PvM posted Entry 1594 on October 23, 2005 10:57 PM.
Trackback URL: http://www.pandasthumb.org/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb.fcgi/1589

The Discovery Institute has submitted an incredibly poorly argued Amicus Brief in the Kitzmiller case. But let’s first try an interesting experiment.

Let’s try the ‘reverse Pandas experiment’, replace intelligent design with creationism and see where the evidence leads us (to use a common creationist ‘argument’)…

Valid secular purposes for teaching students about the theory of intelligent designcreationism include:

  1. informing students about competing theories of biological origins as they exist within the scientific community,6
  2. helping students to better understand neo-Darwinism by understanding a theory with which it competes,7
  3. enhancing critical thinking skills by exposing students to alternative explanations for the origin of life,8
  4. helping students to understand the value of dissenting viewpoints in the advancement of scientific knowledge,9
  5. increasing student interest in science by exposing them to current debates within the scientific community,10
  6. advancing cultural literacy by helping students understand a current controversy about science and science education policy.11

The problem is that these ‘arguments’ apply equally well to the term intelligent design as it does to the term creationism. Not surprisingly, since they seem be used fully interchangably.

The real problem is that it is based on the flawed premise that there is a scientific theory of Intelligent Design.

Even ID proponents agree that such a theory is lacking and some excellent papers have explored the scientific vacuity of Intelligent Design.

Paul Nelson wrote:

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 now, and that’s a real 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.

William Dembski wrote:

As for your example, I’m not going to take the bait. You’re asking me to play a game: “Provide as much detail in terms of possible causal mechanisms for your ID position as I do for my Darwinian position.” ID is not a mechanistic theory, and it’s not ID’s task to match your pathetic level of detail in telling mechanistic stories. If ID is correct and an intelligence is responsible and indispensable for certain structures, then it makes no sense to try to ape your method of connecting the dots. True, there may be dots to be connected. But there may also be fundamental discontinuities, and with IC systems that is what ID is discovering.

William A. Dembski Organisms using GAs vs. Organisms being built by GAs thread at ISCID 18. September 2002

Ryan Nichols wrote:

Nichols wrote:

Proponents of Intelligent Design theory seek to ground a scientific research program that appeals to teleology within the context of biological explanation. As such, Intelligent Design theory must contain principles to guide researchers. I argue for a disjunction: either Dembski’s ID theory lacks content, or it succumbs to the methodological problems associated with creation science-problems that Dembski explicitly attempts to avoid. The only concept of a designer permitted by Dembski’s Explanatory Filter is too weak to give the sorts of explanations which we are entitled to expect from those sciences, such as archeology, that use effect-to-cause reasoning. The new spin put upon ID theory-that it is best construed as a ‘metascientific hypothesis’-fails for roughly the same reason.

R. Nichols, Scientific content, testability, and the vacuity of Intelligent Design theory The American Catholic philosophical quarterly , 2003 , vol. 77 , no 4 , pp. 591 - 611

Patrick Frank wrote:

Abstract: The assumption of design of the universe is examined from a scientific perspective. The claims of William Dembski and of Michael Behe are unscientific because they are a-theoretic. The argument from order or from utility are shown to be indeterminate, circular, to rest on psychological as opposed to factual certainty, or to be insupportable as regards humans but possibly not bacteria, respectively. The argument from the special intelligibility of the universe specifically to human science does not survive comparison with the capacities of other organisms. Finally, the argument from the unlikelihood of physical constants is vitiated by modern cosmogonic theory and recrudesces the God-of-the-gaps.

Patrick Frank On the Assumption of Design, Theology and Science, Volume 2, Number 1 / April 2004, pp. 109 - 130.

To establish a secular purpose, Intelligent Design has to be shown to be scientifically relevant. And while the Amicus Brief tries to argue that Intelligent Design has contributed to science through for instance the work of Meyer on DNA and the Cambrian, it is self evident, and even admitted to in court by Behe, that Intelligent Design is not about detailed pathways or mechanisms.

Until Intelligent Design can be shown to be a valid scientific theory, and given the strong evidence against such a notion, the basis of the Amicus Brief to show that there is a valid secular purpose to teaching intelligent design needs to be rejected.

The brief continues to outline the case against ID and tries to argue why the case is weak.

