Guest Contributor posted Entry 2732 on November 20, 2006 02:24 AM.
Trackback URL: http://www.pandasthumb.org/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb.fcgi/2723

by Pete Dunkelberg

The Apologetics Calendar had exciting news for Floridians recently:

Your online source for strategic apologetics events around the U.S. and beyond.

Evidence of Design Conference, November 3–4, 2006 — Clearwater and Tampa, Florida

The C. S. Lewis Society is sponsoring this conference, which will thoroughly equip church members and leaders with generally non-technical, cutting-edge information. It will demonstrate practical steps to use design-evidence as a thoughtful bridge to skeptics who have been taught through Darwinian evolution that God is a myth. This conference will enable Christians and others to use simple evidence to demonstrate there is in fact a designer of life and that he is Jesus Christ. The three main speakers include Dr. Walter Bradley, Baylor University professor, co-author of The Mystery of Life’s Origin and co-founder of the Intelligent Design Movement; Dr. Paul Nelson, leading ID theorist and editor of the journal Origins and Design; and Dr. Tom Woodward, author of Doubts about Darwin and Darwin Strikes Back (October 2006). Their material will be presented in a skeptic-friendly manner, so all skeptics of design are cordially invited. The wonders of living cells will also be portrayed on stage by large models of the “molecules of life,” including a split-open DNA model that is simply stunning. This will be an eye-feast you’ll never forget!

Part I: Darwin’s Growing Crisis, will offer presentations by our speakers at Calvary Baptist Church, 110 North McMullen Booth Road, Clearwater, Florida 33759, 727.441.1581 (www.calvarybaptist.org/) at 7:30 pm Friday evening, November 3rd.

Part II: New Evidence of Design, will be presented by the same speakers on Saturday, November 4th at Calvary Baptist from 9 am until noon and at Christ Community Church, 6202 N Himes Ave, Tampa, FL 33614, 813.879.2077 (http://ccct.dallasnewmedia.com/) from 1:30 pm until 4:30 pm. Part II of the conference is presented on both sides of Tampa Bay as a convenience to those desiring to attend. The presentations on Saturday at these two locations are identical.

Had the Discovery Institute had found some startling new evidence just since the Dover trial? Brimming with curiosity, I drove all the way to Clearwater to hear the news. Nelson gave two talks, of which the first turned out to be the best. What follows is little more than my raw notes of that talk. The slides with quotes and citations came quicker than I could take them all down, and as the night wore on my note taking became rather sketchy, but you will get the gist of his presentation. Draw your own conclusions.

Report 1 on the Evidence of Design talks: Nelson on Friday night

The Calvary Baptist Church of Clearwater is not small. It has a built in school (and Clearwater Christian College is only about a mile away) so the education of young Baptists is well in hand. Entering the large foyer, I saw that the C. S. Lewis Society (founded by Tom Woodward, who was also running the show) had quite a few books and magazines on sale. You could also order the DVD of both the Friday and Saturday sessions of the affair for $20.

The Design talks were given in the Sanctuary, an auditorium that might hold thousands. Entering the Sanctuary I saw that the pulpit was flanked by 5 ft high molecular models, DNA on one side and a protein on the other. Several hundred people were already there, and twin projector screens informed us that this was indeed the Evidence of Design Conference. Soon the first speaker took the pulpit and declared in no uncertain terms, three times, which side was right. Then he introduced Woodward, who, we learned, is a member of the church in addition to his other virtues. Woodward then took the pulpit, bragged a bit, reminded us of the comment cards we had on which we could write a brief question and give them our email address to get the answer, and introduced Nelson.

Nelson first said he wanted to introduce the concept of Minimal Complexity; this soon turned out to be mostly about ORFans and the impossibility of a natural origin of life (OOL). The latter was to be the main theme of the event. Nelson showed no memory of the ORFan discussion on PT. You may recall that Nelson participated in the discussion, and that it was pointed out that he conflated ORFans with proteins of unknown function, a different thing, and that the percentage of ORFans dropped off to nearly zero as a particular case was studied more fully. He didn’t remember any of this as far as I could tell.

