Nick Matzke posted Entry 3272 on August 5, 2007 03:06 AM.
Trackback URL: http://www.pandasthumb.org/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb.fcgi/3259

A blogger has an interesting report on the event that the Discovery Institute just held for teachers at Biola (Bible Institute of Los Angeles) University in order to promote their newest disguise for creationism, the textbook sneakily entitled “Explore Evolution.”

I’m sure it’s a just coincidence that the very first person to blog this event – this no-way-it’s-creationism-no-sirree event – did it from the Old Earth Creation Homeschool blog and works for the old-earth creationist ministry Reasons to Believe.

Anyway, here’s the interesting bit:

This is intended to be a supplement to a standard biology textbook. It strictly presents the strengths and weaknesses of the evolutionary position and allow students to decide for themselves whether neo-Darwinism is, in fact, supported by the scientific record. The book does not promote Intelligent Design in any way, shape or form. However, it is written by leaders in the Intelligent Design movement and they don’t seem to be making any secret about this.

I think I agree at least in principle in what they are trying to do. But I remain skeptical that using such a book won’t cause all kinds of problems for public school teachers. I joked with one of the authors whether a legal retainer was included with the purchase of each book. The media guy from the Discovery Institute who was there assured me that informal curriculum similar to this approach is being used in public schools all over the country without incident. Supposedly, the reason we don’t hear about them is that the media only reports on the controversial situations like Kansas, Ohio, and the Dover disaster a couple years ago.

Gee, that reminds me of the Discovery Institute’s old position which they now deny on “intelligent design.”

In other news, did you know that the Discovery Institute’s Explore Evolution textbook is winsome? (pdf link)

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Comment #192387

Posted by dhogaza on August 5, 2007 3:40 AM (e)

The media guy from the Discovery Institute who was there assured me that informal curriculum similar to this approach is being used in public schools all over the country without incident.

Then surely the book should come with an indemnification against legal challenges to its use in the classroom, right?

Won’t cost the DI a dime :)

Comment #192406

Posted by hoary puccoon on August 5, 2007 6:15 AM (e)

Who is supposed to pay for these supplemental texts? If Explore Evolution really is so watered down that ‘this approach is being used in public schools all over the country without incident’ why should taxpayers have to shell out for the book?

Comment #192423

Posted by kdaddy on August 5, 2007 7:23 AM (e)

From Judge Jones’s decision.

Accepting for the sake of argument its proponents’, as well as Defendants’ argument that to introduce ID to students will encourage critical thinking, it still has utterly no place in a science curriculum. Moreover, ID’s backers have sought to avoid the scientific scrutiny which we have now determined that it cannot withstand by advocating that the controversy, but not ID itself, should be taught in science class. This tactic is at best disingenuous, and at worst a canard. The goal of the IDM is not to encourage critical thought, but to foment a revolution which would supplant evolutionary theory with ID.

Sounds like that legal retainer would be well advised.

Comment #192440

Posted by Frank J on August 5, 2007 8:28 AM (e)

Not just winsome, but “lepidoptory” too.

Comment #192441

Posted by Frank J on August 5, 2007 8:32 AM (e)

Since Homeschooling is free to include religious ideas in science class, I wonder if the OECs will devote “equal time” to a critical analysis of YEC?

Comment #192445

Posted by rimpal on August 5, 2007 8:41 AM (e)

From the EE website;

This textbook is ideal for:
* AP Biology teachers who need a stimulating capstone unit for the last 5-6 weeks of their AP course after their students have taken the AP biology test.

The DI hacks may be charlatans, but only to a point. These guys aren’t going to take the risk of having students compare this cheap pamphlet against a science textbook.

Comment #192454

Posted by Eamon Knight on August 5, 2007 9:12 AM (e)

….this no-way-it’s-creationism-no-sirree event….
Oh, I think that cover was blown the minute the venue for this little soiree was chosen.
Or did Biola just offer them a really cheap meeting-space rate?

