PvM posted Entry 2045 on February 21, 2006 10:53 PM.
Trackback URL: http://www.pandasthumb.org/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb.fcgi/2040

It seems that the mainstream media is catching on to the tactics by the Discovery Institute. When the Discovery Instute unveiled, several days after the NCSE Project Steve reached 700 signatures, that more than 500 ‘scientists’ had signed a statement stating that “We are skeptical of claims for the ability of random mutation and natural selection to account for the complexity of life. Careful examination of the evidence for Darwinian theory should be encouraged.”, a New York Times reporter wasted no time to do some investigative reporting.

Those who are familiar with Darwin’s work would consider the statement itself rather unimpressive. Darwin himself argued that he did not think that natural selection was the only mechanism of evolution. Thus the real controversy may be that the fact that over 500 people have signed it is used by the Discovery Institute to argue that there is a ‘real controversy’ about evolutionary theory. In other words, the petition seems to serve to strengthen the attempts of the Discovery Institute to use ‘Teach the Controversy’ and ‘Critically analyze’ as backdoors for Intelligent Design to be taught. So what is the controversy about? Is it because evolution is scientifically flawed? Or are there other reasons why these scientists reject evolutionary theory. Let’s say perhaps because it conflicts with the religious faith? Could that be the case?

New York Times reporter Kenneth Chang has put this hypothesis to the test and interviewed many of the people who signed the statement and found something which most of the readers of PandasThumb may find unremarkable but which may come to a shock to those who have accepted the Discovery Institute’s claim that there is a scientific controversy.

Of the signers who are evangelical Christians, most defend their doubts on scientific grounds but also say that evolution runs against their religious beliefs.

Several said that their doubts began when they increased their involvement with Christian churches.

Some said they read the Bible literally and doubt not only evolution but also findings of geology and cosmology that show the universe and the earth to be billions of years old.

It gets better, much better.

Dr Lien, associate professor at the Auburn University Department of Poultry science, who received a copy of the petition from his Christian friends started to doubt evolution after his conversion to Christianity.

Dr Lien wrote:

“The world is broken, and we humans and our science can’t fix it,” Dr. Lien said. “I was brought to Jesus Christ and God and creationism and believing in the Bible.”

Dr Lien also said he thought that evolution was “inconsistent with what the Bible says.”

Seems clear that Dr Lien is rejecting evolution based on his religious faith here.

Dr Brewer, professor of Cell biology at the Southern Illinois University Medical school who accepts micro-evolution but beliefs in a young earth. He comments that “Based on faith, I do believe in the creation account”.

It seems clear that many on the list have religious motivations to reject Darwinian theory. So when The Discovery officials pointed out that there are in fact scientists who have signed the petition but who do not hold conservative religious beliefs, and identified two: Berlinski and Salthe. Kenneth Chang decided to ask Salthe about his motives to sign the petition, and the answer may have come as a surprise to Crowther

Discovery officials did point to two scientists, David Berlinski, a philosopher and mathematician and a senior fellow at the institute, and Stanley N. Salthe, a visiting scientist at Binghamton University, State University of New York, who signed but do not hold conservative religious beliefs.

Dr. Salthe, who describes himself as an atheist, said that when he signed the petition he had no idea what the Discovery Institute was. Rather, he said, “I signed it in irritation.”

He said evolutionary biologists were unfairly suppressing any competing ideas. “They deserve to be prodded, as it were,” Dr. Salthe said. “It was my way of thumbing my nose at them.”

Dr. Salthe said he did not find intelligent design to be a compelling theory, either. “From my point of view,” he said, “it’s a plague on both your houses.”

Quite an endorsement from the ‘token’ atheist.

Now that a Judge in Dover, who ruled in the Kitzmiller trial against Intelligent Design, has identified ‘teach the controversy’ as a sham, the media is slowly unravelling the scientific vacuity behind the ‘controversy’ and finding that much of the opposition is religiously motivated.

Judge Jones wrote:

Moreover, ID’s backers have sought to avoid the scientific scrutiny which we have now determined that it cannot withstand by advocating that the controversy, but not ID itself, should be taught in science class. This tactic is at best disingenuous, and at worst a canard. The goal of the IDM is not to encourage critical thought, but to foment a revolution which would supplant evolutionary theory with ID.

Judge Jones minced no words

Judge Jones wrote:

“To be sure, Darwin’s theory of evolution is imperfect. However, the fact that a scientific theory cannot yet render an explanation on every point should not be used as a pretext to thrust an untestable alternative hypothesis grounded in religion into the science classroom or to misrepresent well-established scientific propositions.”

Darwin himself had some advice as well for Intelligent Design, an argument based on ignorance:

Darwin wrote:

“Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge: it is those who know little, and not those who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science”

Charles Darwin: Descent of Man

and

Although I am fully convinced of the truth of the views given in this volume under the form of an abstract, I by no means expect to convince experienced naturalists whose minds are stocked with a multitude of facts all viewed, during a long course of years, from a point of view directly opposite to mine. It is so easy to hide our ignorance under such expressions as the “plan of creation” or “unity of design,” etc., and to think that we give an explanation when we only restate a fact. Any one whose disposition leads him to attach more weight to unexplained difficulties than to the explanation of a certain number of facts will certainly reject the theory

Charles Darwin’s Origin of Species CHAPTER XV: RECAPITULATION AND CONCLUSION

And then there is the persecution angle which is as vacuous as the scientific claims of ID

John West wrote:

I told Chang that the willingness of scientists to publicly express their scientific doubts about Darwinism was a huge act of courage given the vitriolic campaign waged by Darwinists to smear and persecute any scientist who breaks ranks with them.

‘Smear and prosecute’? Does West remember how Judge Jones was treated after his courageous ruling?

So why are the religious motivations important? Are such arguments not fallacious because they reject scientific criticism by arguing that these people have religious motivations? The fact is that there are no controversies in evolution at least not to the extent that scientists have presented scientific evidence in opposition to common descent. And yet, we see how many of the people on this list have argued that they are rejecting evolution based on their Christian faith. In many cases their faith requires them to accept the scientifically untennable position of a young earth.
Combine this with the observation that creationists are trying to introduce creationism into the schools under the claim of ‘teach the controversy’ or ‘analyze critically’. And finally, while there are good reasons to reject that mutation and selection are sufficient to explain evolution, many of the people on the list seem to reject not just the sufficiency but evolution itself.
The Discovery Institute seems to be using this list to show that there is a ‘genuine’ controversy in the scientific world although when faced with 700 Steves, they are quickly to argue that this is not about numbers…

Some other examples

Based on the excellent footwork by Chang I decided to research myself the backgrounds of some of the people who signed the petition, focusing initially on biology related backgrounds:

I ran across Mark Toleman who seems to be rejecting evolutionary theory based on religious faith. Via the wasdarwinright website I ran across another person who had signed the peitition, Dr Andy McIntosh

Mark Toleman Ph.D. Molecular Microbiology Bristol University, UK

am happily married with six children and became a Christian at University ~ 20 years ago after being confronted with the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ together with the fact that I had fallen far short of His standards. Despite almost constant text book bashing and evolutionary brain-washing throughout my education the general theory of evolution has always appeared to me as no more than a fashionable belief. In the last few years I have become more interested in looking at the details of the evidence for and against evolution and the impact of evolutionary belief on society. I am amazed at the wild dogmatic statements of the text books based on such flimsy and incomplete evidence and the awful fruit that this theory has produced in our Western society.

Publications

Andy McIntosh Full Professor, Department of Thermodynamics University of Leeds

  1. Publications
  2. Research Interests

    Dr Andy C. McIntosh is a Professor (the highest teaching/research rank in U.K. university hierarchy) in Combustion Theory at Leeds University, U.K. His Ph.D. was in aerodynamics. A number of his students later worked for Rolls Royce, designing aircraft engines.

    Dr Andy C. McIntosh wrote the “six days” page of the site, which also appeared in an edited format in the Evangelical Alliance IDEA magazine of August 2005.

    See his interview in Creation 20(2):28–31, March–May 1998,

  3. Six Days

    The idea that God used evolution [1] can be shown not only to be flawed theologically, but to be no answer scientifically. Douglas Kelly’s excellent book “Creation and Change” [2] is an example of a number of works which have shown that exegetically theistic evolution is untenable:

  1. Creationism expounded
  2. Answers in Genesis
  3. Who is who in creation/evolution
  4. The relevance of Creation to Biblical Authority and Church strength in Gospel preaching

Other websites blogging this

  1. The DI and the astonishingly tepid petition at Pharyngula (PZ Myers)
  2. Most signers of DI statement aren’t biologists at Thoughts from Kansas (Josh Rosenau)

Commenters are responsible for the content of comments. The opinions expressed in articles, linked materials, and comments are not necessarily those of PandasThumb.org. See our full disclaimer.

Comment #81388

Posted by senatorchunk on February 22, 2006 12:01 AM (e)

Man, I’m as opposed to ID as much as the next guy, but the I have to say the title of that article is obnxious. What, are evangelicals and biologists mutually exclusive categories ?

I understand the point, but the title is lame. And gives the NY Times a bad name.

Comment #81392

Posted by PvM on February 22, 2006 12:14 AM (e)

What makes you believe that the two are mutually exclusive?

Comment #81396

Posted by kay on February 22, 2006 12:32 AM (e)

I have a question, which is this:

It seems that from what I read from both sides of the issue, creationism/ID is more or less losing in the legal arena, and has pretty much lost in academia a long time ago. This is, IMHO a good thing. Okay, so far so good.

The question is: What will be their next move? I would predict that it will be to sidestep the issue entirely and push for private/religious school vouchers and homeschooling.

Has anyone done any speculation on the subject?

Comment #81399

Posted by Paul Flocken on February 22, 2006 12:37 AM (e)

Comment #81388 Posted by senatorchunk on February 22, 2006 12:01 AM

Man, I’m as opposed to ID as much as the next guy, but the I have to say the title of that article is obnoxious. What, are evangelicals and biologists mutually exclusive categories ?

Comment #81392 Posted by PvM on February 22, 2006 12:14 AM

What makes you believe that the two are mutually exclusive?

I think you misread him PvM. The question was implicitly intended to elicit a ‘NO’ answer.

sincerely,

Comment #81401

Posted by PvM on February 22, 2006 12:43 AM (e)

The question is: What will be their next move? I would predict that it will be to sidestep the issue entirely and push for private/religious school vouchers and homeschooling.

Has anyone done any speculation on the subject?

Nope, they will go for further hiding their motives and try to introduce intelligent design through the backdoor by asking for ‘fairness’ and ‘teach the controversy’.

The problem with this approach is that the well of ‘teach the controversy’ has already been poisoned. Yet, appealing to fairness may be ID’s best chance. However they leave too many breadcrumbs behind leading back to the Wedge.

Now much could change if ID could provide a scientifically relevant contribution but that seems quite unlikely as ID, as formulated presently is scientifically vacuous

Comment #81402

Posted by MP on February 22, 2006 12:46 AM (e)

I didn’t think the title made evangelicals and biologists seem mutually exclusive. Think of a Venn diagram. You’ve got your biologists not evangelical, evangelicals not biologist, and evangelical and biologist. The title says one side is small, the other is large, but it doesn’t really specify the interaction.

The article did mention a evangelical cell biologist.