What follows is a paraphrase of Nelson’s remarks.

Most of you don’t know biology, Nelson said … your last biology class may have been thirty years ago in high school, and that’s a problem but bear with me. God is in the details, but you don’t need to know a lot of biology to think about it.

ID is not creationism. ID is a much more minimal idea. ID says that we can detect the effect of intelligence in nature … a mind like our own. Intelligent causes may be used in scientific explanation and there is evidence that such a cause has acted in the history of the universe and life on earth. [slide with Stonehenge in the upper left corner] If you came upon this you would immediately know that there was an intelligence behind it. In the same way we can infer intelligence behind [adding pictures to the same slide as he names them] a fruit fly, a tunicate, a panda bear, a little girl, or Richard Dawkins.

[Slide with quote from Darwin 1859, 189 on what would falsify NS] “If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed, which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down.”

Intelligent Design is an infant science, barely 15 years old. {he does not mention Paley} It’s very promising but it is too early to expect results yet … but that’s just one side of it. The other side is a critique of existing theory. This side is very well developed … [ long joke about how men don’t ask for directions … the first step is to admit you are lost ]

In all our experience, complex systems with multiple parts have an intelligent cause.

Minimal complexity … first cell … origin of life … two approaches.

The bottom up approach to the origin of life (OOL) is like baking a cake; the top down approach is taking a cell apart to see what parts are absolutely needed. I could lose an arm and still be alive, but not my head. [slide: compare to two tunneling crews from opposite sides of a mountain; will they meet or miss?]

RNA world needs three things: information + catalysis + replication

critic: Stuart Kauffman 1995, 42 used phrase ‘minimal complexity’ …

Mycoplasma is very simple as bacteria go. Experiments to simplify it further: Frasner 1995? 1999? in Science [note: slides slid by quickly — my references may be off]

Major functions needed for a minimal cell include ftsZ protein for cell division, chaperone (groEL)

How Hutchinson 2006 in PNAS used transposon method to identify essential genes

382 of 482 genes essential! including 110 genes of unknown function!!

jump back to 1999 for some reason, then say

28 % of genes belong only to Mycoplasma — ORFans!

Genbank holds all known DNA. ORFans a puzzle because not in Genbank [remember this is a paraphrase]

Hamlet and extinct words Quietus, bodkin

Quote Doolittle : one quarter of genes — unknown function

Israeli scientists has a website of ORFans

Doolittle again : We thought … because new genes come from old …

tree diagram from LUCA (the Last Universal Common Ancestor of all these ORFans)

this is soo problematic for evolution

Wilson 2005 — no sign of the number of ORFans leveling off

if you were building a dictionary of all genes, the dictionary would just keep growing as you sequence all organisms. A proper dictionary should become essentially complete after a while. This implies — slides — that LUCA’s genome keeps getting larger to accommodate them all.

He had to treat the bottom up approach to OOL briefly because in his enthusiasm and numerous slides he used nearly all his time on ORFans.

RNA is so fragile, it must be God’s signature that life is not natural.

Meat left in water for two years goes to pieces, so proteins could not last thousands of years in water — biogenesis is a no go from this — biologists know this — hopelessly unlikely.

Top down - minimal complexity — is a no go as already said

so the tunneling crews will not meet; they will miss by a mile. [slide of this]

So, is it possible that life did *not* arise via natural causes, but from ID?

The problem is: scientists are closed minded. They waste their lives looking for a solution that doesn’t exist.

Thus spake Paul Nelson.

There was one question from the audience, about cloning vs evolution. Then they took the offering. Woodward took over the pulpit and told us to be sure to make checks out to the C. S. Lewis Society. Don’t write your check just to C. S. Lewis he said. He’s dead and in heaven. Then he entertained us by unfolding and refolding the magnetic DNA molecule.

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

Comment #145392

Posted by Gary Hurd on November 20, 2006 2:49 AM (e)

Is there any reason to get the DVD?

I shudder to think about it, but you were able to brave the IQ loss of attending in person.

Comment #145394

Posted by Rich on November 20, 2006 3:41 AM (e)

“This conference will enable Christians and others to use simple evidence to demonstrate there is in fact a designer of life and that he is Jesus Christ.”

