Jason Rosenhouse posted Entry 1604 on October 24, 2005 06:59 PM.
Trackback URL: http://www.pandasthumb.org/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb.fcgi/1599

No sooner do I finish Jack Krebs blog entry about John Calvert’s dishonest remarks at a recent public presentation than I find this amusing essay (PDF format) linked to over at William Dembski’s blog.

The title of the essay: “Are We Liars?” The author: John Calvert.

I offer some thoughts on the subject in this post over at EvolutionBlog. Enjoy!

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Comment #53583

Posted by Bruce Thompson GQ on October 24, 2005 6:43 PM (e)

For openers
From Calverts letter: “Now when we claim that we have no religious motive and just want to do good science, I think we appear to be like those we criticize. Even though we may have no intention to replace materialism with theism, it looks like that is what we really want to do. Now we genuinely do not want to do that, in science.”

From the Wedge goals: “To replace materialistic explanations with the theistic understanding that nature and hurnan beings are created by God.”

Somewhat schizophrenic, “it looks like that is what we really want to do” and we say we are going to do it but “Now we genuinely do not want to do that, in science.”

Delta Pi Gamma (Scientia et Fermentum)

Comment #53585

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on October 24, 2005 6:46 PM (e)

Even though we may have no intention to replace materialism with theism, it looks like that is what we really want to do. Now we genuinely do not want to do that, in science.

From the Wedge Document:

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.

Calvert is a liar. A deliberatre, bare, bald-faced, unashamed liar. With malice aforethought.

Comment #53589

Posted by sanjait on October 24, 2005 7:03 PM (e)

It’s fairly clear what he is doing: attempting to fit ID into a Constitutionally allowable box by claiming it has an agnostic scientific side. In this way, they are trying to be able to tell their donors they want “X”, but claim to the courts they only ask for “Y”. It seems like almost everyone in America these days has become a shameless lawyer for themselves, and have no qualms about intellectual dishonesty. It seemed like it used to be that creationists, racists, imperialists, homophobes and every other ideologue was at least mostly honest about how they really felt. Now it seems as though everyone parses their statements like a politician, with dishonest qualifiers, tangents and every other rhetorical trick that allows them plausible deniability. I hate that.

Comment #53591

Posted by Sir_Toejam on October 24, 2005 7:10 PM (e)

have no qualms about intellectual dishonesty

perhaps that’s the result of a generation of constant bombardment by advertising (making lieing the norm rather than the exception), and seeing how those in power can simply lie to get out of any responsibility (endless cases in point for that).

Comment #53595

Posted by Bruce Thompson GQ on October 24, 2005 7:28 PM (e)

From Calverts letter: When we say that the data does not identify the designer that is a true statement when your focus is only on the science. DNA dose not bear a signature or copyright notice. Furthermore, because all scientific claims are tentative and because the singular events in question are remote unobserved and unobservable events that are not amenable to experimental testing one can not even be certain that the system is designed, from a scientific standpoint. To say that we know who the designer is, in my mind, a purely religious and not scientific claim. So, we should not be quarreling among ourselves about who the designer is when we are asking science to get rid of an irrefutable materialistic prejudice.

Calverts sees ID only as a tool to banish “materialism”. It is of little consequence whether ID can be made to function as an idea. People like Behe and Dembski should pay close attention to the above paragraph. The tool as well as the tool makers are only useful as long as they serve a purpose.

Delta Pi Gamma (Scientia et Fermentum)

Comment #53600

Posted by Eugene Lai on October 24, 2005 7:50 PM (e)

We believe that the root of the problem is bad science that promotes religious discrimination and that
actually puts religion (non-theistic types) into science.

non-theistic religion? Doesn’t non-theistic implies non-religion? If a non-theistic worldview counts as a religion, is there any thing that is non-religious in this world?

Religious fanatics like to think that every one must have a religion. This is like a Prozac user who thinks that every one else in the world must also need the drug, since he does.

Comment #53602

Posted by Sir_Toejam on October 24, 2005 7:58 PM (e)

hmm i always viewed the core of buddhism to be a non-theistic religion.

of course, one could then say that it is just a philosophy as well.

Comment #53606

Posted by shiva on October 24, 2005 8:29 PM (e)

When we say that the data does not identify the designer that is a true statement when your focus is only on the science. DNA dose not bear a signature or copyright notice.

The data doesn’t identify design either John. And then how would you know? Since the IDCs haven’t done any research.

