PvM posted Entry 1468 on September 10, 2005 08:46 PM.
Trackback URL: http://www.pandasthumb.org/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb.fcgi/1464

Dr Matthew Chalmers from the Institute of Physics presents his comments in The Sunday Times of September 11

Dr Matthew Chalmers wrote:

ROD LIDDLE does his best to knock scientists off their pedestals while taking care not to side with the “deadbeat” promoters of intelligent design (Comment, last week). But he goes one step too far. By suggesting that it is reasonable to discuss ID as a possible alternative to evolutionary theory in school science lessons he has sadly fallen into the same trap of so many others in this recent non-debate.

The reason why intelligent design should not be taught in science classes is blindingly simple: it isn’t science. Does Liddle also think that A-level biology should include a short module on the virgin birth as an alternative to sexual reproduction, or perhaps a homework assignment about life after death? After all, millions of people believe in those.

Not wasting any words he concludes

Intelligent design is at best religious-right extremism; at worst, intellectual laziness.

There you have it…

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Comment #47357

Posted by bill on September 10, 2005 8:55 PM (e)

Ho, hum. Evolution schmevolution. Wake me when I’m evolved.

Comment #47359

Posted by ts (not Tim) on September 10, 2005 9:16 PM (e)

ROD LIDDLE does his best to knock scientists off their pedestals while taking care not to side with the “deadbeat” promoters of intelligent design (Comment, last week). But he goes one step too far.

He goes a lot more than one:

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2088-1763688,00.html

Dawkins is supposedly a supremely rational human being. But there is another paradox here, because in his defence of theories to which he has affixed his flag and from which he has made his name, he betrays the distinctly irrational and human characteristic of possessing something called faith. “I believe but I cannot prove that all life, all intelligence and all design … is the direct or indirect product of Darwinian natural selection,” he has said. Faith is indeed a touching thing.

Uh, no, it’s not “faith”, it’s inference to the best explanation, just as we believe, but cannot prove, that the sun will come up tomorrow.

I suspect — note that word, suspect — that he is right, though. I suspect — note that word, suspect — that he is right, though. And I am about 99.99% convinced that intelligent design or creationism is an incorrect explanation for the development of life on earth.

He doesn’t just suspect it, he believes it, as the word is properly used. He’s using “suspect” in this weasely way to make a phony argument against Dawkins.

But that 0.01% of doubt is not allowed to intrude into Dawkins’s philosophy, for he has total faith. He is 100% certain that creationism is both wrong and indeed cretinous.

Apparently Liddle is 100% certain that Dawkins is 100% certain. In any case, his article is cretinous.

Comment #47374

Posted by steve on September 10, 2005 10:34 PM (e)

I don’t think about the religious consequences of ID. But lately I have pondered it a little. ID is a danger to christianity for a number of reasons. For instance, if HIV is intelligently designed, and our puny human brains one day figure out how to wipe it out, what does that say about the ethics or intelligence of the ‘mysterious’ designer?

Comment #47379

Posted by ts (not Tim) on September 10, 2005 10:58 PM (e)

Steve, for the answer to that just google Reverend Phelps.

Comment #47380

Posted by PvM on September 10, 2005 11:02 PM (e)

Steve has touched on why ID is theologically risky. What if a Christian who is ‘convinced’ by the argument about ICness of the flagellum is confronted with the increased knowledge of science which suggests that it could have evolved? What does this say about the cornerstone example of ID?
What would this do to the faith of Christians who now have to face the argument that intelligent design has been disproven.
Or would disproving ICness of the flagellum present no risk to ID? In other words, it’s just a ruse? What would that do to the faith of those who were told otherwise?

Comment #47384

Posted by Creationist Troll on September 10, 2005 11:42 PM (e)

Do we ever have anything on Panda’s thumb beyond ‘Living organisms can’t be designed because there is a book that claims they have been designed.’? Apparently not.

Comment #47389

Posted by bill on September 11, 2005 12:00 AM (e)

Ok, Creationist Troll, let’s take the cow. Pick any cow. Cow bones don’t appear with dinosaurs, or earlier, for that matter.

Creationist Troll, explain whence comes the cow?

Thanks. I await your reply.

Comment #47394

Posted by Bruce McNeely on September 11, 2005 12:51 AM (e)

Intellectual laziness - I love it!

PvM, I saw a similar comment a few days ago - can t remember where. It stated that ID implied that the Designer would gradually diminish in importance as more of the knowledge gaps were explained by science. The Incredible Shrinking God, indeed!

I ve got both of these stashed in my anti-ID armamentarium.

Bruce

Comment #47398

Posted by Eric Murphy on September 11, 2005 2:32 AM (e)

A conversation between neodarwinian evolution and intelligent design:

NDE: How did that car get built?

ID: A designer designed it.

NDE: Okay, I know, but how did it actually get built? Did the designer build it himself, or did he get someone else to build it?

ID: Well, he designed the design of the car.

NDE: Yes, we know. But how did the car actually get built?

ID: Well, I don’t have any information on that.

NDE: Any ideas?

ID: I don’t need to come up with any ideas on that, because I can see that it was designed by a designer.

NDE: I’m not asking you about the design. I’m asking you how it got built.

ID: It was designed.

NDE: Never mind.

Comment #47400

Posted by Alan on September 11, 2005 4:04 AM (e)

ts wrote:

Apparently Liddle is 100% certain that Dawkins is 100% certain. In any case, his article is cretinous.

I fear there is cultural misunderstanding here, ts. This is a typical British response to a perceived over-strident piece by Dawkins. In the absence of any creationist (of the Southern Babtist variety) cabal of any significance in the UK mounting any response, Liddle feels he must support the underdog along the lines of “well, we can’t condemn something until we’ve given it a fair hearing.”

Having been on a sharp learning curve and now appreciating the essentially political nature of ID, I can understand your frustration.

That Dembski is a devious charlatan, I now have no doubt. But my English sense of fair play forced me to read up on the background. My thanks to Professor Perakh for the work he has put in. I commend his articles to anyone who hasn’t read them. www.talkreason.org is a good place to start.

Comment #47401

Posted by Alan on September 11, 2005 4:33 AM (e)

Sorry, in the absence of the bathroom wall being available, could I just ask someone to check if they can see my comments on Dembski’s blog I’m Alan Fox. It’s just that I recall someone else posting here that their comments appeared on their own screen and appeared invisible when accessed on any other computer. I wonder if the same is happening to me.

Comment #47402

Posted by SEF on September 11, 2005 5:10 AM (e)

I can see several Alan Fox comments on that linked page. I’m about as certain as anyone can be that I’m not you and not on the same computer as you. So any invisibility problem is likely to be your own - which would be the reverse of the previous report of invisibility.

Comment #47403

Posted by KiwiInOz on September 11, 2005 5:12 AM (e)

Hi Alan - your comments are there, in the middle of Dave Scot’s sychophantc inane drivel.