Christ, not God, made life? Which Bible is that from?

Nice to see that ID shows this, not being religious at all….

Comment #145396

Posted by Ian Musgrave on November 20, 2006 4:06 AM (e)

Dunk wrote:

quoting Nelson “Mycoplasma is very simple. Experiments to simplify further Frasner 1995? 1999? in Science” [note: slides slid by quickly - my references may be off - does anyone have the correct refs?]

Hutchison CA, et al., Global transposon mutagenesis and a minimal Mycoplasma genome. Science. 1999 Dec 10;286(5447):2165-9.

Dunk wrote:

quoting Nelson “Hutchinson 2006 in PNAS used transposon method to identify essential genes 382 of 482 genes essential! including 110 genes of unknown function!!”

Glass JI, et al Essential genes of a minimal bacterium. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2006 Jan 10;103(2):425-30.

Dunk wrote:

quoting Nelson “jump back to 1999 for some reason, then say 28 % of genes belong only to Mycoplasma – ORFans!”

28% of genes are of unknown *function*, NOT ORFans. The number of ORFans, genes that have no relationships to other genes, in Mycoplasma genitalium is ZERO

Siew N, Fischer D. Analysis of singleton ORFans in fully sequenced microbial genomes. Proteins. 2003 Nov 1;53(2):241-51

Nelson has made a major category error. I’ll write about this later tonight if I have a chance.

Comment #145399

Posted by k.e. on November 20, 2006 5:10 AM (e)

This conference will enable Christians and others to use simple evidence to demonstrate there is in fact a designer of life and that he is Jesus Christ.

Well that explains how he was able to ‘cure’ the lepers he just took his design back. It’s just a pity he didn’t finish the job, idiocy seems to be reaching epidemic proportions….and others? Oh….. could they be the forms of life that existed before Jesus designed them?

I’m glad the evidence is simple, because if it gets anymore complicated than ‘the designer coming along after everything has been designed’ we couldn’t use tautology to cure cancer.

Comment #145403

Posted by Peter on November 20, 2006 5:17 AM (e)

Thanks for your notes. If ever an ID conference comes near me I will assuredly go and bask in the ignorance…I mean…err…learnedness.

A proper dictionary should become essentially complete after a while.

Obviously we are missing some of this because it’s a paraphrase but how can a proper dictionary become essentially complete? A dictionary may become practically complete in the sense that it can cover almost all of the definitions, etymology, usage, etc. for a given language. But (and who’s really going to be surprised by this?) the paraphrase neglects the evolution of languages as well. Take a look at the constant updates and new editions of dictionaries the world over and we can see it.
*sigh*

Comment #145404

Posted by sparc on November 20, 2006 5:50 AM (e)

Intelligent Design is an infant science, barely 15 years old. {he does not mention Paley} It’s very promising but it is too early to expect results yet …

Why then are research areas of similar age (e.g. RNA interference, systems biology, phylogenetic footprinting etc.) so fruitful?

Comment #145415

Posted by KeithB on November 20, 2006 10:07 AM (e)

Those of you in Southern California on December 7th, can here Lee Strobel at Biola college:
http://www.biola.edu/academics/scs/apologetics/events.cfm#formation

They mention Behe and others, but I suspect they are “virtual” via DVD.

Comment #145416

Posted by Glen Davidson on November 20, 2006 10:37 AM (e)

Intelligent Design is an infant science, barely 15 years old. {he does not mention Paley} It’s very promising but it is too early to expect results yet …

Wouldn’t, like, results be the only way to tell if it is promising?

Same old with the “obviousness of design”, which quickly becomes the invisibility of design once you actually look for the design aspects (rationality (circle, regular spacing—superfluous order in this case), novelty, free borrowing) of Stonehenge in organisms, and fail to find them there.

but that’s just one side of it. The other side is a critique of existing theory. This side is very well developed

If lame criticisms count as “a critique”. But what if Nelson actually did have a scientific critique? That isn’t sensibly a side of ID at all, any more than criticisms of plate tectonics constituted a “theory”. Hardly matters, though, since Nelson and his side only care about rubbishing science.

