing conclusions makes me think of Hegel: “My theory is the truth, and if contrary evidence in nature is found, then nature must be wrong!” Sorry for exagerating what Hegel actually said, but at least I know when I’m using someone’s words out of context. (btw does anyone here have the right quote?) Some others don’t. And in this instance, it is to show clearly what kind of inverse “reasoning” is behind the ID-conclusion: if it doesn’t fit in our “explanation”, it must be wrong.

Comment #50293

Posted by Engineer-Poet on September 30, 2005 11:18 AM (e)

Andy wrote:

Postmodernism suggests that there is no objective vantage point (that humans can obtain). This will hopefully be helpful in allowing emotion and spirituality back into the picture.

Hopefully?

Are epidemiology and physics going to be different depending on the emotions and spirituality of the investigator?  How about molecular biology?  Orbital mechanics?

Hey, how about civil engineering?  Is the right feng shui going to keep a building from falling down in an earthquake?  Is a belief in Christ going to let you run 50 amps over 14-gauge Romex without fear of fire?

You’re young, you’re still sorting out what’s true and what’s nonsense.  But if you hope to practice as an engineer (let alone get and keep the letters PE after your name), letting emotions and spirituality into your analyses is the last thing you want to do.

Comment #50297

Posted by PvM on September 30, 2005 11:29 AM (e)

Mona wrote:

PvM, it is philosopher of science Dr. Robert Pennock’s testimony you are thinking of. This is from the ACLU PA blog:

The morning session included several light moments. Dr. Pennock testified that referring to a “designer” rather than “God” is like referring to “Ambassador Wilson’s wife” rather than “Valerie Plame Wilson.” As the gallery laughed, Judge Jones chuckled and said, “As an example.”

That’s it, thanks so much Mona. What a response… I wish I could have been there.

Comment #50332

Posted by Moses on September 30, 2005 2:09 PM (e)

Comment #50216

Posted by atd on September 29, 2005 09:42 PM (e) (s)

As a physics and engineering undergraduate and a recent convert to Christianity, I have spent the last 5 years thinking through the various issues surrounding creationism, intelligent design and evolution. I am by no means an expert on the issues involved - but I think I have a general grasp on the differing arguments.

While my fields of study were largely a product of the enlightenment, I can’t help but wonder what disservice the enlightenment has performed in causing the disconnect between the spiritual, emotional and physical worlds. This has not always been the case - but the times when the spiritual, emotional and physical worlds connected are largely viewed as outdated, uniformed, antiquated. I wonder if they weren’t onto something after all.

Polyani’s work suggests that all epistemological acts require some act of faith. If he’s correct, then we can’t know anything without a leap of faith at the beginning of the learning process (not to mention several more leaps along the way). He also suggests that learning happens in a trajectory over time as groups of people explore in a given direction. But, he suggests, that not all directions are 100% correct - and they’re often in need of correction over time.

While the Dover school board is concerning to me - equally concerning is the intellectual arrogance of many anti-ID advocates. If we’ve learned anything over the course of human history - it’s that we’re incredibly inadequate to explain most of the universe. We’ve come along way. Who knows how much further we might have to go. A dose of humility and compassion would go a long way in this discussion.

Who is attacking whom? Left alone, scientists and their supporters just wouldn’t care about what religious people did with their money and time.

And that’s what ID is, an attack. It’s not science. It’s just another attack on science by fearful, superstitious, insecure people.

The more answers physicists find - more questions arise. And the harder the questions become. Is it really so hard to believe that our understanding of the universe is but the tip of the iceberg - and even more shockingly, that there may be things we never understand? Why is it so hard to say “I just don’t know?”

ID isn’t about saying “I don’t know.” It’s about destroying evolution and keeping the Christian creation myth as the only position. This not particularly different than some good old fashion religious suppression of science that’s been going on for HUNDREDS of years.

As for I don’t know, that’s the point of science. To ANSWER the questions, not just throw our hands up and go back into the cave and wait for the next lightning-caused fire to cook our meat. It’s like conceeding defeat before you play the game.

The same critiques apply to Christians as well. We seem to make very poor advocates of ID most of the time - and this illegitimizes some of the critiques of Darwin that ID presents. Behe’s theory of irreducible complexity seems to be a stumbling block for blindly applying Noe-Darwinism. Yet, it is often used by Christians to push ID as a way around evolution - and it is dismissed by many biologists with competing presuppositions. If the purpose of faith and science is a pursuit of truth - why is it that they fall on seemingly different sides of the argument so often?

Because you think religion is about finding truth. Religion is not about “finding the truth” for society or the universe, just the individual. With society, it is about virtually unchanging doctrine, control and conformity.

Perhaps we all need the humility to say “we just don’t know - but it will be fun exploring together.”

How about leaving scientists alone? How about stop trying to make your creation myths science?

Comment #50342

Posted by jon livesey on September 30, 2005 3:08 PM (e)

“And that’s what ID is, an attack. It’s not science. It’s just another attack on science by fearful, superstitious, insecure people.”

