Nick Matzke posted Entry 2154 on March 30, 2006 12:41 AM.
Trackback URL: http://www.pandasthumb.org/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb.fcgi/2149

Finally, an IDist has actually come out and proposed an ID model. Read it here. It is a version of Richard Hoppe’s Multiple Designers Theory, but admirably more specific. Note that the author, Robert Newman, is not some random internet wacko, he is a longtime contributor to the ID literature.

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Comment #90651

Posted by caerbannog on March 30, 2006 1:03 AM (e)

demons? My Linux box is infested with ‘em! (daemons, that is)

ps aux | grep ‘d ‘

root 2198 0.0 0.1 1468 272 ? Ss Mar12 0:00 /sbin/udevd -d
root 5654 0.0 0.1 1600 400 ? Ss Mar12 0:00 /sbin/klogd -c 1 -x -x
root 5808 0.0 0.1 2852 276 ? S Mar12 0:00 /usr/sbin/powersaved -d -x /usr/lib/powersave/scripts -a resmgr -v 3
rm 9806 0.0 4.8 32036 12424 ? S 18:00 0:04 kded [kdeinit]
rm 9813 0.0 0.8 13612 2232 ? S 18:00 0:01 /opt/kde3/bin/artsd -F 10 -S 4096 -s 5 -m artsmessage -l 3 -f
root 10214 0.0 0.2 2592 676 ? Ss 19:27 0:00 /usr/sbin/pppd pty /usr/sbin/pppoe -p /var/run/pppoe.conf-pppoe.pid.pppoe -

Comment #90655

Posted by Louis on March 30, 2006 1:08 AM (e)

Dear Nick,

I have just read the Robert Newman ID model you linked. I am now dumber than I was before I started reading it. As I am a working scientist I need all the brainpower I can muster. Please could you give me some tips on how to recover lost intellect after reading such utter drivel.

Regards

Louis

P.S. I am off into the lab to try to regain some of the wit I once possessed.

P.P.S. Ooooh oooh I get to be the first to say that I thought ID wasn’t about religion {snicker}. Sorry Lenny.

Comment #90661

Posted by KiwiInOz on March 30, 2006 1:22 AM (e)

I didn’t see anything in there about the role of angels dancing on pin heads in design. Why not?

Comment #90671

Posted by normdoering on March 30, 2006 1:33 AM (e)

Please could you give me some tips on how to recover lost intellect after reading such utter drivel.

Read some Asimov, Clarke, Greg Bear or Sam Harris or Dawkins or Dennett.

Comment #90677

Posted by Alan Fox on March 30, 2006 1:41 AM (e)

We are sure this not a clever parody, aren’t we?

Comment #90679

Posted by Alan Fox on March 30, 2006 1:44 AM (e)

I mean, Mr. Newman wouldn’t be trying a bit of Dembski street theatre, would he?

Comment #90686

Posted by Karen on March 30, 2006 1:59 AM (e)

I have just read the Robert Newman ID model you linked. I am now dumber than I was before I started reading it. As I am a working scientist I need all the brainpower I can muster. Please could you give me some tips on how to recover lost intellect after reading such utter drivel.

Next time you should remember to back up your brains before reading these, uh, research papers.

Comment #90690

Posted by Karen on March 30, 2006 2:05 AM (e)

Demons–however they may be related to angels properly so-called–can inhabit humans, drastically affecting their lives and the lives of others around them. They are able to inhabit animals also, though we only have a glimpse of this in the biblical record.

Wow! I’m reading Carl Zimmer’s Parasite Rex now. I wonder if demons can perform “brain surgery” on cockroaches, like some parasites do.

Comment #90691

Posted by Torbjorn Larsson on March 30, 2006 2:06 AM (e)

Louis,

If it’s any consolation I sincerely doubt you are dumber now, since laughter acts to protect ones body and brain.

“Could predation be malevolent design? That was certainly the way Darwin viewed the matter. As I read the geologic record, predation goes all the way back to the Cambrian period. If it is malevolent, then the fall of Satan is much earlier than that of Adam, and creation is already not so good by the time Adam comes along.”

Paradise lost.

Oh, and I like this too: “the natural law of the gaps”. The gap between the angels “intermittent and personal” actions, I presume.

Comment #90693

Posted by Justin Moss on March 30, 2006 2:08 AM (e)

Robert Newman wrote:

But how could we tell scientifically whether or not angels operate in our world? […]

Early in the space age, satellites were only capable of making pictures of earth in daylight and with relatively poor resolution. Researchers interested in looking for extra-terrestrial intelligence decided to try and use these pictures as a test to see if they could detect signs of human intelligence on earth. The only evidence they were able to find was a massive logging operation in Canada, where a large crisscross pattern had been made.[14] They were surprised to find so little evidence, but the situation did not improve until it was possible to photograph the night side of our planet and see all the light from our cities. From this example we can see that intelligent activity could be at work, but we might not have the tools to detect it, or we might only be able to detect the most blatant cases. […]

How might we find scientific evidence for angelic activity? Our proposal here is that angelic activity is not like natural laws, which are operating continuously. Rather, they are more like human actions, which are sporadic. But here we have the additional complication that we cannot see the actors.

God-Of-The-Gaps nonsense, as well as a total epistemic non-starter. We can’t detect the guiding hand of God and the angels in our world because…we don’t have sophisticated enough equipment? Pretty poor analogy, since those satellites Newman references were searching for something that could actually be searched for. But how in the world do you search for something that cannot be found? What is the difference between what he describes and Carl Sagan’s invisible floating dragon that breathes heatless fire? Doesn’t seem to be one.

My first comment on Panda’s Thumb, by the way. Yay me.

I think I need to reboot my brain too, after reading this…

Comment #90726

Posted by B. Spitzer on March 30, 2006 3:33 AM (e)

And yet, for all the mirth that this “ID model” has inspired here, it is– let’s admit it!– a step closer to being a scientifically testable idea than the concept that some unspecified designer with unspecified goals, unspecified limitations, unspecified abilities, and unspecified aesthetic tastes designed something somewhere at some point in history and translated that design into something biological (or maybe cosmological) through some unspecified mechanism(s).

I almost feel sorry for the IDers. Staying utterly silent about the details of their theory is the best they can do. Because they can’t flesh out that theory, even a little bit, without veering into absurdity or blasphemy. Or both.

Comment #90733

Posted by Nic George on March 30, 2006 3:47 AM (e)

I’ve never heard of Robert Newman, and what he’s written sure-as-hell reads like a parody.

BTW, have I ever mentioned how much I like Pandas Thumb? I just feel like mentioning that…

Comment #90761

Posted by Air Bear on March 30, 2006 5:09 AM (e)

This sort of thing - action of benevolent and malevolent spirits in the world - used to be called primitive superstition.

And this guy seems to be a bit ethically challanged if he can’t distinguish between good and evil.

organisms which possess incredible complexity beyond what natural selection could “design” from the available offerings of chance, and which also seem to be clearly malevolent, might well be the work of malevolent spirit beings. There are, of course, other possibilities. They may be the direct or indirect work of God and we are mistaken in viewing them as malevolent.

But he does point toward some actual quantitative hypotheses:

The demons at Gerasa are able to control about two thousand pigs, but this may have been no more than one demon per pig.

I’d love to see an experiment designed to test how many pigs one demon can control.

Comment #90766

Posted by ben on March 30, 2006 5:18 AM (e)

A veritable scientific tour de force. My only minor quibble is that he does not discuss using the same methods to detect the actions of gnomes, leprechauns, faeries, sprites, poltergeists, ghosts, gremlins, bigfoot, the loch ness monster or el chupacabra.

I see what you mean about this guy not being some “random internet wacko.” He’s obviously a specific, discretely identifiable wacko. Much different.

Comment #90772

Posted by Renier on March 30, 2006 5:25 AM (e)

and here I enter the thread thinking, wow, at last, no more talking, some action from the ID crowd. About bloody time too! So I click the link and start reading… it’s not the first of April yet, is it?

And I wonder, that why is it that if ID is not about religion, that the only thing we ever hear from them is religion.
The poor ID crowd. No matter how hard they try to tell their supporters to shut up about their religion, the more their supporters ruin it all.

“Die arme moere”

Comment #90798

Posted by Justin Olson on March 30, 2006 6:10 AM (e)

The Interdisciplinary Biblical Research Institute? Angelic activity? Give me a f$#@ing break. Go back to the Bronze Age, asshole.

Comment #90808

Posted by a maine yankee on March 30, 2006 6:24 AM (e)

“I doubt that the promoters of Intelligent Design really want to see a day come when every biology teacher says: “Okay, you’ve heard from Darwin. Now we’ll spend a week on each of the following: intelligent design, guided evolution, intelligent design of intelligent designers, evolution of intelligent designers, the Hindu cycle of karma, the Mayan yuga cycle, panspermia, the Universe as a simulation…” and so on.”

Great essay by David Brin in Sketptic at:http://www.skeptic.com/the_magazine/featured_art…

Comment #90810

Posted by Corkscrew on March 30, 2006 6:25 AM (e)

Robert Newman was an essayist for the book Mere Creation, also contributed to by Dembski, Wells, Meyer, Behe, Johnson and Nelson. He’s an ARN featured author. He’s listed on designinference.com as an endorser of Dembski’s book. Definitely not a random wacko - this wacko’s both complex and specified

Incidentally, DaveScot’s modification of the trackbacked UD post is… interesting. He’s apparently gone from insulting Nick for picking on people stupider than him to insulting Nick for picking on people smarter than him. Highly amusing.

Comment #90815

Posted by Renier on March 30, 2006 6:29 AM (e)

Justin Olson, it is clear that you are controlled by a spirit of the demon type (as per this topic). Use ID to detect the excact type, colour and intention. Then, once this knowldge has come to you, eat a bowl of Lasagna (with a good wine), so that the noble FSM may cleanse you of it ;)

Comment #90823

Posted by djlactin on March 30, 2006 6:47 AM (e)

i found it hilarious that he went into such detail on the biochemistry of how HIV hijacks the replicative machinery of lymphocytes and then escapes, without remarking in any way that this entire biochemical cascade of transcription and translation is universal among terrestrial life, OR that the mechanisms of the hijack are pretty much standard among retroviruses. then he points out that the Ebola virus uses the SAME protein as HIV does to escape the cell! (“coincidence?” i can hear him crow, “i think not!”) we have here an example of the old maxim: “a little learning is a dangerous thing.”

new hypothesis? bull-pucky! this entire diatribe is just an updated version of the old ‘anciliary hypothesis’: “god is good and omnipotent and always benevolent, and created perfection. anything that does not fit this utopian vision must therefore be the work of an evil, nearly-as-powerful counterdeity,” with the added frosting of “incompetent assistants”.

note, however, the proximity of this missive to april 1… i smell an april fish.

derek

p.s.
BUT: isn’t it amazing how cats have holes in their fur EXACTLY where their eyes are? how can evolution explain THAT?!