ID is not productive, sadly lacking in the results which are needed for an honest assessment that ID is “promising”? Don’t care, we excel at the kind of (originally YEC) arguments that have persuaded biological ignoramuses before, hence we will parade them before the ignorant again.

I think, Paul, that the lack of results, other than cavilling about real science, is why there is nothing to distinguish ID from creationism, except that you jettisoned any positive claims for results from your side. Good call that, since you’ve never had any meaningful results, and never will. Or, why did you forget to tell us how ID can possibly achieve any results, with no meaningful concept of design (except “it’s really complex”—by which you merely laid (illegitimate) claim to an observation of organisms) or the constraints affecting such putative design?

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/b8ykm

Comment #145418

Posted by Mark Studduck on November 20, 2006 10:44 AM (e)

“Christ, not God, made life? Which Bible is that from?”

Don’t be factually stupid. The Bible as understood by Christian theologians (and people who know how to read a text and understand what it says) states quite certainly that Christ made heaven and earth at the beginning of time. This is simply what the Bible claims of itself. See: Genesis 1, and John 1. If that doesn’t convince you of the general ignorance (at least of the Bible) which your statement above betrays, then study the rest of the Bible or at the very least, have a real conversation with someone who has.

“Well that explains how he was able to ‘cure’ the lepers he just took his design back. It’s just a pity he didn’t finish the job, idiocy seems to be reaching epidemic proportions….and others? Oh….. could they be the forms of life that existed before Jesus designed them?”

You also betray your ignorance or maybe your willfull misrepresentation. You ought to study the theology of the fall. Begin by reading Genesis 1-3. After that use a concordance to look up words like: curse, fallen, creation+Groaning, etc.

Basically, you guys need to understand the worldview of the people you attack. Because to those people you sound ignorant. You also sound ignorant or willfully misrepresentative to generally educated people who come on to this blog once or so every few months to see whether the anti-ID folks have grown up yet.

MS

Comment #145419

Posted by Elf Eye on November 20, 2006 11:20 AM (e)

MS,

I think any Jew would be mightily surprised to hear that Jesus is the creator in Genesis. The personal names for supreme deity/deities in the Torah are Yahweh, Elohim, and Adonai–see also assorted names for the deities of other tribes that were progressively marginalized as the Israelite tribes decided that (a) ‘our’ deity/deities are tougher than ‘their’ deity/deities and (b) ‘their’ deity/deities are nothing but idols. Any ‘evidence’ of Jesus has been read into the Jewish scripture. If any group should be charged with failure to read properly, it should be Christians who insist on inserting ideas after the fact, such as alleged prophecies.

Comment #145423

Posted by Jedidiah Palosaari on November 20, 2006 11:35 AM (e)

It should be pointed out that the C.S. Lewis Society has no connection to the official C.S. Lewis estate. Which makes sence, since Lewis, although certainly not a scientist, came out fairly strongly on the side of evolution.

Comment #145424

Posted by Googler on November 20, 2006 11:35 AM (e)

Mark Studduck wrote:

Basically, you … need to understand the worldview of the people you attack.

Since when? The whole intent of propaganda is to prevent understanding. And it’s so much easier to make up stuff based on sterotypes and prejudices.

Mark Studduck wrote:

You also sound ignorant or willfully misrepresentative to generally educated people who come on to this blog once or so every few months to see whether the anti-ID folks have grown up yet.

Well, that hope is always there.

But considering the hero-worship (if not obeisance) many of these commentators pay to various shallow thinkers, it is indeed far-fetched that they might actually want to educate themselve beyond their prejudices.

Comment #145427

Posted by mark on November 20, 2006 12:09 PM (e)

“ID is not creationism”–I guess because IDists wish it to be scientific. So they assert that the universe was created, er, designed and the design implemented (i.e., “poofed” into existence) by an agent having a mind similar to ours, yet outside of the universe, hence supernatural. No sir, that’s not creationism, because its proponents are engaged in secret research (so they claim). It’s hard to tell from your terse notes, but did Nelson answer the $64,000 question: What positive evidence is convincing enough to support the idea that life was designed and poofed into place by Jesus Christ eons before he was born?

