Gary Hurd posted Entry 1447 on September 5, 2005 04:10 PM.
Trackback URL: http://www.pandasthumb.org/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb.fcgi/1443

Who made the watch?

Is intelligent design threatening to dethrone evolution as the leading theory of origins?

More and more scientists are buying into the theory of intelligent design. This includes scientists in physics, astronomy, molecular biology and genetics. These scholars have reached a conclusion from their research and the overwhelming volume of evidence that the complexities, structure and laws of the physical universe all point to “intelligent design” as the source. But here’s the big problem - intelligent design means there must be a designer. This can only lead to the logical conclusion that God, the Designer, exists.

http://www.meant4more.com/aboutGod_05.htm

The web article quoted above is from a site supported by Campus Crusade for Christ. It is worth note not because it contained any new points, quite the opposite. Indeed, the claim that “More and more scientists are buying into the theory of intelligent design.” is false. This has been called “The Longest Running Falsehood in Creationism,” and for good reason. And, of course one must ask, How many are named “Steve?”

It does present what must be a clear and growing problem for Intelligent Design Creationism which tries to deny its religious basis in hopes of inveigling a way into America’s public schools. That problem is of course that the popularity of IDC has run ahead of the scripted denial of Judeo/Christian beliefs that are the actual core of IDC. As delineated in Pim’s recent PT post, the mainstream media, and one expects the US Federal Courts, have become aware that the notion of a secular theory of intelligent design is merely a tattered fig leaf.

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Comment #46634

Posted by Andrew Rowell on September 5, 2005 4:42 PM (e)

1. Is this comment evidence of secular intelligent design?
2. Is Watson’s Panspermia theory a secular theory of intelligent design?
3. Is there a distinction between “secular” and “atheistic”?

Comment #46636

Posted by Steven Laskoske on September 5, 2005 4:55 PM (e)

And the dishonesty doesn’t stop there. Further in the article, the author wrote the following:

These new scientific tools have found greater order and nearly unimaginable complexity from the level of the cell clear to the level of the Universe.

When Darwin arrived at his theory, during the mid nineteenth century, none of these fantastic scientific tools were available. He basically made field observations and jumped to philosophical, not even necessarily scientific, conclusions.

This sounds really impressive (except for the fact that it is entirely false).

First (and in my opinion, the most damning), the author stresses the watchmaker concept as something new. He misses the fact that the statement was first made more than 50 years before Darwin’s The Origin of Species. William Paley wrote the idea in his book on Natural Theology in 1802.

The arguement behind IDC is basically the same (but disguised with terms like “irreducible complexity” and misapplication of Information Theory).

Finally, the arguement against evolution focuses entirely on Darwin as if evolutionary theory has been entirely unchanged throughout the past 150 years. It tosses away Darwin’s conclusions as “philosophical, not even necessarily scientific” without even acknowledging the thousands of experiments, observations and scientific studies of the evidence that has given strong validity to the basic theory of evolution (presenting greater definition and understanding to evolution from many different fields).

Comment #46638

Posted by Moses on September 5, 2005 4:57 PM (e)

Has it been pointed out that on Friday, ID had it’s own little Waterloo in Utah last Friday?

School board: Intelligent design isn’t
Buttars’ pitch can’t sway unanimous ‘no’ vote

http://www.sltrib.com/utah/ci_2997771

Comment #46639

Posted by Moses on September 5, 2005 4:59 PM (e)

NO!!!! It was the wrong button!!!! I just wanted to preview the HTML tags!!!!

Oh, heck. Just read the article yourselves!

Comment #46640

Posted by Russell on September 5, 2005 5:02 PM (e)

I wonder what Rowell’s point is?

1. Any comment is, obviously, evidence of “intelligent design” on the part of its author.

2. Crick - not Watson - speculated about Panspermia but, no, it wasn’t a theory of “intelligent design”

3. “Is there a distinction between ‘secular’ and ‘atheistic’”? What does your dictionary say?

Comment #46641

Posted by Albion on September 5, 2005 5:04 PM (e)

More and more scientists are buying into the theory of intelligent design.

More and more scientists are buying into the theory of the Flying Spaghetti Monster too. Which means that, as long as we’re basing our conclusions on popularity rather than evidence, design exists and the Flying Spaghetti Monster is the Designer.

Glad we’ve got that sorted.

Comment #46643

Posted by Gary Hurd on September 5, 2005 5:07 PM (e)

1) No.
2) The “panspermia” notion has two forms, one that some form of genetic material (life) capable of taking advantage of appropriate conditions can disperse between solar systems. This is secular, naturalistic, and unlikly. Then there is the “directed panspermia” notion that holds that life on Earth is the result of purposeful seeding of the early Earth with genetic material, or living organisms. Either merely pushed the question of abiogenesis away from the Archean. The later however could be taken as either a supernaturalistic, or naturalistic idea depending on how one views the (receeding) origin of life. Retreat far enough and you can reach “Cosmic Fine-tuning” argument.
3) Yes.

Comment #46654

Posted by Bruce Thompson GQ on September 5, 2005 6:03 PM (e)

Rewarmed natural theology like reheated pizza is never as good as the fresh thing. The only reason natural theology has any appeal is it requires little thought, smells good, it’s easily digested, and serves as “comfort food”.

Comment #46656

Posted by mark on September 5, 2005 6:05 PM (e)

“More and more scientists are buying into the theory of intelligent design. “

Actually, mmore and more (real) scientists are speaking out against Intelligent Design Creationism, because they’re getting pissed off at the lies and misinformation being spread about by the Creationists and the disturbing consequences of teaching a generation of students a load of buncombe masquerading as science.

Comment #46657

Posted by ts (not Tim) on September 5, 2005 6:10 PM (e)

Good, now just pretend you’re walking through the woods and just happen to come across a watch just like it and perfectly good on the ground.

Funny how the woods themselves aren’t enough for the design argument.

Comment #46658

Posted by Gary Hurd on September 5, 2005 6:14 PM (e)

“Funny how the woods themselves aren’t enough for the design argument.”

lol The woods aren’t but a bacteria’s butt is.

Comment #46659

Posted by bill on September 5, 2005 6:48 PM (e)

They never told me it was a Fossil watch.

This changes everything!

Comment #46660

Posted by Gary Hurd on September 5, 2005 7:02 PM (e)

“They never told me it was a Fossil watch.

This changes everything!

OMG(osh)

ur so rite! My false faith in neoDarwinian Evilution™ is collapsing. OH NO! I’m melting…

Good eyes (more prooph that Darwin hated God).

;-)

Comment #46663

Posted by the pro from dover on September 5, 2005 7:15 PM (e)

I object!!!! The “greater ornder and nearly unimaginable level of complexity” cannot start at “the cell” and end at “the universe.” It must begin at the most fundamental level of physics and work it’s way upward. The “intelligent designer “ must be manipulating quarks and leptons at the minimum. Otherwise there would be no mechanism of action for the “scientific theory of intelligent design”. Show us the money! And remember this is science, no supernatural explanations are needed.

Comment #46672

Posted by John Piippo on September 5, 2005 10:38 PM (e)

Hurd writes: “Indeed, the claim that “More and more scientists are buying into the theory of intelligent design.” is false. This has been called “The Longest Running Falsehood in Creationism,” and for good reason. And, of course one must ask, How many are named “Steve?””

Of course there are real scientists today who question macroevolution. Yes, the number is small. When it comes to a possible scientific revolution size does not matter. This is why the “Steve” rejoinder makes no difference. The multitude of “Steves” are doing what Kuhn referred to as “normal science.” So, one expects there to be many “Steves.” It would be odd if there were not.

Comment #46685

Posted by Ed Darrell on September 6, 2005 12:52 AM (e)

But, Mr. Piipo, there are few, if any, real, practicing biologists who question macroevolution. If there are any, they are not much more than three dozen – this in a nation that has between 70,000 and 80,000 advanced-degreed, professional biologists. You figure the percentages.

Also: If the numbers are increasing, it is increasing more slowly in rate than the numbers of those who adhere to evolution. In 1999, Discovery Institute had about a hundred people who would sign their letter, and by 2003 it had grown to about 300. Today it’s about 400. That sort of growth reflects the inability of ID to derive testable hypotheses and get actual experimental results. Roller ball is growing faster than intelligent design.

Those who claim to question macroevolution are generally unfamiliar with the field, and generally are not working in biology at all, nor in research disciplines where understanding evolution is required.

Since “intelligent design” was coined to replace “creationism” in religious textbooks in 1989, no scientist has published research dealing with intelligent design, either using it as a paradigm, or establishing experimental or observational support for the claim. In 16 years, the 400 scientists have failed to produce between them a single paper laying out a cogent hypothesis of a theory contradicting Darwinian evolution and “macro” evolution. 400X16years=6,400 scientist years without a single publication laying out the idea of the so-called science?

Project Steve then becomes very relevant. About 1% of the U.S. population is named “Steve.” Though Discovery Institute spending way more than $1 million a year to find signers of their petition have been unable to get more than 400 people to go along, Project Steve has more than 500 signatures from distinguished scientists, including Nobel winners, all of them named “Steve,” and all of them denying intelligent design. If there are, total, fewer signatories of people who have doubts but no data against Darwin, than there are people named “Steve” who fully support Darwinian evolution … well, you do the math. Your “real scientists” constitute much less than 1% in your wildest dreams, and probably only a fraction of a percentage.

The multitude of Steves who support evolution are doing what Kuhn said – promoting evolution against the older, won’t-die-without-a-garlic-stake-through-its-heart design ideas (you DID read Kuhn, didn’t you?)

The small handful of ID advocates are NOT doing any science related to ID – so one would expect them to shut up about Darwin’s being in error, since they have no evidence to speak about.

It’s odd they do not.

Comment #46686

Posted by darwinfinch on September 6, 2005 12:55 AM (e)

John Pippo, another man very, very, very impressed with himself. Anyone want to testify on the depth and breadth of his reading into Kuhn, or anything else?

Comment #46688

Posted by steve on September 6, 2005 1:57 AM (e)

Comment #46657

Posted by ts (not Tim) on September 5, 2005 06:10 PM (e) (s)

Good, now just pretend you’re walking through the woods and just happen to come across a watch just like it and perfectly good on the ground.

Funny how the woods themselves aren’t enough for the design argument.

Like I’ve been asking Sal for months:

1 you say that CSI is essential to the determination of design

2 you say that a watch laying in some grass is detectably designed

Q: How much CSI is in the watch, how much in the grass, and what’s the rule which allows the conclusion about the watch?

They refuse to answer. The answers, in case you’re wondering, are 1 who knows 2 who knows 3 no such rule exists.

Comment #46692

Posted by Andrew Rowell on September 6, 2005 2:22 AM (e)

Russell,

1. You said:

Any comment is, obviously, evidence of “intelligent design” on the part of its author.

You accept then that intelligent design is a legitimate explanation for some effects? It is a real subject for scientific investigation?

2. Apologies …Crick is the fellow… he along with along with Orgel (according to Wikipedia) proposed a theory of directed Panspermia in which “seeds of life may have been purposely spread by an advanced extraterrestrial civilization.” Hence my question… Is this a theory of secular intelligent design?

3. I am very interested in the word “secular” and the meanings that attach to it… someone should do a study on the changes in the uses of this word over the last 150 years or so.

I use the SOD and the relevant definitions are:
2b Not concerned with religious subjects or devoted to the service of religion Spec(of a school or education) excluding religious instruction; not promoting religious belief.
4 Pertaining or adhering to the doctrine of secularism.

Secularism is then defined as follows:
1. The view that religion and religious considerations should be deliberately omitted from temporal affairs; a system of thought based on the doctrine that morality should be determined solely with regard to the well-being of humankind in the present life, to the exclusion of all considerations drawn from belief in God or in a future existence.
2. The view that education esp. that which is publicly funded, should not promote religious belief or include religious instruction.

My point is that secularism is practically atheism and the word “secular” has tended to follow the meaning of secularism and has become a polite substitute for atheistic.

Comment #46695

Posted by steve on September 6, 2005 4:06 AM (e)

Comment #46692

Posted by Andrew Rowell on September 6, 2005 02:22 AM (e) (s)

Russell,

1. You said:

Any comment is, obviously, evidence of “intelligent design” on the part of its author.