Comment #81403

Posted by Registered User on February 22, 2006 1:20 AM (e)

Nice post Pim.

Dr. Salthe, who describes himself as an atheist, said that when he signed the petition he had no idea what the Discovery Institute was. Rather, he said, “I signed it in irritation.”

He said evolutionary biologists were unfairly suppressing any competing ideas. “They deserve to be prodded, as it were,” Dr. Salthe said. “It was my way of thumbing my nose at them.”

Wow, what a sad loser.

What are these competing “ideas” that are being suppressed?

Is he referring to the Triangle Theory of evolution which predicts that the Three Morboloks of Rolobolowallow 432.21 set the Gaping Stone in motion which provided the ramno-force to drive the event we now call the Cambrian Explosion?

Because that theory is certainly suppressed.

Comment #81406

Posted by Pete Dunkelberg on February 22, 2006 1:36 AM (e)

Just reproducing a comment from PZ’s

Jeremy Henty wrote:

We are skeptical of claims for the ability of random mutation and natural selection to account for the complexity of life.

What does this even mean?

It doesn’t mean anything. That’s the point. It’s a piece of bafflegab that gives the impression of dissent without saying anything factual that could actually be refuted.

I’ll bet these guys have read Othello. Remember how Iago tarnishes Cassio’s honour in everyone’s eyes by half-assedly defending it? They are playing the same trick; they behave as if skepticism needs defending from evolutionism and pray that the gullible will think they are acting in good faith.

Posted by: Jeremy Henty at Pharyngula

Comment #81410

Posted by Eugenie C. Scott on February 22, 2006 2:05 AM (e)

The DI “Scientists dissent from Darwinism” campaign is blatantly dishonest. The tepid statement signed by (now) 500 scientists is about natural selection, but the campaign isn’t “Scientists dissent from Natural Selection.” To most people, “Darwinism” equates to “evolution” (common ancestry), thus “Scientists Dissent from Darwinism” is understood to mean “scientists dissent from evolution.” Talk about bait and switch. One scientist asked to have his name withdrawn, after all, because he thought the statement he signed was about the limitations of natural selection, yet it was being used to persuade people that evolution was a “theory in crisis.”

If the DI was honest, it would restate its campaign to “scientists dissenting from global natural selection” but it sure wouldn’t have the cachet of “dissent from Darwinism.” But remember that in the ideology of Intelligent Design, Darwinism is an ism, an ideology, and ideologies are bad and not scientific. Referring to evolution as Darwinism (ideology) helps to paint evolution as atheism, a key goal of the ID movement. A Darwinist is a practitioner of the ideology of Darwinism in a way that a botanist is not a practitioner of botanism. If you look at the first and second editions of Pandas and People you will see a pattern of replacing the term evolution or evolutionist with Darwinism and Darwinist. It’s part of the rhetoric of ID to equate evolution with atheism, and effective, in my experience.

So one way we can thwart the DI’s efforts is to refer to people who study evolution as evolutionary biologists, rather than “Darwinists”, an imprecise term anyway. Does “Darwinism” refer to Darwin’s views in the 19th century? The synthetic theory? The current, post-synthetic theory world we live in today? So referring to “Darwinism” as a synonym of evolution is inaccurate anyway: we’ve gone way beyond Charles, good as he was. An evolutionary biologist studies evolutionary biology. Just like we don’t say we “believe” in evolution, we need to train ourselves away from using Darwinism/ist in a fashion that confuses the public.

Comment #81412

Posted by Mike Walker on February 22, 2006 2:09 AM (e)

Not all evangelicals are fundamentalists. Perhaps most are in the USA, but there is a strand of liberal evangelicalism which is much less interested in issues concerning evolution and science. As the name suggests, evangelicals are people who evangelize–spread the Gospel–and a good number of these people do not concern themselves with issues that concern us.

It’s the fundamentalists, or more specifically the Biblical fundamentalists, who are the biggest opponents of evolution in this country.

Comment #81414

Posted by Sir_Toejam on February 22, 2006 2:16 AM (e)

To most people, “Darwinism” equates to “evolution” (common ancestry), thus “Scientists Dissent from Darwinism” is understood to mean “scientists dissent from evolution.” Talk about bait and switch.

what’s really funny here is that many (most?) of the “leaders” of the ID movement have gone on record as saying that the evidence for common descent is undeniable.

for example, I have Dembski saying this in a debate between he and Ruse last year, and it has become “de-facto” knowledge that the DI actually supports this claim.

will the irony never end?

hey Eugenie! I left a couple of questions for you in the other thread you posted in if you get a chance.

cheers

Comment #81416

Posted by PvM on February 22, 2006 2:25 AM (e)

Good point Eugenie. Loved your presentation in St Louis. I did not mention you in the original posting since at that time only powerpoints were available and you had none. Now it seems that most media is available, including realvideo files of the speakers.

As far as skeptical of Darwinism or skeptical of natural selection and mutation being sufficient, this indeed seems open to ‘bait and switch’. Then again, the use of vague terms or the redefinition of terms seems a common approach by ID activists. Information/Complexity is a good example. But there are more: Specified complexity refers to nothing more than a function system with lacking details as to how it may have arisen, thus triggering a ‘design inference’. Or “purposeful arrangement of parts” meaning nothing more than a functional system. Or the conflation between methodological and philosophical naturalism…. Plenty of examples.

The scientific vacuity of Intelligent Design seems self evident. And thanks to the hard work of people like you, the media and the people seem to be starting to get it. I have seen countless editorials critical of intelligent design in the recent days.

What some predicted to be the Waterloo for evolutionary theory has become a rallying point where scientists, educators and clergy are standing up for good science, good education and solid faith.

‘Teaching the controversy’ is going to be the next step but the breadcrumbs left behind trace nicely back to its creationist origins.

Comment #81417

Posted by PvM on February 22, 2006 2:31 AM (e)

I have Dembski saying this in a debate between he and Ruse last year, and it has become “de-facto” knowledge that the DI actually supports this claim.

Except when it comes to humans, then suddenly common descent is rejected.

I am not sure that ID proponents are on the record to support common descent. Just read about their fascination with Woese for instance. Check out Paul Nelson and even Dembski. Although Dembski over cut and pastes someone else’s post without much commentary it seems clear to me that Dembski is still not on board.

Or this one

Comment: The most prominent design theorist, Michael Behe, is on record to holding to common descent (the evolutionary interrelatedness of all organisms back to a common ancestor). No design theorist I know wants to teach that evolution didn’t happen. There is a question about the extent of evolution, but that is a question being raised by non-ID scientists. Carl Woese in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences just a few weeks ago published a piece where he explicitly rejects common descent. What ID proponents want is to teach is the evidence for evolution as well as whatever evidence places limits on evolutionary change (like Carl Woese’s idea of lateral gene transfer). Scott and Branch are here merely playing on fears of school boards and educators.

A curious misreading of Woese in so many ways.

Comment #81419

Posted by Sir_Toejam on February 22, 2006 2:45 AM (e)

I am not sure that ID proponents are on the record to support common descent.

hmm, then why does dembski say he supports the evidence for common descent in every public debate since his debate with Ruse last year?

why did he reinforce this on his blog last month, and sick his “bulldog” DaveScott on anybody who said otherwise?

no, they are simply trying to pain themselves as having a different “interpretation” of the evidence for common descent, namely that common descent has nothing to do with the theory of evolution.

Interesting you hadn’t seen this. would you like me to send you the Ruse/Dembski debate i saved so you could catch his exact words?

or i could simply post it and you could d/l it from my server.

just a note, it took someone else to dispell my disbelief that Dembski would ever say such a thing, but there it was.

Since, you can see it has become de-riguer to repeat that ID “accepts common descent” over on UD, and other places besides.

go over to ISCID and ask him yourself, if you want.

It’s just another bait-and-switch, just like all the other things, just at a new level.

Comment #81420

Posted by Sir_Toejam on February 22, 2006 2:54 AM (e)

hmm, thinking about this further, and looking at the quotes you list, these damn near entirely contradict the posts he made on the same subject right around the time he started telling DS to “tow the line” on the evidence FOR common descent, as well as what he said in the Dembski/Ruse debate.

this sounds like a debate for the Uncommon Pissant thread!

I’m going to take it there and see what the general consesus is. Come on and hop in the pool, Pim!

the question will be:

Does WD accept the evidence for common descent, and what is his official postion regarding the validity of it?

Comment #81427

Posted by gengar on February 22, 2006 5:09 AM (e)

Not all evangelicals are fundamentalists. Perhaps most are in the USA, but there is a strand of liberal evangelicalism which is much less interested in issues concerning evolution and science. As the name suggests, evangelicals are people who evangelize—spread the Gospel—and a good number of these people do not concern themselves with issues that concern us.

It’s been my experience in the UK that many evangelicals have literalist sympathies, even if they are less strident about it than than the true fundamentalists - it seems that (my speculation) many have trouble imagining a personal relationship with the god who created the universe described by science.

Comment #81438

Posted by Peter Henderson on February 22, 2006 6:37 AM (e)

I’ve heard Andy C. McIntosh interviewed on BBC Radio Ulster’s Sunday Sequence a while back, along with Ronald Numbers. My impressions of him weren’t great. Basically he seemed to shout Ronald Numbers down and he came over as quite an arrogant person but that’s just my personal opinion. He’s listed on AIG’s website as a scientist who is also a creationist but what a combustion engineer knows about biology, geology or astronomy is beyond me.

The thing that I’ve always wondered about young earth creationists is why they don’t ask the question:”If the Earth really were only a few thousand years old surely secular scientists, and atheists etc. would also be discovering overwhelming evidence to back this up ?” But they’re not. How many scientists that are not fundamentalist Christians believe that the Earth and Universe are only a few thousand years old ? I haven’t come across any yet. Maybe groups like AIG or Kent Hovind’s outfit know different. Perhaps they could name them and maybe point us to their websites . But they can’t and they don’t because they’re aren’t any.

It is for this reason that I firmly believe that Young Earth Creationism is purely a religious belief and not scientific. If it were people like Richard Dawkins would be coming to the same conclusions.

Comment #81439

Posted by Frank J on February 22, 2006 6:45 AM (e)

PvM wrote:

A curious misreading of Woese in so many ways.

You mean misrepresenting of Woese.

My usual boilerplate: I’m still not convinced that anyone who signed the statement “disbelieves” evolution as we know it. They just have to be willing to lie about it. And extreme religious conviction (paranoia?) provides ample motive for that.

So it could still be that only the “rubes” truly “disbelieve” evolution, if only because they have been so misled about it. Let’s ask ourselves a simple question: If most signers really thought that the evidence favored another mechanism, and/or independent origin of “kinds”, and/or an alternate age of Earth, wouldn’t they dismiss the statement as unacceptably ambiguous?

Comment #81440

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on February 22, 2006 7:15 AM (e)

I will simply point out once again the fact that the Nazis published a book about “Jewish science” titled “100 Scientists Against Einstein”.

And I will once again point out Einstein’s response: “If the theory were really wrong, just one would suffice”.

(shrug)

Comment #81443

Posted by guthrie on February 22, 2006 7:28 AM (e)

Relatedly, with all th epro ID letters to my local newspaper, I tried to google the names and locations of said correspondents. About half of them appeared online in some way or another, whether in news reports, local newspaper articles, forums etc. All the pro ID people I found were religiously oriented, and were church ministers, involved in evangelical work, or some related topic. So, extrapolating, Lenny is generally correct about them shooting themselvs in the head.