Cheers

Comment #47405

Posted by Alan on September 11, 2005 5:25 AM (e)

Thanks Kiwi

But just to be sure what number of comments shows in that thread, and do you see Alan Fox or Fox, Alan? Sorry to trouble you, we seem to be out of time sync. here. What time of day in Oz?

Comment #47406

Posted by Alan on September 11, 2005 5:43 AM (e)

Thanks SEF (why so snotty about Dawkins?)

Well something’s going on because I can no longer log on there. I re-registered and these comments were shown as 11 and 13, but the top count shows 11 comments.

Comment #47407

Posted by KiwiInOz on September 11, 2005 5:47 AM (e)

It’s Alan Fox, with 4 comments, and the last one at 4.41 AM. And it’s 8.45 PM here in Oz. I’m always amused to see my comments come in at some ungodly (unintelligently designed?) time of the morning of the day before!

Comment #47408

Posted by Alan on September 11, 2005 6:00 AM (e)

KiwiInOz

Merci, m’sieur, t’est gentil.

Bugger, I thought I’d become difficult enough to get banned.

Comment #47413

Posted by mark on September 11, 2005 7:44 AM (e)

PvM wrote:

What if a Christian who is ‘convinced’ by the argument about ICness of the flagellum is confronted with the increased knowledge of science which suggests that it could have evolved? What does this say about the cornerstone example of ID?

Haven’t we seen many examples of this? Very often, they ignore or deny the evidence, or question the credentials of the scientist. In the case of some Creationists, they even go so far as to say if the new evidence contradicts scripture, the new evidence is ipso facto wrong. The ID proponents are not likely to come out and say this, but they still often ignore and deny the evidence.

Comment #47421

Posted by Timothy Chase on September 11, 2005 10:38 AM (e)

mark wrote:

PvM wrote:

What if a Christian who is ‘convinced’ by the argument about ICness of the flagellum is confronted with the increased knowledge of science which suggests that it could have evolved? What does this say about the cornerstone example of ID?

Haven’t we seen many examples of this? Very often, they ignore or deny the evidence, or question the credentials of the scientist. In the case of some Creationists, they even go so far as to say if the new evidence contradicts scripture, the new evidence is ipso facto wrong. The ID proponents are not likely to come out and say this, but they still often ignore and deny the evidence.

Honestly, given a concern similar to that of PvM, I wrote a paper some time ago. In large part, it was devoted to pointing out the problem identified by Mark to religious leaders who may authentically be concerned with morality. I certainly think that the majority of people in the Intelligent Design movement can’t be helped, but perhaps for others…, well, here is the article:

Religion and Science

The religion vs. evolution debate has broken out once again, and certain groups are trying to get their religious views into high school classrooms ? this time in the thinly-veiled form of “intelligent design,” a broad tent where young earth creationists, old earth creationists, and people who simply prefer to remain more abstract can join together in common cause. In an online discussion devoted to the issue, one individual said that he couldn’t really understand what the controversy was about. He argued that if God is omniscient, omnipotent, exists outside of the world He creates, and expects us to believe in Him through faith alone, then surely He would not have left any traces in His creation which would provide an empirical alternative to that faith. Viewed this way, the world discovered through science – including evolution and the big bang – is simply the divinely opaque means through which God created the world we now see.

I agreed. Properly understood, there is no conflict between religion and science: each deals with different human needs (and for some people, philosophy may satisfy the same needs that religion serves for others). The realm of empirical knowledge belongs to science, whereas religion ministers to the need for normative guidance. The question of whether or not God exists lies beyond the realm of empirical science, and properly belongs to religion and philosophy. Many scientists (including a good number of evolutionists) are in fact religious – they simply do not let their religious views interfere with the quest for empirical knowledge. (For one example, see the “Science and Religion” interview with Kenneth R. Miller, available at http://www.actionbioscience.org/evolution/miller.html.) Properly, scientists will respect these beliefs of their religious colleagues, realizing they may very well provide those colleagues with the moral guidance which makes them better scientists. The importance of moral guidance, and, more specifically, the moral courage to deal with the ever-present possibility of failure in both the existential and cognitive realms, is not to be underestimated.

In the existential realm, religion properly provides the individual with the moral courage to act despite the possibility of failure, where failure can sometimes mean the possibility of actual death, and the fear of failure itself can often be experienced as such. Likewise, the fear of being mistaken – where being mistaken may threaten our beliefs about who we are – is at times experienced as a threat much like death itself. Here, too, there is need for moral courage, although of a somewhat different kind. Properly, religion encourages in its own way the view that while recognizing one’s mistakes may be experienced prospectively as a form of death, the act itself brings a form of rebirth and self-transcendence, giving one the courage to revise one’s beliefs when confronted with new evidence.

However, when people attempt to mix the realms of religion and science ? attempting, for example, to use science to promote a given religious or philosophic view – in the long run, given the very nature of the relationship between religion and science, the results will be the reverse of what is intended, and may end up damaging what in fact they hold most dear. For example, a proponent of science who believes that faith in God is absurd in the age of Science may end up creating a religious backlash against science itself among those who take a different view. But properly, empirical science cannot speak of the metaphysics of that which lies beyond the empirical realm and the ontology required by its naturalistic explanations.

Alternatively, those who attempt to use science to prove the existence of God will end up with a God susceptible to empirical criticism, when belief in God should be a matter of faith. A religious view rooted in science will be grounded in the shifting sands of scientific discourse, placed in constant threat of being uprooted by the newest scientific discoveries. For the better among those who initially accept this substitute for true faith, such a view will at first seem intoxicating, but will soon prove poisonous to their religious beliefs.

For others, the proper religious stance becomes transformed, and the proper intellectual courage to revise one’s beliefs when confronted with new evidence is transmuted into its polar opposite. Intellectual “courage” becomes the will and the power to challenge, doubt and deny any body of empirical evidence or knowledge whenever it comes into conflict with their religious or political beliefs. At this point, one of the most fundamental ethical virtues ? honesty – has itself become undermined, and with it all the virtues which would normally be encouraged and taught through the moral guidance of religion. Properly, religious leaders who understand what is at stake will oppose “empirical” faith both for the contradiction which it embodies and as the antithesis of the true faith they seek to protect and nourish.

When properly understood, this unnecessary conflict between religion and science will be consigned to the oblivion it so richly deserves. Yet more could undoubtedly be done so as to avoid such misunderstandings and consequent conflicts in the future. Science has been and continues to be responsible for a great deal of humanity’s material and intellectual progress. Religion is responsible for humanity’s moral and spiritual guidance. The roles they serve are complementary and to a significant extent in today’s world, interdependent. Religion and science each have their own inner dynamic, but religious and scientific communities share a common concern for humanity as a whole. If religion and science are to perform their proper functions in human society, they must remain separate, with their fundamental natures respected. But still there can be dialogue.