Comment #192467

Posted by Albatrossity on August 5, 2007 10:01 AM (e)

There is an ongoing discussion and critique of Exploring Evolution on this thread at After the Bar Closes. So far it appears that the DI (or a local school board) will have some difficulty in dissociating this latest efforts from its creationist roots.

Comment #192476

Posted by Frank J on August 5, 2007 11:00 AM (e)

Eamon Knight wrote:

Oh, I think that cover was blown the minute the venue for this little soiree was chosen.

This blows the cover to whom? To us critics the cover was blown years ago. Certainly no latter than 1999, when “Tower of Babel” was published and the Wedge document was leaked. Meanwhile, as long as they can bait critics to say “ID ‘is’ creationism,” and quickly retort with the differences between ID and YEC (and thus cleverly exploit the differences in two senses of “creationism”), their target audience, including many non-fundamentalist nonscientists who accept evolution but fall for the “teach the controversy” scam) will continue to erroneously think of them as more open-minded than we are.

Comment #192479

Posted by peter irons on August 5, 2007 11:04 AM (e)

Minor point, but the post about the Biola meeting said “legal guy” from the DI, not “media guy.” But if the “legal guy” is–as I suspect–Casey Luskin, then he’s advising teachers on how they can sneak ID stuff into their classes, which could get both Casey and teachers in big legal trouble.

Comment #192487

Posted by Frank J on August 5, 2007 11:21 AM (e)

Albatrossity wrote:

There is an ongoing discussion and critique of Exploring Evolution on this thread at After the Bar Closes. So far it appears that the DI (or a local school board) will have some difficulty in dissociating this latest efforts from its creationist roots.

Which is quite ironic, since all they have to do to dissociate with ID and classic creationism is to “explore” some of the “theories” that claim to be alternatives to evolution. These include the mutually contradictory “what happened and when” accounts promoted by classic creationists and a few IDers like Behe. If the mere assoctiation of the personnel with design-based anti-evolution activism is still a problem, they could just “explore” the “naturalistic” alternatives of Schwabe and Senapathy. The irony becomes even greater becsuse S & S deny common descent, and no IDer does explicitly (Behe even unequivocally accepts it). Thus S & S positions are actually friendly to classic creationism than ID is. Yet the whole ID scam depends on the pretense that S & S don’t exist.

Comment #192488

Posted by Julie Stahlhut on August 5, 2007 11:31 AM (e)

Frank J wrote:

Not just winsome, but “lepidoptory” too.

I think that’s the study of butterflies that have only right wings.

Comment #192499

Posted by nickmatzke on August 5, 2007 12:37 PM (e)

Minor point, but the post about the Biola meeting said “legal guy” from the DI, not “media guy.” But if the “legal guy” is–as I suspect–Casey Luskin, then he’s advising teachers on how they can sneak ID stuff into their classes, which could get both Casey and teachers in big legal trouble.

You’re right, I just noticed – the post was changed from “legal guy” to “media guy” just before I copied the text to quote on PT evidently.

Comment #192504

Posted by nickmatzke on August 5, 2007 12:46 PM (e)

Meanwhile, as long as they can bait critics to say “ID ‘is’ creationism,” and quickly retort with the differences between ID and YEC (and thus cleverly exploit the differences in two senses of “creationism”), their target audience, including many non-fundamentalist nonscientists who accept evolution but fall for the “teach the controversy” scam) will continue to erroneously think of them as more open-minded than we are.

Um, no. Noting that ID is creationism is the most accurate simple thing you can say about ID. Years ago, the “deny the creationism connection strategy” might have worked for the ID guys, but in the end that denial strategy backfired horribly for them when the cdesign proponentsists smoking gun was discovered.

Comment #192510

Posted by nickmatzke on August 5, 2007 12:57 PM (e)

There is an ongoing discussion and critique of Exploring Evolution on this thread at After the Bar Closes. So far it appears that the DI (or a local school board) will have some difficulty in dissociating this latest efforts from its creationist roots.