Comment #81444

Posted by Michael Roberts on February 22, 2006 7:41 AM (e)

Andy McKintosh is the most active British YEC at present. He even gave a “churches” talk at the Darwin Festival in Shrewsbury this month, where YECs and IDers are getting a foothold arguing for blalance.

McK wrote “Genesis for Today” with a scientific appendices with lots of errors/ porkies on science like saying radiometric dating can only be done on igneous rock

Shortly he is leading meetings at an Anglican church near Oxford.

Please not that numbers of evangelicals are sensible on this , like me and members of Christians in Science eg RJ Berry and of the ASA

It is amazing how this nonsense has taken over throughout the world

Comment #81445

Posted by Anton Mates on February 22, 2006 7:41 AM (e)

Peter Henderson wrote:

The thing that I’ve always wondered about young earth creationists is why they don’t ask the question:”If the Earth really were only a few thousand years old surely secular scientists, and atheists etc. would also be discovering overwhelming evidence to back this up?”

I think the YEC answer is “They are, but they’re beholden to the secular atheist Marxist homosexualist conspiracy and blinded by faith, so they either ignore the overwhelming evidence or hush it up.”

These, are, after all, the people who think that there’s abundant evidence of humans and dinosaurs hanging out together and paleontologists are just too dumb to notice. They don’t accept the principle that scientists of different worldviews should be able to come to the same conclusion based on the evidence.

Comment #81451

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on February 22, 2006 8:14 AM (e)

What will be their next move? I would predict that it will be to sidestep the issue entirely and push for private/religious school vouchers and homeschooling.

That won’t help them, though. After all, it’s not THEIR kids they want to indoctrinate – it’s YOURS. They need to be in public schools to be effective in their goals.

They’ve already made their next move, in the various bills that require either “teach the controversy about evolution and, uh, global warming” or “teach the scientific controversies about, uh, everything”. Oddly, the “teach the controversy” Trojan horse, which was itself a Trojan horse for the ID Trojan horse, now needs its OWN Trojan horse.

Alas for them, the only way for them now to get their “teach the controversy” crap into schools is to utterly empty of it any content whatsover.

Also, alas for them, no matter HOW they want to introduce their “controversy” crap, they sooner or later will have to explain to everyone just what the heck the “controversy” they want to teach **IS** – and as soon as they do, it will turn out to be the same old creationist/ID crap that’s already been rejected by the courts.

ID is dead. Their sole and only hope for a resurrection is if the Supreme Court decides that theocracy is OK after all in our, uh, “Christian nation”.

And if THAT happens, then “evolution” and “science education” will quickly become the LEAST of our problems.

Comment #81458

Posted by Bob Maurus on February 22, 2006 8:39 AM (e)

I haven’t heard anything lately about the “Sudden Emergence Theory”. Are they having some trouble, in the aftermath of the Kitzmiller trainwreck, getting it of the ground?

Comment #81462

Posted by wamba on February 22, 2006 8:48 AM (e)

So when The Discovery officials pointed out that there are in fact scientists who have signed the petition but who do not hold conservative religious beliefs, and identified two: Berlinski and Salthe.

You covered Salthe’s lack of endorsement of IDC in your posting, but it gets better. Check the quote from Berlinski, In this Sep. 27, 2005 Knight-Ridder article

David Berlinski, a mathematician and senior fellow of the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture and a sharp critic of neo-Darwinism, also signed the statement of dissent. But in an e-mail message, Berlinski declared, “I have never endorsed intelligent design.”

Berlinski is a Senior Fellow at the Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture.

Comment #81464

Posted by wamba on February 22, 2006 8:56 AM (e)

How important are these lists of scientists? Let’s see what Bruce Chapman of the Discovery Institute has to say in the NYTimes article:

“Early on, the critics said there was nobody who disbelieved Darwin’s theory except for rubes in the woods,” said Bruce Chapman, president of the institute. “How many does it take to be a noticeable minority — 10, 50, 100, 500?”

For an opposing point of view, let’s turn to Bruce Chapman of the Discovery Institute, in the same article, after the interviewer mentions Project Steve:

Mr. Chapman of that institute said the opposing petitions were beside the point. “We never claimed we’re in a fight for numbers,” he said.

Comment #81471

Posted by Moses on February 22, 2006 9:52 AM (e)

Comment #81388

Posted by senatorchunk on February 22, 2006 12:01 AM (e)

Man, I’m as opposed to ID as much as the next guy, but the I have to say the title of that article is obnxious. What, are evangelicals and biologists mutually exclusive categories ?

Human nature puts them in self-sorting camps. So while it is, theoretically, possible for all biologists to be evangelicals, it’s not going to happen more than once in a great while.

Comment #81473

Posted by Russell on February 22, 2006 10:16 AM (e)

Eugenie Scott wrote:

So one way we can thwart the DI’s efforts is to refer to people who study evolution as evolutionary biologists, rather than “Darwinists”, an imprecise term anyway

This, of course, is just the most obvious of the DI’s word games.

I commented yesterday that I doubted that clarity was ever a real goal of church spokesmen. Always better to be mysterious and fuzzy, so you can never be called just plain wrong. Your opposition just doesn’t quite get the subtlety of your point. It’s no coincidence that the DI uses the same approach.

If there were Oscars for deceptive word games, though, I think the DI would win, hands down, for their virtuoso performance in making “the” bear the weight of the lie in their slogan, “teach the controversy”.

By the way, though, I want to be an equal opportunity curmudgeon and take the NY Times to task for their questionable use of “evangelicals” in the headline. As others have already commented, that’s not the point. Just ask Keith Miller.

Comment #81475

Posted by steve s on February 22, 2006 10:31 AM (e)

Comment #81443

Posted by guthrie on February 22, 2006 07:28 AM (e)

Relatedly, with all th epro ID letters to my local newspaper, I tried to google the names and locations of said correspondents. About half of them appeared online in some way or another, whether in news reports, local newspaper articles, forums etc. All the pro ID people I found were religiously oriented, and were church ministers, involved in evangelical work, or some related topic. So, extrapolating, Lenny is generally correct about them shooting themselvs in the head.

If you care about science, and thwarting the ID movement, you know what to do when a nearby school board starts talking creationism. It’s easy, cheap, doesn’t take much time. You go attend a board meeting, and try to publicly ask the creationist board members questions which’ll provoke creationist statements. “Mr. School Board Member Bob, I don’t believe I evolutionized outta two mosquitoes and a mud puddle. Don’t you think kids should be told that we were made by the Creator? You know, like tell em that all scientifically?”. If you need to blend in, just wear this Rusty Wallace / Miller Lite hat:

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&am…

Provoking school board members into public statements about how kids need to hear about Jesus will drop the fly into the ointment.

Comment #81476

Posted by Russell on February 22, 2006 10:33 AM (e)

So when The Discovery officials pointed out that there are in fact scientists who have signed the petition but who do not hold conservative religious beliefs, and identified two: Berlinski and Salthe.

Berlinski is a scientist? In what sense? Does he make that claim, or is that just DI spin?

Anyway, I’ve read enough of Berlinski’s thoughts on evolution to know they’re a total waste of time. I don’t know Salthe’s argument, but from what I’ve read here and elsewhere, getting to the bottom of his views is low on my list of priorities.

What I would like to understand better is Lynn Margulis’s war of words with “neo-Darwinist bullies”. She’s often quoted by DI types for that, as part of their campaign to confuse the public about what “the” controversy really is. And probably, somewhere, she’s explained in detail exactly where she parts company with, or exactly how she defines, “neo-Darwinism”. But if anyone can point me to it, I’d be grateful. In the meantime, I’m not sure whether I’m a “neo-Darwinist” or not.

Comment #81483

Posted by PaulC on February 22, 2006 10:59 AM (e)

What, are evangelicals and biologists mutually exclusive categories ?

No, and the only way to get that out of the headline is to project it into it in the first place.

Someone else already explained this in terms of set theory, so I’ll try a more concrete approach. Suppose, hypothetically, you read a headline: Few Firefighters but Many Electricians Oppose New Building Code. What would you conclude from that? That firefighters and electricians are mutually exclusive? Not only would that probably be false (are any electricians also volunteer firefighters?) but it is not implied in any way by the headline. The headline is also not disparaging of electricians with relation to firefighters, and there is no way to read it as such unless you think so already.

Now suppose, again hypothetically, that article under the headline discussed a petition claiming that some proposed new building code would not help and might actually harm fire safety, was therefore a bad idea, and should not be enacted. Wouldn’t it really be pertinent to this piece if the signers were mostly electricians and if few firefighters signed on? You might conclude that the intent of the petition had nothing whatsoever to do with fire safety and the electricians signing it had some other agenda (not to knock electricians, but nobody likes having new regulations foisted on them).

The above is roughly analogous to the headline and the piece that follows it. The headline is only insulting to people with an axe to grind; it is merely a statement of fact. It beats the old “opinions on the shape of earth differ” approach employed, for instance, in another article by Kenneth Chang last August (huh, maybe he learned something).

I think it’s one of the best headlines I’ve read on the whole ID issue. In many ways, it is superior to the article itself, which creates more of an equivalence between views than ID merits. It’s also attention grabbing, and if some evangelical wants to claim that it singles them out unfairly, I would ask that in that case why’d it just work out by coincidence that so many signers were evangelical Christians. With all the dissent supposedly based on purely scientific grounds, the folks at DI really should have been able to get a more representative sample of life scientists on board, right?

Comment #81484

Posted by guthrie on February 22, 2006 10:59 AM (e)

Good idea, Steve S.

The problem is I live in Edinburgh, Scotland, UK.
;)

Comment #81489

Posted by steve s on February 22, 2006 11:20 AM (e)

Oh, I just meant if the opportunity arises. While I live in the little techno/educated part of NC, some nearby school board could join in the creationism, and I’d put on my Darrell Waltrip hat and drive on over. The creationists are hamstrung by the fact that if they’re going to put the district through some hassle, they have to convey to the voters that it’s all for jesus, lest they lose support. So the thing to do is provoke this out of them, publicly. If you can get this out of them before Casey Luskin gets them on the phone and tells them to shut it, the rest, as Bill Dembski would say, follows as a matter of course.

Comment #81501

Posted by Mr Christopher on February 22, 2006 12:04 PM (e)

Has the DI spun this Times article yet?

Comment #81503

Posted by PvM on February 22, 2006 12:07 PM (e)

Christopher, the DI did a pre-emptive strike when it knew Chang was preparing the article and he had interviewed DI members.
Seems they could not believe that Chang did not show more reverence for their list of 500 ‘scientists’

Comment #81508

Posted by Mike Walker on February 22, 2006 12:28 PM (e)

The thing that I’ve always wondered about young earth creationists is why they don’t ask the question:”If the Earth really were only a few thousand years old surely secular scientists, and atheists etc. would also be discovering overwhelming evidence to back this up ?” But they’re not.

Because most, if not all, YECs either aren’t interested in the truth or are so duped by their pastor, church, or organizations like AIG that the already believe there is overwhelming evidence that the Earth is only thousands of years old.

