PvM posted Entry 1977 on February 7, 2006 12:40 PM.
Trackback URL: http://www.pandasthumb.org/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb.fcgi/1972

The Georgia Journal of Science has published several articles about Intelligent Design presented during a 2005 Symposium titled titled “Teaching Evolution and the Challenge of Intelligent Design”

Teaching Evolution and the Challenge of Intelligent Design: A Symposium by John V Aliff
Inside Creationism’s Trojan Horse: A Closer Look at Intelligent Design by Barbara Carroll Forrest
Countering Public Misconceptions About the Nature of Evolutionary Science by Keith B Miller
Why “Intelligent Design” is More Interesting than Old-Fashioned Creationism by Taner Edis

In his introduction, John V Aliff, quickly settles the matter

Aliff wrote:

Intelligent Design theory is not a valid scientific theory for these reasons: 1.) Its hypothetical, intuitive and religious assumption of the intelligent design of complex systems is not testable or falsifiable using the scientific method, 2.) ID “theory” cannot develop hypotheses, and 3.) ID theory does not predict new discoveries as a true scientific theory does. More simply put, ID cannot explain natural phenomena beyond the intuitive and religious assumption that “God did it.”

Aliff wrote:

Barbara Forrest, professor of philosophy of Southeastern Louisiana University, has written and spoken extensively about the political machinations of the ID movement. Her book, Creationism’s Trojan Horse: The Wedge of Intelligent Design (8) is an important contribution to the knowledge of the politics behind the ID movement. Dr. Forrest explained the scope of the ID movement and their political force, which in Kansas recently led to kangaroo courts (Darwin trials) that featured ID creationists….

Taner Edis, associate professor of Physics at Truman State University (MO.) and research associate of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory,explained how the theory of intelligent design is scientifically flawed. He pointed out that Darwinian evolution (natural selection) has taken root outside the confines of Biology by moving into physics. Dr. Edis explained how both chance and necessity, in addition to natural selection, are vital to creativity in general. He has authored an important book on the topic of the symposium: The Ghost in the Universe: God in Light of Modern Science (13), and he has edited, with Matt Young, Why Intelligent Design Fails, A Scientific Critique of the New Creationism (14)….

The existence of God and the belief in a Creator cannot be tested or falsified using the methodology of science (6). Keith B. Miller is a research geologist (paleontologist) at Kansas State University and a Christian who has defined and defended the roles of science and religion in society. Dr. Miller and I made clear the value of science to describe nature using the evidence provided by nature itself….

As Judge Overton said in the 1982 Arkansas decision overturning a law requiring the teaching of scientific creationism, “creation science” was a “religious crusade coupled with a desire to conceal this fact” (6). The new ID creationists, like their scientific creationist forebears, attempt to disguise their religious and political motivations. The curricula of ID creationism and the olderscientific creationism are remarkably alike. Supported by illogical arguments, they are crescendos of erroneous observations about the meanings of the terms evolution and theory, as Massimo Pigliucci, evolutionary biologist of S.U.N.Y., Stony Brook, pointed out. Dr. Pigliucci’s book Denying Evolution: Creationism, Scientism and the Nature of Science (7) traces the roots of American creationism to populism, anti-intellectualism, and scientism (science as an exclusive ideology to explain everything in human experience) taught by some science teachers.

Aliff quickly shows why ID is scientifically vacuous, its main focus is not on doing science but rather on confusion, and political and religious propaganda

Offering only anecdotes and evidence by analogies (e.g., the irreducible complexity of the “designed” mousetrap conflated to apply to biochemical pathways), ID creationist publications, websites, and films use sophisticated propaganda designed to confuse the boundary established between science and religion by traditional academic disciplines (science, philosophy and theology) and the U.S. Constitution.

It’s time to ‘salvag[e] science education by correcting misinformation”

We must understand the motivation of the creationists. They have a deep emotional response to any information that is perceived to threaten their understanding of religious scriptures. Although it may sound ridiculous to many, creationist suspicions about the “evils” of evolution and its effects on society must be addressed specifically. Instructors of evolution should avoid the battle of literalisms: scientific literalism vs. scriptural literalism. Science should not be taught as an exclusive way of explaining everything (scientism), as most people need a comfort zone for their spirituality. Scientific theories should be presented as concepts that not only describe a set of discoveries but also serve as a way of predicting new discoveries and formulating new hypotheses.

As data have suggested, education is or should be the greatest enemy of the Intelligent Design movement. By showing how science proceeds from ignorance through hypotheses to knowledge we should contrast it with ID’s approach of hiding in the shadows of our ignorance. ID cannot survive without ignorance.

I will address the individual papers in a later posting.

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Comment #78097

Posted by BWE on February 7, 2006 1:48 PM (e)

Science should not be taught as an exclusive way of explaining everything (scientism), as most people need a comfort zone for their spirituality.

Sad that spirituality is not a place where people choose to investigate. As Dave Scott says, every living thing has a parent. So too does every meme have a parent. How does it go from “What is the nature of the universe and how do I fit in?” to “The nature of the universe is god and god wrote his words in hebrew in the old testament (nod to Carol) and through the new testament works of Mathew Mark Luke and John.”

We laugh at the flying spaghetti monster but we should be crying.

Comment #78107

Posted by BWE on February 7, 2006 2:30 PM (e)

We must understand the motivation of the creationists. They have a deep emotional response to any information that is perceived to threaten their understanding of religious scriptures.

http://www.drdino.com/readNews.php?id=20

And a deep emotional response to information that reaffirms why the heck they believe this stuff in the first place.

Comment #78108

Posted by Paul Flocken on February 7, 2006 2:33 PM (e)

Science should not be taught as an exclusive way of explaining everything (scientism), as most people need a comfort zone for their spirituality.

Damn their comfort zone. When spirituality has the ability to explain ANYTHING, anything at all, THEN, and only then, can they have a seat at the ‘finding new knowledge’ table. Science may have to pander to religious sensitivities (by claiming no conflict because they’re separate magisteria) to avoid repression by the masses, but science shouldn’t ever have to give up it’s status as the single most successful method humanity has ever invented to acquire new knowledge.

PvM wrote:
As data have suggested, education is or should be the greatest enemy of the Intelligent Design movement. By showing how science proceeds from ignorance through hypotheses to knowledge we should contrast it with ID’s approach of hiding in the shadows of our ignorance. ID cannot survive without ignorance.

Unlike religious spirituality, which proceeds from plain ignorance to making stuff up to special dogmatic ignorance. Science as a method is second to none; it has no competitors on the same planet let alone on the same playing field.

Comment #78109

Posted by BWE on February 7, 2006 2:43 PM (e)

The problem, the way I see it is that, when it began to occur to us as a species that religion had not panned out in its promises and that it was essentially political, we didn’t scrap it and begin again. We gave way to much authority to philosophers who used logic instead of relying on evidence. Who was it that pushed and continues to push religious absurdism? Those who would lose their jobs. That’s who. Aaaarrggghhh.

Comment #78111

Posted by CJ O'Brien on February 7, 2006 2:50 PM (e)

BWE, you’re missing your own point re: memes.

We didn’t get the chance to “scrap it and begin again.” Religion persists because religious memes are champion survivors. Scientific knowledge, in this view, is analagous to an invasive species that displaces the natives.

But some habitats are more robust than others.

Comment #78112

Posted by BWE on February 7, 2006 2:53 PM (e)

Yeah, I know. That last post was my tourettes talking.

Comment #78114

Posted by BWE on February 7, 2006 3:31 PM (e)

Spirituality has the ability to provide comfort-psycological comfort. Science does not do that (other than indirectly through medication and the like). Science does not provide assurance of everlasting life or that there is a potential good to come from bad things. When people are weak, religion is the only thing that can come to our aid. We rely on science to cure us but religion to calm us. It requires a major shift in thinking to allow ourselves to be set adrift in our lives, far from the safe moorings that religion provides. I recently lost a relative in a tragic way and I had to listen to family members who are not religious tell their children that their (very young) grandma was in heaven. The kids really couldn’t do better than that. Heaven was described as a place in our minds but heaven, nevertheless, was the word.

Comment #78116

Posted by Mike Elzinga on February 7, 2006 3:47 PM (e)

It’s hard to imagine a god who created an entire universe being offended by the discoveries made by some of the creatures in that universe. The smallness of the ID god is mostly a reflection of the smallness of the ID mind.

Comment #78118

Posted by Erasmus on February 7, 2006 3:52 PM (e)

Good Lord BWE that is a great page you linked to. Check out: “Anthropoligists: Things that make Evolutionists look stupid” that’s the way they spelled ‘anthropologist’ not me.

Funny Stuff!!!

http://www.drdino.com/articles.php?cat=2

Comment #78119

Posted by k.e. on February 7, 2006 4:07 PM (e)

Gee Mike smallness of the IDgod giddygod
Small ? practically non existent or very highly and inscrutably improbable or irreducibly compost.
No wonder the mainline churches are out to lunch on this.
They can stand back and convert the leftovers.

Comment #78120

Posted by BWE on February 7, 2006 4:13 PM (e)

You think that one is funny Erasmus? Try this one:
http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Isaiah%201;&version=31;

Comment #78123

Posted by k.e. on February 7, 2006 4:32 PM (e)

Yikes I knew they were in trouble but Gee they can’t be that badly off can they?

Unless the LORD Almighty
had left us some survivors,
we would have become like Sodom,
we would have been like Gomorrah.

Sodom and Gomorrah! why is the phone bill so high?

Stop bringing meaningless offerings!
Your incense is detestable to me.
New Moons, Sabbaths and convocations—
I cannot bear your evil assemblies.

You want to play Golf OK but make those new ear rings BIG.

The Daughter of Zion is left
like a shelter in a vineyard,
like a hut in a field of melons,
like a city under siege.

News break….. Oil tops $70.00

Is there a word for collective anal retention ?

Comment #78124

Posted by AD on February 7, 2006 4:32 PM (e)

I’m going to take a moment to decry the abject hostility towards religion here. That’s no more productive nor correct than the hostility that fundamentalists display towards science, to be honest. If you’re going to say religion is useless, highly negative, etc, then you cannot seriously expect anyone religious to believe a damn thing that you say.

Religion, ideally, is attempting to answer questions (even in an abstract faith-based manner) which science readily admits it CANNOT address. I see no point for hostility towards it.

Only to those who misunderstand what science is actually doing, but those are individuals within religions. Being hostile to all religions, to a point, is precisely the scientism that is being spoken against here.

Before anyone says it, also, I’m not advocating religious explanations for scientific phenomenon. I’m merely saying both have a seperate yet valuable sphere, and they need to be kept that way. Hostility in either direction ultimately damages both sides.

Comment #78125

Posted by Julie Stahlhut on February 7, 2006 4:32 PM (e)

Actually, it’s difficult to figure how an omnipotent, immortal being could be hurt or offended by anything. But that’s just my own argument from incredulity.

Comment #78127

Posted by JONBOY on February 7, 2006 4:38 PM (e)

BWE said,

“Spirituality has the ability to provide comfort-psychological comfort. Science does not do that”. Is spirituality really a comfort, and what price intellectually do we pay for that comfort?
Science does not offer solace in times of distress or mourning,BUT,do we delude our selves into thinking that there is a greater meaning or purpose to life? Do we turn to pious religious teachings or writings to calm us? knowing that these very writings are opposed to any form of critical thinking.One of the most insidious biblical teachings is that the intellect is not to be trusted as the final arbiter of ones decisions. Faith in Jesus, theological insights, and spiritual gifts are to replace knowledge, disputation, and philosophy as the ultimate source of truth. In effect, faith is to replace proof, hope is to replace work, and trust is to replace evidence. People are to rely on forces and beings beyond their control rather than their own talents and abilities. This debilitating approach to life’s challenges, which can only lead to self-effacement and low self-esteem

Comment #78128

Posted by Stephen Elliott on February 7, 2006 4:40 PM (e)

Posted by Julie Stahlhut on February 7, 2006 04:32 PM (e)

Actually, it’s difficult to figure how an omnipotent, immortal being could be hurt or offended by anything. But that’s just my own argument from incredulity.

Neither do I.
But do you see any point in insulting people of religion who support science and in particular evolution?

Comment #78129

Posted by B. Spitzer on February 7, 2006 4:40 PM (e)

Science should not be taught as an exclusive way of explaining everything (scientism), as most people need a comfort zone for their spirituality.

That’s not why science should not be taught as an exclusive way of explaining everything. Science shouldn’t be taught as an exclusive way of knowing everything because its methods are not capable of addressing certain questions.

It has nothing to do with “pandering to religious sensibilities”. It’s a fact: there are important questions that can’t be answered using the scientific method.

I’m with AD on this one: you can’t insult religion and expect religious people to listen to you about science. I’m continually somewhat astonished by the way that defenders of evolution–many of whom are very intelligent people!– nonetheless fail to make use of basic knowledge about human nature.

Comment #78130

Posted by k.e. on February 7, 2006 4:49 PM (e)

AD et al.
Who started to roll back the enlightenment with religious obscurantism ?
Choose your weapons
I’ll take truth any day.

Comment #78131

Posted by BWE on February 7, 2006 4:50 PM (e)

Ok AD. I’ve heard that before and you’re right. But I was reponding to two specific points made in the article
1. Science should not be taught as an exclusive way of explaining everything (scientism), as most people need a comfort zone for their spirituality.
2.We must understand the motivation of the creationists. They have a deep emotional response to any information that is perceived to threaten their understanding of religious scriptures.

So the point is that we will just “educate away” the mass hypnosis that is religion. Without understanding and somehow confronting the comfort zone problem and the motivation of creationists problem we are just continuing with business as usual.

I guess that must be what I meant by

Spirituality has the ability to provide comfort-psycological comfort. Science does not do that (other than indirectly through medication and the like). Science does not provide assurance of everlasting life or that there is a potential good to come from bad things. When people are weak, religion is the only thing that can come to our aid. We rely on science to cure us but religion to calm us. It requires a major shift in thinking to allow ourselves to be set adrift in our lives, far from the safe moorings that religion provides.

That “major shift” I mentioned is really what seems to be hoped for in the post. You have to allow for the possibility that you could be wrong in order for science to work. In order to even begin to teach, you need to go way back from demonstrating that “ID is scientifically vacuous, its main focus is not on doing science but rather on confusion, and political and religious propaganda”. If you could do that Bush the lesser would not be president. Propoganda is about tying ideas to emotions. Science is about untying those knots and verifying the validity of those ideas. Do they flow from what the data seems to suggest. Politics is, um, not like that and neither is religion.

So I do not lightly ridicule religion as a method, I see it as potentially hindering the scienfic method and fueling the absolutism that powers fundementalists of all religious persuasions. Spirituality may in fact be a different issue but the absolute literal belief in any religious text precludes the potential that it might be flawed. Um, I don’t really know of a religion that claims not to be pretty sure that it is correct in its teachings.

Comment #78132

Posted by BWE on February 7, 2006 4:55 PM (e)

Wow, All those comments after AD Happened while I was writing that post. I need to point out that science cannot answer metaphysical questions because that is not what it can do. On the other hand, religion can’t either.

Comment #78133

Posted by Eugene Lai on February 7, 2006 5:00 PM (e)

But do you see any point in insulting people of religion who support science and in particular evolution?

No, but no one has insulted any one here yet…

Comment #78134

Posted by BWE on February 7, 2006 5:02 PM (e)

well, I came close with that bible passage one and for that I’m sorry. I will pray the rosary 4000 times and go to hell when I die to try to atone for my sin.

Comment #78135

Posted by Eugene Lai on February 7, 2006 5:09 PM (e)

BWE wrote:

Um, I don’t really know of a religion that claims not to be pretty sure that it is correct in its teachings.

True, although there are religious people who are willing to bend their belief in the face on scientific discoveries.

I am no big fan of such premise, but I have learnt to plead no contest unless they make specific scientific or philosophical claims based on their belief in the first place.

Comment #78136

Posted by Stephen Elliott on February 7, 2006 5:09 PM (e)

Posted by BWE on February 7, 2006 05:02 PM (e)

well, I came close with that bible passage one and for that I’m sorry. I will pray the rosary 4000 times and go to hell when I die to try to atone for my sin.

LOL. That is funny.

Comment #78137

Posted by Caledonian on February 7, 2006 5:34 PM (e)

AD wrote:

Religion, ideally, is attempting to answer questions (even in an abstract faith-based manner) which science readily admits it CANNOT address. I see no point for hostility towards it.

