Reed A. Cartwright posted Entry 2766 on December 14, 2006 02:54 AM.
Trackback URL: http://www.pandasthumb.org/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb.fcgi/2757

In its latest issue, New Scientist has published a story—Intelligent design: The God Lab—and an editorial—It’s still about religion—about that double-secret, DI funded research center: the Biologic Institute.

The reticence cloaks an unorthodox agenda. “We are the first ones doing what we might call lab science in intelligent design,” says George Weber, the only one of Biologic’s four directors who would speak openly with me. “The objective is to challenge the scientific community on naturalism.” Weber is not a scientist but a retired professor of business and administration at the Presbyterian Whitworth College in Spokane, Washington. He heads the Spokane chapter of Reasonstobelieve.org, a Christian organisation that seeks to challenge Darwinism….

Last week I learned that following his communication with New Scientist, Weber has left the board of the Biologic Institute. Douglas Axe, the lab’s senior researcher and spokesman, told me in an email that Weber “was found to have seriously misunderstood the purpose of Biologic and to have misrepresented it”. Axe’s portrayal of the Biologic Institute’s purpose excludes religious connotation. He says that the lab’s main objective “is to show that the design perspective can lead to better science”, although he allows that the Biologic Institute will “contribute substantially to the scientific case for intelligent design”.

Clearly, the Discovery Institute has established the Biologic Institute a few decades too late. The Institute for Creation Research and the Creation Research Society have been doing research to challenge naturalism for a long time. They are so prestigious in the field that they have even created their own research journals for publishing their papers. This does not bode well for the Discovery and Biologic Institutes because they will have a hard time breaking the stranglehold that those two research centers have on the industry. For decades now, the ICR and CRS have been telling us that their research is going to revolutionize science in five years time. How can the Biologic and Discovery Institutes compete with such success?

We here at the Thumb wish the Biologic and Discovery Institutes all the luck in turning the ID public relations campaign into a working scientific program. They’ll need it.

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Comment #150308

Posted by Simon G. on December 14, 2006 4:02 AM (e)

aww… how cute, they think they’re scientists.

Comment #150313

Posted by Christophe Thill on December 14, 2006 5:19 AM (e)

This reminds me very strongly of the Raëlians’ famous “cloning laboratory”. Am I the only one?

Comment #150319

Posted by Katarina on December 14, 2006 6:49 AM (e)

They are so prestigious in the field that they have even created their own research journals for publishing their papers.

This is what I was talking about in another comment! Beautiful, glossy, scientific-looking journals with a giveaway on the inside flap: all our scientists have signed a statement of belief.

“We are the first ones doing what we might call lab science in intelligent design,” says George Weber,

Maybe theirs will differ in that it will omit the small print about belief. As usual, the ID-crowd will be displaying even more dishonesty than traditional creationists.

Comment #150324

Posted by k.e. on December 14, 2006 7:40 AM (e)

oh very tres manifique ….here is a prediction they will discover a handful, a manipolo, a håndfull, a handjevol, a punhado, die Handvoll, a poignée, a 少数, bir avuç, a garstka, a عَدَد قَليل of dust, which by any other name is still a handfull (OF DUST)…after all….. man created god from it.

Comment #150325

Posted by Andrea Bottaro on December 14, 2006 8:19 AM (e)

Reed is absolutely right that just having trained scientists working in a real lab on an official “research program” in itself is not going to accomplish the desired feat of lending ID “scientific respectability”, as the failure of decades of work by “creation scientists” has shown.

It seems likely that the BI work is mainly going to focus on peripheral issues related to “obstacles to evolution”, as Axe’s previous work and the Behe & Snoke paper did, and not on ID itself, which is essentially empty of positive scientific predictions. I think papers of that kind can certainly find outlets in the mainstream scientific literature. Whether they will convince anyone about any “big picture” interpretation is another matter.

Still, I have to hand it to Axe and Gauger for putting their scientific careers where their mouths are. I don’t know what kind of contract and guarantees they got from the DI, but if this move results in a long publication drought, as young scientists this could be a big problem. (The third guy is not a scientist at all, so I am sure if things go sour he could happily go straight back working at MS messing up browser software.)

Which brings me to the last point - I actually and honestly wish them good luck. If they do real science, and interpret their data rigorously without forcing interpretations on them (as Dembski as been doing with Axe’s previous work, for instance), they may well turn out to be the death blow against ID (in its present form). This is of course assuming they will publish any kind of result, both favorable and unfavorable for ID, and we have no reason to doubt them at this point.

It is certainly a positive development that, only a mere decade or so into its history of proclaiming that a scientific revolution is afoot, the modern ID movement has realized that doing science should actually be part of the deal. Now, if they just fired all their lawyers/PR hacks and put all their cash in the BI, I’d be totally happy.

Comment #150334

Posted by Flint on December 14, 2006 9:26 AM (e)

I don’t think the 2-decade headstart the ICR and CRS have had, will pose much of a problem. After all, science builds on existing work, and the BI folks should be able to come up to speed on all the lab work the ICR and CRS have done, within a reasonable amount of time. In fact, they probably already ARE up to speed, since they are specialists in this field and presumably keep up to date with the latest research and results.

Comment #150336

Posted by Flint on December 14, 2006 9:30 AM (e)

Well, I posted this, and it vanished. Preview shows NO prior posts, so I don’t know where it went. If this is a duplicate, don’t blame me…

I don’t think the 2-decade headstart the ICR and CRS have had, will pose much of a problem. After all, science builds on existing work, and the BI folks should be able to come up to speed on all the lab work the ICR and CRS have done, within a reasonable amount of time. In fact, they probably already ARE up to speed, since they are specialists in this field and presumably keep up to date with the latest research and results.

Comment #150353

Posted by Sounder on December 14, 2006 11:30 AM (e)

10 to 1 says this is just ICR 2.0. The hush-hush nature of the institute–a hush-hush science lab for god’s sakes–is all I need to know about this move. They want an apologetics mill that they can quote from and say, “Ah ha! Now we have publications! You can’t deny we’re all about science now!”

Reminds me of Mormonism’s FAARMS institute: a scientific front used to shore up and protect a failing faith.

Comment #150356

Posted by Larry Gilman on December 14, 2006 11:33 AM (e)

The New Scientist page linked to from this Thumb posting shows a thumbnail ad for the print version of the magazine in the left column. The cover photo, an old man with his back to a chimp, both with their chins in the air, is (weirdly) the same that was used on the cover of Behe’s Darwin’s Black Box—at least in the softbound edition (Touchstone, 1998).

“Great Minds Think Alike” is the cover story with the man-chimp photo. Presumably the New Scientist did not mean to be classing themselves with Behe … Or is Behe supposed to be the—nah, can’t be. That would be ad hominid, eh?