Comment #90851

Posted by Jack Krebs on March 30, 2006 7:14 AM (e)

This article may be a hoax, but several times I have heard Dembski mention, in all seriousness, that angels might be derived or surrogate intelligent agents responsible for design.

Comment #90872

Posted by Louis on March 30, 2006 7:48 AM (e)

Thanks for all your support people!

After I finished the Sam Harris book I felt a lot better.

I am sure it has occured to everyone else that DaveScot (or whatever his name is) is following the line of Winston Churchill.

“If Hitler invaded Hell I would make at least a favourable reference to the devil in the House of Commons.”

In other words DaveScott, of course not being religious in any way {cough cough}, will attack ANYONE who dares to critique the drivel of an avowed supporter of IDCism. Not of course that I am equating Hitler and the devil with any person or subject. I’m referring to Churchill’s “zero tolerance” policy viz Adolf. DaveScot clearly has a similar policy regarding evidence, logic, reason, intellect and indeed anyone that (rightly) criticises his precious IDCism.

I see the opportunity for some fun. Anyone want to run a faux smear campaign on a prominent PTer’s works on Saturday and see how long before the IDCIsts snap up the juicy bait?

Comment #90876

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on March 30, 2006 7:52 AM (e)

Finally, an IDist has actually come out and proposed an ID model. Read it here. It is a version of Richard Hoppe’s Multiple Designers Theory, but admirably more specific. Note that the author, Robert Newman, is not some random internet wacko, he is a longtime contributor to the ID literature.

Where does he explain how we can detect witches?

(sigh) These idiots STILL have no idea why they lost at Dover.

Comment #90886

Posted by Konrad Crist on March 30, 2006 8:09 AM (e)

It seems fairly obvious that the solution to detecting demon and angel activity is to borrow the instruments used in the Ghostbusters movies. It worked for them, didn’t it?

Comment #90890

Posted by AD on March 30, 2006 8:18 AM (e)

Where does he explain how we can detect witches?

I thought everyone learned that from Monty Python.

Comment #90893

Posted by wamba on March 30, 2006 8:21 AM (e)

I haven’t read the full thing yet. I’m hoping it explains
pygmies and dwarves.

Comment #90915

Posted by Tyrannosaurus on March 30, 2006 8:49 AM (e)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'b'

Comment #90919

Posted by steve s on March 30, 2006 8:55 AM (e)

[luskin]
I just want to reiterate that ID has *nothing* to do with religion. I don’t even get how you could connect the two.
[/luskin]

Comment #90921

Posted by jonboy on March 30, 2006 8:56 AM (e)

“Between the actions of an infinite, eternal, omniscient being and those of us lowly humans, could we find evidence for the actions of intermediate beings such as angels?” Lenny,and all, how does it feel to be a LOWLY human?

Comment #90922

Posted by Tyrannosaurus on March 30, 2006 8:56 AM (e)

Sorry for the attempted previous post. This darn KwickXML is full of demons !!!!!!!!!!!!!!
What I tried to post previously was;

Now we definitely know where do all the EVILUTIONISTS came from, the spawn of demons and evil angels. Beware IDers, we are watching you…..

Comment #90924

Posted by wamba on March 30, 2006 8:59 AM (e)

Did you check out DaveScot’s trackback? Finally, a specific and testable ID hypothesis, and he trips all over himself dissing it.

I’d like to be the first to congratulate Nick Matzke on finding an adversary that makes Nick look well versed in science by comparison. It’s about time. Maybe if Nick starting fisking nursery rhymes for bad science he could appear even sm…

Clearly he’s an undercover evilutionist demon trying to undermine the ID movement.

Comment #90936

Posted by Gerard Harbison on March 30, 2006 9:21 AM (e)

Angels! (slaps forehead) How could we have been so stupid as to overlook angels?!

Comment #90937

Posted by Wireless on March 30, 2006 9:21 AM (e)

I’d like to conduct an experiment to quantitatively measure “malevolence” among various parasitic wasp species. Can anyone describe a methodology I could use? Some index of ecological evil perhaps?

Comment #90948

Posted by Rick @ shrimp and grits on March 30, 2006 9:35 AM (e)

Note that the author, Robert Newman, is not some random internet wacko, he is a longtime contributor to the ID literature.

Has anyone come up with mechanism for distinguishing “longtime contributors to the ID literature” from “random internet wackos”?

I’m sure there’s a grant proposal in there somewhere …

Comment #90950

Posted by t.f. on March 30, 2006 9:40 AM (e)

So did you see DaveScot’s ad hom?

DaveScot wrote:

I’d like to be the first to congratulate Nick Matzke on finding an adversary that makes Nick look well versed in science by comparison. It’s about time. Maybe if Nick starting fisking nursery rhymes for bad science he could appear even smarter than he does now.

Update: Awe shucks. It looks like I was wrong. The adversary is Dr. Robert C. Newman who was awarded a doctorate in theoretical astrophysics from (Ivy League) Cornell in 1967. Nick has not only failed to attain a doctorate, he switched his major at an unremarkable school from chemistry and biology to the much more lightweight field of geography. What’s next for Nick, a doctorate in basket weaving from the ITT Technical Institute? Theoretical Astrophysics is pretty much your stereotypical rocket science and far beyond Nick’s meager intellectual abilities. My abject apologies to Dr. Newman for the comparison.

Isn’t he just a gem? And to think that Nick was promoting the first model for ID “spiritual agent detection”!?!?!? Why is DaveScot’s ire aroused? Why isn’t he happy to spread the “research efforts” of ID?

These ID guys are just their own worst enemies! Shucks!

Comment #90952

Posted by mark on March 30, 2006 9:41 AM (e)

What a great essay! I’m jealous–I wish I could write such subtle, understated satire with a straight face.

I especially like the idea about the ichnewmans–we can extend that thought a bit. If the wasps merely bit off the caterpillars’ heads and swallowed them whole, there would be nothing malevolent. Consider how a goose is prepared for fois gras; the obvious explanation is that humans were created by evil angels!

Comment #90957

Posted by Aagcobb on March 30, 2006 9:49 AM (e)

Isn’t it sad that even the IDists like DaveScott can’t tell the difference between a serious ID proposal and parodies of IDism? How do you tell the difference between Newman’s article and this: href=http://tinyurl.com/elzpm ?

Comment #90963

Posted by George on March 30, 2006 10:02 AM (e)

Wireless wrote:

I’d like to conduct an experiment to quantitatively measure “malevolence” among various parasitic wasp species. Can anyone describe a methodology I could use? Some index of ecological evil perhaps?

Hmm. Don’t know about wasps, but you may have heard of hEllenberg indicator values for European plants. They’re ranked on a 1 to 9 scale of evil. For example, pretty flowers like orchids and truly divine plants like barley and hops get a 1 rating, whereas nettles, brambles and Brussels sprouts get a 9.

Comment #90966

Posted by wamba on March 30, 2006 10:03 AM (e)

This is interesting. The same researcher, Robert C. Newman, has an article about
Evangelicals and Crackpot Science.

ABSTRACT: Because of the tension which has developed between the scientific and the evangelical communities in the past century and a half, Bible believers are often (rightly or wrongly) suspicious of the discoveries and theorizing of modern science. This has led to a rather widespread attraction to theories viewed as crackpot by scientists and other educated people. Some examples are discussed and strategies proposed to protect Christians from looking unnecessarily foolish before the watching world.

I wouldn’t dream of casting doubt on Newman’s expertise in crackpot science.

Comment #90976

Posted by Mike Z on March 30, 2006 10:20 AM (e)

Re: UD trackback

It certainly is funny to watch the DaveScot progression. It seems that first he just read the article, recognized it as silly, and then ripped into Nick for attacking a far inferior opponent (comparing Newman’s work to fairly tales). Then, after figuring out that the author is a “credentialed” ID proponent, he switched, and ripped Nick for trying to attack a far superior opponent. Oops.

BTW, the essay contained some elements of DandD-style analysis of the abilities of the angels. I am left wondering how many hit points they have.

Comment #90979

Posted by GvlGeologist, FCD on March 30, 2006 10:24 AM (e)

“ABSTRACT: Because of the tension which has developed between the scientific and the evangelical communities in the past century and a half, Bible believers are often (rightly or wrongly) suspicious of the discoveries and theorizing of modern science. This has led to a rather widespread attraction to theories viewed as crackpot by scientists and other educated people. Some examples are discussed and strategies proposed to protect Christians from looking unnecessarily foolish before the watching world.”

This really looks like Mr. Newman considers that Christians can look necessarily foolish. Or am I misreading this?

Comment #90985

Posted by AR on March 30, 2006 10:30 AM (e)

The malicious psycho appointed by Dembski to maintain his miserable blog points to Newman’s being a degreed astrophysicist as a proof he can’t be a complete wacko. What unusual is in that? Gerald Schroeder has a PhD in physics from MIT but thinks that masers emit atoms and that weight and mass is the same. There are a few ID advocates who managed to percolate through the imperfect filters of the degree-awarding system, and to hide their wackiness behind a seemingly normal activity in some legitimate field. It must be a balance on a thin wire, but schizophrenics are often great artists as well.

Comment #90987

Posted by steve s on March 30, 2006 10:31 AM (e)

It certainly is funny to watch the DaveScot progression. It seems that first he just read the article, recognized it as silly, and then ripped into Nick for attacking a far inferior opponent (comparing Newman’s work to fairly tales). Then, after figuring out that the author is a “credentialed” ID proponent, he switched, and ripped Nick for trying to attack a far superior opponent. Oops.

In UncommonlyDense Land, that’s hardly a contradiction at all. Get a load of this contradiction:

http://www.uncommondescent.com/index.php/archive…

Read the comments section. A commenter points it out and gets banned.

