Nick Matzke posted Entry 1756 on December 12, 2005 07:42 PM.
Trackback URL: http://www.pandasthumb.org/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb.fcgi/1751

I have posted a bunch of new material on the NCSE Kitzmiller v. Dover website. Almost all of the post-trial filings, responses, etc., are now online in the post-trial directory or the amicus directory. The shortest and sweetest filing is probably the Plaintiffs’ Response to the amicus briefs (PDF) of the Discovery Institute and the Foundation for Thought and Ethics. I quote the good bits here.

Also, on the NCSE front page there is a summary of Margaret Talbot’s excellent long review of the trial published in last week’s New Yorker. The drawing at left is the preview graphic for the full-page drawing that accompanies the print article; it depicts plaintiffs attorney Eric Rothschild cross-examining the star ID witness, Michael Behe. As the caption put it, Behe was cross-examined “with cheerful mercilessness.” I imagine that one will be going on Eric’s door.

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Comment #62579

Posted by James on December 12, 2005 9:28 PM (e)

Mostly off topic, but a somewhat relevant case decided today in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals: http://www.ca5.uscourts.gov/opinions/pub/04/04-10998-CV0.wpd.pdf

It deals with what the government can consider when selecting public school textbooks, and whether textbook publishers have a 1st amendment speech right in having their books approved for use in schools.

Another case to watch was filed by the Association of Christian Schools International against the University of California, after the UC rejected certain Christian high school courses as failing to meet its admission standards: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2005/12/12/MNGBNG6N2K1.DTL

Comment #62583

Posted by Randy on December 12, 2005 10:14 PM (e)

Also off topic but the IDiots have disappointed me on this recent article on the Science Daily web site. Seems some geologists and anthropologists discovered what they thought might be human foot-prints in lithified volcanic ash beds near Puebla, Mexico. Initial tests dated the beds at 40,000 years! Subsequent Ar/Ar dating came up with 1 MILLION years! Naturally, the scientists are now questioning what they actually found in the field. I would have thought, however, that the Fundies would have been dancing in the streets claiming validation and proof of all their IDiocies, regardless of whatever re-thinking the actual scientists might be doing. I was looking forward to the circus.
The initial 40K years was pretty exciting when first announced because it amounted to a potential ten-penny nail in the Clovis-was-the-earliest-migration hypothesis. Still, even that date was so far out as to raise a lot of skepticism. When the Ar/Ar dates came back, nobody was buying human foot-prints anymore. Does anyone have a pointer to more information on just what was found out there? I’d like to see both photos and diagrams if they are available.
Thanks.

Comment #62615

Posted by Tim Hague on December 13, 2005 4:17 AM (e)

On topic, do we have any idea when a decision is due on Kitzmiller v. Dover?

Comment #62624

Posted by Mark Nutter on December 13, 2005 7:24 AM (e)

From the NCSE web site:

this just in. The independent organizations of the Discovery Institute and the Foundation for Thought and Ethics have just filed a joint reply to the Plaintiffs Response. It is a short document, now uploaded. The reply mostly makes the core ID argument that you can detect intelligent activity in nature without identifying the designer, and therefore what would otherwise be the search for miraculous intervention by God suddenly becomes scientific and constitutional. This is the core bit of legal fiction behind the creationist strategy of “intelligent design”, so I am glad that they have put it front-and-center for the judge’s consideration.

I hope the Plaintiffs point out that while ID in theory may include the possibility of attempting to detect intelligent activity in nature, in practice the actual activities of ID activists in Dover (and Kansas and Ohio and everywhere else) have focused on introducing anti-science and anti-evolution propaganda into public school classrooms. The mere possibility of conducting a scientific inquiry into ID does not grant a constitutional license for everyone calling themselves an “Intelligent Design theorist” to freely preach canonical creationist canards in the public school curriculum.

Comment #62634

Posted by Richard Wein on December 13, 2005 9:25 AM (e)

I’ve just read the Amici’s (DI and FTE) response to the Plaintiff’s response, and felt like commenting on one section, which I’ll quote in full with my comments interspersed.

False Claim #5: Amici made “logically inconsistent assertions that … science must discard the … ground rule of methodological naturalism … yet, on the other hand, intelligent design does not involve supernatural causation.”

Let me first say that I am no supporter of methodological naturalism, a concept I consider to be misguided. ID should be rejected because it is unsupported by any evidence, and I think that ID critics hurt their own otherwise excellent case by invoking methodological naturalism as an a priori reason to reject ID. Nevertheless, the Plaintiffs are correct in pointing out this logical inconsistency in the Amici’s position, and the Amici’s response to this is revealing in a number of ways.

Plaintiffs’ Response is actually quite noteworthy in its concession (page 4, note 4) that science includes the study of ”intelligent activity.” Plaintiffs finally clarify their meaning of “methodological naturalism” by explaining that “it is only supernatural ‘intelligent causes’ that are excluded by methodological naturalism.”

There is no concession here. Careful critics of ID have always understood that, in the context of methodological naturalism, the word “natural” stands in opposition to “supernatural” and not to “intelligently designed”. It is ID advocates who have misunderstood the term “naturalism”, or else deliberately conflated the two meanings for rhetorical advantage.

But Amici have made painfully clear that the methodology of design detection, which Plaintiffs now concede is part of science, is typically incapable of identifying the intelligent agent–it is only able to identify that the causal agent for the phenomenon in question was an intelligent one rather than a combination of natural forces.