There should be something more clever to say about this: maybe someone else can think of what it is. Still, I found the clashy deja vu pretty intense until I figured out where it was coming from. Lazy graphics person at New Scientist is probably the long and short of it.

Larry

Comment #150357

Posted by Whatever on December 14, 2006 11:42 AM (e)

I don’t think the metaphor “Beating a dead horse” is going to work for these people anymore. From now on we should use the analogy “Beating a horse that has been dead for 10 years”. Come on, how many times do these people have to fail before they realize it’s just not going to happen. Take all the money you are spending on “Real” ID research and feed starving children, or fight disease. It’s just a waste of money.

Comment #150369

Posted by Torville on December 14, 2006 12:56 PM (e)

Granted that Weber is out and the following query is therefore effectively moot, but nonetheless…

“The objective is to challenge the scientific community on naturalism.”

I’m wondering what kind of experimental result Weber had in mind here.

“And, since the litmus strip now turns BLUE, we can see that the only plausible explanation is the intervention of a supernatural entity, presumably a litmus fairy, or perhaps a lesser known patron saint of pH balance.”

Comment #150381

Posted by Glen Davidson on December 14, 2006 1:44 PM (e)

No, see, they’re going to come up with unreproducible results and chalk them up to the supernatural. Sort of like we did in labs from time to time….

I knew my professors were biased when I got so-called “impossible results”. Where were the IDIsts when I needed them (and no, really, I didn’t screw up labs very often)?

Maybe that’s the secret behind ID after all, revenge on the teachers who denied their creations of energy, their spontaneous generation of flies and bacteria (‘honest, it wasn’t contamination, it was God’), and their inability to get any consistent geological dates (so we’re agnostic on the age of the earth, don’t you know?). The science teachers will pay when we bring down materialism/naturalism.

What other “results” could they come up with? “Consistent miracles” wouldn’t be considered to be miracles, so they must be trying to show that science is really inconsistent, which it likely will be in their hands.

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/b8ykm

Comment #150382

Posted by Bob O'H on December 14, 2006 1:48 PM (e)

From the article:

However, Steve Fuller, a sociologist at the University of Warwick, UK, who testified in favour of ID in the Dover trial, believes the Biologic Institute’s activities could help break down barriers between religious people and scientists. “Regardless of whether the science cuts any ice against evolution, one of the virtues is that it could provide a kind of model for how religiously motivated people can go into the lab.”

Apparently the model is one where one works in secrecy, and tells anyone interested in your work to piss of.

Err, OK.

Bob

Comment #150383

Posted by Adam Ierymenko on December 14, 2006 1:55 PM (e)

The quality of the research that comes out of this is likely to be similar to the quality of “Christian rock.”

If propaganda is your primary motivation, it becomes the only thing you will excel at. That’s why the research (and the music) will suck.

Comment #150384

Posted by Madam Pomfrey on December 14, 2006 2:15 PM (e)

There won’t be anything even remotely useful coming out of this place. If they were seriously interested in biology and its applications to real needs such as curing disease, improving food quality, etc., they’d be doing that research at any of the hundreds of reputable institutions that already exist. It’ll be a propaganda mill just like the ones in the past, and its main reason for being will be so that their targeted sections of the public (nonscientists and the religiously inclined) will think that there is some “scientific intelligent design research” going on somewhere, and will be more favorably disposed towards it.

“However, Steve Fuller, a sociologist at the University of Warwick, UK, who testified in favour of ID in the Dover trial, believes the Biologic Institute’s activities could help break down barriers between religious people and scientists. “Regardless of whether the science cuts any ice against evolution, one of the virtues is that it could provide a kind of model for how religiously motivated people can go into the lab.”

Sure, the way to “break down barriers” between religious people and scientists is to weaken science so it becomes less threatening to said religious people. And why should religiously motivated people be encouraged to “go into the lab” any differently than other scientists, anyway? What malarkey.

Comment #150390

Posted by GuyeFaux on December 14, 2006 2:27 PM (e)

I guess they’ll sit around waiting for the intelligent designer to “intervene” and hope they get it on film.

I wonder, are they hoping for reproducible or irreproducible results?

Comment #150395

Posted by Katarina on December 14, 2006 3:43 PM (e)

From talkorigins:

Axe (2000) finds that changing 20 percent of the external amino acids in a couple proteins causes them to lose their original function, even though individual amino acid changes did not. There was no investigation of change of function. Axe’s paper is not even a challenge to Darwinian evolution, much less support for intelligent design. Axe himself has said that he has not attempted to make an argument for design in any of his publications (Forrest and Gross 2004, 42).

Duh. Proteins and protein complexes function according to their shape. How is a demonstration of this an argument against evolution?

Andrea Bottaro is very generous in his comment. The best that Behe has proposed is taking away parts from a system and seeing if function is lost, AFAIK. May as well remove the retina from a mammalian eye and then observe the loss of vision. Does anyone know of another type of experiment that would support vague notions of irreducible complexity? The pre-requisite to that type of experiment has to be coming up with a definition, and then actually demonstrating something that is truly irreducibly complex. What else is there?

Comment #150396

Posted by Erasmus on December 14, 2006 3:47 PM (e)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'sarcasm'

Comment #150397

Posted by Flint on December 14, 2006 4:01 PM (e)

To some degree, I think I can understand the “ID scientist” being frustrated. To Behe, I came to understand, design is a direct, observable property, like color. It’s not something you derive from evidence, it IS evidence immediately. You look at the eye, you see design. It’s there, it’s something an eye HAS. So what can you do in a lab? Peer at an eye and say “Ayup, it’s designed, just as we saw last time. It has the property of design.” Through Behe’s view, design is simply not a conclusion. God is the conclusion. Design is the raw datum.

Comment #150400

Posted by Katarina on December 14, 2006 4:42 PM (e)

If it was my job to come up with a definition of IC, logically I would have to assign the following properties:

1. The system is perfect at its function,

2. There are no functioning homologues lacking any components which are present in said system (i.e. no simpler versions)

Wonder if I could get a job at the DI.

Comment #150402

Posted by Sir_Toejam on December 14, 2006 5:02 PM (e)

To some degree, I think I can understand the “ID scientist” being frustrated. To Behe, I came to understand, design is a direct, observable property, like color. It’s not something you derive from evidence, it IS evidence immediately. You look at the eye, you see design. It’s there, it’s something an eye HAS. So what can you do in a lab? Peer at an eye and say “Ayup, it’s designed, just as we saw last time. It has the property of design.” Through Behe’s view, design is simply not a conclusion. God is the conclusion. Design is the raw datum.

I can only understand that level of frustration, if one refuses to acknowledge the logic behind it as being exactly the same level of logic, thereby producing a similar level of frustration, that geocentrists must have felt during Copernicus’ time.

really, bottom line, there is no longer support for this kind of logic, thereby while you might be able to comprehend the “frustration”, it is no longer defensible, given how many times prior the “intuitive” approach has been proven incorrect when actually put to the test.