Which is quite ironic, since all they have to do to dissociate with ID and classic creationism is to “explore” some of the “theories” that claim to be alternatives to evolution. These include the mutually contradictory “what happened and when” accounts promoted by classic creationists and a few IDers like Behe. If the mere assoctiation of the personnel with design-based anti-evolution activism is still a problem, they could just “explore” the “naturalistic” alternatives of Schwabe and Senapathy.

They are way ahead of you, Schwabe at least is cited several times in the book. This is an example of the “we’re not ID/creationists, we’re cranks instead!” strategy.

The irony becomes even greater becsuse S & S deny common descent, and no IDer does explicitly

This is wrong – you have accidently swallowed one of the DI’s talking points here. In reality, basically all of the IDers deny common ancestry explicitly except Behe. See e.g. this discussion.

(Behe even unequivocally accepts it).

Only on good days. On bad days:

Even now, I am sometimes singled out by Darwinists as the most “reasonable” Intelligent Design proponent, because I’ve written that I think common descent is true. I’m embarrassed to admit that I derive some odd, involuntary pleasure from being thought the “best” of the lot. My reaction is especially irrational because some of my Intelligent Design colleagues who disagree with me on common descent have greater familiarity with the relevant science than I do.

(p. 19 of Michael Behe (2005). “Scientific Orthodoxies.” First Things 158, pp. 15-20. December 2005. Bold added.)

You conclude:

Thus S & S positions are actually friendly to classic creationism than ID is. Yet the whole ID scam depends on the pretense that S & S don’t exist.

Obviously I disagree. I think you are falling into the carefully-laid trap that the ID guys have set. You wouldn’t be the first, especially in the late 1990s a lot of insufficiently cynical people bought the “ID isn’t creationism, no sirree” line that the DI was putting out.

PS: Previous PT discussion of Behe & YEC/common ancestry.

Comment #192521

Posted by wamba on August 5, 2007 1:21 PM (e)

It strictly presents the strengths and weaknesses of the evolutionary position…

I wonder what percentage of space they allot to presenting the strengths of the evolutionary position?

Comment #192528

Posted by Hamlet on August 5, 2007 2:14 PM (e)

If it’s ever accepted somewhere, can someone petition for a disclaimer sticker?

Comment #192536

Posted by FL on August 5, 2007 2:49 PM (e)

Noting that ID is creationism is the most accurate simple thing you can say about ID.
– N. Matzke.

Nope, Matzke’s statement is not true.

Creationism is certainly explicitly based on the Bible, and Intelligent Design certainly is not.
– M. Dunford.

Seems clear enough, honestly.

FL

Comment #192540

Posted by Coin on August 5, 2007 3:11 PM (e)

You’re right, I just noticed – the post was changed from “legal guy” to “media guy” just before I copied the text to quote on PT evidently.

Well, isn’t Casey Luskin technically both the “legal guy” AND the “media guy” over there?

Creationism is certainly explicitly based on the Bible, and Intelligent Design certainly is not.
– M. Dunford.

But is Intelligent Design Scottish?

Comment #192548

Posted by Inoculated Mind on August 5, 2007 3:16 PM (e)

Well you know what they say, “You winsome, you lose some.” They’ve already lost some court cases, maybe they’re counting on the law of averages?

It may be winsome, but it’s certainly not toothsome. No bite whatsoever.

Maybe Well’s failed Centrosome hypothesis is in this winsome volume?

…oh I got more!

Comment #192557

Posted by rimpal on August 5, 2007 3:54 PM (e)

Actually ID Creos don’t care about doing science any longer. Even someone like Minnich who I thought was simply a deluded scientist, till I read the Xpt of his grilling at K v.D, is past caring about hewing to a scientific line. He knows that whatever he tries he is not going to find design, so he is content spinning his wheels while pretending there is a controversy. Behe is hanging on only because of tenure. Wells’s career never took off, and Dembski’s is done for good. They don’t care about any scientific principles at all but for those that will keep them safe and sound, like the one that says humans can’t fly or breathe under water! Others like Pail Nelson and Myers are lightweights and their opinions aren’t well informed. And then let’ not talk about the ones who provide the laughs.