Comment #145433

Posted by B. Spitzer on November 20, 2006 12:35 PM (e)

It should be pointed out that the C.S. Lewis Society has no connection to the official C.S. Lewis estate. Which makes sence, since Lewis, although certainly not a scientist, came out fairly strongly on the side of evolution.

I’d like to hear more about this. Do you have any citations for Lewis’ views on evolution that I could look at?

Comment #145435

Posted by Pete Dunkelberg on November 20, 2006 12:48 PM (e)

It’s hard to tell from your terse notes, but did Nelson answer the $64,000 question: What positive evidence is convincing enough to support the idea that life was designed and poofed into place by Jesus Christ eons before he was born?

No. Although that was a major advertisement for the event it was not mentioned in any of the talks, not even in the two given by Woodward, one each day. That information was in a pamphlet written by Woodward and two friends. The evidence is the sort of historical evidence given to prove that Christianity is the true religion.

Comment #145454

Posted by Peter Henderson on November 20, 2006 3:04 PM (e)

The C. S. Lewis Society is sponsoring this conference

It should be pointed out that the C.S. Lewis Society has no connection to the official C.S. Lewis estate. Which makes sence, since Lewis, although certainly not a scientist, came out fairly strongly on the side of evolution.

Quite correct Jedidiah. As I said in the other thread, I’m puzzled as to why so many US YEC fundies often refer to C.S.Lewis. But then, some of the more extreme and knowledgable ones (fundies that is) don’t think that he (C.S.Lewis) should be considered a true “Born again” Christian at all:

http://www.takeheed.net/Lewisavoid.htm

Comment #145456

Posted by jkc on November 20, 2006 3:21 PM (e)

B. Spitzer wrote:

I’d like to hear more about this. Do you have any citations for Lewis’ views on evolution that I could look at?

I’m not sure it would be appropriate to say that Lewis was strongly in favor of evolution. His books certainly support a non-literal approach to Genesis and, hence, the possibility of evolution. For example:

in Miracles, Lewis wrote:

Some people find the miraculous so hard to believe that they cannot imagine any reason for my acceptance of it other than a prior belief that every sentence of the Old Testament has historical or scientific truth. But this I do not hold, any more than St. Jerome did when he said that Moses described Creation ‘after the manner of a popular poet’ (as we should say, mythically) or than Calvin did when he doubted whether the story of Job were history or fiction…. I have therefore no difficulty in accepting, say, the view of those scholars who tell us that the account of Creation in Genesis is derived from earlier Semitic stories which were Pagan and mythical…. The total result is not ‘the Word of God’ in the sense that every passage, in itself, gives impeccable science or history. It carries the Word of God; and we (under grace, with attention to tradition and to interpreters wiser than ourselves, and with the use of such intelligence and learning as we may have) receive that word from it not by using it as an encyclopedia or an encyclical but by steeping ourselves in its tone or temper and so learning its overall message.

However, in private, he waffled quite a bit, not wanting to be dogmatic in either direction, given his lack of science training. (See: http://www.apologetics.org/acworthletters1.html)

Had Lewis been sufficiently informed about evolution (especially had he lived today), given his view of Genesis, I have no doubt he would have been a theistic evolutionist of some sort.

Comment #145458

Posted by Larry Gilman on November 20, 2006 3:27 PM (e)

It’s a pity that the ID people should appropriate C. S. Lewis for a patron saint—though it’s nothing new, alas. For example, the title of Dembski’s collection Mere Creation was, as Dembski’s preface made clear, an explicit reference to Lewis’s famous work of Christian apologetics, Mere Christianity (which does not, however, denounce evolution). As for Intelligent Design itself, maybe Dembski & Co. should put the following Lewis quote in their pipe, instead of their usual whacky-weed, and smoke it:

C. S. Lewis wrote:

I still think the argument from design the weakest possible ground for Theism, and what may be called the argument from un-design the strongest for Atheism.