Comment #150408

Posted by Coin on December 14, 2006 6:01 PM (e)

To some degree, I think I can understand the “ID scientist” being frustrated. To Behe, I came to understand, design is a direct, observable property, like color. It’s not something you derive from evidence, it IS evidence immediately. You look at the eye, you see design.

Ah. Like N-rays.

So what exactly is the research subject here? Like, what are some of the things they are working on? I mean, assuming the point is to actually perform any specific research on any particular subject, and not just to do “research”. (“So, what are you working on?” “Research.”) The New Scientist article says:

Gauger would not speak to New Scientist about her work. According to Axe, the projects currently under way at Biologic include “examining the origin of metabolic pathways in bacteria, the evolution of gene order in bacteria, and the evolution of protein folds”…

“On the computational side, we are nearing completion of a system for exploring the evolution of artificial genes that are considerably more life-like than has been the case previously.”

For a research lab supposedly about the “design perspective”, that sure is a lot of work on evolution.

So I guess the plan is, research metabolic pathways and then claim that whatever they find proves the metabolic pathways couldn’t have evolved, research gene orders and then claim that whatever they find proves that the gene orders couldn’t have evolved, research protein folds and then claim that whatever they find proves that protein folds couldn’t have evolved, and then write an evolutionary algorithm that doesn’t work and claim it proves that biological evolution doesn’t work either?

Comment #150416

Posted by bjm on December 14, 2006 7:00 PM (e)

Wonder if I could get a job at the DI.

You look for clarification - that sort of behaviour will disqualify you from working in ID!

Comment #150417

Posted by BC on December 14, 2006 7:14 PM (e)

What I find funny about the “Biologic Institute” is all the subterfuge. They want to avoid mention of “God”. They want to be respectable. They fire George Weber because he “was found to have seriously misunderstood the purpose of Biologic and to have misrepresented it” (read: that purpose is to disguse the fact that they are a branch of Christian apologists, Weber talked too much about God). Also, the website “ReasonsToBelieve” backs Hugh Ross (old earth creationist). When reading the article I couldn’t help but think about these ID “scientists” putting on a red cape, taking off their glasses like superman, running down the street telling everyone that they’re real scientists, and that Goddidit. Then they go back home, take off their capes, put on their glasses, sit behind their desks labeled “Christian Creationist”, and hope that their glasses prevent people from recognizing the fact that they’re the same person.

Comment #150418

Posted by Bill Gascoyne on December 14, 2006 7:24 PM (e)

Erasmus in Comment #150396 kind of wrote:

Syntax Error: mismatched tag ‘sarcasm’

Maybe I’ve just missed previous occurances, but that’s funny!

Comment #150419

Posted by Popper's ghost on December 14, 2006 7:25 PM (e)

To Behe, I came to understand, design is a direct, observable property, like color. It’s not something you derive from evidence, it IS evidence immediately. You look at the eye, you see design. It’s there, it’s something an eye HAS.

Dembski actually helps here, by explicitly stating in “The Design Inference” that design (as he defines it) doesn’t imply intelligent agency (he then goes on to foolishly induce intelligent agency by selectively noting all human design and circularly ignoring the fact that evolved design (as he defines design) is counter to the induction).

The trick is that directly perceiving color, or design, isn’t what’s relevant – it’s the “intelligent” part that matters. What IDiots like Behe and Dembski do is analogous to someone claiming that, just as a stop sign is colored red by an intelligent agent, blood must likewise be colored red by an intelligent agent.

P.S. Worst science site server ever.

Comment #150420

Posted by BC on December 14, 2006 7:26 PM (e)

Oh, and I found this rather funny. It’s from the ReasonsToBelieve website:

A new study affirms the biblical account of humanity’s origin and spread. Archeological finds in Southeast Asia corroborate genetic studies and confirm that humanity spread from near the Middle East recently (roughly 40,000 to 60,000 years ago) in a pattern consistent with the biblical description. The biblical account of human pre-history continues to find support as anthropologists study human genetic variation and the archeological record.

First of all, how does “40,000 to 60,000” years square up with the date of the Biblical flood (around 4,300 years ago)? Second, any scientist will tell you that humans didn’t START in the Middle East, they started in Africa and moved THROUGH the Middle East. Their little summary leaves out that inconvenient little detail.

Comment #150421

Posted by BC on December 14, 2006 7:28 PM (e)

Oh, and I found this rather funny. It’s from the ReasonsToBelieve website:

A new study affirms the biblical account of humanity’s origin and spread. Archeological finds in Southeast Asia corroborate genetic studies and confirm that humanity spread from near the Middle East recently (roughly 40,000 to 60,000 years ago) in a pattern consistent with the biblical description. The biblical account of human pre-history continues to find support as anthropologists study human genetic variation and the archeological record.

First of all, how does “40,000 to 60,000” years square up with the date of the Biblical flood (around 4,300 years ago)? Second, any scientist will tell you that humans didn’t START in the Middle East, they started in Africa and moved THROUGH the Middle East. Their little summary leaves out that inconvenient little detail.

Comment #150422

Posted by Popper's ghost on December 14, 2006 7:30 PM (e)

If it was my job to come up with a definition of IC, logically I would have to assign the following properties:

1. The system is perfect at its function,

2. There are no functioning homologues lacking any components which are present in said system (i.e. no simpler versions)

Wonder if I could get a job at the DI.

As long as you omit

3. Such IC systems aren’t inconsistent with ToE, since they can evolve from more complex systems with additional, unnecessary, components.

Comment #150423

Posted by Coin on December 14, 2006 7:37 PM (e)

Also, the website “ReasonsToBelieve” backs Hugh Ross (old earth creationist).

Actually, I’m pretty sure Hugh Ross runs ReasonsToBelieve, or at least founded it.

Comment #150424

Posted by Popper's ghost on December 14, 2006 7:41 PM (e)

The best that Behe has proposed is taking away parts from a system and seeing if function is lost, AFAIK. May as well remove the retina from a mammalian eye and then observe the loss of vision. Does anyone know of another type of experiment that would support vague notions of irreducible complexity?

The only type of experiment that would support Behe’s view would be one that demonstrated that it’s impossible to add parts to an IC system without losing functionality. That’s what’s so ludicrous about the IDiots’ take on IC; they’ve got the arrow of history pointed the wrong way. IC systems can’t maintain function if any of their parts are destroyed – therefore, they are evolutionarily robust.

Comment #150446

Posted by a. neuroscientist on December 15, 2006 12:08 AM (e)

Not that I’m defending anything the DI, BI, ICR or CRS might publish, but it’s not uncommon for people or groups to have their own research journals. Ramon y Cajal, the father of modern neuroscience, had his own journal to publish his histological work at the turn of the last century; the NCI has the Journal of the National Cancer Institute; the AMA has JAMA; the National Academies has PNAS; etc. All these undoubtedly conform to a higher standard of evidence and peer review than anything coming out of DI, BI, ICR or CRS (with the possible exception of Cajal’s self-publishing, but that was 100 years ago); but it’s not as though scientific groups/institutions, and in some cases individuals haven’t used journals to publish research related to topics that they care about. Even Nature was established, in 1869, to serve a “polemic” purpose: the dissemination of Darwin’s ideas.