Here we see ID advocates’ standard conflation of their own proposed methodology of design detection with the methods used by mainstream scientists. The Plaintiffs have certainly not conceded that the methodology used by ID advocates is “part of science”, i.e. a valid scientific methodology. The Plaintiffs have never denied that scientists can make inferences involving intelligent agents. It would be foolish to do so, since archaeologists and forensic scientists (to take two examples beloved by ID advocates) routinely make such inferences. Instead, what critics of ID have repeatedly argued is that those methods of design detection proposed by ID advocates are not scientifically valid. Such arguments have been made repeatedly, but have been ignored by ID advocates. One of several such arguments arises from the fact that the methods used by scientists are able to identify the intelligent agent, to a greater or lesser degree. Archaeologists typically identify the maker of an ancient artifact as a human of a specific culture, and may be able to infer much more besides. Forensic scientists may identify a specific perpetrator. The fact that the methods of ID advocates tell us nothing about the designer, while the methods of mainstream scientists routinely do so, strongly indicates that these methods are not the same.

Yet plaintiffs’ witnesses throughout the trial appeared to rely upon a definition of science that excludes intelligent agents as causal explanations: Under the rules of methodological naturalism, science is a search for “natural explanations for natural phenomena” (Dr. Kenneth Miller, Day 1 pm), p. 95; Dr. Robert Pennock, Day 3 (am), p. 23; Dr. Barbara Forrest, Day 6 (am), p. 9).

The Amici seem to be overlooking the obvious fact that Miller et al are using the word “natural” in a manner consistent with their use of the word “naturalism”, i.e. both words exclude only supernatural causes. This kind of consistency appears to be so alien to ID advocates that they cannot recognise it when they see it.

If, as the footnote concedes, science also includes the study of the actions of intelligent agents, and indeed the study of how to differentiate the actions of intelligent agents from the effects of natural forces like wind and erosion, then much of the force of Plaintiffs’ argument against intelligent design (that it violates the rules of methodological naturalism) evaporates. Of course, Plaintiffs refuse to acknowledge that science could include the search for an intelligent cause of biological complexity, because Plaintiffs assert that the agent responsible for such complexity would necessarily be supernatural. But this is precisely the point of the briefs submitted by Amici–that the search for the best explanation for biological complexity can consider the hypothesis that it is the result of intelligent activity, and preclude from the scientific endeavor speculation concerning the agent’s identity.

Why should discussion of the agent’s identity be precluded from science? Are the Amici suggesting that scientists may only apply the identity-free methods of design detection proposed by ID advocates, and not the methods currently employed in archaeology and forensic science? If science can identify the designer of an archaeological artifact, what reason in principle stops it from identifying the supposed designer of life? Do the Amici really believe that science is in principle incapable of identifying the designer of life, or is this merely a legal and tactical convenience?

As noted, the inference to intelligent causes is based upon our observation-based experience of the cause-and-effect relationship between the origin of information and the action of intelligent agency.

The Amici do themselves no favours by referring to ID advocates’ ignorant piffle about “information”.

Plaintiffs’ failure to grasp this argument results not from a logical inconsistency in the position of Amici but rather from the devastating effect such an acknowledgement would have upon their attack on the theory of intelligent design.

While there is a valid case to be made against the argument from methodological naturalism, the Amici have failed to make that case here. Moreover, the refutation of that argument would do no long-term harm to the case against ID, since the proper case against ID is based on evidence, not on methodological naturalism.

Comment #62637

Posted by Bayesian Bouffant, FCD on December 13, 2005 9:45 AM (e)

The NCSE web page quotes an Alliance Defende Fund lawyer in an article from the Lancaster New Era:

But even with God’s blessing, it’s helpful to consult a lawyer before joining the battle, the speakers said.

For instance, the Dover area school board might have had a better case for the intelligent design disclaimer they inserted into high school biology classes had they not mentioned a religious motivation at their meetings, Wenger said.

“Give us a call before you do something controversial like that,” he said.

I think we need to do a better job at being clever as serpents,” Wenger added.

That pretty much sums up the IDC strategy; lie about your explicit religious motivation to circumvent the law.

Comment #62639

Posted by Unsympathetic reader on December 13, 2005 9:50 AM (e)

Richard Wein: “Let me first say that I am no supporter of methodological naturalism, a concept I consider to be misguided. ID should be rejected because it is unsupported by any evidence, and I think that ID critics hurt their own otherwise excellent case by invoking methodological naturalism as an a priori reason to reject ID.

Discussion of methodological naturalism is best thought of as a response to claims by Johnson et al. that “Darwinists” are actually philosophical naturalists (which comes as quite a surprise to religious scientists). Methodological naturalism cannot rule out design and hypothetically, there is nothing to prevent consideration of potential intervention by some intelligence (“natural” or otherwise). What hurts ID most is the lack of anything substantial to talk about. Because there is no “there” there with respect to applicable content, instruction of ID in high school classrooms has no secular purpose.

Let’s see: ID has no real scientific content, no secular purpose and tight religious entanglement – I wonder how the judge will rule?

Comment #62657

Posted by nate on December 13, 2005 12:40 PM (e)

Here’s my favorite from the DI-FTE response - found under False Claim #4.

DI-FTE makes the following claim about the plaintiffs’ argument;

“This prejudical and false dichotomy should be rejected by the Court”

Oh, the irony!

Comment #62663

Posted by Donald M on December 13, 2005 1:34 PM (e)

There is no concession here. Careful critics of ID have always understood that, in the context of methodological naturalism, the word “natural” stands in opposition to “supernatural” and not to “intelligently designed”. It is ID advocates who have misunderstood the term “naturalism”, or else deliberately conflated the two meanings for rhetorical advantage.