At the risk of appearing a tiny bit cynical, I think that ID is actually a clever economic and sociological program.

It’s worth reading some of the ID tutorial material, because if you do so with an open mind, you may come away with the same reaction as I did: “This stuff is nonsense, but Boy, is it written clearly and unambiguously.

In other words, ID may be crap as science, but it leaves the reader with the illusion that s/he finally understands *something*. People who could not get past page one in a real biology text can read ID propaganda and conclude that for the first time in their lives they understand something about Biology. That’s heady stuff for someone with a weak education. By reading ID, they’ve finally joined the class of thinkers.

But as well as sociology, there is an economic agenda here. There are plenty of young adults out there who are not well enough qualified to teach evolutionary Biology in schools, but who would suddenly have good careers in teaching ahead of them if ID replaced Evolution.

Fundamentalism has some characteristics of a “state within the state” and I think ID is part of its strategy to put its own people into key positions of influence, as high school teachers, and be paid for it into the bargain. From hair-dresser to high school teacher isn’t a bad career move, and if your church can swing it for you, you’d be theirs for life.

Frauds, they may be. Fools, they are not.

jon.

Comment #50442

Posted by K.E. on October 1, 2005 2:20 AM (e)

Poolboy Comment #50234

I suspect that there isn’t a god gene although there maybe a credability trait that gives man an evolutionary advantage

check out neuroscientist Vilayanur S. Ramachandran
lecture available in transcript and real audio

a search of www.abc.net.au has more

http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/reith2003/

Comment #50443

Posted by K.E. on October 1, 2005 2:31 AM (e)

Andy 50252
You said

“I suspect that if there is a spiritual truth out there (as I believe there is) - it will be found to be deeply intertwined with our physical experience of truth. Indeed, it will likely be the wellspring of physical reality.”

An interesting statement except for the “out there” bit
Do you mean outside of your mind or a geographical location ?

All the spiritual heroes as part of their journey retreated for a period of deep introspection. When they emerged they had their spiritual truth sorted out.

I think everyone here is trying to help you finally beg, borrow, buy, or steal “The hero with a thousand faces” by Campbell and read it. Some say this may be the most important book of the 20th century

Comment #50488

Posted by Suzanne E Franks on October 1, 2005 1:36 PM (e)

It is dismaying to me to see so many people dismissing the leaders of the ID agenda as fools, idiots, stupid, etc. They are not any of those things; they are very clever, very strategic, and very focused. They have a clearly defined agenda and they are pursuing it in a systematic way. Whether they win or lose in Dover, PA will be of little consequence to the long-term goals of their project, which is “To see design theory permeate our religious, cultural, moral and political life”. (quoted from the infamous Wedge Strategy document) Of course they know ID is not science. They don’t care. They don’t care if you know it, too. What matters is that lots and lots of their faithful followers believe in ID and want to have their children learn it instead of evolution. If enough political pressure is brought to bear, and enough conservative justices are appointed in enough courts across the land, eventually it will happen. The downfall of evolution is just the first of many steps - the first battle in a long religious war. Because in some places, you will find it openly described as such, certainly when they are talking openly with their followers. Scientists and other supporters of evolution are the ones who are being stupid if they dismiss the ID leaders as stupid, or the fight against ID as being only about what is science and what is not. Part of the ID movement’s goal is to co-opt science and redefine and redirect it for their own uses and purposes, which are to advance a regligious conservative political agenda in public American life. And you can bet that will not be good for lots and lots of groups of people, first and foremost women among them, whose right of privacy for their own bodies will vanish in the twinkling of an eye. This fight is about politics and religion - not about science. ID is just a tool. They will say whatever they have to in order to achieve their long term goals. If that means adopting the look and feel of science to dress up creationism and rally the troops, great. And if that results in making their followers feel smart and get new jobs, as Jon Livesey suggests, so much the better.

Not dumb. Smart.

Comment #50499

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on October 1, 2005 3:46 PM (e)

Whether they win or lose in Dover, PA will be of little consequence to the long-term goals of their project, which is “To see design theory permeate our religious, cultural, moral and political life”.

It already does. They are wasting their time.

Of course, flying saucers and ESP also “permeate our religious, cultural, moral and politicla life”. We are, after all, essentially a nation of uneducated idiots. (shrug)

Comment #50500

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on October 1, 2005 3:52 PM (e)

Part of the ID movement’s goal is to co-opt science and redefine and redirect it for their own uses and purposes, which are to advance a regligious conservative political agenda in public American life.

They are losing that fight, too. Despite full control of Congress, the White House AND the Supreme Court, the fundies have not managed to pass ANY of their social/political agenda. None. Zip. Zero. Zilch. Nada.

The fundie glory days were two decades ago, when they COULD pass laws they wanted. Their glory days are over. Their political program has is now an abject failure. Today, the political powers-that-be take the fundies’ money, take their votes, and give them absolutely nothing in return.

As an effective political movement, the fundies are all but dead. The corporate interests still control the Republican Party (as they always have), and they don’t want a theocracy (theocracy is bad for business).