(a) The theory of intelligent design lacks any empirical support and is by definition inherently unscientific;
(b) Because intelligent design is not scientific, it must therefore be religious such that teaching about it would have the effect of advancing religion;
© The theory of intelligent design postulates a “supernatural creator” and is indistinguishable from creationism for legal purposes;
(d) In light of ©, the theory of intelligent design is not testable, reinforcing the claim that it is not scientific; and
(e) DASB’s disclaimer disparages the theory of evolution and relies upon a “theory/fact” distinction, both of which strategies have already been disapproved in other court cases.

Propositions (a) through (d) are clearly false.

Clearly false… Hmmm, I’d say that they are self evident. All the brief can do is appeal to some vague articles by Meyer and the work by Behe to rebut claim a). However, anyone familiar with these works knows that the authors present no positive case of design beyond a gap argument which now seems to have become fully tautological. It is designed because it looks designed.

The brief also misrepresents Darwinian theory

By the same logic, however, neo-Darwinism has equivalent atheistic or materialistic implications (since the neo-Darwinian theory that life arose by a purely undirected process is consistent with a materialistic or atheistic worldview).

Darwinian theory says nothing about being ‘purely undirected’. This is a common misunderstanding amongst creationists.

However, even ID proponents have argued that fully natural processes can still be ‘directed’ in the sense of being front loaded. In other words, Darwinian theory is fully compatible with Intelligent Design. Thus the argument that Intelligent Design promotes religious neutrality is flawed. Of course from a legal perspective the ‘tu quoque’ argument seems to be weak at most. Especially when Intelligent Design can be shown to be theistic in nature, as it insists on placing its designer outside the laws of nature.

Footnotes:
6 “Where topics are taught that may generate controversy (such as biological evolution), the curriculum should help students to understand the full range of scientific views that exist…” Conference report to the No Child Left Behind Act, Congress; House Committee of Conference, Report to Accompany H.R. 1, 107th
Cong. 1st sess., 78 (2001) H. Rept. 334, 78.
7 John Angus Campbell, “Intelligent Design, Darwinism, and Public Education Philosophy,” in Darwin, Design, and Public Education (Michigan State University Press 2003).
8 Students should engage in “identification of assumptions, use of critical and logical thinking, and consideration of alternative explanations.” National Research Council, National Science Education Standards (National Academy Press, 1996), 23.
9 Exhibit A, page 48.
10 Exhibit A, at 48.
11 Campbell, supra note 7.

Note the (ab)use of the ‘Santorum amendment’ (item 6).

Let me add my own footnotes

McLean v Arkansas found that the balanced treatment approach was unconstitutional:

The approach to teaching “creation science” and “evolution- science” found in Act 590 is identical to the two-model approach espoused by the Institute for Creation Research and is taken almost verbatim from ICR writings. It is an extension of Fundamentalists’ view that one must either accept the literal interpretation of Genesis or else believe in the godless system of evolution.

Although the pre-trial brief argued (not unlike the present Amicus Brief) that:

The entity which caused the creation hypothesized in creation-science is far, far away from any conception of a god or deity. All that creation-science requires is that the entity which caused creation have power, intelligence, and a sense of design. There are no attributes of the personality generally associated with a deity, nor is there necessarily present in the creator any love, compassion, sense of justice, or concern for any individuals. Indeed, under creation-science as defined in Act 590, there is no requirement that the entity which caused the universe still be in existence.

In Edwards v Aquillard discusses the balanced treatment approach and rejects the arguments raised. Perhaps Scalia’s dissent comments confused the lawyers of the Amicus Brief?

The Balanced Treatment act read

“Public schools within [the] state shall give balanced treatment to creation-science and to evolution-science. Balanced treatment of these two models shall be given in classroom lectures taken as a whole for each course, in textbook materials taken as a whole for each course, in library materials taken as a whole for the sciences and taken as a whole for the humanities, and in other educational programs in public schools, to the extent that such lectures, textbooks, library materials, or educational programs deal in any way with the subject of the origin of man, life, the earth, or the universe. When creation or evolution is taught, each shall be taught as a theory, rather than as proven scientific fact.”

The two main arguments raised by the brief, namely that intelligent design serves a variety of important secular purposes and the claimed primary effect of improving science education and promoting religious neutrality should be rejected based on the available evidence and rules of logic.

As an interesting side effect, the Amicus Brief does seem to support the claim that Intelligent Design has broad theistic implications. Combined with the lack of scientific relevance, the court should find not problems in ruling accordingly.