This is not correct. “Careful critics” of ID (few though there be), know that the contrast is undirected natural causes on the one hand, and intelligent causes on the other. It is the uncareful ID critics that misunderstand the term “naturalism” and/or deliberately conflate the two meanings for rhetorical advantage. The correct term for this move is straw man fallacy.

Comment #62672

Posted by Jeremy on December 13, 2005 2:55 PM (e)

Regarding Exhibit B (the DI’s letter): Could someone please explain its importance? I just jumped down the document to that and found it very intriguing.

Comment #62676

Posted by Andy on December 13, 2005 3:39 PM (e)

Thanks James. I’ve been wondering what was going on with the UC case.

Comment #62683

Posted by Flint on December 13, 2005 4:36 PM (e)

This is not correct. “Careful critics” of ID (few though there be), know that the contrast is undirected natural causes on the one hand, and intelligent causes on the other. It is the uncareful ID critics that misunderstand the term “naturalism” and/or deliberately conflate the two meanings for rhetorical advantage. The correct term for this move is straw man fallacy.

On the off-chance that this is a genuine error and not deliberately misleading, maybe it deserves some discussion.

“Methodological naturalism” was explicitly given as the context within which the terms were being interpreted. And within this context, “natural” is indeed contrasted with “supernatural”, in the sense that natural things can be observed, measured, and often manipulated. If supernatural “things” can even be said to exist, nobody knows any effective way to observe, measure, or manipulate them. There doesn’t even seem to be any clear definition of what “supernatural” means, except as a general limit to what the scientific method is capable of addressing.

As for the contrast between “undirected” nature and “intelligently directed” nature, this is an entirely artificial distinction within this same context. What science can investigate is nature, whether or not nature is intelligently directed. The assumption that natural cause and effect relationships will “hold still” and permit accurate predictions has a good track record. In other words, if some intelligence is directing nature, it’s doing so consistently.

As to the nature of the hypothetical intelligence, it is either natural or supernatural. If supernatural, then Donald M’s distinction vanishes, because “intelligent direction” becomes “supernatural direction” and we’re right back to the natural/supernatural contrast. However, if the intelligence is natural, science ought to be able to observe and measure it, given the appropriate tools - much as science should be able to investigate the tooth fairy, the easter bunny, or leprechauns if they exist in nature. And in this case, the (we presume) natural intelligence must be consigned to the infinite list of things that MIGHT exist, but for which no direct evidence has yet surfaced.

So we have the “agnostic” scientist saying “A causes B”, and the “believer” scientist saying “A causes B AND an Intelligent Designer is involved because I say so.” Either approach produces perfectly workable science so long as the scientific method is properly followed.

Comment #62708

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on December 13, 2005 6:45 PM (e)

“Careful critics” of ID (few though there be), know that the contrast is undirected natural causes on the one hand, and intelligent causes on the other.

OK, Donald ——- what’s the contrast between “naturalism” and … what. NON-naturalism”? SUPER-naturalism?

In your pairing above, Donald, is the “intelligent designer” natural, or isn’t it. If it isn’t, then ID is religious, right? If it is, then why do you keep bitching about “naturalism” and “materialism”, if the designer itself is just “natural” and “material”?

Make up your friggin mind, Donald.

Comment #62769

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on December 14, 2005 8:20 AM (e)

Hello? Donald?

(sound of crickets chirping)

Oh, I forgot — Donald doesn’t answer questions. He just dashes in, shoots his mouth off, then runs away back to Daddy Dembski. (shrug)

Comment #62771

Posted by steve s on December 14, 2005 8:34 AM (e)

“Careful critics” of ID (few though there be), know that the contrast is undirected natural causes on the one hand, and intelligent causes on the other.

What a pile of philisophical BS. Take a look at this recent news story:

Why this brain flies on rat cunning
By Philip Sherwell
Washington

It sounds like science fiction: a brain nurtured in a Petri dish learns to pilot a fighter plane as scientists develop a new breed of “living” computer. But in groundbreaking experiments in a Florida laboratory that is exactly what is happening.

The “brain”, grown from 25,000 neural cells extracted from a single rat embryo, has been taught to fly an F-22 jet simulator by scientists at the University of Florida.

http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2004/12/06/1102182227308.html

So tell me, when the rat brain senses the altitude’s too low and corrects, is this the undirected natural cause of some perfectly natural neurons obeying electrical rules, or the intelligent cause of the rat’s brain.

Comment #62775

Posted by Donald M on December 14, 2005 9:50 AM (e)

The “rev dr” Flank:

Hello? Donald?

(sound of crickets chirping)

Oh, I forgot —- Donald doesn’t answer questions. He just dashes in, shoots his mouth off, then runs away back to Daddy Dembski. (shrug)

No, I just won’t respond to you. Your constant argument by the fallacies of ad hominem, Tu Quoque, begging the question, composition, straw man (your personal favorite after ad homs), and red herrings (not to mention the violations of the law of non-contradiction) are a complete and utter waste of everyone’s time. All you ever want to do is pontificate without argument and expect everyone to accept your every utterance as absolute truth. And when the fallacies of your arguments have been exposed as I and many others have done repeatedly, your response is simply to repeat the same fallacious arguments with more volume, venom, hair pulling, arm waving and jumping about, followed by whoops and hollerin’ and claims of “victory”.

In short, you are a waste of everyone’s time, and no one should pay any attention to anything you have to say about anything. In other words, dear Lenny, I am simply ignoring you from now on…you say nothing worth responding to…ever!