That’s the whole point, isn’t it?

Religion asserts that statements accepted on faith are the answers.

Science acknowledges that there are questions for which no answers can ever derived.

It’s not a question of hostility. The two systems are simply incompatible. You might as well say that the statements “2+2=4” and “2+2=5” are ‘hostile’ to each other - it’s absurd. They’re simply mutually exclusive.

Comment #78138

Posted by JONBOY on February 7, 2006 5:35 PM (e)

I agree that insulting religious people is not very conducive in building allies on behalf of the scientific community,never the less we should not panda to them either.I have the greatest respect for the right of an individual to have their personal religious convictions,but do not expect me to have respect, for the convictions.
Central to any sensible society is the belief that truth is discovered through the interchange of ideas in an open forum. Yet,religious people are repeatedly admonished to avoid those of another persuasion and shun the exchange of ideas through dialogue. They are told to flee non-religious ideas because the latter are not only wrong and lead believers astray but possessed by those with less than honorable motives “When religion becomes scientific, it ceases to be religion and becomes science. Religion is not intellectual–it is emotional. It does not appeal to the reason. The founder of a religion has always said, ‘Let him that hath ears to hear, hear!’ No founder has said: ‘Let him that hath brains to think, No one is told to reason with a heretic, and not one word is said about relying upon argument, upon education, or upon intellectual development. Thomas Paine said, “As you can make no appeal to reason in support of an unreasonable religion, you then…bring yourselves off by telling people they must not believe in reason but in revelation.” Voltaire said, “The truths of religion are never so well understood as by those who have lost the power of reason” and Havelock Ellis was probably as blunt as anyone when he said, “The whole religious complexion of the modern world is due to the absence from Jerusalem of a lunatic asylum

Comment #78139

Posted by Stephen Elliott on February 7, 2006 5:55 PM (e)

Posted by JONBOY on February 7, 2006 05:35 PM (e)

I agree that insulting religious people is not very conducive in building allies on behalf of the scientific community,never the less we should not panda to them either….

I hope that was intentional.
Damn funny.

Comment #78140

Posted by Paul Flocken on February 7, 2006 5:56 PM (e)

Comment #78114 Posted by BWE on February 7, 2006 03:31 PM

Spirituality has the ability to provide comfort-psychological comfort. Science does not do that (other than indirectly through medication and the like). Science does not provide assurance of everlasting life or that there is a potential good to come from bad things. When people are weak, religion is the only thing that can come to our aid. We rely on science to cure us but religion to calm us. It requires a major shift in thinking to allow ourselves to be set adrift in our lives, far from the safe moorings that religion provides.

As much as I would love to see religion squashed in all its forms all over the world, I’ve said before that trying to come between mankind and his delusions is dangerous work. One that science is ill-equipped to do for your reasons above. I realize that there is a tension here between what I’m saying: pander on the one hand, don’t pander on the other and I don’t think I can adequately put into words the proper balance. (Where is Flint when you need him?) Fine, go ahead and wallow in the delusions of your (not you specifically BWE) ignorance (or should that be the ignorance of your delusions, bahh). But don’t do so and then try to b*llsh*t me that your ignorance is really knowledge and your delusions are really reality as revealed to you in that book.

I recently lost a relative in a tragic way and I had to listen to family members who are not religious tell their children that their (very young) grandma was in heaven. The kids really couldn’t do better than that. Heaven was described as a place in our minds but heaven, nevertheless, was the word.

I tend to think parents to this more for their own convenience and peace of mind than they do it for their children. I’ve had more than adequate demonstration in my life that children are far tougher and more resilient than parents want to believe they are. Explaining death may not be easy but that is taking the cowardly way out. You said people can be weak but how can we address that weakness if we don’t ever stop reproducing these memes in our children. I see a bit of a chicken and egg problem here.

Sincerely,
Paul
PS
Re Comment #78097,
I couldn’t agree with that more. That is as lucid a rendering of that idea as I have ever read. It’s too bad investigating that idea is too threatening to fundie ideology.

Comment #78141

Posted by JONBOY on February 7, 2006 6:03 PM (e)

STEPHEN E

Thanks, I was waiting to see if anyone caught the jib,I must admit it was not intentional, but when I read through the post I decided to leave it in.

Comment #78142

Posted by J. G. Cox on February 7, 2006 6:05 PM (e)

One point: religion is not immune to reason and logic. I know many people that have changed their minds concerning purely non-empirical religious ideas after engaging in argument and reasoning. Sometimes these changes of belief are even based on observed external phenomena (though not objectively and repeatedly measured ones).

Anyone else think this should be moved to a thread in AtBC?

Comment #78143

Posted by AD on February 7, 2006 6:06 PM (e)

I don’t think there needs to be any pandering (or pandaing, as the case may be) towards religion or science. As I asserted earlier, they should operate in entirely seperate spheres of knowledge.

Whether you wish to acknowledge it or not, science simply cannot answer all questions, nor should anyone performing science be arrogant towards those using non-scientific methods on non-scientific questions. You can mock religiously motivated people for attempting to answer questions in intellectually bankrupt ways that science can answer (such as ID), and I’m all for that. But when you knock religion or claim it should be squashed when people are using it to attempt to formulate ideas about things science cannot answer, I think you’re way out of line. In much the same way, honestly, that the ID people are out of line trying to take over science.

As I said, and people either deliberately misunderstood or failed to read, I’m not for science being controlled by religion. But there is a time and place for both, and if you continue to make statements hostile towards religion, you create the same sort of smoking gun that the ID folks did in Dover with their statements in the pro-God light. It’s evidence that Darwinism IS a “religion” and that people are preaching it at the expense of other religions.

This is the sort of scientism that is problematic - open hostility towards religion from the scientific community or members thereof has the same sort of impact as open hostility towards science from the religious community.

The reality is that there is good and bad to science. There is good and bad to religion. However, this good and bad is motivated by individuals misusing it, not any inherent significant flaw in the thing itself. I mean, if there are highly theistic scientists who are staunch defenders of science from religion, you’d think that it’s entirely possible that they could be both separate and valuable…

Comment #78144

Posted by Paul Flocken on February 7, 2006 6:11 PM (e)

My own statement.

I’ve had more than adequate demonstration in my life that children are far tougher and more resilient than parents want to believe they are. Explaining death may not be easy but that is taking the cowardly way out.

A caveat that argues against my point. I personally spent a large part of my childhood in a country setting where we slaughtered animals for various farming purposes, had many pets, some who inevitably died on a regular basis, and I knew many other children in the same setting. I think that is something of an advantage children not so exposed would be missing. That would make it more difficult to explain about death to such kids.
Gotta go to work now. I’ll try to post more later.
Sincerely,
Paul

Comment #78145

Posted by Julie Stahlhut on February 7, 2006 6:12 PM (e)

Stephen Elliott wrote:

But do you see any point in insulting people of religion who support science and in particular evolution?

Actually, I don’t. I get exasperated with some aspects of religion and its institutions sometimes, but have also had the benefit of knowing a lot of religious people who (a.) understand and support science, and/or (b.) are just plain nice folks.

Anyway, when word comes out of the DI’s mouthpiece that “God’s glory is getting robbed” by means of accepted scientific practice, I mentally substitute the word “Our” for “God’s”. I’m not a theist myself, but I don’t mistake the well-oiled ID machine for all of theistic religion.

Comment #78146

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on February 7, 2006 6:29 PM (e)

Time for our monthly pointless Holy War again, huh.

Comment #78148

Posted by BWE on February 7, 2006 6:48 PM (e)

Whether you wish to acknowledge it or not, science simply cannot answer all questions, nor should anyone performing science be arrogant towards those using non-scientific methods on non-scientific questions. You can mock religiously motivated people for attempting to answer questions in intellectually bankrupt ways that science can answer (such as ID), and I’m all for that. But when you knock religion or claim it should be squashed when people are using it to attempt to formulate ideas about things science cannot answer, I think you’re way out of line. In much the same way, honestly, that the ID people are out of line trying to take over science.

I understand your point of “why be mean when it doesn’t matter anyway” but I think that is an important point when you are dealing with the question of good education that begins from a state of ignorance and relies on evidence to form opinions. Sure, you can rely on faith for some things but you can’t make a claim to knowledge that evidence might possibly refute. As scientists, we use information hopefully open to the possibility that the knowledge is merely the best available. Do you see the double standard there?

I think this discussion is quite relevant to the topic since they are different sides of the same coin. If we are going to teach science we are refuting biblical, koranic, vedic and every other scriptural literalism out there. We have more knowledge now than we did then. Sure we can adapt our interpretations of scriptures but that puts a lot of the preachers out of business since it requires more than just charisma to continue to preach in the face of new understanding. When they fight back, I understand this post to be saying that we should make an effort to marginalize them. It makes me think of that quote “First they came for the jews…” or whatever. Those that can adapt are trying to explain that there is no evil on the other side but those that can’t are proclaiming a culture of materialism which is bunk but works when they play to an equally unsophisticated audience.

We rely on science to cure us but religion to calm us. It requires a major shift in thinking to allow ourselves to be set adrift in our lives, far from the safe moorings that religion provides.

Comment #78149

Posted by BWE on February 7, 2006 6:50 PM (e)

Lenny, You have a better pointless topic? Better yet, you have a better topic with a point?

Comment #78150

Posted by Eugene Lai on February 7, 2006 6:53 PM (e)

Time for our monthly pointless Holy War again, huh.

Not gonna begin until Raging Bee chimes in, just watch…

Comment #78152

Posted by BWE on February 7, 2006 6:58 PM (e)

But do you see any point in insulting people of religion who support science and in particular evolution?

does evolution need support? You mean the way ID needs support? How bout this. They are right. If 60% of the American people think a cow can jump over the moon then I guess a cow can jump over the moon. Hmmf.

Comment #78153

Posted by Bill Gascoyne on February 7, 2006 7:34 PM (e)

Another one for JONBOY’s collection:

“So far as I can remember, there is not one word in the Gospels in praise of intelligence.”
BERTRAND RUSSELL (1872-1970)

Comment #78154

Posted by Steviepinhead on February 7, 2006 7:40 PM (e)

BWE, speaking of pointy things:

Better yet, you have a better topic with a point?

Was that my cue?

Comment #78155

Posted by Lenny's Pizza Guy on February 7, 2006 7:42 PM (e)

BWE:

Lenny, You have a better pointless topic?

Was that mine?

Comment #78156

Posted by Francis J. Beckwith on February 7, 2006 7:43 PM (e)

This is my favorite portion of B. Forrest’s essay:

“The Wedge’s anti-science agenda includes an astronomy component.
They are promoting their contention that Earth was intelligently de-
signed to accommodate life in a videotape, “The Privileged Planet”….”

Will their cleverness never cease: now, they are claiming that the Earth was designed for the purpose of placing life in a 20th century technology, the videotape.

Comment #78157

Posted by Tulse on February 7, 2006 7:51 PM (e)

I don’t think there needs to be any pandering (or pandaing, as the case may be) towards religion or science. As I asserted earlier, they should operate in entirely seperate spheres of knowledge.

That is just one view of religion, one not shared by fundamentalist Christians, or fundamentalist Muslims, or even fundamentalist Hindus. To say that religion operates in an entirely different sphere from science is itself an attack on some religions. It prescribes what kind of religion is acceptable, and what kind isn’t, what sort of beliefs people “should” have, and what sort they shouldn’t. I don’t really see how in principle that is all that different from what many of the pro-science, “anti-religion” folks here are saying. It’s a matter of degree, not kind.

And, regardless of what “should” be the case, the reality is that there are religions that believe they overlap with science’s magisterium, and these are religions that currently wield enormous political power in many parts of the world (not just the US – e.g., look at the Middle East, or at India). If all religions really didn’t claim to make truth statements about the physical world and its history, if all religions happily accepted a wan, gently liberal Gouldian role of only providing moral guidance and spiritual comfort, then we wouldn’t be having this discussion, and the “push-back” from scientifically-inclined non-believers would be much less. But it doesn’t seem to work that way – if you have Unitarians, you also seem to end up with Christian fundamentalists. And if that’s a fact of human psychology, then I’m all for getting rid of religion all together, as it is just too dangerous a notion.

Comment #78158

Posted by Spike on February 7, 2006 7:52 PM (e)

You only do this once a month?

My friend and I were just talking about this very thing, and we agree with AD: Why alienate people for no reason?

Scientific reasoning can show us that people rarely change their minds as a result of rational discourse. There is usually a very big emotional component to what someone believes or does not. Even in science. If a person had lots of success in math and science when they were a kid, then they are more likely to continue into the “cult” of science as they grow older.

We have an idea to sell. That idea is that science is the best tool for describing and understanding how the natural world works. We need to use the tools that salespeople use. Tell me the last time a salesperson berated and insulted you into buying something. If they did, you quickly developed buyer’s remorse.

Successful salespeople with integrity (no, not an oxymoron) rely on understanding their clients, finding out the client’s needs and demonstrating how the product fits the needs, and admitting when the product does not that perhaps the client needs to look elsewhere for the answers to their problems.

In the vein of what B. Spitzer said: Many scientific types pretend that the way they are now is the way they’ve always been. That they never were ignorant (in the benign sense) of what they know now and are unrealistically impatient with others who don’t know the “truth” that they know. Many smart scientists couldn’t find their a$$ with both hands when it comes to dealing with people. But they act as if their scientific knowledge gives them special understanding into sociological and psychological issues.

To Paul: While fundies may not be looking into BWE’s question, he is mistaken that people do not investigate spirituality.

There are many sociologists, psychologists, philosophers, ethicists and other excellent thinkers who wonder why people believe what they do and why some people change their minds and others do not, and why some people take their beliefs to “extremes.” [Take a look at the discussion around why well-educated young men in Palestine can be convinced to blow themselves up.]

So far, they all come to different conclusions. In no small part because their subject matter is not easily studied “in vitro” or modeled on the computer. Tell me an experiment that can determine which children are going to grow up in their parent’s religion and which are going to chuck it for the fun of atheism?

[I haven’t read anything by Loyal Rue, but “Religion Is Not About God: How Spiritual Traditions Nurture Our Biological Nature” comes highly recommended.]

Since we do not know what really leads people to religious beliefs and what makes some people happy to accept the ideas in the Bible and the ideas in “The Origin of Species” at the same time, we really ought to be a little bit more circumspect in how we talk to religionists.

Comment #78159

Posted by Mike Elzinga on February 7, 2006 7:57 PM (e)

If my comment was taken as an insult, it was, but directed at small minds. I’ve read most of the ID and Creationist works quite thoroughly and followed their tactics and rationale over the years. None of their stuff is the product of great influences from either science or religion. Not only is it wrong, it isn’t even right, as Pauli would say.

I suspect there are not very many people who know anything about the mind of god, especially prattling proselytizers. However, some of the religious people who have impressed me the most are those who seem to have a religion with no words whatsoever.

Comment #78160

Posted by Mike Elzinga on February 7, 2006 8:02 PM (e)

If my comment was taken as an insult, it was, but directed at small minds. I’ve read most of the ID and Creationist works quite thoroughly and followed their tactics and rationale over the years. None of their stuff is the product of great influences from either science or religion. Not only is it not right, it isn’t even wrong, as Pauli would say.

I suspect there are not very many people who know anything about the mind of god, especially prattling proselytizers. However, some of the religious people who have impressed me the most are those who seem to have a religion with no words whatsoever.

Comment #78161

Posted by BWE on February 7, 2006 8:02 PM (e)

Pizza guy got it right about the point / no point thing. Like “the missing piece meets the big O” lets see who gets that reference.

Comment #78162

Posted by Gil Stone on February 7, 2006 8:05 PM (e)

Regardless of whether humanity truly evolved from blobs of jelly and monkeys, Creationists cannot prevail in the ongoing debate about our origins. Their position is fatally flawed. You see, the Creationist position fundamentally relies upon the premise that the Judeo-Christian Bible is the Word of God. If it’s not; if the Bible is just a book, then there is no Creationist position. Recently, a lawyer embarked upon a mission to become the greatest Christian on the planet. In his quest he made a profound discovery. He discovered that the Bible is unequivocally not the Word of God. His argument is compelling. After reading his thesis, I am both shocked and embarrassed that I spent my whole life as a Christian and a Creationist. And while his thesis does not invalidate the so-called theory of “Intelligent Design,” it absolutely dismantles the theory of Biblical Creationism. You can read his Thesis at http://www.InDefenseOfGod.com/

Comment #78163

Posted by Mike Elzinga on February 7, 2006 8:05 PM (e)

I’m not sure how I posted my mistaken quote of Pauli and its correction at the same time, but the last one was the intent.