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Comment #53374

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on October 23, 2005 8:12 PM (e)

1. informing students about competing theories of biological origins as they exist within the scientific community,6
2. helping students to better understand neo-Darwinism by understanding a theory with which it competes,7
3. enhancing critical thinking skills by exposing students to alternative explanations for the origin of life,8
4. helping students to understand the value of dissenting viewpoints in the advancement of scientific knowledge,9
5. increasing student interest in science by exposing them to current debates within the scientific community,10
6. advancing cultural literacy by helping students understand a current controversy about science and science education policy.11

Oddly enough, in the Wedge Document setting out the ID’s five and twenty goals and the methods it seeks to use to gain those goals, NONE of these are mentioned, anywhere. What IS mentioned, however, is:

Discovery Institute’s Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture seeks nothing less than the overthrow of materialism and its cultural legacies. Bringing together leading scholars from the natural sciences and those from the humanities and social sciences, the Center explores how new developments in biology, physics and cognitive science raise serious doubts about scientific materialism and have re-opened the case for a broadly theistic understanding of nature.

The social consequences of materialism have been devastating. As symptoms, those consequences are certainly worth treating. However, we are convinced that in order to defeat materialism, we must cut it off at its source. That source is scientific materialism. This is precisely our strategy. If we view the predominant materialistic science as a giant tree, our strategy is intended to function as a “wedge” that, while relatively small, can split the trunk when applied at its weakest points. The very beginning of this strategy, the “thin edge of the wedge,” was Phillip ]ohnson’s critique of Darwinism begun in 1991 in Darwinism on Trial, and continued in Reason in the Balance and Defeatng Darwinism by Opening Minds. Michael Behe’s highly successful Darwin’s Black Box followed Johnson’s work. We are building on this momentum, broadening the wedge with a positive scientific alternative to materialistic scientific theories, which has come to be called the theory of intelligent design (ID). Design theory promises to reverse the stifling dominance of the materialist worldview, and to replace it with a science consonant with Christian and theistic convictions.

Alongside a focus on influential opinion-makers, we also seek to build up a popular base of support among our natural constituency, namely, Chnstians. We will do this primarily through apologetics seminars. We intend these to encourage and equip believers with new scientific evidence’s that support the faith, as well as to “popularize” our ideas in the broader culture.

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 OBJECTIVES

5. Spiritual & cultural renewal:

* Mainline renewal movements begin to appropriate insights from design theory, and to repudiate theologies influenced by materialism

* Major Christian denomination(s) defend(s) traditional doctrine of creation

Gee, I wonder why NONE of the “secular goals” that ID blithers about in its brief appear anywhere in its stated five or twenty year goals.

Hmm, and I won der why DI didn’t mention ANY of its stated five and twenty year goals in its brief.

Hmmmm …. Could it be that it’s because DI are dishonest evasive liars?

Comment #53376

Posted by Steve S on October 23, 2005 8:15 PM (e)

I always found the “Pathetic level of detail” comment bizarre. He admits evolution gives more detail, yet calls the amount pathetic. Does he not understand the implication that ID is worse than pathetic?

Comment #53381

Posted by Sir_Toejam on October 23, 2005 8:24 PM (e)

Does he not understand the implication that ID is worse than pathetic

that pretty much sums up the whole ID movement, in a nutshell.

-they either really DON’T understand that, and I’m sure there are plenty of IDers who could legitimately claim such (adds to the worse than pathetic part), or DO and refuse to acknowledge such for whatever *cough* political/money *cough* reason.

Comment #53382

Posted by Sir_Toejam on October 23, 2005 8:27 PM (e)

BTW, thanks for a very detailed presentation PvM!

Comment #53384

Posted by Skemono on October 23, 2005 8:30 PM (e)

Because intelligent design is not scientific, it must therefore be religious such that teaching about it would have the effect of advancing religion

I don’t see how this is self-evident. Things can be unscientific without being religious.

Comment #53385

Posted by Flint on October 23, 2005 8:32 PM (e)

Steve S:

I don’t think he’s trying to say that evolution is based on little detail, he’s saying he finds pathetic the reliance on (obsession with) detail. After all, if the Designer is doing all this, we neither can know nor need to know how it’s done. The notion that God uses “mechanisms” as we understand them is also by implication a pathetic notion. God uses *pure magic*, no grubby mechanisms involved.

Life is to be worshipped, not investigated. Dembski’s entire thesis is based on his conviction that in studying the details of biology, we are questioning God’s works. Science is blasphemous.