Some time ago, Pope John Paul II visited with biologists to discuss evolution and then ended official Catholic Church opposition to evolutionary theory. This was a good beginning, but unfortunately there wasn’t much follow-up. If a dialogue were to begin between the religious and scientific communities, one born out of mutual understanding and respect, such a dialogue could serve the interests of both communities and perhaps even the interests of humanity as a whole. As one interesting possibility, a scientist of the same denomination as a given church might occasionally make a good guest speaker, particularly if he were to discuss the role that religious belief has played in his life and work, and he were to share a few of the more interesting, recent discoveries in his particular field.

In a sense, such religious scientists might serve as bidirectional ambassadors between the two communities, and would deserve honored places within both. If properly promoted, such guest speakers might help to boost church attendance, particularly if they are good speakers. And perhaps when church services are not being held, churches could make available rooms where scientists could discuss their work with the public, and even their concerns for some of the problems which currently face humanity. This could also serve as good public relations for the religious and scientific communities as a whole. I myself do not know where a dialogue between these communities would lead ? this would be up to the participants. But I have little doubt that it could become quite interesting and enlightening for everyone involved.

Comment #47423

Posted by qetzal on September 11, 2005 11:04 AM (e)

Alan wrote:

I fear there is cultural misunderstanding here, ts. This is a typical British response to a perceived over-strident piece by Dawkins. In the absence of any creationist (of the Southern Babtist variety) cabal of any significance in the UK mounting any response, Liddle feels he must support the underdog along the lines of “well, we can’t condemn something until we’ve given it a fair hearing.”

I think that would be a fair sentiment if Liddle had been speaking off-the-cuff. But he wasn’t, he was writing for The Times:

Ron Liddle wrote:

As Dawkins implies, the creationists are guided less by scientific rigour than by pure faith. But it is a view that has been popularly believed for at least 2,000 years: why not allow it to be analysed scientifically within the classroom? For an afternoon, at least.

Before one opines in print (in The Times, no less) that creationists deserve a fair hearing or an afternoon of scientific analysis in the classroom, I think one ought to investigate whether there’s anything fair to hear, anything scientific to analyze.

Comment #47425

Posted by Timothy Chase on September 11, 2005 11:18 AM (e)

Sorry – there was a problem with the formatting. This will be more readable.

Religion and Science

The religion vs. evolution debate has broken out once again, and certain groups are trying to get their religious views into high school classrooms – this time in the thinly-veiled form of “intelligent design,” a broad tent where young earth creationists, old earth creationists, and people who simply prefer to remain more abstract can join together in common cause. In an online discussion devoted to the issue, one individual said that he couldn’t really understand what the controversy was about. He argued that if God is omniscient, omnipotent, exists outside of the world He creates, and expects us to believe in Him through faith alone, then surely He would not have left any traces in His creation which would provide an empirical alternative to that faith. Viewed this way, the world discovered through science – including evolution and the big bang – is simply the divinely opaque means through which God created the world we now see.

I agreed. Properly understood, there is no conflict between religion and science: each deals with different human needs (and for some people, philosophy may satisfy the same needs that religion serves for others). The realm of empirical knowledge belongs to science, whereas religion ministers to the need for normative guidance. The question of whether or not God exists lies beyond the realm of empirical science, and properly belongs to religion and philosophy. Many scientists (including a good number of evolutionists) are in fact religious – they simply do not let their religious views interfere with the quest for empirical knowledge. (For one example, see the “Science and Religion” interview with Kenneth R. Miller, available at http://www.actionbioscience.org/evolution/miller.html.) Properly, scientists will respect these beliefs of their religious colleagues, realizing they may very well provide those colleagues with the moral guidance which makes them better scientists. The importance of moral guidance, and, more specifically, the moral courage to deal with the ever-present possibility of failure in both the existential and cognitive realms, is not to be underestimated.

In the existential realm, religion properly provides the individual with the moral courage to act despite the possibility of failure, where failure can sometimes mean the possibility of actual death, and the fear of failure itself can often be experienced as such. Likewise, the fear of being mistaken – where being mistaken may threaten our beliefs about who we are – is at times experienced as a threat much like death itself. Here, too, there is need for moral courage, although of a somewhat different kind. Properly, religion encourages in its own way the view that while recognizing one’s mistakes may be experienced prospectively as a form of death, the act itself brings a form of rebirth and self-transcendence, giving one the courage to revise one’s beliefs when confronted with new evidence.

However, when people attempt to mix the realms of religion and science – attempting, for example, to use science to promote a given religious or philosophic view – in the long run, given the very nature of the relationship between religion and science, the results will be the reverse of what is intended, and may end up damaging what in fact they hold most dear. For example, a proponent of science who believes that faith in God is absurd in the age of Science may end up creating a religious backlash against science itself among those who take a different view. But properly, empirical science cannot speak of the metaphysics of that which lies beyond the empirical realm and the ontology required by its naturalistic explanations.

Alternatively, those who attempt to use science to prove the existence of God will end up with a God susceptible to empirical criticism, when belief in God should be a matter of faith. A religious view rooted in science will be grounded in the shifting sands of scientific discourse, placed in constant threat of being uprooted by the newest scientific discoveries. For the better among those who initially accept this substitute for true faith, such a view will at first seem intoxicating, but will soon prove poisonous to their religious beliefs.

For others, the proper religious stance becomes transformed, and the proper intellectual courage to revise one’s beliefs when confronted with new evidence is transmuted into its polar opposite. Intellectual “courage” becomes the will and the power to challenge, doubt and deny any body of empirical evidence or knowledge whenever it comes into conflict with their religious or political beliefs. At this point, one of the most fundamental ethical virtues – honesty – has itself become undermined, and with it all the virtues which would normally be encouraged and taught through the moral guidance of religion. Properly, religious leaders who understand what is at stake will oppose “empirical” faith both for the contradiction which it embodies and as the antithesis of the true faith they seek to protect and nourish.

When properly understood, this unnecessary conflict between religion and science will be consigned to the oblivion it so richly deserves. Yet more could undoubtedly be done so as to avoid such misunderstandings and consequent conflicts in the future. Science has been and continues to be responsible for a great deal of humanity’s material and intellectual progress. Religion is responsible for humanity’s moral and spiritual guidance. The roles they serve are complementary and to a significant extent in today’s world, interdependent. Religion and science each have their own inner dynamic, but religious and scientific communities share a common concern for humanity as a whole. If religion and science are to perform their proper functions in human society, they must remain separate, with their fundamental natures respected. But still there can be dialogue.

Some time ago, Pope John Paul II visited with biologists to discuss evolution and then ended official Catholic Church opposition to evolutionary theory. This was a good beginning, but unfortunately there wasn’t much follow-up. If a dialogue were to begin between the religious and scientific communities, one born out of mutual understanding and respect, such a dialogue could serve the interests of both communities and perhaps even the interests of humanity as a whole. As one interesting possibility, a scientist of the same denomination as a given church might occasionally make a good guest speaker, particularly if he were to discuss the role that religious belief has played in his life and work, and he were to share a few of the more interesting, recent discoveries in his particular field.