Comment #90995

Posted by Bob O'H on March 30, 2006 10:48 AM (e)

I have a memory of reading about somedthing like this in New Scientist years ago. A real physicist noted that the first time a physical constant was measured, the measurement was some way from the true value, and later measurements were closer. He hypothesised that when the first meaurement was made, the exact value of the constant wasn’t set, so Archangel Gabriel (or whoever - my knowledge of celestial management structures is inadequate) would set an approximate value, and then rush off to God to ask what the exact value was. Once he found that out, he could make sure that everyone else got close to the right value.

The physicist then proposed an interesting experiment to investigate his hypothesis. If it was true, then there would be a time delay between the first measurement and measurements that were getting the correct value (as the Archangel filled in the paper work, arranged the meeting with his boss etc.). This delay should be measureable, simply by having several groups do the same experiment at slightly different times. The upshot of this is that it would be possible to measure “archangelic time”, i.e. the time it took the Archangel to fly off to Heaven, get an answer, and come back.

I’m not sure if the grant proposal was ever written.

Bob

Comment #90996

Posted by Arden Chatfield on March 30, 2006 10:49 AM (e)

Nick has not only failed to attain a doctorate, he switched his major at an unremarkable school from chemistry and biology to the much more lightweight field of geography.

DaveScot is faulting people for making statements about evolution without having doctorates???

Ouch.

Comment #91008

Posted by wamba on March 30, 2006 11:01 AM (e)

The malicious psycho appointed by Dembski to maintain his miserable blog points to Newman’s being a degreed astrophysicist as a proof he can’t be a complete wacko. What unusual is in that?

Nothing at all, and it provides an opportunity to mention Gerardus Bouw, B.S. in astrophysics, Ph.D. in astronomy, proponent of a geocentric universe, and (surprise surprise) evangelical Christian.

Comment #91011

Posted by KKJ on March 30, 2006 11:08 AM (e)

What probably shouldn’t be lost in the rush to make fun of Newman and Scot is the reference to what appears to be a really remarkable book, A HISTORY OF THE WARFARE OF SCIENCE WITH THEOLOGY IN CHRISTENDOM by Andrew Dickson White (co-founder and first president of Cornell) which is available to read online. I’ve only gotten through the preface at this point, but it seems like a work by a remarkable, intelligent man who was dealing with a lot of the same issues (in the late 1800s) that we are today.

Many of us can identify with his thesis:

Andrew Dickson White wrote:

In all modern history, interference with science in the supposed interest of religion, no matter how conscientious such interference may have been, has resulted in the direst evils both to religion and science, and invariably; and, on the other hand, all untrammeled scientific investigation, no matter how dangerous to religion some of its stages may have seemed for the time to be, has invariably resulted in the highest good both of religion and science.

Comment #91013

Posted by yellow fatty bean on March 30, 2006 11:11 AM (e)

Mr. Madison, what you’ve just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I’ve ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response was there anything that could even be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul!

Comment #91028

Posted by wamba on March 30, 2006 11:30 AM (e)

yellow fatty bean wrote:

Mr. Madison, what you’ve just said…

Who is Mr. Madison?

Comment #91036

Posted by Corkscrew on March 30, 2006 11:35 AM (e)

AR: Oi! I pointed out the schizophrenia first dammit! And that information is complex and specified so you must have been plagiarising my comments! Or something like that…

Comment #91041

Posted by Jim on March 30, 2006 11:48 AM (e)

Did he just call HIV and Ebola viruses malevolent angels?

And I love the argument that since physicists don’t understand what matter is how can they deny the existence of spirit. If the lack of understanding one topic is grounds for dismissing a person’s understanding of other topics then we have a major, major problem.

BTW, couldn’t we turn this around and say that since IDists do not know who their designer is (she/he/it isn’t God, right?)how can they dismiss her/his/its lack of existence?

Comment #91054

Posted by Glenn Branch on March 30, 2006 12:03 PM (e)

Robert C. Newman is also the coauthor of What’s Darwin Got to Do With It? (InterVarsity Press 2000), a comic-book-style “intelligent design” primer, of which Phillip Johnson said, “This brilliant critique is deadly accurate–and more fun than a barrel of Australopithecines.” I wrote a piece about it that appeared in two parts (part 1, part 2) on the Metanexus website, if anyone is interested.

Comment #91055

Posted by Duane on March 30, 2006 12:04 PM (e)

Too funny! I particularly liked the helpful table with the attributes of God, good angels, evil angels and man so nicely tabulated. I just wasn’t sure if by the panda’s thumb being a candidate for angelic intervention he was referring to the animal or the website.

Comment #91056

Posted by baghdad bob on March 30, 2006 12:05 PM (e)

Traitorous infidels! There is no religion in ID! Anybody saying there is, is insane and will burn in Hell! The angels and demons are nowhere near the airport either! It is all lies!

MSS
Iraqi Information Minister
(currently on leave)

Comment #91061

Posted by Arden Chatfield on March 30, 2006 12:16 PM (e)

Robert C. Newman is also the coauthor of What’s Darwin Got to Do With It? (InterVarsity Press 2000), a comic-book-style “intelligent design” primer, of which Phillip Johnson said, “This brilliant critique is deadly accurate—and more fun than a barrel of Australopithecines.” I wrote a piece about it that appeared in two parts (part 1, part 2) on the Metanexus website, if anyone is interested.

It’s funny how such a disproportionate amount of the ‘primary literature’ of Intelligent Design consists of comic books.

Comment #91062

Posted by Mike on March 30, 2006 12:17 PM (e)

I think I can fairly summarize Mr Newman’s ‘paper’ thusly: ‘If we had some ham, we could have ham and eggs, if we had any eggs.’

Comment #91063

Posted by Christopher Letzelter on March 30, 2006 12:19 PM (e)

I didn’t look at the source of the paper when I began reading it and I swear I thought it was some parochial high-school student’s term paper. “Predation goes all the way back to the Cambrian period.” I guess prior to the Cambrian “period”, life was just magically - oops, intelligently - sustained?
These people don’t have a fncking clue, no matter how many we throw to them.

Comment #91064

Posted by Bruce Thompson GQ on March 30, 2006 12:19 PM (e)

Time continues to march backwards aided by Newman’s own SNRF. Not to be confused with the salad dressing, Newman’s own SNRF could be theoretically employed to detect positive and negative intelligences. The detection of secondary positive and negative intelligences could be considered analogous to particle physics and detection of these intelligences similar to detection and description of particles. These paired intelligences, like quarks, would come in different flavors, up/down, charm/strange, and top/bottom. It is interesting to note that the conveniently named up, charmed, and top quarks, presumably analogous to positive intelligences, all have a larger charge compared with the negative intelligences analogous to down, strange, and bottom quarks. Stable positively charged (good) protons are composed of 2 up quarks and a single down quark suggesting that positive intelligences dominate in stable positive matter while in neutrons it takes 2 down quarks to balance a single up quark. This of course does not address antiquarks, but the interaction between quarks and antiquarks always leads to unstable particles which rapidly decay, suggesting perhaps an unknown set of intelligences as yet unconsidered by the ID community. If such an analogy is valid it further expands the range of intelligences that may be responsible for the order of the universe.

Delta Pi Gamma (Scientia et Fermentum)

Comment #91065

Posted by Karen on March 30, 2006 12:21 PM (e)

Then, after figuring out that the author is a “credentialed” ID proponent, he switched, and ripped Nick for trying to attack a far superior opponent

In other words, when you collect enough degress, it turns your error into truth. Isn’t that called the genetic fallacy? I believe that’s why Answers in Genesis and the Intelligent Design movement try to get PhDs in their camp.

Comment #91066

Posted by wamba on March 30, 2006 12:31 PM (e)

That research proposal is “IBRI Research Report #56”. So I guess there are at least 55 more such articles available.

Comment #91075

Posted by Julie Stahlhut on March 30, 2006 12:43 PM (e)

Hmm. Don’t know about wasps, but you may have heard of Ellenberg indicator values for European plants. They’re ranked on a 1 to 9 scale of evil. For example, pretty flowers like orchids and truly divine plants like barley and hops get a 1 rating, whereas nettles, brambles and Brussels sprouts get a 9.

Hmmmm. I love to eat stir-fried nettles (though they require care in harvesting), as well as Brussels sprouts (try garlic butter!) and the various fruits of Rubus. And, I’ve been doing research on various predatory wasps for almost 11 years now. Despite the fact that the body count of my vespid research subjects is well in the four figures, only one of them has ever stung me.

Now, if you want to encounter a real brawling bug that will get right into your face in a most malevolent fashion, I suggest checking out this one. One of these malcontents once tried to beat me up on a footpath in Michigan simply because I strayed into his territory. If I hadn’t run away, this evil creature would undoubtedly have put my eye out with his proboscis!

Comment #91078

Posted by Glen Davidson on March 30, 2006 12:47 PM (e)

I already responded to PZ’s remarks on Pharyngula, and don’t see the point of rewriting for this forum, so here is my unaltered (except for a slight correction at the end) post:

It’s far from a specific hypothesis. What is more, it’s old fundie stuff recycled into a slightly more sensible form (i.e. they pay attention to the age of the earth–no reason to do that while ignoring evidence for evolution, however). I grew up hearing that mosquitos and the like were “bred up” by Satan.

I guess someone finally balked at the nihilistic blather of Dembski and decided that their “designer” had to be something other than an indifferent idiot savant who unfathomably designed (according to evolutionary patterns) creatures to eat each other in the most miserable and horrific manner. After all, many of the most amazing “designs” are of parasites who manipulate behaviors in order to further their need to eat up defenseless organisms from the inside.

The traditional problem for invoking evil gods is simply that supposedly only God can create life (why I was told that Satan used breeding programs). The creationists are now hollowing out their theology via ID, deciding that after all a human is just a collection of parts, tubes, “wires”, and molecular machines, which any reasonably good alien or demon might master. In a sense I expect they’re right, though it really remains to be seen if anything could design the complexity of life and ecological and evolutionary relationships from “first principles” (I’d agree that “designers” could likely copy what we have now at some stage–or make something similar, though different, using evolutionary algorithms). The life cycles of parasites in particular seem to be of the sort that humans would be quite unlikely to design (had they a reason–why don’t the IDiots ever ask the reasons for design by gods and demons?), and make sense only as opportunistic evolutionary developments.