Comment #78164

Posted by Eugene Lai on February 7, 2006 8:10 PM (e)

That is just one view of religion, one not shared by fundamentalist Christians, or fundamentalist Muslims, or even fundamentalist Hindus. To say that religion operates in an entirely different sphere from science is itself an attack on some religions. It prescribes what kind of religion is acceptable, and what kind isn’t, what sort of beliefs people “should” have, and what sort they shouldn’t. I don’t really see how in principle that is all that different from what many of the pro-science, “anti-religion” folks here are saying. It’s a matter of degree, not kind.

Tulse, the “moderates” know that. I think that’s why many of them are so easily annoyed, so sensitive to criticisms. They are copping it from the fundies on one end, and from pro-reason non-theists on the other. They have no real defense except for “that’s what I want to believe, to heck with you”.

Comment #78166

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on February 7, 2006 8:30 PM (e)

Better yet, you have a better topic with a point?

Sure. Now that Beckwith had graced us with his rpeseence, we can ask him what the scientific theory of ID is.

Then we can count all the excuses he gives for not telling us.

Comment #78170

Posted by BWE on February 7, 2006 8:46 PM (e)

Gil, What the heck is that all about? Do you know Carol Clouser?

Comment #78171

Posted by Anton Mates on February 7, 2006 9:06 PM (e)

Tulse wrote:

That is just one view of religion, one not shared by fundamentalist Christians, or fundamentalist Muslims, or even fundamentalist Hindus.

Or, for that matter, moderates of most religions. Even many liberal Christians at least believe that, for instance, there was a guy named Jesus who performed superhuman feats such as miraculous healings and walkings-on-water before a large audience, got crucified, and came back from the dead. That can be investigated scientifically, at least to some degree. It’s pretty rare to find a self-described religious person who (like Lenny) makes sure all their religious beliefs are outside the purview of science. They’re out there, and I’m glad of it, but they’re not the majority. And as you say, telling the others that religion should be separate from science is no less of an attack on their beliefs than simply saying they’re wrong.

To say that religion operates in an entirely different sphere from science is itself an attack on some religions.

It’s also kind of unfair to other realms of human thought. Many people live by ethical systems or philosophies which they don’t consider religious, even though they’re outside the scientific sphere as well.

Comment #78172

Posted by John Marley on February 7, 2006 9:06 PM (e)

BWE:

The quote is:

In Germany they came first for the Communists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn’t speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me, and by that time no one was left to speak up.

—–Martin Niemoeller, German Lutheran Pastor

The quote was also used by Harlan Ellison, but I don’t remember in which story. (Actually I remember the story very well, just not the title.

Comment #78175

Posted by BWE on February 7, 2006 9:22 PM (e)

Thanks for the quote John. DOn’t you think the fundies must feel like that a little? I mean, they are supposed to be out there saving souls and look what scientists are doing.

My religious beliefs incorporate what has been and can be learned from science. I am religious but I don’t believe in magic.

Comment #78206

Posted by Caledonian on February 8, 2006 1:02 AM (e)

BWE wrote:

I am religious but I don’t believe in magic.

Depending on what religion you believe in, you probably *DO* believe in magic.

Comment #78208

Posted by BWE on February 8, 2006 1:08 AM (e)

Caledonian, I guess there is a continuum isn’t there. At least what I consider magic many consider physics and what I consider outside of physics is really pre-big bang.

Comment #78216

Posted by Tice with a J on February 8, 2006 2:12 AM (e)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'kwickxml'

Comment #78217

Posted by Tice with a J on February 8, 2006 2:14 AM (e)

Could someone fix my last post? I forgot to preview it, and it broke because of a bad tag. :(

Comment #78222

Posted by guuuuuuus on February 8, 2006 6:04 AM (e)

jeez that was an awful lot of writing. i managed to catch a few wods here and there but i got the general vibe of it. all good. evolution floats my boat, christian people are quite frankly ridiculously disabled in the part of the brain which determines ones common sense and reason.

Comment #78229

Posted by Bill Reed on February 8, 2006 8:00 AM (e)

Characterizing all critics of evolution theory as “fundies” is just stereotyping and guilt-by-association. Many people have purely rational and scientific reasons for doubting evolution theory. I have no problem with the idea of being descended from monkeys, and I have no problem with the idea of changes through time. What I do have a problem with is the idea that those changes were driven solely by random mutation and natural selection. As Prof. Behe himself said in his response to the Kitzmiller vs. Dover opinion (page 7), “it isn’t ‘evolution’ but Darwinism – random mutation and natural selection – that ID challenges.” One of the main reasons why opponents of ID insist that it is entirely a religious concept is so they can use the constitutional separation of church and state to attack it.

Some people have said that evolution theory is an important basis in many sciences. OK, but scientists can just use evolution theory without believing that it is true – at least without believing in the Darwinist part of evolution theory (i.e., evolution solely by means of random mutation and natural selection ). It is like using “phasors” in the analysis of alternating-current circuits. The phasors, which are vectors that rotate around the origin of the complex-number plane, have no direct physical significance but are nonetheless very useful in AC circuit analysis ( the phasors’ vertical projections onto the real-number axis give the magnitudes of voltage and current).

Comment #78232

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on February 8, 2006 8:16 AM (e)

Many people have purely rational and scientific reasons for doubting evolution theory.

Name five of these “rational and scientific reasons”, please. And TRY to do it without rehashing standard ICR boilerplate from forty years ago.

What I do have a problem with is the idea that those changes were driven solely by random mutation and natural selection.

What do you suggest be added, then.

Comment #78233

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on February 8, 2006 8:19 AM (e)

One of the main reasons why opponents of ID insist that it is entirely a religious concept is so they can use the constitutional separation of church and state to attack it.

Speaking for myself, the main reason why I insist that ID is entirely a religious concept is because IDers tell us it is:

The very first sentence of the Wedge Document makes plain the underlying religious aim of the Discovery Institute’s anti-evolution campaign: “The proposition that human beings are created in the image of God is one of the bedrock principles on which Western Civilization was built.” (Wedge Document) The Discovery Institute, like other fundamentalist Christians, refers to the rejection of this religious idea as “the philosophy of materialism” or “naturalism” or sometimes “darwinism” (all are phrases which have long been the fundamentalist code words for “atheism”), and explicitly states that this materialistic atheism is the direct result of science: “This cardinal idea came under wholesale attack by intellectuals drawing on the discoveries of modern science. Debunking the traditional conceptions of both God and man, thinkers such as Charles Darwin, Karl Marx, and Sigmund Freud portrayed humans not as moral and spiritual beings, but as animals or machines who inhabited a universe ruled by purely impersonal forces and whose behavior and very thoughts were dictated by the unbending forces of biology, chemistry, and environment. This materialistic conception of reality eventually infected virtually every area of our culture, from politics and economics to literature and art.” (Wedge Document) Thus, as the Discovery Institute’s basic complaint can be summed up as “science is atheistic”. Under the heading “Governing Goals”, the Discovery Institute lists, “To replace materialistic explanations with the theistic understanding that nature and hurnan beings are created by God.” (Wedge Document, 1999)

Published statements by DI associates confirm that “renewing our culture” by replacing “scientific materialism” with “God” or a “theistic understanding of nature” is indeed the only aim and purpose of “intelligent design theory”. DI associate George Gilder wrote an entire piece entitled “The Materialist Superstition” which decries “the Darwinian materialist paradigm”, and advocates replacing it with “intelligent design”, which, Gilder implies (but is very careful not to explicitly state), is non-materialistic. (“The Materialistic Superstition”, Discovery Institute Website, 2005). Other ID advocates, however, have at times been less circumspect.

Phillip Johnson, who talks much more openly than the others about the explicit anti-atheistic goals of “intelligent design theory”, specifically contrasts “scientific materialism” with “divine intervention”;

“It is the alleged absence of divine intervention throughout the history of life – the strict materialism of the orthodox theory – that explains why a great many people, only some of whom are biblical fundamentalists, think that Darwinian evolution (beyond the micro level) is basically materialistic philosophy disguised as scientific fact.” (Johnson, “The Unraveling of Scientific Materialism”, First Things, November 1997, PP 22-25)

“Science also has become identified with a philosophy known as materialism or scientific naturalism. This philosophy insists that nature is all there is, or at least the only thing about which we can have any knowledge. It follows that nature had to do its own creating, and that the means of creation must not have included any role for God…. The reason the theory of evolution is so controversial is that it is the main scientific prop for scientific naturalism. Students first learn that “evolution is a fact,” and then they gradually learn more and more about what that “fact” means. It means that all living things are the product of mindless material forces such as chemical laws, natural selection, and random variation. So God is totally out of the picture, and humans (like everything else) are the accidental product of a purposeless universe.” (Johnson, “The Church of Darwin”, Wall Street Journal, August 16, 1999).

“For now we need to stick to the main point: In the beginning was the Word, and the ‘fear of God’- recognition of our dependence upon God-is still the beginning of wisdom. If materialist science can prove otherwise then so be it, but everything we are learning about the evidence suggests that we don’t need to worry. (Johnson, “How to Sink a Battleship; A Call to Separate Materialist Philosophy from Empriical Science”, address to the 1996 “Mere Creation Conference”)

Johnson explicitly calls for “a better scientific theory, one genuinely based on unbiased empirical evidence and not on materialist philosophy” (Johnson, “How to Sink a Battleship). Johnson doesn’t tell us what this non-materialistic philosophy might be that he wants to base science on, but it is clear from the rest of his statements that he, like every other IDer, wants to base science on his religious beliefs.

DI associate Michael Behe also makes the connection between fighting “scientific materialism” and “theistic understanding of nature” explicitly clear.

“Darwinism is the most plausible unintelligent mechanism, yet it has tremendous difficulties and the evidence garnered so far points to its inability to do what its advocates claim for it. If unintelligent mechanisms can’t do the job, then that shifts the focus to intelligent agency. That’s as far as the argument against Darwinism takes us, but most people already have other reasons for believing in a personal God who just might act in history, and they will find the argument for intelligent design fits with what they already hold. With the argument arranged this way, evidence against Darwinism does count as evidence for an active God, just as valid negative advertising against the Democratic candidate will help the Republican, even though Vegetarian and One-World candidates are on the ballot, too. Life is either the result of exclusively unintelligent causes or it is not, and the evidence against the unintelligent production of life is clearly evidence for intelligent design.” (Behe, “The God of Science”, Weekly Standard, June 7, 1999, p. 35)

“Naturalism is a philosophy which says that material things are all that there is. But philosophy is not science, and therefore excluding ideas which point to a creator, which point to God, is not allowed simply because in public schools in the United States one is not allowed to discriminate either for or against ideas which have religious implications.” (Behe, Speech at Calvary Chapel, March 6, 2002)

Another DI associate, William Dembski, makes the connection between ID and Christian apologetics even more explicit:

“Not only does intelligent design rid us of this ideology, which suffocates the human spirit, but, in my personal experience, I’ve found that it opens the path for people to come to Christ. Indeed, once materialism is no longer an option, Christianity again becomes an option. True, there are then also other options. But Christianity is more than able to hold its own once it is seen as a live option. The problem with materialism is that it rules out Christianity so completely that it is not even a live option. Thus, in its relation to Christianity, intelligent design should be viewed as a ground-clearing operation that gets rid of the intellectual rubbish that for generations has kept Christianity from receiving serious consideration.” (Dembski, “Intelligent Design’s Contribution to the Debate Over Evolution”, Designinference.com website, February 2005).

Indeed, Dembski titled one of his books Intelligent Design; the Bridge Between Science and Theology (Dembski, 1999). In that book, Dembski makes the religious basis of ID “theory” explicit: “The conceptual soundings of the theory can in the end only be located in Christ.” (Dembski, 1999, p. 210). Other statements by Dembski make it clear that his designer cannot be anything other than God:

“The fine-tuning of the universe, about which cosmologists make such a to-do, is both complex and specified and readily yields design. So too, Michael Behe’s irreducibly complex biochemical systems readily yield design. The complexity-specification criterion demonstrates that design pervades cosmology and biology. Moreover, it is a transcendent design, not reducible to the physical world. Indeed, no intelligent agent who is strictly physical could have presided over the origin of the universe or the origin of life.” (Dembski, “The Act of Creation”, ARN website, Aug 1998)

“From our vantage, materialism is not a neutral, value-free, minimalist position from which to pursue inquiry. Rather, it is itself an ideology with an agenda. What’s more, it requires an evolutionary creation story to keep it afloat. On scientific grounds, we regard that creation story to be false. What’s more, we regard the ideological agenda that has flowed from it to be destructive to rational discourse. Our concerns are therefore entirely parallel to the evolutionists’. Indeed, all the evolutionists’ worst fears about what the world would be like if we succeed have, in our view, already been realized through the success of materialism and evolution. Hence, as a strategy for unseating materialism and evolution, the term “Wedge” has come to denote an intellectual and cultural movement that many find congenial.” (Dembski, “Dealing with the backlash against intelligent design”, 2004)

“But there are deeper motivations. I think at a fundamental level, in terms of what drives me in this is that I think God’s glory is being robbed by these naturalistic approaches to biological evolution, creation, the origin of the world, the origin of biological complexity and diversity. When you are attributing the wonders of nature to these mindless material mechanisms, God’s glory is getting robbed…And so there is a cultural war here. Ultimately I want to see God get the credit for what he’s done - and he’s not getting it.” (Dembski, address given at Fellowship Baptist Church, Waco, Texas, March 7, 2004) “Even so, there is an immediate payoff to intelligent design: it destroys the atheistic legacy of Darwinian evolution. Intelligent design makes it impossible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist.” (Dembski, Why President Bush Got It Right about Intelligent Design, 2005)

Comment #78237

Posted by Raging Bee on February 8, 2006 8:39 AM (e)

BWE wrote:

That last post was my tourettes talking.

Yeah, that pretty much says it all.

Another note: spirituality does not just provide “comfort” – it provides motivation and guidance. The Polish Catholics who responded to JP-II’s call to stand up to post-Stalinist tyranny, at significant risk to their own lives, weren’t doing it for comfort. Neither are the drug-addicts who count on a “higher power” to help them recover.

Comment #78238

Posted by Paul Flocken on February 8, 2006 8:44 AM (e)

George Lucas is on the side of accurate science education(or at least his foundation is). Does anyone know if Bill Gates has made any statements about ID?

Comment #78239

Posted by Raging Bee on February 8, 2006 8:44 AM (e)

George Gilder is a “DI associate?” I was wondering what happened to that twit.

Comment #78241

Posted by Rilke's Granddaughter on February 8, 2006 9:03 AM (e)

Bill Reed wrote:

Some people have said that evolution theory is an important basis in many sciences. OK, but scientists can just use evolution theory without believing that it is true — at least without believing in the Darwinist part of evolution theory (i.e., evolution solely by means of random mutation and natural selection ). It is like using “phasors” in the analysis of alternating-current circuits. The phasors, which are vectors that rotate around the origin of the complex-number plane, have no direct physical significance but are nonetheless very useful in AC circuit analysis ( the phasors’ vertical projections onto the real-number axis give the magnitudes of voltage and current). (emphasis added)

Oh, no. It’s Larry again. Under yet another alias. This is getting too funny. Of course, it would be nice if he would find an actual argument to use - that would vary the silliness.

Comment #78242

Posted by Paul Flocken on February 8, 2006 9:06 AM (e)

Comment #78124 Posted by AD on February 7, 2006 04:32 PM

I’m going to take a moment to decry the abject hostility towards religion here. That’s no more productive nor correct than the hostility that fundamentalists display towards science, to be honest. If you’re going to say religion is useless, highly negative, etc, then you cannot seriously expect anyone religious to believe a damn thing that you say.

I’m reminded of a line by John Adams in the play/movie “1776“.

This is a revolution, damn it, we’re going to have to offend somebody.

Comment #78243

Posted by Rilke's Granddaughter on February 8, 2006 9:14 AM (e)

I believe that much of the hostility displayed by the strongly religious folks in this debate, and the apparent need to have scientific ‘support’ for God, is that they perceive (correctly, I think) that science considered as a discipline has supplanted religion as a source of ‘ultimate truth’. Many people may be suspicious of scientists, but they like their televisions and ipods and other things that they associate with science. Scientists are the new prophets - a fact that makes the formally religious folks unhappy about loss of turf.