That so many otherwise bright and intelligent people (I know some) can be so stubbornly ignorant on this issue speaks volumes for the depth of indoctrination they unknowingly suffer from. (Of course, they will say exactly the same about us.) As has been discussed many times before, there is little hope that YECs will ever turn around unless they are first persuaded that Biblical literalism is either untenable or unnecessary.

Comment #81512

Posted by BWE on February 22, 2006 12:42 PM (e)

Amazing. Christians overwhelmingly support Christianity.

Comment #81555

Posted by Andy H. on February 22, 2006 3:29 PM (e)

Considering the great importance that is attached to scientists’ – particularly biologists’ – opinions about the evolution-ID controversy, why aren’t formal random polls of scientists on this subject more frequently conducted ? The only such polls that I could find on the Internet are outdated – a 2002 poll of Ohio scientists and a questionable 2003 poll of New Mexico scientists. Because of all the publicity about evolution and ID in the past year, there is a good chance that many scientists have since rethought their opinions on the controversy. The Ohio and NM polls are discussed on –
http://www.ncseweb.org/resources/articles/733_oh…
– and –
http://www.cesame-nm.org/announcement/IDnet_Poll…

In contrast, the general public was formally randomly polled about evolution at least six times just in the period Nov. 2004 – Oct. 2005. See
http://www.pollingreport.com/science.htm
– and –
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/31/national/31rel…

An anonymous poll of scientists also has the advantage that the respondents would not feel under pressure to conform. It is ridiculous to have to depend on these signed letters from the Discovery Institute and the National Center for Science Education (i.e., the NCSE’s “Project Steve”).

Comment #81410
Posted by Eugenie C. Scott on February 22, 2006 02:05 AM

The DI “Scientists dissent from Darwinism” campaign is blatantly dishonest. The tepid statement signed by (now) 500 scientists is about natural selection, but the campaign isn’t “Scientists dissent from Natural Selection.”

The statement is not just about natural selection, but is also about random mutation. The statement said, in part, “We are skeptical of claims for the ability of random mutation and natural selection to account for the complexity of life.” To me, random mutation is the more questionable of the two – natural selection is just survival of the fittest. Anyway, saying “Scientists dissent from Natural Selection” would have been dishonest, because that is not what the statement indicated.

To most people, “Darwinism” equates to “evolution” (common ancestry), thus “Scientists Dissent from Darwinism” is understood to mean “scientists dissent from evolution.”

It is true that there is no agreement on what “Darwinism” really means, but those who want to know exactly what the scientists signed need only read the statement.

Comment #81388
Posted by senatorchunk on February 22, 2006 12:01 AM

Man, I’m as opposed to ID as much as the next guy, but the I have to say the title of that article is obnxious. What, are evangelicals and biologists mutually exclusive categories ?

Not only are they not mutually exclusive categories, but they are not even in the same kind of category – “biologist” describes an occupation whereas “evangelical” generally does not. The title emphasized brevity at the expense of clarity.

Comment #81559

Posted by PaulC on February 22, 2006 3:57 PM (e)

Andy H.

Not only are they not mutually exclusive categories, but they are not even in the same kind of category — “biologist” describes an occupation whereas “evangelical” generally does not.

And does the headline make an implicit suggestion that they are supposed to be the same category? Here’s a sentence: “More phlebotomists than bow-tie wearers signed my petition.” I am suggesting nothing about these categories by making this statement. Nevertheless it has perfectly well defined semantics. I could have, for instance, a petition signed by 100 phlebotomists, and 10 bow-tie wearers, 3 of whom happen to be phlebotomists.

So please explain what your problem is with this headline except that you find it irritating.

Comment #81560

Posted by Rilke's Granddaughter on February 22, 2006 4:13 PM (e)

So please explain what your problem is with this headline except that you find it irritating.

Larry doesn’t have a problem with the headline. He’s just pathetically lonely and wants somebody to talk to. Exactly why he finds us ‘sympathetic’ to his content-free ramblings done while violating every rule in the place is beyond me.

But I suppose it keeps him off the streets, and it’s at least as good as Major Houlihan….

Comment #81593

Posted by Tony Jackson on February 22, 2006 6:24 PM (e)

Mark Toleman says: “Despite almost constant text book bashing and evolutionary brain-washing throughout my education the general theory of evolution has always appeared to me as no more than a fashionable belief”.

er.. could this be the same Mark Toleman who publishes work on the evolution of bacterial antibiotic resistance as in here:
“Toleman MA, Rolston K, Jones RN, Walsh TR. blaVIM-7, an evolutionarily distinct metallo-beta-lactamase gene in a Pseudomonas aeruginosa isolate from the United States. Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2004 Jan;48(1):329-32”.

“…to hold simultaneously two opinions which cancelled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them,….. to forget whatever it was necessary to forget…That was the ultimate subtlety: consciously to induce unconsciousness, and then, once again, to become unconscious of the act of hypnosis you had just performed. Even to understand the word ‘doublethink’ involved the use of doublethink.”

George Orwell 1984

Comment #81599

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on February 22, 2006 7:02 PM (e)

Provoking school board members into public statements about how kids need to hear about Jesus will drop the fly into the ointment.

Generally, there’s no need to provoke them — they’re more than happy to preach at every available opportunity. Indeed, the fact that they can’t shut up about it, is why they keep losing so many court cases. (shrug)

But if you do want to provoke them, innocently asking at a board meeting “Hey, I’ve heard that this guy Behe says that a space alien in a flying saucer made us”, should elicit the desired response.

Comment #81603

Posted by BWE on February 22, 2006 7:26 PM (e)

But provoking them provides Sooooooo much cheap entertainment. Besides, it’s fun to see how creative you can be in provoking them. WHat else is there?

Comment #81615

Posted by jason spaceman on February 22, 2006 8:54 PM (e)

Canadian scientists want out of Darwin’s ‘rut’

Tom Blackwell, National Post
Published: Wednesday, February 22, 2006

A handful of Canadian scientists are speaking out against evolution as an explanation for all of life as we know it, saying the complexity of living things simply cannot be attributed to biological chance.

Nine university professors and others with science or engineering PhDs have added their names to an American petition that voices skepticism about the theory of evolution. The list was posted on the Internet this week.

At least two of the scientists teach at Christian universities, while another runs an organization dedicated to the links between Islam and science.

Some of those contacted yesterday acknowledged their doubts about Darwinism coincide with their religious beliefs, and espoused the controversial idea of “intelligent design” – that some guiding hand was behind life on Earth. But one molecular biologist said he is convinced that science is stuck in an evolutionary “rut” and must seek better explanations for the existence of elaborate biological structures.

“I look at biology as being a very complicated computer code,” said Stephen Cheesman, a geophysics PhD and software developer who compares genetic systems to languages created by humans.

“There is no way I could create a code like this….. In the DNA, you have a novel, a long novel, spelled out, which produces us.”

The scientists’ public positions against evolution mark perhaps the first time the issue has arisen recently in Canada, despite a raging debate in the United States over the teaching of evolution in public schools.

Comment #81617

Posted by Sir_Toejam on February 22, 2006 9:01 PM (e)

Nine university professors and others with science or engineering PhDs

right… typical media; focus on the 9 rather than the 9000 that support evolutionary theory.

However, I the increasing frequency with which i see the title “engineer” attached to ID supporters is starting to make me change my mind about engineering in general. it’s definetly time to start doing a better job of teaching engineers what science is in grad school, evidently.

Comment #81621

Posted by Flint on February 22, 2006 9:20 PM (e)

Sir Toejam:

the increasing frequency with which i see the title “engineer” attached to ID supporters is starting to make me change my mind about engineering in general. it’s definetly time to start doing a better job of teaching engineers what science is in grad school, evidently.

This is a long way from being evident to me. What we’re seeing here is a recruitment function. Most evangelical fundamentalists (read:creationists) don’t go into any technical fields at all. Those who do, tend to avoid those fields that directly conflict with their faith.

A recent issue of Science spends a few pages discussing (1) The appalling percentage of students entering college who profess YEC beliefs, and (2) the stunning resistence of these beliefs in the face of really any course of instruction they experience. Even those students of evolutionary biology were 25% YEC going into the course, and still over 20% coming out of it. Engineering is a place where you can get a good technical degree without running into any evolution.

And here is the point: once the entering college student is *already* a creationist, not all the instruction about what science is in the world shakes that belief. Kurt Wise got a PhD under Gould, and was apparently an excellent student who understood both biology and science quite thoroughly. Did bupkis for his sanity. Jonathan Wells achieved pretty much the same.

Again, your claim seems to imply that if only they were exposed to right thinking, they’d have dropped their silly superstitions as unsupportable nonsense. But we see that for a solid minority, it’s exactly the opposite: faith trumps reality every time. So I guess we need to keep repeating: beliefs not based on evidence cannot be cured with evidence, beliefs not based on reason can’t be cured with reason. Not with ANY AMOUNT of this stuff.

Comment #81623

Posted by Sir_Toejam on February 22, 2006 9:34 PM (e)

yes, i too read the article, and it makes some good points about the resistance fundamentalism has to education (like bacterial resistance to antibiotics?) but it’s not applicable to what i’m talking about here.

Engineering is a place where you can get a good technical degree without running into any evolution.

remember that thread a while back where i was surprised to discover that pretty much ALL of the engineering grads who posted in it said that they had a very poor level of training in even what the “scientific method” is?

that’s what i’m talking about; the kind of elementary errors i keep seeing go beyond a misunderstanding of evolutionary theory, right on to a complete misunderstanding of the very nature of science itself.

note that’s why i specified “science” and not “evolutionary theory”.

moreover, there are lots of fields out there that don’t deal with evolutionary biology (physical chemistry, physics, mathematics, etc.), yet we see a preponderance of “engineers” being mentioned as ID supporters.

it sure begins to sound like i was wrong in that earlier thread about that being just a superfluous pattern, when you see it repeated on paper over and over again.

Comment #81624

Posted by Sir_Toejam on February 22, 2006 9:36 PM (e)

But we see that for a solid minority, it’s exactly the opposite: faith trumps reality every time.

indeed. shall we give up on the majority who could be then?

sometimes i think you post these things just to vex me.

Comment #81628

Posted by Air Bear on February 22, 2006 10:02 PM (e)

Sir Toejam wrote:

the increasing frequency with which i see the title “engineer” attached to ID supporters is starting to make me change my mind about engineering in general.

In the past 25 years I’ve worked with many evangelical/fundamentalist engineers. Odd thing is that they’re all methodological naturalists in their work. I’ve never heard a single one of them call on Divine intercession to change the operating specs of an IC chip or make a program run faster.

And “Rev” Flank wrote:

ID is dead. Their sole and only hope for a resurrection is if the Supreme Court decides that theocracy is OK after all in our, uh, “Christian nation”.

I see this as a very real possibility. In a few years, the Supreme Court will be ruling that there’s nothing wrong with teaching religious notions in public schools. This will come with a set of “controls” and “caveats”, but will be enough to make all of the anti-evolution-is-regiously-motivated arguments moot.

Comment #81629

Posted by Sir_Toejam on February 22, 2006 10:14 PM (e)

Odd thing is that they’re all methodological naturalists in their work. I’ve never heard a single one of them call on Divine intercession to change the operating specs of an IC chip or make a program run faster.