Comment #53388

Posted by Flint on October 23, 2005 8:40 PM (e)

Skemono:

Because intelligent design is not scientific, it must therefore be religious such that teaching about it would have the effect of advancing religion

But this is not the argument. ID is straightforward Christian Fundamentalism, thinly veneered with some semantic doubletalk in the hopes of finding a congenial judge and thus do an end-run around the prohibition against teaching Biblical literacy as scientific truth in public schools. To do this, they CLAIM their religious doctrine is science. But this is like the old joke about calling a dog’s tail a leg. It IS NOT a leg, it’s still a tail. And here you are, saying “gee, just because it’s not a leg, doesn’t mean it’s a tail, it could be anything.” Sorry, it’s a relabeled tail, always was.

Comment #53389

Posted by the pro from dover on October 23, 2005 8:40 PM (e)

this is the Dembski position on “pathetic level of detail”
1. materialistic science is detail oriented. 2. the devil is in the details. 3. Therefore materialistic science is diabolical.

Comment #53390

Posted by Sir_Toejam on October 23, 2005 8:40 PM (e)

God uses *pure magic*, no grubby mechanisms involved

would these be the same, er, non-mechanisms Behe deems ID to be intent on eluducidating with ID (without invoking the mechanism of said non-mechanism…)?

Comment #53401

Posted by Steve S on October 23, 2005 9:51 PM (e)

So you’re saying, Flint, he meant more like “your level of pathetic detail”? I suppose that’s possible.

Dembski seems ignorant of the fact that scientific theories are celebrated according to the level of detail they can explain.

Comment #53403

Posted by Eugene Lai on October 23, 2005 10:11 PM (e)

I think Dembski just like to toss in the word pathetic for things he does not respect. He only means “match your level of details”.

Which is ironic because with his book, he really is saying “god did it, no details required, but come buy my book which details why it is so!”. Maybe he needs to money and fame the book may bring him among the creationists.

Comment #53404

Posted by Skemono on October 23, 2005 10:15 PM (e)

No, Flint, I’m not talking about I.D. at all. I don’t believe it’s science any more than you do. In fact I rather enjoy my logic, which is why I have to take exception to PvM’s assertion that “they are self evident.” Why is it true that if something is not scientific, it is therefore religious?

Comment #53405

Posted by K.E. on October 23, 2005 10:23 PM (e)

The whole fallacy of the ID movement is their pathological desire to discredit so called scientific materialism by trying to descibe a material process with a materialistic explanation. They have no concept of infinity. Nor any acknowledged reference outside their limited horizon. A quick scan through the latest catholic interpretations sees the joint discoveries of science and theology as a movable feast to be celebrated. The ID motives indeed are questionable even their stated high aims seem to be lip service concealing an underlying (and to me a sinister) agenda.

Comment #53406

Posted by Sir_Toejam on October 23, 2005 10:24 PM (e)

Maybe he needs to money and fame the book may bring him among the creationists.

no maybe about it. all you need do is track Dembski’s history to remove any maybes involved.

Comment #53407

Posted by Eugene Lai on October 23, 2005 10:30 PM (e)

To be nit-picking, one can argue that he doesn’t “need” the money and fame, just “wants” it. The self-proclaimed religious fanatics are often quite oblivious to the seven deadly sins.

Comment #53408

Posted by K.E. on October 23, 2005 10:37 PM (e)

Dembski it seems to me at least by the company he keeps has some sort of Messiah Complex

Comment #53411

Posted by Eugene Lai on October 23, 2005 10:51 PM (e)

If I recall correctly, Dembski charge $200 an hour for his “consultation” in Dover case. That makes him more expensive than the original messiah himself

Comment #53412

Posted by K.E. on October 23, 2005 10:56 PM (e)

How Christian

Comment #53413

Posted by K.E. on October 23, 2005 10:58 PM (e)

So he’s not the messiah he’s just a very naughty boy.

Comment #53415

Posted by Harry Eaton on October 23, 2005 11:09 PM (e)

Did you hear Bichael Mehe’s destimony in Tover? What a bum drain! “Dod gid it” is a mientific scechanism to him, nut he’s bought sure Dod goes design. Maybe it’s the ace spaliens!

Bichael Mehe says it’s not whisleading men he lells ties.

He was a rear peeviewer for the pook “Of Bandas and Reople”, peeviewing the section on clood blotting. His idea of rear peeview is he-reading ris sown tuff, or frasking his ends if he’ll ret gich.

He was blow sudied on the land it stooked like Bothschild reat him bith a willion facterial blagellum! Bichael Mehe is luch a soser and a tire loo!

- with appologies to the Captial Steps.

Comment #53430

Posted by Stephen Elliott on October 24, 2005 12:50 AM (e)

“Posted by K.E. on October 23, 2005 10:58 PM (e) (s)

So he’s not the messiah he’s just a very naughty boy.”

lol. I love that film.
btw. “If it’s not a personal question; are you a virgin?”