The Neo-Cons are where it’s at now — and they seem to have self-inflicted a mortal wound, with the whole Iraq fiasco.

Comment #50526

Posted by the pro from dover on October 1, 2005 8:09 PM (e)

To characterize science as a “search for the truth” is wrong and will get you nowhere. Science is a methodology based in objectivity, empricism and methodologic materialism. It is limited in its scope by the very boundaries that we should be trying hard to protect. Its crowning achievements, namely the key theories of basic science that we use to make testable predictions about the material world by definition must be tentative and adaptable to new data. Armchair rationalists can think about ***THE TRUTH!!!!!*** with full philosophical religious and metaphysical input but science can only be done correctly in the lab and in the field. It is a tedious and labor intensive process but it pays off with understanding and technology. I’ll leave ***THE TRUTH!!!!**** to someone else.

Comment #50600

Posted by atd on October 2, 2005 11:34 AM (e)

Moses (#50216)

“Who is attacking whom? Left alone, scientists and their supporters just wouldn’t care about what religious people did with their money and time.”

Who is attacking whom? I would suggest both sides are aggregiously guilty of attack. Not all on both sides - but enough to say both sides. The issue isn’t pure science for the sake of science. It’s an issue of worldview. Most people can accept science, medicine, engineering, etc. until it starts to challenge your own worldview - rightly or wrongly. As a scientist, I appreciate darwin’s theories - but only to a point. Neo-darwinism has spread through portions of the natural and social sciences without critical thought being focused on the gaps in the theories. This is the upside of ID - it calls attention to the gaps. However, this is not how the discussion is emerging in Dover, PA unfortunately. But it’s still about worldviews and presuppositions. If you believe in a creator - that prior assumption will steer every conclusion from there on. If you reject a divine creator - that assumption will too guide conclusions.

“And that’s what ID is, an attack. It’s not science. It’s just another attack on science by fearful, superstitious, insecure people.”

In some places yes. In, other places where people support ID - this is a grossly inaccurate statement.

“ID isn’t about saying “I don’t know.” It’s about destroying evolution and keeping the Christian creation myth as the only position. This not particularly different than some good old fashion religious suppression of science that’s been going on for HUNDREDS of years.”

It’s exactly about saying “I don’t know.” In fact, it’s about saying “we don’t know.” Some religous people might want to destroy evolution theory. But, some secular humanists want to destroy traditional Christian, Muslim and Judaic teachings. In runs both directions. Where good old fashion religous suppression has been going on - there is also good old fashion huministic rejection of faith and religion. It’s as old as time. We must remind ourselves that much of human achievement in the last few hundred years has been fueled by Muslim science (in Europe) and Christian contributions such as work ethic and the desire to explore.

“Because you think religion is about finding truth. Religion is not about “finding the truth” for society or the universe, just the individual. With society, it is about virtually unchanging doctrine, control and conformity.”

If there is truth, then I assume it will apply to all - just as gravity does. It’s both the individual AND the society. The two cannot be separated. As individuals go - so does the society. One of my presupposition is that Truth does exist - and that it speaks to us all. We may not all wind up with the same conclusions - but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist - and it doesn’t mean we’re all right. It also doesn’t mean that each of our own individual conclusions hold equal merit.

With regard to your statement on society - I agree. History is full of stories where religous types imposed doctrine wrongfully.

“How about leaving scientists alone? How about stop trying to make your creation myths science?”

The second sentence is a mischaracterization of what I have written previously. Perhaps it wasn’t meant for me alone. But I am a scientist and a Christian. So, I can’t leave scientists alone - and you haven’t read anywhere from me where I have attempted to make the creation story science. Rather, I see Genesis as the creation story - a true story from the perspective of God’s relationship to man - and not necessarily a factual, historical documentation of creation events. Others in my faith take it much more literally - and I support their beliefs. However, I portions of Genesis to be more metaphorical and allegorical - but true nonetheless. I believe there is room for natural selection within the Genesis account. It’s neo-darwinism and the etension of Darwin that I take issue with - especially given the gaps in the theory. This doesn’t mean that parts of evolution theory are wrong - it simply means there is more to the story in my opinion.

Comment #50601

Posted by Wesley R. Elsberry on October 2, 2005 11:40 AM (e)

If you believe in a creator - that prior assumption will steer every conclusion from there on.

It has steered me to put in my time opposing folks who want to put a bunch of antievolution falsehoods into science classes while calling those falsehoods science.

Was that the “steering” that you expected?

Comment #50615

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on October 2, 2005 1:21 PM (e)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'quot'

Comment #50617

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on October 2, 2005 1:24 PM (e)

One of my presupposition is that Truth does exist - and that it speaks to us all. We may not all wind up with the same conclusions - but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist - and it doesn’t mean we’re all right. It also doesn’t mean that each of our own individual conclusions hold equal merit.

Interesting. I presume, of course, that it is YOUR opinion that reflects “The Truth”, and all the OTHER ones are wrong and do not hold “equal merit”. Funny how it always works out that way, huh.