I’m confused; are you saying that fundie engineers are hypocrites, or that none of them are really fundamentalists in the sense that the ones who sign on to the ID agenda are?

Comment #81631

Posted by Flint on February 22, 2006 10:34 PM (e)

Sir Toejam:

I’m confused; are you saying that fundie engineers are hypocrites, or that none of them are really fundamentalists in the sense that the ones who sign on to the ID agenda are?

While I’m confused about some of this as well, I can relate my own experiences. I too work with several engineers who are ardent creationists. But in their daily work, they are indeed methodological naturalists, their thinking is rigorously logical, they demand evidence and draw conclusions from it with great skill so long as none of the doctrines of their faith are threatened. But as soon as that line is crossed, it’s straight through the looking glass.

I think of it as a blind spot, a territory roped off through which Morton’s Demon cannot penetrate. They aren’t stupid, or illogical, or hypocritical. They can tell you fairly coherently what science is, and are entirely articulate about the importance of testability, the probability of correctness, etc. They are, by and large, scientifically ioriented if not well educated. But as for articles of their creationist faith, none of that stuff matters or even relates. Their eyes glaze over, they are overcome with Absolute Truth ™ and they simply cannot question anything about their Received Wisdom.

And when they’re in this state, you can ask them about evidence and it doesn’t matter. This is important to emphasize, probably more than my mere words can do. Evidence DOES NOT MATTER! It’s utterly, totally irrelevant. We’re not talking here about reality, or probabilities, or logical inferences, or testable propositions, we’re taking about the friggin’ Word Of Fucking God, against which nothing else matters.

But change the subject back to the failure mode of this particular board, and they snap right back to collecting data, forming hypotheses, deriving appropriate tests, etc. It’s like, totally weird.

I haven’t said anything about giving up on the majority. But creationists are very common around these parts, and they have to do *something* for a living. Education does not cure creationism.

Comment #81632

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on February 22, 2006 10:35 PM (e)

In a few years, the Supreme Court will be ruling that there’s nothing wrong with teaching religious notions in public schools. This will come with a set of “controls” and “caveats”, but will be enough to make all of the anti-evolution-is-regiously-motivated arguments moot.

At that point, I submit, we will no longer be a nation under constitutional law, and we as citizens will be justified on doing whatever becomes necessary to restore democracy and the rule of constitutional law.

Comment #81641

Posted by Paul on February 22, 2006 11:40 PM (e)

I am not a scientist or even claim that I know a lot about carbon dating. What I keep hearing from the ID/Creation side is that carbon dating is flawed in some way. The part I have not heard (maybe I haven’t read enough) is how do ID/Creationist followers do their dating estimates on say fossil remains. And if I am not mistaken the scientific method involves review (further testing - has this been done?) of theories (carbon dating) and have any new dating technologies been introduced and tested (validated by the larger community)? Any information is greatly appreciated.

Comment #81644

Posted by KL on February 22, 2006 11:56 PM (e)

To Paul:

To check out the basics of radioisotope dating, start with talkorigins.org. You can’t find a better repository of information on any thing related to subjects regarding Earth age, fossils, creationism, etc. Many outside links as well. Check out their FAQ’s. Sorry I couldn’t make that a link; I am still having issues over my school’s copy machine, which does what I tell it to do rather than what I want…I’m soooo technologically challenged.

Comment #81657

Posted by Air Bear on February 23, 2006 1:06 AM (e)

Sir Toejam wrote:

I’m confused; are you saying that fundie engineers are hypocrites, or that none of them are really fundamentalists in the sense that the ones who sign on to the ID agenda are?

Flint gave a more eloquent answer than I could.

I’ll try to struggle through a few propositions/assertions:

- Many, even most, people are comfortable with different ways of thinking. A former neighbor of mine was a manager of a printed circuit board production line by day and an actor in avant-garde theater by night. He didn’t bother to even try to reconcile the two worlds.

- Even the most religious people, when they actually need to get something done in the mundane world, will rely on methodological naturalism. On some level of conciousness, they’ve learned that methodological naturalism actually produces results.

Are they hypocrites for abandoning their faith in an imminent and effective God when they need real results? That’s a matter of semantics. I’d just say that many if not most people don’t even try to reconcile such contradictions, especially when it doesn’t impinge on what they need to accomplish every day. (Or you could just say that many people are unreflective fools.)

As for the relative standing of amateur vs. professional fundamentalists, I don’t think that fundie engineers are any less fundamentalist than fundies who’ve actively taken up ID or creationism as a profession. The latter have just made a different career choice, or got swept up in a thousand little choices where they find themselves in a role. They’re just hawking a product, like lobbyists for the oil industry are.

Comment #81662

Posted by Registered User on February 23, 2006 1:22 AM (e)

Air Bear

Even the most religious people, when they actually need to get something done in the mundane world, will rely on methodological naturalism. On some level of conciousness, they’ve learned that methodological naturalism actually produces results.

Are they hypocrites for abandoning their faith in an imminent and effective God when they need real results? That’s a matter of semantics.

I’d say the better question is: are they hypocrites for attacking methodological naturalism as a tool for living and understanding reality?

The answer is yes and there ain’t no semanticizing one’s way out of it.

The only remaining issue is how much hypocricy can you take?

My tolerance is fairly low. I don’t think that’s unhealthy.

Comment #81663

Posted by Registered User on February 23, 2006 1:24 AM (e)

Flint

We’re not talking here about reality, or probabilities, or logical inferences, or testable propositions, we’re taking about the friggin’ Word Of Fucking God, against which nothing else matters.

Remember, Flint: the children.

Comment #81676

Posted by Popper's Ghost on February 23, 2006 2:22 AM (e)

Man, I’m as opposed to ID as much as the next guy, but the I have to say the title of that article is obnxious. What, are evangelicals and biologists mutually exclusive categories ?

Uh, think “There were many dogs, but few poodles, at the dog show.” That doesn’t imply that dogs and poodles are mutually exclusive.

I understand the point, but the title is lame. And gives the NY Times a bad name.

There’s lameness here, but not on the part of NYT.

Comment #81715

Posted by Frank J on February 23, 2006 7:07 AM (e)

Sir_Toejam wrote:

Does WD accept the evidence for common descent, and what is his official postion regarding the validity of it?

Apologies if duplicate answer. AIUI, Woese thinks life archaea and eubacteria originated independently and that eukaryotes were a “synthesis” thereof (not exactly abiogenesis). That of course has no bearing on the Cambrian explosion, human-other ape common ancestry, etc. But that doesn’t stop the DI from exploiting the common confusion.

If the DI really had a scientific objection to common descent it would challenge Behe, not misrepresent Woese.

Comment #81725

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on February 23, 2006 7:47 AM (e)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'quote'

Comment #81726

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on February 23, 2006 7:49 AM (e)

I am not a scientist or even claim that I know a lot about carbon dating. What I keep hearing from the ID/Creation side is that carbon dating is flawed in some way. The part I have not heard (maybe I haven’t read enough) is how do ID/Creationist followers do their dating estimates on say fossil remains. And if I am not mistaken the scientific method involves review (further testing - has this been done?) of theories (carbon dating) and have any new dating technologies been introduced and tested (validated by the larger community)? Any information is greatly appreciated.

My standard response to all the creationist “radiodating is wrong” baloney is at:

http://www.geocities.com/lflank/radiodte.htm

Comment #81736

Posted by Savagemutt on February 23, 2006 8:57 AM (e)

steve s wrote:

While I live in the little techno/educated part of NC, some nearby school board could join in the creationism

Don’t get too complacent. The Triangle’s own Rep. J. Russell Capps once tried to introduce a Creationism bill in the N.C. House. It was endorsed by former Gov. Jim Martin, who wrote a letter to the N&O explaining that evolution violated (wait for it) the second (you know whats coming) law of (oh, boy I never tire of this one) thermodynamics. And Martin should know, since he was once a professional tuba player.

Comment #81738

Posted by Raging Bee on February 23, 2006 9:11 AM (e)

The Once And Future Larry New Names Make Me A Man Of Mystery Farfalarfadingdangdung wrote:

…why aren’t formal random polls of scientists on this subject more frequently conducted ? The only such polls that I could find on the Internet are outdated — a 2002 poll of Ohio scientists and a questionable 2003 poll of… etc. etc. blah blah blah…

We’ve already gone over the fact that scientists use research, observation, experimentation, and peer-reviewed papers instead of polls to establish consensus. The fact that Larry is bringing this nonsense up all over again – without even changing the wording – proves that he’s nothing more than a sorry old crankcase, running out of steam, with an empty mind and nothing better to do. (If he’s being dishonest rather than merely pathetic, then he’s the most incompetent crook I’ve ever encountered.)

Get help, Larry. Or at least get a good hooker. Yes, her orgasm will be faked, but so are your ideas, so that shouldn’t be any big deal.

Comment #81739

Posted by Flint on February 23, 2006 9:16 AM (e)

Registered User:

I’d say the better question is: are they hypocrites for attacking methodological naturalism as a tool for living and understanding reality?

The answer is yes and there ain’t no semanticizing one’s way out of it.

But I think this is a somewhat different issue. What I’ve been trying to emphasize (perhaps too hard?) is that there is a distinct, qualitative difference in approach to doctrinal sectarian issues. On these issues, Received Wisdom is the ONLY thing that counts.

I don’t see these people as “attacking methodological naturalism as a tool for living and understanding reality” at all. They use this tool instinctively and continuously all day long. What they are rejecting is challenges to their faith. It really doesn’t matter what form the challenges take. Evolution threatens them, the lights switch off, the trained autonomic responses cut in, the knees jerk. God has spoken, directly and unambiguously, on this topic. This leaves NO room for doubt or analysis.

Personally, I suspect organic brain dysfunction, as from a stroke. A certain part of their brain has been physically rewired, usually permanently. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if neuroscience might someday identify that part and develop the ability to cut it out entirely, rendering the victim sane once more. The remainder of their brains seem perfectly OK.

Comment #81756

Posted by Keith Eaton on February 23, 2006 11:16 AM (e)

As usual the true believers of the Darwin Mythological Cult attempt to discredit the 500 academics from a broad cross section of teh world scientific community by painting them as fundamentalist snake handlers doing no real scientific work and having degrees from mail order deploma mills.

Too bad they actually have many peer reviewed publications in every area of science related to or contributing to evolutionary science.

Given the fact that if you value your career, income, finances, family , reputation and well being you’d better have tenure and a good lawyer before you sign the ID declaration, I consider it remarkable to have 500 and mounting numbers.

Comment #81762

Posted by gwangung on February 23, 2006 11:45 AM (e)

As usual the true believers of the Darwin Mythological Cult attempt to discredit the 500 academics from a broad cross section of teh world scientific community by painting them as fundamentalist snake handlers doing no real scientific work and having degrees from mail order deploma mills.

Ah, Mr. Troll, it would a LOT better if you had a passing familiarity with the facts. For example, it’s been documented that several of these signees diasgree with the Disco people’s use of their signature.

Too bad they actually have many peer reviewed publications in every area of science related to or contributing to evolutionary science.

And too bad that this is a bald-faced lie.

Given the fact that if you

Comment #81786

Posted by AD on February 23, 2006 1:13 PM (e)

Too bad they actually have many peer reviewed publications in every area of science related to or contributing to evolutionary science.