In a sense, such religious scientists might serve as bidirectional ambassadors between the two communities, and would deserve honored places within both. If properly promoted, such guest speakers might help to boost church attendance, particularly if they are good speakers. And perhaps when church services are not being held, churches could make available rooms where scientists could discuss their work with the public, and even their concerns for some of the problems which currently face humanity. This could also serve as good public relations for the religious and scientific communities as a whole. I myself do not know where a dialogue between these communities would lead – this would be up to the participants. But I have little doubt that it could become quite interesting and enlightening for everyone involved.

Comment #47428

Posted by steve on September 11, 2005 11:20 AM (e)

Have scientists comment to kids about the possibilities of living inside a whale for a few days, or stopping the sun from moving for a period of time, or how to get striped offspring by putting sticks near mating animals?

Oh, I think I could live with that.

Comment #47429

Posted by wad of id on September 11, 2005 11:35 AM (e)

Chalmers hits the nail on the head with the ‘L’ word. What IDists demand is a social policy that entitles them to all the benefits of a scientific theory: an objective hearing by scientists, equal opportunity to federal grants, a fair representation in school curricula, etc. They assert a right to claim these benefits without doing any of the work that is normally associated with a science. No preliminary results. No research plan. Nothing.

In fact, the belief of entitlement is so strong for IDists that it is reinforces their lazy behavior. We see this feedback mechanism in action in those IDists who make excuses for a lack of research, whether in the past, now, or into the future, because they have been denied the resources to which they are entitled. In other words, they believe that taxpayers should support IDists for having done and continuing to do nothing.

Laziness is absolutely the right word for IDist behavior.

Comment #47436

Posted by Bayesian Bouffant, FCD on September 11, 2005 1:17 PM (e)

Liddle wrote:

Dawkins is supposedly a supremely rational human being. But there is another paradox here, because in his defence of theories to which he has affixed his flag and from which he has made his name, he betrays the distinctly irrational and human characteristic of possessing something called faith. “I believe but I cannot prove that all life, all intelligence and all design … is the direct or indirect product of Darwinian natural selection,” he has said. Faith is indeed a touching thing.

It appears he is skipping directly from “belief” to “faith”. I believe that belief may be faith-based or evidence-based, and Liddle is abusing the language to confound the two. Belief does not necessarily entail faith.

Comment #47438

Posted by Bayesian Bouffant, FCD on September 11, 2005 1:22 PM (e)

Liddle wrote:

Dawkins and God do not get along: they have issues, to the extent that Dawkins has gone so far as to suggest that God doesn’t exist. God has never ventured to suggest the same of Dawkins.

If He did, it would rather clarify the matter.

Comment #47455

Posted by PatrickS on September 11, 2005 3:06 PM (e)

Teach science in the science classroom, teach God in the God classroom (ie church, home, etc), the intelligent mind will come to its natural conclusion. It’s that simple. Apparently, the proponents of ID do not have much faith in their God, otherwise, they would already understand this logical, yet simple equation. No body of evidence, no debate, the science classroom is the inappropriate place for ID. These same people (ID proponents) are opposed to the distribution of condoms in public schools on the grounds that the public schools are the inappropriate place for such distribution (which I agree), yet fail to recognize the inappropriateness of imposing their view of creationism on others that don’t share their belief.

Comment #47458

Posted by steve on September 11, 2005 3:37 PM (e)

Apparently, the proponents of ID do not have much faith in their God,

Well I think this has something to do with it. If they had faith, they wouldn’t feel the need to try to scientifically prove their god’s existence. But I can’t figure it out totally. I would like to be able to simply say that they are scared of science, science is making them doubt their faith, so they want ID ‘science’ to certify their religion. But I can’t quite say that, because of Young Earth Creationists like Paul Nelson. If you believe in YEC, you are putting absolutely no trust in evidence or reason. So these things, in the form of science, wouldn’t threaten you.

Comment #47460

Posted by dave on September 11, 2005 3:47 PM (e)

PvM wrote:

Steve has touched on why ID is theologically risky. What if a Christian who is ‘convinced’ by the argument about ICness of the flagellum is confronted with the increased knowledge of science which suggests that it could have evolved? What does this say about the cornerstone example of ID? What would this do to the faith of Christians who now have to face the argument that intelligent design has been disproven.
Or would disproving ICness of the flagellum present no risk to ID? In other words, it’s just a ruse? What would that do to the faith of those who were told otherwise?

The idea of purpose and wholeness in natural substances has been around since Aristotle at least. Proving ID would be neither here nor there regarding any specific Christian doctrine. For the average Christian, the most he/she could glean from a successful ID argument is that materialist reductionism is false. But that doesn’t get you to faith in God, much less belief in the truth of Christianity.

So the stakes a Christian may or may not have in a particular ID argument would be signifigant, sure, but their faith as such would not be at risk either way.

And that doesn’t touch on the difference between intellectual acknowledgement of the truth of Christianity and trust in Christ for one’s whole life. Augustine goes to great lengths to make this distinction in his Confessions.

A bit of a theological digression, but PvM brought up an interesting point that I’ve been thinking about for a while.

Comment #47476

Posted by HDM on September 11, 2005 5:24 PM (e)

I wonder why I rarely see anyone mention what would be of the intelligent designer if ID were correct. Ever try to explain to a little 5 year old why the gator ate his dog and that God made it that way intentionally? If we were to adopt ID as a scientific method (assuming it was possible) it would be short before people start to wonder about the intentions of the designer.
IDists answer these:
What was the designer intending when
he designed mother birds that kick out their runt youngins?
he designed male lions that kill cubs of other male lions when taking over their territory?
he designed praying mantises that eat their mates?
he designed baby sharks that eat their mothers from the inside out?

If ID is correct, the designer is rather merciless and gives no value to individual life.

Comment #47482

Posted by Modesitt on September 11, 2005 5:56 PM (e)

steve wrote:

If they had faith, they wouldn’t feel the need to try to scientifically prove their god’s existence.

Untrue. Even if they had faith, they’d still try to scientifically prove God’s existance.

They have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Most scientists will simply say that the existence of God can neither be proven nor disproven by science. But what if the scientists were all wrong and scientific proof of God was found? It would be an absolutely amazing coup. Think of how many atheist or agnostic souls that would save. At the worst, they end up looking a little foolish for not finding the proof they seek. At best, absolute, undeniable proof that their religion is right.

They simply must save the heathen souls. If only scientific proof will convince the heathens that God exists, then it is a moral imperative that Christians find scientific proof God exists. If they can’t find scientific proof, they must lie and say they did. Lying for Jesus would be a good idea even if, as my mother always said, you go to Hell for lying. If they can convince even just two people to believe in God via their lies, then that’s two souls for their one. This has the usual problems of the lies being exposed and people having their faith permanently shattered.

Think of how soundly someone like Kent Hovind or William Dembski must sleep at night knowing that even if they do go to Hell, hundreds, maybe even thousands of people have been saved because of them.