Comment #62778

Posted by argy stokes on December 14, 2005 10:05 AM (e)

Donald M wrote:

In short, you are a waste of everyone’s time, and no one should pay any attention to anything you have to say about anything. In other words, dear Lenny, I am simply ignoring you from now on…you say nothing worth responding to…ever!

Lenny, about a billion times wrote:

What is the theory of ID, and how do we test it?

I’d say that’s worth responding to. Why don’t you give it a shot?

Comment #62780

Posted by gwangung on December 14, 2005 10:33 AM (e)

No, I just won’t respond to you. Your constant argument by the fallacies of ad hominem, Tu Quoque, begging the question, composition, straw man (your personal favorite after ad homs), and red herrings (not to mention the violations of the law of non-contradiction) are a complete and utter waste of everyone’s time. All you ever want to do is pontificate without argument and expect everyone to accept your every utterance as absolute truth. And when the fallacies of your arguments have been exposed as I and many others have done repeatedly, your response is simply to repeat the same fallacious arguments with more volume, venom, hair pulling, arm waving and jumping about, followed by whoops and hollerin’ and claims of “victory”.

Sorry, but you’re just dead wrong.

Lenny asks some extremely valid questions, mostly because he knows the methodology of science.

Basically, you’re dodging the question. You don’t have answers. And YOU are the one engaging in ad hominen arguments with your comments.

What IS the theory of intelligent design? And how do we test it?

Those are good questions. If we’re talking about science, they SHOULD be answered.

Comment #62784

Posted by k.e. on December 14, 2005 11:25 AM (e)

Donald M
The Forrest Gimp of Intelligent designism or the cretins guide to making babies, known widely as the the ‘The mad scientist’s theory of “we found god under a rock”’ goes goes off and feeds the pigeons. Considers the fallacy of phallusae, performs stupefying tricks by cunning stunts. Here is a suggestion Don baby write a book and get it peer reviewed by Dembski…..be quick though; I think he might move on to fiction. BWWHHHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA
Like “ Small American Korn Gods” :- an Idiots guide to fomenting a Military Junta in the world’s only Super Power via Fundamentalist Baptism of Radical Pastors.

Comment #62796

Posted by James Taylor on December 14, 2005 12:13 PM (e)

Donald, you choose to ignore Lenny solely because you cannot answer his questions. All of the charges you state you are guilty of in that last paragraph alone. Lenny has very significant questions, and I like many, many others are waiting in all seriousness for some ID supporter to actually be able to answer his questions instead of ignoring, weaseling or attacking the questioner. So, rather than get huffy and angry, please just answer the question and the controversy may very well be over. Since no ID supporter, including the founders and fellows, cannot answer the simple questions posed be Lenny, it is continuously apparant that ID is not science and is a religious and political movement. Lenny is just asking for the science. Since there is none, you and the other ID supporters just tapdance, wave hands and get emotional whenever directly challenged to produce the science. I too would like any ID supporter or founder to answer his questions, so in the interest of the debate, please just answer the question.

PS, come down from the cross, no one’s persecuting you.

Comment #62821

Posted by James Taylor on December 14, 2005 1:19 PM (e)

Oops, A double negative expressing the wrong argument, should be…

Since no ID supporter, including the founders and fellows, can answer the simple questions posed be Lenny…

Comment #62856

Posted by The Ghost of Paley on December 14, 2005 3:12 PM (e)

James Taylor wrote:

Donald, you choose to ignore Lenny solely because you cannot answer his questions. All of the charges you state you are guilty of in that last paragraph alone. Lenny has very significant questions, and I like many, many others are waiting in all seriousness for some ID supporter to actually be able to answer his questions instead of ignoring, weaseling or attacking the questioner. So, rather than get huffy and angry, please just answer the question and the controversy may very well be over. Since no ID supporter, including the founders and fellows, cannot answer the simple questions posed be Lenny, it is continuously apparant that ID is not science and is a religious and political movement. Lenny is just asking for the science. Since there is none, you and the other ID supporters just tapdance, wave hands and get emotional whenever directly challenged to produce the science. I too would like any ID supporter or founder to answer his questions, so in the interest of the debate, please just answer the question.

PS, come down from the cross, no one’s persecuting you.

Just a few questions before leaving this thread:
1)Wouldn’t an attempt to answer Lenny’s questions derail the conversation, and draw a warning from the moderator(s)?
2)Has Lenny ever specified what constitutes a reasonable answer to his question(s)?
3)Absent any specific criteria, what prevents Lenny from just claiming, “Sorry, not good enough!”
4)What if ID is a state theory, and is indifferent to mechanism?

Comment #62861

Posted by RBH on December 14, 2005 3:26 PM (e)

Ghost asked

4)What if ID is a state theory, and is indifferent to mechanism?

Then I do not see how it can offer an explanation for dynamics, a corroborated historical narrative explaining the occurrence of events in time. That is, it provides no actual explanation for the history of biological diversity on earth.

RBH

Comment #62865

Posted by jim on December 14, 2005 3:32 PM (e)

TGoP,

Regarding Q1 & Q2:
Don’t know.

Regarding Q3:
If you offered reasonable answers I don’t *think* Lenny would use the “not good enough” (nge) defense.

However, even if he did you’d still engage the rest of us in a discussion.

Comment #62876

Posted by qetzal on December 14, 2005 4:11 PM (e)

The Ghost of Paley asked:

2)Has Lenny ever specified what constitutes a reasonable answer to his question(s)?

Are you referring to Lenny’s question, “What is the theory of ID, and how do we test it using the scientific method?”

If so, he’s specified many times what he would consider a reasonable answer. I’ve personally seen him do so at least 10 times on PT. For instance here.