Out of curiosity, I’ve heard this claim before and not seen it verified.

Could you actually provide me with some references to papers by these people relevant to evolution?

Thank you.

Comment #81793

Posted by steve s on February 23, 2006 1:30 PM (e)

Given the fact that if you value your career, income, finances, family , reputation and well being you’d better have tenure and a good lawyer before you sign the ID declaration, I consider it remarkable to have 500 and mounting numbers.

How many of the 500 have needed a good lawyer as a consequence of signing the petition?

Don’t get too complacent. The Triangle’s own Rep. J. Russell Capps once tried to introduce a Creationism bill in the N.C. House. It was endorsed by former Gov. Jim Martin, who wrote a letter to the N&O explaining that evolution violated (wait for it) the second (you know whats coming) law of (oh, boy I never tire of this one) thermodynamics. And Martin should know, since he was once a professional tuba player.

Oh, man, never thought I’d see Russell Capps mentioned on this blog. That guy’s such an ignorant cretin that I know a conservative catholic republican who voted for Capps’s Democrat opponent. I would LOOOVVVVVEEE if Capps started promoting ID. In fact, I’m going to email him in support of Intelligent Design. He would botch it worse than Bill Buckingham, if you can believe that. I’ll tell him I’m a scientist, but have to remain anonymous out of fear for my life from the bloodthirsty Darwin Atheist Cabal.

Comment #81820

Posted by Bynocerus on February 23, 2006 3:12 PM (e)

From my own life:

One of my family members is a Rocket Scientist (or, more correctly, an aerospace engineer). He got a full scholarship to one of the best engineering programs in the country, then promptly graduated in three years with highest honors. He did his doctoral work on the Mars Rover and now works for NASA. He is also a Souhern Baptist.

Ask him about evolution and he’ll shrug his shoulders. It’s not that evolution runs against his religious beliefs, he just doesn’t know anything about it. And, if someone from church were to approach him about signing a document encouraging more detailed scientific research of ANYTHING, he’d probably sign it.

On the flip side, the rocket scientist’s brother is a chemist. Although he is a Christian, if you ask him about creationism, his eyes will cross and fire will spew from his ears and mouth. But, he’ll be the first to tell you that there are lots of interesting evolutionary questions that need further research. And, again, if someone were to ask him to sign a document supporting further research of evolution, albeit underhandedly, he’d probably (unknowingly )sign it.

I think too many people view scientists as some kind of monolithic group, not understanding that rocket scientists may not know anything about evolution, just as chemists may not know anything getting the Discovery off the launch pad without it blowing up/bouncing off the atmosphere. Engineers are smart guys, but they’re smart about math, not necessarily about chemistry, astronomy, biology, geology, zoology, etc. When I see 500 biologists (named anything) come out in support of ID, then I’ll start to question evolution.

Comment #81824

Posted by Raging Bee on February 23, 2006 3:35 PM (e)

Given the fact that if you value your career, income, finances, family , reputation and well being you’d better have tenure and a good lawyer before you sign the ID declaration, I consider it remarkable to have 500 and mounting numbers.

You’ve been asked this question once, and I’m asking it again: which signatories of the Disco Declaration have suffered which form of harassment, ostracism, persecution or punishment as a traceable result of their having signed the document? Please provide names, dates and specific actions, if you want to be taken seriously as anything other than a pig-ignorant crybaby.

Comment #81887

Posted by Andy H. on February 23, 2006 8:21 PM (e)

Comment #81738
Posted by Raging Bee on February 23, 2006 09:11 AM

“…why aren’t formal random polls of scientists on this subject more frequently conducted ? The only such polls that I could find on the Internet are outdated — a 2002 poll of Ohio scientists and a questionable 2003 poll of…”

We’ve already gone over the fact that scientists use research, observation, experimentation, and peer-reviewed papers instead of polls to establish consensus.

YOU’VE gone over that “fact” – I haven’t !

Hey, I thought we were supposed to be great big grownup scientists here who believed in performing precision tests and getting rid of extraneous variables instead of just making wild speculations based on indirect observations !

Furthermore, establishing a consensus is not the main purpose of opinion polls, though some people’s observations of the individual poll results or poll trends can influence those people’s responses to future polls (e.g., poll results showing that 90 percent of biologists believe that ID is valid would encourage a reconsideration of ID by biologists who disagree).

Besides having precision, formal random opinion polls have the following advantages –

(1) Respondents do not feel under pressure to conform.

(2) Dissenters are not excluded.

(3) General trends can be observed.

Because so few of these polls of scientists have been performed in the recent past, we have missed important opportunities to observe trends in the responses.

So far as I am concerned, until we have some recent poll results, all of this talk about ID being overwhelmingly rejected by the scientific community is so much hot air.

=============================================

“I’m from Missouri, you’ve got to show me.” – Willard Duncan Vandiver

Comment #81891

Posted by Sir_Toejam on February 23, 2006 9:04 PM (e)

As usual the true believers of the Darwin MythologicalIntelligent Design Cult attempt to discredit the 50010,000 academics from a broad cross section of teh world scientific community by painting them as fundamentalists

standard projection.

been there, heard that.

fookin IDjuts.

Comment #81892

Posted by TJ, Esq. on February 23, 2006 9:05 PM (e)

why are you calling yourself Andy H., Larry Fafarman?

Comment #81915

Posted by Raging Bee on February 24, 2006 12:21 AM (e)

Andy Larry Don’t Call Me Stupid Farfinginsinthin wrote:

YOU’VE gone over that “fact” — I haven’t !

Thank you for admitting that you weren’t keeping up with us when WE went over the fact. And since you’re proven yourself a dishonest idiot, we won’t go over it again. You know where to find all of the relevant posts and responses if you’re really interested; we’re not going to show you – and before you ask, we’re not going to wipe your butt for you either.

So far as I am concerned…

Given your grinding repetition of arguments that have already been conclusively dealt with here, we all can see that’s not very far at all.

Just one question: of all those 500 names the DI got on it’s list of scientists allegedly questioning evolution, how many of those names were yours?

Comment #81948

Posted by Andy H. on February 24, 2006 6:02 AM (e)

Comment #81824
Posted by Raging Bee on February 23, 2006 03:35 PM

Given the fact that if you value your career, income, finances, family , reputation and well being you’d better have tenure and a good lawyer before you sign the ID declaration, I consider it remarkable to have 500 and mounting numbers.

You’ve been asked this question once, and I’m asking it again: which signatories of the Disco Declaration have suffered which form of harassment, ostracism, persecution or punishment as a traceable result of their having signed the document? Please provide names, dates and specific actions, if you want to be taken seriously as anything other than a pig-ignorant crybaby.

Many of the scientists involved are tenured professors, so they do not have to worry about their jobs. But there are subtle ways of retaliating against them, like passing them up for promotions and research grants.

Also, the Declaration has not yet had enough time to have serious repercussions on most of the signers.

You anti-ID folks are always claiming that the pro-ID science education standards of Kansas are going to cause discrimination against Kansans who seek education and technical jobs outside the state, and then you wonder why scientists are reluctant to sign the Disco Declaration.

When three Kansas University medical professors signed the Disco Declaration, it was a big news item because the controversy has been a big issue at that university as a result of a scandal involving a religious studies professor named Paul Mirecki, who posted a message on a semi-public Internet forum stating that his new course labeling ID and creationism as “mythologies” would be a “nice slap in the big fat face of the fundies.” So it took a lot of courage for those professors to sign the declaration. See http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2006/feb/21/ku_prof…

Some new formal random polls of scientists’ opinions on this controversy are long overdue – the most recent credible poll I could find is from 2002. One of the advantages of these polls is that they provide anonymity so that respondents do not feel under pressure to conform.

Comment #81959

Posted by Renier on February 24, 2006 6:52 AM (e)

Larry, you really are an irritating little lark. Go and whine elsewhere please. You have not addressed Raging Bee’s request for samples of the accusations you are making (Discrimination against IDiots). Your speculation weighs less than a photon and does not count as samples or evidence. Do you understand this, or would you like someone to paint you a picture?

Also, the Declaration has not yet had enough time to have serious repercussions on most of the signers.

So what on earth has this got to do with Bee’s request for samples? Does this look like a sample to you? You say “most” of the signers. Are you insinuating that the “not majority” of the signers are being discriminated against?

State facts and samples here please, since your opinion is not something we take into consideration. Why should we listen to you? Your speculations are getting out of hand.

Comment #81992

Posted by AD on February 24, 2006 10:31 AM (e)

Guys,

Larry responds for the sake of responding. His arguments are nonsensical and absurd, and it is quite likely he knows and/or does not care. The point is to get you to respond to him.

The best method for making him go away is, in fact, to pretend that he already has. Just ignore him.

Comment #82282

Posted by Morgan-LynnLamberth on February 26, 2006 1:21 PM (e)

I’m glad about this web site.I have problem with theistic evolution. Evolutionis based on causality, sequentality whereas a god implies teleology,foreknowledge,putting the effect before the cause.[Weisz-The Science of Biology].Thus a contradiction between science and theism ensues.I praise Keith E. Miller for defending evolution , but find his thelology obscurantist.

Comment #82620

Posted by Ed Fitzgerald (unfutz) on February 28, 2006 1:48 AM (e)

I did a similar analysis on the DI’s amicus brief in Kitzmiller.

Comment #82770

Posted by Herb Lubitz on February 28, 2006 5:16 PM (e)

Can anyone out there explain how the bacteria flagellum evolved using the Darwinian model?

Comment #82774

Posted by limpidense on February 28, 2006 5:29 PM (e)

(snort!) Masterly deadpan humor, ‘erb!

Comment #83335

Posted by BWE on March 2, 2006 5:06 PM (e)

I love these rants on Larry.

Comment #84463

Posted by Sara on March 7, 2006 6:54 AM (e)

It seems to me this article puts the chicken before the egg. It states something true, but uses its own point of view to slant it. The conclusions do not necessarily fit anything but the writers point of view, not what many of these people say or think. The case against evolution is that there ARE competing theories, some just as viable. Yet many evolutionists deny this possibility. A case can be made for the dishonesty of many evolutionists. It seems to me that evolution, Intelligent Design, and any OTHER thoery can be questioned. To close the door on them is bad science, it is ideology.

Comment #84467

Posted by Rilke's Granddaughter on March 7, 2006 7:57 AM (e)

sara wrote:

It seems to me this article puts the chicken before the egg. It states something true, but uses its own point of view to slant it.

Most articles contain some personal bias on the part of the author. What point of view are you referring to?

The conclusions do not necessarily fit anything but the writers point of view, not what many of these people say or think.

I think you’d have to establish that. The article seems to be fairly judicious, to me.

The case against evolution is that there ARE competing theories, some just as viable.

There are no competing scientific theories. None at all. What were you thinking of?

Yet many evolutionists deny this possibility.

“Evolutionist” is a null word, usually used by theists to disparage “evolutionary biologists” or “atheists”. Are you using the word in that light? And those who accept evolution aren’t denying that such theories could exist, merely that no viable theory has been put forward. ID, for example, is not a viable competing ‘theory’. It makes no predictions, specifies no tests or falsifications, describes no mechanisms. It is merely an argument from incredulity wrapped in some pseudo-scientific verbiage.