Comment #78244

Posted by ben on February 8, 2006 9:17 AM (e)

Some people have said that evolution theory is an important basis in many sciences. OK, but scientists can just use evolution theory without believing that it is true…

Hm, yet another brand-new commenter who just happens to be dishing out old Larry Fafarman arguments. Coincidence, or rule 6 violation?

Comment #78245

Posted by Paul Flocken on February 8, 2006 9:20 AM (e)

Comment #78127 Posted by JONBOY on February 7, 2006 04:38 PM

Do we turn to pious religious teachings or writings to calm us? knowing that these very writings are opposed to any form of critical thinking.One of the most insidious biblical teachings is that the intellect is not to be trusted as the final arbiter of ones decisions. Faith in Jesus, theological insights, and spiritual gifts are to replace knowledge, disputation, and philosophy as the ultimate source of truth. In effect, faith is to replace proof, hope is to replace work, and trust is to replace evidence. People are to rely on forces and beings beyond their control rather than their own talents and abilities. This debilitating approach to life’s challenges, which can only lead to self-effacement and low self-esteem

Comment #78138 Posted by JONBOY on February 7, 2006 05:35 PM

Central to any sensible society is the belief that truth is discovered through the interchange of ideas in an open forum. Yet,religious people are repeatedly admonished to avoid those of another persuasion and shun the exchange of ideas through dialogue. They are told to flee non-religious ideas because the latter are not only wrong and lead believers astray but possessed by those with less than honorable motives “When religion becomes scientific, it ceases to be religion and becomes science. Religion is not intellectual—it is emotional. It does not appeal to the reason. The founder of a religion has always said, ‘Let him that hath ears to hear, hear!’ No founder has said: ‘Let him that hath brains to think, No one is told to reason with a heretic, and not one word is said about relying upon argument, upon education, or upon intellectual development. Thomas Paine said, “As you can make no appeal to reason in support of an unreasonable religion, you then…bring yourselves off by telling people they must not believe in reason but in revelation.” Voltaire said, “The truths of religion are never so well understood as by those who have lost the power of reason” and Havelock Ellis was probably as blunt as anyone when he said, “The whole religious complexion of the modern world is due to the absence from Jerusalem of a lunatic asylum

Comment #78153 Posted by Bill Gascoyne on February 7, 2006 07:34 PM

Another one for JONBOY’s collection:

“So far as I can remember, there is not one word in the Gospels in praise of intelligence.”
BERTRAND RUSSELL (1872-1970)

As anyone could no doubt guess the scripture contradicts everything you’ve just said. Just see.
http://www.christian-thinktank.com/everythg.html
http://www.christian-thinktank.com/paul.html
My own favorite is Thessalonians 5:21
Of course, it’s a given that it is possible to find a contradiction to any argument in the scripture.

Comment #78247

Posted by Paul Flocken on February 8, 2006 9:41 AM (e)

Comment #78141 Posted by JONBOY on February 7, 2006 06:03 PM

STEPHEN E

Thanks, I was waiting to see if anyone caught the jib,I must admit it was not intentional, but when I read through the post I decided to leave it in.

I’m not at all certain that anyone caught the jib in your remark, but I’m quite certain that they did catch the jibe in it. ;-)

Sincerely,
Paul

Comment #78248

Posted by Lou FCD on February 8, 2006 9:42 AM (e)

STOP THE PRESSES, I’VE FOUND THE INTELLIGENT DESIGNERS ON THAT INTERWEB THINGY:

and their names are Jun-Yi Leu and Andrew Murray and they reside at Harvard

At the beginning of the experiment, a yeast cell in the evolving population was equally likely to mate with a cell in either the reference population or the evolving population. To change the cells’ preferred partners, the researchers mixed the two populations, allowed them to mate, and then used engineered genes to create a selective force such that offspring from a mating of two cells from the evolving population were selectively allowed to survive while offspring from a cross between the evolving population and the reference population, or a cross between two yeasts from the reference population, died. By repeating this selection process for 36 generations, the researchers produced evolved populations that were five times more likely to mate to other evolved cells than they were to the reference population.

Analysis of the evolved populations suggested that this change was the result of several different mutations, and that one important consequence of these mutations was to change how quickly cells mated. Subtle, genetically based differences in the timing or mechanism of mating could well represent a barrier to mating between otherwise closely related populations, thereby contributing to genetic isolation that leads to speciation. This work provides an intriguing insight into one of the fundamental features of evolution and paves the way for a detailed understanding of the genetic changes that turn one species into two.

Just thought it was cool and couldn’t find a better place to post that.

Also came across this which has some really major implications.

Scientists Evolve Virus to Slip Past Human Immune System

In a project that could benefit human health, scientists forced the evolution of a common virus so that it can avoid the human immune system, making it potentially useful as a delivery vehicle for gene therapy.

Geez Louise, that’s a lot more useful than “goddit”

Just the view from a Carpenter’s son.

Comment #78256

Posted by Paul Flocken on February 8, 2006 10:59 AM (e)

Hey BWE, your a Shel fan. I’ll race to the end of the sidewalk. ;^)

Comment #78258

Posted by Raging Bee on February 8, 2006 11:11 AM (e)

Hm, yet another brand-new commenter who just happens to be dishing out old Larry Fafarman arguments. Coincidence, or rule 6 violation?

I like to think of this Larry person as the very personification of the fundamental essense of creation science: the name changes every day, but the arguments and opinions remain the same no matter how thoroughly, or how many times, they’ve already been punk’d, junk’d, debunk’d and defunct.

Comment #78261

Posted by Raging Bee on February 8, 2006 11:22 AM (e)

Or maybe this is a scene from “Memento,” where the poor brain-damaged sod already forgot that he already posted what he just now posted – a dozen times before.

(No, Larry, you’ve not taken your sleeping-pill yet. Go ahead and take some more – oops, I mean take your normal dose…)

Or maybe it’s a really bad game of whack-a-mole, where the mole keeps popping out of the same hole every time…

Comment #78262

Posted by BWE on February 8, 2006 11:30 AM (e)

while offspring from a cross between the evolving population and the reference population, or a cross between two yeasts from the reference population, died.

Notice how they died on the cross? See any parallels here? Huh?

paul, you win the prize! That book might be about learning to make that radical shift in thinking I was talking about.

bee, right about the guidance thing. Unfortunately it is wrapped up in a my (wrong) way or the highway hot-dogmatic bun.

If we want to teach science we are going to have to confront the tenets of the world’s major religions head on. I’m sorry. If you can expand your scope enough to see that the religious texts are allegories for human nature then you have gone a long way towards understanding human nature but you have come no closer to god. We need periodic tables on the walls of every classroom in america. I have tremendous sympathy for those who have beed duped by this particularly virulent meme but it’s wrong. I am not in any way a materialist in the sense that I care whether the great mysteries of life can be boiled down to chemical reactions. So what? We are still here and it is still beautiful. But the ID sciences will continue to try to turn lead into gold as long as society gives that it might be possible,

Tic, tic, F%@KSH!&@@@&^!!!
Darn tourettes.

Comment #78263

Posted by Raging Bee on February 8, 2006 11:32 AM (e)

If you’re going to say religion is useless, highly negative, etc, then you cannot seriously expect anyone religious to believe a damn thing that you say.

I wouldn’t even expect an agnostic to believe what such people say – especially when it flatly misrepresents documented history, ignores or ridicules personal experience, and doesn’t even adhere to the rules of basic logical consistency.

Comment #78264

Posted by BWE on February 8, 2006 11:40 AM (e)

If you’re going to say that wife beating is wrong then you can’t expect wife-beaters to take you seriously either.

THe experience is real. I am not arguing for athiesm. But, at least the big 4 stand in direct opposition to what can be learned. It’s not the experience that is lacking, it is the background info. I have found an amazing peace through meditation. I can relate a heck of a lot of personal experience to trancendental experiences but If I told you that I have seen a pig fly and that the pig told me that I should be the first ruler of the flying pig church and people need to give me money to help me establish that church, would you give me money? How is that any different from Paul? Nope, that’s not it. Try again.

Comment #78265

Posted by Raging Bee on February 8, 2006 11:46 AM (e)

If you can expand your scope enough to see that the religious texts are allegories for human nature then you have gone a long way towards understanding human nature but you have come no closer to god.

And if YOU can expand YOUR scope a little, you’d find that many persons of faith already interpret, understand and make good use of our religious texts in precisely this way.

And how do you know how close to our gods we are? You sound like a recently-born-again fundie, pretending to know everyone else’s spritual condition.

Comment #78267

Posted by BWE on February 8, 2006 11:52 AM (e)

You may be quite close to your gods, I have no idea and wouldn’t presume to guess but the doctrines of the major religions didn’t get you there. And for those who did learn the wisdom of the ages or whatever through religious texts, good. I did the same thing. The Bhagavad Gita is my personal favorite. My approval isn’t very darn important though. But if you want to claim that moses parted the red sea or that the earth is 6000 years old, I call Bull-ony.

Comment #78268

Posted by Raging Bee on February 8, 2006 11:53 AM (e)

It may be time to call the Analogy Police. First you kinda-sorta compare persons of faith to wife-beaters, then you offer us this gem:

If I told you that I have seen a pig fly and that the pig told me that I should be the first ruler of the flying pig church and people need to give me money to help me establish that church, would you give me money? How is that any different from Paul?

Umm…it’s different because Paul never mentioned flying pigs?

And while I’m at it, Your necktie is like Hitler at an ice-rink!

Comment #78272

Posted by Stephen Elliott on February 8, 2006 12:12 PM (e)

Posted by Bill Reed on February 8, 2006 08:00 AM (e)

Characterizing all critics of evolution theory as “fundies” is just stereotyping and guilt-by-association. Many people have purely rational and scientific reasons for doubting evolution theory. I have no problem with the idea of being descended from monkeys, and I have no problem with the idea of changes through time. What I do have a problem with is the idea that those changes were driven solely by random mutation and natural selection. As Prof. Behe himself said in his response to the Kitzmiller vs. Dover opinion (page 7), “it isn’t ‘evolution’ but Darwinism — random mutation and natural selection — that ID challenges.” One of the main reasons why opponents of ID insist that it is entirely a religious concept is so they can use the constitutional separation of church and state to attack it.

Some people have said that evolution theory is an important basis in many sciences. OK, but scientists can just use evolution theory without believing that it is true — at least without believing in the Darwinist part of evolution theory (i.e., evolution solely by means of random mutation and natural selection ). It is like using “phasors” in the analysis of alternating-current circuits. The phasors, which are vectors that rotate around the origin of the complex-number plane, have no direct physical significance but are nonetheless very useful in AC circuit analysis ( the phasors’ vertical projections onto the real-number axis give the magnitudes of voltage and current).

How many names is Larry allowed to use?
He is trying to “evolve” his word use, but still has the exact same debunked arguments.

Comment #78274

Posted by AD on February 8, 2006 12:16 PM (e)

If you’re going to say that wife beating is wrong then you can’t expect wife-beaters to take you seriously either.

Yes, actually, you can. Speaking from personal experience, I know people who do precisely this for a career. You can treat people who are ill - the issue is that often they already understand they are doing something “wrong”, or can be shown that is the case.

This, however, is completely irrelevant to our argument. Religion and spiritual belief are not “wife-beaters”. By virtue of their existence they are not harming anybody. Individuals take actions in the name of their religions to harm people, but that’s an individual being stupid, not a situation where it is fair to blame all religion for a specific set of ills.

Also, again, let me reiterate that statements openly hostile towards religion (and I think comparing it to wife-beating qualifies) really aren’t going to do any good here. Not all people who are individually religious are hostile to evolution, and more so, by expressing unsupported personal beliefs on religion as support for education/evolution/etc, you are falling into the same trap as the ID folks.

I’m certainly for educating people, and keeping science as science. But I’m not for all-out hostility and wild, insensible claims. From either side, really.

Comment #78279

Posted by k.e. on February 8, 2006 12:32 PM (e)

OT Interesting link Paul:
The converted skeptic who has managed to piece together what appears to be, at first glance, a self synthesized trinity (without a mandala) based purely on objective reasoning AND the… er shall we say transcendent rebirth. and religious­spiritual awakening

The conversion of course was pure , Arthurian.it was a girl. In Celtic King Arthur’s time Christianity WAS woven into the existing social fabric by forest dwelling mystics who have a deep natural romantic understanding of love, life and honor and were able to untangle the mythic elements of the bible, modernity has put paid to that now of course. An Islamic Knight, a son of the crescent, battles almost to the death a son of the cross before they realize they are brothers of the same ‘father’ and end shaking hands.The conversion to Christianity ONLY happens after he is smitten by one of the fine young ladies the condition of marriage is …..yes you guessed it.

But look at the amount of work he has had to do to analyze all that stuff and still end up with an unbalanced (ok its only slight) view?
And yet is it me or did he miss the Gospel of Thomas altogether ?

Life is too short for all that, one line from the enlightened one himself almost kicked me into a Buddhist Monastery but the Buddhist girl I was with at that time, ticked me off roundly and took great delight in reminding me what I wouldn’t be getting in a Monastery.

That line was “With our thoughts we make the world” plus the golden rule and “All suffering is caused by desire” it makes even more sense with …ah …shall we say ‘assistance’.

Huxley puts it best with

“The Doors of Perception”

[Quoting Broad]…. The function of the brain and nervous system is to protect us from being overwhelmed and confused by this mass of largely useless and irrelevant knowledge, by shutting out most of what we should otherwise perceive or remember at any moment, and leaving only that very small and special selection which is likely to be practically useful.” According to such a theory, each one of us is potentially Mind at Large. But in so far as we are animals, our business is at all costs to survive. To make biological survival possible, Mind at Large has to be funneled through the reducing valve of the brain and nervous system. What comes out at the other end is a measly trickle of the kind of consciousness which will help us to stay alive on the surface of this Particular planet. To formulate and express the contents of this reduced awareness, man has invented and endlessly elaborated those symbol-systems and implicit philosophies which we call languages. Every individual is at once the beneficiary and the victim of the linguistic tradition into which he has been born—the beneficiary inasmuch as language gives access to the accumulated records of other people’s experience, the victim in so far as it confirms him in the belief that reduced awareness is the only awareness and as it bedevils his sense of reality, so that he is all too apt to take his concepts for data, his words for actual things. That which, in the language of religion, is called “this world” is the universe of reduced awareness, expressed, and, as it were, petrified by language. The various “other worlds,” with which human beings erratically make contact are so many elements in the totality of the awareness belonging to Mind at Large. Most people, most of the time, know only what comes through the reducing valve and is consecrated as genuinely real by the local language. Certain persons, however, seem to be born with a kind of by-pass that circumvents the reducing valve. In others temporary by-passes may be acquired either spontaneously, or as the result of deliberate “spiritual exercises,” or through hypnosis, or by means of drugs. Through these permanent or temporary by-passes there flows, not indeed the perception “of everything that is happening everywhere in the universe” (for the by-pass does not abolish the reducing valve, which still excludes the total content of Mind at Large), but something more than, and above all something different from, the carefully selected utilitarian material which our narrowed, individual minds regard as a complete, or at least sufficient, picture of reality.

However back to Mr Glenn Miller he does tease out the miracle thing in an objective manner. Particularly the analysis of Literary Genre and how the new testament writers use the prose form deliberately as protection against de-mythologizing the miracle stories rather than the poetic and obviously metaphorical approach thus limiting the impact, shock and awe of the message. It appeals to the gullible and wins hearts and minds faster just leaving a few skeptics to deal with at the endgame. Actually an early form of propaganda, while at that time manipulating competing mythic worldviews, they had to be a little tricky, well…… actually totally expedient, the currency of those days was fanciful thought, no different today if Behe is any guide, whatever works.
He does not go that far himself of course, but he is careful to leave that (unwittingly?) as a logical conclusion.

Comment #78288

Posted by k.e. on February 8, 2006 1:06 PM (e)

Larry this is for you

….the victim in so far as it confirms him in the belief that reduced awareness is the only awareness and as it bedevils his sense of reality, so that he is all too apt to take his concepts for data, his words for actual things.

The words running around in your head for numbers, phasors imaginary or otherwise are NOT things they are your historical musings played back to us to stop your mind from wandering.
Look up intro undergraduate maths links on imaginary numbers and for gods sake get off whatever it is stopping you mind from working.

And for everyone else, your firing neurons are not GOD or anything else for that matter. Even a super-ego or the “Mind at Large” is a human contruct, all is illusion.
Projected through each actors mask …persona.