Of course this is what the IDiots always ignore, the fact that we now use evolutionary processes to develop what thinking from first principles could not, or at least what intelligence would not readily conjure up. That is to say, there is overlap between what intelligence thinks up and what evolution produces, however each means of developing complex systems has specific strengths and weaknesses which we may and do use to our advantage.

Unfortunately the dolts still refuse to ask why even demons are “designing” by utilizing evolutionary algorithms.

I think that the upshot is that eventually we are going to have IDists who posit that intelligent beings, as intelligent beings, in fact did use evolutionary algorithms to produce life. They’ll still claim that biological evolution is not adequate to produce “incredible complexity beyond what natural selection could “design” from the available offerings of chance”, but they’ll note that we use evolutionary algorithms to “design”, and so could gods, demons, and aliens.

We might still ask them how evolutionary algorithms themselves ever arose (we picked them up from the evolutionary pattersn we see, after all). But the real point is that one really cannot argue down IDists, for they will always invoke ad hoc possibilities to save their “hypothesis”. It would be absurd to suppose that they will not pick up on evolutionary algorithms at some point as the design process that demons and angels have used, and then they will have achieved their ultimate end, an “ID hypothesis” that cannot even conceivably be falsified, even by the critics who so far have attempted to treat ID as a sort of proto-science and thus have introduced meaningful restrictions in their critiques.

That IDists continually come up with “hypotheses” that differ [predictively] in no manner whatsoever from evolutionary predictions (sensibly we can understand herbivory, carnivory, and parasitism as predicted by evolution) points to one fatal flaw–they have no real knowledge of science and of what constitutes a scientific hypothesis. Though tiresome to repeat and to contemplate, it is the master explanation for all of their bewilderingly complex evolutions.

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/b8ykm

Comment #91086

Posted by BWE on March 30, 2006 12:56 PM (e)

Good gOD, so much to comment on… But I will attempt to be brief.

I have to give a presentation to a bunch of business and community leaders (chamber of commerce types) about attitudes and effects on coastline blah blah in April. I wonder, can I make statements and cite the way this guy does? Because I’d like to say something like, “Our local business culture has exhibited a trend over the last 100 years: First we pillaged and polluted the land and water and didn’t worry; then we polluted more and worried a little; now we pollute a little less but we don’t worry again[1]
[1] Pogo

It looks like there has been a trend over the past three or four centuries in these disciplines: first, angels were removed; then God’s miraculous intervention; then His providential control; finally, His existence is ignored altogether. The recent upsurge of popular interest in angels has not reversed this yet, though it may be a symptom that modernism is retreating before a postmodern mindset.[1]

[1] Some more or less scholarly recent treatments of angels are Anthony N. S. Lane, ed. The Unseen World: Christian Reflections on Angels, Demons and the Heavenly Realm (Paternoster/Baker, 1996); Duane A. Garrett, Angels and the New Spirituality (Nashville: Broadman & Holman, 1995); and C. Peter Wagner and F. Douglas Pennoyer, eds., Wrestling with Dark Angels: Toward a Deeper Understanding of the Supernatural Forces in Spiritual Warfare (Ventura, CA: Regal Books, 1990).

air bear

I’d love to see an experiment designed to test how many pigs one demon can control.

I’d like to see an experiment designed to test how many demons one pig can control. Oh wait that’s been done by [insert bureaucracy leadership of choice, e.g. white house cabinet]

Comment #91091

Posted by Raguel on March 30, 2006 1:01 PM (e)

I find it amusing that on the same day I read this, I was also directed to this article:

http://www.sunherald.com/mld/thesunherald/news/w…

Newman calls geocentrism “crackpot science”. :)

Comment #91092

Posted by Arden Chatfield on March 30, 2006 1:01 PM (e)

Now, if you want to encounter a real brawling bug that will get right into your face in a most malevolent fashion, I suggest checking out this one. One of these malcontents once tried to beat me up on a footpath in Michigan simply because I strayed into his territory. If I hadn’t run away, this evil creature would undoubtedly have put my eye out with his proboscis!

You’ve been attacked by a butterfly. That is so cool! Compared to that, my life has been completely wasted. :-)

Comment #91096

Posted by Jim Harrison on March 30, 2006 1:06 PM (e)

Proposing that the natural world is infested with evil spirits may be an innovation for some I.D. types, but it is business as usual for the faithful. Since the world is not all roses and delight, defenses of theism naturally require a demonology. Anyhow, Surveys consistently show that most Christians in the U.S. believe in the literal reality of the devil and his minions–it’s minions, not employees, by the way, since Hell is even harder to unionize than Walmart.

Apropos of this nonsense, somebody recently complained in one of the comment sections that a skeptical poster had treated Christianity as a second-rate superstition. I must agree. Christianity is definitely not a second-rate superstititon.

Comment #91101

Posted by k.e. on March 30, 2006 1:10 PM (e)

Ho hum
Childish fantasies no different to believing in Santa.
These guys should start a science fiction club for common sense challenged theologians.

How about a mythical creator just sitting back and watching nature take its course to see what would happen, then stopping time winding everything back to the start and then interfering with every single boson, neutrino, electromagnetic Field, time itself (of course), space, dark matter and so on.

No rush you understand 10 or so billion years of pushing everything around and then making the solar system etc etc now he didn’t need to be a scientist to work all this out since he had seen it all happen before he had all the tools imaginary microscopes, imaginary super colliders, imaginary computers, unlimited abilities just so he/she/it could take the credit.

Then waits for earth to cool and the rest is history.

Mans imagination is all that limits his creations including imagined history and imaginary creators.

Comment #91103

Posted by Peter Henderson on March 30, 2006 1:14 PM (e)

Karen: Talking of AIG here are their views on Aliens, UFO’s, extraterrestrial life etc.:

url http://www.answersingenesis.org/home/area/faq/al…

I’m sure I’ve heard Gary Bates on TV saying that UFO sightings were satanic in nature and ETs were demons.

Comment #91119

Posted by wamba on March 30, 2006 1:29 PM (e)

I find it amusing that on the same day I read this, I was also directed to this article:

http://www.sunherald.com/mld/thesunherald/news/w…

Newman calls geocentrism “crackpot science”. :)

Very interesting. My favorite part was the link to ID:

Geocentrism is a less-known cousin of the intelligent design, or anti-evolution, movement. Both question society’s trust in science, instead using religion to explain how we got here - and, in geocentrism’s case, just where “here” is.

Put your bets down, how long before Rob Crowther or John West whips off an angry letter about the mischaracterization of ID?

Meanwhile, Sungenis wants to make sure “people don’t classify geocentrists with Flat Earthers. We don’t believe that at all.”

Nope, no one enjoys having their pseudoscience compared to other pseudoscience.

Comment #91123

Posted by Arden Chatfield on March 30, 2006 1:33 PM (e)

Meanwhile, Sungenis wants to make sure “people don’t classify geocentrists with Flat Earthers. We don’t believe that at all.”

Nope, no one enjoys having their pseudoscience compared to other pseudoscience.

I think that’s the answer to my perennial question of why the IDC types who come around here never talk to each other.

Comment #91128

Posted by steve s on March 30, 2006 1:37 PM (e)

Arden, only once have i seen two creationists here talk to each other, and that’s David and Carol, and that’s when they both loved talking about how inerrant the bible is, and they avoided mentioning the fact they were talking about two different bibles.

Comment #91134

Posted by steve s on March 30, 2006 1:41 PM (e)

So now that everones had a while to adjust, what do people think of the new arrangement of the comment box, comments, and trackbacks? I think it sucks.

Comment #91135

Posted by Arden Chatfield on March 30, 2006 1:42 PM (e)

Arden, only once have i seen two creationists here talk to each other, and that’s David and Carol, and that’s when they both loved talking about how inerrant the bible is, and they avoided mentioning the fact they were talking about two different bibles.

Yes, I noticed that. It was cute how solidarity kept either of them from mentioning how little use they had for the other’s scriptures.

Comment #91136

Posted by Gerard Harbison on March 30, 2006 1:43 PM (e)

I posted the first comment on the trhead, suggesting that DaveScot post a pointer to his curriculum vitae, so we could compare it with Nick’s. Oddly enough, that comment was deleted.

You don’t think it’s possible, do you, that DaveScot wrote an ad hominem against someone else’s scientific credentials, while having none himself? Why, that would be just so hypocritical!

Comment #91138

Posted by steve s on March 30, 2006 1:45 PM (e)

I think I figured out how they could make it worse though. Put the comment box at the very top, then trackbacks, followed by the comments section with the most recent comments at the bottom, followed by the article. That would be slightly worse than the current arrangement.

Comment #91165

Posted by Arden Chatfield on March 30, 2006 2:13 PM (e)

So now that everyones had a while to adjust, what do people think of the new arrangement of the comment box, comments, and trackbacks? I think it sucks.

Half the time, I still automatically go to the bottom of the thread to look for the comment box.

I think I figured out how they could make it worse though. Put the comment box at the very top, then trackbacks, followed by the comments section with the most recent comments at the bottom, followed by the article. That would be slightly worse than the current arrangement.

They could also try scrambling the chronological order of the comments. That would be new and exciting.

Comment #91175

Posted by Lou FCD on March 30, 2006 2:23 PM (e)

only slightly though, steve.

Comment #91183

Posted by Jim Wynne on March 30, 2006 2:29 PM (e)

In his UD about-face,

DaveScot wrote:

My abject apologies to Dr. Newman for the comparison.

Hehe…maybe Davey should have looked up “abject” and found out what it means. But now that I think about it, maybe it was what he meant.

Comment #91201

Posted by Jim on March 30, 2006 2:56 PM (e)

Not sure if this an appropriate place for this, but wanted to share this quote I picked off uncomondescent.com and wanted to share it with everyone. I’m a newcomer to pandasthumb so please forgive a newbie’s lack of “protocol”.

Give me a concrete example of what you mean by an “evolutionist” research program. I’m curious about what practical benefits there are in any “evolutionist” research programs to begin with. My opinion is that there is no practical benefit that comes from presuming that bacteria somehow morphed into mammals via time & chance and constructing phylogenetic trees with everything placed just-so in a presumably historically accurate manner has no practical benefit either. -ds

Do they really invite such things upon themselves so often? How can they possibly ask stuff like this and expect not to get an answer that flies in their face? Why do we even bother to “argue” with them? Like shooting fish in a barrel.