We believe that the root…that promotes…and that
actually puts religion (non-theistic types) into science.

This one is way off the mark. Absence of religious belief is not religion just as a person without a hat is bareheaded and person without shoes is barefooted.

John could have been honest and answered his question with but one word - Yes. Unfortunately since he has decided to pull one more rabbit out of the hat to fool all people concerned someone else should do hte answering for him.

So now IDC isn’t interested in overthrowing materialism? So then what happens to the Wedge?

Comment #53654

Posted by Dean Morrison on October 25, 2005 8:09 AM (e)

If a group of Hindus come along and propose another hypothesis - namely that the irreducable complexity found by Behe is because of reincarnation, and that ‘conservation of information’ supports this - will they be allowed in the ‘big tent’? Of course we are not talking ‘intelligent design’ here in the sense that the process does not call on a supernatural creator - only unknown processes we don’t understand - perhaps in another dimension. Of course there could be mix-ups in this other dimension which could lead to some interesting recombinations and more material for evolution.
They could even claim to have a grand unifying theory explaining both evolution and ‘intelligent design’ and has the benefit of parsimony and the support of scriptures as least as old as the bible.
Shouldn’t this be taught as part of the controversy - can I be leader of the movement and get lots of money? (I’m not a Hindu so can’t be accused of religious motivation). All I need is some affimative action for this idea in public schools and I’ll have a new generation of supporters to help me develop the science.
I could even do joint work with Behe to figure out which elements have been designed from scratch as opposed to merely recycled.

Comment #53658

Posted by shiva on October 25, 2005 9:01 AM (e)

If a group of Hindus come along and propose another hypothesis - namely that the irreducable complexity found by Behe is because of reincarnation, and that ‘conservation of information’ supports this - will they be allowed in the ‘big tent’?

The Iskcon supports some form of ID and is a bigtime backer of the junkscience tract by Michael Cremo on 2.5 million year origin of homo sapiens. What would I as a Hindu say? Baloney! Hindu religious preferences don’t carry much political weight even in India. So this is a low cost low payoff venture for DI. BillD has been a visiting scholar at the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies http://www.ocvhs.org/. Some Hindus questioned the Centre’s decision but I don’t know how the Centre responded. A lot of theisitic Hindus (from the non-monist traditions) even would be very uncomfortable with ID because of some of its axioms. But then fools rush in where…

Comment #53659

Posted by shiva on October 25, 2005 9:01 AM (e)

If a group of Hindus come along and propose another hypothesis - namely that the irreducable complexity found by Behe is because of reincarnation, and that ‘conservation of information’ supports this - will they be allowed in the ‘big tent’?

The Iskcon supports some form of ID and is a bigtime backer of the junkscience tract by Michael Cremo on 2.5 million year origin of homo sapiens. What would I as a Hindu say? Baloney! Hindu religious preferences don’t carry much political weight even in India. So this is a low cost low payoff venture for DI. BillD has been a visiting scholar at the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies http://www.ocvhs.org/. Some Hindus questioned the Centre’s decision but I don’t know how the Centre responded. A lot of theisitic Hindus (from the non-monist traditions) even would be very uncomfortable with ID because of some of its axioms. But then fools rush in where…

Comment #53660

Posted by Steve S on October 25, 2005 9:47 AM (e)

Of course ID is really Hindu. Who else but Shiva would have created the 2LoT?

Comment #53742

Posted by Jason on October 25, 2005 4:16 PM (e)

DOH!

It didn’t take long to get banned from Demski’s blog.
I made a few posts that pointed out that intellegent design is religiously motivated and should never be put into public schools.
This was a few days ago, now I can’t log in!
Jeez, if ID people can’t even take criticism from some lone jerkoff on the internet, what makes them think that scientists should?

Comment #53850

Posted by God on October 26, 2005 1:21 AM (e)

“perhaps that’s the result of a generation of constant bombardment by advertising (making lieing the norm rather than the exception), and seeing how those in power can simply lie to get out of any responsibility (endless cases in point for that).”

I think there’s a worse problem here, behind the acceptance of lies, this ( hear me ye wretched people) is a wicked generation of rampant logical fallacies and buzzword thinking. Read the following, cut and pasted from a blogsphere.

A series of reactions to a fifteen year old kid who killed his grandparents, at fifteen, while taking Zoloft.

1-This is ubserd. It is a KID!!!!!!!! and he took drugs leave the kid alone and dont sell the drug any more and the store must of sold it to him so there you go!!