Comment #150447

Posted by Popper's ghost on December 15, 2006 12:08 AM (e)

Sometimes posting something when the server isn’t jammed makes messages that were posted when the server was jammed show up. Let’s try it …

Comment #150448

Posted by Popper's ghost on December 15, 2006 12:13 AM (e)

Oh well, it was worth a try. One thing that’s clear is that it’s not a matter of server load, so getting a more powerful server won’t help any; there’s something seriously wrong with the software.

Comment #150449

Posted by normdoering on December 15, 2006 12:18 AM (e)

Christophe Thill wrote:

This reminds me very strongly of the Raëlians’ famous “cloning laboratory”. Am I the only one?

I remember, in fact, I wrote an article about it for UFO magazine. (can’t accuse me of always preaching to the choir.)

However, this is a case where even UFO magazine wanted skepticism and Rael was in decline:
http://www.virtuallystrange.net/ufo/updates/2003/may/m04-019.shtml

Comment #150450

Posted by Popper's ghost on December 15, 2006 12:24 AM (e)

Hey, hooray, the missing posts are up.

Preview shows NO prior posts

As soon as people figured out that they could use preview to see the missing posts, the folks that program this site cleverly removed that ability. Perhaps there’s some terrible downside to winning best science blog, and they were desperate to avoid that.

Not that I’m defending anything the DI, BI, ICR or CRS might publish, but it’s not uncommon for people or groups to have their own research journals.

Um, where did anyone say otherwise?

Comment #150451

Posted by Mark Studduck, FCD on December 15, 2006 12:26 AM (e)

Andrea Bottaro, your post above is excellent.
Thank you for writing something here worth reading.

MS

Comment #150453

Posted by Popper's ghost on December 15, 2006 1:00 AM (e)

he allows that the Biologic Institute will “contribute substantially to the scientific case for intelligent design”

How does Axe know this before he has done the research?

This is of course assuming they will publish any kind of result, both favorable and unfavorable for ID, and we have no reason to doubt them at this point.

Yes, we most certainly do.

Comment #150457

Posted by Popper's ghost on December 15, 2006 1:09 AM (e)

0 to 1 says this is just ICR 2.0. The hush-hush nature of the institute–a hush-hush science lab for god’s sakes–is all I need to know about this move. They want an apologetics mill that they can quote from and say, “Ah ha! Now we have publications! You can’t deny we’re all about science now!”

Indeed. Those so naive as to view this as a positive development will eventually regret it. (And I don’t mean Reed, whose dripping sarcasm doesn’t seem to have been fully appreciated.)

Andrea Bottaro, your post above is excellent.
Thank you for writing something here worth reading.

Divide and conquer, eh?

Comment #150458

Posted by a. neuroscientist on December 15, 2006 1:10 AM (e)

Perhaps I just misinterpreted the intended tone of the statement that…

“The Institute for Creation Research and the Creation Research Society have been doing research to challenge naturalism for a long time. They are so prestigious in the field that they have even created their own research journals for publishing their papers. This does not bode well for the Discovery and Biologic Institutes because they will have a hard time breaking the stranglehold that those two research centers have on the industry.”

…and the subsequent comment by Katarina.

Unless the ICR and CRS really ARE that prestigious, it struck me as a sarcastic way of saying “yeah, those IDiots have to have their own journal to publish their work since they can’t get it in the literature otherwise.” While that is undoubtedly correct, I just found it a bit disingenuous since the best scientists are not above doing the same thing. If I did misinterpret those statements, I am sincerely sorry.

Comment #150460

Posted by Popper's ghost on December 15, 2006 1:52 AM (e)

Perhaps I just misinterpreted the intended tone of the statement

Almost certainly.

Unless the ICR and CRS really ARE that prestigious

Yes, they are quite “prestigious” in the “field” of “doing research to challenge naturalism” – can you think of anyone more prestigious in that, um, “field”?

Comment #150461

Posted by Popper's ghost on December 15, 2006 2:03 AM (e)

And just in case you still don’t get it (which seems likely given how bizarre your interpretation is), the “tone” is indeed sarcastic, but it is sarcasm directed at the absurdity of a “field” of “research” to “challenge naturalism”. Did you read Torville’s comment?

and the subsequent comment by Katarina

Did you actually read it? Just what do you think she was talking about when she wrote “a giveaway on the inside flap: all our scientists have signed a statement of belief” and “Maybe theirs will differ in that it will omit the small print about belief. As usual, the ID-crowd will be displaying even more dishonesty than traditional creationists.”?

Comment #150464

Posted by a. neuroscientist on December 15, 2006 2:58 AM (e)

Okay, so the tone IS sarcastic, which means I DIDN’T misinterpret anything. My point, which I apparently did not make clearly enough, is that think it’s a bit self-righteous of scientists (and I say this as a practicing scientist) to ridicule ID-types for making their own journals to publish in. Scientists do it to… Our efforts are better spent dismantling their wingnut ideas. As one of my profs in grad school used to say “There’s no research so bad you can’t publish it somewhere.” The real test of anything in the scientific literature, whether that’s Nature or J. Crappy Results is if it generates falsifiable predictions about the natural world, and provides a better explanation of observable phenomena than what was present before. There’s plenty in the genuine, NIH-funded, peer-reviewed, PubMed listed molecular biology literature that I wouldn’t touch with a ten foot pole, because it is as poorly executed as what is likely to come out of the DI/BI.

Comment #150471

Posted by Torbjörn Larsson on December 15, 2006 5:10 AM (e)

The only type of experiment that would support Behe’s view would be one that demonstrated that it’s impossible to add parts to an IC system without losing functionality. That’s what’s so ludicrous about the IDiots’ take on IC; they’ve got the arrow of history pointed the wrong way.

Indeed. It is consistent with that they call it “irreducible complexity” while it is simplicity. They reverse information-theoretic measures similarly. The cosmological fine-tuning argument is based on the analogous time reversal of looking at the probability before-after, which is probably why they do this. They, or more important, their followers, are conditioned to use this faulty model.

To get it through Behe will also have to show that all evolutionary system end up thus, and that there is a need for more functions than these dead-end paths.

This no-go idea is so implausible to show that they have to resort to placating their followers by pointing at some systems and claim they are IC.

The whole real-stupid-idea-but-lets-pretend-not method reminds me of the moral argument. It is also implausible in theory since the default state for social interactions are an extension of the moral rule. Tit-for-tat with slight forgiveness is the best solitaire strategy for social agents which risks ‘replay’. So it is an unavoidable phenomena. And indeed, when we look at this ridiculous religious claim in practice it also falls down on examples of animals altruism and empathy.