A case can be made for the dishonesty of many evolutionists.

Then you’d have to make it. You have not.

It seems to me that evolution, Intelligent Design, and any OTHER thoery can be questioned.

Intelligent design is not a ‘theory’. See above. And evolution is questioned every time someone does an experiment in biology.

To close the door on them is bad science, it is ideology.

What ‘them’ are you referring to? These other non-existent theories you’ve referred to? What are they?

Comment #84476

Posted by Flint on March 7, 2006 9:36 AM (e)

Most articles contain some personal bias on the part of the author. What point of view are you referring to?

Only an author predisposed to reject Truth, that is, my personal faith, would have written such an article in the first place. The facts may be correct, but presenting them puts my faith in a bad light.

I think you’d have to establish that. The article seems to be fairly judicious, to me.

The article’s conclusions imply that biologists know what they’re talking about while evangelicals do not. This is clearly wrong. Evangelicals have the Truth. The article could have been honest enough to point out that today’s “scientific” biological training is controlled by atheists, who drive evangelicals out of the field. That God-fearing biologists would be deprived of the opportunity to make a living.

There are no competing scientific theories. None at all. What were you thinking of?

Creation, of course. The Bible says so. The Truth need not be a “scientific” theory to be True, you know. If science cannot see the Truth, that doesn’t make the Truth false, it shows the inadequacies of science.

“Evolutionist” is a null word, usually used by theists to disparage “evolutionary biologists” or “atheists”. Are you using the word in that light?

You are trying to hide a simple observation behind a bunch of doubletalk. God created everything, all at once. Evolutionists are people who have not yet understood this, who have denied God entrance to their hearts. If they could only SEE, they’d understand. Refusing to see, they instead couch their denial in mumbo jumbo like “makes no predictions, specifies no tests or falsifications, describes no mechanisms. It is merely an argument from incredulity wrapped in some pseudo-scientific verbiage.” Sorry, but God’s Word is Truth. Open your eyes.

Then you’d have to make it. You have not.

Not true. I have been making the case, and you’ve been tying yourself in knots denying it. Denying God is dishonest. Many evolutionists deny God. They are therefore dishonest. It’s stone simple.

Intelligent design is not a ‘theory’. See above.

I already saw above. I presented the simple Truth to you, and you suffered a denial-fit. Not my problem.

And evolution is questioned every time someone does an experiment in biology.

And after every experiment, regardless of the results, they say “See? It’s evolution!” Which of course they knew before they did the experiment. And you call this a question?

What ‘them’ are you referring to? These other non-existent theories you’ve referred to? What are they?

God Has Spoken. We have His Word. If whatever we observe in nature conflicts with God’s Word, then we must be misinterpreting our observations. We MUST be. Science, properly performed, CANNOT deny the Word Of God. If you claim otherwise, you are deliberately blind. This is ideological blindness; in your unseemly haste to deny God, you have imposed upon your understanding a seriously distorted view of the world. Evolution did not happen, the Bible says so. Any view that does not start with this non-negotiable Truth is guaranteed to be misguided and ideological.

Really, it’s not that hard. In fact, it’s so simple a small child can understand it completely.

Comment #84492

Posted by Rilke's Granddaughter on March 7, 2006 9:53 AM (e)

Flint, you worry me. That was a dead-on impression. Were you ever a fundie in some prior life?

Comment #84526

Posted by Flint on March 7, 2006 11:09 AM (e)

RGD:

I thought you might like a solid, satisfying answer. What an honest creationist would reply, if only there were such a person.

Comment #84589

Posted by k.e. on March 7, 2006 12:59 PM (e)

Most articles contain some personal bias on the part of the author. What point of view are you referring to?

Only an author predisposed to reject Truth, that is, my personal faith, would have written such an article in the first place. The facts may be correct, but presenting them puts my faith in a bad light.

There is only one True god and WE ARE THE ONLY ONES WHO REALLY KNOW WHAT THAT IS. You evolutionists are such pansies your god is false you are all heathens, infidels and unbelievers besides you are a lower than a donkey.

I think you’d have to establish that. The article seems to be fairly judicious, to me.

The article’s conclusions imply that biologists know what they’re talking about while evangelicals do not. This is clearly wrong. Evangelicals have the Truth. The article could have been honest enough to point out that today’s “scientific” biological training is controlled by atheists, who drive evangelicals out of the field. That God-fearing biologists would be deprived of the opportunity to make a living.

That is just so right. Evangelicals have the Truth and Genesis said god created everything (except water) and when we find out who created that THEN WE WILL RULE THE WORLD…everyone knows you have to have water and boy without it god would have had to invent it so it must have been there ALL THE TIME just like mother, and you don’t disagree with her because she runs things like a communist dictatorship, god knows how dad ever got into her pants.

There are no competing scientific theories. None at all. What were you thinking of?

Creation, of course. The Bible says so. The Truth need not be a “scientific” theory to be True, you know. If science cannot see the Truth, that doesn’t make the Truth false, it shows the inadequacies of science.

Damn right and don’t try and fool me with nature=creation=life=god=love=male+female=life BS EITHER we are immune to nature and if you don’t believe me just look at the jihad we are running on you global warming/meltdown jerks. Today Darwin stupid non-facts tomorrow New Orleans flooded permanently and you know what? WE DON”T CARE!!!.

“Evolutionist” is a null word, usually used by theists to disparage “evolutionary biologists” or “atheists”. Are you using the word in that light?

You are trying to hide a simple observation behind a bunch of doubletalk. God created everything, all at once. Evolutionists are people who have not yet understood this, who have denied God entrance to their hearts. If they could only SEE, they’d understand. Refusing to see, they instead couch their denial in mumbo jumbo like “makes no predictions, specifies no tests or falsifications, describes no mechanisms. It is merely an argument from incredulity wrapped in some pseudo-scientific verbiage.” Sorry, but God’s Word is Truth. Open your eyes.

Yeah right again its almost as bad as that twit who wrote the Gnostic Gospel of Thomas Jesus said, “If your leaders say to you, ‘Look, the (Father’s) kingdom is in the sky,’ then the birds of the sky will precede you. If they say to you, ‘It is in the sea,’ then the fish will precede you. Rather, the kingdom is within you and it is outside you. he was a sinner and so are all you lot.

Then you’d have to make it. You have not.

Not true. I have been making the case, and you’ve been tying yourself in knots denying it. Denying God is dishonest. Many evolutionists deny God. They are therefore dishonest. It’s stone simple.

And not just those stupid atheist evolutionists but all those other Cults who support Darwinism.

Intelligent design is not a ‘theory’. See above.

I already saw above. I presented the simple Truth to you, and you suffered a denial-fit. Not my problem.

And evolution is questioned every time someone does an experiment in biology.

And after every experiment, regardless of the results, they say “See? It’s evolution!” Which of course they knew before they did the experiment. And you call this a question?

What don’t you get about self evident?

What ‘them’ are you referring to? These other non-existent theories you’ve referred to? What are they?

God Has Spoken. We have His Word. If whatever we observe in nature conflicts with God’s Word, then we must be misinterpreting our observations. We MUST be. Science, properly performed, CANNOT deny the Word Of God. If you claim otherwise, you are deliberately blind. This is ideological blindness; in your unseemly haste to deny God, you have imposed upon your understanding a seriously distorted view of the world. Evolution did not happen, the Bible says so. Any view that does not start with this non-negotiable Truth is guaranteed to be misguided and ideological.

No I’m not projecting no no no no no no and I’m not in denial no no no no.

Really, it’s not that hard. In fact, it’s so simple a small child can understand it completely.

Just ask Ken HAM he has them lined up 2,500 at a time telling them how to deny evolution …just ask “We’re you there ?” Pass The Loot.

Comment #97934

Posted by Dave Wilkins on April 22, 2006 5:41 AM (e)

Hi all,

First off, I am an adult, born-again Christian. I am board-certified perfusionist, a graduate of Ohio State University, and spend much of my time investigating, evaluating, and applying my research in the care of cardiac surgical patients.

For the past 5 years or so, I have tried to investigate the creation/evolution debate with the best due diligence that I can muster. As anyone would agree, there are gaps or problems with a wholesale acceptance of the theory of evolution. For example, trying to explain the origin of that first life form remains elusive at best. To be fair, if you eliminate any supernatural possibilities, then evolution is by far the best (and only) other choice to explain the world we inhabit.

Here’s my issue. I’m doing a full court press trying to educate myself to both sides of the coin. And when I stumbled upon this blog I was once again frustrated by the same thing that seems to plague the evolution camp. It is clear from this blogsite that being a Christian equates to ignorance unless that Christian believes exactly as many of you do.

Most of the earlier posts on this site (and most other places I’ve looked) make no mention or attempt to answer any one of the many, many honest scientific issues raised by those who have concerns about evolution. These posts instead seem to exude a posse-like atmosphere intended to call to question the religious faith of those who hold to other positions. Once one is branded as religious, another victory is declared for the evolution home team and everybody breathes a sigh of content.

I have a lot of really hard questions…questions that i can’t seem to find the answer to. These questions raise enormous doubt in my mind as to the plausibility that random, unguided events can explain the world that we see. I came across Panda’s Thumb hoping for something different…hoping that maybe I would find someone interested in discussing a valid topic…hoping that maybe this site would be what I’ve been looking for.

So…I’m looking for few good men/women who are up for some tough questions, and can offer some answers to someone who is truly in search of the truth.

dw

Comment #97937

Posted by KL on April 22, 2006 7:30 AM (e)

Dear Mr. Wilkins,

Try first getting answers at talkorigins.org. That site has loads of great information. When you are done, come back here and ask for whatever you couldn’t find. The posters at PT include scientists working in a variety of fields. They are helpful in providing answers and references.

Good luck! KL

Sorry I couldn’t provide a direct link-I am somewhat tech-challenged.

Comment #97938

Posted by KL on April 22, 2006 7:36 AM (e)

PS.

Also, post questions on a more active thread. This one hasn’t really received much in the way of attention recently.

Comment #97953

Posted by PvM on April 22, 2006 11:18 AM (e)

DSWilkins wrote:

First off, I am an adult, born-again Christian. I am board-certified perfusionist, a graduate of Ohio State University, and spend much of my time investigating, evaluating, and applying my research in the care of cardiac surgical patients.

For the past 5 years or so, I have tried to investigate the creation/evolution debate with the best due diligence that I can muster. As anyone would agree, there are gaps or problems with a wholesale acceptance of the theory of evolution. For example, trying to explain the origin of that first life form remains elusive at best. To be fair, if you eliminate any supernatural possibilities, then evolution is by far the best (and only) other choice to explain the world we inhabit.

Science does not really eliminate supernatural possibilities, it remains quiet about them because the fall outside of what science can and cannot do.

Here’s my issue. I’m doing a full court press trying to educate myself to both sides of the coin. And when I stumbled upon this blog I was once again frustrated by the same thing that seems to plague the evolution camp. It is clear from this blogsite that being a Christian equates to ignorance unless that Christian believes exactly as many of you do.

Many different people contribute to this blog, countless more comment on this blog. People who contribute to this blog come from various and varied backgrounds. Being Christian is not equated directly to ignorance although in many cases, Christian faith has led one to poor scientific positions.
As a Christian and ex-YEC member, I know.