(Letter of Dec. 20, 1946: Collected Letters of C. S. Lewis, Vol. III, p. 747)

Re. Lewis’s attitude toward evolution, the case is not quite so simple as him “coming out strongly for it” (B. Spitzer, supra)—though that statement could be defended. In his 1947 book Miracles, Lewis remarked in passing that “[w]e infer Evolution from fossils,” offering this simply as an example of what “we know” (p. 23, 1996 Touchstone edition). He also argued consistently thoughout his life that evolution, if real, was no threat to Christianity. On the philosophical side, he deplored “the illegitimate transition from the Darwinian theorem in biology to the modern myth of evolutionism or developmentalism or progress in general” (The World’s Last Night, C. S. Lewis, Harcourt, Brace & Co., 1952, p. 101)—a sentiment with which many scientists would heartily agree. Also, Lewis was fascinated by what he considered the theological implications of embryonic recapitulation (not so well-debunked by science popularizers in the 40s and 50s as it is today): “In the Christian story God descends to re-ascend. He comes down; down from the heights of absolute being into time and space, down into humanity; down further still, if embryologists are right, to recapitulate in the womb ancient and pre-human phases of life; down to the very roots and sea-bed of the Nature He has created” (Miracles, 147-48). However, he also dropped several hints that he would prefer it if evolution were not true (refs on request). He seems to have been unusual, and a refreshing contrast from many of those who now invoke him, in that he could distinguish between what he wanted to be true and what he knew to be true.

I could go on—way on—but this is enough for a Mere Comment.

Regards,

Larry

Comment #145461

Posted by tarquin99 on November 20, 2006 3:41 PM (e)

As an ex-creationist (yes people, they DO sometimes exist - at least in the UK) I’m constantly bewildered by the way ID supporters assume the alleged Architect is benign, or even loving (due to their adherence to Christian assumptions about the nature of God).
While watching a BBC nature documentary about predation in rain forests last night (Nov 19) I was actually frightened to see close-up effects of the way the parasitic Cordyceps fungus targets and blights ants, before fruiting from the shrivelled corpse of its host (I’m admit I started, briefly, thinking in terms of ‘victim’) and attempting to infect others in the vicinity, having cajoled the ant into climbing high enough to spread the spores…
Later in the programme there was footage of a large group of Congolese chimps engaging in a war with a rival group for sovereignty over some fig trees, with the victors handing each other pieces of a small ‘enemy’ chimp that had been dismembered.
Following a ‘fundamentalist’ upbringing, I didn’t start believing in evolution so much as stopped believing in creationism (about 10 years ago, at the age of about 23), on encountering nothing but squeamishness and tenuous speculation whenever I asked searching questions about the supposed Design in nature, particularly with regard to the intricate nature of predation and disease.
Only on becoming confused and disillusioned did I read evolutionary material and find it informed, articulate and relevant to the everyday world - plus I was fortunate enough to encounter people who (with difficulty!) combined religious faith with an acknowledgement that evolution was demonstrable and scientific. My religious status now is rather agnostic, with emotional loyalties towards Christianity.

Comment #145466

Posted by Adam Ierymenko on November 20, 2006 3:56 PM (e)

The trouble with the dictionary building concept is… well… a couple things:

1) Genes can be divided, combined, and reshuffled– all of which is going to create an apparently new gene, especially after lots of mutations accumulate after such an event. For example:

WEASEL -> duplicate
WEASELWEASEL -> drop a bunch of codons
WEAWEASEL -> single insertion
WEAZWEASEL -> single mutation
WEAZWEASED -> single deletion
EAZWEASED

So EAZWEASED evolved from WEASEL.

Find me a clustering algorithm that will cluster WEASEL with EAZWEASED and tell me that they’re homologs…

2) Genes are not always clearly delineated– genes overlap (alternative splicing), there are genes within genes, etc.

(P.S. I hope I didn’t mangle the weasel… :)

Comment #145472

Posted by Jedidiah Palosaari on November 20, 2006 4:29 PM (e)

Others have answered the question of sources on Lewis better than I, and it’s a good thing, as I’m in the middle of a prolonged move, and I can’t lay my hands on the books that could give the requested evidence. So I have to respond sadly with general recollections. In addition to what was said before, I know Lewis also was adament that the first 10 chapters were myth (and also therefore real). He describes this I believe in Reflections on the Psalsm and in God in the Dock. He states that he’s not a theologian, but he is a literature professor, and therefore he knows literature- and when he reads something like the beginning of Genesis, it reads like myth- or what we call myth in every other place in the world. This is as opposed to something more historically written like Exodus or Kings. So he was a firm believer that Genesis was true myth.