Comment #47485

Posted by Pierce R. Butler on September 11, 2005 6:11 PM (e)

Steve: Have scientists comment to kids about … stopping the sun from moving for a period of time…

Which is probably as good an opening as I’m going to get to bring up an assertion from that respected educator, Jen Sorenson, in a recent edition of her “Slowpoke” comic (click “Leave Your Child Behind” at http://www.people.virginia.edu/~jls6c/archives.html ):

“NASA research proves that the sun really stood still in the sky!”
(footnote: Actual lesson being taught in 300+ school districts)

The claim itself is always good for a giggle, but can anyone here confirm or deny that it’s being taught in public classrooms? (And if so, in which textbook: that one oughta be good for lotsa laffs.)

Comment #47491

Posted by Jim Harrison on September 11, 2005 6:39 PM (e)

Dave is quite correct to point out that “the idea of purpose and wholeness in natural substances has been around since Aristotle at least.” But ID not only benefits from appealing to the mass of inherited prejudices we call common sense. Obviously inadequate as it is, the traditional view of things doesn’t have any competition. Modern philosophical and scientific ideas are relentlessly complicated, arcane, counterintuitive, and depressing—the true holistic science, after all, turned out to be thermodynamics. The new consensus may be true, but it is a nonstarter in the battle for hearts and minds. Nature may not actually abhor a vacuum; but people certainly will not permanently tolerate the absence of a hopeful, easily comprehened, and therefore false vision of reality.

Which is why I expect that the Age of Science has an expiration date. Once people decide that the sciences are not going to make them any healthier or richer, they’ll probably put the kabosh on rational inquiry as the Christians did at the end of antiquity and the Islamic masses did at the end of the Middle Ages.

Comment #47498

Posted by rubble on September 11, 2005 7:35 PM (e)

HDM wrote:

What was the designer intending when …
he designed praying mantises that eat their mates?
he designed baby sharks that eat their mothers from the inside out?

To the first, kinkiness; to the second, toddler training for a law degree.

Comment #47505

Posted by PatrickS on September 11, 2005 8:48 PM (e)

Jim Harrison wrote:
Which is why I expect that the Age of Science has an expiration date. Once people decide that the sciences are not going to make them any healthier or richer, they’ll probably put the kabosh on rational inquiry as the Christians did at the end of antiquity and the Islamic masses did at the end of the Middle Ages.

Are you serious? Not going to make them healthier? The average life expectancy keeps increasing with time. I suspect that one day, science will provide the key to living forever (along with the help from you know who). The problem with the fundies and ID crowd is they are not satisfied with life here on earth. They keep looking for something better. The life God gave them is not good enough. The greedy people want more. Kind of like the Jews didn’t recognize Him the first time He came. As for me, I wish the fundies and ID crowd would quit trying to confuse the future with their wizardry view of God and illogical origins of life. Amazingly, the ID crowd hasn’t figured it out yet when it is practically smacking them in the face!

Comment #47514

Posted by ts (not Tim) on September 11, 2005 9:36 PM (e)

I fear there is cultural misunderstanding here, ts. This is a typical British response to a perceived over-strident piece by Dawkins.

Your fears aren’t well founded, Dawkins’ piece wasn’t “over-strident”, and, on its own merits and without phony baloney “cultural” considerations, Liddle’s piece was cretinous.

Comment #47515

Posted by Jim Harrison on September 11, 2005 9:37 PM (e)

Considering how long it took to invent the zipper, I’m not too optimistic about finding the key to eternal life.

Obviously neither I nor anybody else has a clue what is or isn’t technologically possible. I’ve mostly gotten out of the game of handicapping such horse races because I realized a fundamental problem with such guesses. One is retrospectively impressed with the progress of the sciences because one focuses on the successes, but there have also been many failures (cancer, AI, economical thermonuclear power, etc.). It is far harder to set a goal and meet it than to fool around and eventually come up with something impressive. As a result, if I were to have to place a bet, I’d guess that lots of interesting stuff will be found, but that much of what we hope to find will not work. We probably aren’t going to fly off to the stars, for example. You heard it here first.

In the original story of the Princes of Serendip; Horace Walpole’s moral wasn’t that you are liable to find something better than you set out to find, but that you may as well be satisfied with the consolation prizes because that’s all you’re probably going to get. (Alchemist teeshirt: “I set out to find the philosopher’s stone, and all I got was this lousy periodic table!)

By the way, we’ve already seen one instance in which public support for the sciences has partly ebbed away. In the years after WWII, the particle physicists could scare up big money from congress by intimating that something might turn up with military and/or economic implications. Unfortunately, thought the bigger and bigger accelerators produced highly satisfactory results for the scientists, they didn’t yield the desired weaponry and the superconducting, supercollider got deep sixed.

Comment #47516

Posted by ts (not Tim) on September 11, 2005 9:40 PM (e)

I suspect that one day, science will provide the key to living forever

That would violate the 2LOT.

Kind of like the Jews didn’t recognize Him the first time He came.

What rot.

Comment #47526

Posted by steve on September 11, 2005 10:59 PM (e)

This is a typical British response to a perceived over-strident piece by Dawkins.

Salman Rushdie said, in this month’s GQ, that the Brits, unlike the French or the Americans, had a mixed reaction to the fatwa, and that in Britain there was a very strong sentiment that it was his fault, he never should have offended the muslims in the first place.

Comment #47543

Posted by PatrickS on September 12, 2005 12:16 AM (e)

Jim wrote:
Considering how long it took to invent the zipper, I’m not too optimistic about finding the key to eternal life.

Obviously neither I nor anybody else has a clue what is or isn’t technologically possible. I’ve mostly gotten out of the game of handicapping such horse races because I realized a fundamental problem with such guesses. One is retrospectively impressed with the progress of the sciences because one focuses on the successes, but there have also been many failures (cancer, AI, economical thermonuclear power, etc.). It is far harder to set a goal and meet it than to fool around and eventually come up with something impressive. As a result, if I were to have to place a bet, I’d guess that lots of interesting stuff will be found, but that much of what we hope to find will not work. We probably aren’t going to fly off to the stars, for example. You heard it here first.

In the original story of the Princes of Serendip; Horace Walpole’s moral wasn’t that you are liable to find something better than you set out to find, but that you may as well be satisfied with the consolation prizes because that’s all you’re probably going to get. (Alchemist teeshirt: “I set out to find the philosopher’s stone, and all I got was this lousy periodic table!)

By the way, we’ve already seen one instance in which public support for the sciences has partly ebbed away. In the years after WWII, the particle physicists could scare up big money from congress by intimating that something might turn up with military and/or economic implications. Unfortunately, thought the bigger and bigger accelerators produced highly satisfactory results for the scientists, they didn’t yield the desired weaponry and the superconducting, supercollider got deep sixed.

….and there will never be such an invention that telecasts man voice and image over the airwaves and into a box sitting in your living. Therefore, let’s throw fundamentalist wizardry into the science classroom and maybe someday in the near future, we can convince intelligent people that evolution doesn’t belong there at all. Let me give you a clue, the Catholic schools are teaching evolution and laugh at ID’s feeble attempt to shove their fantasy down the throats of the scientific community.