Comment #62889

Posted by James Taylor on December 14, 2005 5:23 PM (e)

GOP wrote:

Just a few questions before leaving this thread:
1)Wouldn’t an attempt to answer Lenny’s questions derail the conversation, and draw a warning from the moderator(s)?
2)Has Lenny ever specified what constitutes a reasonable answer to his question(s)?
3)Absent any specific criteria, what prevents Lenny from just claiming, “Sorry, not good enough!”
4)What if ID is a state theory, and is indifferent to mechanism?

1. This whole debate and website are dedicated to resolving the question of “Is ID science”. I doubt any moderator would warn participants who actually presented a viable scientific argument for ID.

2. Yes, Lenny has specified exactly what would constitute a reasonable answer. One that follows the scientific method, that’s it. No magic.

3. The scientific method. Evidence is evidence and it is incredibly hard to refute accurate and honest data.

4. Please explain the theory of ID and we might be able to discuss this statement. Absent a theory, then the statement is moot.

Now, GOP, do you have an actual scientifically verifiable theory of ID, or do you have nothing to contribute other than personal criticism of evolution?

Comment #62905

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on December 14, 2005 6:50 PM (e)

No, I just won’t respond to you.

How Christian of you. (shrug)

But hey, how about if SOMEONE ELSE asks you the same question. Will you answer then? Or will you pout some more and toss out some OTHER silly-ass excuse to not answer?

My question, once again:

OK, Donald ———- what’s the contrast between “naturalism” and … what. NON-naturalism”? SUPER-naturalism?

In your pairing above, Donald, is the “intelligent designer” natural, or isn’t it. If it isn’t, then ID is religious, right? If it is, then why do you keep bitching about “naturalism” and “materialism”, if the designer itself is just “natural” and “material”?

Make up your friggin mind, Donald.

Would someone else, please, ask Donald this very same question? Then he can either answer it, or, as I suspect he will, come up with another silly excuse NOT to answer it.

I want the whole world to see that Donald is a dishonest evasive coward who doesn’t answer my questions BECAUSE HE CAN’T.

Comment #62907

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on December 14, 2005 6:59 PM (e)

Just a few questions before leaving this thread:
1)Wouldn’t an attempt to answer Lenny’s questions derail the conversation, and draw a warning from the moderator(s)?

I sure don’t see how. After all, this entire blog is about ID and its, uh, “science”.

2)Has Lenny ever specified what constitutes a reasonable answer to his question(s)?

Sure I have, a gazillion times. I want to know (1) what the designer does, specifically, (2) what mechanisms the designer uses to do whatever the heck ID thinks it did, and (3) where we can see the designer using these mechanisms to do … well . . anything. And how do we test any of this using the scientific method.

I’d also like to know if the presumed “designer” is natural, or supernatural. If it’s supernatural, then IDers are lying to us when they claim ID isn’t about religion, aren’t they. And if the designer is natural, then I want to know why IDers keep bitching and moaning about the presumed “materialism” and “naturalism” of science.

Donald, of course, doesn’t want to answer that question. He *knows* better.

3)Absent any specific criteria, what prevents Lenny from just claiming, “Sorry, not good enough!”

Everyone and his brother will jump all over me if I try it. (shrug)

In any case, when an action is described, a mechanism is described, that mechanism is demonstrated in action, and is confirmed by testing using the scientific method, that pretty well ends the argument. After all, no one argues about the density of lead, or the orbit of Mercury, by saying “that’s not good enough”.

4)What if ID is a state theory, and is indifferent to mechanism?

You can “what if” anything you like. All you gotta do is demonstrate your “what if” using the scientific method. (shrug)

Comment #62929

Posted by shiva on December 14, 2005 9:50 PM (e)

Don’M,

If the chances are that it is an unguided natural cause or an ‘intelligent cause’ (that is not supernatural) all you have to do is to produce studies that identifies this natural intelligent causative agent. So you are telling us that you can’t/won’t/never will give us any such evidence right?

For all that talk about forensic investigation and archeology have you ever heard of an investigator say, “it is a crime committed by an intelligent agent; but we can’t tell you who or what it was or how it committed the crime”

Comment #63050

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on December 15, 2005 8:57 PM (e)

Gee, I guess Donald won’t answer YOUR questions either.

What a shocker.

Comment #63056

Posted by shiva on December 15, 2005 10:21 PM (e)

Rev,

What’s new?

Comment #63080

Posted by Donald M on December 16, 2005 8:33 AM (e)

In your pairing above, Donald, is the “intelligent designer” natural, or isn’t it. If it isn’t, then ID is religious, right? If it is, then why do you keep bitching about “naturalism” and “materialism”, if the designer itself is just “natural” and “material”?

All ID asks is “is there evidence that an intelligence has acted?” The identity of that intelligence is an interesting but entirely separate question. YOur question is mis-guided.

Comment #63083

Posted by jim on December 16, 2005 8:55 AM (e)

Donald,

All science asks is “what *objective* test can you perform that could determine whether there’s evidence that an intelligence has acted?”

The problem with you and ID is you want to skip this question and go straight to yours. Without providing an objective test, any answer you proffer for your question is just your opinion, and that is not science.

So either provide an objective test OR admit ID can’t provide a test (and therefore isn’t science). In either case ID shouldn’t be taught as science right now.

You see almost no one here has a problem with you believing that ID is true. We have a problem with you trying to slip it into science classrooms when it clearly is not science.