Comment #91204

Posted by steve s on March 30, 2006 2:58 PM (e)

They could also try scrambling the chronological order of the comments. That would be new and exciting.

that’s de facto what happens on Uncommon Descent. many commenters are kept on a list where none of their comments appear until davescot selects them to appear, which might be 6 hours later, but when it’s finally approved it appears in the order it arrived in hours ago, so the effect is, you might have had 41 comments, and see that the number’s now 42, and have to search through the entire list of comments to find it. While The arrangement of parts on PT reflects annoying design mistakes, it’s not That bad at least.

Comment #91205

Posted by BFC_Billy_Madison on March 30, 2006 2:58 PM (e)

Dr. Newman, what you’ve just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

Comment #91206

Posted by steve s on March 30, 2006 2:59 PM (e)

Not sure if this an appropriate place for this, but wanted to share this quote I picked off uncomondescent.com and wanted to share it with everyone. I’m a newcomer to pandasthumb so please forgive a newbie’s lack of “protocol”.

the correct place for that is Official Uncommonly Dense Discussion Thread:

http://www.antievolution.org/cgi-bin/ikonboard/i…

Comment #91216

Posted by CJ O'Brien on March 30, 2006 3:12 PM (e)

Note that the author, Robert Newman, is not some random internet wacko, he is a longtime contributor to the ID literature.

This sentance is equivalent to “Note that the animal is not a dog, it is a great dane,”
Perforce, a “longtime contributor to the ID literature” IS a “random internet wacko.”

Comment #91228

Posted by Glen Davidson on March 30, 2006 3:32 PM (e)

You don’t think it’s possible, do you, that DaveScot wrote an ad hominem against someone else’s scientific credentials, while having none himself? Why, that would be just so hypocritical!

No, he wouldn’t do that. He’s told us of his massive qualifications, which include the fact that he’s smarter than everybody who he encounters here, an engineering degree (and supposedly some fantastic invention), and the fact that he reads Scientific American cover to cover.

Not to put down SciAm, but that one sure made me laugh. It’s a good magazine, but not even one that outlines the proper procedures used in the scientific investigations that it reports on. What a dullard! I mean, he may be intelligent enough, yet clearly he’s compensating for not learning enough to be able to think scientifically.

It’s like Norm on Cheers in one episode. Sam said that he could send in a poem for publication and receive the same letter in reply that Diane had received for hers. Then Sam turned to Cliff and Norm and asked if they knew anything about poems. Norm replied that he knew how to make fun of them.

That’s our endearing DaveScot, not a clue about science, but he has some capacity to make fun of scientists. And he’s way smarter than anyone who reads this, don’t forget it.

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/b8ykm

Comment #91243

Posted by Gary Hurd on March 30, 2006 3:46 PM (e)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'kwickxml'

Comment #91244

Posted by Glen Davidson on March 30, 2006 3:47 PM (e)

DaveScot–He’s our “special” little man. Spewed out his vile attack on Newman for being as “poorly versed in science” as Nick is supposed to be, then read of his “qualifications”. Now he’s down on his knees, begging for it.

This is the problem with mindless dolts like DaveScot. He can’t vet any science, being “special” and all, and can only “evaluate” what people say based on their credentials and their incapacity to understand historical science.

I like that Dembski continues to allow us to bask in the radiance of his countenance, silently blessing the ravings of a lunatic. Got to rein in such “special” people now and then, like when they decide to agree with the evidence of common descent, but it’s only (relatively) intelligent remarks that make Dembski step in to hold back our “special boy”. Otherwise it’s all, “unleash the brat”.

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/b8ykm

Comment #91245

Posted by Arden Chatfield on March 30, 2006 3:47 PM (e)

That’s our endearing DaveScot, not a clue about science, but he has some capacity to make fun of scientists. And he’s way smarter than anyone who reads this, don’t forget it.

And don’t forget, he used to work at Dell.

Comment #91253

Posted by Glen Davidson on March 30, 2006 3:56 PM (e)

Just one more thing: I am always amazed at the single-minded interest in what is written on Panda’s Thumb by “independent thinkers” like Berlinski, DaveScot, and Dembski. DaveScot reads most posts before I do, and maybe more to the point, he actually does read most.

For me it’s hit and miss. Panda’s Thumb is all well and good, but I’m sure I’m not the only one who finds the whole matter to be repetitious and often boring. And I never go to Uncommon Descent, unless a post is linked either here or on Pharyngula–most times not even then. DaveScot, otoh, is obsessed with what is written here, which I suppose makes sense if we consider that he doesn’t have anything intelligent and positive to say about ID (then again, who does?).

A number of IDists seem to be among the most faithful readers of this blog. Wouldn’t it be nice if they’d just go away and do some research? I mean, there’s nothing really to do with ID “research”, but can’t they be convinced enough that there is something to ID that they would at least for a few months do some pretend research and shut up for most of that time?

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/b8ykm

Comment #91259

Posted by J. Biggs on March 30, 2006 4:05 PM (e)

The panda (a relative of the bear) has its five regular digits structured as a paw, as is typical in four-footed animals such as the carnivores.

I’m confused, if evolution didn’t happen, how can the panda be a relative of the bear?

It is arguable whether or not the panda’s thumb is a poor design.[29] But even granting that it is, may it not be the work of genetic manipulation by angels, who are constrained by history to work with what is available in the ancestral panda lineage, unlike an omniscient, omnipotent God making a new design from scratch?

Ok, so some evolution happened, we just need to give credit to angels for manipulating genetics in order for it to happen. That’s crystal clear.

Comment #91269

Posted by Bill Gascoyne on March 30, 2006 4:11 PM (e)

Jim Wynne in Comment 91183 wrote:

Hehe…maybe Davey should have looked up “abject” and found out what it means. But now that I think about it, maybe it was what he meant.

From www.hyperdictionary.com: Definition: 1 [adj] showing humiliation or submissiveness; “an abject apology”

Forgive me for appearing to defend DS, but allowing for irony and poetic license in the writings of someone who appears submissive to nothing doesn’t seem that outrageous to me.

Comment #91286

Posted by Faidon on March 30, 2006 4:38 PM (e)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'kwickxml'

Comment #91291

Posted by Faidon on March 30, 2006 4:42 PM (e)

Nothing at all, and it provides an opportunity to mention Gerardus Bouw, B.S. in astrophysics, Ph.D. in astronomy, proponent of a geocentric universe, and (surprise surprise) evangelical Christian.

Oh my goodness.

“What must I forget next?”

That is so pathetic and sad, it’s not even funny.

I feel sorry for the poor guy. And for his kids, of course.

Comment #91313

Posted by David B. Benson on March 30, 2006 4:59 PM (e)

Are you sure this wasn’t written by Alfred E. Neuman? Anyway, I’m glad I read the comments first – I certainly want to keep what few wits I still possess.

Comment #91322

Posted by Julie Stahlhut on March 30, 2006 5:08 PM (e)

You’ve been attacked by a butterfly. That is so cool! Compared to that, my life has been completely wasted. :-)

Red admirals (Vanessa atalanta) are veritable wimps compared to question marks. We used to get males of this species, Polygonia interrogationis, establishing territories on our roof. Since they check out and chase anything that flies by, they’d pursue other butterflies, bumble bees, and even birds if they got too close. Whenever we were visited by a perching male, we’d amuse ourselves by tossing a stick in the air and watching the little dude go barrelling after it.

Okay, it’s outrageously anthropomorphic to call this “malevolence”, but it certainly demolished a lot of my misconceptions about butterfly behavior!

Comment #91327

Posted by Fross on March 30, 2006 5:14 PM (e)

If they had won in Dover:

“Suzy, what happened to your homework?”

“A demon stole it.”

Comment #91343

Posted by J. Biggs on March 30, 2006 5:23 PM (e)

Dimwitski needs to add another part to his explanatory filter now:

(1) Does a law explain it?
(2) Does chance explain it?
(3) Do Angels explain it?
(3)(4) Does design explain it?

The only problem is how do we get to (4) since there is no way to rule out angels?

Comment #91429

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on March 30, 2006 7:29 PM (e)

Some examples are discussed and strategies proposed to protect Christians from looking unnecessarily foolish before the watching world.

Too late.

Comment #91437

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on March 30, 2006 7:37 PM (e)

I’m sure I’ve heard Gary Bates on TV saying that UFO sightings were satanic in nature and ETs were demons.

He’s not alone in declaring that. Hovind says the same thing. So does Hugh Ross:

Ross’s recent book (co-authored with two other fundie books) is entitled “Lights In the Sky and Little Green Men: A Rational Christian Look at UFO’s and Extraterrestrials” (NavPress, Colorado Springs CO, 2002).

Over several chapters, Ross dismisses, on scientific and Biblical grounds, the existence of any life other than terrestrial. But, he declares, there are so many reliable UFO reports that they can’t all be mistakes or hoaxes (he calls the remaining reliable reports (Residual UFO’s”). His “rational Christian” conclusion is something he calls the “trans-dimensional hypothesis”—flying sacuers are actually entities that come from “beyond out space and time dimensions” and which, although real entities, are not physical beings. OK, so what ARE the flying saucers, then? Hear the gospel according to Ross: “It can now be determined who is behind the RUFO experiences. Only one kind of being favors the dead of night and lonely roads. Only one is real but nonphysical, animate, powerful, deceptive, ubiquitous throughout human history, culture, and geography, and bent on wreaking psychological and physical harm. Only one entity selectively approaches those humans involved in cultic, occultic or New Age activities. It seems apparent that residual UFO’s, in one or more ways, must be associated with the activities of demons.” (pages 122-123).

Want to see how Ross’s “UFO’s come from the Devil” hypothesis can be scientifically tested? Well, we flip to page 124 and find: “The conlcusion that demons are behind the residual UFO phenomenon is a testible one.” Ross points out that “according to the Bible” demons only can attack people who dip into the occult and make themsleves vulnerable. Ross declares, “All that is necessary to further prove the conclusions of demonic involvement, therefore, is to continue surveying people to ascertain who has encounters with residual UFO’s and who does not. If the demonic idenficiation of the RUFO phenomenon is correct, researchers should continue to observe a correlation between the degree of invitations in a person’s life to demonic attacks (for example, participation inseances, Uija games, astrology, spiritualism, witchcraft, palm reading, and psychicreading) and the proximity of their residual UFO encounters.” (Ross of course neglects to mention another possible reason for these “correlations” — people who believe one goofy thing are more prone to believe other goofy things as well.)