You accept then that intelligent design is a legitimate explanation for some effects? It is a real subject for scientific investigation?

Well, to say this is to use a definition of intelligent design which is quite different from Intelligent Design Theory. The way you’re using it, intelligent design means to consider the possible intent of an actor in judging his actions. Nobody here will disagree with the efficacy of that. But that’s not the same as Intelligent Design Theory, which is a pseudoscientific set of badly constructed attacks on evolutionary theory.

Comment #46697

Posted by steve on September 6, 2005 4:15 AM (e)

Here are some quotes to contemplate:

“Indeed, intelligent design is just the Logos theology of John’s Gospel restated in the idiom of information theory.”

“Christ is indispensable to any scientific theory.”

-William Dembski

“Intelligent Design is not a scientific theory.”

-John H. Marburger, science advisor to GWB

Easily the biggest challenge facing the ID community is to develop a full-fledged theory of biological design. We don’t have such a theory right now, and that’s a problem. Without a theory, it’s very hard to know where to direct your research focus. Right now, we’ve got a bag of powerful intuitions, and a handful of notions such as ‘irreducible complexity’ and ‘specified complexity’-but, as yet, no general theory of biological design.

-Discovery Instituter Paul Nelson

I think that ID may very well have things to offer science, but I think that it is too early for ID to claim that it has done so.

-Del Ratsch, ID sympathist and author of Nature, Design, and Science

Comment #46698

Posted by darwinfinch on September 6, 2005 4:17 AM (e)

Andrew (and all his inexhaustible ilk),

I worked on a longer reply challenging the depth of your thoughts and their validity, but then thought, why bother? Why bother at reaching out, in pity, reason, or anger, to an anonymous nobody whose opinion is nothing except, like the mountain, “there”. Nothing that doesn’t flatter this person will be heard, and any other attempt at engagement will be turned by his vanity and smugness into flattery under a different brand name.

If we meet in public, with real names and human faces, with something at stake besides your pride, I’ll make another effort.

Comment #46703

Posted by Stuart Weinstein on September 6, 2005 6:27 AM (e)

Of course there are real scientists today who question macroevolution. Yes, the number is small. When it comes to a possible scientific revolution size does not matter. This is why the “Steve” rejoinder makes no difference. The multitude of “Steves” are doing what Kuhn referred to as “normal science.” So, one expects there to be many “Steves.” It would be odd if there were not.

Except that the scientific revolution that occurred through out design in favor of evolution.

You do realize, that “design” of some form was what existed before evolution.

And some people wonder why Kuhn once said “I am not a Kuhnian”

Comment #46706

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on September 6, 2005 6:51 AM (e)

Posted by John Piippo on September 5, 2005

Hi, John. Welcome back.

Last time you were here, you ran away without answering two simple questions that I asked of you.

So I’ll ask again.

And again, and again, and again, and again. As many times as I need to, until you either answer or run away again.

*ahem*

(1) what is the scientific theory of ID, and how do we test it using the scientific method?

(2) What complaint, specifically, do you have with the scientific method, and how would you alter the scientific method, specifically, to accomodate your complaint (whatever it is).

Comment #46707

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on September 6, 2005 6:53 AM (e)

You accept then that intelligent design is a legitimate explanation for some effects? It is a real subject for scientific investigation?

No. And you yourself show us exactly why:

My point is that secularism is practically atheism and the word “secular” has tended to follow the meaning of secularism and has become a polite substitute for atheistic.

ID is nothing but religious apologetics. It has nothing to do with “science”.

Thanks for explaining that to everyone.

Are you willing to testify to this in Dover?

Comment #46712

Posted by Andrew Rowell on September 6, 2005 7:20 AM (e)

Steve,

You said:

Well, to say this is to use a definition of intelligent design which is quite different from Intelligent Design Theory. The way you’re using it, intelligent design means to consider the possible intent of an actor in judging his actions. Nobody here will disagree with the efficacy of that. But that’s not the same as Intelligent Design Theory, which is a pseudoscientific set of badly constructed attacks on evolutionary theory.

I am not totally convinced by your distinction. As I understand it intelligent design is based on seeking to develop rigorous and objective methodology for detecting intelligent design of any intelligent agent using human intelligent design as a model.

Thus the distinction between legitimate and illegitimate intelligent design would depend on the nature of the proposed agent. Am I correct?

Comment #46716

Posted by Russell on September 6, 2005 8:14 AM (e)

As I understand it intelligent design is based on seeking to develop rigorous and objective methodology for detecting intelligent design of any intelligent agent using human intelligent design as a model.

Here’s a puzzle to contemplate. Modern science studies the mechanisms of genetic change, makes the thoroughly unsurprising guess that similar mechanisms operated even before humans started figuring them out, and assembles a picture over billions of years that appears to be in every way consistent with that.

The evophobes claim this is an “unwarranted extrapolation” (“were you there?”, etc.)

But the ID folks see nothing wrong with extrapolating from instances of human design to the “design” of life, or the universe itself.

Why is that?

Comment #46721

Posted by Schmitt. on September 6, 2005 9:02 AM (e)

Andrew Rowell wrote:

As I understand it intelligent design is based on seeking to develop rigorous and objective methodology for detecting intelligent design of any intelligent agent using human intelligent design as a model.

Since when? They’ve had a couple of decades to begin having a shot at it, and I’ve yet to see a single one of them bother applying any of the relevent sciences (anthropology, linguistics, etc.) competently other than noting their existance as if that somehow proves ID is in any way comparable.

All they have is vague handwaving about what SETI are doing (speaking of which, it’s always been something of an amusement to imagine what would have happened had an IDist made the discovery of pulsars. Surely their rigorous peer review and teams of relevent scientists, theoretical models and research programmes would have rapidly resolved the mystery!) and ‘look, you can just tell, alright?’ The way they’ve pointed to stonehenge and languages as obvious examples of human design without any deeper analysis of the sciences involved, their limitations, theoretical models and the methodologies developed are excellent examples of how utterly uninterested they are in genuine science except as a political tool or rubber stamp for their narrow view of divinity.

There literally isn’t a scientific field they haven’t brazenly ignored or fought against.

-Schmitt.

Comment #46727

Posted by steve on September 6, 2005 10:01 AM (e)

Basically, Andrew, you’re using Intelligent Design in two ways. Here’s Larry Arnhart:

Dembski claims that “intelligent design … is entirely separable from creationism.” He explains: “Intelligent design is detectable; we do in fact detect it; we have reliable methods for detecting it; and its detection involves no recourse to the supernatural. Design is common, rational, and objectifiable.”

If this is what he means by “intelligent design,” then any rational person should accept it, and it would not be very controversial. In fact, most of what Dembski says in his book The Design Inference about how we infer design from “specified complexity” is an uncontroversial account of how we detect design by humanly intelligent agents. Up to this point, there is indeed “no recourse to the supernatural.” But clearly Dembski wants more than that. He writes: “The world is a mirror representing the divine life. The mechanical philosophy was ever blind to this fact. Intelligent design, on the other hand, readily embraces the sacramental nature of physical reality. Indeed, intelligent design is just the Logos theology of John’s Gospel restated in the idiom of information theory.” This leads Dembski to conclude that “Christ is indispensable to any scientific theory.” Here the “recourse to the supernatural” is clear.

This confusion in “intelligent design theory”—both affirming and denying “recourse to the supernatural”—arises from equivocation in the use of the term “intelligent design.” Both Dembski and Behe speak of “intelligent design” without clearly distinguishing “humanly intelligent design” from “divinely intelligent design.” We have all observed how the human mind can cause effects that are humanly designed, and from such observable effects, we can infer the existence of humanly intelligent designers. But insofar as we have never directly observed a divine intelligence (that is, an omniscient and omnipotent intelligence) causing effects that are divinely designed, we cannot infer a divinely intelligent designer from our common human experience.

Comment #46729

Posted by AV on September 6, 2005 10:11 AM (e)

Campus Crusade for Christ is the organisation that presented Australian Federal Education Minister with the DVD Unlocking the Mysteries of Life, prompting him to “do a Bush” and express support for the teaching of ID alongside evolution in Australian schools. On where the “debate” is currently at in Australia, see the following:

Brendan Nelson suggests ‘intelligent design’ could be taught in schools

‘Intelligent design’ may enter classrooms

Comment #46730

Posted by Mattdp on September 6, 2005 10:13 AM (e)

Andrew,:

Any comment is, obviously, evidence of “intelligent design” on the part of its author.
1. You said:
You accept then that intelligent design is a legitimate explanation for some effects? It is a real subject for scientific investigation?

Yes, anything made, bought or processed, or anything bought, made or processed, and even things processed, bought or made….
Intelligent design is already a subject of scientific endeavor, engineering for ex. And they haven’t found an intelligent design in their work that they didnt put therre themselves so far. But keep your fingers crossed. Actually, hold your breath please.

3. I am very interested in the word “secular” and the meanings that attach to it… someone should do a study on the changes in the uses of this word over the last 150 years or so.

I use the SOD and the relevant definitions are:
2b Not concerned with religious subjects or devoted to the service of religion Spec(of a school or education) excluding religious instruction; not promoting religious belief.
4 Pertaining or adhering to the doctrine of secularism.

Secularism is then defined as follows:
1. The view that religion and religious considerations should be deliberately omitted from temporal affairs; a system of thought based on the doctrine that morality should be determined solely with regard to the well-being of humankind in the present life, to the exclusion of all considerations drawn from belief in God or in a future existence.
2. The view that education esp. that which is publicly funded, should not promote religious belief or include religious instruction.

My point is that secularism is practically atheism and the word “secular” has tended to follow the meaning of secularism and has become a polite substitute for atheistic.

Secular by no means defines as atheism. It is non-theism. Not a ‘disbelief in God’, but simply not using belief in them to make decisions. For ex (back in the middel ages): during the Inquisition the defendant would be prosecuted by the church authorities, but the actual sentence would be carried out by secular authorities; the defendant would be ‘relaxed’ to the secular arm and then flogged or burned or whatever. But don’t think for a second that those secular authorities were atheists. Secular is legal distinction; a reference to things not of the church, a distinction in authority between popes and kings if you like. Though a king may be blessed by a pope, crowned by a pope, etc, the king is the secular authority. And not an atheist. It is a matter of responsibility rather than denying God.
Of course one can be an atheist and a secular authority at the same time, but not necessarily so.
But what if the Intelligent Designers DO turn out to be aliens. Then we have a seculrr solution – no God necessary in the equation yet again.

Comment #46739

Posted by James Taylor on September 6, 2005 11:20 AM (e)

Andrew Rowell wrote:

I am not totally convinced by your distinction. As I understand it intelligent design is based on seeking to develop rigorous and objective methodology for detecting intelligent design of any intelligent agent using human intelligent design as a model.

William Dembski wrote:

Christ is indispensable to any scientific theory.

Invoking Christ is not objective. There are countless theological viewpoints worldwide and using one diety in the global pantheon is not impartial and objective. It is pandering and pimping one religious viewpoint above all others.

Comment #46743

Posted by Gary Hurd on September 6, 2005 11:49 AM (e)

As I understand it intelligent design is based on seeking to develop rigorous and objective methodology for detecting intelligent design of any intelligent agent using human intelligent design as a model.

Nope!

“William Dembski has reminded us that the emerging Intlligent Design movement has a four pronged approach to defeating naturalism: (1) A scientific/philosophical critique of naturalism; (2) A positive scientific research program (intelligent design) for investigating the effects of intelligent causes; (3) rethinking every field of inquiry infected with naturalism and reconceptualizing it in terms of design; (4) development of a theology of nature by relating the intelligence inferred by intelligent design to the God of Scripture.” (J. P. Moreland 1999 quoting William Dembski 1998).

Comment #46750

Posted by Bayesian Bouffant, FCD on September 6, 2005 12:26 PM (e)

Who’s minding the store? It’s more like: Who’s storing their mind?

Comment #46753

Posted by Salvador T. Cordova on September 6, 2005 12:40 PM (e)

It does present what must be a clear and growing problem for Intelligent Design Creationism which tries to deny its religious basis in hopes of inveigling a way into America’s public schools.