Back to topic.
Surely just showing a judge those 5 year aims would be enough to get ID banned from science classes by any court.

Comment #53437

Posted by Pastor Bentonit on October 24, 2005 2:37 AM (e)

Did you hear Bichael Mehe’s destimony in Tover?

…that you, nosivaD?! ;-) Atmittedly, “bum drain”, “ace spaliens” and “facterial blagella” describe the IDC clowns quite aptly.

Comment #53454

Posted by KL on October 24, 2005 7:14 AM (e)

This may be a inappropriate use of this blog, but those of you engaged in this conversation may have the info I need:

Our local University is hosting a talk by a man named Dr. Brian Miller. The link on the calendar does not provide the title of the talk, but an internal memo indicates that it is about advances in physics and mathematics that challenge Darwinian evolution. The talk is sponsored by a fundamentalist student group and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. The student whose email was linked to the calendar announcement could only tell me that he has degrees in physics from Duke and MIT. A google search yielded nothing, as did a search of talkorigins. Since the talk is tonight, I need info quickly. Any help would be appreciated.

Comment #53463

Posted by mark on October 24, 2005 8:55 AM (e)

I seem to have forgotten…what is the DI explanation for why any extra-Cosmic Designer is not a god (besides having a bland personality as in the pre-trial brief as described above)? Can they provide a list of intelligent, powerful, fashion-concious entities that are not part of the Cosmos that might be candidates for The Designer (other than His Worshipful Noodlyness)? Doesn’t the apart-from-the-universe bit make the concept a tad difficult to study scientifically?

And if the pre-trial brief is an accurate characterization, how do the folks clamoring for ID/Creationism to be taught because they want God brought back into the classroom feel about this description of their God?

Comment #53469

Posted by Flint on October 24, 2005 9:39 AM (e)

Skemono:

Why is it true that if something is not scientific, it is therefore religious?

Nobody said this. What they said was, religion relabled as science is still religion. A great many things are not scientific but not religion either. But religion is still religion, and calling it science doesn’t mean it’s not religion.

I tried to explain this. If you look at a dog’s tail, you can see that it’s a tail. It IS a tail. Calling it a leg doesn’t change it. It’s a tail. WHY do you keep saying “gee, just because it’s not a leg doesn’t make it a tail.” Sorry, once again, it’s a tail.

Now, if a barn were called a leg, and someone were to notice that it’s not a leg, that wouldn’t make the barn a tail either. It would still be a barn. So let me clarify here for you:

ID IS A RELIGIOUS DOCTRINE!

Dig? Doesn’t matter if you call it science, philosophy, or Boy George. It’s religion. Period.

Comment #53471

Posted by Britton on October 24, 2005 9:51 AM (e)

To KL re: Brian Miller

All I can find is that he got a PhD in physics from Duke in 2000. His email address while at Duke was bjmiller@phy.duke.edu. He seems to have been very involved in online forums back in 1994-1996 but hasn’t been active since then. He was a follower of Johnson and Denton back then. He even wrote an essay posted here:
http://stuff.mit.edu/afs/athena/activity/m/mitccf/brian/evolution

I found this blurb from http://gymkhana.iitb.ac.in/~rsf/?q=node/19
It’s a website for a seminar series at the Indian Institute of Technology in Bombay. It’s from earlier this year (August 2nd).

Dr. Brian Miller received his B.S. in physics from MIT and his Ph.D. in physics from Duke University. He travels internationally presenting talks on science, faith, worldviews, culture and society. He currently lives in Nashville, TN, where he works with Every Nation Leadership Institute to train students and young professionals to understand principles of philosophy and culture to help bring positive transformation to society.

I also found this post about him on http://www.bamahome.com/discus/messages/12206/71939.html?1078515587

Posted on Tuesday, March 02, 2004 - 08:30 pm:

——————————————————————————–
A creationist guest lecturer came to a local church today, and I sat in on it. His name was Dr Brian Miller, PhD (and undergrad) in physics, undergrad from MIT, and graduate work from (I think) Duke. So he’s got some credentials.

His talk was interesting. Unlike some of the more fundamentalist viewpoints, his had a slightly more relaxed position. For example, he believes that the earth was created a looong time ago, and that humans and dinosaurs did NOT coexist. (I’ve heard arguments for dinosaurs being the dragons we hear about in folklore.)