Comment #78290

Posted by Bill Keely on February 8, 2006 1:14 PM (e)

“Some people have said that evolution theory is an important basis in many sciences. OK, but scientists can just use evolution theory without believing that it is true…”

Hm, yet another brand-new commenter who just happens to be dishing out old Larry Fafarman arguments. Coincidence, or rule 6 violation?

Hey, folks, no one is going to admit violating rule 6. And there is nothing wrong with borrowing another commenter’s ideas, nor is there anything wrong with just happening to have the same ideas as another commenter. If you keep accusing people of violating rule 6, then they will fear that they will be banned or that their comments will be deleted, and then they will start violating rule 6 in self-defense. So if you suspect that someone is violating rule 6, why don’t you just MYOB and keep it to yourselves?

Comment #78296

Posted by AD on February 8, 2006 1:27 PM (e)

Or, even better, just report them to an admin.

I’m quite sure they actually log IP addresses, so they can pretty quickly verify if something is coming from the same source ISP and region, and potentially person if someone has a static IP (or limited dynamic range).

Thus, they’d be able to quickly ascertain if that is true. Are the admins actually doing this? Can one of them answer that?

If so, we just need to report suspicions privately and they will be taken care of with extreme prejudice, as I doubt anyone would appreciate that behavior. If not, you’d know the person was not the same person. Either way, public confirmation one way or another that this sort of thing is being done would eliminate tension on both sides.

/end tangent

Comment #78297

Posted by Raging Bee on February 8, 2006 1:30 PM (e)

…I have no idea and wouldn’t presume to guess…

A most gracious and honest admission – which you immediately undermine, with:

…but the doctrines of the major religions didn’t get you there.

How can you possibly know what got me where from where? Since you just admitted you had no knowledge or evidence to back up your sweeping generalizations about other people’s beliefs, maybe you should follow up by shutting up. Or at least changing the subject to something you understand better.

Comment #78298

Posted by Francis J. Beckwith on February 8, 2006 1:32 PM (e)

Dear Lenny:

First off, how’s Squiggy? Second, and more seriously, I’ve addressed your question in several of my works, including my book Law, Darwinism, and Public Education. The short answer is that there are no necessary and sufficient conditions to distinguish science from non-science on which philosophers of science agree. So, for me, the issue of what counts as “science” is not relevant. What is relevant is whether the argument offered for the point of view, ID or something like it, is reasonable or not obviously irrational and it does not rely on sacred scripture or religious authority. Calling such an argument “religious,” “science,” or “swiss cheese” does nothing to support or undercut the quality of the argument offered. If, for example, the kalam cosmological argument is not irrational to accept–and suppose it was supported by legitimate inferences from empirical premises (e.g., the universe did not always exist)combined with reasonable conceptual notions (e.g., an infinite regress cannot be traversed, something does not come from nothing)– calling such an argument “not science” contributes nothing to the dispute over it. It is a way to marginalize people who offer it. It does not advance the conversation in an intellectually exciting way. It’s the secular version of “heresy hunting.”

Comment #78299

Posted by k.e. on February 8, 2006 1:33 PM (e)

Bill that sounds awfully like the kid who went to the shop with a note from his parents saying “ My mom says Billy is allowed to buy fireworks”

Comment #78303

Posted by k.e. on February 8, 2006 1:46 PM (e)

FJB flys a straw-man
Pure sophism never mind the BS just put up the data
Give me a measurable quantity for your “designer”
Its all or nothing,you want a designer? Its all been done before, go and read Spinoza and pay particular attention to his recommendations regarding the place religion should have with regard to the state. Then read the constitution, see any similarities ?

From Wiki:
The essential claim of sophistry is that the actual logical validity of an argument is irrelevant (if not non-existent); it is only the ruling of the audience which ultimately determine whether a conclusion is considered “true” or not. By appealing to the prejudices and emotions of the judges, one can garner favorable treatment for ones side of the argument and cause a factually false position to be ruled true.

The philosophical Sophist goes one step beyond that and claims that since it was traditionally accepted that the position ruled valid by the judges was literally true, any position ruled true by the judges must be considered literally true, even if it was arrived at by naked pandering to the judges’ prejudices — or even by bribery.

Critics would argue that this claim relies on a straw man caricature of logical discourse and is, in fact, a self-justifying act of sophistry.

Comment #78305

Posted by Rilke's Granddaughter on February 8, 2006 1:54 PM (e)

Keely wrote:

Hey, folks, no one is going to admit violating rule 6. And there is nothing wrong with borrowing another commenter’s ideas, nor is there anything wrong with just happening to have the same ideas as another commenter. If you keep accusing people of violating rule 6, then they will fear that they will be banned or that their comments will be deleted, and then they will start violating rule 6 in self-defense. So if you suspect that someone is violating rule 6, why don’t you just MYOB and keep it to yourselves?

Quite frankly, I think there are excellent reasons for rule 6. Science, and to a large extent, rational discourse about science is predicated on honesty - if we make allowances for fundamental dishonest, then we are opening up the forum to the same kind of nonsense that makes UD so pathetic.

And these incidents are clearly NOT cases of ‘two posters with similar ideas’ - these incidents are Larry F using virtually identical wording or even blatant self-references under different aliases. I don’t know his motivation: perhaps he feels that having made a fool of himself under the original name he can represent the same refuted arguments; perhaps he wishes to produce the illusion of general consensus on his ideas, etc. I don’t know.

The most significant issue is that he is choosing, deliberately, to violate an ethical policy requested by the site owners.

Frankly, Larry, I don’t think you’ve got a case here. No honest poster is going to worry about being ‘banned’.

Comment #78307

Posted by Paul Flocken on February 8, 2006 2:00 PM (e)

Comment #78129 Posted by B. Spitzer on February 7, 2006 04:40 PM

That’s not why science should not be taught as an exclusive way of explaining everything. Science shouldn’t be taught as an exclusive way of knowing everything because its methods are not capable of addressing certain questions.

It has nothing to do with “pandering to religious sensibilities”. It’s a fact: there are important questions that can’t be answered using the scientific method.

Yes, that’s the correct reason why science can’t explain everything, but defenders of science are not saying it for that reason. They are saying it to protect religious sensibilities precisely because they do indeed know:

you can’t insult religion and expect religious people to listen to you about science.

and are making

use of basic knowledge about human nature.

I agree that it is stupid to insult people, but I see no choice. The appearance of the abject hostility to religion is unavoidable. Stealing the form of that line from “1776” “They are going to have to give up something” and this false argument that science can’t know everything and therefore religion has an open field is just flat wrong.

Yes, AD,

AD wrote,
they should operate in entirely separate spheres of knowledge.

science and religion are separate fields but they are not equivalent; they are completely antithetical to one another. No, science can’t know everything, but religion can’t know anything. It neither is, nor does it have, a methodology for acquiring knowledge, only an acceptance of the claims of bronze age goatherderspolitico/religious leaders intent on power and demonizing their enemies. (Sound familiar? Will man never change?) And even those claims to knowledge don’t constitute any kind of exceptional thinking. You don’t need advanced degrees to figure out the golden rule, it’s not quantum mechanics and it’s common to all societies and religions, many predating the hebraic tradition. Lawgiving also predates the old testament by over a thousand years. Look at the exemplary morals handed down by the god of abraham. Stoning of children. Slay a child to prove faith. Handing over virgin daughters to a mob. We quite rightly ridicule these as nonsense. These are the fantastic gleanings of knowledge which we could not know in any other way and which we should hold as sacred. Religion was used to sanction and endorse this nonsense, not deduce it.

Anyway, it’s not the moral claims of science that religionists despise. It’s not the spiritual claims that they denigrate. They are attacking science for what it can do, ask questions about and provide answers for our physical world. They attack because those answers don’t agree with, not religion’s spiritual and moral claims, but its physical assertions. Letting them attack science for its strength and then defending science by advocating its weakness (“well you still have your spiritualness, because science can touch that”) just doesn’t make sense to me. The strength of science is where their comfort zone is intruded upon. If it hurts on an emotional level tough. Human nature or not it’s about time the human race grew up.

What religionists must give up is certainty. Allow religionists the legitimacy of their claims to knowledge and they will claim the legitimacy to stand before all levels of government, lobbying for law based on their alleged knowledge.

AD further wrote:
The reality is that there is good and bad to science. There is good and bad to religion. However, this good and bad is motivated by individuals misusing it, not any inherent significant flaw in the thing itself. I mean, if there are highly theistic scientists who are staunch defenders of science from religion, you’d think that it’s entirely possible that they could be both separate and valuable…

Stephen Elliott wrote:
Actually, I don’t. I get exasperated with some aspects of religion and its institutions sometimes, but have also had the benefit of knowing a lot of religious people who (a.) understand and support science, and/or (b.) are just plain nice folks.

It should go without saying that I am not referring to the moderates. The Kenneth Millers and the Wesley Elsberries of the country are not standing before the various legislatures and the Congress trying to get their religious opinions mandated into law. Unfortunately they share religion with the fundies who are doing so. The arguments that must be used to stop the fundies will necessarily cut the moderates too. Fortunately I think the moderates like Kenneth Miller and Wesley Elsberry are smarter than to think those arguments are ad homineim and personal. At least, I sincerely pledge I don’t mean them to be, despite a deep antipathy towards religion itself.

Paul

Comment #78308

Posted by Rilke's Granddaughter on February 8, 2006 2:00 PM (e)

Mr. Beckwith, the major problem with your thesis is that there is nothing in ID. It’s a non-science as it is presented by its current advocates.

There is no ID theory; no ID hypotheses; no ID tests, no research, nothing.

What would there be to teach? That science is all about ‘best current explanations’? We already do that. That there are things science currently can’t answer? We already do that.

But there is no scientific contoversy to teach - that’s simply disingenuous propaganda on the part of the DI.

Comment #78311

Posted by k.e. on February 8, 2006 2:04 PM (e)

er…..Rilke
make that at least 4
Bill Keely is Larry’s er Andy’s er Bill Reed’s er Paul or John sombody’s “imaginary friend”.

Larry have you worked out that your mind and what goes on it with regard to “imaginary numbers” would rule out the possibility of mobile phones and if you out a finger in a power socket you would not get a shock ? AND that your designer is just an illusion.

Comment #78315

Posted by Paul Flocken on February 8, 2006 2:08 PM (e)

Of course, it’s all a pipe-dream to think that religion is going anywhere.

Comment #78319

Posted by Raging Bee on February 8, 2006 2:28 PM (e)

Paul F. wrote:

I agree that it is stupid to insult people, but I see no choice.

One of the things I learned in school (and from my parents) was how to communicate without insulting people. Did your education neglect that subject?

The appearance of the abject hostility [of science] to religion is unavoidable.

The “appearance” is created by misunderstanding, and the misunderstanding is exacerbated by religious demagogues. None of this was unavoidable, and many established churches have consciously worked to correct and avoid such misunderstandings – without insulting people.

Anyway, it’s not the moral claims of science that religionists despise.

“Science” does not make moral claims. People and institutions make moral claims, sometimes with input from science. Some institutions have both moral and scientific mandates (i.e., church-based schools); but that’s not “science” making moral claims.

Comment #78324

Posted by Spike on February 8, 2006 2:36 PM (e)

Paul (and BWE)

But your personal abhorrence of religion blinds you to the tools necessary to “convert” religionists to more rational ways of thinking.

No religionist who watched Richard Dawkins’ diatribes on British TV is going to throw up their hands and say, “Oh! He’s right! We’ve been hiding our heads in the sand all these years! Thank you for saving us!”

They are going to take personal attacks personally, and they are going to take statements that appear to be personal attacks personally.

Think about how you change your mind. I doubt that you are ready to embrace the other side of an argument when your opponent tells you what an idiot you are and how far up your posterior your head is stuck. There’s too much ego involved. Imaginary or not.

Human nature doesn’t change by bludgeoning it.

Comment #78326

Posted by Paul Flocken on February 8, 2006 2:46 PM (e)

Raging Bee wrote:

“Science” does not make moral claims. People and institutions make moral claims, sometimes with input from science. Some institutions have both moral and scientific mandates (i.e., church-based schools); but that’s not “science” making moral claims.

Precisely R.Bee, since science does not make moral claims there is nothing to attack here. The only handle on science people can get for attack purposes is its methodology and conclusions about the physical world. Although some actually do attack science specifically because it can’t make moral claims, I will again assert that while religion does make moral claims it can’t back them up with anything but bronze age mythology.

Comment #78327

Posted by AD on February 8, 2006 2:54 PM (e)

More so, being religious is not even the problem.

Being an illogical twit is the problem.

If you have allies in religious scientists, but cannot figure out how to argue the issue without offending them by attacking religion, maybe you need better arguments…

After all, if religion was the problem, those people would not be your allies in this one.

Comment #78330

Posted by Bill Reed on February 8, 2006 2:57 PM (e)

“Many people have purely rational and scientific reasons for doubting evolution theory.”

Lenny Flank wrote –
Name five of these “rational and scientific reasons”, please. And TRY to do it without rehashing standard ICR boilerplate from forty years ago.

Well, there are several reasons that fall just under the category of irreducible complexity. But there are other criticisms of evolution theory besides IC, e.g., criticisms involving co-evolution and the propagation of beneficial mutations.

And just being old does not make a criticism invalid. There are oldies but goodies. And old criticisms can be supported by new evidence and new arguments.

“What I do have a problem with is the idea that those changes were driven solely by random mutation and natural selection.”

What do you suggest be added, then.

I am not trying to add an idea here. I am just trying to subtract an idea – the idea that changes over time were driven solely by random mutation and natural selection.

Comment #78331

Posted by Paul Flocken on February 8, 2006 2:58 PM (e)

Comment #78157 Posted by Tulse on February 7, 2006 07:51 PM

That is just one view of religion, one not shared by fundamentalist Christians, or fundamentalist Muslims, or even fundamentalist Hindus. To say that religion operates in an entirely different sphere from science is itself an attack on some religions. It prescribes what kind of religion is acceptable, and what kind isn’t, what sort of beliefs people “should” have, and what sort they shouldn’t. I don’t really see how in principle that is all that different from what many of the pro-science, “anti-religion” folks here are saying. It’s a matter of degree, not kind.

And, regardless of what “should” be the case, the reality is that there are religions that believe they overlap with science’s magisterium, and these are religions that currently wield enormous political power in many parts of the world (not just the US — e.g., look at the Middle East, or at India). If all religions really didn’t claim to make truth statements about the physical world and its history, if all religions happily accepted a wan, gently liberal Gouldian role of only providing moral guidance and spiritual comfort, then we wouldn’t be having this discussion, and the “push-back” from scientifically-inclined non-believers would be much less. But it doesn’t seem to work that way — if you have Unitarians, you also seem to end up with Christian fundamentalists. And if that’s a fact of human psychology, then I’m all for getting rid of religion all together, as it is just too dangerous a notion.

I agree. To argue with the fundies you have to, you know, actually argue with them. (Argue in the sense of debate, not fight.) Any argument used will necessarily have to slice at religion. For people who are religious this is unfortunate. Please show me how to divide the spectrum. Maybe there is way.

Comment #78335

Posted by Spike on February 8, 2006 3:11 PM (e)

Marketers and politicians make a living understanding human nature and how ideas are formed and changed. Scientists and science fans tend to think those topics are beneath their notice. This is why we have to keep fighting the same battles time and time again.

My car is the product of science and engineering, as is my computer, my microwave and my vaccine, it’s true, but I don’t really have to understand science and engineering to use those things. I could believe just as readily that gremlins are doing everything and it would make no difference, because as long as things are working, I don’t have to care.

Most of what I’ve read from pro-science posters on PT consists of wagging a finger at people and telling them, “You’d be back in a cave if it weren’t for science and technology, so you’d better give up your irrational ideas, or else.” That’s not the way hearts and minds are won.

If you want to change someone’s mind, you have to find out what is important to them, not you. A fundamental truism of sales is, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”

If religionists are afraid they will lose certainty when they give up religion, we need to either provide some other certainty or figure out how to teach them to be comfortable without it.

When I became an atheist, it was a big leap of faith. I had to believe that I could live just as well or better without god as I did with god. There was no evidence in my experience that it would be true. I eventually learned that everything that was good for me in religion was just as readily acquired from secular philosophy. But I never again had the certainty that everything was going to be all right. I just learned to live without it.