Dr. Hurd,

A premise is different from a conclusion. The premise of ID is that an intelligent agency’s actions can occasionally be detected if the agency is willing to construct artifacts which humans can recognize as designed. That is all, and that is the premise. One would be hard pressed to say such a premise is religiously based. What the ID critics are are doing is rejecting the premise because it may lead to a conclusion you all don’t like. That is not the open minded spirit of science.

You all seem like you’ll be pretty disappointed if science discovers evidence suggestive of God. Most of you seem to feel the study of natrual law will prevent the identification of non-natural causal agencies. That is flawed presupposition, and one which has been shown to be flawed as witnessed by the acceptance of the Big Bang. The Big Bang’s ultimate cuases lie outside any known natural laws or any natrual law we expect to ever be discovered. Do we thus reject the Big Bang on that basis?

The conclusions from the science of ID may or may not be, “God is the Designer”. Stephen Meyers, others, IDEA, have said publicly our personal conclusion is that the Designer is God. But those are personal “conclusions”. A “conclusion” is not the same as a “basis” or “premise”.

If one would reject any scientific principle which might possibly lead to the inference of God’s existence, one would reject quantum mechanics because certain interpretations of Quantum Law alone suggests God exists. Not everyone one would infer God from quantum theory, but some do, and the fact that some do should not automatically cause scientists to reject quantum theory a priori.

Similarly, forensic design detection is done all the time. Do we reject design detection because it may be suggestive God exists to some or even many?

I think the way you are portraying our position is not accurate.

regards,
Salvador

Comment #46755

Posted by Albion on September 6, 2005 12:45 PM (e)

Apologies …Crick is the fellow… he along with along with Orgel (according to Wikipedia) proposed a theory of directed Panspermia in which “seeds of life may have been purposely spread by an advanced extraterrestrial civilization.” Hence my question… Is this a theory of secular intelligent design?

It’s a theory of secular intelligent transport, unless there’s some reason to believe that the bacteria being sent by these aliens were also constructed by them from simple chemicals.

Comment #46756

Posted by C.J.O'Brien on September 6, 2005 1:24 PM (e)

Similarly, forensic design detection is done all the time. Do we reject design detection because it may be suggestive God exists to some or even many?

Got it. God, in the kitchen, with the lead pipe.
Elementary, my dear Sal.

Comment #46757

Posted by Les Lane on September 6, 2005 1:39 PM (e)

A premise is different from a conclusion.

This is true in science, but not in apologetics where one begins with the conclusion.

Comment #46760

Posted by Alejandro Magno on September 6, 2005 2:07 PM (e)

Salvador Cordova wrote:

[…] I think the way you are portraying our position is not accurate.

Hi Salvador, since no other Intelligent Design Creationism proponent has been able to answer these questions, I think it fitting that every proponent of the “theory” answer the following questions so succinctly put by the Good Dr. Rev. Flank:

(1) what is the scientific theory of ID, and how do we test it using the scientific method?

(2) What complaint, specifically, do you have with the scientific method, and how would you alter the scientific method, specifically, to accomodate your complaint (whatever it is).

Comment #46762

Posted by Russell on September 6, 2005 2:13 PM (e)

…ID critics are … rejecting the premise because it may lead to a conclusion you all don’t like.

Wow! In addition to his many other talents, Sal is now a mind reader!

You all seem like you’ll be pretty disappointed if science discovers evidence suggestive of God.

Not, of course, that that’s what ID is all about. Heavens no!

Most of you seem to feel the study of natrual law will prevent the identification of non-natural causal agencies. That is flawed presupposition

Hold it right there. The “flawed presupposition” is yours, starting with “most of you seem to feel”. Why don’t you just quit worrying about what anybody “feels” and just tell us, already, what is this theory of Intelligent Design you keep referring to?

The conclusions from the science of ID may or may not be, “God is the Designer”.

The conclusions? There can’t be any “conclusions” if you don’t first formulate a scientific theory and pose testable hypotheses.

This whole ID scam is a huge waste of time and energy.

Comment #46763

Posted by James Taylor on September 6, 2005 2:13 PM (e)

Salvador T. Cordova wrote:

You all seem like you’ll be pretty disappointed if science discovers evidence suggestive of God.

Key word is if. So, where is the evidence Salvador? You would actually have to do science to discover evidence. So far, ID equals NO Science. I would be happy to amend my universal understanding with some actual evidence; however, you might be exceptionally disappointed if the evidence points away from your vision of God. Would you reject or even bury that evidence if it suggested something other than your contemporary vision of the supreme watchmaker?

All of these thought experiments are grand, but they amount to nothing. Show us some science and let the world respond. If, however, you continue to not do science, duck the relevant questions and harp on how horribly misguided science is without suggesting anything positive, you will continue to prove how vacuous, meritless and jealous the anti-science movement of ID really is.

Comment #46764

Posted by HPLC_Sean on September 6, 2005 2:17 PM (e)

Sal said:

The premise of ID is that an intelligent agency’s actions can occasionally be detected if the agency is willing to construct artifacts which humans can recognize as designed.

I’m fascinated with the detection of design. Has this test been perfected yet?
What are the properties of an object that make it either “designed” or “not-designed”?
Can you please name one thing that is designed and one thing that is not?

Comment #46765

Posted by Moses on September 6, 2005 2:18 PM (e)

Poor Sal

The Big Bang’s ultimate cuases lie outside any known natural laws or any natrual law we expect to ever be discovered.

Wow, so utterly like the creationists. ‘I can’t imagine humans can figure XYZ out… Therefore human’s can’t figure XYZ out…’

“The four points of the compass be logic, knowledge, wisdom and the unknown. Some do bow in that final direction. Others advance upon it. To bow before the one is to lose sight of the three. I may submit to the unknown, but never to the unknowable. The man who bows in that final direction is either a saint or a fool. I have no use for either. Yama Dharma – Roger Zelazney’s Lord of Light

It’s sad when a writer of fiction has a broader, more educated perspective on the human condition and mans ability to imagine, learn, grow and over-come than a person who, at the minimum, implies that he’s a scientist/professor.

Comment #46767

Posted by Steverino on September 6, 2005 2:58 PM (e)

Salvador,

Your reply is totally disengenious. If there were no religious backing the position of ID, then there would be no position. You know it and we know it. Period.

Comment #46773

Posted by The Kenosha Kid on September 6, 2005 3:15 PM (e)

“I’m fascinated with the detection of design. Has this test been perfected yet?”

Of course it has! Ever heard of The Magic Bullet that killed Kennedy, or the proof of Area 51, or the many numerological “coincidences” surrounding 9/11? These are all situations in which people have looked at the evidence, pointed out specific details that in their view couldn’t be explained as coincidence, and concluded that there was a greater intelligence (the CIA, Navy, extraterrestrials, the Men in Black, etc.) behind it.
I’m wondering: what is the difference between, on the one hand, looking at flagellum or DNA and claiming that it is so complex that there must be an intelligence behind it and, on the other hand, looking at the coincidental numbers involved in airline disasters, or the coincidences between Kennedy and Lincoln on the other hand?
I searched PT to see if the link between conspiracy theorists and ID theorists had ever been proposed.

If you are an ID theorist, then I’ll bet you never did.

The Kenosha Kid

Comment #46777

Posted by Bayesian Bouffant, FCD on September 6, 2005 3:46 PM (e)

Salvador T. Cordova wrote:

A premise is different from a conclusion. The premise of ID is that an intelligent agency’s actions can occasionally be detected if the agency is willing to construct artifacts which humans can recognize as designed. That is all, and that is the premise. One would be hard pressed to say such a premise is religiously based.

Wow, interesting stuff. Is that covered in the Wedge Document?

Governing Goals

To replace materialistic explanations with the theistic understanding that nature and human beings are created by God.

OK, I get it: conclusion must be the same as goal.

Comment #46780

Posted by Andrew Rowell on September 6, 2005 4:52 PM (e)

Mattdp
You said

Secular by no means defines as atheism. It is non-theism. Not a ‘disbelief in God’, but simply not using belief in them to make decisions.

then

Though a king may be blessed by a pope, crowned by a pope, etc, the king is the secular authority. And not an atheist. It is a matter of responsibility rather than denying God.

My point was that… back then “secular” had the meaning that you describe in your second quote… and the theistic secular king would not make decisions without basing them on his belief in God (ie unless he was brave or foolhardy he did what the pope told him to do)

The modern usage is entirely different. Non-theism today is indistinguishable from atheism in practical terms. Not using belief in a god to make a decision is acting as an atheist. I think it would clarify matters no end if we used “atheistic” instead of “secular.”

Comment #46782

Posted by Russell on September 6, 2005 5:16 PM (e)

Not using belief in a god to make a decision is acting as an atheist. I think it would clarify matters no end if we used “atheistic” instead of “secular.”

That’s certainly revealing. On that basis, I would actively seek out an atheistic surgeon, for instance, because I surely don’t want someone “using a belief in a god” to make decisions about what to cut. Come to think of it, I guess I would seek out atheistic plumbers, car mechanics and schoolteachers, pretty much for the same reason.

Comment #46783

Posted by The Kenosha Kid on September 6, 2005 5:20 PM (e)

The modern usage is entirely different. Non-theism today is indistinguishable from atheism in practical terms. Not using belief in a god to make a decision is acting as an atheist. I think it would clarify matters no end if we used “atheistic” instead of “secular.”

Oh, dear Andrew, if you are not a mere parody (we have all seen how hard it is to distinguish between a creationist parody and the real thing),

From this explanation, it seems that every statement is either theistic or atheistic. Would you say that meteorology (sorry to beat you to it, Lenny) is atheistic? Would you state, definitively, that the odds of 6:1 against rolling a six on a die are atheistic? If you are loopy, maybe you have said so. But even if you are a parody, I would bet that you never did.

The Kenosha Kid.

Comment #46787

Posted by Ved Rocke on September 6, 2005 5:57 PM (e)

Andrew Rowell wrote:

I think it would clarify matters no end if we used “atheistic” “agnostic” instead of “secular.”

Perhaps that’s the word you’re looking for?

Comment #46788

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on September 6, 2005 5:58 PM (e)

I think the way you are portraying our position is not accurate.

I suggest everyone read the Wedge Document:

http://www.geocities.com/lflank/wedge.html

and decide for themselves whether Sal is right, or just waving his arms again.

By the way, Sal, last time you were here, you ran away without answering any of the simple questions I asked. So I’ll ask again. And again and again and again and again, every time you show your face here, till you either answer or run away (again).

*ahem*

(1) what is the scientific theory of creation (or intelligent design) and how can we test it using the scientific method?

I do *NOT* want you to respond with a long laundry list of (mostly
inaccurate) criticisms of evolutionary biology. They are completely
irrelevant to a scientific theory of creation or intelligent design.
I want to see the scientific alternative that you are proposing—-
the one you want taught in public school science classes, the one
that creationists and intelligent design “theorists” testified under
oath in Arkansas, Louisiana, Kansas and elsewhere is SCIENCE and is
NOT based on religious doctrine. Let’s assume for the purposes of
this discussion that evolutionary biology is indeed absolutely
completely totally irretrievable unalterably irrevocably 100% dead
wrong. Fine. Show me your scientific alternative. Show me how your
scientific theory explains things better than evolutionary biology
does. Let’s see this superior “science” of yours.

Any testible scientific theory of creation should be able to provide
answers to several questions: (1) how did life begin, (3) how did the
current diversity of life appear, and (3) what mechanisms were used
in these processes and where can we see these mechanisms today.

Any testible scientific theory of intelligent design should be able
to give testible answers to other questions: (1) what exactly did
the Intelligent Designer(s) do, (2) what mechanisms did the
Designer(s) use to do whatever it is you think it did, (3) where can
we see these mechanisms in action today, and (4) what objective
criteria can we use to determine what entities are “intelligently
designed” and what entities aren’t (please illustrate this by
pointing to something that you think IS designed, something you think
is NOT designed, and explain how to tell the difference).

If your, uh, “scientific theory” isn’t able to answer any of these
questions yet, then please feel free to tell me how you propose to
scientifically answer them. What experiments or tests can we
perform, in principle, to answer these questions.

Also, since one of the criteria of “science” is falsifiability, I’d
like you to tell me how your scientific theory, whatever it is, can
be falsified. What experimental results or observations would
conclusively prove that creation/intelligent design did not happen.