And why is that scientists and other researchers decline to study Ross’s, uh, “theory”? Why, because they’re all ATHEISTS, silly: “One reason why research scientists and others may be reluctant to say that demons exist behind residual UFO’s is because such an answer points too directly to a Christian interpretation of the problem.” (page 125)

(Does this sound familiar to anybody? Is there some other topic that Ross thinks involves the supernatural, but nobody takes seriously because they are all atheists …. ?)

Believe it or not, though, Ross isn’t the first creationut to yammer about flying saucers and the Devil. Creationist theologian Norman Geisler was one of the witnesses at the Arkansas creationism trial back in 1982. During his pre-trial deposition, Geisler was asked if he believed in a real Devil. Yes, he replied, he did, and cited some
Biblical verses as confirmation. The conversation then went:

“Q. Are there, sir, any other evidences for that belief besides certain passages of Scripture?

GEISLER: Oh, yes. I have known personally at least 12 persons who were clearly possessed by the Devil. And then there are the UFOs.

Q. The UFOs? Why are they relevant to the existence of the Devil?

GEISLER: Well, you see, they represent the Devil’s major, in fact, final attack on the earth.

Q. Oh. And sir, may I ask how you know, as you seem to know, that there are UFOs?

GEISLER: I read it in the Readers Digest.”

At trial, Geisler testified under oath (apparently with a straight face) that flying saucers were “Satanic manifestations for the purposes of deception”.

Nutters, all. (shrug)

Comment #91438

Posted by DJ on March 30, 2006 7:40 PM (e)

Note that the author, Robert Newman, is not some random internet wacko, he is a longtime contributor to the ID literature.

Duly noted.

I’m starting to question the popular conception that ID has nothing to do with religion. However, I’ll have to do much more research into the seeming contradictions I’m finding in ID literature regarding this. I’ll get back to you all. I think I’m on to something. How exciting.

Comment #91440

Posted by DJ on March 30, 2006 7:44 PM (e)

“It can now be determined who is behind the RUFO experiences. Only one kind of being favors the dead of night and lonely roads. Only one is real but nonphysical, animate, powerful, deceptive, ubiquitous throughout human history, culture, and geography, and bent on wreaking psychological and physical harm. Only one entity selectively approaches those humans involved in cultic, occultic or New Age activities. It seems apparent that residual UFO’s, in one or more ways, must be associated with …” MICK JAGGER!!

Comment #91443

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on March 30, 2006 7:50 PM (e)

Red admirals (Vanessa atalanta) are veritable wimps compared to question marks. We used to get males of this species, Polygonia interrogationis, establishing territories on our roof. Since they check out and chase anything that flies by, they’d pursue other butterflies, bumble bees, and even birds if they got too close. Whenever we were visited by a perching male, we’d amuse ourselves by tossing a stick in the air and watching the little dude go barrelling after it.

Okay, it’s outrageously anthropomorphic to call this “malevolence”, but it certainly demolished a lot of my misconceptions about butterfly behavior!

Bah. You guys want to see the essence of pure unadulterated belligerence? Go pick on a shield-nosed cobra (_Aspidaleps_ sp). The little buggers are barely eight inches long, but they’re always more than ready to rear right up and take on all comers.

;>

Comment #91445

Posted by DJ on March 30, 2006 7:52 PM (e)

“While The arrangement of parts on PT reflects annoying design mistakes, it’s not That bad at least.”

That’s because PT wasn’t designed. It evolved.

On the other hand, Uncommon Descent was supposedly designed, and look at the unholy mess it is.

Comment #91453

Posted by Arden Chatfield on March 30, 2006 7:58 PM (e)

Bah. You guys want to see the essence of pure unadulterated belligerence? Go pick on a shield-nosed cobra (_Aspidaleps_ sp). The little buggers are barely eight inches long, but they’re always more than ready to rear right up and take on all comers.

But that’s actually less cool, because people expect cobras to be belligerent. But an aggressive butterfly? That is high concept!

Comment #91468

Posted by steve s on March 30, 2006 8:36 PM (e)

Comment #91445

Posted by DJ on March 30, 2006 07:52 PM (e)

“While The arrangement of parts on PT reflects annoying design mistakes, it’s not That bad at least.”

That’s because PT wasn’t designed. It evolved.

The intelligent designer meddled with his creation a few months ago, and not for the best. it takes a fraction longer now to see where the last comment is, and a fraction longer to find the comment box if you’re reading the most recent comments.

Comment #91531

Posted by Kevin from nyc on March 30, 2006 10:27 PM (e)

“is the disappearance of angels from scholarly discussion”

err yea ,.. I guess….hmm and what about the pin.? huh? we need to investigate this…

Comment #91549

Posted by the pro from dover on March 30, 2006 11:04 PM (e)

Didn’t the Angels recently win the world series (or at least the American league pennant)? That had to be the work of angels. As a lone voice crying out in an ever-expanding wilderness I would like to point out that the vast majority of mainstream Christians do not believe this kind of drivel and freely acknowledge that their religious beliefs are their own religious beliefs and don’t want them taught in science classes anywhere. They see Christianity as hard work where people try to help others, work for justice, and create fellowship in a community of faith in order to support those whose lives have been disruped, even when those others may well be members of other countries and/or religions. You go to any large United Methodist church and ask the first 300 people what they believe and you will get 300 different answers. To most mainstream Christians what you believe is nowhere near as important as how you live your life. This is the largest difference between fundamentalist and mainstream protestants and why the two groups are enemies. Most mainstream Christians see fundamentalists as bible worshippers and not followers of Jesus or worshippers of God.

Comment #91572

Posted by Anton Mates on March 30, 2006 11:42 PM (e)

It is arguable whether or not the panda’s thumb is a poor design.[29] But even granting that it is, may it not be the work of genetic manipulation by angels, who are constrained by history to work with what is available in the ancestral panda lineage, unlike an omniscient, omnipotent God making a new design from scratch?

Well, no one can argue with the testability of that hypothesis! We simply need sufficient funding to experimentally determine whether angels can make bears from scratch. Call the Templeton Foundation!

Comment #91575

Posted by Air Bear on March 31, 2006 12:14 AM (e)

Just barely on-topic –

If there’s any supernatural agent whose effects can be studied by science, it has to be the healing power of prayer. However, yet another scientific study has found no effect.

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/03/30/health…

The IDers who want to bring supernatural agents under the purview of science cannot see this as any kind of victory. And the real scientists (someone here) who are willing to admit supernatural agents as long as they’re regular and repeatable, can say once again that an obvious supernatural agent has been tested and found to be non-effective.

Of course, not every religious person agrees that you can bring the supernatural into science:

Dr. David Stevens, executive director of the Christian Medical and Dental [!] Associations, said he believes intercessory prayer can influence medical outcomes, but that science is not equipped to explore it.

“Do we control God through prayer? Theologians would say absolutely not. God decides sometimes to intervene, and sometimes not,” he said.

Makes it kinda hard to get reliable results when you redefine science to include acts of God.

Comment #91590

Posted by Torbjorn Larsson on March 31, 2006 12:47 AM (e)

Newman’s article on Evangelicals and Crackpot Science is interesting in its blindness.

He can dismiss many fundie crackpotisms by brief arguments, apparently those that the DI don’t want to be associated with, and he can list some principles (some sane, some don’t) that helps. But he can’t discuss ID in the same manner.

It’s obvious he doesn’t know how science works. A simple example is that he allows anecdotal evidence.

He ends with dismissing all of science as crackpotism: “the secularists … in turn fall for another kind of crackpot science, the belief that reality can be adequately explained without God.”

Comment #91613

Posted by roger on March 31, 2006 1:38 AM (e)

This angel nonsense must have been approved by Dembski because there’s a thread about it on his blog. It looks like the ID nutjobs have given up on ever winning in court, so now they admit ID is pure religion. They know anyone with any common sense will laugh at this angel stuff, but they only need to convince some Christian parents to continue their harassment of science teachers to keep evolution out of science classes.

Comment #91741

Posted by Jack Krebs on March 31, 2006 7:57 AM (e)

I just read the article in question - this is wonderful. Here’s my favorite part:

What might be some examples of apparent intelligent design that would be within the capabilities of angelic beings? This will (of course) depend on what their capabilities are. Knowing that (unlike God) they are not infinite in power doesn’t really help us a whole lot, since our universe, as best we can tell, isn’t infinite either. Do any of the angelic beings have the power to affect events on the scale of the cosmos, the galaxy, the solar system, or even worldwide? I am inclined to doubt it, but who really knows?

Coming at this question from the other end, we do have the account in Job where Satan is able to call up a fierce wind, so affecting local weather. He is also able to bring down fire from heaven, though this, too, might be no more than local weather.[22] The demons at Gerasa are able to control about two thousand pigs, but this may have been no more than one demon per pig. Perhaps the most likely sorts of angelic activities, then, would be influencing individuals and groups so as to change the course of human history or, perhaps, doing genetic manipulation on individual organisms so as eventually to change the course of biological history. I would be surprised if such beings would be able to change any physical laws or constants.[my emphasis]

I love that - “one demon per pig” would be a great slogan for ID.

Anyway, and more seriously, I was part of the discussions back at ARN and ISCID when Dick Hoppe proposed his Multiple Designers Theory (MDT). I made the point that animism, the primitive belief that each type of animal had a spirit form, was more in keeping with the evidence than the idea of a single omnipotent designer. Given the competition we see as various organisms evolve to get the upper hand, so to speak, the idea of various battling forces working to, in a limited way, change genes in just their organism, seems to fit the facts better.

It may not be one demon per pig, but it might be one demon per species, or even a population of demons per species.

This is serious. If ID were to actually be detected, hypotheses such as this would need to be entertained. If so, I think the evidence would not support the idea of design by God, but rather point to a much more dispersed and primitive interaction between some unseen spiritual reality and the physical world.