Comment #63103

Posted by AC on December 16, 2005 11:11 AM (e)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'quote'

Comment #63106

Posted by AC on December 16, 2005 11:17 AM (e)

Donald M wrote:

All ID asks is “is there evidence that an intelligence has acted?”

And the answer is “no”. Hence the need for modern charlatans like Dembski to cook up standards of evidence that are scientifically laughable but appeal to common misunderstandings of biology and systems design (among other things).

Comment #63109

Posted by steve on December 16, 2005 11:26 AM (e)

Comment #63080

Posted by Donald M on December 16, 2005 08:33 AM (e) (s)

All ID asks is “is there evidence that an intelligence has acted?” The identity of that intelligence is an interesting but entirely separate question. YOur question is mis-guided.

I think Donald should become more familiar with what Intelligent Design really is.

“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.”
–William Dembski

“Our strategy has been to change the subject a bit so that we can get the issue of Intelligent Design, which really means the reality of God, before the academic world and into the schools.”
–Philip Johnson

“My colleagues and I speak of ‘theistic realism’– or sometimes, ‘mere creation’ – as the defining concept of our [the ID] movement. This means that we affirm that God is objectively real as Creator, and that the reality of God is tangibly recorded in evidence accessible to science, particularly in biology.” –Phillip Johnson.

Comment #63131

Posted by Donald M on December 16, 2005 1:01 PM (e)

AC writes:

And the answer is “no”. Hence the need for modern charlatans like Dembski to cook up standards of evidence that are scientifically laughable but appeal to common misunderstandings of biology and systems design (among other things).

I’d be most interested to know how reach the conclusion that the answer is “no”? What scientific tests did you perform to establish this conclusion?
Or is it just your opinion that there is no evidence for ID in nature?

Of course, this claim highlights the double standard so prevelant among ID critics: on the one hand the claim is that no IDP has put forth an objective scientific test to determine intelligent cause; on the other hand, the ID critics (like AC here) claim that they’ve established (or are aware of that it has been established) scientifically that no such evidence exists, thus by implication it would seem that there is an objective test that has been employed and yielded the conclusion “No” to the question “is there evidence that an intelligence has acted?”

Comment #63134

Posted by Steviepinhead on December 16, 2005 1:11 PM (e)

Hi there, DonaldM!

Don’t you have quite a few questions that have been directed at you hanging around unanswered?

Just out of politeness and, oh, social propriety, why don’t you tackle your list first?

And you might try to digest the obvious online resources on evolutionary versus ID/creo handling of the evidence before blathering in uninformed fashion here.

Not that we’re against blathering as a general proposition. Just the uninformed kind…

Comment #63139

Posted by jim on December 16, 2005 1:33 PM (e)

Donald,

Your claim of a double standard would be amusing if it weren’t so deceitful (aren’t lies and deceit the modus operandi of the Devil?).

The “no” means that not only has no one provided any evidence supporting ID but no one has even provided an example of what a test of ID might look like.

The most conclusive test proposed so far (provided by Behe) is that if you bring potential examples of ID to him, he can tell you whether it is ID or not.

That he believes this to be an “objective” test that can be replicated by others is simply laughable. However, it is typical of the mindset of those who support ID.

So until those two minor problems are cleared up, the answer to ID’s question is “no” there’s no evidence. When you find some, by all means bring it to our attention.

Comment #63150

Posted by Donald M on December 16, 2005 2:14 PM (e)

Steve:

I think Donald should become more familiar with what Intelligent Design really is.

“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.”
—William Dembski

“Our strategy has been to change the subject a bit so that we can get the issue of Intelligent Design, which really means the reality of God, before the academic world and into the schools.”
—Philip Johnson

“My colleagues and I speak of ‘theistic realism’— or sometimes, ‘mere creation’ — as the defining concept of our [the ID] movement. This means that we affirm that God is objectively real as Creator, and that the reality of God is tangibly recorded in evidence accessible to science, particularly in biology.” —Phillip Johnson.

Okay, Steve, I’ll see your three quotes with these three:

“Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist.” Richard Dawkins

“Evolution is the greatest engine of atheism ever invented.” William Provine

“Naturalistic evolution has clear consequences that Charles Darwin understood perfectly. 1)No God’s worth having exist; 2)no life after death exists; 3)no ultimate foundation for ethics exists; 4)no ultimate meaning in life exists; and 5) human free-will is non-existent.” William Provine

So, what’s your point? There’s nothing new to the concept that worldviews come into play even in science. Your selective use of the quotes from Dembski and Johnson reveals yet another hidden double standard. If, as I’m sure you would agree, it is not correct to conclude that Darwinism is atheism in disguise (which, of course it isn’t and I for one have never thought that) despite claims like those of Provine and Dawkins above, then it is equally incorrect to conclude that ID is theism in disuise. You’d be in for some pretty tough sledding to try to argue that the latter is true while the former is not.

Comment #63151

Posted by Russell on December 16, 2005 2:16 PM (e)

Donald M wrote:

All ID asks is “is there evidence that an intelligence has acted?”

That’s really “all ID asks”? That one question, then, fairly defines what ID is all about? And the most compelling evidence for a “yes” answer is… what? the apologetics of Dembski and Behe? And the reason that this answer has not pervaded the scientific world is the stubborn atheism of the scientific high priests?

AC wrote:

And the answer is “no”….

…to which Donald M responds:

I’d be most interested to know how reach the conclusion that the answer is “no”? What scientific tests did you perform to establish this conclusion?

You don’t perform scientific tests to ask whether there is evidence. You perform scientific tests, on whatever evidence you have, to test hypotheses.

Just out of curiosity, Mr. M: do you consider yourself a scientist?