Most of the earlier posts on this site (and most other places I’ve looked) make no mention or attempt to answer any one of the many, many honest scientific issues raised by those who have concerns about evolution. These posts instead seem to exude a posse-like atmosphere intended to call to question the religious faith of those who hold to other positions. Once one is branded as religious, another victory is declared for the evolution home team and everybody breathes a sigh of content.

Then you have not seen the many postings which address new findings, new research, which address many of the honest scientific issues raiesd. Whether it is the Cambrian explosion, the immune system, evolvability, neutrality, or new paleontological finds, this blog tries to put it all in perspective.

I have a lot of really hard questions…questions that i can’t seem to find the answer to. These questions raise enormous doubt in my mind as to the plausibility that random, unguided events can explain the world that we see. I came across Panda’s Thumb hoping for something different…hoping that maybe I would find someone interested in discussing a valid topic…hoping that maybe this site would be what I’ve been looking for.

Hint, evolution is not unguided in the sense that natural selection is the feedback mechanism from the environment into the organism. The new course by Allen MacNeill may help you understand these issues, since they address the teleology in nature, which are inevitable outcome of the processes involved.

So…I’m looking for few good men/women who are up for some tough questions, and can offer some answers to someone who is truly in search of the truth

For someone who is truly in search of the truth, your exploration of what this blog has to offer seems to contradict your statement. Nevertheless, I am sure that there are many few good men/women on this blog who are most willing to offer you some answers to tough questions.

Comment #97971

Posted by Glen Davidson on April 22, 2006 12:57 PM (e)

For the past 5 years or so, I have tried to investigate the creation/evolution debate with the best due diligence that I can muster. As anyone would agree, there are gaps or problems with a wholesale acceptance of the theory of evolution.

We’re still waiting on any real gaps or problems, that is, of the sort that we should not have at this time. That much remains to be explained is a given in most sciences, especially in the sciences dealing with past events.

For example, trying to explain the origin of that first life form remains elusive at best.

That is not an issue of evolution per se. It is related to the evolution of life, and of interest to biologists for evolutionary and other reasons, however evolution itself begins to matter once selection becomes possible.

To be fair, if you eliminate any supernatural possibilities, then evolution is by far the best (and only) other choice to explain the world we inhabit.

We use science to investigate what can be investigated. What cannot be investigated, which many call the “supernatural” (while others include things that can be investigated into the “supernatural”), provides no explanation for the simple reason that we can’t investigate those causes.

Still, that is neither here nor there. Evolution is explanatory, which is roughly the same as what we mean by “scientific”, insofar as it cross-correlates data, provides guidance to the investigation of data, and is in some manner “predictive” (“post-dictive” can be about as good, though the question of human bias becomes a problem then).

We are not looking merely for a “vague cause” in science, thus we utilize evolution to explain biological features. One may do science with evolution, that is to say, connecting life through shared ancestries to high confidence levels, and discovering the reasons for differences between life. When we compare chimp and human genomes we are thus able to look for specific changes which occur during evolution, chromosomal changes, point mutations, and changing regulatory functions. While it is true that we could compare genomes without realizing that evolution has occurred, looking for, say, “design” in the differences wouldn’t be nearly as productive as looking for “selected mistakes” (so to speak) which have become fixed in chimp and human genomes.

Here’s my issue. I’m doing a full court press trying to educate myself to both sides of the coin.

One thing that needs to be realized is that this is not a place that exists to educate people on the fence. I’m not saying that such a purpose never animates an original post and/or comments, but primarily this site exists to fight creationism/ID, and any “education” is meant more for those who do fight creationism/ID. Thus this place should not be judged by how well it answers the questions of fence-sitters.

TalkOrigins has been mentioned, and it is good–but often fairly technical. Much of it is not especially layperson-friendly, though some is. They’re probably more geared toward revealing the science that goes against the claims of ID/creationism than to actually educating the public. I would recommend TalkOrigins, indeed, but I think the visuals in the links below may be more friendly to those less versed in biology (yes, I know that you know biology, but perhaps you or others are not as knowing about the particulars of evolutionary biologyZ):

http://www.edwardtbabinski.us/evolution/visual_e…
(click on the many links scattered through the text)

and

http://www.visual-evolution.com/

And when I stumbled upon this blog I was once again frustrated by the same thing that seems to plague the evolution camp. It is clear from this blogsite that being a Christian equates to ignorance unless that Christian believes exactly as many of you do.

No, I can’t agree with that. PZ Myers complains on his personal blog about the administration of this site being unfriendly to his brand of village atheism (well, I call it that, though he disagrees). At least several of the primary contributors are religions, including Pim and Elsberry.

Do these sites attract the anti-religious? Yes, but what are we supposed to do, censor them? I don’t think that would be wise at all. I have on occasion stuck up for the acceptance of both science and religion in the way that I think is possible, but there is no way that those of us who have no animus against religion are going to compete in volume with those who dislike religion. That is the nature of fanaticism, including anti-religious fanaticism.

Most of the earlier posts on this site (and most other places I’ve looked) make no mention or attempt to answer any one of the many, many honest scientific issues raised by those who have concerns about evolution.

This is because the issues (honest or not–we do not believe they are honest in the hands of all questioners) have been answered many many times, with a notable archive of the answers existing at TalkOrigins. We are not going to repeat ourselves endlessly.

These posts instead seem to exude a posse-like atmosphere intended to call to question the religious faith of those who hold to other positions. Once one is branded as religious, another victory is declared for the evolution home team and everybody breathes a sigh of content.

No, you have not been reading well. If you’re willing to judge the entire site by the uncensored prattlings of anti-religious sorts, then you’ve stereotyped the bulk of posters here quite unfairly.

I have a lot of really hard questions…questions that i can’t seem to find the answer to. These questions raise enormous doubt in my mind as to the plausibility that random, unguided events can explain the world that we see.

I think that if you asked honest questions, and didn’t simply ask questions that are supposed to “stump” the seasoned veterans of the creationism/ID wars, you’d receive good answers. However, you might receive some uncalled-for remarks as well. This cannot be prevented from happening, unless we become more like Uncommon Descent with its heavily censorious hand.

Nevertheless, this is not a place specifically designed even for honest questions, especially not the ones that are quite well addressed elsewhere. Short answers to honest questions would be forthcoming here, I am sure, but people will become quite irritated if long answers are requested that exist on the web.

I came across Panda’s Thumb hoping for something different…hoping that maybe I would find someone interested in discussing a valid topic…hoping that maybe this site would be what I’ve been looking for.

Most likely it is not. We don’t come here eager to deal with long-settled questions, while it seems to me that you may wish to ask some of those. We are here, as a recent post mentioned, to drive the last nails into the ID coffin.

So…I’m looking for few good men/women who are up for some tough questions, and can offer some answers to someone who is truly in search of the truth.

It is reasonably desired by most who post here that those who question have honestly received a good background to biology and evolution before coming here. Is there really any reason to debate evolution with those who deny the importance of genetic and morphological homologies (synapomorphies) and vestigial organs? And for those who “question archaeopteryx”, is there anything to be done to counteract their inability to recognize one of the most obvious intermediates that could be hoped for?

See the thing is that there is a very large amount of evidence in favor of evolution, and much of it is readily accessible to those with little background in biology. Many of the “tough questions” that creationists and some IDists pose have to do with denying the kinds of evidence of derivation that would be accepted in copyright cases, in literary analyses, and in whatever the creationist/IDist will allow as “microevolution”. To accept the morphological and genetic evidence of the evolution of Darwin’s finches (and mockingbirds) while denying the exact same sort of evidence in hominid evolution and in the evolution of classes, is not intellectually honest.

And the thing is that we’re not very patient with those who deny the sorts of evidence that can be reasonably expected for evolution. If you have questions that do not deny scientific evidence on the face of it, I think many will be willing to answer. If you don’t, there is no point in asking.

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/b8ykm

Comment #101062

Posted by James Fornell on May 17, 2006 10:03 AM (e)

If evolution is matter + chance + time = increasing life sophistication, what is the place of non-material mind in the equation?

In other words, if life and complexity thereof is essentially random why do the high priests of materialism even use their non-material minds to refute ID or a Creator?

Why is it always “religious” faith? Is religion something to be compartmentalize, like a toxic waste site or the hated brussel spouts needing to be kept in a vegetable compartment? Perhaps real, go-forward faith is super natural divine logic [of Logos.] Is there a spiritual and Spirit-ual dimensions to reality?

Gee, perhaps the materialist live in flat reality, denying a super natural and super unnatural dimension and mind-based spiritual war. Perhaps we live in a new dark age: the Lite Age of superficiality.

Comment #101064

Posted by PvM on May 17, 2006 10:12 AM (e)

James wrote:

If evolution is matter + chance + time = increasing life sophistication, what is the place of non-material mind in the equation?

Huh? Sounds like a non sequitur

In other words, if life and complexity thereof is essentially random why do the high priests of materialism even use their non-material minds to refute ID or a Creator?

‘Essentially random’? Do you even understand evolution?

Sigh… Trolls…

Comment #101068

Posted by Glen Davidson on May 17, 2006 10:38 AM (e)

In other words, if life and complexity thereof is essentially random why do the high priests of materialism even use their non-material minds to refute ID or a Creator?

Who are these “high priests of materialism”? IOW, learn about science and how it makes inferences, and how it does not depend upon metaphysical concepts like “material” (vs. “matter” in the scientific sense).

And just think about the absurdity in your claim. If people were stupid enough to use “non-material minds” to refute a non-material Creator or ID, they would be stupid indeed. Only we’re not. It’s time that you begin, oh, say, a bit of education. Come back when you have a smidgeon of knowledge about the brain.

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/b8ykm

Comment #101076

Posted by James Fornell on May 17, 2006 11:33 AM (e)

If evolution is matter + chance + time = increasing life sophistication, what is the place of non-material mind in the equation?

In other words, if life and complexity thereof is essentially random why do the high priests of materialism even use their non-material minds to refute ID or a Creator?

Why is it always “religious” faith? Is religion something to be compartmentalize, like a toxic waste site or the hated brussel spouts needing to be kept in a vegetable compartment? Perhaps real, go-forward faith is super natural divine logic [of Logos.] Is there a spiritual and Spirit-ual dimensions to reality?

Gee, perhaps the materialist live in flat reality, denying a super natural and super unnatural dimension and mind-based spiritual war. Perhaps we live in a new dark age: the Lite Age of superficiality.

Comment #101086

Posted by James Fornell on May 17, 2006 12:16 PM (e)

If evolution is matter + chance + time = increasing life sophistication, what is the place of non-material mind in the equation?

In other words, if life and complexity thereof is essentially random why do the high priests of materialism even use their non-material minds to refute ID or a Creator?

Why is it always “religious” faith? Is religion something to be compartmentalize, like a toxic waste site or the hated brussel sprouts needing to be kept in a vegetable compartment? Perhaps real, go-forward faith is super natural divine logic [of Logos.] Is there a spiritual and Spirit-ual dimensions to reality?

Gee, perhaps the materialist live in flat reality, denying a super natural and super unnatural dimension and mind-based spiritual war. Perhaps we live in a new dark age: the Lite Age of superficiality.

Comment #101089

Posted by ben on May 17, 2006 12:28 PM (e)

Yes, religion is just like brussels sprouts.

Next question?