So I think Newman is on to something big. I propose “one demon per pig” as a starting hypothesis, and see where we can go from there.

Comment #91752

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on March 31, 2006 8:16 AM (e)

If there’s any supernatural agent whose effects can be studied by science, it has to be the healing power of prayer. However, yet another scientific study has found no effect.

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/03/30/health…

So much for that whole “science unfairly rules out studying the supernatural boo hoo hoo” argument ….

Comment #91753

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on March 31, 2006 8:18 AM (e)

He ends with dismissing all of science as crackpotism: “the secularists … in turn fall for another kind of crackpot science, the belief that reality can be adequately explained without God.”

But ID isn’t about religion. No sirree Bob.

Comment #91754

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on March 31, 2006 8:20 AM (e)

It looks like the ID nutjobs have given up on ever winning in court, so now they admit ID is pure religion.

The creation “scientists” did the very same thign after their crushig loss in Louisiana.

Once again, we see that ID has done nothing, nothing at all, that creation “scientists” didn’t do first, decades ago.

Comment #91759

Posted by Air Bear on March 31, 2006 8:31 AM (e)

Dave Scot has weighed in on the actual content of the angels-and-demons article:

It is utter nonsense not remotely connected to ID or science. I can’t imagine what Newman was thinking.

It will be interesting to see if he’s taken to the woodshed about this one, too.

Comment #91767

Posted by wamba on March 31, 2006 9:05 AM (e)

Once again, we see that ID has done nothing, nothing at all, that creation “scientists” didn’t do first, decades ago.

ID has invented a few new phrases. For example, the Paleyist watch argument is now called irreducible complexity. The argument from improbability based on bad assumptions is now called complex specified information. How can you deny such progress in terminology, the only -ology to be significantly influenced by ID?

Comment #91778

Posted by Anton Mates on March 31, 2006 9:46 AM (e)

Air Bear wrote:

Dave Scot has weighed in on the actual content of the angels-and-demons article:

In fact, now he’s simultaneously calling Newman’s paper “nonsense” and praising his accomplishments and attacking Nick for criticizing him, on the grounds that Newman’s a) much smarter and better than Nick and b) so obviously wrong and stupid it’s unfair to point it out:

It is utter nonsense not remotely connected to ID or science. I can’t imagine what Newman was thinking. Maybe it’s an early April Fool’s joke. Be that as it may, he’s still head and shoulders above Matzke based upon his past. Matzke has accomplished nothing noteworthy in his short life and deserved every bit of criticism for picking such low hanging fruit.

All in one paragraph. Amazing.

Comment #91785

Posted by J. Biggs on March 31, 2006 10:02 AM (e)

Dr. David Stevens, executive director of the Christian Medical and Dental [!] Associations, said he believes intercessory prayer can influence medical outcomes, but that science is not equipped to explore it.

“Do we control God through prayer? Theologians would say absolutely not. God decides sometimes to intervene, and sometimes not,” he said.

Makes it kinda hard to get reliable results when you redefine science to include acts of God.

I wonder if they got an actual scientifically valid study to verify prayer affects medical outcomes, that Christians could get better rates on medical insurance? But how would such a study be done, maybe something like this.

Dr. - “Mrs. Smith, we are conducting research study to study the affect that prayer has on medical outcomes. We have put your husband in the control group and request that you and anyone who cares for him refrain from praying for his recovery.”

Mrs. Smith - “What the hell are you talking about? How dare you ask me not to pray for my husband.”

Realistically how do you come up with the control group for this one?

Comment #91790

Posted by k.e. on March 31, 2006 10:10 AM (e)

Should we be taking bets on the consequences of Dave’s latest attack on a DI Fellow?

‘Count Zero (Information) Bit’ Dembski’s nerves must be being steadied by copious quantities of Jack Daniels to kill the pain.

While Howie’s bunker parties like there is no end.

Does he have to decide to “go all the way” and embrace enchanted pigs disguised as angels …or is that vica versa ? whatever…

Angels/Enchanted Pigs or Dave Scott who will be the winner?

Comment #91808

Posted by roger on March 31, 2006 11:00 AM (e)

Rumors of Angels: Using ID to Detect Malevolent Spiritual Agents

Number of comments on this topic so far:
Panda’s Thumb - 119
Pharyngula - 77
Uncommon Descent - 4

Does this mean the ID nutjobs are not interested in angels, or does it mean dozens of comments have been censored on Uncommon Descent?

Comment #91822

Posted by steve s on March 31, 2006 11:27 AM (e)

Comment #91808

Posted by roger on March 31, 2006 11:00 AM (e)

Does this mean the ID nutjobs are not interested in angels, or does it mean dozens of comments have been censored on Uncommon Descent?

Over at AtBC I looked at dozens of posts at PT and UD and found that the average PT post had about 40 comments, while the average UD post had fewer than 10.

There are several factors at play here. For one thing, yes, there’s massive censoring at Uncommonly Dense. Davetard says his job is to act as an editor of the comments, selecting which ones make it. Both he and Dembski have admitted to “ruthless” editing. And not just of evolution supporters, the banning is across the board. That’s one factor. Another factor is the long term effect of this on your pool of commenters. People become less willing to comment when their comment will likely just be deleted by a vainglorious layman like Davetard. Thirdly, the posts at UD rarely have any real content. The contributors are students, engineers, lawyers, YECs. They don’t know anything about biology, they don’t know anything about evolution, and so they seldom say anything thought-provoking on those topics. Fourthly, lots of people here are scientists, or, like me, have an undergrad degree in a science. A dozen or more PT regulars are working, professional scientists. They have relevant and informed things to say about science. The evangelical commenters over at UD don’t.

Comment #91823

Posted by roger on March 31, 2006 11:30 AM (e)

DaveScot thinks that Newman, a longtime contributor to the ID literature, is down to his last brain cell. What is really going on with these ID weirdos? Is DaveScot is trouble? Is Newman in trouble? Is ID in trouble? What does Dembski think about all this ID on ID warfare?

http://www.hells-handmaiden.com/?p=928

Here’s what happened. I glanced at Newman’s article, saw it was some whacky treatment on angels, and dismissed it as nonsense. I thought it was a pretty cheap shot for Matzke to point it out (cherry picking; taking the low hanging fruit). So I wrote the initial trackback saying congratulating Nick for finally discovering the level where he could be a player. Then I thought maybe I ought to see who Newman is as maybe he’s really a genius out of Matzke’s league and forgot to take his meds or something when he wrote about the angels. Lo and behold I find the guy’s got a degree in theoretical astrophysics from Cornell. Granted in 1967 and a lot can damage a mind in 40 years but even so, once upon a time Newman was an egghead’s egghead and even if he doesn’t have two brain cells left to rub together today that’s still out of Matzke’s junior-league baby-bottle ballpark so I took it back.

ROFLMAO

Comment by DaveScot — 3/30/2006 @ 1:06 pm

Comment #91829

Posted by mplavcan on March 31, 2006 11:38 AM (e)

Please, this is obviously verifiable by statistical analysis. I saw the table, and the first thing I thought was Dungeons and Dragons! All we need is a few multi-sided sided dice, a couple of “peer-reviewers” to play late at night, and we can statistically model the action of God, angles, demons and people on the earth, thereby not only corroborating the validity of the model, but also laying out new testable hypotheses that can be evaluated the next night when we get someone to play a thief, a dwarf and an elf.

Comment #91837

Posted by k.e. on March 31, 2006 11:57 AM (e)

OK We all accept Angels are just a figment of the imagination ….even Dave Scott Springer…no no silly DSS is real.

Where does that leave the Maitre D’ of angels, the big G himself?

….OK how about the vain creator, a creator who is not actually that intelligent but just THINKS he’s smart, sort of like someone who pumps up their own IQ score to make themselves appear (reelly reelly) intelligent but never got a Ph.D. to prove it.

He can go around saying he didit and no one can prove him wrong BUT he still gets all the glory….. sort of like a TV weatherman.

Comment #91842

Posted by normdoering on March 31, 2006 12:08 PM (e)

Jack Krebs wrote:

I love that - “one demon per pig” would be a great slogan for ID.

Why would that be – legions of demons can inhabit people according to the Bible (“My name is legion”), why not pigs too? Or one demon inhabiting many pigs?

There is a vast literature on demonology going back to Egypt and probably before the Old Testament was written. I’ve never encountered a “one demon per pig” rule anywhere in my reading – well, not before now.

Comment #91868

Posted by mark on March 31, 2006 12:58 PM (e)

OK, so now we understand…DaveScot thinks Newman is a moron now, but used to be a genius. Hmmm, I wonder if Newman became addicted to ID after he became a moron? Furthermore, DaveScot thinks what Newman says is moronic, but admires him for what he says because he went to college, and despises Nick for noting how moronic Newman’s essay was. DaveScot prefers the moronic to the rational, depending on highest degree earned.

Comment #91937

Posted by burredbrain on March 31, 2006 3:43 PM (e)

I wonder if DaveScot could actually be a malevolent angel, or controlled by one. His erratic actions and comments on this topic may be just an elaborate deception to hide his true nature. Could Dembski’s filter (as modified per a previous comment) be applied to uncover this deception? Could DaveScott be persuaded to participate, and provide ground-breaking evidence of the effectiveness of Demski’s filter? Do you think…?

Back to lurking

Comment #91938

Posted by AC on March 31, 2006 3:48 PM (e)

mplavcan wrote:

Please, this is obviously verifiable by statistical analysis. I saw the table, and the first thing I thought was Dungeons and Dragons! All we need is a few multi-sided sided dice, a couple of “peer-reviewers” to play late at night, and we can statistically model the action of God, angles, demons and people on the earth, thereby not only corroborating the validity of the model, but also laying out new testable hypotheses that can be evaluated the next night when we get someone to play a thief, a dwarf and an elf.

Sounds like we’ve got a lot of pigs to exorcise too. I hereby volunteer my services as a chaotic good human paladin, as long as you don’t mind flagrant rule violations. ;)

Comment #92017

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on March 31, 2006 7:24 PM (e)

ID has invented a few new phrases. For example, the Paleyist watch argument is now called irreducible complexity. The argument from improbability based on bad assumptions is now called complex specified information. How can you deny such progress in terminology, the only -ology to be significantly influenced by ID?

Indeed, I’ve already commented in another thread about the fundie fascination with “words”, and their medieval concept that changing the words one uses to describe a thing,m actually changes the thing being described.