Comment #192573

Posted by Nick (Matzke) on August 5, 2007 5:09 PM (e)

Creationism is certainly explicitly based on the Bible, and Intelligent Design certainly is not.
– M. Dunford

Seems clear enough, honestly.

FL

LOL. Read Mike’s full post. See especially the bit about the “two-faced nature of the Intelligent Design movement.”

Then ask where ID’s ideas about how evolution is only “variation within the kind” come from. Or the bit about how ID is just an expression of the Logos theology of John’s gospel.

Comment #192579

Posted by Andrea Bottaro on August 5, 2007 5:23 PM (e)

FL wrote:

Creationism is certainly explicitly based on the Bible, and Intelligent Design certainly is not.
– M. Dunford.

Seems clear enough, honestly.

Assuming your quote is reflective of the context, Mike is wrong on this one. Creationism does not need to be explicitly based on the Bible to be considered such, from either a legal or a scientific standpoint. Leaving aside the obvious issue of non-Judeo-Christian forms of creationism, there is the actual problem that Creationists have been trying to actively hide their Biblical inspiration for decades, for tactical reasons. Therefore, explicit reference to the Bible cannot be a reliable indicator of Creationism.

For instance, in his affidavit for Edwards v Aguillard, Dean Kenyon was adamant that Creation science was not based on the Bible either:

Creation-science does not include as essential parts the concepts of catastrophism, a world-wide flood, a recent inception of the earth or life, from nothingness (ex nihilo), the concept of kinds, or any concepts from Genesis or other religious texts. [emphasis mine]

but the courts and anyone else with a functioning brain clearly realized that this was just a ruse.

Comment #192583

Posted by Raging Bee on August 5, 2007 5:29 PM (e)

FL: So what, exactly, is the significance of that phrase “cdesign proponentsists?”

Comment #192585

Posted by FL on August 5, 2007 5:35 PM (e)

Creationism is certainly explicitly based on the Bible, and Intelligent Design certainly is not.
– M. Dunford.

Already read “Mike’s full post.” Nothing in “Mike’s full post” contradicts this particular statement of Mike’s.

FL

Comment #192587

Posted by harold on August 5, 2007 5:38 PM (e)

The creationists are going around and around in circles, and the DI is experiencing an exponential decline.

The original effort in Kansas in 1999, although surely inspired by the Wedge Document, was merely to cut all mention of evolution out of the curriculum.

I argued at the time (by posting on the internet, that is) that there might be a legal remedy. I pointed out that this would deprive all Kansas students of an expected element of a modern high school science curriculum, to the presumed benefit of a single sectarian group. Such deprivation could have substantial pragmatic negative consequences in university admission interviews, freshman science courses, and so on.

However, that turned out to be irrelevant, as the voters were understandably annoyed by heavy-handed censoring of scientific material, and that school board was voted out.

So the creationists decided that they had to peddle something “positive”. Hence the propaganda build-up to Dover, with garbage-filled but bamboozling (to some) books published for the lay public, and the dopes of the “mainstream media” eagerly providing editorial after editorial on the “new maverick idea that has liberal scientists running scared” (those words are made up and exaggerated for effect, but that was the typical implication).

That led up to implosion in Dover and the growing recognition in the media that ID is the kind of thing that Stephen Colbert might make look silly.

So now, full 180 degree turn. Back to the old “just censor or deny evolution, and let Pat Roberston provide the alternative on Sunday” routine.

But now they’re even more fenced in than before. They’ve learned that just censoring or denying evolution doesn’t go over well. After Dover, they have to really, really pretend not to be religious. That makes them look unsatisfying to the fundamentalists, and like liars to everybody else.