2-The fact is, is that this kid killed someone. He took his greandparents lives because of his “depresion”. That is insane cause the drug didn’t kill someone he did. I don’t care if he is a kid he should still serve some time. Not a full sentance but still enough to bring him back to reality.

3-i think the kid is psychotic! i mean he took the dumb drug and he killed his grandparents! it is his fault! who would kill their grandparents? i think he should spend life in prison!

Note this supports God’s conjecture, that the number of missed capilizations in a post is inversely proportional to it’s sanity.

1- Zoloft is a prescription drug, the kid didn’t choose to take it. He was indeed depressed.

2- “The fact is”, “The fact is”, the constant repetition of this buzz phrase in the media and on the blogsphere leads me to make a second conjecture, that use of the phrase “the fact is” all to often correlates with a lack of understanding of the facts. “The fact” might be that the boy killed his grandparents, but that doesn’t mean “the fact is” that this killing was murder, the author ( I shall make another conjecture, he has an IQ of 60, is called Bubba and deep fries everything) fails to understand this vital distinction. I believe that in the modern world most “thought” is a series of minor readjustments to relationships between various buzzwords and phrases.

3- Again fails to recognise that we’re not talking about heroin here, where talking about a prescription medication that the kid had to take. All I can say is being “depressed” as you so charmingly spelt it is a major neuro-biological condition, look it up.

Comment #53855

Posted by Sir_Toejam on October 26, 2005 2:28 AM (e)

All I can say is being “depressed” as you so charmingly spelt it …

yikes, one horrid speller commenting on another is not a pretty sight.

Comment #53870

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on October 26, 2005 7:07 AM (e)

yikes, one horrid speller commenting on another is not a pretty sight.

I cann splle, I jst cna’t tipe.

:>

Comment #53887

Posted by Keith Douglas on October 26, 2005 10:25 AM (e)

Eugene Lai: Buddhism, Jainism, Soviet communism, and others are arguably nontheistic religions. (Though in the case of Buddhism, there is also a philosophy.)

Comment #53955

Posted by God on October 26, 2005 6:40 PM (e)

“yikes, one horrid speller commenting on another is not a pretty sight.”

His mizspellingk vaz alut wurse thun miine.

Comment #54013

Posted by Eugene Lai on October 27, 2005 2:21 AM (e)

I have amended my view that some religion can be non-theistic in the “have not identified a creator of the universe” sense of the word.

Buddhism does not deny supernatural or miracles. I would consider belief in supernatural theistic. Just as “atheistic” usually implies disbelieve in supernatural, not just disbelief in creator god. However I would not start a debate on definitions.

I think calling Soviet communism a religion would be stretching it too far.

The more important point is what kind of non-theistic religion is evolution supposed to promote.

Comment #54014

Posted by K.E. on October 27, 2005 2:31 AM (e)

Syntax Error:

Comment #54015

Posted by K.E. on October 27, 2005 2:33 AM (e)

The Zen Bhuddists will get that one:>

Comment #54026

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on October 27, 2005 7:17 AM (e)

Buddhism does not deny supernatural or miracles.

Nor does it assert it. Buddhism does not assert any god or gods. Nor does it deny it. It simply doesn’t care one way or the other. (shrug)

Buddhism is all about “being yourself”. And it doesn’t require any god or gods to do that.

Comment #54028

Posted by darwinfinch on October 27, 2005 7:31 AM (e)

“無”

Comment #54031

Posted by Eugene Lai on October 27, 2005 8:45 AM (e)

Buddhism does not assert any god or gods. Nor does it deny it

That I must disagree. Buddha is a man ascended to a god-like status. In legend, many buddhists, through devotion and trials of life, become “godlings” and buddha’s “angels”. They exist in a plane that is similar to heaven in concept. Sorry I don’t know how to properly translate these terms into english.

Buddhists believe in reincarnation of soul. What you are in this life is a result of what you did in your past lives. Your future incarnation in turn depends on what you do in this life etc.

There are followers who put idols of “godlings” at home, and worship them in hope of good fortune (or to aviod bad fortunes). There is one particular “godling” that is believe to be benevolent who listens to prayers and helps the needy

In buddhist style funerals, it is customary to have monks praying for the dead to head to “paradise”.

Lenny, I don’t know what flavor of Buddhism you refer to. But there are definitely buddhism beliefs, especially in East Asia, where supernatural belief definitely exists. Being chinese I grew up in this culture, so there is really no point arguing that it doesn’t.