So yes, the Bull-logic Institute will live on the irrationality and ignorance of DI’s audience.

But the work and the plausible woo-oomph they will get retracts somewhat from Sarkar’s idea of DI reforming as “stealth creationism” to play into physics with cosmological design arguments before coming back to biology. They could do both without reforming. Why change? Perhaps they can’t risk that their supporters wouldn’t know where to send the money.

Comment #150472

Posted by Popper's ghost on December 15, 2006 5:16 AM (e)

Okay, so the tone IS sarcastic, which means I DIDN’T misinterpret anything.

>

But of course you did; you misinterpreted what the sarcasm was aimed at, as I said.

My point, which I apparently did not make clearly enough, is that think it’s a bit self-righteous of scientists (and I say this as a practicing scientist) to ridicule ID-types for making their own journals to publish in.

For a neuroscientist, you’re pretty damn dense. Your point was plenty clear, it’s just wrong; they weren’t ridiculed for that, they were ridiculed for that content of those journals.

Comment #150475

Posted by Katarina on December 15, 2006 7:28 AM (e)

Pops wrote:

As long as you omit

3. Such IC systems aren’t inconsistent with ToE, since they can evolve from more complex systems with additional, unnecessary, components.

Not necessarily, but my aim was to define IC, not come up with a system inconsistent with ToE. That being said, I don’t know of any systems in nature that do function with perfect efficiancy and have no homologues. Perhaps some of the more learned PT-ers have an idea; in keeping with Andrea’s comment, perhaps we could help our fellow scientists at the God Lab.

Comment #150481

Posted by Flint on December 15, 2006 8:40 AM (e)

The trick is that directly perceiving color, or design, isn’t what’s relevant – it’s the “intelligent” part that matters. What IDiots like Behe and Dembski do is analogous to someone claiming that, just as a stop sign is colored red by an intelligent agent, blood must likewise be colored red by an intelligent agent.

Yes, but something is just a little backwards here. Behe and Dembski *know* their god designed life. This really isn’t a conclusion from the direct observation of design, but in practice it’s the reverse: they see design directly because they know it’s there so instinctively and unexaminably that it simply can’t help but be there.

So they’re not really following the analogy you present, they only rejigger their presentation to make it LOOK like they do that. Which isn’t unusual - my reading is that a good many research papers are presented as though the conclusions were reached by a stepwise logical process, where in reality the hypothesis was assumed on the basis of a hunch or feel, the research was designed with this conclusion in mind, and when the results supported the hunch, the actual presentation reversed this process to make it look like the results led rigorously to the hunch, rather than vice versa.

Behe’s problem is that his process is too tightly circular. He can only sputter that we need only LOOK to see design, it’s right there. How can we possibly MISS the “purposeful arrangement of parts”? We’d have to be deliberately blind to pretend the arrangement is not purposeful. Since we already know Whose purpose is being revealed, why would we WANT to deny it? What needs to be “researched”?

Same general approach as the Devout’s frequent “analysis” that atheists “know perfectly well” that god exists, they’re just being perverse or kidding themselves, but in their heart of hearts they know better. God is undeniable. Why do you guys keep denying what’s obviously true. This isn’t a game!

Comment #150484

Posted by stevaroni on December 15, 2006 9:07 AM (e)

To Behe, I came to understand, design is a direct, observable property, like color.

Ahh, but there’s a simple, readily accepted definition of color and how you measure it.

I’m still waiting for even the simplest definition of design so I can get busy on building my design-o-meter.

I’m even going to trademark that name, so nobody get any Ideas. I’m planning to make a fortune with it, um, just as soon as Biologic comes out with their design-imetry tables.

Comment #150490

Posted by Katarina on December 15, 2006 11:12 AM (e)

Coin wrote:

So I guess the plan is, research metabolic pathways and then claim that whatever they find proves the metabolic pathways couldn’t have evolved, research gene orders and then claim that whatever they find proves that the gene orders couldn’t have evolved, research protein folds and then claim that whatever they find proves that protein folds couldn’t have evolved, and then write an evolutionary algorithm that doesn’t work and claim it proves that biological evolution doesn’t work either?

If they go this route, they may as well use existing evolutionary research and just apply creationist interpretations to it. Oh wait, they’ve done that. But at least this time the authors won’t be pissed off.

Comment #150491

Posted by Katarina on December 15, 2006 11:21 AM (e)

a. neuroscientist wrote:

My point, which I apparently did not make clearly enough, is that think it’s a bit self-righteous of scientists (and I say this as a practicing scientist) to ridicule ID-types for making their own journals to publish in.

Which is why Andrea Bottaro said

I actually and honestly wish them good luck.

Doesn’t sound like ridicule to me. I for one curiously await their research findings, especially since I’m not sure what it is they want them to say. I agree with your sentiment that we can afford to be gracious.

Comment #150501

Posted by Popper's ghost on December 15, 2006 1:26 PM (e)

Not necessarily, but my aim was to define IC, not come up with a system inconsistent with ToE.

Nor did I say so. You asked if you could get a job at DI, and I noted that you could as long as you avoid mention of the fact that IC is compatible with ToE, and why. It isn’t necessary to come up with a system that is inconsistent with ToE –in fact, you can’t, because there are no such systems.

Comment #150502

Posted by Katarina on December 15, 2006 1:36 PM (e)

You asked if you could get a job at DI, and I noted that you could as long as you avoid mention of the fact that IC is compatible with ToE, and why.

Yes handsome, but IC is not necessarily compatible with ToE. At least the way I tried to define IC. Most evolved stuctures I can think of aren’t perfectly efficient at their function, and most do have homologues to be found in other species. I should have made that clear.

It isn’t necessary to come up with a system that is inconsistent with ToE –in fact, you can’t, because there are no such systems.

Well, I am interested in how one would define such a system. I am genuinely curious about what kind of research they will do, and why they think it will support.. uh.. whatever they’re trying to support.

Comment #150505

Posted by Popper's ghost on December 15, 2006 2:12 PM (e)

Ahh, but there’s a simple, readily accepted definition of color and how you measure it.

Even if that were true, it would quite miss my point – which is that it’s the purported detection of intent, not design, that is problematic. But it’s not true at all; color is a perceived characteristic, it is not determined solely, or sometimes at all, by the wavelengths reflected by an object. As wikipedia says, “the color of an object is a complex result of its surface properties, its transmission properties, and its emission properties, all of which factors contribute to the mix of wavelengths in the light leaving the surface of the object. The perceived color is then further conditioned by the nature of the ambient illumination, and by the color properties of other objects nearby (see the article Color constancy); and finally, by the permanent and transient characteristics of the perceiving eye and brain.”