But it brings up a question:

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

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

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

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

Comment #50618

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on October 2, 2005 1:27 PM (e)

Who is attacking whom? I would suggest both sides are aggregiously guilty of attack.

Is there something wrong with that? This is, after all, a political fight, and in political fights, each side attacks the other and tries to undermine it. Generally, the ones who moan and weep about all the “attacks” are the ones that are losing. (shrug)

If you think this is an academic debate over “scientific truth”, then you are hopelessly naive.

Comment #50619

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on October 2, 2005 1:30 PM (e)

But it’s still about worldviews and presuppositions.

So science is different if you have different “worldviews” …?

Do the mechanisms of natural selection change if one converts from Christianity to Buddhism? How about the inverse square law of gravity. The mass of an electron?

Plesase explain to me how “science” is different for “Christians” than it is for anyone else ….?

Comment #50621

Posted by K.E. on October 2, 2005 1:37 PM (e)

I see the Abrahamic (Christo-Judaic-Islamic) creation myth and all others for that matter as an early pre-scientific-knowledge attempt at explaining how man came into being. And it would be fine if the enlightenment (which finally released scientists from church interference) had not “found the bones” largely as the result of canals being built for the industrial revolution …see “The map that changed the world” by Winchester. As a scientific explanation the myth’s function is obsolete. Now it can now only be taken as a parable, that is: some sort of philosophical or spiritual mind game

By the way creation myths are not unique to that particular sect, neither is the virgin birth, we can blame the Roman emperor Augustus and his spin doctors among others for that.

As far as science being purely materialistic (irrational attachment) look no further than western religion.

The explosion of man’s knowledge caught the church on the hop and it still hasn’t caught up.

Although some Franciscan Physicists are pushing back a “hands on” god creation to a few eons before the earth came into existence. The laws of nature did the rest.

http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/12047a.htm

Most sects still tell their followers as they have been doing since they first dreamed this stuff up that some supernatural thing created everything and for those who repeat this learned response..Well, its like arguing with a duck. Just ask them where and when they got the idea/meme. Children and some adults are so gullible.

I actually worked with an oil exploration Geophysicist once, who all daylong worked with maps and seismic surveys of layers/horizons deep beneath the earth that were once on the surface. He could date each layer within several million years (using core samples with pollen as the dating method etc). Yet he believed the Genesis story to be as real as the nose on your face. Now to me, this is proof the human mind is capable of gross subversion, since he was only repeating what he had been told.

ID is a semi sophisticated exercise in semantics dreamed up by the second rate lawyers and their ilk who lost the debates in the original monkey trials. Their quest is for government funding of theology in the form of turds dressed up as caramels and needs to be fought in the courts.

Comment #50629

Posted by Russell on October 2, 2005 3:31 PM (e)

K.E. wrote:

By the way creation myths are not unique to that particular sect, neither is the virgin birth, we can blame the Roman emperor Augustus and his spin doctors among others for that.

Do you have some references for this tantalizing tidbit?

Comment #50662

Posted by atd on October 2, 2005 7:49 PM (e)

“It has steered me to put in my time opposing folks who want to put a bunch of antievolution falsehoods into science classes while calling those falsehoods science.

Was that the “steering” that you expected?”

Wesley (50601)

My statement about presuppositions steering worldview interpretations was more of a general statement that I believe holds true. It’s difficult to tell if you’re steering is the steering I was referring too. It may be that you’re a man of faith - and you simply resent those who try to teach antievolution falsehoods (or differing opinions as the case may be).

Andy

Comment #50664

Posted by atd on October 2, 2005 8:10 PM (e)

Lenny (#50617)

“Interesting. I presume, of course, that it is YOUR opinion that reflects “The Truth”, and all the OTHER ones are wrong and do not hold “equal merit”. Funny how it always works out that way, huh.”

Never said that nor implied that. I put out my views and a few of the reasons that I hold them. We all hold our own opinions of the truth, whether rightly or wrongly. It just happens to be in politically correct to preach pluralism today - so anyone who says anything remotely exclusionary is viewed as ignorant, misguided, etc. To a degree I would agree with this view of intolerant people. However, it is illogical to assume that all view are equally valid - especially when competing worldviews hold beliefs that are 180 degrees apart. One has to be wrong.

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

Again…I have never claimed to speak with authority - but I have shared my experience. Not sure the source of your anger - but forgive me if I’ve offended you. I generally agree with intent that you raise the questions listed above. I know alot of pizza guys that know more about God than I do.

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

Again…I’ve never claimed to be infallible. I expressed my opinion and experience. I believe the Bible to be infallible and inerrant - but not in the respect that you are thinking. To me, the Genesis account can be true - while including evolution (natural selection and adaptation) within the intent of the book. As for my interpretations - they’re probably worse than most.

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

Again…never said they were more than my opinions. You’re absolutely correct that nobody is obligated to follow my religous opinions. I don’t do so well following them myself.