Comment #47556

Posted by Ken Willis on September 12, 2005 1:13 AM (e)

Religious believers who support ID as an alternative theory to evolution usually refuse to accept the existence of a bright line between science and religion. The scientific revolution of the 17th and 18th centuries was largely driven by men who were religious believers and thought that each new discovery was made in service to the greater glory of God. Darwin was a religious believer until late in his life.

For this reason, among others I don’t completely understand, IDer’s that I have talked to just don’t follow the argument when I try to explain that the “evidence” for ID doesn’t fit within any framework of the scientific method. They don’t think they have to advance any evidence at all. They think that if they can poke enough holes in evolution ID will somehow be proven.

It’s not just morons who think this way. Many IDer’s are quite intelligent, in other areas. Why they fall for the nonsense of ID seems to be just emotional and a defense mechanism to their fear of “scientific materialism.” The fact that some scientists [Dawkins] claim that evolution proves atheism fuels these fears and reactions.

If that were all there was to it, it might be harmless. The problem is that they want to use the public schools to foist their religious ideas on others. That means that even if ID were science it would be politically motivated science, which is always bad science, e.g., eugenics, Lysenkoism, and these days, human-caused global warming.

Comment #47558

Posted by Jim Harrison on September 12, 2005 1:18 AM (e)

I value the sciences in large part because I simply want to understand the world and how it works; but I’m aware that less ethereal motives are more important for other people, congressmen and women, for example. Science and its purportedly limitless benefits serves as a sort of Caucasian cargo cult for many Americans. If the natives ever lose faith in the eventual advent of the Great Pig, they are liable to get quite restless.

I have lots of faith in the potential of science, but I’m aware that it isn’t magic and will never solve all human problems. Waiting for the electrician (or somebody like him) is likely to be as futile as waiting for the Second Coming.

Comment #47567

Posted by ts (not Tim) on September 12, 2005 1:59 AM (e)

The fact that some scientists [Dawkins] claim that evolution proves atheism fuels these fears and reactions.

That’s not a fact.

Comment #47576

Posted by Alan on September 12, 2005 2:58 AM (e)

ts

I said:

This is a typical British response to a perceived over-strident piece by Dawkins.

Does inserting “(by Liddle)after perceived help? I find Dawkins lucid, informative and always to the point, never over-strident. As l suspect Liddle is unaware of the huge amount of nonsense put about by that charlatan Dembski and his ilk (due to {perceived by me} his lack of research and/or absence of any effective ID proponents in the UK) I offer this explanation for his article.

Quetzal

Your expectations regarding the integrity of British journalism are somewhat outdated. A friend’s son who is a sub editor on a rival UK national paper recently regaled me about how little checking is done before publishing. The more technical an article, the less one has to worry about accuracy!

Comment #47580

Posted by Ed Darrell on September 12, 2005 3:40 AM (e)

Ken Willis is right (his most immediate remarks above). The only success I’ve ever had with ID advocates is asking them to provide me with the stuff I’d need to make a solid lesson plan – and then this has only worked with teachers. Once they start to research ID trying to support it for instructional purposes, they immediately grasp the pedagogical vacuousness of ID, and then they see that this is a direct result of the complete lack of science.

Has anyone else ever dissuaded an ID advocate? What worked?

Comment #47583

Posted by Ed Darrell on September 12, 2005 4:17 AM (e)

To the question about whether it is true that the sun’s being stopped is being taught in 300+ schools: There is a curriculum on the Bible which is amazingly atrocious, and which includes that in its curriculum. The promoters of the curriculum claim it is being taught in more than 300 high schools, but they refuse to identify the districts. The Texas Freedom Network published a study and critique of the curriculum, here:
http://www.tfn.org/religiousfreedom/biblecurriculum/

News articles suggest the curriculum may be offered in these places, for a few examples:
Massac County High School, Illinois; Westcliff, Colorado; Ouachita Jr. High School, Ouachita, Louisiana; Forsyth, North Carolina; Pisgah High School in Haywood, NC; Big Spring High School, Big Spring, Texas; Marion 7 School District, South Carolina; Kress, Texas. (If you have information that this is not correct, I would love to hear it; also, if you know of a school which does offer the curriculum plugged by the National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools, I would love that information, too. You can e-mail me.)

It’s astounding that otherwise intelligent people who can make money would support such a claim in any curriculum. It’s troubling that some people would spend good money to offer such garbage to kids as education.

Comment #47588

Posted by Ginger Yellow on September 12, 2005 5:59 AM (e)

Liddle is a pompous, self-important ass, who only has a platform because he used to edit the Today programme. He fancies himself as Hitchens-esque contrarian but doesn’t any of Hitchens’ prose stylism or investigative zeal. I doubt anyone pays him much attention these days.

Comment #47613

Posted by PatrickS on September 12, 2005 8:29 AM (e)

Ken Willis wrote:
If that were all there was to it, it might be harmless. The problem is that they want to use the public schools to foist their religious ideas on others. That means that even if ID were science it would be politically motivated science, which is always bad science, e.g., eugenics, Lysenkoism, and these days, human-caused global warming.

Excellent insight and remarks on all levels. Since the debate boils down to a non-scientific debate and rather a theological debate, the focus, in my opinion, should also include encouraging the ID individuals the use the intelligent mind God gave them. If they choose to believe ID, that’s fine. It’s their attempt to deceive and control the minds of others who don’t believe as they do that I find quite frightening. I can easily imagine the uproar by the fundamentalists if the Catholics attempted to pass legislation requiring the teaching of the Immaculate Conception and its necessity to the birth of Jesus in the science classrooms of public schools. Their attempt to make others believe as they believe frightens me more than Islamic terrorists. With Islamic terrorists, we already know what their intentions are. It’s frightening to think where fundamentalists, disguised as Christians, are going with all of this. I guess the best we can do is encourage them to use the mind God gave them, stop being intellectual lazy, think for themselves, and most of all, figure it out for themselves.

Comment #47620

Posted by Frank J on September 12, 2005 9:40 AM (e)

Eric Murphy wrote:

at car get built?

ID: A designer designed it.

NDE: Okay, I know, but how did it actually get built? Did the designer build it himself, or did he get someone else to build it?

That’s how the conversation ought to go. Unfortunately it is invariably more like:

ID: A designer designed it.

NDE 1 (aka Me): Okay, I know, but how did it actually get built? What happened and when?

NDE 2, 3, and 4: A designer didn’t design it, and here’s why…(trots out “bad design” arguments, technical defenses of evolution that most people do not understand)

ID: Oh, boy is this great! I can ignore NDE 1 and talk in circles with NDE 2, 3, and 4, and get clueless audiences to see them as “defensive ‘Darwinists’ denying design”!

Comment #47626

Posted by PatrickS on September 12, 2005 10:20 AM (e)

Frank J wrote:
ID: A designer designed it.

NDE 1 (aka Me): Okay, I know, but how did it actually get built? What happened and when?