Another part of the scientific method is direct testing. One does
not establish “B” simply by demonstrating that “A” did not happen. I
want you to demonstrate “B” directly. So don’t give me any “there
are only two choices, evolution or creation, and evolution is worng
so creation must be right” baloney. I will repeat that I do NOT want
a big long laundry list of “why evolution is wrong”. I don’t care
why evolution is wrong. I want to know what your alternative is, and
how it explains data better than evolution does.

I’d also like to know two specific things about this “alternative
scientific theory”: How old does “intelligent design/creationism theory”
determine the universe to be. Is it millions of years old, or
thousands of years old. And does ‘intelligent design/creationism theory’
determine that humans have descended from apelike primates, or
does it determine that they have not.

I look forward to seeing your “scientific theories”. Unless of course you don’t HAVE any and are just lying to us when you claim to.

(2) According to this scientific theory of intelligent design, how old is the earth, and did humans descend from apelike primates or did they not?

(3)

What, precisely, about “evolution” is any more “materialistic” than, say, weather forecasting or accident investigation or medicine. Please be as specific as possible.

I have never, in all my life, ever heard any weather forecaster mention “god” or “divine will” or any “supernatural” anything, at all. Ever. Does this mean, in your view, that weather forecasting is atheistic (oops, I mean, “materialistic” and “naturalistic” —- we don’t want any judges to think ID’s railing against “materialism” has any RELIGIOUS purpose, do we)?

I have yet, in all my 44 years of living, to ever hear any accifdent investigator declare solemnly at the scene of an airplane crash, “We can’t explain how it happened, so an Unknown Intelligent Being must have dunnit.” I have never yet heard an accident investigator say that “this crash has no materialistic causes — it must have been the Will of Allah”. Does this mean, in your view, that accident investigation is atheistic (oops, sorry, I meant to say “materialistic” and “naturalistic” — we don’t want any judges to know that it is “atheism” we are actually waging a religious crusade against, do we)?

How about medicine. When you get sick, do you ask your doctor to abandon his “materialistic biases” and to investigate possible “supernatural” or “non-materialistic” causes for your disease? Or do you ask your doctor to cure your naturalistic materialistic diseases by using naturalistic materialistic antibiotics to kill your naturalistic materialistic germs?

Since it seems to me as if weather forecasting, accident investigation, and medicine are every bit, in every sense,just as utterly completely totally absolutely one-thousand-percent “materialistic” as evolutionary biology is, why, specifically, is it just evolutionary biology that gets your panties all in a bunch? Why aren’t you and your fellow Wedge-ites out there fighting the good fight against godless materialistic naturalistic weather forecasting, or medicine, or accident investigation?

Or does that all come LATER, as part of, uh, “renewing our culture” … . . ?

(4) The most militant of the Ayatollah-wanna-be’s are the members of the “Reconstructionist” movement. The Reconstructionists were founded by Rouas J. Rushdoony, a militant fundamentalist who was instrumental in getting Henry Morris’s book The Genesis Flood published in 1961. According to Rushdoony’s view, the United States should be directly transformed into a theocracy in which the fundamentalists would rule directly according to the will of God. “There can be no separation of Church and State,” Rushdoony declares. (cited in Marty and Appleby 1991, p. 51) “Christians,” a Reconstructionist pamphlet declares, “are called upon by God to exercise dominion.” (cited in Marty and Appleby 1991, p. 50) The Reconstructionists propose doing away with the US Constitution and laws, and instead ruling directly according to the laws of God as set out in the Bible—they advocate a return to judicial punishment for religious crimes such as blasphemy or violating the Sabbath, as well as a return to such Biblically-approved punishments as stoning.

According to Rushdoony, the Second Coming of Christ can only happen after the “Godly” have taken over the earth and constructed the Kingdom of Heaven here: “The dominion that Adam first received and then lost by his Fall will be restored to redeemed Man. God’s People will then have a long reign over the entire earth, after which, when all enemies have been put under Christ’s feet, the end shall come.” (cited in Diamond, 1989, p. 139) “Christian Reconstructionism,” another pamphlet says, “is a call to the Church to awaken to its Biblical responsibility to subdue the earth for the glory of God … Christian Reconstructionism therefore looks for and works for the rebuilding of the institutions of society according to a Biblical blueprint.” (cited in Diamond 1989, p. 136) In the Reconstructionist view, evolution is one of the “enemies” which must be “put under Christ’s feet” if the godly are to subdue the earth for the glory of God.

In effect, the Reconstructionists are the “Christian” equivilent of the Taliban.

While some members of both the fundamentalist and creationist movements view the Reconstructionists as somewhat kooky, many of them have had nice things to say about Rushdoony and his followers. ICR has had close ties with Reconstructionists. Rushdoony was one of the financial backers for Henry Morris’s first book, “The Genesis Flood”, and Morris’s son John was a co-signer of several documents produced by the Coalition On Revival, a reconstructionist coalition founded in 1984. ICR star debater Duane Gish was a member of COR’s Steering Committee, as was Richard Bliss, who served as ICR’s “curriculum director” until his death. Gish and Bliss were both co-signers of the COR documents “A Manifesto for the Christian Church” (COR, July 1986), and the “Forty-Two Articles of the Essentials of a Christian Worldview” (COR,1989), which declares, “We affirm that the laws of man must be based upon the laws of God. We deny that the laws of man have any inherent authority of their own or that their ultimate authority is rightly derived from or created by man.” (“Forty-Two Essentials, 1989, p. 8). P>The Discovery Institute, the chief cheerleader for “intelligent design theory”, is particularly cozy with the Reconstructionists. The single biggest source of money for the Discovery Institute is Howard Ahmanson, a California savings-and-loan bigwig. Ahmanson’s gift of $1.5 million was the original seed money to organize the Center for Renewal of Science and Culture, the arm of the Discovery Institute which focuses on promoting “intelligent design theory” (other branches of Discovery Institute are focused on areas like urban transportation, Social Security “reform”, and (anti) environmentalist organizing).

Ahmanson is a Christian Reconstructionist who was long associated with Rushdooney, and who sat with him on the board of directors of the Chalcedon Foundation – a major Reconstructionist think-tank – for over 20 years, and donated over $700,000 to the Reconstructionists. Just as Rushdooney was a prime moving force behind Morris’s first book, “The Genesis Flood”, intelligent design “theorist” Phillip Johnson dedicated his book “Defeating Darwinism” to “Howard and Roberta” – Ahmanson and his wife. Ahmanson was quoted in newspaper accounts as saying, “My purpose is total integration of Biblical law into our lives.”

Ahmanson has given several million dollars over the past few years to anti-evolution groups (including Discovery Institute), as well as anti-gay groups, “Christian” political candidates, and funding efforts to split the Episcopalian Church over its willingness to ordain gay ministers and to other groups which oppose the minimum wage. He was also a major funder of the recent “recall” effort in California which led to the election of Terminator Arnie. Ahmanson is also a major funder of the effort for computerized voting, and he and several other prominent Reconstructionists have close ties with Diebold, the company that manufactures the computerized voting machines used. There has been some criticism of Diebold because it refuses to make the source code of its voting machine software available for scrutiny, and its software does not allow anyone to track voting after it is done (no way to confirm accuracy of the machine).

Some of Ahmanson’s donations are channeled through the Fieldstead Foundation, which is a subspecies of the Ahmanson foundation “Fieldstead” is Ahmanson’s middle name). The Fieldstead Foundation funds many of the travelling and speaking expenses of the DI’s shining stars.

Ahmanson’s gift of $1.5 million was the original seed money to organize the Center for Science and Culture, the arm of the Discovery Institute which focuses on promoting “intelligent design theory”. By his own reckoning, Ahmanson gives more of his money to the DI than to any other poilitically active group – only a museum trust in his wife’s hometown in Iowa and a Bible college in New Jersey get more. In 2004, he reportedly gave the Center another $2.8 million. Howard Ahamnson, Jr sits on the Board Directors of Discovery Institute.

Since then, as his views have become more widely known, Ahmanson has tried to backpeddle and present a kinder, gentler image of himself. However, his views are still so extremist that politicians have returned campaign contributions from Ahmanson once they learned who he was.

So it’s no wonder that the Discovery Institute is reluctant to talk about the funding source for its Intelligent Design campaign. Apparently, they are not very anxious to have the public know that most of its money comes from just one whacko billionnaire who has long advocated a political program that is very similar to that of the Islamic fundamentalists in Afghanistan, Iraq and Iran.

Do you repudiate the extremist views of the primary funder of the Center for (the Renewal of) Science and Culture, Howard Ahmanson, and if so, why do you keep taking his money anyway? And if you, unlike most other IDers, are not sucking at Ahmanson’s teats, I’d still like to know if you repudiate his extremist views.

Oh, and your latest round of blithering about “anti-God” and “anti-religion” prompts yet another question, Sal (whcih, of course, you also will not answer).

(5) Sal, you must KNOW that your ID heroes are in court right now
trying to argue that creationism/ID is SCIENCE and has NO RELIGIOUS
PURPOSE OR AIM. You must KNOW that if the courts rule that
creationism/ID is NOT science and IS nothing but religious doctrine,
then your ID crap will never see the inside of a science classroom. So
you must KNOW that every time you blither to us that creationism/ID
is all about God and faith and the Bible and all that, you are
UNDERMINING YOUR OWN HEROES by demonstrating, right here in public,
that your heroes are just lying under oath when they claim that
creationism/ID has NO religious purpose or aims.

So why the heck do you do it ANYWAY? Why the heck are you in here
yammering about religion when your own leaders are trying so
desperately to argue that ID/creationism is NOT about religion? Are
you really THAT stupid? Really and truly?

Why are you in here arguing that ID/creationism is all about God and the Bible, while Discovery Institute and other creationists are currently in Kansas and Dover arguing that ID/creationism is NOT all about God and the Bible?

Why are you **undercutting your own side**????????

I really truly want to know.

Comment #46789

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

Non-theism today is indistinguishable from atheism in practical terms. Not using belief in a god to make a decision is acting as an atheist. I think it would clarify matters no end if we used “atheistic” instead of “secular.”

That’s nice.

IDers keep telling us that their crap is SCIENCE and has NO religious aim or purpose.

Are they just lying to us when they claim that?

Comment #46791

Posted by Jim Harrison on September 6, 2005 6:06 PM (e)

Agnosticism isn’t really an honest alternative at this point since contemporary theism is so incoherent that it makes no more sense to doubt the existence of God than to deny it. What the heck are we supposed to be doubting?

Note that I’m not complaining, as the positivists used to, that the word God has no meaning. The problem is just the reverse. “God” has dozens of meanings, and they don’t obviously have even a family resemblence with one another.

By the way, one of the meanings for the word god comes from Pliny the Elder who wrote that God is man helping man. Does that imply that the Bush administration is staffed by atheists?

Comment #46807

Posted by Ruthless on September 6, 2005 9:25 PM (e)

1. Any comment is, obviously, evidence of “intelligent design” on the part of its author.

I disagree.

Visited ARN lately?

“Design” yes; “intelligent” no.

Comment #46831

Posted by Andrew Rowell on September 7, 2005 9:24 AM (e)

In practical, behavioural terms (in my experience) agnosticism = non-theism = secularism = materialism = atheism. [ie an agnostic person does not behave as if there was a real god/God he/she behaves as if there was no real god/God.]

Historically (as far as I can see) we do not have much positive experience of consistent atheistic education.

It seems to me that we each have a choice between theistic and atheistic education and that it is really confusing to try and muddle the two together. The real question is: Who decides what sort of education my children get? If I was a theist or someone who believes in intelligent design or even a YEC should I therefore be automatically disqualified from the privelege of educating my children in the way that I and my wife think is best?

Comment #46833

Posted by Gary Hurd on September 7, 2005 9:29 AM (e)

If I was a theist or someone who believes in intelligent design or even a YEC should I therefore be automatically disqualified from the privelege of educating my children in the way that I and my wife think is best?

No. However, you do not have the right to use the coercive power of government to compel others to accept your religion.

Comment #46834

Posted by Russell on September 7, 2005 9:30 AM (e)

1. Any comment is, obviously, evidence of “intelligent design” on the part of its author.

I disagree.
Visited ARN lately?

Well, no. That’s how I maintain my optimism - such as it is - about human nature.