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

No - all we have to share as people is experience and ideas. That’s how we learn. That’s how we live…except when it comes to politics and high school biology. Then we argue.

Andy

Comment #50665

Posted by Ron Zeno on October 2, 2005 8:30 PM (e)

“That’s how we learn.”

Not a very effective way to learn, and certainly not an approach that we want used on our children given they have a limited time to learn such a large amount.

Some ideas and experiences are better than others. When people with a religious agenda want anti-science taught in the classroom as science, those people should be attacked. They are purposely seeking to undermine the education system. They are purposely seeking to undermine science.

Many others have been fooled into believing that the intelligent design creationists are promoting something other than anti-science as science. While I don’t think these dupes should be attacked the same way as the conmen, the ideas they are promoting certainly should be attacked.

Comment #50666

Posted by atd on October 2, 2005 9:04 PM (e)

“So science is different if you have different “worldviews” …?

Do the mechanisms of natural selection change if one converts from Christianity to Buddhism? How about the inverse square law of gravity. The mass of an electron?

Plesase explain to me how “science” is different for “Christians” than it is for anyone else … .?”

Lenny - good points. Einstein once stated that he would never have discovered relativity if his native language wasn’t German. Language theory suggests that vast differences in worldview can be a result of something as common as the language we speak and think in on a daily basis.

The belief that science is objective and free from these kind of influences is naive - and refuted by Einstein. I would suggest that it’s a worldview issue when someone takes the theory of natural selection and develops a theory that all life grew from primordial ooze. I would also suggest that it’s worldview when we continue after 100 years to look at the same theory and draw the same conclusions given the fact that we have no evidence of interspeciation (to my limited knowledge).

Is science beyond worldview - yes and no. In the realm of laws of nature - worldview probably plays little. In the realm of theories - worldview plays a huge role in interpretation. The reality is that evolution is a theory - not a law - so it’s not in the class of physical constants or the laws of physics. It’s a theory because its not proven…and as such subject to interpretation until the gaps are filled in.

I wouldn’t want to speak for others - I’ll just say that science and Christianity are not at odds to me. Faith and reason are not separate and distinct - they complement and inform one another. My reading of the Bible informs my understanding of science - and vice versa. This isn’t the example you were looking for…but there isn’t time nor space to address that question adequately.

Andy

Comment #50669

Posted by Ron Zeno on October 2, 2005 9:13 PM (e)

“The reality is that evolution is a theory - not a law - so it’s not in the class of physical constants or the laws of physics. It’s a theory because its not proven…and as such subject to interpretation until the gaps are filled in.”

Someone needs a lesson in science, specifically the difference between scientific theories and laws. (Hint: theories don’t become laws and theories aren’t “proven”.)

Comment #50673

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on October 2, 2005 10:29 PM (e)

“Interesting. I presume, of course, that it is YOUR opinion that reflects “The Truth”, and all the OTHER ones are wrong and do not hold “equal merit”. Funny how it always works out that way, huh.”

Never said that nor implied that.

I see, so your religious opinions and worldview are no better than anyone else’s.

And therefore there is no reason whatsoever why anyone should pay any more attention to them than they should to mine, my next door neighbor’s, or the kid who delivers my pizzas.

Right?

So why, then, are you wasting everyone’s time with them?

Comment #50674

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on October 2, 2005 10:32 PM (e)

The reality is that evolution is a theory - not a law - so it’s not in the class of physical constants or the laws of physics. It’s a theory because its not proven

OK, so you don’t know what a scientific “theory” is. That’s not unusual for ID/creationists.

Maybe this link will help:

http://www.geocities.com/lflank/theory.htm

Comment #50675

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on October 2, 2005 10:34 PM (e)

My reading of the Bible informs my understanding of science - and vice versa.

That’s nice.

And the rest of the world should care about your opinion on the matter because …. …. ?

Comment #50692

Posted by K.E. on October 3, 2005 2:01 AM (e)

Russell

Augustus himself, to help assert his rise to divine emperor of Rome and remove any vestiges of senate power had the legend put about that he was the result of divine intercourse with his mother.

It’s likely that the later gospel writers needed to add a little spice to an otherwise bland birth to counter other popular “conceptions” at the time.

Anyway is the virgin birth a myth-conception? Only if it is some form of early artificial insemination as any biologist can safely say. Collecting the semen would have been interesting. If DNA testing was available then I can just imagine a paternity suite in a Roman court and the custody battle.

Why don’t the ID people try to get the virgin birth into biology as well? And while they are at it, rising from the dead?

A search of “Augustus virgin birth myth” has some very interesting references mostly to the Christ virgin birth. Its hard to imagine how something like this would get up nowadays but, back then hey everybody was doing it!!