How can we convince others that their life without religion will be just as good or better than what they have now? Even Shakespeare understood human nature in that regard when he wrote, “’Tis better to bear those ills we have than fly to others we know not of.”

Comment #78336

Posted by Stephen Elliott on February 8, 2006 3:11 PM (e)

Posted by AD on February 8, 2006 02:54 PM (e)

More so, being religious is not even the problem.

Being an illogical twit is the problem.

If you have allies in religious scientists, but cannot figure out how to argue the issue without offending them by attacking religion, maybe you need better arguments…

After all, if religion was the problem, those people would not be your allies in this one.

Hoorah! Well put.

But I think that the people who are attacking religion and trying to use science to do so, are not being logical (in the colloquial sense).

My guess is that they are at the religious hating stage that I was some years ago.

IMO. A religious POV only becomes a pest if people try to force it onto others. Atheism is a religious POV and also counts.

I am not claiming atheism is a religion BTW. But it is definitely a religious POV.

Comment #78340

Posted by Paul Flocken on February 8, 2006 3:27 PM (e)

Your necktie is like Hitler at an ice-rink!

And this is helpful…how?

Comment #78341

Posted by Moses on February 8, 2006 3:27 PM (e)

Comment #78336

Posted by Stephen Elliott on February 8, 2006 03:11 PM (e)

IMO. A religious POV only becomes a pest if people try to force it onto others. Atheism is a religious POV and also counts.

quack quack

I hear a canard…

And a tired old canard at that…

Next I’ll be hearing that evolution is a religion too…

Comment #78343

Posted by Paul Flocken on February 8, 2006 3:30 PM (e)

Comment #78279

Posted by k.e. on February 8, 2006 12:32 PM (e)

OT Interesting link Paul:

k.e., who were you addressing?

Comment #78344

Posted by Spike on February 8, 2006 3:31 PM (e)

Stephen Elliot wrote:

IMO. A religious POV only becomes a pest if people try to force it onto others.

Any POV becomes a pest if people try to force it onto others. What I wonder is what objective standard is available to determine when attempting to convince becomes attempting to force.

Comment #78347

Posted by JONBOY on February 8, 2006 3:40 PM (e)

Spike said. “ Human nature doesn’t change by bludgeoning it.” and,to a point I must agree with that statement.Religionist by nature need a crutch to lean on,science would be better served, not to kick the crutch away. Rather, provide intellectual support to help them to a more rational way of thinking.
Science is a search for basic truths about the Universe, a search which develops statements that appear to describe how the Universe works, but which are subject to correction, revision, adjustment, or even outright rejection, upon the presentation of better or conflicting evidence It is the willingness to adjust that provides a genuine glory to Science, in my amateur opinion. It is in distinct contrast to the axioms of religions, which proudly flaunt their inflexible “truths” to demonstrate that they “know” certain things with certainty.
The contrast between basic ideologies will forever be a stumbling block, science and religion may not be able to mix, but at least they may peacefully co exist. On a personal level,I admit that the reason I’m unable to accept the claims of psychic, occult, and/or supernatural wonders is because I’m locked into a world-view that demands evidence rather than blind faith, a view that insists upon the replication of all experiments — particularly those that appear to show violations of a rational world — and a view which requires open examination of the methods used to carry out those experiments. The decision to be a materialist is my own, I made it after many years of consideration of what I observed, and after reading Bertrand Russell and others. Since it was not a mere reaction to incoming information, but the result of examining that information over many years, I’m proud of my decision

Comment #78348

Posted by Stephen Elliott on February 8, 2006 3:43 PM (e)

Posted by Moses on February 8, 2006 03:27 PM (e)

Comment #78336

Posted by Stephen Elliott on February 8, 2006 03:11 PM (e)

quack quack

I hear a canard…

And a tired old canard at that…

Next I’ll be hearing that evolution is a religion too…

Does that opinion have any predictive power?
Do you want to test it?

I consider Evolution a well tested hypothesis that has “evolved” into a theory. I consider Evolution to be a fact (as near as damnit anyway).

If you read what I wrote, I did not claim atheism was a religion. Rather, a POV about religion. Are you arguing that atheism is not a POV about religion?

Comment #78349

Posted by Rilke's Granddaughter on February 8, 2006 3:51 PM (e)

Well, there are several reasons that fall just under the category of irreducible complexity. But there are other criticisms of evolution theory besides IC, e.g., criticisms involving co-evolution and the propagation of beneficial mutations.

And just being old does not make a criticism invalid. There are oldies but goodies. And old criticisms can be supported by new evidence and new arguments.

How interesting to note then that you do not actually produce any real ‘scientific and rational’ reasons.

It’s good to have you confirm that no such reasons exist.

I am not trying to add an idea here. I am just trying to subtract an idea — the idea that changes over time were driven solely by random mutation and natural selection.

Apparently your grasp of math is faulty. You are trying to add the idea that there are other mechanisms involved - without bothering to specify what they are.

Poor form, Larry.

Comment #78350

Posted by Rilke's Granddaughter on February 8, 2006 3:54 PM (e)

I am not trying to add an idea here. I am just trying to subtract an idea — the idea that changes over time were driven solely by random mutation and natural selection.

I might also note that since the Modern Synthesis doesn’t claim that ‘changes over time’ are driven solely by random mutation and natural selection’, you can relax.

Of course, you could also study what the theory actually does say… But that would certainly take more work than posting as multiple posters in violation of rule 6.

C’mon Larry - satisfy my curiousity: why are you doing it?

Comment #78353

Posted by Rilke's Granddaughter on February 8, 2006 4:02 PM (e)

Finally Larry/Bill Reed/etc. you fail to recognize one fundamental point - and this actually is related to the original topic - the fault is in your ideas, which are wrong, rather than your name or identity.

You are completely failing to learn from experience and the copious amounts of information available on this web-site. You continue to regurgitate arguments which have been shown to be false again and again and again.

You are a walking poster child of what education needs to address: the ossified, illogical, and uneducated opiner on subjects scientific.

And ironically, that’s what always gives you away when you violate rule 6: the fact that your arguments don’t change.

If you really wish to pretend to be someone else, then go whole hog: change your ideas. You might just learn something in the process.

Comment #78354

Posted by Raging Bee on February 8, 2006 4:06 PM (e)

It is the willingness to adjust that provides a genuine glory to Science, in my amateur opinion. It is in distinct contrast to the axioms of religions, which proudly flaunt their inflexible “truths” to demonstrate that they “know” certain things with certainty.

Here’s a dirty little secret about “the axioms of religions:” they can adjust too, as long as you don’t try to force them to admit they’re changing.

Comment #78355

Posted by Raging Bee on February 8, 2006 4:10 PM (e)

Larry What’s My Name Today Fafafeefifofumpalumpadingdang wrote:

And just being old does not make a criticism invalid.

No, but being conclusively and clearly refuted, many times over, by knowledgeable scientists, does.

Comment #78356

Posted by AC on February 8, 2006 4:16 PM (e)

Spike wrote:

They are going to take personal attacks personally, and they are going to take statements that appear to be personal attacks personally.

Where does one draw the line? Some people take plain statements of fact personally.

Raging Bee wrote:

Here’s a dirty little secret about “the axioms of religions:” they can adjust too, as long as you don’t try to force them to admit they’re changing.

I don’t care if they admit it. I really don’t even care if they change. My concern is how they act in the meantime.

Comment #78363

Posted by Paul Flocken on February 8, 2006 4:44 PM (e)

Comment #78298 Posted by Francis J. Beckwith on February 8, 2006 01:32 PM

The short answer is that there are no necessary and sufficient conditions to distinguish science from non-science on which philosophers of science agree. So, for me, the issue of what counts as “science” is not relevant. What is relevant is whether the argument offered for the point of view, ID or something like it, is reasonable or not obviously irrational and it does not rely on sacred scripture or religious authority. Calling such an argument “religious,” “science,” or “swiss cheese” does nothing to support or undercut the quality of the argument offered. If, for example, the kalam cosmological argument is not irrational to accept—and suppose it was supported by legitimate inferences from empirical premises (e.g., the universe did not always exist)combined with reasonable conceptual notions (e.g., an infinite regress cannot be traversed, something does not come from nothing)— calling such an argument “not science” contributes nothing to the dispute over it. It is a way to marginalize people who offer it. It does not advance the conversation in an intellectually exciting way. It’s the secular version of “heresy hunting.”

Let’s suppose that pigs could fly. Then concluding that pigs can’t fly would be incorrect. Ergo, pigs can fly.
The argument for ID is not reasonable. It has lost on the merits.
Whether or not it is possible to define science, it is certainly possible to determine what is not science if it fails on the merits.
ID has failed on the merits therefore it is eliminated as science.
There is also empirical evidence that ID is religion. Rehashed from old religion and camouflaged with all the skill the DI could muster, but still religion. This is just icing on the cake.
If it is possible to use three arguments to squash ID why shouldn’t they be used?
It is wrong, it is not science, and it is religion.
Game, set, and match. Thank you for playing Dr. Beckwith. Your consolation prize is at the door.

Comment #78364

Posted by BWE on February 8, 2006 4:50 PM (e)

Bill reed wrote:

Characterizing all critics of evolution theory as “fundies” is just stereotyping and guilt-by-association. Many people have purely rational and scientific reasons for doubting evolution theory.

Which, even though “Bill Reed” entirely missed the point that better evidence hasn’t yet come up, is pretty much a good observation. If I am fresh from the bush country, with no idea about what our species has learned through scientific observation, it really does look like god throws the thunderbolts and takes away life, this separate thing that feels eternal to the living. However, our understanding begins to chip away at this foundation until every single tenet seems suspect simply because not a single other tenet has managed to hold up to scrutiny. Since we can now deduce that someone made the whole damn thing up, it’s time to go looking somewhere else for info. In no way does this discovery diminish the awesomeness of the universe, sunsets, life, sex, marijuana and the rest of existence, it simply means that we have not got reliable info yet. Maybe science gets us that info, maybe not. It is the only thing we’ve got though.

Raging B. Wrote:

Another note: spirituality does not just provide “comfort” — it provides motivation and guidance. The Polish Catholics who responded to JP-II’s call to stand up to post-Stalinist tyranny, at significant risk to their own lives, weren’t doing it for comfort. Neither are the drug-addicts who count on a “higher power” to help them recover.

And you attribute this to their religion because religion can be a source of strength too. OK but that still doesn’t correct the problem of religion being invented from whole cloth by people who, being people, make outlandish claims. And I can take Amenita mushrooms like the vikings did and get brave too. Not a slam at religion just that one doesn’t follow the other necissarily.

and

I wouldn’t even expect an agnostic to believe what such people say — especially when it flatly misrepresents documented history, ignores or ridicules personal experience, and doesn’t even adhere to the rules of basic logical consistency.

Have I misrepresented history? How?
and

If I told you that I have seen a pig fly and that the pig told me that I should be the first ruler of the flying pig church and people need to give me money to help me establish that church, would you give me money? How is that any different from Paul?

Umm…it’s different because Paul never mentioned flying pigs?

No, not flying pigs but rising jesuses. (Paul/Saul)

AD wrote:

Also, again, let me reiterate that statements openly hostile towards religion (and I think comparing it to wife-beating qualifies) really aren’t going to do any good here. Not all people who are individually religious are hostile to evolution, and more so, by expressing unsupported personal beliefs on religion as support for education/evolution/etc, you are falling into the same trap as the ID folks.

I didn’t start the fight but damnit I’m not gonna stand here with happy smoke ready to blow it up their @sses.

Paul Flocken wrote:

science and religion are separate fields but they are not equivalent; they are completely antithetical to one another. No, science can’t know everything, but religion can’t know anything

-And that, is that. Anybody care to comment on what’s untrue about that statement?

and

Anyway, it’s not the moral claims of science that religionists despise. It’s not the spiritual claims that they denigrate. They are attacking science for what it can do, ask questions about and provide answers for our physical world. They attack because those answers don’t agree with, not religion’s spiritual and moral claims, but its physical assertions.

and

It should go without saying that I am not referring to the moderates. The Kenneth Millers and the Wesley Elsberries of the country are not standing before the various legislatures and the Congress trying to get their religious opinions mandated into law. Unfortunately they share religion with the fundies who are doing so. The arguments that must be used to stop the fundies will necessarily cut the moderates too. Fortunately I think the moderates like Kenneth Miller and Wesley Elsberry are smarter than to think those arguments are ad homineim and personal. At least, I sincerely pledge I don’t mean them to be, despite a deep antipathy towards religion itself.

And that too, is that.

Raging B. replied:

The “appearance” is created by misunderstanding, and the misunderstanding is exacerbated by religious demagogues. None of this was unavoidable, and many established churches have consciously worked to correct and avoid such misunderstandings — without insulting people.

Good. My church does a lot of good things and brings out a strong sense of community in its members. But, to avoid confusion with the fundies who would threaten me with hell, my church calls its denomination “Unitarian” recognizing that there is a se4nse that some people may want to foster but that no-one (myself included -Hard to believe) has any real answers. Not that there is anything inherently good about that but there is something inherently benign about it at least. And, if you wish to be a better brand of something bad (value judgewment I know) then the burden is on you, not me.

ANd Spike brings:

But your personal abhorrence of religion blinds you to the tools necessary to “convert” religionists to more rational ways of thinking….
Think about how you change your mind. I doubt that you are ready to embrace the other side of an argument when your opponent tells you what an idiot you are and how far up your posterior your head is stuck. There’s too much ego involved. Imaginary or not.

I don’t want to convert anyone through coersion and manipulation. Jesus isn’t god any more than I am god (which in the sense that jesus was god I am also god as are we all).

And AD sums it up with:

More so, being religious is not even the problem.

Being an illogical twit is the problem.

Which just so happens to overlap extensively with most religion.

And Spike, always bringing us back together says:

If religionists are afraid they will lose certainty when they give up religion, we need to either provide some other certainty or figure out how to teach them to be comfortable without it.

That’s a pretty big burden.

Stephen Elliot points out:

But I think that the people who are attacking religion and trying to use science to do so, are not being logical (in the colloquial sense).

My guess is that they are at the religious hating stage that I was some years ago.

Or the sick of illogical twits stage which only happens to me occasionally. I will never completely break the cycle I fear.

And Spike finishes with:

Any POV becomes a pest if people try to force it onto others. What I wonder is what objective standard is available to determine when attempting to convince becomes attempting to force.

Which is a question I posed in a poorly worded thread on AtBC a while ago and could maybe continue there if you want to move this thread.
http://www.antievolution.org/cgi-bin/ikonboard/ikonboard.cgi?s=43ea20a6374d13fe;act=ST;f=14;t=194

Comment #78366

Posted by Paul Flocken on February 8, 2006 5:09 PM (e)

Spike, Stephen,
I don’t disagree(and I’ll venture the guess that BWE doesn’t either). But it seems like being nice is only shorthand for allowing the irrational extremists hang on to their extremism while waggling their fingers on the end of their nose. My betters are indeed those like Miller and Elsberry who can produce arguments that are not inflammatory. I have too much hostility to be effective(or should that be efficacious;^).
However, I do not yield on my original point. I absolutely will not stand selling science short to serve the purpose. Science should never have to apologize for being the most successful human endeavor in history. Selling its weaknesses to placate the extremists is just giving them what they want.

Sincerely,
Paul

Comment #78370

Posted by Paul Flocken on February 8, 2006 5:28 PM (e)

Comment #78327

Posted by AD on February 8, 2006 02:54 PM (e)

More so, being religious is not even the problem.

Being an illogical twit is the problem.

I’m going to guess this is directed at me. Nice to know that giving offence is such a bad way to convince people. Excellent example there AD. Any particular reason I should want to keep paying attention to you?

Comment #78371

Posted by AD on February 8, 2006 5:29 PM (e)

I don’t necessarily advocate being nice.

I just advocate hitting the right target when you are being not nice.

To wit…

Which just so happens to overlap extensively with most religion.

From BWE, with regard to being an illogical twit. You are, my friend, horribly and sadly mistaken.

The condition that overlaps extensively with, you see, is being human. I know a large number of non-religious illogical twits. It’s just that evolution isn’t usually their issue.

Comment #78372

Posted by AD on February 8, 2006 5:31 PM (e)

Paul,

That was NOT directed at you.

That was directed at the nonsensical ID supporters; those who refuse to answer questions about their “theory” or engage in research, yet demand equal standing in a scientific field while holding others to much more rigorous standards.

As far as I’ve noticed, it was not directed at anyone in this thread.