Comment #54142

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on October 27, 2005 6:59 PM (e)

That I must disagree. Buddha is a man ascended to a god-like status.

Not according to him, he wasn’t. ;>

“Do not be led by reports, or hearsay. Do not be led by the authority of religious texts, or by considering appearances or by the delight in speculative opinions, or by seeming possibilities, or by the idea ‘This is our Teacher’. I gained absolutely nothing from unsurpassed and perfect Awakening. One is one’s own refuge. Who else could be the refuge?” – Siddhartha Gautama

“Above the heavens and below the heavens, I alone am the Honored One.” –Shakyamuni

Lenny, I don’t know what flavor of Buddhism you refer to.

Shugenja mikkyo, which is a Japanese blending of Tantric Buddhism, Taoism, and Zen.

But there are definitely buddhism beliefs, especially in East Asia, where supernatural belief definitely exists.

Yes and no. Most Buddhist sects view such supernatural entities as Bodhis and Bodhisattvas as symbolic, and not intended to be “real”. This is particularly true of the Himayana sects. Most of the “supernatural” things you refer to are found in the Mahayana sects, where they are (mostly) held to be symbolic representations of various aspects of reality, and not real supernatural entities. There are a few sects that encourage people to view the various “gods” as real, but they are a minority within Buddhism. Buddhism is, at core, non-theistic in its views. It holds the individual as the center of all things. Certainly there are always people who “worship” the rituals and look outside themselves for enlightenment. They, alas, miss the whole point. Zen refers to them as people who “mistake a pointing finger for the moon”.

Being chinese I grew up in this culture, so there is really no point arguing that it doesn’t.

Ah, but there IS a point. There is no such thing as monolithic “Buddhism”. But the views you describe, are indeed very much the minority view within Buddhism (as well as within Hinduism, which also has a plethora of “gods” and “goddesses” – most of which are viewed as symbolic depictions of various aspects of reality, and not as real supernatural entities).

So, my friend, “If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him”.

:>

Comment #54149

Posted by Steviepinhead on October 27, 2005 7:42 PM (e)

Buddha buddha buddha blam blam.*

Sound effects rule!

(*No real supernatural entities were injured during the making of this sound track.)

Comment #54159

Posted by K.E. on October 27, 2005 9:30 PM (e)

I think I can help here.
The supernatural is something that permeates all religions/ religiosity of this the Buddha was well aware.
When I first came across Buddhism (in a predominately Bhuddist country) on my travels many, many years ago I was lucky to find some excellent English translations of Buddhist stories and sayings. It all made sense…. Or so I thought. Imagine my surprise when I asked a Taxi driver why he had a miniature gold statue of the Buddha attached to his rear view mirror. ‘Oh I’ve had that blessed by a monk it protects me going around corners on the wrong side of the road”. The rest of the ride needless to say was a white knuckled “religious experience”.
Taxi drivers and scientists in the East are not that much different from the West.
All sophisticated societies incorporate a fair amount of ceremony and worship into their what is essentially a worship of their own society through their religion, a rich society has rich ceremony.
For lay people of most churches I would say a great deal of the central tenets seem to go over their heads but the church is often more than just the central ideas. For some this is not satisfying enough and a deeper meaning is sought.

By way of illustration this is from
The chapter “Zen”
In J.Campbell’s “Myths to live by”