Alas for IDers, you can rename a “skunk” a “petunia”, but it will still smell the same. (shrug)

Comment #92045

Posted by Alexey Merz on March 31, 2006 8:15 PM (e)

Please could you give me some tips on how to recover lost intellect after reading such utter drivel.

Sure. Sit down and read this and this, two of the most stunningly beautiful papers in biology.

Comment #92057

Posted by Sir_Toejam on March 31, 2006 8:55 PM (e)

Norm wrote:

…Why would that be — legions of demons can inhabit people according to the Bible (“My name is legion”)…

ahh, that explains it, Larry is a demon.

all we need to do is find a pig for him to inhabit so he can’t use the keyboard on his computer any more.

Comment #92059

Posted by Sir_Toejam on March 31, 2006 9:00 PM (e)

Angels/Enchanted Pigs or Dave Scott who will be the winner?

I vote for the enchanted pigs, but only after they learn how to fly.

Comment #92064

Posted by Sir_Toejam on March 31, 2006 9:06 PM (e)

Jack Krebs wrote:

This is serious. If ID were to actually be detected, hypotheses such as this would need to be entertained. If so, I think the evidence would not support the idea of design by God, but rather point to a much more dispersed and primitive interaction between some unseen spiritual reality and the physical world.

this reminds me of the way Anne Rice constructed her primordial “vampire” from the union of a human and a nature spirit.

speciation via spiritual union. Now THAT’s intelligent design.

Comment #92075

Posted by Torbjorn Larsson on March 31, 2006 9:23 PM (e)

Uh oh. So Newmans model is refuted by ID (aka DaveShit) peer-review. Does that mean that ID finally accepts that biologist peer-review should judge ID ideas on biology?

Comment #92457

Posted by J. Biggs on April 1, 2006 9:50 AM (e)

ahh, that explains it, Larry is a demon.

all we need to do is find a pig for him to inhabit so he can’t use the keyboard on his computer any more.

I love it.

Comment #92617

Posted by Glen Davidson on April 1, 2006 2:04 PM (e)

DaveScot thinks angels creating life is “nonsense”, but the unknown designer lacking all characteristics, purposes, and strategies is good science.

The fact of the matter is that as silly as Newman’s article is, it is clearly one of the most thoughtful pieces that ever came out of ID (if it hardly reaches to the level of a “specific hypothesis). What do IDists normally do with objections to their foolery? They ignore every last problem and/or say that we don’t know what “the designer” is like–this despite the fact that Behe and Dembski think that God fits the bill well for this designer (immediately reintroducing the exquisite “designs” for producing parastitism, disease, and death in humans). At least Newman is theologically sound, trying to protect God from being responsible for the malevolence that is unavoidably attached to Behe’s and Dembski’s God (Guillermo Gonzalezis one of the most sane of IDists, but he, too, pointedly ignores the appallingly bad design of the solar system with its rocks poised to strike us at any time–and he does work on the asteroid threat).

In a sense, though, DaveScot is right that it “has nothing to do with ID,” since the ID spiel is that the shared features of all life are due to the work of “one designer” (this may or may not include the notion that there is only one, or at least vanishingly few, solutions to each “design problem”). Newman runs into difficulties there, leaving his version of ID explicitly exposed to one fact deliberately denied by others’ ID claims, the fact that the relatedness of all life points to evolution and to nothing else.

One might even suppose (if we go along with their theological claims for the sake of discussion) that angels might follow God’s plans in their creative work, but demons surely would not. So why are the demons slavishly devoted to reworking unpromising organs for very different purposes? Theologically, they wouldn’t be, and yet we only see derivative “creation” throughout.

Still, we don’t have to allow that even angels would be stupidly constrained to evolutionary developments, unless they are somehow constrained only to “design” using evolutionary algorithms. Wouldn’t this scenario actually be harder to effect than a simple “design from scratch”?

But even granting that it is, may it not be the work of genetic manipulation by angels, who are constrained by history to work with what is available in the ancestral panda lineage, unlike an omniscient, omnipotent God making a new design from scratch?

Exactly why would angels be limited by history to use the sesamoid (by the way, I think it is quite unlikely that the panda’s “thumb” is a poor “design”)? Didn’t he just pluck this out of mid-air to “explain” such a constrained process of “creation”, when there is nothing theological, let alone scientific, to suggest anything like this? Are angels more or less likely to be able to think design intelligently through than we are, according to the ancient texts?

The one thing I can say is that it is highly unlikely that an intelligent being would take something as doubtful as the sesamoid bone to make such a fine bamboo stripping appendage as the panda’s “thumb” is. It would be a difficult and delicate design process to rearrange the wrist and the sesamoid bone to create the panda’s “thumb” (almost certainly several bones have to be changed from one complex arrangement into another one), while simply taking an appropriate shape off of the drawing board (either de novo, or reworking the grasping “hand” of primates or squirrels) would be reasonably easy to effect. Only evolution finds reworking unlikely bones into new forms and functions easy enough to do (the complexity of these transformations is great, and likely “irreducible” in the normal sense). But then again, evolution has no choice but to make flippers and wings out of legs and hands, or in the case of the panda, the “thumb” out of a wrist bone.

Newman is simply recasting angels as the sorts of agents who would effect a kind of “evolution” of the panda’s wrist. In a sense, then, he is opposed to evolution by natural selection, but in favor of agents who mimic what is expected of evolution by natural selection. It’s a sort of deification of the processes of “nature” as occurred in the distant past, and a move away from the creative work of God. Since Thor and Zeus are no longer God (Zeus and other Greek gods were prone to metamorphic transformations), we have to find substitutes for the limited capabilities of the ancient gods (ignoring for the moment how complex it would be to redesign the sesamoid into a “thumb”), we need to invoke a new polytheism working under God which is limited, unlike God, and constrained in absurdly arbitrary ways. Newman is trying to accommodate actual evolution, but feels it necessary (apparently because of his theism) to invoke agents.

And yet, at least Newman gave it a more honest try than most IDists do. Regular IDiots “explain” apparent common ancestry via the “one designer”, and yet they totally fail to explain why common solutions to common problems are not used across separated lineages. Newman at least tries to explain, by making angels, and apparently demons, into creative agents using God’s greater works to develop into various and particular organisms, acting much as evolution would do in their “designs”. It’s kind of an ad hoc theistic “solution” produced to supplant the entailed predictions of similar inheritance yet differential evolutions, which is found in modern evolutionary theory. In a way he’s merely going back to the old way of explaining things in a coherent manner, by positing strangely constrained agents who simply must “design” in ways which seem utterly bizarre to our way of thinking.

Chinese demons can’t negotiate sharp corners, hence one zigzags the paths in areas where demons are feared to cause troubles. Newman’s angels and demons go through the excruciating task of reworking unpromising materials into excellent productions like the panda’s thumb, when starting “from scratch” looks like a much better way to accomplish the task. Why? Because they are like chinese demons, with limitations to their “design work” that humans and God himself do not have. We don’t know why angels and demons are like that, they just are (well, look at the organisms if you doubt what he says).

So Newman seems to be doing what every other IDist resists, putting actual constraints into the ID model. Unfortunately, the constraints are only arbitrary, not entailed, thus fail to be science, but at least he tries hard enough to introduce constraints that absurdities like DaveScot are compelled to complain and criticize his attempt.

Perhaps Newman could learn some day that evolution has entailed and detailed explanations for why “design” is “constrained by history”, and that evolution also integrates not only the similarities of life, but also its differences. If we didn’t have evolution for explanation, and if we had evidence for apparently weirdly constrained angels and demons, perhaps his model would be worth considering. As it is, we already know of a superb model explaining the particularities of life, and especially the constraints of history, and so we do not need the sorts of ad hoc heuristic models that might have been useful some time in the past.

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/b8ykm

Comment #92618

Posted by Glen Davidson on April 1, 2006 2:11 PM (e)

Uh oh. So Newmans model is refuted by ID (aka DaveShit) peer-review. Does that mean that ID finally accepts that biologist peer-review should judge ID ideas on biology?

Dave would have to be a peer to Newman for this to follow. It seems to me that, apart from the tremendous suction he produces for those with credentials and a lack of understanding of historical science, Dave thinks that peon-review is adequate for developing science. He gets to declaim on everyone who knows vastly more than himself (following in the footsteps of the typical DI “fellow”) in an authoritative manner, and anyone who criticizes his blather is inadequate (no matter how much more he might know) and/or intent on attacking religion.

I doubt that Dave will ever come up with a coherent view of anything outside of engineering (and I have my doubts if he is so great there, though he could be).

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/b8ykm

Comment #92668

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on April 1, 2006 3:51 PM (e)

Ya know, this whole “angels” and “demons” and “Satan” thingie, along with that whole “trinity” thingie, makes me really wonder about that whole “monotheism” thingie ….

For a religion that claims there is only one god, the Judeo-Christian-Muslims sure have an awfully overpopulated Heaven and Hell…. .

Comment #92670

Posted by Arden Chatfield on April 1, 2006 3:54 PM (e)

Ya know, this whole “angels” and “demons” and “Satan” thingie, along with that whole “trinity” thingie, makes me really wonder about that whole “monotheism” thingie ….

For a religion that claims there is only one god, the Judeo-Christian-Muslims sure have an awfully overpopulated Heaven and Hell…. .

Ah, come on, we all know that Judaism, Christianity and Islam all just ripped off monotheism from Zoroastrianism anyway!

Comment #92821

Posted by Torbjorn Larsson on April 1, 2006 8:53 PM (e)

“Dave thinks that peon-review is adequate for developing science.”

Heh! Your point is well taken. In my defence I note that it’s very hard to distinguish between ID credentials. Newman has PhD in astrophysics and some Masters degrees in theology. Hardly an expert on biology…

Comment #93105

Posted by William E Emba on April 2, 2006 9:11 AM (e)

wamba wrote:

yellow fatty bean wrote:

Mr. Madison, what you’ve just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I’ve ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response was there anything that could even be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul!

Who is Mr. Madison?

Billy Madison.

Comment #104081

Posted by Allison Trump on June 6, 2006 12:28 PM (e)

This is cool, you have to try it. I guessed 57172, and this game guessed it! See it here - http://www.funbrain.com/guess/