Comment #78375

Posted by Paul Flocken on February 8, 2006 5:43 PM (e)

Stephen Elliott wrote:
But I think that the people who are attacking religion and trying to use science to do so, are not being logical (in the colloquial sense).

I think that the people who are attacking science and trying to use religion to do so, are not being logical (in every sense of the word).

I recognize the validity of your remark Stephen. Evidence is of absolutely no use to people who are devoted to ignoring the evidence. Unfortunately, the evidence of reality and its dissonance with religious dogma is the only tool I have.

Sincerely,
Paul

Comment #78378

Posted by BWE on February 8, 2006 5:52 PM (e)

Being an illogical twit overlaps with many things but I would argue that it overlaps on a case by case basis and not wholistically to humanity. Religion then, as many other things, fits the bill. Some might argue that this could overlap with many of my personal affect also and I might be hard pressed to deny them. I see no shame in being an illogical twit other than an unwillingness to concede the point when it might be relevant.

Comment #78382

Posted by Paul Flocken on February 8, 2006 6:05 PM (e)

Spike wrote:
Any POV becomes a pest if people try to force it onto others. What I wonder is what objective standard is available to determine when attempting to convince becomes attempting to force.

I would guess that that point is reached when legislatural force is used. Once the law is on your side than so is the lawman.

JONBOY wrote:
Religionist by nature need a crutch to lean on,science would be better served, not to kick the crutch away. Rather, provide intellectual support to help them to a more rational way of thinking.
Science is a search for basic truths about the Universe

Someone, somethread ago, said he had a philosophy/religion something like the opening lines of Sagan’s Cosmos. We are one with the Cosmos. A way for it to know itself. I wonder if there could be a suitable religious POV based on that which could be that crutch? No, I think Lenny Flank is right. Fundies worship a book. They don’t have a wonderment of the Universe which could be bootstrapped on.

Paul

has the spell check died for everyone else too?

Comment #78385

Posted by Steviepinhead on February 8, 2006 6:35 PM (e)

Paul Flocken:

has the spell check died for everyone else too?

Shouldn’t be too big a problem, as those little spell chicks tend to fossilize quite well.

Comment #78386

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on February 8, 2006 6:39 PM (e)

George Gilder is a “DI associate?”

IIRC, he was one of the co-founders.

Comment #78387

Posted by BWE on February 8, 2006 6:40 PM (e)

Paul, (sheepish Grin)
http://www.pandasthumb.org/archives/2006/01/intelligent_des_22.html#comment-76505

Comment #78388

Posted by JONBOY on February 8, 2006 6:44 PM (e)

Paul Flocken said “I absolutely will not stand selling science short to serve the purpose. Science should never have to apologize for being the most successful human endeavor in history. Selling its weaknesses to placate the extremists is just giving them what they want”.I whole heatedly agree. I have the greatest respect for people such as Miller and Elderberry, but I have never been able to fathom out their ability to juggle religion and science.
It would be easy to lull ourselves into the mindset that religion is harmless ,and if a few world renown scientist are able to make science and religion compatible,we should consider it a force for good. The attitude that superstitious beliefs such as religion are harmless, is quite wrong.Richard Dawkins recently observed, in www.thehumanist.org/humanist/articles/dawkins.html:
;I think a case can be made that faith is one of the world’s great evils, comparable to the smallpox virus but harder to eradicate. Faith, being belief that isn’t based on evidence, is the principal vice of any religion. And who, looking at Northern Ireland or the Middle East, can be confident that the brain virus of faith is not exceedingly dangerous?”please spare me the argument that we owe so much of our art and culture to religion; that’s a misattribution. The great architecture, paintings, music, and sculpture that poured forth in adulation of saints, deities and their offspring, and the blessed deceased, were commissioned, sponsored and paid for by those who offered them as sacrifices, penance, homage, and public relations. Those offerings were items of insurance, appeasements, and bribes, to neutralize transgressions or to obtain a better position on line. They were prompted by fear. I agree that we’re better off for the wealth of creative work that we’re able to share as a result of this apprehension, but I often think of how much better it could have been if the work had been directed to, and designed for, our species — rather than for mythical beings in the sky or under the ground. I thank the mythology for giving me Handel’s “Messiah,” but that doesn’t make up for the suffering, grief, fear, and the millions of dead that need not have been.
I believe in the basic goodness of my species, because that appears to be a positive tactic and quality that leads to better chances of survival — and in spite of our foolishness, we seem to have survived. I believe that this system of aging and eventually dying — a system that is the result of the evolutionary process, not of conscious effort — is an excellent process that makes room for hopefully improved members of the species, in an increasingly limited environment. I believe that if we don’t smarten up and get a sense of reality and pragmatism, our species will do what they all eventually do: it will cease to exist, prematurely. I also believe that we will get smart, because that’s a survival technique, and we’re really pretty good at that….

Comment #78389

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on February 8, 2006 6:44 PM (e)

Dear Lenny:

First off, how’s Squiggy? Second, and more seriously, I’ve addressed your question in several of my works, including my book Law, Darwinism, and Public Education. The short answer is that there are no necessary and sufficient conditions to distinguish science from non-science on which philosophers of science agree. So, for me, the issue of what counts as “science” is not relevant. What is relevant is whether the argument offered for the point of view, ID or something like it, is reasonable or not obviously irrational and it does not rely on sacred scripture or religious authority. Calling such an argument “religious,” “science,” or “swiss cheese” does nothing to support or undercut the quality of the argument offered. If, for example, the kalam cosmological argument is not irrational to accept—and suppose it was supported by legitimate inferences from empirical premises (e.g., the universe did not always exist)combined with reasonable conceptual notions (e.g., an infinite regress cannot be traversed, something does not come from nothing)— calling such an argument “not science” contributes nothing to the dispute over it. It is a way to marginalize people who offer it. It does not advance the conversation in an intellectually exciting way. It’s the secular version of “heresy hunting.”

Translation: IDers don’t have any scientific theory of ID, and are flat-out lying to us when they claim they do.

Just as the Dover judge concluded.

Thanks for clearing that up for us, Frankie.

BTW, are *all other* IDers as humor-challenged as you are, or is it just *all the ones I’ve met so far*?

Comment #78391

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on February 8, 2006 6:47 PM (e)

Sorry everyone, I didn’t recognize right away that Larry had a new clone. I will cease responding to it.

I got Frankie in my sights right now. Let’s see if he does any better than his pal Sal did.

Comment #78393

Posted by JONBOY on February 8, 2006 6:48 PM (e)

Apologies to Wes ELSBERRY a slip of the finger

Comment #78394

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on February 8, 2006 6:51 PM (e)

It should go without saying that I am not referring to the moderates.

Well, since you seem to have pissed off so many moderates, it appears that it does NOT “go without saying”.

If your bitch is with fundies, then why don’t you just SAY that your bitch is with fundies, and thus avoid pissing off the NON-fundies?

What’s so hard about that?

Comment #78395

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on February 8, 2006 6:55 PM (e)

I just advocate hitting the right target when you are being not nice.

Indeed. Shooting people who are on our side is … well … pretty stupid. (shrug)

Comment #78397

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on February 8, 2006 7:00 PM (e)

Someone, somethread ago, said he had a philosophy/religion something like the opening lines of Sagan’s Cosmos. We are one with the Cosmos. A way for it to know itself. I wonder if there could be a suitable religious POV based on that which could be that crutch?

Sounds pretty Zen to me.

No, I think Lenny Flank is right. Fundies worship a book. They don’t have a wonderment of the Universe which could be bootstrapped on.

True, without doubt.

But actually there have been some Christian sects that are pretty close to Buddhism (there was a guy named Eckhart a long long time ago). Alas, they tended to get burned a lot. Literally.

But once more I will simply point out that “fundie” does not equal “Christian”, and “religion” does not equal “Christianity”.

I share your enemy. I shoot at them every chance I get. Just don’t treat our allies as enemies when they are not. Save the ammo for the enemy.

Comment #78398

Posted by Spike on February 8, 2006 7:04 PM (e)

Paul wrote:

Unfortunately, the evidence of reality and its dissonance with religious dogma is the only tool I have.

I now how you feel. I felt the same way, and that is why I was trying to get us to think about additional tools to use. One tool that I found is building rapport. It’s crucial to selling, probably most crucial when you are trying to sell ideas.

When is the last time you bought something from someone you didn’t like? Perhaps you did it once, but did you go back again?

If “the Kenneth Millers and the Wesley Elsberries” are so smart, why not learn from them? If they have credibility with the fence-sitters and the folks who seem to be able to reconcile their faith and their acceptance of science, I think we ought to leverage that.

Comment #78400

Posted by BWE on February 8, 2006 7:16 PM (e)

Lenny, not surprised it sounds pretty zen. I practice zen. And, I’ll tell you how someday.

Comment #76505

Posted by BWE on January 31, 2006 02:32 PM (e)

Budda,

I think maybe you are confusing religion with god. And maybe God with god. Consider this common argument from fundies: from a bacterium’s point of view, your gut may be the whole universe. How can it know what is outside of it? So, to a bacteria, we have, what might be aptly called goddish properties. The bacteria may not relate to us in any meaningful way and we may not relate to it in any meaningful (conscious) way but the relationship exists. If we can reflect on our own universe but not on other, external universes, this doesn’t make them non-existent. It doesn’t make them relevant but it doesn’t disprove them either. So that is the cosmological point.

There is also a personal point: we are made of the universe’s stuff and we can observe and reflect. That means the universe can self organize at some level to reflect upon itself. Regardless of the reasons for this, in apt title for this reflection in our lexicon is “spirituality”. Despite the fact that religions have hijacked that experience and burdened it with artificial guilt and political power (I didn’t know it was the holy land but I believed from the minute the check left my hand), the experience is observable and repeatable and is the subject of several scientific studies which do not make the claim that the experience is not real.

So maybe your issue is semantic. Or maybe not. I’m just trying to build bridges here. It takes a village y’know.

http://www.pandasthumb.org/archives/2006/01/intelligent_des_22.html#comment-76505

Comment #78403

Posted by BWE on February 8, 2006 7:21 PM (e)

I mean, How I do it. Not how as in the proper way ;)

Comment #78407

Posted by Paul Flocken on February 8, 2006 7:35 PM (e)

Raging B. Wrote:
Another note: spirituality does not just provide “comfort” — it provides motivation and guidance. The Polish Catholics who responded to JP-II’s call to stand up to post-Stalinist tyranny, at significant risk to their own lives, weren’t doing it for comfort. Neither are the drug-addicts who count on a “higher power” to help them recover.

To wit BWE replied
And you attribute this to their religion because religion can be a source of strength too. OK but that still doesn’t correct the problem of religion being invented from whole cloth by people who, being people, make outlandish claims. And I can take Amenita mushrooms like the vikings did and get brave too. Not a slam at religion just that one doesn’t follow the other necissarily.

The short version: There are other things in life that can also motivate people and provide guidance. The loss of religion in the world would not mean the loss of these attributes. And I already iterated that guidance existed prior to, and independent of, the recording of that book.

BWE, you asked about what was untrue about a statement of mine.

science and religion are separate fields but they are not equivalent; they are completely antithetical to one another. No, science can’t know everything, but religion can’t know anything

I’m hoping your question was merely rhetorical but if not I guess now we start trying to define religion. Yet as far as I’m concerned the only thing that religion needs to represent as regards to OUR problem in this country is what we think of when we think of fundamentalist extremism. It’s not the Unitarians producing all the nuttiness in our country.
I’ll bite this in a different direction though too. I said that religion can’t know anything. If that is what you disagree with then I want to know what methodology religion uses to acquire knowledge and what knowledge, exactly, religion has discovered using that methodology. After thousands of years of trying, I want to know one metaphysical truth religion has discovered that is not disputed six different ways from Sunday by six score times as many people.

I’m glad you have your church. I have two Unitarian friends and they are among my better friends. If you have to go the religion route than there are very definitely worse choices.

Spike’s remark:

But your personal abhorrence of religion blinds you to the tools necessary to “convert” religionists to more rational ways of thinking…

I’m not blind to the necessity of not insulting other people. But of the moderates who stay silent and refuse to call down the extremists and extremists themselves there are maybe 1 in 10000 who might be swayed by evidence. My own frustration with just the people I personally know is high enough that the only thing left is ridicule or silence. Generic religious dissonance with science discussions are touchy enough; discussion of real time national issues is completely verboten.

AD wrote:
Paul,
That was NOT directed at you

I’m sorry for the slight. Thank you for saying that.

BWE, I’ll read your thread (AtBC) later and try to add to it.

Sincerely,
Paul

Comment #78409

Posted by BWE on February 8, 2006 7:44 PM (e)

Paul, mis typed. Untrue was sposed to go somewhere else. You’re right. religion can’t know anything.

Comment #78410

Posted by Spike on February 8, 2006 7:49 PM (e)

JOHNBOY,

I posted almost exactly the same thing as your Comment #78388 on another forum.

Because we are repeating ourselves, and each other, I think I’m going to bail from PT, antievolution, and all the rest for a while until someone can come up with a coherent naturalistic wedge strategy.

Seriously. If religion is as bad as most of us on this thread think, then we really ought to develop a plan to rid humanity of this blight. That would first require that we have a true understanding of what religion is and what it does for those who embrace it. Then come up with, as I said, a way of replacing the benefit that people get from religion with something better, or teaching people how to live with uncertainty.

For society as a whole, we’ll have to come up with some kind of useful secular philosophy that teaches people to respect and take care of each other. I’ve studied lots of secular philosophies, from rational self-interest to communism (small c), and I haven’t found any that were as compelling as the benevolent side of religion. There’s a kind of one-two punch when you can say, “I’m helping others because God wants me to.” Look how far people can get when they say that and they are lying. Then think about how powerful that is for people who really believe it.

What do the non-theists have instead?

Send me a personal e-mail if you want to continue the correspondence, but I’m outta here [at least as long as I can control my internet addiction].

I’ve enjoyed it.

Ciao

extraneouscharactersmichael.extraneouscharactersenquist@countryextraneouscharactersfinancial.comextraneouscharacters

Remove extraneouscharacters

Comment #78419

Posted by PvM on February 8, 2006 8:25 PM (e)

Francis Beckwith wrote:

First off, how’s Squiggy? Second, and more seriously, I’ve addressed your question in several of my works, including my book Law, Darwinism, and Public Education. The short answer is that there are no necessary and sufficient conditions to distinguish science from non-science on which philosophers of science agree. So, for me, the issue of what counts as “science” is not relevant. What is relevant is whether the argument offered for the point of view, ID or something like it, is reasonable or not obviously irrational and it does not rely on sacred scripture or religious authority. Calling such an argument “religious,” “science,” or “swiss cheese” does nothing to support or undercut the quality of the argument offered.

Let’s for the sake of furthering the discussion point out that ID is scientifically vacuous. In other words, skip the issue of whether or not it is science, since this presents ID actvists with an opportunity to argue philosophy rather than addressing the issue at hand. That ID is religiously motivated and that ID’s designer is supernatural is self evident. So the question becomes: Can ID be reformulated in a manner which would make it non-religious and still scientifically relevant?
The simple answer is no.

Since Beckwith’s legal arguments are based on the flawed assumption that ID is science or scientifically relevant, his conclusions should be rejected just as the Judge did in Dover. There is just no secular purpose which is neither a sham nor insincere when it comes to Intelligent Design.

I really urge ID activists to familiarize themselves with the excellent paper by Nichols

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

If Beckwith disagrees then perhaps he can show how ID contributes in a non-trivial manner to science directly relevant to the concept of ID?

Comment #78421

Posted by PvM on February 8, 2006 8:35 PM (e)

Let me clarify with an example: Irreducible Complexity, often quoted as an example relevant to ID is nothing more than an argument against a particular Darwinian trajectory in which the original function is retained and selection is active at every single intermediate step. At most IC can be used to argue against such a limited formulation of evolutionary theory but proving that IC systems can arise naturally does nothing to disprove ID unless one conflates ID with “anti Darwinian”

The same applies to Dembski’s CSI. Even when it can be shown how CSI can be created by algorithms (necessity and chance), ID has not been falsified since Dembski can and has moved the origin of CSI to an earlier moment, taking it outside the view of scientific inquiry by arguing for the concept of front loading.

CSI nor IC do anything relevant to intelligent design. At most they argue that a particular pathway cannot be explained in purely Darwinian terms (IC) or that our ignorance should lead us to infer design rather than ‘we don’t know’.