Here is a tiny snip from a great read- at

http://www.religioustolerance.org/xmas_lib.htm

=================
In ancient times it was often claimed that important people had miraculous births. Plato was said to have been born by the union of the god Apollo with his mother. Likewise, Alexander the Great was said to have been conceived when a thunderbolt fell from heaven and made his mother Olympias pregnant before her marriage to Philip of Macedon. In the book of Genesis we read that sons of gods had intercourse with women to produce heroes (Gen. 6:4). Even the recently discovered Dead Sea Scrolls tell of the miraculous birth of Noah and how his father Lamech was suspicious that his wife had been made pregnant by an angel. Also the writings of Philo of Alexandria, who was born about 20 B.C., contain evidence that some Jews of the period were speculating about miraculous births of religious heroes. Philo relates how Hebrew notables such as Isaac and Samuel were conceived by barren women by the intervention of the divine Spirit.
===================

Comment #50705

Posted by Russell on October 3, 2005 7:23 AM (e)

Great stuff! Thanks, K.E.

I’ve always suspected that the “new world order” seen by the early christians shared a certain amount of “common descent”, shall we say, with the one brought about in Rome just moments before, on an historical time scale.

Comment #50713

Posted by K.E. on October 3, 2005 8:54 AM (e)

Canonize the ‘Rev Dr’ Lenny Flank Now! Inspired writing, dare I say divine ?

For Russell Comment #50705

And the Romans from the Greeks and whoever came before them ad infinitum, when they needed to add a bit of extra umpppff to their progeny.
A conspiracy perhaps ?

In case you didn’t read the whole article here is part of the summary.(about the later gospel rendition of the Christ virgin birth myth)

“They are attempts by these gospel authors to put into words their conception of a momentous, divine event. And they do so in a manner consistent with what credulous people in ancient times expected.”

A case (as in the creation myth) of mything with the story to get a bigger headline.

That same site has a some nice stuff on religion vs evolution

with the obvious opening quote from T.H. Huxley

“The great tragedy of science - the slaying of a beautiful hypothesis by an ugly fact.”

http://www.religioustolerance.org/ev_stat.htm

Comment #50745

Posted by Engineer-Poet on October 3, 2005 10:34 AM (e)

atd wrote:

anyone who says anything remotely exclusionary is viewed as ignorant, misguided, etc.

You should have your eyes checked, because nothing of the sort is going on here.  PT attempts to exclude all non-science posing as science, and holds this as enlightened and correct.

As do I.

Comment #50754

Posted by Jim Wynne on October 3, 2005 11:10 AM (e)

atd wrote:

I would also suggest that it’s worldview when we continue after 100 years to look at the same theory and draw the same conclusions given the fact that we have no evidence of interspeciation (to my limited knowledge).

Interspeciation?? What the hell is that? You claim to be a scientist, but have no problem with spewing creationist talking points and admit to “limited knowledge” (presumably in evolutionart biology).

atd wrote:

As a scientist, I appreciate darwin’s theories

He’ll be glad to hear that, I’m sure. He thinks yours are horsebleep.

atd wrote:

…it is illogical to assume that all view are equally valid - especially when competing worldviews hold beliefs that are 180 degrees apart. One has to be wrong.

Only if you’re promoting a false dichotomy.

Comment #50758

Posted by atd on October 3, 2005 11:29 AM (e)

Ron (#50669)

“Someone needs a lesson in science, specifically the difference between scientific theories and laws. (Hint: theories don’t become laws and theories aren’t “proven”.)”

Ron - you’re right. Theories differ from laws in that they are more complex. However, they both rest on hypotheses that can be tested and confirmed or contradicted.

Comment #50761

Posted by atd on October 3, 2005 11:44 AM (e)

Lenny

“I see, so your religious opinions and worldview are no better than anyone else’s.”

Obviously I believe in my faith stance and worldview. So I prefer mine to the various options - that’s how we all operate isn’t it?

“And therefore there is no reason whatsoever why anyone should pay any more attention to them than they should to mine, my next door neighbor’s, or the kid who delivers my pizzas.

Right?

So why, then, are you wasting everyone’s time with them?”

I enjoy these types of discussions with the exception of the personal attacks. Most of my friends and colleagues do not share my belief system - and I recognize that there is credibility in their opinions. I’ve mentioned before that I am not a 6 or 7 day creationist - and I am open to learning more about the entire conversation to be better informed. I do not support the Dover school board…although I am intrigued by some of the ID propositions (none of which seem to have been presented at the trial - or at least not written about in the media). It’s been good to hear alternative opinions - so it hasn’t been a waste of time.

Comment #50763

Posted by atd on October 3, 2005 12:00 PM (e)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'kwickxml'

Comment #50797

Posted by Ron Zeno on October 3, 2005 2:34 PM (e)

atd wrote:

Ron - you’re right. Theories differ from laws in that they are more complex.

Glad to see you can admit you were wrong and are willing to learn why.

So, have you learned enough now to see that this statement of yours is completely wrong?

“It’s a theory because its not proven…and as such subject to interpretation until the gaps are filled in.”

Comment #50810

Posted by K.E. on October 3, 2005 3:47 PM (e)

When does a theory become proven fact?