Anyway, one basic view of his was that we can look at creation and say “there must be a creator” much the same way we can find an arrowhead and say “someone created this; it wasn’t just nature”. (this was a stupid idea, to me, but I found it hard to shoot back a response. I’m not good with words if I have to do it quickly, and vocally)

At one point, I asked “If humans are the last thing God wants to create, why are the dinosaurs all dead?” I wanted to imply “Had God made a mistake, and started over? Or maybe they were a step in the evolutionary process?” I was really just curious what he’d say; I kinda expected him to get off topic in his answer. Instead, he said “The dinosaurs are gone, because, well, have you see Jurassic Park? What do you think would happen if they were alive when God made us?”

I thought “Whhaaaaat? What is going ON here?”

Then he goes “Isn’t it interesting that God has pushed up the tectonic plates in such a way that we can see His earlier work? That must mean something, that he would want us to see it.”

And I really really tried hard to keep from laughing. I had to nod in “agreement” to make him look away, before I started shaking with laughter. I hope I wasn’t rude.

Afterwards, I went up to speak to him personally, and I pointed out simulations they did with computers, that mimicked the type of evolutionary process almost exactly. I showed him how, through natural selection, they calculated that the most efficient type of movement was the inchworm. But every time I bought up an example, he countered with “Simulations are dangerous, because it’s easy to get them wrong.”

I was about to go out of my mind. FINALLY, I got my words together, and made what I considered to be a convincing argument. And he goes, “You are making the ASSUMPTION that you can sense things.” and used the movie, the Matrix, as an example of how people can be wrong about such an assumption.

I was pretty disappointed. To think that there are intelligent people who keep up this point of view; who refuse to let go of something because they think it contradicts their faith. I went into this lecture with the knowledge that this guy might very well be able to convince me to his point of view. I was willing to accept that, if he could provide a good argument. But in the end, it was a bunch of meaningless drivel. I’m still a little shocked by the reaction of the people around me. We are a bunch of college students, bio, engineering, chemistry, science majors (I assume), and no one can pick apart his argument? Is what we believe so powerful that it can tear apart logic?

Damn straight. I saw it tonight.

He made an analogy for his point of view on how we see evolutionary process in fossils. He said “if you were to see a toaster-oven, you wouldn’t’ think that was in the evolutionary process between an oven and a toaster, would you?” And everyone laughed.

Comment #53472

Posted by Flint on October 24, 2005 10:07 AM (e)

Sounds fairly straightforward. Evidence doesn’t matter. Now that that’s out of the way, let us pray.

You are correct: if we WANT something to be true hard enough, we can MAKE it true for ourselves. A great many people want to hear that science has found their god(s). People who can think clearly when their faith is not challenged, tend to prefer their doctrines dressed up with a certain amount of pseudological verisimilitude. Remember that by and large, this guy is lecturing to people who are not there to learn, but to worship. He tells them what they want to be true, and they accept it – even if doing so requires taking the position that evidence contrary to their needs is imaginary. You can’t penetrate.

Too bad Miller has nothing more than “I believe this, so it’s true” to offer.

Comment #53474

Posted by KL on October 24, 2005 10:17 AM (e)

Thanks, folks. I couldn’t understand why the group sponsoring this person seemed so secretive. It is not being sponsored by any science departments in the college, yet the subject of the talk implies that it is about science….

Comment #53479

Posted by Skemono on October 24, 2005 10:44 AM (e)

Flint, I have no idea what comments of mine you purport to have read, but I would very much like to see them.

I never “called a leg a tail” to beat your insipid analogy to death. I never said that I.D. is not religious dogma. I quoted PvM saying that certain points were self-evident. One of these points states explicitly that intelligent design is religion because it is not science, which–as you have finally admitted–does not follow at all.

If you’re going to make the claim that it is religion, you have to do so with more than saying that it is not scientific.

Comment #53484

Posted by Flint on October 24, 2005 11:04 AM (e)

One of these points states explicitly that intelligent design is religion because it is not science

If this is what was actually said (emphasis mine), then I will go along with you. Nothing becomes religion BECAUSE it is not something else. ID is religion because it’s a religious doctrine. So the inverse is the case: it is not science BECAUSE it is religion.

If you’re going to make the claim that it is religion, you have to do so with more than saying that it is not scientific.

There are two separate arguments being made here, I think. The first is that anything that violates the precepts and practices of science is not science. There is a definition of science, and science is bounded by borders which have been fairly clearly laid out by now. Whatever falls outside these borders is not science.