As to his support of evolution, perhaps “strongly” is put too strong :-) I got that from quotes similar to what have already been presented above- where he refers to evolution as an assumed fact, but doesn’t go into detail, as of course, that’s not really his area. I also recall he quotes from Augustine to build on the idea that Christians shouldn’t make themselves look stupid by denying science, as the end result of that will be that the entire Christian story will be rejected.

Comment #145475

Posted by barron on November 20, 2006 4:42 PM (e)

Amazing how ID is NOT CREATIONISM and NOT AFFILIATED WITH A SPECIFIC RELIGION when they spend so much time talking in Christian, Apologist and Creationists forums. The few times they speak at neutral or scientific forums it is almost always in debate or discussion of ID as a political issue. Probably just a coincidence ;-)

If one had free time they could compile a list of the places the big names of ID speak at. My guess is that it would be overwhelmingly religious forums with a strong creationist flavor.

I did something a lot like that two years ago, taking all the books/articles the DI recommends and/or has produced and connected them to their publishers. Quel surprise, the overwhelming majority are religious publishers:

17 definately religious publishing houses (Intervarsity, Brazos, Crossway, etc)
1 Discovery Institute published
2 Not sure
2 Regnery Press (right wing, conservative)
4 Secular publisher

So 26 total, 17 clearly religious imprints and 2 right-wing political. Note for completeness, the recommended list has changed since I did this, so don’t think of these as current results. But, considering that the movement is becoming more fringey, I would be surprised if the numbers are too different now.

Comment #145476

Posted by Bill Gascoyne on November 20, 2006 4:46 PM (e)

Googler wrote:

The whole intent of propaganda is to prevent understanding.

No doubt this is true of some propaganda, which is properly defined as “information that is spread for the purpose of promoting some cause.” If your cause happens to be on the side of rationality and truth, promoting understanding would be a good thing.

Comment #145477

Posted by One Perturbed Weasel on November 20, 2006 4:49 PM (e)

Yo! Stop messin’ with tha’ material.

Keep your frickin’ hands to yo own self!

I ain’t no wussy weasel, but all that deleting and inserting smarted.

Now cut it out! An’ I ain’t foolin’ witcha neither!

Comment #145515

Posted by Peter on November 20, 2006 7:02 PM (e)

MS,
Ummm. How do we walk away from the first three chapters of Genesis with anything other than confusion though? Theologians can talk over and around the differences as much as they want to but when you are dealing with Christian literalists who claim there is no conflict or contradiction, how are we supposed to react with something other than a sense that the person we are trying to deal with is a fool?
Sure, “In the beginning was the word.” Logos. But does that somehow change the literalist (though it’s obviously not literal because they ignore the contradictions) mindsets we are dealing with?

Comment #145663

Posted by Jake on November 21, 2006 10:46 AM (e)

There was one question from the audience, about cloning vs evolution. Then they took the offering.

I know when I go to seminars and symposia, I get a little uneasy when they pass the plate. I still give my tithe to the science gods tho.

Comment #145875

Posted by B. Spitzer on November 22, 2006 9:03 AM (e)

jkc, Larry Gilman, and Jedidiah Palosaari: Thanks for the information on C.S. Lewis. It’s much appreciated.

Comment #145959

Posted by jkc on November 22, 2006 3:41 PM (e)

You’re welcome. In good conscience, however, I should clarify my previous post. Upon further research it turns out the apologetics.org site is run by the C.S. Lewis Society and is trying to show that Lewis moved towards an anti-evolution view later in life. Accordingly, one needs to be careful with their choice of excerpts (quote mining, what a shocker).