Comment #46837

Posted by Russell on September 7, 2005 9:44 AM (e)

Rowell’s position - that absence of religion is just as religious as any given sect - would mean, of course, that there can never be any meaningful church-state separation. I reject that.

The real question is: Who decides what sort of education my children get? If I was a theist or someone who believes in intelligent design or even a YEC should I therefore be automatically disqualified from the privelege of educating my children in the way that I and my wife think is best?

Is someone preventing you from educating them in any way you want? If I happen to believe in the Flying Spaghetti Monster, should I be disqualified from insisting my kid’s science class spend time on pastacentric design theory? Or from taking my school board to task for pointedly omitting any pasta-related origins hypotheses?

Comment #46839

Posted by Bayesian Bouffant, FCD on September 7, 2005 9:57 AM (e)

In practical, behavioural terms (in my experience) agnosticism = non-theism = secularism = materialism = atheism. [ie an agnostic person does not behave as if there was a real god/God he/she behaves as if there was no real god/God.]

I’m sorry to hear that your experience, and your education, have been so inadequate. Many theists have supported secularism, particularly separation of church and state, in the past because they realize it is good for religion. Secularism and freedom of religion go hand in hand.

I’ll lobby the city council to patch the potholes in front of my driveway, and you pray to God to patch the potholes in front of yours. We’ll see who gets a faster response.

Comment #46842

Posted by SEF on September 7, 2005 10:29 AM (e)

Ooh, such optimism about a city council’s response. At least your “theory” of city councils is based on the observable existence of such councils. Plus, if lobbying/prayer doesn’t work, since the councils observably consist of humans (are emergent properties of large collections of humans?) there’s also potentially someone to bribe/blackmail. ;-)

Comment #46843

Posted by James Taylor on September 7, 2005 10:46 AM (e)

Jim Harrison wrote:

Agnosticism isn’t really an honest alternative at this point since contemporary theism is so incoherent that it makes no more sense to doubt the existence of God than to deny it. What the heck are we supposed to be doubting?

Andrew Rowell wrote:

In practical, behavioural terms (in my experience) agnosticism = non-theism = secularism = materialism = atheism. [ie an agnostic person does not behave as if there was a real god/God he/she behaves as if there was no real god/God.]

This is a misunderstanding about agnosticism. Agnostics simply believe that we can not know God. They do not refute the existence of God. What they refute is the base claims of the organized religions that state that God manifested in some physical form to humanity. Atheism is the belief that there is no God. These two ideologies are very different. One is waiting for more information while critical of the historical information we have available and the other makes a leap of faith that God does not exist because a lack of evidence. Agnostics are not atheists.

Jim the quandry you are describing is exactly why there are agnostics. It makes no sense to believe in the God(s) described by most religions, but that’s what faith is. If it makes no more sense to doubt as to believe then, I might state that agnosticism is the only logical religious belief.

This is an unfair generalization Andrew. An educated agnostic behaves no different than any other moral person. What behavior is indicative of a person believing there is a God and what behavior is indicative of a person who doubts the existence of God? Does a devout person have a house? Does the non-devout have a house? Both are material posessions. Your assertion is that a devout person should have nothing including a roof over his/her head. I might conclude from your generalization that only the homeless are devout because they have no material possessions.

Comment #46846

Posted by James Taylor on September 7, 2005 11:04 AM (e)

Also, the watchmaker argument is an old agnostic argument. In simple terms, we know we live in a complicated universe, and we know we had no hand in creating that universe. We live inside the watch, we don’t stumble upon it. Agnostics ask, who created the watch and who started the watch, but make no presumptions as to the answer. This is the foundational belief of the Deists (Founding Fathers) which is a derivative of the agnostic philosophy.

Comment #46849

Posted by Steverino on September 7, 2005 11:15 AM (e)

Andrew,

“It seems to me that we each have a choice between theistic and atheistic education and that it is really confusing to try and muddle the two together. The real question is: Who decides what sort of education my children get? If I was a theist or someone who believes in intelligent design or even a YEC should I therefore be automatically disqualified from the privelege of educating my children in the way that I and my wife think is best?

From the Wedge Document:

GOALS

Governing Goals

* To defeat scientific materialism and its destructive moral, cultural and political legacies.

* To replace materialistic explanations with the theistic understanding that nature and hurnan beings are created by God.

Five Year Goals

* To see intelligent design theory as an accepted alternative in the sciences and scientific research being done from the perspective of design theory.

* To see the beginning of the influence of design theory in spheres other than natural science.

* To see major new debates in education, life issues, legal and personal responsibility pushed to the front of the national agenda.

Does this sound to you like a Live and Let Live scenario???….this sounds more like a certain group wishing to push their views on others.

Funny, how they have goals, without yet having the substance to meet those goals….So, they just get there by any means possible???

Comment #46854

Posted by Jim Harrison on September 7, 2005 11:32 AM (e)

My basic complaint about agnosticism is that, like atheism, it gives the question about god too much credit as a serious question. Religion is interesting and important from a political, social, and even literary point of view; but theological ideas haven’t been relevant to figuring things out for a very long time.

Note how James Taylor manages to come to the conclusion that “agnosticism is the only logical religious belief” when the sensible thing to do is to not have religious beliefs at all, even agnostic ones.

Comment #46856

Posted by James Taylor on September 7, 2005 11:34 AM (e)

Andrew Rowell wrote:

It seems to me that we each have a choice between theistic and atheistic education and that it is really confusing to try and muddle the two together.

The pure theistic education experiment has been occuring for the last fifteen years oversees. They are called madrassa and in them, students only study the Koran. Would this be the type of education you want for you children? You don’t want them to learn art, language, drama, history, music, math and science? Did you study these topics? Shouldn’t your children have at least as well rounded an education as was available to you? Do you not owe it to your children to provide the education necessary to survive in current and future society?

Comment #46857

Posted by James Taylor on September 7, 2005 11:37 AM (e)

Jim you missed the assertion “If it makes no more sense to doubt as to believe then…”. I am not concluding anything just posing a philosophical argument.

Comment #46859

Posted by James Taylor on September 7, 2005 11:45 AM (e)

Jim, what’s wrong with someone admitting “I don’t know if God exists.” Stating that there is a God or there isn’t is a definitive statement and a leap of faith. Why should anyone conclude that there is or isn’t a God? One who prizes honesty and integrity might have a hard time asserting either.

Comment #46860

Posted by steve on September 7, 2005 11:52 AM (e)

James, what’s wrong with someone admitting “i don’t know if Santa Claus exists.” Stating that there is a Santa Claus or there isn’t is a definitive statement and a leap of faith. Why should anyone conclude that there is or isn’t a Santa Claus? One who prizes honesty and integrity might have a hard time asserting either.

Comment #46864

Posted by James Taylor on September 7, 2005 12:38 PM (e)

steve wrote:

James, what’s wrong with someone admitting “i don’t know if Santa Claus exists.” Stating that there is a Santa Claus or there isn’t is a definitive statement and a leap of faith. Why should anyone conclude that there is or isn’t a Santa Claus? One who prizes honesty and integrity might have a hard time asserting either.

Is Santa real? I hear he visits every house on one day out of the year and brings gifts, but he has never visited my house, I assure you and yet there are gifts. I would say I don’t know if he’s real, but he assuredly does not adhere to his publicized rules if he does exist. If he ever shows up, I’ll let you know.

Comment #46865

Posted by Ved Rocke on September 7, 2005 12:38 PM (e)

Andrew is trying to redefine secularism as something that is atheist and therefore anti-God, as a means of painting everyone involved in this important aspect of society as the enemy of religion.

Secularism is supposed to be about everyone putting aside whatever beliefs or non-beliefs they may have so that a religiously diverse and free country can function. If modern science conflicts with a person’s beliefs, well, too bad. There’s plenty of room in this country to find a place where they can raise their children as they see fit.

Comment #46870

Posted by Jim Harrison on September 7, 2005 1:02 PM (e)

I’m not trying to pick any fights here. I’m making a point about pragmatics, the responsible use of language. Steve asks “what’s wrong with somebone admitting ‘I don’t know if Santa Claus exists?’” Logically, there’s nothing wrong with the question. By the normal rules of discourse, however, anybody who seriously addressed the question of Santa’s existence would be improperly implying that the question is serious. Just imagine a three-day conference on the existence of Santa Claus as the University of Michigan or supporting federal funding for special radar to detect the flying sleigh.

There is actually a second problem with taking an agnostic stance. Claming that you don’t know whether God exists is not quite the same as claiming that you don’t know whether Santa exists because one more or less know whats Santa is supposed to be. Agnosticism is more like admitting “I don’t know whether gribledihobble exists.” Until somebody specifies the meaning of gribledihobble, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to assert doubt about its existence. Indeed, for all I know I don’t have a doubt in the world about the existence of gribledihobble.

Comment #46873

Posted by Russell on September 7, 2005 1:25 PM (e)

Until somebody specifies the meaning of gribledihobble, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to assert doubt about its existence. Indeed, for all I know I don’t have a doubt in the world about the existence of gribledihobble.

The gribledihobble is one of the triune persons of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

Hope that helps.

Comment #46874

Posted by Bayesian Bouffant, FCD on September 7, 2005 1:36 PM (e)

Watchmaker redux

You are wandering along a beach when you look down and notice a watch. YOu open the back cover and notice a lot of precise machinery working in there. You have learned something of anatomy from your studies, so you know that baby birds also have a lot of precise machinery working inside them. Thus, you assume that a watch is like a bird.

You think through the consequences of this analogy and come to the conclusion that a papa watch and a mama watch must get together, and the mama watch lays an egg which hatches into a baby watch.

Any analogy, like saltwater taffy, can be stretched too far. The trick is to know when it has stretched too far.

Comment #46877

Posted by steve on September 7, 2005 1:48 PM (e)

Comment #46870

Posted by Jim Harrison on September 7, 2005 01:02 PM (e) (s)

I’m not trying to pick any fights here. I’m making a point about pragmatics, the responsible use of language. Steve asks “what’s wrong with somebone admitting ‘I don’t know if Santa Claus exists?’” Logically, there’s nothing wrong with the question. By the normal rules of discourse, however, anybody who seriously addressed the question of Santa’s existence would be improperly implying that the question is serious. Just imagine a three-day conference on the existence of Santa Claus as the University of Michigan or supporting federal funding for special radar to detect the flying sleigh.

Yeah, Jim, I was trying to point out to James that the agnostic position is not the necessary default he thinks it is. When agnostics tell me that my atheism is unjustified, and that I should be an agnostic, I ask them, “Are you agnostic about Santa Claus?” because they seldom are. They are atheists about Santa Claus, for the same reason they should be atheists about god.

Comment #46881

Posted by Gary Hurd on September 7, 2005 1:55 PM (e)

The notion of agnostism in science as proposed by Huxley (who coined the term) goes beyond “I don’t know if God exists,” which is merely a personal statement of indecision or ignorance. Rather, Huxley argued that science is incapable of establishing the existance, or nonexistance of God- that this is impossible to determine scientifically.

And Huxley’s point is well taken contra all of the claims made by, or at least attributed to scientific lecturers and writers such as Richard Dawkins that the nonexistance of God can be asserted by science.

We can maintain the correct scientific stance of agnostism and still wholeheartedly oppose the likes of the intelligent designers by considering the following:

“I look for three things in a supernatural Designer-intelligence, transcendence and power. By power I mean that the Designer can actually do things to influence the material world-perform miracles if desired. By transcendence I mean that the Designer cannot be identified with any physical process event or entity - the latter can at best be attributed to, not equated with, the Designer. By intelligence I mean that the Designer is capable of performing actions that cannot adequately be explained by appealing to chance-the Designer can act so as to render the chance hypothesis untenable.” (Dembski 1994:116).

“William Dembski has reminded us that the emerging Intelligent Design movement has a four pronged approach to defeating naturalism: (1) A scientific/philosophical critique of naturalism; (2) a positive scientific research program (Intelligent Design) for investigating the effects of intelligent causes; (3) rethinking every field of inquiry infected with naturalism and reconceptualizing it in terms of design; (4) development of a theology of nature by relating the intelligence inferred by intelligent design to the God of Scripture.” (J. P. Moreland 1999 quoting Dembski 1998c).