Here is a cute illustration that color is at least as much a matter of what goes on inside the brain as what goes on outside of it. and there are many others; see, e.g., http://www.colorcube.com/illusions/illusion.htm

This really isn’t a conclusion from the direct observation of design, but in practice it’s the reverse: they see design directly because they know it’s there so instinctively and unexaminably that it simply can’t help but be there.

Are you saying, Flint, that there is no one who is actually swayed by the argument from design, no one who would be an atheist if not for the fact that the world seems to them to be filled with intentional design? I know a number of such people, and Richard Dawkins has suggested that he might have been such a person before Darwin. And that’s the point: natural selection explains how apparently intentional design could have arisen without any intent.

Keep in mind that one of Daniel Dennett’s major contributions is theory of three stances: the intentional stance, the design stance, and the physical stance; these are three ways of interpreting a system so as to make predictions about its behavior. And Dennett repeatedly applies the design stance to biological systems. Does that make him a religious dogmatist, or an IDist? Hardly; he’s a pragmatic Dist (argh – no pun intended) – someone who views systems as designed when it is useful to do so. Unless you recognize that it’s the I part of ID that is problematic, you will fail to make an impression on many people who see the same design as does Dennett (and physicians, and biologists when they aren’t battling IDiots), and will continue to enable IDiots like Behe and Dembski who do a bait-and-switch from “design” (see the function? see the effective intermeshing of parts?) to “intelligent design” (it’s “purposeful”; someone or something must have had that function as a goal and must have put those parts together like that).

Comment #150506

Posted by Popper's ghost on December 15, 2006 2:26 PM (e)

but IC is not necessarily compatible with ToE. At least the way I tried to define IC.

Yes, it is. Please go back and read my posts above where I explain why IC is compatible with ToE.

I can think of aren’t perfectly efficient at their function, and most do have homologues to be found in other species. I should have made that clear.

You did, but it isn’t relevant; even if there were such systems, they would be no challenge to the ToE. And if there is some such incompatibity, it lies in the perfection and the lack of homologues; it has nothing to do with being IC. IC systems are unlikely to evolve further, because any change to them is non-viable. But there is no reason why a more complex, redundant, system could not have evolved into the IC system, via mutations that broke down and whittled away the redundancies, all such mutations resulting in viable offspring. As I said, what’s so ludricrous about ID’s take on IC is that they have the arrow of history backwards.

Comment #150507

Posted by Popper's ghost on December 15, 2006 2:38 PM (e)

IC systems are unlikely to evolve further, because any change to them is non-viable.

I should have said that any change to them is either non-viable or most likely useless; still, they can evolve, due to a shift in function or a change in environment that makes a previously useless feature useful, as is true of most of evolution. But redundant systems can become non-redundant systems without any such shifts, merely by the action of random mutations that destroy the redundancy without affecting viability.

Comment #150510

Posted by Popper's ghost on December 15, 2006 2:53 PM (e)

Well, I am interested in how one would define such a system.

The point is that you can’t define such a system; the whole notion of IC as a challenge to ToE is based on a fallacy, a fallacy that has been repeatedly pointed out to Behe and yet he simply ignores that or mumbles his way past it, as he did on the stand in Dover.

I am genuinely curious about what kind of research they will do

Among other things, they will try to find “irreducibly complex” systems, since they fallaciously believe that such systems are a challenge to ToE.

and why they think it will support.. uh.. whatever they’re trying to support.

They think it because they are inclined to think it, and lack the understanding and/or faculties and/or scientific spirit that might otherwise undermine such biases. What they are trying to support is a) negation of ToE or its elements (which is a valid search and may yield useful results; attempts at falsification are an important element of science) and b) the existence of “the supernatural”, which is a fundamentally confused, incoherent, and worthless pursuit.

Comment #150511

Posted by Katarina on December 15, 2006 3:08 PM (e)

Pops wrote:

even if there were such systems, they would be no challenge to the ToE.

ToE may be challanged by IC if every system was found to be IC, which is demonstrably untrue. Therefore you’re right: this pursuit is doomed to failure, and so is my original objective of searching for a definition of IC. That still doesn’t mean the BI shouldn’t pursue it. It is a basic of ID as they have described it.

IC systems are unlikely to evolve further, because any change to them is non-viable.

This claim is unsupported. And you haven’t defined IC.

But there is no reason why a more complex, redundant, system could not have evolved into the IC system, via mutations that broke down and whittled away the redundancies, all such mutations resulting in viable offspring

I agree. Still lacking a definition of IC though.

The point is that you can’t define such a system

In that case, your attempt at describing it was misleading.

Comment #150512

Posted by Flint on December 15, 2006 3:12 PM (e)

Popper’s Ghost:

Are you saying, Flint, that there is no one who is actually swayed by the argument from design, no one who would be an atheist if not for the fact that the world seems to them to be filled with intentional design? I know a number of such people, and Richard Dawkins has suggested that he might have been such a person before Darwin. And that’s the point: natural selection explains how apparently intentional design could have arisen without any intent.

Yes, I think I’m saying something along these lines, but not quite as you phrase it, and I’m struggling to find the distinction. We know that Behe, Dembski, and the whole DI gang *start* with their faith in their flavor of god, and their entire philosophy derives from this. Gods are, at least as I see it, not often (but perhaps not never?) derived from observations themselves. I think faith in these gods drives the observations, not vice versa. Our expectations always strongly color what we observe, and fill in all the blanks our limited power of observation provide. It’s an unconscious process.

I wonder if the very first invention of gods (the origin of this species of Dawkins’ meme) might have been science as we generally know it - a testable hypothesis which occasionally passed the tests. And only later did it evolve into a virus as we see it today, where no test is valid *unless* the god of choice is inherent in it.

Maybe my difficulty is, I simply don’t see anything in the biological word that looks “apparently intentional.” I see the result of a long feedback process. So I wonder if the “apparent intent” is a matter of contamination from the pervasiveness of religious memes in our society, or whether it’s inherent in the condition of being human and I have the misfortune to lack it.

Maybe the presumption of invisible all-powerful gods as “explanations” of the not-understood is an unavoidable human default, rather than a byproduct of unfortunate childhood indoctrination. I don’t know. I missed out on that experience.

Comment #150513

Posted by steve s on December 15, 2006 3:23 PM (e)

Comment #150417

Posted by BC on December 14, 2006 7:14 PM (e) | kill

What I find funny about the “Biologic Institute” is all the subterfuge. They want to avoid mention of “God”. They want to be respectable. They fire George Weber because he “was found to have seriously misunderstood the purpose of Biologic and to have misrepresented it” (read: that purpose is to disguse the fact that they are a branch of Christian apologists, Weber talked too much about God). Also, the website “ReasonsToBelieve” backs Hugh Ross (old earth creationist). When reading the article I couldn’t help but think about these ID “scientists” putting on a red cape, taking off their glasses like superman, running down the street telling everyone that they’re real scientists, and that Goddidit. Then they go back home, take off their capes, put on their glasses, sit behind their desks labeled “Christian Creationist”, and hope that their glasses prevent people from recognizing the fact that they’re the same person.