Their new strategy is that this is just an extra book for schools to buy. And the point of it is that, after teaching evolution and getting any serious exams out of the way, you use valuable science classroom time to teach some lying “criticisms” of evolution as a “supplement”, while vehemently denying any relgious, social or political motivation for doing so.

At this point what the DI is struggling for is the survival of the DI. They just need to do something. It’s interesting to note that, since 1999, no a single new major player has adopted ID that I can think of - it’s all still Behe, Dembski, Wells, Johnson (lightweight blog trolls like Dave Scott Springer and Denyse O’Leary don’t count, and are a little moldy themselves).

My prediction is that when this implodes, there will be a subsequent, even weaker effort to produce some more bamboozling, dissembling, illogical “positive arguments for design”. At that point they may even be reduced to trying to strong-arm crap into private religious schools and onto home-schoolers, with only a symbolic effort at impacting public schools.

It’s obvious to rational people that every nickel given to the DI is a complete waste,

Comment #192588

Posted by FL on August 5, 2007 5:50 PM (e)

And btw, since we’re reading Mike’s full post, Mike says:

“It’s extremely uncommon for me to find myself in agreement with Denyse on anything (and it’s not a comfortable feeling), but in this case I do think she’s got a good point.”

Immediately before that statement, he quotes Denyse O’Leary:

“Then the creationists in turn help the ID theorists by making clear what creationism is and what it is not. Creationism is about the BIBLE, see? It’s not about intelligent design theories like Behe’s* Edge of Evolution or Dembski’s design inference.”

Immediately after his statement expressing agreement with O’Leary, Mike then says:

“Creationism is certainly explicitly based on the Bible, and Intelligent Design certainly is not.”

Therefore, the context and meaning of Mike’s sentence “Creationism is certainly explicitly based on the Bible, and Intelligent Design certainly is not” is clear and unmistakable.

There is no duckin’, no dodgin’, no slippin’, and no dippin’, on what he said. Very straightforward, very true statement.

Comment #192596

Posted by 386sx on August 5, 2007 6:22 PM (e)

“Creationism is certainly explicitly based on the Bible, and Intelligent Design certainly is not.”

“Explicitly” is the key word there. Creationists don’t hide what they are all about, but Intelligent Design does. But they are both creationism. Therefore ID is all about creationism. Therefore, “ID is creationism” is the most accurate simple thing you can say about ID. Now stop causing trouble!!!

Comment #192605

Posted by harold on August 5, 2007 6:43 PM (e)

FL -

If ID is not dressed-up creationism, and you are, as we know, a creationist, then why do you and other creationists support ID?

Comment #192611

Posted by Flint on August 5, 2007 6:53 PM (e)

FL seems to be making the same point that many here have made. Creationism was booted by the courts because it was explicitly biblical, teaching Adam and Eve and Noah’s Flood directly. This was supplanted by “scientific creationism” which tried to keep the same basic doctine intact, but remove those parts that corresponded closest to one-to-one with Genesis. The courts disagreed, and said it was Genesis.

ID has made the two-faced attempt to expunge ALL superficial resemblance between creationism and the bible, by conceding that goddidit, but refusing to pin themselves to any literal doctrine, but the substitution of “cdesign proponentists” is hard to sleaze out of. In other words, FL and Dunford are correct - ID is deliberate *implicit* Genesis, rather than explicit. Or, depending on which wording we prefer, we can say that ID encodes Genesis in a way calculated to be obvious to contributors yet provide courts with the opportunity to play dumb and say “gee, we don’t see anything religious here at all…” if only they can find a suitable creationist judge. Scalia would be dead-center ideal.

Forrest has traced the history of this tactic in considerable detail. I’m unwilling to concede that FL is unfamiliar with Forrest’s work - but he can *pretend* he is; this sort of pretense lies (through its teeth!) at the heart of creationism.

Comment #192621

Posted by Science Avenger on August 5, 2007 7:12 PM (e)

There’s really a simple solution to this. Have the DI, or Dembski on his blog, make explicit statements about the Biblical account of creation, and where exactly, ID differs from that account.