More recently (March 7, 2004) Dembski gave a talk at the Baptist Fellowship Church in Waco, TX. that was taped recorded. Relevant to the current topic, Dembski, in response to an audience member’s question said, “When you are attributing the wonders of nature to these mindless material mechanisms, God’s glory is getting robbed.” He further added, “And so there is a cultural war here. Ultimately I want to see God get the credit for what he’s done — and he’s not getting it.”

We can oppose IDiots because they are nothing other than creationists. Their claim that they merely want to “teach the controvesy” is a lie, exposed by their own words. Dembski is not even to most egregious in this regard.

Now, IDCs like Sal demand that concerned scientists, science educators, citizens and even the courts ignor the clear and obvious “plain language” reading that Intellignet Design is nothing but evangelical creationism hidden in plain sight. The only image I can bring to mind for this is when Toto has pulled away the curtian exposing the Wizard of Oz as a phoney. If you recall, the “wizard” worked the pullies and levers faster than before, shouting “Ignore that man behind the curtain.”

Comment #46882

Posted by Andrew Rowell on September 7, 2005 1:56 PM (e)

Gary,

I said:

If I was a theist or someone who believes in intelligent design or even a YEC should I therefore be automatically disqualified from the privelege of educating my children in the way that I and my wife think is best?

You said:

No. However, you do not have the right to use the coercive power of government to compel others to accept your religion.

I agree but I also maintain that you cannot have education without religion and that a single unified state education system will inevitably mean the establishment of a state “religion” whether that religion is theistic or otherwise.

I may be wrong … but I think that theists/intelligent designers/YEC’s and even reconstructionists would be happy with a system that gave priority to parental choice. I reckon ultimately the choice will be …either some kind of messy compromise on evolution or a fragmentation of the state education system along ideological lines. Personally I think ideological diversity + parental choice is the best solution.

Comment #46888

Posted by Gary Hurd on September 7, 2005 2:32 PM (e)

I agree but I also maintain that you cannot have education without religion and that a single unified state education system will inevitably mean the establishment of a state “religion” whether that religion is theistic or otherwise.

I may be wrong …

You are wrong. The root error is made clearest by Andrew Rowell, who on September 7, 2005 09:24 AM wrote

“… agnosticism = non-theism = secularism = materialism = atheism.”

These are not equivalent and to treat them so is to fundamentally damage our ability to even discuss the issue. The evangelicals have for many years scorned a creature largely of their own invnetion, the arch evil “secular humanist.” This person is particularly terrible because they act in normal, moral ways but perniciously allow for different points of view to be freely expressed, and do not acknowledge that the only source of moral behavior is the evangelicals’ interpretation of scripture.

Andrew Rowell made this clear as well when he contended that “[ie an agnostic person does not behave as if there was a real god/God he/she behaves as if there was no real god/God.]”

The radical creationists have taken the position that they are the only True™ Christians and to think otherwise is to court damnation. This is a lie.

If you haven’t already, I suggest that you read the following statement:

An Open Letter Concerning Religion and Science

Within the community of Christian believers there are areas of dispute and disagreement, including the proper way to interpret Holy Scripture. While virtually all Christians take the Bible seriously and hold it to be authoritative in matters of faith and practice, the overwhelming majority do not read the Bible literally, as they would a science textbook. Many of the beloved stories found in the Bible – the Creation, Adam and Eve, Noah and the ark – convey timeless truths about God, human beings, and the proper relationship between Creator and creation expressed in the only form capable of transmitting these truths from generation to generation. Religious truth is of a different order from scientific truth. Its purpose is not to convey scientific information but to transform hearts.

We the undersigned, Christian clergy from many different traditions, believe that the timeless truths of the Bible and the discoveries of modern science may comfortably coexist. We believe that the theory of evolution is a foundational scientific truth, one that has stood up to rigorous scrutiny and upon which much of human knowledge and achievement rests. To reject this truth or to treat it as “one theory among others” is to deliberately embrace scientific ignorance and transmit such ignorance to our children. We believe that among God’s good gifts are human minds capable of critical thought and that the failure to fully employ this gift is a rejection of the will of our Creator. To argue that God’s loving plan of salvation for humanity precludes the full employment of the God-given faculty of reason is to attempt to limit God, an act of hubris. We urge school board members to preserve the integrity of the science curriculum by affirming the teaching of the theory of evolution as a core component of human knowledge. We ask that science remain science and that religion remain religion, two very different, but complementary, forms of truth.

This has been affirmed by 7,393 signatures collected to date.

The effort to inject religious fanaticism into our public institutions and the effort to keep it out is a problem that is as old as the American republic. If the religious fanatics ever win it will be the end of the republic.

Comment #46890

Posted by Andrew Rowell on September 7, 2005 2:42 PM (e)

Ved you said:

Andrew is trying to redefine secularism as something that is atheist and therefore anti-God, as a means of painting everyone involved in this important aspect of society as the enemy of religion.

Secularism is supposed to be about everyone putting aside whatever beliefs or non-beliefs they may have so that a religiously diverse and free country can function. If modern science conflicts with a person’s beliefs, well, too bad. There’s plenty of room in this country to find a place where they can raise their children as they see fit.

Secularism is “the view that religion and religious considerations should be deliberately omitted from temporal affairs…that morality should be determined…to the exclusion of all considerations from belief in God or in future existence.” It seems reasonable to suggest that there is at least fair overlap with atheism!

Your religion is simply your justification for your preferred legal system…secularism can result in a set of laws just as oppressive as the Taliban. My point about agnostic=atheist=materialist was that they all agree that man/men/woman/women are the highest authority for law and behaviour.

Comment #46891

Posted by James Taylor on September 7, 2005 2:42 PM (e)

Jim Harrison wrote:

Agnosticism is more like admitting “I don’t know whether gribledihobble exists.” Until somebody specifies the meaning of gribledihobble, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to assert doubt about its existence. Indeed, for all I know I don’t have a doubt in the world about the existence of gribledihobble.

Without some conceptual or comparative framework anything can be said to be true or even false. A supreme watchmaker is a clear definition of what one may believe as well as Santa. We certainly did not create our universe so we continue to ask how it came into being. We have no more information than what we can conclude from our observations. From inside the mechanism we cannot fully comprehend what the watch really is or what purpose it may serve but we can observe how it works. Is it a watch or is it a quark in another universe? Was creation intentional or a side-effect of something we cannot even comprehend? Does the existence of this universe provide any evidence that there exists a watchmaker? Will we ever observe anything conclusive about the purpose of creation from the inside? Santa is a construct of our society just like our definitions and descriptions of Bob, but the existence of the universe is beyond our invention and we have continually struggled to understand why it exists. And, I don’t know but I continue to think.

Comment #46898

Posted by James Taylor on September 7, 2005 3:05 PM (e)

Andrew Rowell wrote:

Secularism is “the view that religion and religious considerations should be deliberately omitted from temporal affairs…that morality should be determined…to the exclusion of all considerations from belief in God or in future existence.” It seems reasonable to suggest that there is at least fair overlap with atheism!

From Merriem-Webster

Secular

1 a : of or relating to the worldly or temporal secular concerns> b : not overtly or specifically religious secular music> c : not ecclesiastical or clerical secular courts> secular landowners>
2 : not bound by monastic vows or rules; specifically : of, relating to, or forming clergy not belonging to a religious order or congregation url secular priest>

secularism

indifference to or rejection or exclusion of religion and religious considerations

——-

I don’t see anything that describes morality nor “the exclusion of all considerations from belief in God”. The definition just describes not being bound to rigid dogmatic views.

Comment #46899

Posted by Andrew Rowell on September 7, 2005 3:09 PM (e)

Gary,

You said “you are wrong” in response to my “I maybe wrong but…”

Do you know for certain that these people want to impose by force of law (and even simply by force) an “evangelical” education upon every child no matter what their parents think? Have you got names and statements?

OR

did you mean that I was wrong about the single unified state education system being effectively the establishment of a state religion?

Comment #46900

Posted by Steviepinhead on September 7, 2005 3:16 PM (e)

Is there a jurisdiction in the country that doesn’t allow parochial schools?

Same question for home schooling?

We simply do not live in a country where anyone is “automatically disqualified from the privelege of educating [their] children in the way that [parents] think is best,” nor do we live in a country with “a single unified state education system.”

Y’all can argue about religion all you want, and count angels on the heads of pins (ahem) to your hearts’ content, but when you’re talking education, let’s at least start with the situation that actually prevails, OK?

Comment #46903

Posted by Gary Hurd on September 7, 2005 3:20 PM (e)

Andrew, did you read the Dembski quotes I posted earlier? Did you read the relevant sections of the “wedge” document? The rest of the IDiots are as bad or worse than Dembski. Since you mentioned the reconstructionists, I assume you know their goals.

Public education is not religion, public schools are not a State Religion. (Actually the courts are much closer to a state religion in terms of ritualized behavior and reliance on sworn oaths.)

So, I say you are wrong on both counts.

Comment #46907

Posted by James Taylor on September 7, 2005 3:32 PM (e)

An Open Letter Concerning Religion and Science wrote:

…We believe that among God’s good gifts are human minds capable of critical thought and that the failure to fully employ this gift is a rejection of the will of our Creator. To argue that God’s loving plan of salvation for humanity precludes the full employment of the God-given faculty of reason is to attempt to limit God, an act of hubris…

Nice to find an oasis of rationality in the debate.

Comment #46912

Posted by Bayesian Bouffant, FCD on September 7, 2005 4:43 PM (e)

Secularism is “the view that religion and religious considerations should be deliberately omitted from temporal affairs…that morality should be determined…to the exclusion of all considerations from belief in God or in future existence.” It seems reasonable to suggest that there is at least fair overlap with atheism!

What is your source for that definition? My dictionary does not agree.

Your religion is simply your justification for your preferred legal system…secularism can result in a set of laws just as oppressive as the Taliban. My point about agnostic=atheist=materialist was that they all agree that man/men/woman/women are the highest authority for law and behaviour.

It seems that for a certain type of religious person, morality is not about living a good life, but about telling other people how to live their lives.

Do you know for certain that these people want to impose by force of law (and even simply by force) an “evangelical” education upon every child no matter what their parents think? Have you got names and statements?

In the case of Howard Ahmanson Jr, a major funder of the Discovery Institute, his prior involvment with the Chalcedon Foundation and Christian Reconstructionism, organizations dedicated to imposing biblical law in America, is a matter of record.

Comment #46937

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on September 7, 2005 6:44 PM (e)

Do you know for certain that these people want to impose by force of law (and even simply by force) an “evangelical” education upon every child no matter what their parents think? Have you got names and statements?

Do a Google search for “Christian Reconstructionists”.

Don’t eat beforehand.

Comment #46938

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on September 7, 2005 6:48 PM (e)

(sigh) Are we gonna have another pointless religious war?

Dudes, ID isn’t science, whether there is a god or not. ID doesn’t belong in a science classroom, whether there’s a god or not. IDers are lying to us about their intent and aims, whether there is a god or not. The courts have already outlawed religious apologetics in the classroom, whether there’s a god or not

So what difference does it make to this fight whether there is a god or not? What the hell is the point of arguing over it? Yet again? Nobody won the last time. Why try again? And again? And again?

Like I said before, some of us need to learn how to tell who is on our side, who ain’t —– and then shoot the ones who ain’t, not the ones who are. Fratricide doesn’t help us. At all. Leave it to the IDers – they ENJOY burning heretics at the stake.

Comment #46946

Posted by steve on September 7, 2005 9:02 PM (e)

Atheism is a loaded word with several meanings. Saying secularism is atheist is unclear. Secularism in government, whether it is or isn’t similar to atheism, whatever you mean by that, benefits both government and religion. I briefly imagine a world in which nothing is secular. I go to a restaurant, open the menu.

Our island-style pizza features pineapple and ham. you will go to hell if you eat it, because pork is unclean. 10”–$8.99, 14”–$12.99, 16”–$15.99…”

Secularism is a good thing because not only does it protect us atheists from you christians, but it protects you christians from each other, etc, and leaves everyone free to do what they want without government proseletyzing. The founders saw what happened when governments made religious rules, and they didn’t want that.

Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man & his god, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, thus building a wall of separation between church and state.

-Thomas Jefferson

And there was such a wall, and yea, it was good.