Comment #63153

Posted by Russell on December 16, 2005 2:27 PM (e)

If, as I’m sure you would agree, it is not correct to conclude that Darwinism is atheism in disguise … despite claims like those of Provine and Dawkins above, then it is equally incorrect to conclude that ID is theism in disuise.

There must be a name for this kind of fallacy. Perhaps “non sequitur“?

Here: let’s check the logic of it by changing a couple of variables:

If, as I’m sure you would agree, it is not correct to conclude that quantum mechanics is anti-christian bigotry in disguise … then it is equally incorrect to conclude that scientology is religion in disguise.

Comment #63154

Posted by Donald M on December 16, 2005 2:41 PM (e)

Jim

The “no” means that not only has no one provided any evidence supporting ID but no one has even provided an example of what a test of ID might look like.

The most conclusive test proposed so far (provided by Behe) is that if you bring potential examples of ID to him, he can tell you whether it is ID or not.

That he believes this to be an “objective” test that can be replicated by others is simply laughable. However, it is typical of the mindset of those who support ID.

Virtually everything you say here is either incorrect or totally mischaracterizes the actual state of things. Evidence supporting ID has been provided in abundance in biology, physics, cosmology and other fields. That you don’t take any of it to be evidence for actual design is a different matter, but that is where your real objection lies. So what would accept as evidence for actual design in nature? You clearly reject the abundance of evidence that’s been pointed out throughout the history of science as being evidence for design, so what would you accept as evidence for design?

As for an example of a what a test for ID might look like, it is incorrect to say no one has provided such an example. Dembski’s filter comes to mind. How reliable or useful the filter might be is an entirely separate issue, but to say that “no one has provided an example of what a test for ID might look” is simply incorrect.

Your also mischaracterize Behe. He focuses on establishing the irreducible complexity of certain biological systems. This is straightforward lab work that anyone with the requisite knowledge can do. In other words, contrary to your claim that Behe’s work can’t be replicated by others, it is fairly obvious that it can. If a given system is IC, then the question of how it got there, that is to say what is its causal history, is perfectly valid. In that regard, intelligent cause is a straightforward conclusion from the data itself. No one has yet provided any lab demonstration or model (including the infamous Avida study) of how RM and NS can produce any of the IC systems we find in biology.

Comment #63167

Posted by Steviepinhead on December 16, 2005 3:23 PM (e)

Donald M, furiously handwaving:

Evidence supporting ID has been provided in abundance in biology, physics, cosmology and other fields. That you don’t take any of it to be evidence for actual design is a different matter, but that is where your real objection lies.

But, um, where’s your links to the peer-reviewed pubs of all this “abundant” evidence, Donald?

More blather:

As for an example of a what a test for ID might look like, it is incorrect to say no one has provided such an example. Dembski’s filter comes to mind. How reliable or useful the filter might be is an entirely separate issue.

I fall down laughing! So, the “testability” of ID now hinges on Dembski’s filter, which even Donald concedes is probably, ahem, flaccid. I wouldn’t crawl too far out on that droopy member, Donald.

And yet more blather:

Your also mischaracterize Behe. He focuses on establishing the irreducible complexity of certain biological systems. This is straightforward lab work that anyone with the requisite knowledge can do.

Yeah, right, what part of “But it looks complicated to Behe, therefore it is,” can’t these gol-darn evilutionists comprende? If it’s so durn “straightforward” to do the lab work that would demonstrate IC, Donald, then why is it exactly that no ID-spouting “scientist” has ever DONE ANY in the last 25 years?

Thanks, Donald, for yet another ID thigh-slapper.

Comment #63180

Posted by Russell on December 16, 2005 3:55 PM (e)

[Behe] focuses on establishing the irreducible complexity of certain biological systems.

Correction: he focuses on positing the “irreducible complexity” of certain biological systems, and ignoring the abundant demonstrations to the contrary.

This is straightforward lab work that anyone with the requisite knowledge can do. In other words, contrary to your claim that Behe’s work can’t be replicated by others, it is fairly obvious that it can

Kindly provide the reference for any lab work that Behe (or anyone else) has done to demonstrate any biological system is “irreducibly complex” - i.e. could not have evolved from simpler precursors.

And, still just out of curiosity, Mr. M: do you consider yourself a scientist?

Comment #63182

Posted by Russell on December 16, 2005 3:58 PM (e)

In other words, contrary to your claim that Behe’s work can’t be replicated by others, it is fairly obvious that it can

Well, perhaps I miss your meaning. Because, indeed, all of Behe’s “work” to validate IC and ID is competently replicated every day by this lovely paperweight I have sitting on my desk.

Comment #63184

Posted by jim on December 16, 2005 4:15 PM (e)

Donald,

The previous posts have handled this quite well except:

Donald M. wrote:

Your also mischaracterize (sic) Behe. He focuses on establishing the irreducible complexity of certain biological systems….

I’ve read Mr. Behe’s testimony and cross-examination from the Dover trial (in fact, I’ve read through ALL of the trial transcripts). I’m not characterizing him, I’m using his own sworn testimony from the Dover trial.

His testimony includes gems like (and I paraphrase)
Q: According to current understandings of the word, is ID science?
Behe: No.

and this one
Q: Just to be clear, according to your proposed changes to the definition of science, things like Astrology would then be considered science.
Behe: Yes.

and this one
Q: How would other scientists know if they’ve found IC biochemical systems.
Behe: Well, if they brought it to me, I could tell.

and
Q: Who do you think the Intelligent Designer is?
Behe: My personal belief is that it is God.