ID is all about ignorance and scientific vacuity. This way we can at least circumvent the discussion of how to define science and at the same time show why legal arguments based on the premise that ID is science or scientifically relevant are doomed to failure.

Comment #78424

Posted by Paul Flocken on February 8, 2006 9:00 PM (e)

AD-“I just advocate hitting the right target when you are being not nice.”

I’ll keep that first and foremost.

Steviepinhead,
I’ll assume your joke was funny, I even laughed, but I have to admit, I’m pretty sure I didn’t get it the way you meant it to be gotten.

BWE-“(sheepish Grin)

I hate to deflate you BWE but it wasn’t you. This person specifically mentioned Sagan. I took a few minutes but here it is.

Comment #65425 Posted by inkadu on December 28, 2005 02:59 PM

Joe Shelby —

I understand both your position and Norman’s, and I strangely agree with both of you.

I appreciate a religious (aka mythologically) informed approach to life. And I also see how Norman might not share that appreciation. I’m an atheist, and while I find people basing science on religion completely unacceptable, I have no problem (okay LESS of a problem) with people living their lives around mythologically-distilled ideals and meaning.

I mean we all live our lives according to some mythology. Science can not give shape to our lives. Even atheists like myself like to take up Sagan’s mythology of brave explorers — the idea that we are the universe’s way to know itself. That is our holy mission, our sense of the sacred. It doesn’t come from science, it comes from our imagination.

The difference, of course, is that this Sagan-esque world view is flexible and non-dogmatic. It can accomodate (and even encourages) new discoveries and invites the toppling of old ideas. We don’t have to convert the world to it, and nobody burns in hell forever for not believing it. It’s not weighted down with 4k+ years of bigotry, bloodshed, etc… but, you know, it’s not my decision where people get their inspiration, and it seems like you have a super-human ability to find some nice opals among the mountain of manure that is the bible, so you are welcome to cherish your carefully mined treasure.

I don’t know Zen but I’m sure you will say this is very Zen.

Lenny Flank-“I share your enemy. I shoot at them every chance I get. Just don’t treat our allies as enemies when they are not. Save the ammo for the enemy.

First and Foremost! Check!
Lenny, while I was looking for the Sagan reference I found what I have to say about not shooting allies. In the same thread from above and here. It just feels like a double standard sometimes.

Spike-“If “the Kenneth Millers and the Wesley Elsberries” are so smart, why not learn from them? If they have credibility with the fence-sitters and the folks who seem to be able to reconcile their faith and their acceptance of science, I think we ought to leverage that.

Credibility is definitely something an atheist needs in a room full of fundies. :-)

BWE-“Paul, mis typed. Untrue was sposed to go somewhere else. You’re right. religion can’t know anything.

Actually, as a rhetorical challenge to anyone but me it was perfectly written. I just couldn’t be sure.

Paul

Comment #78426

Posted by Steviepinhead on February 8, 2006 9:20 PM (e)

Huh, did I say something “funny” again? On a serious science blog? In the middle of a thread debating the relative merits of science and religion as ways of understanding the world?

Dang. I’ve just gotta stop doing that. Sorry, everybody!

Comment #78430

Posted by BWE on February 8, 2006 9:38 PM (e)

Hmmm. Sagan said it before me. Whoooooosh. (Sound of air going out of a tire)
Darnit. I thought it was pretty good, so I guess I’m not surprised. Maybe I even heard it there first and forgot.

I like the strategy of wedging the wedge. I have more fun wedgying the wedge though. God, I never really left Jr. High. But, you go spike. Post on my blog if you ever need me to do anything for it. I have a friend that does great graphic and web design and I think he’d be happy to help.

Comment #78432

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on February 8, 2006 9:49 PM (e)

Lenny, not surprised it sounds pretty zen. I practice zen. And, I’ll tell you how someday.

Mu.

Comment #78435

Posted by BWE on February 8, 2006 10:04 PM (e)

mOO. :)

Comment #78437

Posted by Tavi on February 8, 2006 10:22 PM (e)

An instructor of mine insist that Intelligent Design could be defined not as an explanation of the origin of life, but as an explanation of current scientific advancement in the realm of genetic engineering. Thus, the “theory” of ID would apply to humans designing life through cloning, gene slicing, etc. If advocates of ID used such a definition would the perceived incompatibility between ID, Evolution, and the academic arena be reduced?

Comment #78473

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on February 9, 2006 7:56 AM (e)

An instructor of mine insist that Intelligent Design could be defined not as an explanation of the origin of life, but as an explanation of current scientific advancement in the realm of genetic engineering. Thus, the “theory” of ID would apply to humans designing life through cloning, gene slicing, etc. If advocates of ID used such a definition would the perceived incompatibility between ID, Evolution, and the academic arena be reduced?

So they think, what, that human genetic engineers travelled back into time to design the flagellum, blood clotting, etc?

Yep, that’s about the level of sophistication that I’ve come to expect from IDiots. (shrug)

Comment #78476

Posted by Raging Bee on February 9, 2006 8:20 AM (e)

For society as a whole, we’ll have to come up with some kind of useful secular philosophy…

We’ve already got one – it’s called “the US Constitution, as amended.” Note that it includes nearly unlimited freedom of speech and religion, thus allowing people to examine each other’s belief-systems, offer criticism, and incorporate what the majority find beneficial into the overall secular philosophy (a.k.a. “laws”).

It seems to be working. We’ve already spread the good word to Europe after WWII, and now some Muslims are starting to catch on as well.

Comment #78505

Posted by AC on February 9, 2006 12:20 PM (e)

Spike wrote:

There’s a kind of one-two punch when you can say, “I’m helping others because God wants me to.” Look how far people can get when they say that and they are lying. Then think about how powerful that is for people who really believe it.

What do the non-theists have instead?

Personally, I have “I’m helping others because they need help, I can help, and I want to.” For me, that statement is just as powerful as the other because it gets results and superior in a way because it is free of coercion. As far as how to get more people to see the world as it is, without the vaseline of religion, I wouldn’t know where to begin. It’s very disturbing that so many people associate basic human experiences and emotions with religious ideas, allowing them to dehumanize those who reject or merely do not share those ideas.

Comment #78529

Posted by Raging Bee on February 9, 2006 1:44 PM (e)

AC wrote:

It’s very disturbing that so many people associate basic human experiences and emotions with religious ideas, allowing them to dehumanize those who reject or merely do not share those ideas.

On this forum, at least, the only people “dehumanizing those who reject or merely do not share their ideas” are the atheists who indiscriminately attack beliefs of which they appear to know nothing; using generalizations so broad as to be, not only dishonest, but meaningless; blaming these beliefs for every evil perpetrated by humans (and none of the good); and offering nothing of their own to replace the spirit, wisdom and guidance they demand that we abandon.

The very least you atheist ninehammers could do to maintain some credibility, would be to add a perfunctory “present company excepted” to your judgemental rants; because practically no one here fits your badly-drawn picture of persons of faith.

Comment #78531

Posted by k.e. on February 9, 2006 1:57 PM (e)

Of course raging b its a gas.
When you only have a hammer the whole world looks like an anvil.
I’m fairly ignostic about non-theism (look them up)
And the only thing I’m intolerant to is intolerance and I the only temptation I can’t resist is tempatation.

Comment #78536

Posted by BWE on February 9, 2006 2:19 PM (e)

Raging,
I hope you don’t include me in the ranks of athiests you mentioned. I am a Unitarian.

Comment #78542

Posted by k.e. on February 9, 2006 2:36 PM (e)

raging B I actually concur with most of your schtik but me thinketh thou protesteth too much over atheism, that’s schlock. I don’t get what all the excitement is about over Dawkins he acknowledges and praises the words AND DEEDS of Jesus so what is the problem ?

and Oh one other thing I never stop asking Why.
Here’s a temptation I can’t resist

Why does the art and representation of JC over the centuries reflect the nature of the society that created it
How the Godman is Made and Remade

AND why the hell are the religiosity inclined getting all bent out of shape and PC about their *personal* beliefs? In other words why are people so insecure and need so much back patting and affirmation for something er …so meaningful…er so real? That persona is projecting an ill god.

Have you heard about turning the other cheek?

Comment #78544

Posted by AC on February 9, 2006 2:40 PM (e)

Raging Bee wrote:

The very least you atheist ninehammers could do to maintain some credibility, would be to add a perfunctory “present company excepted” to your judgemental rants; because practically no one here fits your badly-drawn picture of persons of faith.

I see no more reason to tack such a redundant clause onto my statements than to tack “theory” on the end of every “Big Bang” uttered by NASA.

Comment #78566

Posted by Raging Bee on February 9, 2006 3:42 PM (e)

The reason would be to acknowledge that you understand that not all persons of faith are your enemy, nor are they all uniformly guilty of the evils you carelessly ascribe to all religion, nor are they all equally “irrational.” Such an acknowledgement would not be a redundancy.

BWE: you don’t sound like the Unitarians I know – they’re more respectful toward the different faiths they have to share their space with.

Comment #78618

Posted by AD on February 9, 2006 5:04 PM (e)

AND why the hell are the religiosity inclined getting all bent out of shape and PC about their *personal* beliefs? In other words why are people so insecure and need so much back patting and affirmation for something er …so meaningful…er so real? That persona is projecting an ill god.

I think this is a bit overboard.

I know plenty of non-religiously inclined people who are prone to getting all bent out of shape and PC about their personal beliefs as well. Have you ever discussed politics? Global warming? What kind of cars people like? Baseball?

There’s insane opinions about all sorts of things, many of which cannot be affirmed in any way, shape, or form (or can be directly refuted with evidence) that people display wildly illogical behaviors about and try to convince others of in highly obnoxious manners, claiming them to be certain and scientific.

To ascribe a religious motive to this activity is highly dubious. It’s a human activity, not a religious one. This is the root of my objection here.

Your argument essentially, to me, reads like this:

All ID supporters are religious people.
Thus, all religion is bad.

Likewise:
All Nazi supporters are white people.
Thus, all white people are bad.

It’s a logically bogus argument. You can’t generalize about an entire set from a specific subset.

Comment #78622

Posted by BWE on February 9, 2006 5:09 PM (e)

Raging Bee,
What have I said that was innaccurate or disparaging toward people’s faiths? I do include all faiths but I don’t promulgate stories that create legitimacy for those who would claim special knowledge of god. Show me where I am doing anything else.

Comment #78625

Posted by William E Emba on February 9, 2006 5:13 PM (e)

Francis J. Beckwith wrote:

The short answer is that there are no necessary and sufficient conditions to distinguish science from non-science on which philosophers of science agree.

All true, and maximally irrelevant. It most certainly is a challenge to find abstract ways of distinguishing science from pseudoscience. In typical cases, we can make the distinction, and it is left to the philosophers to come in afterwards and do their best. It is a common confusion, made both by philosophers and scientists, that some such demarcation has been made and is the end of the story.

Meanwhile, the extremes are readily identifiable, and the qualities that put one field of inquiry firmly in the science camp, and the qualities that put another field of inquiry in the pseudoscience camp are blatant and obvious. The continuing inability to articulate a perfect division will probably always be with us. The core deconstructionist fallacy is to wildly exaggerate the significance of such difficulties and thereby conclude that the entire enterprise is useless.

So, for me, the issue of what counts as “science” is not relevant.

Nobody cares what you think. The fact remains, as Judge Jones noticed, is that Evolution by Natural Selection is solidly on the science side, and Intelligent Design is solidly on the pseudoscience side. There is no evading this basic distinction.

What is relevant is whether the argument offered for the point of view, ID or something like it, is reasonable or not obviously irrational and it does not rely on sacred scripture or religious authority.

As a matter of fact, as Judge Jones noticed, there are no arguments for Intelligent Design at all, outside of appeals to some religious authority. Behe and Dembski have offered nothing but garbage, involving lies, incompetence, moving goalposts, and a nonstop refusal to actually do any science.

Calling such an argument “religious,” “science,” or “swiss cheese” does nothing to support or undercut the quality of the argument offered. […] It is a way to marginalize people who offer it.

It simply makes it clear the actual issues have been identified. If losers go around lying about what great science they are doing, and get marginalized when it is clear they are through and through idiots, that’s just too bad if the losers get marginalized. That’s where they belong.

It does not advance the conversation in an intellectually exciting way.

Taking out the trash is not meant to intellectually exciting. It’s just a job that has to be done.

It’s the secular version of “heresy hunting.”

Cry as much as you want, the trash still stinks.

Comment #78669

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on February 9, 2006 7:20 PM (e)

Dear Lenny:

First off, how’s Squiggy?

Oh, and since Francis made fun of my name (not clever beyond measure, by the way), I feel it only fair for me to point out that at least MY momma didn’t give me a girl’s name.

So there.

Comment #78714

Posted by Henry J on February 9, 2006 10:27 PM (e)

Lenny,
Re “Oh, and since Francis made fun of my name”

If it’s making fun to note that one’s name is the same as a character on a TV show from 2 or 3 decades ago? But on second thought (after recalling what said TV character was like), never mind.

Henry

Comment #78720

Posted by gwangung on February 9, 2006 11:25 PM (e)

If it’s making fun to note that one’s name is the same as a character on a TV show from 2 or 3 decades ago?

Yes. But’s it’s a pretty lame attempt.

dr. Beckwith! Leave these attempts to trained professionals!

Comment #78723

Posted by k.e. on February 10, 2006 12:00 AM (e)

….er….AD
…..not a human activity ?
Careful stepping outside it dangerous out here.

Comment #78755

Posted by AD on February 10, 2006 9:46 AM (e)

….er….AD
…..not a human activity ?
Careful stepping outside it dangerous out here.

I am completely lost. What did I say was not a human activity?

Comment #78763

Posted by k.e. on February 10, 2006 10:39 AM (e)

AD
Your statement logically implies religion is not a human activity.
Perhaps a a miscontructed statement ?

Comment #78767

Posted by k.e. on February 10, 2006 10:53 AM (e)

Bah!
Perhaps a miscontructed statement ?

Comment #78771

Posted by k.e. on February 10, 2006 10:58 AM (e)

Double bah!
make that a ….misconstructed statement?

Comment #78779

Posted by AC on February 10, 2006 11:55 AM (e)

Raging Bee wrote:

The reason would be to acknowledge that you understand that not all persons of faith are your enemy, nor are they all uniformly guilty of the evils you carelessly ascribe to all religion, nor are they all equally “irrational.” Such an acknowledgement would not be a redundancy.

No offense, but this is getting tiresome. Here is my statement:

It’s very disturbing that so many people associate basic human experiences and emotions with religious ideas, allowing them to dehumanize those who reject or merely do not share those ideas.

Where is the ambiguity? Where is the confusion? How does a good faith reading of that statement lead someone not referred to by it to believe that he is referred to?

I’m beginning to think that you are determined to not read statements of “atheist ninehammers” in good faith. I also think that this is undermining a lot of potentially thoughtful communication, which is very unfortunate. For clarity, I know well that not all persons of faith are my enemy, and that they are not uniformly guilty of any evils. However, all religion is irrational. But, again for clarity, “irrational” is not meant to imply moral condemnation. It is merely descriptive.

Comment #78843

Posted by Paul Flocken on February 10, 2006 10:06 PM (e)

BWE-“Hmmm. Sagan said it before me. Whoooooosh. (Sound of air going out of a tire)

It’s OK BWE. Being scooped by Sagan is nothing to be ashamed of. :)

Raging Bee,
I don’t know whether to hug you or strangle you. You go back and forth; every other comment you write, regardless of thread, I cheer. Then you turn around and follow up with another comment that is just as inflammatory to me as you think my stuff is to you. Do you really think we’ve been hostile? Here, let me give you an example of some real hostility. I blame christianity for every single death due to smallpox that ever occurred west of a demarcation line that runs down the Ural Mtns. to the Straits of Hormuz, to include the Western Hemisphere, after smallpox crossed that line as it moved out of Asia. Now, golly gee willikers*, Isn’t THAT an over the top claim worthy of Rove himself and equivalent to any of the accusations that are leveled at atheists.

I’ll explain tomorrow. My day has been too long and I am deadbeat tired. Sincerely have a good night.
Paul

*Sniffles the Mouse

Comment #83223

Posted by John Aliff on March 2, 2006 11:42 AM (e)

Atheism and theism are opposite and equal to each other. One says an omnipotent God exists and the other says God does not exist. Both assumptions are untestable and unfalsifiable using the scientific method.

Comment #100982

Posted by Allison Trump on May 16, 2006 4:29 PM (e)

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