Comment #46966

Posted by BlastfromthePast on September 8, 2005 1:11 AM (e)

steve wrote:

1 you say that CSI is essential to the determination of design

2 you say that a watch laying in some grass is detectably designed

Q: How much CSI is in the watch, how much in the grass, and what’s the rule which allows the conclusion about the watch?

CSI is a probabalistic argument. Do you really need a probabilistic argument to figure out that a watch is designed? Are you merely feigning ignorance?

steve wrote:

Secularism is a good thing because not only does it protect us atheists from you christians, but it protects you christians from each other, etc, and leaves everyone free to do what they want without government proseletyzing. The founders saw what happened when governments made religious rules, and they didn’t want that.

Do you know how much blood was spilled at the time of the French Revolution and the years that followed? Are you completely ignorant of 20th century history? Stalin–an atheist–killed anywhere from 10 to 25 MILLION people. Do you think Hitler went to church on Sunday? The communists in Cambodia, the Khmer Rouge killed 3 to 4 MILLION of their own people. They were atheists. And in the 20th century, how many Christians slaughtered anyone? Are you so blind to history? This line of argumentation is neither here nor there; but you bring it up.

Since your history is lacking, you’re probably not familiar with De Tocqueville. In Democracy in America, after investigating the American experiment in the late 1820’s, he concluded that what makes ‘democracy’ work in America is not the wisdom of its rules–of which De Tocqueville had high praise–but because of the religious spirit of its people. I remember having radicals throw it in my face in the 70’s that the Russian “constitution” was almost exactly like that of the U.S. Question: Why was the U.S. free and prosperous, while the U.S.S.R. was a totalitarian prison-state tottering on the verge of financial collapse? Yes, that’s right, the religious spirit of the U.S. versus the ‘state atheism’ of the U.S.S.R.

Anyone steeped in history would know that it isn’t the “atheists” who need fear the Christians, but the other way around.

Comment #46969

Posted by steve on September 8, 2005 2:01 AM (e)

I’m going to let your irrelevant responses speak for themselves.

Comment #46970

Posted by Andrew Rowell on September 8, 2005 2:07 AM (e)

Bayesian Bouffant
You asked what is the source for

Secularism is “the view that religion and religious considerations should be deliberately omitted from temporal affairs…that morality should be determined…to the exclusion of all considerations from belief in God or in future existence.”

It was the Shorter Oxford Dictionary (Fifth Edition) which advertises itself as “the world’s most trusted dictionary” (not sure how they know!)

The definition for secularism gives two senses which in full are:
1. The view that religion and religious considerations should be deliberately omitted from temporal affairs. (PHILOSOPHY) a system of thought based on the doctrine that morality should be determined solely with regard to the well-being of humankind in the present life, to the exclusion of all considerations drawn from belief in God or in future existence.
2. The view that education esp. that which is publicly funded, should not promote religious belief or include religious instruction.

I think that my contention that secularist education is indistinguishable from atheistic education is valid.

Comment #46971

Posted by Andrew Rowell on September 8, 2005 2:22 AM (e)

Steve,

All rules/laws/morals etc are religious. There are some which are based on men making themselves god. There are some based on men thinking that a god/God spoke them. Being an atheist/secularist does not stop you wanting to impose your rules/laws on everyone. P.Z. Myers, Richard Dawkins, Will Provine, Richard Dennet etc etc for example do not sound like men who are any more ready to live and let live than Howard Ahmanson & Co.

Comment #46972

Posted by Andrew Rowell on September 8, 2005 2:24 AM (e)

Gary,

Do you really believe that bunkum about there being two sorts of truth? If so which sort trumps when they disagree?

Comment #46973

Posted by steve on September 8, 2005 2:32 AM (e)

Comment #46971

Posted by Andrew Rowell on September 8, 2005 02:22 AM (e) (s)

Steve,

All rules/laws/morals etc are religious.

For those who don’t know what the “etc” stands for there, it’s “unicorns/file cabinets/coriolis effects”.

Hey, makes as much sense as what he actually said.

Comment #46974

Posted by steve on September 8, 2005 2:36 AM (e)

And hell, if you don’t believe that file cabinets are unicorns, then how do you explain PYGMIES AND DWARVES???????!!!!!!!!!!!1111

Comment #46975

Posted by Andrew Rowell on September 8, 2005 2:57 AM (e)

Lenny,

You said:

Do a Google search for “Christian Reconstructionists”.

Don’t eat beforehand.

In other words …. I am supposed to do the work to establish your point! No…. it is you and Gary who make the point and you should do the work to defend it. I would like the names and sources of the Reconstructionists who have publically stated that they intend to impose by force an evangelical education upon the children of dissenting atheistic parents. I am not saying they do not exist. I am just saying that having made the point you ought to be able to provide the evidence to back it up not me. I have read some of their stuff and I have not come accross this idea yet.

Comment #46980

Posted by Alan on September 8, 2005 6:19 AM (e)

Andrew Rowell

2 clicks got me here. Not too taxing. Lenny’s advice on skipping breakfast should be heeded.

Comment #46985

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on September 8, 2005 7:23 AM (e)

Do you think Hitler went to church on Sunday?

Maybe not, but he sure talked a lot about God.

But hey, Blast, now that your’e back, maybe you’d like to answer the questions I keep asking you (and you keep running away from):

(1) why are the Super Mice not an example of “frontloading” and how can you tell?

(2) what IS an example of “frontloading” and how can you tell?

Time to run away again, little boy.

Comment #46988

Posted by Red Mann on September 8, 2005 7:56 AM (e)

BFTP, your back. I you can’t answer Lenny’s questions, can you answer mine? Here they are again, if you’ve forgotten.

Would you be so kind to explain to me what facts you are referring to when you said

“the details of a theory disproven by the very facts that are intended to prove it”

and how they disprove the theory?

Could you expand on

“the weaknesses that exist in Darwinian theory”

that Gould admitted to?

Could you give more detail on

“Darwinism will one day be looked upon like the plague; as something that almost knocked the life completely out of biological sciences”

Have you found

“a probable, reasonable answer to species formation”.

If you have, will you share it with me? I’m always willing to learn.

Comment #46992

Posted by Red Mann on September 8, 2005 8:09 AM (e)

Andrew, you keep spouting the usual crap conflating atheism and evil. There is no correlation between them. Hitler was a Christian and said so. He was following the anti-Semitic teachings of Martin Luther. There rest of the blather about “godless communist” is so much handwaving. Moral behavior is not predicated on any belief in any god.
You don’t have to go very far to see enormous evil perpetrated by “religious” people. We see it every day where people screaming Allah’s name blow up and butcher people.
If you want an example of some “good Christians” go here: http://www.godhatesfags.com/main/index.html. Don’t eat and don’t forget to hold your nose.

Comment #46993

Posted by Andrew Rowell on September 8, 2005 8:23 AM (e)

Alan,

Calling for the end of all public, funded education is not the same as calling for an evangelical education by force…. Also… The homepage of welsh witchcraft is hardly the best place to find out what reconstructions say about their public policy!

Comment #46999

Posted by Russell on September 8, 2005 9:38 AM (e)

Calling for the end of all public, funded education is not the same as calling for an evangelical education by force….

Are we to understand that you think an end to all public funded education is a good idea?

OK. You, uh, go right ahead and work on that!

(Pssst… everyone else engaged in this exchange: back away, slowly, from the loose wing-nut. There’s no danger of even the radicals currently in charge of the country taking this stuff seriously.)

Comment #47004

Posted by BlastfromthePast on September 8, 2005 10:10 AM (e)

In reference to Hitler:

RDLF wrote:

Maybe not, but he sure talked a lot about God.

Are you saying that Hitler was a religious man?

By the way, I’ve already answered your silly questions. You should have already read them. If you’re that interested in them, then go look them up.

As to you, Red Mann, how very smug and arrogant you are.

You, like Lenny ask silly questions. The only un-silly question you ask is relative to Gould.

The weaknesses that Gould addresses have to the do with explaining the absence of intermediate fossils through his theory of punk-eck, and his admission that advances in organic forms aren’t always directly affected by NS in his espousing of “exaption.” Gould, much like most other Darwinists, tried to face the actual failings of the theory. He tried to be scientifically honest. I give him credit for that.

Comment #47005

Posted by Bayesian Bouffant, FCD on September 8, 2005 10:20 AM (e)

I think that my contention that secularist education is indistinguishable from atheistic education is valid.

You apparently think a number of things which are untrue.

Comment #47008

Posted by Andrew Rowell on September 8, 2005 10:31 AM (e)

Russell,

Steady! No I did not say that I thought that the end of all public education was a good idea. Look carefully at the words I used please. I was trying to be fair. I am simply seeking to establish whether or not the anti-evolution folks want to force all children to have an evangelical education whether their parents are in agreement or not. I said that I thought that even the reconstructionists did not want to do that.

Comment #47015

Posted by Ved Rocke on September 8, 2005 11:26 AM (e)

All rules/laws/morals etc are religious.

Sorry, but that’s wrong. Morals pre-date religion, not to mention that many many religions pre-date Christianity. You’re not saying that your morality is more evolved, are you?

I’m an athiest, does that mean I have no morals? There are some twisted people that murder for the thrill of it who think they are smart enough to commit the perfect crime and get away with it. I’m a smart guy. What’s keeping me from driving to some remote site, finding some stranger and shooting them in the face? Is it because I respect all the laws of the land and fear punishment? Or is it because not only do I have no desire to do this, but I find it morally objectionable reprehensible?

Comment #47024

Posted by Russell on September 8, 2005 12:05 PM (e)

No I did not say that I thought that the end of all public education was a good idea

I misinterpreted. So you do support funding public education, but you don’t think that should be a secular one?

All rules/laws/morals etc are religious. There are some which are based on men making themselves god…

Really? Let’s take an example. There’s a law that forbids me to drive my car 60 miles/hour through a school zone. I always saw that as a reflection of people wanting their kids to be safe. Actually it was the city council making themselves gods? Who knew?

Comment #47028

Posted by Gary Hurd on September 8, 2005 12:16 PM (e)

(sigh) Are we gonna have another pointless religious war?

Point taken, but I have invited it in someways. My intent with this was to observe that principle creationsts have no problem recognizing that IDC is religious. Particularly, it is merely Judeo-Christian fundyhood camouflaged with some distorted biochemistry and mathematical mumbojumbo. The DI is being undone by their more honest buddies in Dover and elsewhere, while being rejected by the fringe extremists like Answers in Genesis, and creationist Ayatollah Harun Yahya.

One must suppose that the rejection of IDC by Hamm and company could be spun by the DI to “show” that they aren’t really religious, but that would then also include most mainline Christian, Jewish, and Muslim congragations which are not creationist enought for AiG either.

I am simply seeking to establish whether or not the anti-evolution folks want to force all children to have an evangelical education whether their parents are in agreement or not. I said that I thought that even the reconstructionists did not want to do that.

Attendance in some sort of approved educational activity is a legal requirement in every state that I know. If religious education is to be part of the educational program in public shaools, the religious education becomes forced legally. The teaching of creationism is religious.

Regarding the question of Christian Reconstructionists (AKA Dominionists), I have no intent to directly promote their web traffic. Rather, there is an excellent writeup on Religious Tolerance.org. I have not updated my reconstructionist link list for some time, and this morning I noticed an interesting thing; many of the more radical calls to action have been droped. I speculate that this could be a post 9/11 Patriot Act responce, as it is illegal these days to call for the violent overthrow of the US government. The way that the reconstructionalists refered in the past to employing violence was also interesting, it was always framed as the unfortunate need to “defend” one’s self or family aginst the “disciples of Satan.” It was just a conincidence that these were anyone who opposed reconstructionists.

Comment #47035

Posted by rdog29 on September 8, 2005 12:55 PM (e)

Blast:

It is you who needs a refresher in history. How many times will it take to get it through that thick skull of yours:

Nazism was essentially a RELIGIOUS movement rooted in fantasy. Their notions of racial purity were based on an idealized vision of a glorious (non-existent) past, and the desire to reclaim that past. Hitler did indeed see himself as an instrument of Divine Providence.

Stalin explicitly rejected Darwinian evolution as “bourgeois”. And I’d bet that Stalin, Pol Pot, and other such luminaries weren’t much concerned whether they were being proper “atheists” but were very concerned about destroying political opposition and cementing their power. This is a time-honored human endeavor, and religious figures have played the game as well as anyone.