Comment #192622

Posted by Henry J on August 5, 2007 7:12 PM (e)

Creationism is certainly explicitly based on the Bible, and Intelligent Design certainly is not.
– M. Dunford.

So what he’s saying is that while traditional Creationism is based on somebody’s interpretation of a book, Intelligent Design is simply something that somebody made up without any basis at all? Ah well, I think most of us already knew that.

Henry

Comment #192623

Posted by Torbjörn Larsson, OM on August 5, 2007 7:14 PM (e)

harold wrote:

since 1999, no a single new major player has adopted ID that I can think of

Seems the infection is contained then.

It would be good to have an efficient vaccine though. Perhaps a better education is one - and that would be helped by stopping all creationists attempts of sabotaging it. Those with acquired weakened defenses against pseudoscience and woo, such as many home schoolers, would benefit from a full dose.

Even being far from the infected area, I’m hopeful that this may now slowly go in the right direction, at least in the near term. Behe’s retroviral EoE ‘science text’ and the associated mechanism of spread (politics) seems to be a weak combination.

Comment #192632

Posted by Torbjörn Larsson, OM on August 5, 2007 7:31 PM (e)

Flint wrote:

ID is deliberate *implicit* Genesis

I would further say that any ideas allowing agent “designers” outside of cultural artifacts is creationism, if not necessarily religious creationism.

Oh, and since evolution is a 150 year massively successful theory, “agent designers” is also cretinism.

Comment #192634

Posted by Torbjörn Larsson, OM on August 5, 2007 7:34 PM (e)

TL wrote:

Behe’s retroviral EoE ‘science text’ and the associated mechanism of spread (politics) seems to be a weak combination.

And looking at the AtBC thread, seems EE is also the mess we are used to see.

Comment #192674

Posted by RichStage on August 5, 2007 10:16 PM (e)

I think the word I would have picked for the title is noisome, instead of winsome.

But that’s just me.

Comment #192711

Posted by Frank Degenaar on August 6, 2007 12:57 AM (e)

Both Creationism and ID refute evolution. That´s what it all boils down to. It´s a matter of history now… old hat… and once lies are shot down, people are for the first time able to take their first step toward God.
What are evolutionists fighting so hard against, other than a conscience that recognizes their Creator? How else do you account for almost an entire collection of comments which has nothing of substance to say, but a repetition of sterile jargon.
Evolutionists first and foremost fight against their consciences, which necessitates a doctoring of facts and reality to appease it for brief moments.
When this life is through, an ample supply of time will no longer be a faithful alibi to what they once tried to convince themselves of. There will be no end to time as it stretches into eternity, but this life comes to an abrupt end whether we like it or not. Unfortunately there is no option of “non-existence” when our last breath is breathed.
Whatever they believe, there is nothing to hope for after their brief time is up.
My only hope is that they too will turn to Jesus Christ, the hope of all the world, just as I have done.
God bless

Comment #192724

Posted by hoary puccoon on August 6, 2007 2:56 AM (e)

Frank Degenaar–
I’m sure you’re sincere in your beliefs. I don’t think that the IDers and the ‘scientific’ creationists are. They have a long, long history of lies, slander and, all too often, outright fraud. There is no debate whatsoever in the scientific community that evolution happened and continues to happen. Now that genomes can be deciphered, new evidence confirming evolutionary theory comes in every day, almost every hour. Anyone who tells you different is either ignorant or deliberately lying to you. I’m sorry if that’s hard for you to accept. But that’s the truth.

Comment #192740

Posted by raven on August 6, 2007 3:32 AM (e)

Both Creationism and ID refute evolution.

A lie. Both are different versions of a myth.

BTW, evolution is a scientific fact, best explained by Darwinian-Mendelian theories. As such, they are not religion or religious in the slightest. People of all faiths and none including most mainstream protestant, catholic (the Pope!), and even mormon accept reality and evolution. You’re comparing a myth spread by a few xian death cults in the south central USA to evolution in particular and science in general is comparing apples to oranges.