“When Bhuddisism in the first century AD was carried from India to China, an imperial welcome was accorded the monks, Monasteries were established and the formidable labor was undertaken of translating the Indian scripture. Notwithstanding the really enormous difficulty of turning Sanskrit into Chinese the work went froward famously and had continued for a good five hundred years when there came to China from India about the year 520 A.D. a curiously grim old Bhuddist saint and sage known as Bodhidharma who immediately proceeded to the royal palace. According to the legend of this visit, the Emperor asked this somewhat cussed guest how much merit he had gained through building of monasteries, support of monks and nuns, patronizing of translators, etc and Bodhidharma answered, “None!”
“Why so?” inquired the Emperor.
“Those are inferior deeds” came the answer. “Their objects are mere shadows. The only true work of merit is Wisdom, pure, perfect and mysterious, which is not won through material acts.”
“What, then,” the Emperor asked “is the Noble Truth in its highest sense?”
“It is empty”, Bodhidharma answered. “There is nothing noble about it”.
His Majesty became very annoyed. “And who is this monk before me?”
To which the monk’s reply was “I do not know”.
And he left the court.
Bodhidharma retreated to a monastery and settled down there, facing a wall, where, as we are told, he remained in absolute silence for nine years- to make the point that Buddhism proper is not a function of pious works, translating texts, or performing rituals and the like. And there came to him, as he sat there, a Confucian scholar, Hui K,o by name, who respectfully addressed him “Master!” But the Master, gazing ever at his wall, gave no sign of even having heard. Hui K’o remained standing– for days.
Snow fell; and Bohidharma, in perfect silence, remained exactly as he was. So finally, to indicate the seriousness of his purpose, the visitor drew his sword and, cutting off his own left arm, presented this to the teacher; at which signal the monk turned.
“I seek instruction,” said Hui K’o, “in the doctrine of the Buddha.”
“That cannot be found through another,” came the response,
“I then beg you to pacify my soul.”
“Produce it, and I shall do so.”
“I have sought it for years,” said Hui K’o, “but when I look for it I cannot find it.”
“So there! Its is at peace. Leave it alone.” said the monk, returning to face the wall. And Hui K’o thus abruptly awakening to his own transcendence of all daylight knowledge and concerns, became the first Ch’an [=Japanese Zen] master in China.
The next crucial teacher in this Chinese Ch’an line of great names, Hui-neng (638-713 A.D.), was an illiterate woodchopper, we are told. His mother was a widow, whom he supported by delivering firewood. And he was standing one day at the door of a private home, waiting for an order, when he overheard someone inside intoning the verses of a Mahayana scripture called the “Diamond Cutter,” Vajrachchhedika. “wake the mind,” is what he heard, “not fixing it anywhere.”
And, immediately illumined, he was overcome.
Desiring to improve his understanding, Hui-neng then made his way to a monastery, the Monastery of the Yellow Plum, where the old abbot, Hung-jen, who was the leading Ch’an master of the period, sized up the illiterate youth and assigned him to the kitchen.
Eight months later, realizing the time had arrived for him to fix upon a successor, Hung-jen announced that one of his monks who could summarize best the single stanza the essence of Buddhist teaching would be given the abbots robe and begging bowl symbolic of the highest office. There were some five hundred monks to compete, and among them one, extraordinarily gifted, whom all expected to win: his name Shen-hsiu. And indeed, they were his four lines that were selected and formally inscribed on the wall by the door of the refectory;
The body is the Bodhi-tree,
The mind, a mirror bright,
Take care to wipe them always clean,
Lest dust on them alight.
The idea here being that the essence of the Buddhist way is diligent purification.
The illiterate kitchen boy, however, having learned of the competition, asked a friend that night to read to him the poem inscribed on the wall; and when he had heard, begged to have the following set beside it
The body is no Bodhi-tree,
The mind no mirror bright,
Since nothing at the root exists,
On what should dust alight ?
The abbot, next morning, hearing the excited talk of his monk, came down, stood for awhile before the anonymous poem, took his slipper and angrily erased it. But he had correctly guessed the author and, sending that night for the kitchen boy, presented him with the robe and the bowl. “Here, my son,” he said; “here are the insignia of my office. Now depart! Run away! Disappear!”
Shen-hsiu’s doctrine became the founding tenet of the Northern Ch’an School of China, based on the idea of “gradual teaching” (chien-chiao) and the cultivation of learning. Hui-neng, on the other hand, became the founder of a Southern School of “abrupt teaching” (tun-chiao), based on the realization that the Buddha-knowledge is achieved intuitively, by sudden insight. For this the discipline of a monastery are not only unnecessary but even possibly a hindrance, and such a doctrine, as the old abbot recognized would discredit and finally undermine the entire monastic system. Hence his warning to disappear.
“Look within!” Hui-neng is reported to have said :”The secret is inside you”
…..
Campbell then goes on to Zen and the practice of the mind in Japan and a brief comparison of Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism with some ferry stories (every good tale has some ferry stories) concluding with a great short tale of a new monk in India trying to stop an elephant by the power of new found “enlightenment”.
By the way as with Christian “Redemption” Buddhist “Reincarnation” has a meaning besides the littoral ;)

Comment #54167

Posted by K.E. on October 27, 2005 10:56 PM (e)

One thing I should add
Obviously religion in societies old and new is mainly concerned with day to day life Births, Marriages, Funerals events of the calender, evangelizising etc, etc and only a small part with theological wrestling

religion-from the Latin word religi - That which binds us together.