August 12, 2007 - August 18, 2007 Archives
At Darwin or Design Jason Rennie talks to Dr Ryan Nichols. Dr Nichols wrote an interesting paper called Scientific content, testability, and the vacuity of Intelligent Design.
There are Hours of additional content
I appreciate Rennie’s link to Scientific content, testability, and the vacuity of Intelligent Design where I discuss Nichols’ paper and the vacuity of ID.
The actual paper by Nichols does not seem to be available online: Ryan Nichols, Scientific content, testability, and the vacuity of Intelligent Design theory The American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly, 2003 ,vol. 77 ,no 4 ,pp. 591 - 611.
Constraints surround us. One of the constraints we have running a popular and well-received weblog is the fact that our CPU cycles and especially our bandwidth are finite commodities on the server. Earlier this year we upgraded the server hardware (with the aid of readers here and at the After the Bar Closes Forum who donated to the TalkOrigins Archive Foundation), which gave us a lot more CPU cycles to play with than we had before. However, just like other popular web sites, there are people who want to profit off of our popularity on the cheap: spammers. They seek to subvert comments and trackbacks for the purpose of advertising their tawdry and/or fraudulent products and services.
A couple of weeks ago, we made the decision to pull the plug on the trackback facility. We were getting upwards of 200 simultaneous connections on the server, the vast majority of those hitting the trackback script, and the overwhelming majority of those were spammers trying to register thousands upon thousands of fake trackbacks. In the interest of keeping up with real users, trackbacks had to go.
We hope to be able to restore trackback functionality soon. Movable Type has released version 4.0 of their weblog software, and there are improvements in the way spam comments and trackbacks are handled. PT will be upgrading soon. We may be using a default template for a while, but we hope to minimize the disruption to posting and commenting.
Well, my time at NCSE is almost up. Next week I will be moving up to Berkeley to start a PhD in for-real, honest to goodness evolutionary biology. It’s quite exciting. Unfortunately, before I go I have to clean all my files out of my cubicle at NCSE to make way for Josh Rosenau (yes, the Thoughts from Kansas guy), who will be occupying my desk. Amongst the stacks of books that I have checked out from libraries, borrowed from various people at NCSE without giving them back, etc., I came across one I hadn’t seen since The Great Hunt for the Origins of Intelligent Design back in early 2005, during the research period of the Kitzmiller case. As everyone now knows, even though the ID guys will never admit it, “intelligent design” as such originated in the 1989 ID textbook Of Pandas and People, with “intelligent design” being the new label chosen after the 1987 Edwards decision made creationist terminology difficult to use in textbooks. Pandas was the first place the term “intelligent design” was used systematically, defined in a glossary, claimed to be something other than creationism, etc. In a desperate attempt to obfuscate this basic historical point, ID guys have dug up various random instances of the words “intelligent” and “design” placed together (although they missed the 1861 Darwin letter, and the 1847 Scientific American article), most of them with absolutely no evidence of having influenced the actual actors in the 1980s who created the ID movement (there are some legitimate precursors, but they are in explicitly creationist works, e.g. Lester and Bohlin’s (1984) The Natural Limits to Biological Change, so the ID guys won’t cite them post-Kitzmiller).
A.E. Wilder-Smith (1915-1995) was a European “creation scientist,” now deceased, sometimes described (pre-Kitzmiller) as inspiring pieces of ID. He was active from the 1960s to the mid-1980s. It is true that Wilder-Smith discusses “information”, “design”, “Design”, Paley, etc., a lot (as well as human tracks next to dinosaur tracks, Noah’s Flood, and other extremely embarassing creationist nonsense). But I have never found the actual phrase “intelligent design” in his work. However, in early 2005, I did come across this, in a 1968 work by Wilder-Smith, discussing a certain oh-so-amazingly-complex organ. For some reason the IDers don’t cite this example as a precursor:
To deny planning when studying such a system is to strain credulity more than to ask one to believe in an intelligent nipple designer, who incidentally must have understood hydraulics rather well.
(pp. 144-145 of: Wilder-Smith, A. E. (1968). Man’s origin, man’s destiny: a critical survey of the principles of evolution and Christianity. Wheaton, Ill., H. Shaw. Italics original, bold added.)
There you have it. The origin of “intelligent…design.”
(In fairness, the full quote is posted below the fold.)