So stop peddling your crap about atheism = evil.

The real problem is when an “elite” few foist their dogma on everyone else, whether that dogma is cloaked in religious imagery or in political propaganda.

Comment #47064

Posted by Alan on September 8, 2005 4:12 PM (e)

rdog29 wrote:

The real problem is when an “elite” few foist their dogma on everyone else, whether that dogma is cloaked in religious imagery or in political propaganda.

What linked Hitler, Stalin and Pol Pot was also cynicism and opportunism. And the ability to focus their supporters on a scapegoat. And as you say, their goal was power. It always was and will be about power. In my ideal world, the desire to be a politician would irrevocably disqualify you from office. Any convenient ideology can be hijacked for a political goal.

Comment #47073

Posted by BlastfromthePast on September 8, 2005 5:34 PM (e)

rdog29 wrote:

The real problem is when an “elite” few foist their dogma on everyone else, whether that dogma is cloaked in religious imagery or in political propaganda.

There have always been an “elite” few wanting to wrest power from others and to dominate. That is a given. Christianity mitigates this tendency. Atheism does not.

Facts are facts. The 20th Century is the 20th Century. And the trail of blood spewing from the hands of atheists this past century is long indeed. But, of course, you’re probably a liberal. And for liberals, reality is anything you want it to be. So, there’s no sense arguing.

Comment #47079

Posted by Gary Hurd on September 8, 2005 6:05 PM (e)

Well, that last post by “Blastfromthepast” was sooo lame that I was tempted to do them a favor and just delete it. I know that I have posted some stupid things that I wished I could take back as soon as I hit “send.”

But, I am not so kind, instead I’ll let this bit of brain methane stay on the board. I can hardly imagine a more viciously deadly crowd than the Christians, particularly directed aginst themselves, Jews or Muslims giving lie to “Blastfromthepast’s” latest foolishness. The recent slaughter of over one hundred thousand people under the direction of our “born again” President can not be ignored. And, smaller in total numbers but far greater relatively, the slaughter reported in biblical times as “directed” by divine revelation was also notable (see Exodus). Aginst this body count, even psychotic killing on the scale of Pol Pot becomes insignificant.

However, the conversation seems to be nearing an end. I’ll be closing comments on this topic no later than AM Sept. 9.

Comment #47081

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on September 8, 2005 6:07 PM (e)

By the way, I’ve already answered your silly questions. You should have already read them. If you’re that interested in them, then go look them up.

Um, which message number, liar.

Comment #47082

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on September 8, 2005 6:11 PM (e)

I said that I thought that even the reconstructionists did not want to do that.

And anyone who wants to do a ten-minute Google search will see, with their own eyes, that you are wrong about that. It is EXACTLY what the Reconstructionists want to do. It’s right there in their own writings, right next to the part where only “Christians” get to vote in public elections.

Comment #47093

Posted by rdog29 on September 8, 2005 9:34 PM (e)

Well Blast, I’ll agree with you on one point: there is no sense arguing.

You have obviously completely missed the point.

But I will leave one last parting shot: you say Christianity mitigates the human tendency to wrest power and dominate others.

Let’s all do some homework and research the careers of Biblical luminaries (David, for example) as well as the Popes (especially in renaissance Italy, and of course, during WWII) and we’ll see the “mitigating infuence” some of these characters had.

But Blast, be prepared. You just may find yourself disappointed.

Comment #47101

Posted by Schmitt. on September 8, 2005 10:09 PM (e)

Hitler’s religion is a bit moot and a pain to unravel. Although he bears ultimate responsibility for his policies and orders, the people he was appealing to, coercing, ordering; the people physically commiting his murders (ie., the SS,) or otherwise complicit in them were almost entirely Christian. Which of course isn’t to say that Christianity automatically leads to evil or makes people more susceptible to such ideas, but does strongly suggest that religion isn’t a bulwark against, well, evil.

In all of these examples it’s important to note that all of the dictators mentioned spent a considerable amount of time building up an image which idolated themselves, the nation and/or the state. The conflation of religion with the state, playing upon religious or ideological biases, controlling and manipulating religion and religious icons into appearing to offer support, or outright attempting to replace religion with the state as Stalin did, were powerful factors in the way these people garnered the publics’ utter compliance and even acceptance of atrocities. Though not the end all and be all of course.

-Schmitt.

Comment #47109

Posted by Red Mann on September 8, 2005 10:54 PM (e)

Silly questions? Smug? Arrogant?
My question are from your post!

Comment #44506
Posted by BlastfromthePast on August 23, 2005 07:21 PM (e) (s)

RDLF wrote:
Blast, no need to thank me for pointing out that your frontloading crap doesn’t have anyhthing to do with the Super Mice. Just as thier is no need to thank me for (1) mentioning Baldwin and Waddington to you (since you never heard of them before I told you about them, or (2) mentioning _Caudipteryx_, _Ambulocetus_ and _Pakicetus_ to you, since you never heard of them either before I mentioned them to you. I also won’t ask you to thank me for pointing out that all of your quoted info about Goldschmidt came from a website written by some fruitloop who refers to himself as an “ecological visionary” —- I assume you already knew when you regurgiquoted it that it was written by a nutjob.

Lenny, so what if you pointed out “Caudipteryx_, _Ambulocetus_ and _Pakicetus_ “ to me. What does it matter? What do any of these forms prove? Nothing! In fact, Caudipteryx causes more problems for evolutionary theory than if it weren’t there. And as far as cetacean evolution is concerned, both of those forms only point out the more the missing links that exist. Admit it; they look like whales! None of this has any “explanatory power” when it comes to Darwin’s theory—so why should I bother myself with the details of a theory disproven by the very facts that are intended to prove it? I’m really not interested.
As per Goldschmidt, would you like to see my copy of “The Material Basis of Evolution” that is tabbed, highlighted and underlined? I’m currently reading Gould’s “Structure of Evolutionary Theory”, Richard Bird’s “Chaos and Life”, and “What Genes Can’t Do”, by Lenny Moss. (One Lenny I can learn something from!) If I don’t read “What Evolution Is” by Mayr, please excuse me; but I don’t want to waste my time on biological fundamentalism. (Gould, at least, will admit the weaknesses that exist in Darwinian theory, unlike most others.)
So, enough of your arrogance! When it comes to evolutionary theory, one unfortunately deals not with “laws”, but with presumptions. It is good judgment that counts. I’ve looked for a probable, reasonable answer to species formation; and neo-Darwinism isn’t the answer. And I don’t mind telling you. Darwinism will one day be looked upon like the plague; as something that almost knocked the life completely out of biological sciences. But, of course, you can always prove me wrong. I dare you! Go ahead!

RDLF wrote:
I assume you already knew when you regurgiquoted it that it was written by a nutjob.

I selected that quote because it was more informative, and better written, than an entry on the same topic taken from an online encyclopedia. And you’ll remember that I prefaced it by saying that the quote was for “your” information. I thought you might find it entertaining. I didn’t know to what degree you were a horse’s ass when I did. I’ve subsequently learned.

If my questions about what you wrote are silly, then I guess you must be silly too, and I won’t even go into smug and arrogant.

Comment #47110

Posted by Gary Hurd on September 8, 2005 10:57 PM (e)

Yea -Schmitt.

Hurah

I am tempted to just close the comments now, but I said I’d wait until tomorrow AM.

For those who might actually want to learn something about the Holocaust, I can recommend the following:
Cornwell, John
1999 Hitler’s Pope: The Secret History of Pius XII New York Penguin Group.

Evans, Richard J.
2001 Lying about Hitler New York:Basic Books.

Friedlander, Saul
1997 Nazi Germany and the Jews New York:HarperCollins.

Goldhagen, Daniel Jonah
1997 Hitler’s Willing Executioners: Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust NewYork:Alfred A. Knoph.

Gross, Jan T.
2001 Neighbors: The Destruction of the Jewish Community in Jedwabne, Poland Princeton University Press

Hitler, Adolf
1999 (orig. 1925) Mien Kampf, Ralph Manheim, translator. New York: Houghton Mifflin Co.

Kuhl, Stefan
2002 The Nazi Connection: Eugenics, American Racism, and German National Socialism Oxford:Oxford University Press

Lewy, Gunter
2000 The Nazi Persecution of the Gypsies Oxford:Oxford University Press.

Lifton, Robert Jay,
1986 The Nazi Doctors: Medical Killing and the Psychology of Genocide. New York: Basic Books Inc.

Lipstadt, Deborah
1994 Denying the Holocaust (New York: Plume pb edition)

Proctor, Robert N.
1988 Racial Hygene:Medicine Under the Nazis Boston:Harvard University Press.

The last by Robert Proctor, is in my opinion the best single text regarding the Holocaust.

Comment #47121

Posted by Andrew Rowell on September 9, 2005 3:34 AM (e)

Russell,

You said:

So you do support funding public education, but you don’t think that should be a secular one?

I believe that parents have the responsibility to bring up their children. I believe in parental choice and that the state should not favour any sort of education. My problem with secular education is that it is basically atheistic. Proceeding on the basis that we leave all our differences about religion on one side and have an education together results in that education being constructed in the same way as if there was no God/god. Some sort of token system where the funding follows the parental choice would be my preferred solution. Those who opt out of the state system pay twice atm.

My point about laws being religious was that laws are made to praise what is good and penalise what is bad. How you decide that something is “good” and something else is “bad” is either by being a god yourself or listening to someone else who claims to be God or a god. Why is it “bad” to murder children either in the school playground or in their mothers birth canal? Who says it is “bad”? We either listen to a human being telling us it is bad or we listen to someone claiming to be more than a human being telling us it is bad.

Comment #47122

Posted by Andrew Rowell on September 9, 2005 4:04 AM (e)

Gary,

I read the page at religioustolerance.org but I did not find what I was looking for. Lenny still says its easy for me to do his work for him ;-) and Alan told me that in two clicks I can get what the Welsh witches think of reconstructionists. There may be lots of nasty things we can find out about them… but I was after something specific…. do they …or do they not advocate the forceful, compulsory education of the nations children in evangelical schools against the wishes of their parents. What others say about them is not always exactly the same as what they say about themselves.

I understand your reluctance to paste links in here and perhaps you could email them to me or simply list the names of the individuals who have advocated the above policy. I am only interested in the education compulsion issue.

As this piece is coming to an end can I thank you for your patience, and for the privelege of discussion. Thank you all at Pandas Thumb!

Comment #47161

Posted by James Taylor on September 9, 2005 11:29 AM (e)

Andrew Rowell wrote:

My point about laws being religious was that laws are made to praise what is good and penalise what is bad. How you decide that something is “good” and something else is “bad” is either by being a god yourself or listening to someone else who claims to be God or a god. Why is it “bad” to murder children either in the school playground or in their mothers birth canal? Who says it is “bad”? We either listen to a human being telling us it is bad or we listen to someone claiming to be more than a human being telling us it is bad.

Is it “good” that alcohol is legal? Tens of thousands of people either are hurt or killed because of alcohol abuse every year. Does that make alcohol “evil”? Is one who obeys the law “good” or “evil”? Debating whether something is “good” or “evil” does not make one a god. What does the legality of alcohol have to do with “good” or “evil”? Making alcohol illegal resulted in the loss of four billion dollars from the gross national product, extremely high unemployment and directly contributed to the Great Depression. It also raised the overall crime rate from organized crime down to the average citizen. Without government regulation hundreds died because toxic alcohol was served. Which is more “evil”, legal alcohol or illegal alcohol? Is one who drinks alcohol today “good” or “evil”? Was one who drank when alcohol was illegal “good” or “evil”? Did “good” and “evil” magically change places because a law was passed and repealed? Laws are made for the benefit of society and are not based on some unassailable religious moral bulwark.

Comment #47168

Posted by James Taylor on September 9, 2005 11:51 AM (e)

The Temperance Movement was a puritanical religious movement. By making alcohol illegal and contributing to a global economic disaster which facilitated the Nazi rise in Europe and ulitmately the holocaust, does that make the Temperance Movement “good” or “evil”? Maybe they had the best of intentions, but their idealism was misguided.

Comment #47173

Posted by Gary Hurd on September 9, 2005 12:00 PM (e)

I thank those who provided cogent comments.