NDE 2, 3, and 4: A designer didn’t design it, and here’s why…(trots out “bad design” arguments, technical defenses of evolution that most people do not understand)

ID: Oh, boy is this great! I can ignore NDE 1 and talk in circles with NDE 2, 3, and 4, and get clueless audiences to see them as “defensive ‘Darwinists’ denying design”!

One very important point that I believe has been ignored in the debate is one’s perception or perspective on “who” or “what” God (ie. the Designer) is. From one perspective, some “Christians” may have the same perception of God as that of an atheist or agnostic. I realize that sounds illogical at first, but I do believe an atheist and Christian may actually share the same belief about the origins of life but are merely applying a different nomenclature to their belief. I’ll go one step further and really outrage the ID fundamentalists by suggesting that if there is a resurrection of the body, (I believe there will be in a metaphorical sense), some atheists will be among those resurrected living in heaven. I apologize for all the theological inferences, but after all, that IS what the ID debate is really all about! I’m merely trying to reach the ID community in terms that I believe they are most comfortable with. I wonder what the ID community’s reaction would be to someone actually accusing them of attempting to interject Satanism into the science classroom disguised as intelligent design. After all, Satan is the master of deception.

Comment #47653

Posted by Frank J on September 12, 2005 12:52 PM (e)

PatrickS wrote:

One very important point that I believe has been ignored in the debate is one’s perception or perspective on “who” or “what” God (ie. the Designer) is.

If IDers framed this as a generic design vs. non-design argument, then there would be, and should be, more discussion of the designer’s identity. And IDers would still find that most mainstream religions reject their caricature of the designer.

But ID specifically insists that its “theory” is an alternative to evolution (they prefer “Darwinism” because it’s easier to caricaturize). So there really needs to be no discussion at all of the designer. My point is that the whole designer issue is to trap critics and divert attention away from the fact that IDers do not have a scientifically supportable alternative. And that they seem to know that the previous attemps at such (the mutually contradictory “classic” creationisms) are total scientific failures.

Comment #47658

Posted by PatrickS on September 12, 2005 1:03 PM (e)

Frank J wrote:
If IDers framed this as a generic design vs. non-design argument, then there would be, and should be, more discussion of the designer’s identity. And IDers would still find that most mainstream religions reject their caricature of the designer.

Yes, I agree totally. I was suggesting or insinuating that the ID’ers need to be refuted on a different front. Perhaps science needs to go on the offensive when confronted with such nonsense and in ID’ers own terms (ie. theologically). Rather than defending evolution only, science should provoke ID’ers to think and question their own theology. Of course, I suggest this only as a response to ID’ers and don’t advocate it as a strike first policy.

Comment #47704

Posted by Pierce R. Butler on September 12, 2005 4:48 PM (e)

Ed Darrell - Thanks for the info. I’ve passed it along to a teacher in a very “conservative” school district, who may find it useful in resisting the local christocrats.

Ken Willis -

… politically motivated science, which is always bad science, e.g., eugenics, Lysenkoism, and these days, human-caused global warming.

Uh, as I read that, it seems that you’re claiming the reports of human/industrial influences on global warming, or maybe g.w. itself, are motivated more by politics than by science. Please, say it ain’t so!

Jim Harrison -

…less ethereal motives are more important for other people, congressmen and women, for example.

Ouch! At the risk of having somebody calling me “PC” (shudder!), let me register a protest at this pointless slur against a lot of my favorite people. (However, you do have my permission to continue badmouthing members of Congress, particularly the male ones, until and even after the cows come home.)

Comment #47763

Posted by Ken Willis on September 12, 2005 8:54 PM (e)

Ken Willis wrote:

The fact that some scientists [Dawkins] claim that evolution proves atheism fuels these fears and reactions.

And then

(ts)not tim wrote:

That’s not a fact.

I asume you mean it is not a fact that some scientists claim evolution proves atheism and not that some ID’ers claim that they do and also claim that is why they fear evolution being true. Well, I think they are both facts.

The first is a fact because Richard Dawkins himself makes that claim. Don’t get me wrong, I am a big fan of Dawkins. I read The Selfish Gene when it was first published. That was before many on this site were born. But he does base his atheism on the truth of evolution. He says so. Which is fine with me. I am not criticizing him. I buy evry book he writes as soon as it is available.

And since so many ID’ers have expressed to me personally that they think evolutionists, as they call them, are trying to teach their children atheism, I know of my own personal knowledge that the second proposition is a fact.

Pierce R. Butler wrote:

Uh, as I read that, it seems that you’re claiming the reports of human/industrial influences on global warming, or maybe g.w. itself, are motivated more by politics than by science. Please, say it ain’t so!

Yeah, I guess I’m pretty much in agreement with Michael Crichton that human-caused global warming is politically motivated science and I think a sizable number of retired science professors agree. But I realize that is another subject quite apart from evolution and ID and I’m not trying to start an argument about that. Crichton and the retired professors could certainly be wrong.

As more profesors retire, and thus are no longer seeking grants and no longer have to face colleagues whose grant applications and career advancement may be jeopardized by their criticisms of human-caused global warming, there may be even more dissent.

I realize that in science the old men are usually wrong. But if the idea that humans are causing global warming is really politics more than it is science, who knows? The old men may be right.

Comment #47782

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on September 12, 2005 9:42 PM (e)

As more profesors retire, and thus are no longer seeking grants and no longer have to face colleagues whose grant applications and career advancement may be jeopardized by their criticisms of human-caused global warming darwinist evolution, there may be even more dissent.

Waterloo !!!! Waterloo !!!! Waterloo !!!!!!!

Sorry, couldn’t resist.

Comment #47861

Posted by Ken Willis on September 13, 2005 3:10 PM (e)

Uh, Lenny. I might be misunderstanding you but isn’t it true that what human-caused global warming and the Neo-Darwinian theory of evolution have in common is that they both represent the predominant point of view among college and university professors of all stripes, retired or otherwise? Demski, Behe and Wells represent a distinct minority of Darwin critics on college campuses don’t they? And if there is any significant number of retired professors who question Darwinian theory I am not aware of it.

I hope I didn’t say or imply that a majority of retired professors are questioning human-caused global warming, just that a “sizable number” of them do. Maybe it would be more correct to say that of all professors who do question this idea, a sizable number of them happen to be retired. Then I offered some specualtion that their retired status makes it a little easier for them to think objectively, with full admission that I may be wrong about this. [Don’t think so, though]

I’m probably just missing it so I need you to clue me in on where and whose Waterloo we are celebrating so I can join in the fun.

Comment #47889

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on September 13, 2005 6:43 PM (e)

Whooosh.

Comment #47904

Posted by ts (not Tim) on September 13, 2005 7:57 PM (e)

Alan wrote:

This is a typical British response to a perceived over-strident piece by Dawkins.

Does inserting “(by Liddle)after perceived help?

Help make Liddle’s article less cretinous? No, of course not.

Ken Willis wrote:

The fact that some scientists [Dawkins] claim that evolution proves atheism fuels these fears and reactions.
That’s not a fact.
Willis: The first is a fact because Richard Dawkins himself makes that claim.

No, he doesn’t.