Lets see ….The special theory of relativity e=mcc
says that the closer a body is travelling to the speed of light it both gets heavier and local time slows down. That’s the theory. It was proposed before it could be measured and remained a theory until it could be tested. Now it has been tested and proven to be fact and scientists accept it as fact. When the US Military established the Satnav network it had to design in corrections to the onboard clocks to compensate for the 32,000km per hour speed the sats. were flying at. The onboard clock slows down due to the THEORY of relativity. So why is it still called a theory?

It’s a good thing they didn’t let semantics get in the way of a multi billion-dollar project.

Gee if the Military were able to genetically engineer a super (viral) warrior using Darwin’s theory then no one would be in the Military would be saying “oh its just a theory so it’s not proven lets not do it”….. Well have a look at this article and pay attention to the bit about 25,000 generations.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/09/25/AR2005092501177.html

ID twits use the general publics understanding of the use of the word “theory” as an airy fairy idea or guess to try to say evolution is unproven “because it is only a theory”

If it walks like a goose and talks like a goose it’s a damn goose not a goose in theory.

Darwin’s Evolution: measured, tested and fact. If it were false we would not be here talking about it, because over 150 years there would have been enough counter evidence to kill it dead and correct me if I’m wrong but there isn’t any that has survived peer review.

Comment #50812

Posted by K.E. on October 3, 2005 3:51 PM (e)

Url too long try this

http://www.washingtonpost.com/

wp-dyn/content/article/2005/09/25/AR2005092501177.html

Comment #50817

Posted by A Hermit on October 3, 2005 4:09 PM (e)

OK, time to overstretch an analogy….

Andy says: “If you tell an overweight girl that she is fat - you may be factually correct (or it may be your opinion) - but it doesn’t mean the words are justified or useful.”

But this only matters if you are more concerned about politics than truth. The ID vs evolution fight is about politics for the IDers, who want to tell the overweight girl that her obesity is just an illusion. They aren’t interested in science, they are interested in political pandering.

And if that poor girl is so overweight that her health is in danger it’s surely better to tell her the plain truth than to pretend she’s just “big boned”. Same thing applies to public policy. Decisions affecting people’s health, the environment, energy policy etc are surely better founded on facts than on feelings.

Science is about facts, whether those facts hurt your feelings or not is irrelevant.

Comment #50820

Posted by Jim Harrison on October 3, 2005 4:26 PM (e)

The fat girl is well aware that she is fat just as many defenders of ID probably know that ID is hogwash but feel that it ought to be supported anyhow for political or cultural reasons.

Has anybody ever figured out a research methodology for figuring out how many professed believers are actually atheists? Perhaps a one-on-one interviewing technique would work. Kinsey got a lot of people to reveal their deviant sexuality in this fashion. Maybe it would also work for ideologies and superstitions.

Comment #50837

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on October 3, 2005 7:27 PM (e)

“I see, so your religious opinions and worldview are no better than anyone else’s.”

Obviously I believe in my faith stance and worldview.

Everyone else in the world also believes in their faith stance and worldview. (shrug)

What makes yours any better than anyone else’s? And if NOTHING amkes yours better than anyone else’s, why the hell should anyone pay any more attention to yours than they should to anyone else’s? And why are you wasting everyone’s time with it?

Comment #51133

Posted by Wally on October 5, 2005 3:35 PM (e)

I have a question for all of you who are obviously well educated on both theories of Evolution and ID (wait, or are they proofs? I’m confused again, I must be a member of the DI).

Is it inconceivable that ID may be able to coexist with Evolution? Maybe not, I really don’t know. But from what limited information I’ve been exposed to, I don’t see how Evolution by itself can fully explain the creation of the world. At least not without a whole lot of unproven theory (there I go again, screwing it all up, but lets assume you understand what I’m driving at).

Can someone bash me for awhile and explain to everyone why I’m such an idiot? Or perhaps it’s obvious enough that there’s no need. Either way, I would appreciate any feedback you could give.

Comment #51136

Posted by CJ O'Brien on October 5, 2005 3:48 PM (e)

I don’t see how Evolution by itself can fully explain the creation of the world.
It’s not being asked to.
At present, ID “coexists” with evolution to the extent that evolutionary theory is mute on issues like the origin of life, and, certainly, “the creation of the world.” Now, most of us who hold a scientific worldview do not see ID as promising in these areas, either, primarily because ID’s appeal to an in-principle unknowable “first cause” doesn’t actually explain anything.

Comment #51147

Posted by Wally on October 5, 2005 4:47 PM (e)

CJ, that makes a lot of sense to me, thanks. For some reason I’ve always assumed a direct connection between the study of Evolution and the search for an answer to the origin of life. I always believed it to be a link in the chain but obviously not the whole answer. If I understand you correctly, that’s pretty much what it is (metaphorically of course).

That being said, ID isn’t developed even remotely close to the same extents as Evolution and therefore has no real place in public education. Furthermore, it is being used to undermine Evolution.

I’ll offer an analogy as a check that I understand. Evolution would be like explaining how a pie is prepared, straight forward and logical. ID suggests that there is an unexplained source for the ingredients of the pie, therefore it is possible that the same unknown source may have pre-made pies for all to enjoy, thus undermining the Evolutionary explanation.