A while back I posted a related comment about their transparency:

Just because we occasionally refer to ourselves as creationists, and just because we global-searched-and-replaced “Creationism” with “Intelligent Design”, and just because we’ve said Intelligent Design “Really means the reality of God”, and just because we said christians are our ‘natural allies’, and just because we said our goal is to promote “traditional doctrines of creation”, and just because I personally happen to be a creationist, and just because we called Intelligent Design “the Logos theology of John’s Gospel”, and just because the Intelligent Design club used to be named the Creation Science club, and just because we require the club officers to be christians, and just because we said the Intelligent Designer created the universe, is transcendent, is supernatural, and a subject for theology, and just because our theorists all happen to work at bible colleges, and just because we used to represent the Intelligent Designer as the christian god in our logo, that does Not Mean Intelligent Design is creationism at all, it’s entirely different, purely scientific, no relationship to christianity. I don’t even know how you got that idea.

Comment #150534

Posted by BC on December 15, 2006 7:37 PM (e)

Flint:

Our expectations always strongly color what we observe, and fill in all the blanks our limited power of observation provide. It’s an unconscious process.

How strongly our expectations color our observations depends a lot on the situation (e.g. how clear-cut is the data?). Obviously, science would make no progress at all if our expectations colored our observations too strongly. We’d still be living with “demons cause disease” and “the sun goes around the earth”. In fact, it’s a common creationist tactic to overplay the role of expectations in interpreting data. They claim that evolutionists believe in evolution because of their belief framework (naturalism, atheism, miseducation), creationists believe in creation because of their belief framework (they know the Bible is true). That’s their little fantasy anyway.

Comment #150537

Posted by Popper's ghost on December 15, 2006 8:01 PM (e)

IC systems are unlikely to evolve further, because any change to them is non-viable.

This claim is unsupported.

Excuse me? The claim before the comma is supported by the statement after the comma. Do you really not understand that IC systems are evolutionarily robust, because any mutation that destroys the function of some component destroys the function of the system?

And you haven’t defined IC.

Excuse me? IC is well understood to refer to a system that can’t function if any of its components is removed. “IC” isn’t just a pair of letters; it means “irreducibly complex”. The “reduction” of complexity here refers to the removal of a component; the “ir” means that the system no longer functions if such a reduction occurs.

In that case, your attempt at describing it was misleading.

That’s quite a non sequitur. I don’t think you have any idea what you’re talking about; you certainly don’t seem to have any idea what I’m talking about, but I’m not going to waste my time repeating it.

Comment #150538

Posted by Popper's ghost on December 15, 2006 8:18 PM (e)

Maybe my difficulty is, I simply don’t see anything in the biological word that looks “apparently intentional.”

Me neither, but that’s because I understand the process of evolution; your “long feedback process”. But many people don’t understand it, and have trouble comprehending it, and for them intent is the only option. There are many people whose process is not “I believe in God, therefore I believe he designed everything”, but rather consider the appearance of design to imply intent (a la Paley), which supports their belief in God. I have talked to plenty of people who, upon learning that I’m an atheist, ask “then how do you explain [various well functioning and highly interactive biological systems]”. The answer, a “long feedback process”, is not something they find convincing. Perhaps with better science education, more people would.

Comment #150540

Posted by Katarina on December 15, 2006 8:52 PM (e)

testing…

Comment #150542

Posted by DMA on December 15, 2006 9:27 PM (e)

I work in an ancient lab, last remodeled in maybe the 30’s, at least until we move into a new lab next fall. Only one fume hood is functional, I desperately need a microscope in our cold room, our single incubator is a piece of broken down garbage, and my lab bench is made of wood that oozes unidentifiable black crap when I wipe it down. So imagine my irritation to read in New Scientist that “…benches lined with fume hoods, incubators and microscopes…” have been given to IDers, who in the last decade and a half could hardly be bothered to lift a damn pipette. If that equipment were in the hands of my lab, we’d actually do research with it. Of course, we’re all familiar with Intelligent Design Creationism. Wouldn’t it be par for course if their benches were plywood mockups, microscopes all missing lenses, and fume hoods not plugged into the necessary air handling equipment? I’m no expert on the building engineering end of scientific research, but I imagine that a biology research center requires all sorts of special equipment, permits, and inspections. Who wants to bet the IDers haven’t bothered? After all, it’s not like they’re actually going to do scientific research–that’s hard work, would undermine their own postion, and above all else take cash away from their PR effort.

Comment #150549

Posted by Mike Elzinga on December 15, 2006 10:44 PM (e)

I find it peculiar that the Biologic Institute wants to find “counter-examples” the work of Pennock. Does that mean that if they write an algorithm that doesn’t show evolutionary behavior that they have therefore refuted Pennock’s work?

Duh! Any incompetent fool can write a program that doesn’t work. And any bumbling idiot can claim they don’t get the same results others do while waving their degrees in the air to prove they are legitimate researchers. If you have a laboratory or a program that is used solely for disputing results established by the scientific community, that doesn’t prove anything. Results must be replicated (or non-replicated in their case) independently and have to stand up repeatedly.

It sounds as though this lab is for political purposes only. Claim in public that your lab results dispute those of the established scientific community and now it is the duty of the scientific community to answer or refute your claims. And we are off and running on the famous “controversies” with the public and the politicians believing BI’s lab is as legitimate as those in the scientific community. Unfortunately, this may require honest researchers to waste their time “peer reviewing” a bunch of crap that would not have passed muster in the earliest stages of review.

Comment #150551

Posted by Mike Elzinga on December 15, 2006 11:56 PM (e)

Had another thought after my last post.

The complaint by Mark Souder, discussed in another thread, raises a question about possible earmarking of funds for institutes like BI. Given how much this was abused in this last Congress, it would not come as a surprise if some of BI’s funding came from this source. It would be a way taxpayer money could be siphoned off to fund a sectarian agenda without going through a peer review process such as required by NSF.

Just some speculation, but it happens quite often in other contexts. Has anyone discovered where their money ultimately comes from?

Comment #150566

Posted by Katarina on December 16, 2006 6:40 AM (e)

Do you really not understand that IC systems are evolutionarily robust, because any mutation that destroys the function of some component destroys the function of the system?

Yes, I do understand. But not all mutations are knockouts, as you know. And I don’t see why all mutations will destroy the function of the system. Unless by “destroy,” you mean “modify.” And even if that is what you mean, mutations can duplicate a system, so the original function is not lost, but there is an additional function that adds to the overall efficiancy of a greater system. Like in blood clotting.
Types of mutations from talkorigins:

· addition of multiple parts; for example, duplication of much or all of the system (Pennisi 2001)
· change of function
· addition of a second function to a part (Aharoni et al. 2004)
· gradual modification of parts

Pops wrote:

IC is well understood to refer to a system that can’t function if any of its components is removed.