If you’re interested in reading them, I’d be happy to provide the precise quotes and links to *his* testimony to which I’m referring.

It’s also interesting that he presented the same old biochemical examples of IC that he’s always provided, even though the plaintiff’s witnesses had already shown that these systems were not irreducibly complex! (flagellum, blood clotting, etc.).

Would you care to provide any references to support your claims.

Comment #63185

Posted by gwangung on December 16, 2005 4:36 PM (e)

Somebody should cue the crickets.

Comment #63186

Posted by Flint on December 16, 2005 4:46 PM (e)

Donald M wrote:

Evidence supporting ID has been provided in abundance in biology, physics, cosmology and other fields. That you don’t take any of it to be evidence for actual design is a different matter

How do we know there’s an Intelligent Designer? Because we find ourselves surrounded with things that look pretty competently designed for the most part. And how do we know they WERE designed? Because we know the Intelligent Designer did the deed. And how do we know that? Just look around; the evidence is everywhere…

What ID *really* states is that no other explanation of what we see around us does a fully satisfactory job. And this might be entirely true, depending on what one finds satisfying. Apparently, Donald M is satisfied by circular reasoning. And I can understand how someone who requires such reasoning would be unsatisfied with anything else; NON-circular reasoning after all might have holes, or errors, or be incomplete. How much more complete, more bulletproof it is to say it’s designed because it looks designed, and it looks designed because it IS! Doh.

Comment #63193

Posted by steve s on December 16, 2005 5:40 PM (e)

Maybe you can’t tell Donald, but in the ID quotes I gave you, the originators of ID say ID is religion. In the quotes you gave me, scientists say the science of evolution assists atheism.

I accept the quotes I gave, in which the founders of ID say it is really religion. I also accept the Dawkins quote you gave–evolution does give a sense of fulfillment to us atheists. But the Provine quote is just wrong. And you should note, Dawkins and Provine did not concoct evolution, while Dembski and Johnson did (with one or two others) concoct ID.

But this is all beside the point, this ridiculous and not at all analogous question about whether evolution is atheism. The original point was, you said,

“All ID asks is “is there evidence that an intelligence has acted?” The identity of that intelligence is an interesting but entirely separate question. YOur question is mis-guided.”

And you are 100% wrong.

the reality of God is tangibly recorded in evidence accessible to science, particularly in biology.” —Phillip Johnson.

Comment #63202

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on December 16, 2005 7:44 PM (e)

Or is it just your opinion that there is no evidence for ID in nature?

Yes. Just as it is my opinion that there is no evidence for a fleet of invisible pink elves in orbit around Jupiter right now. If you assert that they ARE there, then it’s your job to show that they are; it’s not my job to show that they’re not.

If you have some testible scientific evidence for ID in nature, please by all means feel free to show us. What do you think the designer did, specifically. What mechanisms did it use to do whatever the heck you think it did. Where can we see the designer using these mechanisms doing … well … anything.

Note that I am not asking, and do not care, WHAT the designer is. I couldn’t care less if it’s Zeus, Allah, Wakan Tanka, space aliens, or the Great Pumpkin.

All I want to know is (1) what did it do, (2) how did it do it, and (3) where can we see it doing anything similar.

(sound of crickets chirping)

Yep, that’s what I thought.

The identity of the designer is, of course, relevant only to demonstrate that IDers (like you) are simply lying to us when they claim that ID isn’t about religion. Which is, of course precisely why you don’t want to talk about the identity of the designer. Wouldn’t play well in court, would it. (shrug)

Comment #63203

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on December 16, 2005 7:48 PM (e)

There’s nothing new to the concept that worldviews come into play even in science.

Hey Donald, what “worldview” is evolution based on that isn’t equally valid for, say, weather forecasting?

You keep bitching and moaning and whining about science’s presumed “materialism” and “naturalism” I don’t recall any weather forecaster ever using anything other than “materialism” and “naturalism”. So why aren’t you out there ranting and railing against the materialistic atheistic naturalisitc worldview in weather forecasting? Why is it just evolution that gets your panties all in a twitter?

Comment #63214

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on December 16, 2005 10:36 PM (e)

The identity of that intelligence is an interesting but entirely separate question.

Hey Donald, how about you tell us all *why* IDers don’t attempt to answer that, uh, interesting but entirely separate question . . ? Why is it that ID just says “gee, I’ve uncovered the presence of an unknown entity that explains all of biology, but ya know, I’m not really all that interested in learning what it is, so I won’t bother” . .?

It wouldn’t have anything to do with the Supreme Court, would it, Donald …. ? It wouldn’t have anything to do with the fact that IDers (like you) are simply lying to us when they claim they don’t know what the designer is, would it, Donald …?

Thanks for once again showing everyone just how deceptive, evasive and dishonest ID really is, Donald.

Comment #63217

Posted by James Taylor on December 17, 2005 12:15 AM (e)

Note that Donald avoided shiva’s question. So Donald, what is your excuse for dodging shiva’s question?

Comment #63257

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on December 17, 2005 12:34 PM (e)

Donald KNOWS better.

Alas for Donald, though, all of our questions make our point clearly enough, whether Donald answers or not. We simply don’t need his cooperation. (shrug)

Although we *should* thank Donald for continuing to give us all the opportunity to demonstrate so clearly to all the lurkers that IDers are dishonest, evasive, deceptive cowards who refuse to answer direct questions.

Comment #63355

Posted by AC on December 19, 2005 12:30 PM (e)

Donald M wrote:

Or is it just your opinion that there is no evidence for ID in nature?

It is “just my opinion” in the same way that evolution is “just a theory”.