That may be the worst analogy I’ve ever conjured, but hopefully it’s not too far off base. If it’s close enough, please acknowledge. And if so, I’d have to agree that there’s no need for ID in our schools’ science curriculum. Assuming of course that the ID theory is as feeble as everyone in this chat thinks it is (I wouldn’t doubt it for a second, but I don’t know).

Now a Philosophy course? That would be the place for discussion of ID. Imagine it, a bunch of 16 and 17 year olds brainstorming on Christianity, Buddhism, and Tom Cruise.

Comment #51150

Posted by K.E. on October 5, 2005 5:07 PM (e)

As Johnny Carson once said when asked how he became a star

“Well first I started as a cloud of hot gas, and then I cooled”.

Here is a a reasonable brief explanation of the process of the creation of elements which the earth is made from which can actually be proved scientifically either through maths or in the lab.

http://www.astronomynotes.com/evolutn/s7.htm

and here is something that someone found in a small yellow bag at the local park

http://www.creationscience.com/FAQ112.html

Yikes… “And he said verily, lets make some money from selling books before this scam runs out of steam”

Evolution ,the evidence suggests so far - that is they found the fossils, of life on earth started with very primitive organisms like bacteria. I’m going to propose that it started in my refidgerator because I’m constantly finding new things growing in there. There are some good resources on the web that will explain the details. Science has yet to find the actual mechanism for the biology of the very first steps but once cell division started the race was on.

This link shows some of the complex ideas that scientists have to deal with but explained in easy terms

http://www.skeptics.com.au/articles/dawkins.htm

Comment #51152

Posted by Flint on October 5, 2005 5:09 PM (e)

Wally:

It helps me not to invert the thought process. What ID is saying, to follow your metaphor, is that pies are pre-made. Period. They KNOW this to be true without thinking, it is ingrained into their neural pathways since birth, it cannot be questioned nor can it be wrong. Not even a little bit. It is Truth.

Now, what can they make of actual demonstrations of making pies? Clearly, this can’t happen. They KNOW it can’t happen. So we get this refrain: It’s not really a pie. Nobody has actually ever SEEN a pie being made, they just THINK they have. Nobody knows exactly how the ingredients came to exist, so they can’t make pies. Pies are obviously so complex in and of themselves that no possible natural mixing and preparation of ingredients could possibly have produced them. If the universe were other than precisely the way it is, pies would be impossible, which is proof that everything was designed. Nobody has ever seen a horse turn into a pie or give birth to a pie. And so on, and on, and on.

The important point is that the pre-existence of pies is not deduced from all of these silly rationalizations, but quite the reverse. The pre-existence of pies is Received Wisdom, and doubt is ruled out. Everything else necessarily follows, because the alternative is to ADMIT ERROR. Which is an acquired taste vanishingly few people have stooped to acquire. With respect to pies, it may well be the case that error is no longer physiologically correctable within the brain structure itself.

Comment #51153

Posted by CJ O'Brien on October 5, 2005 5:11 PM (e)

I’ve always assumed a direct connection between the study of Evolution and the search for an answer to the origin of life.

Here’s the current situation as I see it:
Since Darwin put forth his theory, science has amassed a truly overwhelming body of evidence for natural selection (among other mechanisms) as the primary driver of the processes that led to the diversity of life we observe.
To this degree, then, it has been shown that the theory is complete: it needs no help from supernatural agency or any unexplained mechanism to have achieved the results the scientific community claims it has.
Origin of life research, on the other hand, is in a much more provisional stage, such that the preponderance of evidence for a given pathway from organic reactions to biochemistry does not exist. That said, however, there is no reason, in principle, given the current state of understanding, to believe that science won’t someday be able to give a fully materialist account of biogenesis.
It’s this provisional nature of current origin hypotheses that sets them apart from evolutionary theory, not any inherent weaknesses that would lead scientists to consider giving up on the materialist methodology in their further examination.
The “direct connection” you speak of is indeed the goal. We’re just not there yet. ID says, without justification, that we will never get there and we should give up trying.

Comment #51173

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on October 5, 2005 6:13 PM (e)

Now a Philosophy course? That would be the place for discussion of ID. Imagine it, a bunch of 16 and 17 year olds brainstorming on Christianity, Buddhism, and Tom Cruise.

Well, IDers *can* imagine it – all those 16 and 17 year olds learning about other religious views. Little Johnny coming home and saying “Guess what, Daddy! Today I learned about other gods!!!”

That’s why they have always opposed it.

They want THEIR opinions taught, and no one else’s.

Comment #51217

Posted by Henry J on October 5, 2005 10:13 PM (e)

Wally,

Re “For some reason I’ve always assumed a direct connection between the study of Evolution and the search for an answer to the origin of life.”

My 2 cents: There is a connection, but not a dependency. If there’s life now, and there was a time when there wasn’t, then life began at some point in time. So, not knowing exactly how it happened doesn’t mean it didn’t.

Henry