But he does base his atheism on the truth of evolution. He says so.

No, he doesn’t, and even if he did, that would be nothing like the claim that evolution proves atheism. What Dawkins has said is that, without evolution, it would be difficult to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist.

Comment #47967

Posted by Alan on September 14, 2005 1:38 AM (e)

ts

you wrote:

Help make Liddle’s article less cretinous?

No, to clarify that I meant it was Liddle’s perception, not mine or anyone else’s.

Comment #47971

Posted by ts (not Tim) on September 14, 2005 1:59 AM (e)

No, to clarify that I meant it was Liddle’s perception, not mine or anyone else’s.

But that was never in question. I wrote “Apparently Liddle is 100% certain that Dawkins is 100% certain. In any case, his article is cretinous.” This is what you took issue with, claiming a cultural misperception on my part, because I failed to grasp something about Liddle’s intention (or perception). I responded by noting that Liddle’s article is cretinous on its own merits – which was the point of my original comment about “100% certain that Dawkins is 100% certain” – Liddle’s charges against Dawkins are stupid and hypocritical. The only thing that pointing out that its Liddle’s perception and not yours might “help” is your own ego since you seem to feel attacked, but it’s never been about you except for your pointless injection into the matter.

Comment #47974

Posted by ts (not Tim) on September 14, 2005 2:04 AM (e)

what human-caused global warming and the Neo-Darwinian theory of evolution have in common is that they both represent the predominant point of view among college and university professors of all stripes, retired or otherwise?

What they have in common is that they both represent the predominant views of informed scientists in the field of expertise, based on the available evidence (which isn’t as strong for human-caused global warming, although it has become greatly strengthened over the last year).

Comment #47980

Posted by Alan on September 14, 2005 2:36 AM (e)

ts

you wrote:

I wrote “Apparently Liddle is 100% certain that Dawkins is 100% certain. In any case, his article is cretinous.” This is what you took issue with…

No. Cretinous was a fair description, which I don’t take issue with. Motive has relevance.

Comment #47984

Posted by ts (not Tim) on September 14, 2005 2:55 AM (e)

And yet you responded to my statement that it was cretinous by claiming that I suffered from a cultural misunderstanding – even though you agreed with what I had written, and I hadn’t made any claims one way or the other about Liddle’s motivations or any other aspect of his article within some greater cultural context. Pardon me, but I think that your original charge smacks of being cretinous, and I feel a bit of a cretin to have engaged in this silly exchange.

Comment #47987

Posted by Alan on September 14, 2005 3:04 AM (e)

ts

You can be So prickly. I wasn’t making a charge in my original point, just a suggestion. Save your bullets for the enemy.

Comment #47988

Posted by ts (not Tim) on September 14, 2005 3:12 AM (e)

And you can be such a hypocrite. It was your bullet, which was indeed a “charge”, that I responded to.

Comment #48036

Posted by PatrickS on September 14, 2005 10:48 AM (e)

Jim Harrison wrote:
I have lots of faith in the potential of science, but I’m aware that it isn’t magic and will never solve all human problems. Waiting for the electrician (or somebody like him) is likely to be as futile as waiting for the Second Coming.

I do believe you are starting to get it Jim!! Congratulations! Man must have faith in science and man must have faith in his fellow man. That is the key. Believe it or not, some Christian denominations have come out forcefully in FAVOR of evolutionary theory, almost to the point of calling ID wizardry! It merely takes the open mind of the scientist to figure it out for him/herself.

Comment #48085

Posted by Ken Willis on September 14, 2005 2:23 PM (e)

(ts) not tim wrote:

No, he doesn’t, and even if he did, that would be nothing like the claim that evolution proves atheism. What Dawkins has said is that, without evolution, it would be difficult to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist.

Well, you’re just spliting hairs so you can argue. Clearly IDer’s believe scientists like Dawkins are promoting the idea that evolution proves atheism. It may be arguable whether Dawkins actually does that. It is not arguable that what drives many into the arms of ID proponents such as Demski, Behe, et al. is the belief that Dawkins and others are using evolution to promote atheism.

It would seem to me that the ID movement would lose some of its allure if the perception were different. Dawkins and other contribute to this perception. Dawkins is the institutionalization of atheism at Oxford. One might be an intellectually fulfilled atheist without being so evangelical about it, it seems to me. Especially if you are one of the most widely known and read popularizers of science, to the point of having anthropomorphized your ideas [The Selfish Gene].

Maybe you don’t accept the goals of this website which I thought was to promote evolution and persuade as many people as possible away from ID. Trying to understand why people find ID attractive might be a step in that direction. But perhaps not to a couple of real scrappers like you and the reverent doctor.

Comment #48105

Posted by Alan on September 14, 2005 4:55 PM (e)

Ken Willis wrote:

But perhaps not to a couple of real scrappers like you and the reverent doctor.

I’m not sure ts and Lennie will appreciate being in the same sentence with the word like interposed, Ken. :)

Comment #48109

Posted by Alan on September 14, 2005 5:07 PM (e)

Ken Willis wrote:

One might be an intellectually fulfilled atheist without being so evangelical about it, it seems to me.

Ken, I don’t see Dawkins proselytizing. He just states his position; he doesn’t ask you to follow him. Not to speak for Dawkins, but I suspect he would advocate secularism. All beliefs are equally-non enforceable and free to be held.

Comment #48124

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on September 14, 2005 6:04 PM (e)

It would seem to me that the ID movement would lose some of its allure if the perception were different. Dawkins and other contribute to this perception. Dawkins is the institutionalization of atheism at Oxford. One might be an intellectually fulfilled atheist without being so evangelical about it, it seems to me. Especially if you are one of the most widely known and read popularizers of science, to the point of having anthropomorphized your ideas [The Selfish Gene].

Maybe you don’t accept the goals of this website which I thought was to promote evolution and persuade as many people as possible away from ID. Trying to understand why people find ID attractive might be a step in that direction. But perhaps not to a couple of real scrappers like you and the reverent doctor.

Dude, you have no idea at all how hysterically funny that is.

We just had a religious war here a few weeks ago. I suggest you go back and read it.

Comment #48667

Posted by orrg1 on September 17, 2005 6:04 PM (e)

The problem with ID is that as has been pointed out elsewhere, it makes no sense unless the creator is supernatural, that is, outside of nature. Well, once you say that a natural phenomenon has a supernatural explanation, that is is exactly equivalent to saying “This problem is too difficult, we’re going to stop looking at this point, we give up. “ Because at that point, you can’t go any further. And this should be taught in science classes??? In Darwin’s time, a legitimate objection to evolution could have been taught to students. It could have been taught that the Earth could be no more than 10 million years old, not nearly old enought for evolution to have occurred. This is because there was no known energy source for the sun that could have powered it for longer than this. The evidence for evolution was compelling enough that the theory remained strong, and sure enough, a completely unexpected energy source, the strong force inside atomic nuclei, was eventually discovered. ID is a just a way of saying “We give up.” Why should we stop trying to understand the universe that we live in?