Most of the quotes from the Acworth letters come from a paper by Ferngren & Numbers, which can be found at (among other places): http://www.asa3.org/aSA/PSCF/1996/PSCF3-96Ferngren.html

This paper claims to quote verbatim all parts of the letters that pertain to creation and evolution. According to a footnote, the original papers remain in the Acworth family and Wheaton College has the only copies. Wheaton does not seem to have images online, but it appears that one could request photocopies by mail (for a fee).

As noted by Larry Gilman, it appears that Lewis had more problems with evolutionist overreaching than with evolution itself. Acworth tried to convert him to young-earth creationism, but Lewis stopped short of committing himself one way or the other, perhaps to avoid alienating or confusing his readers, perhaps because he realized he wasn’t qualified to weigh in on scientific matters, or perhaps he was honestly conflicted. Too bad PT wasn’t around back then…

Comment #146155

Posted by Mark Studduck on November 23, 2006 8:52 PM (e)

If you are debating Christians (which is what I have mostly read here) then you must understand that they interpret the Bible as saying from cover to cover that Christ made all things. This is not debateable. Read also, Colossians.

Also, you people don’t understand either ID or CS Lewis. ID is not anti-evolution but properly understood as anti-naturalism and naturalistic evolution. ID theorist understand theories of evolution by theistic design (which would have been Lewis’s view for much of his writting see Problem of Evil explicitly) as an Inteligent Design Position. Of course, if the theistic evolutionists thinks God had nothing to do with evolution well then,… they are not IDists. Whatever the case, Lewis was a stalwart opponent of materialism, scientism, evolutionary naturalism, and all theories of generation and organization which did not include the active role of a free agent. And if you want to really know what you are talking about and about how similar the arguments made by Lewis and modern ID proponents are, then you really ought to read Lewis’s Miracles as well as find his poetry on the subject.

The reason ID proponents are big on Lewis is because Lewis repeatedly argued for ID and used ID Arguments.

The quote about Lewis not thinking highly about the design argument also betrays your ignorance or willful misunderstanding and misrepresentation. The argument made by modern ID theorists is not the same as the Argument from Design. Read M. Ruse’s book Darwin or Design. Or the first section of the Debating Design cambridge volume. Or…just listened to your opponents and actually read their books.

MS

Comment #146226

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on November 24, 2006 7:09 AM (e)

ID theorist understand theories of evolution by theistic design (which would have been Lewis’s view for much of his writting see Problem of Evil explicitly) as an Inteligent Design Position.

Then, um, why didn’t they say so in court? Why did they yammer on about “space aliens” and such, instead ….?

Comment #146331

Posted by Mark Studduck, FCD on November 25, 2006 12:15 AM (e)

Mr. Flank,

Why are you so set on playing this thing as a game won by rhetorical tricks and flimsy statements. I submit my posts as helpful comments on knowing your opponents. How they view creation, how they understand the bible, and what the proper understanding of Lewis is. That is all I am doing. You and your ilk, shift and move and try to win a debate by being clever or loud or repetitive. For those of us watching who want to think about all of this, you just look silly. And I do not think it is going to work.

MS

Comment #146383

Posted by Torbjörn Larsson on November 25, 2006 11:51 AM (e)

Mark:
What Lenny points out is that society separates state and religion to give religion freedom. No one should push their belief onto someone else in a science class - science should be taught.

Now, what ID did in Dover was to try their best to avoid baring the religious basis of their beliefs.

Your statements on ID is contrafactual. ID tries to push their agenda by denying verified science. That is anti-scientific. Trying to hide behind theistic evolution, which isn’t proper evolution bar beliefs, doesn’t help. Unfortunately we can’t meet the IDists with this as a basis for explaining what is scientific knowledge and what is not.

“The argument made by modern ID theorists is not the same as the Argument from Design.”

All of ID’s arguments that aren’t outright denial of evolutionary science, are either based on the argument from design or irreducible complexity. The latter isn’t based on a religious claim but is a falsifiable negative claim on evolution. And it has indeed been found false - evolution produces such local simplicity (“no fewer parts”) as well as produces from it. It is no barrier to evolution. So again there is no common ground to be found to discuss from - IDists claim a sensible analysis or outright verified results are “misrepresentation”.