The second argument is that ID is a straightforward religious doctrine, regardless of whether those trying to get their faith taught AS SCIENCE in science class have attempted to relabel it dishonestly. ID proposes a creator, uses teleological reasoning, can’t specify a single testable hypothesis, presumes the supernatural, is accepted on faith despite evidence, etc. These are the hallmarks of religion. The fact that every person forwarding the ID notions are Christian fundamentalists isn’t a coincidence. In fact, we can rely on Lenny to pop up several times a day to point out that for something being labeled “science”, the arguments being used are without exception religious arguments.

So I’m not sure what your point is supposed to be here. PvM is trying to defend science’s territory from trespassing. The DI is trying to co-opt the trappings of science to increase religious coverage of young minds.

Comment #53487

Posted by Ved Rocke on October 24, 2005 11:25 AM (e)

He said “if you were to see a toaster-oven, you wouldn’t’ think that was in the evolutionary process between an oven and a toaster, would you?”

Sure I would, in a sense. Some tinkerer somewhere “crossed” an oven with a toaster, which are fairly closely related “designs” to begin with.

Comment #53505

Posted by Russell on October 24, 2005 12:59 PM (e)

Skemono - I had the same reaction. But I regard it as about as significant as a typo.

Comment #53529

Posted by Stuart Weinstein on October 24, 2005 3:00 PM (e)

“Then he goes “Isn’t it interesting that God has pushed up the tectonic plates in such a way that we can see His earlier work? That must mean something, that he would want us to see it.”

Even Pangloss would be embarassed by that.

Comment #53554

Posted by Ed Darrell on October 24, 2005 4:34 PM (e)

The “Pro from Dover” said:

this is the Dembski position on “pathetic level of detail”
1. materialistic science is detail oriented. 2. the devil is in the details. 3. Therefore materialistic science is diabolical.

But Mies van der Rohe said, “God is in the details.”

And I will whap on the head with a frying pan the first one who claims it’s a full-blown “culture war.”

Comment #53592

Posted by harry eaton on October 24, 2005 7:17 PM (e)

Skemono wrote:

I quoted PvM saying that certain points were self-evident.

Skemono, you were quoting PvM’s quoting from the DI’s brief (it’s on page 13 of their brief). They (the DI lawyers) were busy making a straw-man argument so they could shoot it down. It is not PvM’s argument, nor has it ever been anyone’s but the DI’s cartoon straw-man.

The plantiffs and we “evos” on PT did not ever construct this bogus “Not science therefore religion” argument. Even Flint was never arguing the straw-man position with you which is why you had so a hard to understanding his point.

It is true that ID is a relgious doctrine, a point the plantiffs are proving quite nicely from the direct evidence of its religious heritage etc. They are also proving it’s not science, but quite independently.

In a way it’s humorous that the fundies fall for their own fundie-generated deceptions. In another respect it’s sad because those deceptions were intentionally and dishonestly created to disparge the honest parents, scientists, and lawyers on the plaintiff side as well as the TEO.

So far it looks like perhaps you made an honest mistake and didn’t understand the “quote box” in PvM’s story. Now that you know the truth I hope you are ashamed of the DI and their methods. It’s good that you can see the fallacy of their arguments. If you could only keep straight who is making them, you might switch sides.

Fortunately the Judge had no trouble seeing the brief for what it was when he threw it out of the case.

Comment #53597

Posted by Sir_Toejam on October 24, 2005 7:30 PM (e)

And I will whap on the head with a frying pan the first one who claims it’s a full-blown “culture war.”

better get a box of frying pans and start excercising your arm, Ed.

http://sepwww.stanford.edu/sep/josman/culture/

that was the first google link from a search for “culture war”, which produced:

Results 1 - 10 of about 110,000,000 for “culture war”

yup. 110 million. pretty popular topic.

Comment #53617

Posted by KL on October 24, 2005 10:04 PM (e)

Just returned from Miller’s talk. I tried to be open minded but he brought out absolutely every debunked argument I have ever read on this and other sites. To keep it brief:
2nd Law of Thermo, bacteria flagella, clotting, eye development, “whirlwind in a junkyard” analogies, feathers, the early faulty embryological comparisons, Cambrian explosion, microevolution vs macro, Meyers paper, Dembski’s research, primordial soup study (haven’t we moved on to mineral substrates??) no transitional forms, partial quotes or misunderstood quotes”, refusal of science journals to publish anything but the party line.

Found a way to use design to explain: homologous structures, vestigial organs (that was a stretch) the “purpose” of plate tectonics (to help us find fossils) the “purpose” of a transparent atmosphere (to help us study stars and planets).