Yes, there is a definition that was used by Muller, as seen in PT archives:

Muller’s definition of “interlocking complexity” is exactly the same as the definition of “irreducible complexity” – a system of mutually independent parts that requires all those parts to be present for the system to work. However, Muller’s claim is that this is an EXPECTED result of evolution. Behe took the same definition, and claimed it was IMPOSSIBLE as a result of evolution.

http://www.pandasthumb.org/archives/2006/10/irreducible_com.html

And while I agree, it is not all that clear-cut.

From talkorigins again:

1. Irreducible complexity is poorly defined. It is defined in terms of parts, but it is far from obvious what a “part” is. Logically, the parts should be individual atoms, because they are the level of organization that does not get subdivided further in biochemistry, and they are the smallest level that biochemists consider in their analysis. Behe, however, considered sets of molecules to be individual parts, and he gave no indication of how he made his determinations.
2. Systems that have been considered irreducibly complex might not be. For example:
· The mousetrap that Behe used as an example of irreducible complexity can be simplified by bending the holding arm slightly and removing the latch.
· The bacterial flagellum is not irreducibly complex because it can lose many parts and still function, either as a simpler flagellum or a secretion system. Many proteins of the eukaryotic flagellum (also called a cilium or undulipodium) are known to be dispensable, because functional swimming flagella that lack these proteins are known to exist.
· In spite of the complexity of Behe’s protein transport example, there are other proteins for which no transport is necessary (see Ussery 1999 for references).
· The immune system example that Behe includes is not irreducibly complex because the antibodies that mark invading cells for destruction might themselves hinder the function of those cells, allowing the system to function (albeit not as well) without the destroyer molecules of the complement system.

This discussion could probably drag out forever, but the points I was trying to make originally are rather minor. The greater points which PG and Flint make, I was not trying to challenge.

Comment #150568

Posted by Katarina on December 16, 2006 6:52 AM (e)

How strongly our expectations color our observations depends a lot on the situation (e.g. how clear-cut is the data?). Obviously, science would make no progress at all if our expectations colored our observations too strongly. We’d still be living with “demons cause disease” and “the sun goes around the earth”.

Right! Isn’t that the point of the scientific method, falsifiability, and the peer review process?

Comment #150572

Posted by stevaroni on December 16, 2006 9:42 AM (e)

Ahh, but there’s a simple, readily accepted definition of color and how you measure it.

But it’s not true at all; color is a perceived characteristic, it is not determined solely, or sometimes at all, by the wavelengths reflected by an object..

I hate to pick nits with you, Pop, but just to be precise, color is a physical property of a surface. It’s objectively measurable, and an entire branch of measurement science (colorimetry) exists to do just that.

Perception of color, on the other hand, is a very fuzzy and fascinating thing, interwoven with all the intricacies of the human visual system.

Anyhow, I do get your point

… which is that it’s the purported detection of intent, not design, that is problematic.

Just like all of us get the same sensory input and perceive a different color, All of us have access to the same physical evidence, but the DI people, well, they choose to see what they choose to see.

Comment #150593

Posted by Ron Okimoto on December 16, 2006 2:37 PM (e)

The saddest thing about this “research” is that they will be specifically writing papers so that they can dishonestly quote mine themselves and claim the papers say things that are not concluded by the research. Both Minnich and Behe had to admit that under oath. Their papers that are listed by the Discovery Institute as supporting ID, do not support ID. Both had to admit under oath that not a single scientific publication that they knew of supported ID, and unless they don’t know about the papers that they themselves published they had to admit that the Discovery Institute is dishonestly using those publications. Does anyone think that Axe’s papers were excluded from that confession? The dishonest propaganda use for any “research” that these guys end up doing is their only reason for their existence.

It is pretty sad when you publish junk just so that you can dishonestly claim things about it for creationist propaganda purposes. What you are not likely to see is anyone of these “scientists” that eventually publish from this “research” testifying in the next lame ID court case because they would have to admit the same thing that Behe and Minnich had to admit. It would be a major boondoggle for the Discovery Institute scam artist to make that mistake twice.

Comment #150660

Posted by Flint on December 16, 2006 8:32 PM (e)

There are many people whose process is not “I believe in God, therefore I believe he designed everything”, but rather consider the appearance of design to imply intent (a la Paley), which supports their belief in God.

I try, but I can’t see it this way. I only see that a priori beliefs in supernatural agencies, implanted very early, subsequently color the intuitive interpretation of what some people see forever after. That perhaps such “goddidit” teachings find such a comfy home in some brains that they take over.

At the very least, I’d expect such teachings to grease the skids, so as to make supernatural intent sound plausible. I just have a problem accepting that “I don’t know, so it must have been magic” would be the default hole-filling “explanation” to an observer not already primed to go in that direction.

Comment #150661

Posted by Flint on December 16, 2006 8:42 PM (e)

It is pretty sad when you publish junk just so that you can dishonestly claim things about it for creationist propaganda purposes.

A variation on this approach was behind the whole Leonard episode at Ohio State. The scam was to find a couple creationists (in departments unrelated to the nominal thesis, but that didn’t matter) to sleaze through a bogus “ID thesis” purporting to be “original ID scientific research” (it was nothing of the sort, of course), after which the prestige of Ohio State University could be used to wave around the “original scientific ID research Ohio State Ph.D. degree”. When someone caught onto this scam before the degree was granted, the committee was reconstituted with a member of an appropriate adacademic department, and the thesis was withdrawn “temporarily”, meaning until they can pack the committee with another creationist sometime in the future.

What bothered me was the willingness, in fact the eagerness of these OSU professors, to rig this scheme to trash the reputation of their own employer. They *dreamed it up* knowing it would have this effect. What kind of god could they possibly believe in, who would either command or condone that kind of pimping?

Comment #150740

Posted by Ron Okimoto on December 17, 2006 9:47 AM (e)

What bothered me was the willingness, in fact the eagerness of these OSU professors, to rig this scheme to trash the reputation of their own employer. They *dreamed it up* knowing it would have this effect. What kind of god could they possibly believe in, who would either command or condone that kind of pimping?

This is a question that Sternberg should be asked.

Comment #151160

Posted by Tony Whitson on December 20, 2006 11:27 AM (e)

John West’s spin on the article is truly breathtaking, IMHO. See
http://www.evolutionnews.org/2006/12/intelligent_design_research_la.html

As Biever’s article grudgingly makes clear, “researchers [at the Biologic Institute lab] work at benches lined with fume hoods, incubators and microscopes–a typical scene in this up-and-coming biotech hub.” The article also reports on some of the research projects underway, and even describes Darwinian biologist Ken Miller as conceding that the topics being explored “are of interest to science”