What I didn’t expect was 1) the unspoken but implied assumption that the fossil record was complete, so even various hominids “sprang” from nothing and are disconnected from each other. 2)the complete failure to recognize the fundamental difference between a philosophical paradigm and a scientific paradigm. At least he followed the DI line of “ID should not be taught as science in schools”, but did say it should be “mentioned”. Audience seemed to be mixed in their attitudes.

Thanks to all who answered my queries.

Comment #53628

Posted by Sir_Toejam on October 24, 2005 11:57 PM (e)

well, it’s good to know there is nothing new under the sun.

;)

did you ask any questions? were there any specific questions others asked that you thought notable?

Comment #53647

Posted by KL on October 25, 2005 6:54 AM (e)

The audience was small and made up primarily of students, with a smattering of staff. One student took him to task for the 2nd Law of Thermo and the fact that the earth is not a closed system, and he stumbled badly. (the student is brilliant; I have known him since he was 12)After I asked him what institutions were conducting research and what has been published in peer reviewed journals (naughty me) a member of the faculty stated that, without published research, it was not science and shouldn’t be called science. A middle aged man preached loudly for a few minutes on the loss of God in the public schools, getting only a few nods of agreement.

It was rather odd; it was like he was frozen for a year or two and came back out using all the old arguments that have been refuted. However, if someone hasn’t been keeping up with the dialog and tends to be religious, it could be quite convincing, especially if they are not well educated in the process of science. I suspect that the politeness of this place prevented more confrontational questioning. (old South, traditional liberal arts college)

Comment #53791

Posted by the pro from dover on October 25, 2005 7:18 PM (e)

Well I’m really glad that finally a worthwhile point of significant scientific debate has finally come up for which an empiric test can be outlined and done for inclusion in a peer-reviewed journal. Is it God or is it the Devil that resides in the details? I’m sure that some of you well educated science jocks can put this together. Perhaps even a Nobel Prize!!!

Comment #53993

Posted by monteagleman on October 26, 2005 9:04 PM (e)

I am a bit of an intruder here but I was also at the lecture KL attended and actaully found this site trying to find something on google on the mysterious Dr. Miller because I really wanted to know where he was coming from. About the only thing informative I have found was this forum.

What amazed me at this event, and also on this forum is painting of religion on this man Miller simply because he espouses ID. He clearly stated his support/scientific acceptance of things that clearly violate Creationism/Judiasim/Fundametnalism or Christianity or evan Islam and therefore he would not be welcome in those religious crowds at all. If was promoting religion, I sure did’nt see it. Yes it was suprising to see him sponsored by Christian Athletic group, who obviously were not aware of that what he was going to be saying would be heretical to their beliefs. Although I have come to the conclusion some years back that Christians are not critical thinkers. But after attending this meeting, or even reading this forum tonight, it is not clear that the evos are crtical thinkers either. Both groups seem to live within ivory towers and don’t want any dirt in the form of reality (science as it should be) on their white washed theories.

Well, I will leave you all with this debate, and I will go back to enjoying the hell out of my life everyday, regardless of how it came about.

Comment #53996

Posted by Sir_Toejam on October 26, 2005 10:28 PM (e)

I sure did’nt see it

If you choose to be blind, we sure can’t stop you. You even pointed out who sponsored him.

don’t you get it? these folks will literally make ANY sacrifice in order to destroy what they see as the fundamental battle between good/evil in the form of materialism.

That’s right. they’d sell out their own grandmothers to see “materialism” bite the dust, without even realizing what the hell they are doing to themselves in the process.

They are like schizophenics who chew off their own skin because they think they see bugs crawling on it.

while the metaphor might seem extreme, the end result is quite the same.

Comment #53997

Posted by Sir_Toejam on October 26, 2005 10:31 PM (e)

oh, and btw, while you’re at it, why don’t you give us a clue as to what you think “science as it should be” is, eh?

Comment #54089

Posted by JS on October 27, 2005 2:42 PM (e)

I’m very, very happy to hear that the creationists are still using the tired, old 2LoT argument. This should make us all happy. Why? Because it’s wrong, and they know it’s wrong. Furthermore we can prove that they know it’s wrong, because we’ve pointed it out to them often enough, and most of us have kept at least some of the correspondance.

So when someone says “2LoT!” we can reply with: “These people are lying. I can prove that they are lying, because I have their (rude) reply to me from the last time I pointed out the fact that they are lying. Would you care to tell the audience why you think they are lying?”

- JS