Creationism and its disguised version ID, also conflicts with most of modern astronomy, geology, and paleontology. Why don’t you mention this?

What are evolutionists fighting so hard against, other than a conscience that recognizes their Creator?

The usual fight. Light against dark. Knowledge against ignorance, stupidity, and chaos. A better world instead of a return to the dark ages.

Evolution like all science is neutral on religion. The equation evolution=science=atheism is flat out wrong or the Pope and most xians are in trouble. Your concern for our souls is touching but completely misplaced. The cults claim the father of all lies is the devil. You should be worrrying, not scientists.

Comment #192743

Posted by dhogaza on August 6, 2007 3:35 AM (e)

once lies are shot down, people are for the first time able to take their first step toward God.

This is true, though not in the way the creobot intends.

Once one realizes that creationists, whether of the YEC, OEC, or ID variety, constantly “lie for God and Jesus”, one can make an intelligent decision about whether or not to base one’s faith on such lies, or to find a faith that is consistent with the real world around us.

Comment #192748

Posted by Stephen Wells on August 6, 2007 4:02 AM (e)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'kwickxml'

Comment #192749

Posted by Stephen Wells on August 6, 2007 4:05 AM (e)

@Frank Degenaar: threatening people with terrible consequences after they die, the argumentum postmortem, is utterly pointless since it requires your audience to first agree with you about what happens when you die.

Comment #192773

Posted by Frank J on August 6, 2007 5:15 AM (e)

Nick Matzke wrote:

Noting that ID is creationism is the most accurate simple thing you can say about ID.

That may be true in court, where one would be forced to make it clear that “creationism” is “any pseudoscientific strategy to misrepresent evolution that proposes a design-based alternative.” Unfortunately, as you know, the public has a very different definition of “creationism,” one that is essentially “honest belief in YEC.” To which most people are quite tolerant. There’s nothing honest about the ID strategy, except maybe the belief that the “masses” need to take fairy tales literally in order to behave properly. Saying that ID promotes creationism would be far less ambiguous. And I would add that it promotes the mutually contradictory creationist positions, for the millions who still don’t know that IDers have no problem promoting at least one position that they know is incorrect.

Comment #192777

Posted by Frank J on August 6, 2007 5:48 AM (e)

Nick Matzke wrote:

Obviously I disagree. I think you are falling into the carefully-laid trap that the ID guys have set. You wouldn’t be the first, especially in the late 1990s a lot of insufficiently cynical people bought the “ID isn’t creationism, no sirree” line that the DI was putting out.

Sigh. I’m not sure how to make myself clear without putting all of my thoughts in the same comment, but I’ll try:

There should be no doubt that I think that the IDers are scammers, and far more devious than the classic creationists. I often have remarked about Behe’s pathetic disclaimer about common descent, and especially how it is a curious exception to the usual DI claim that those outside the relevant fields may provide a better, less biased perspective. Certainly Behe would never say that those IDers who apparently deny common descent may be biased, even if he privately knows that they are. That would defeat the whole purpose of ID.

IDers want the “masses” to infer what ever anti-evolution they are comfortable with, be it YEC, OEC, even common descent as long as it doesn’t include evolutionary mechanisms. ID is especially friendly to YEC in the political sense, because that’s what the majority of their political base prefers. When I say that S & S are more “friendly” to YEC and OEC, I mean it in the sense that they tell them explicitly what they want to hear. ID does not, which bothers some YEC and OEC leaders if not many of the rank and file. So yes, I do think that the indirect approach actually promotes YEC and OEC even better than the direct approach, and has the added bonus of keeping people unaware of the irreconcilable differences. And of the fact that others, like S & S, have offered arguments, however poor, that deny evolution and common descent without invoking design or Creation. The mere existence of that position is inconvenient to the ID approach - although I do admit that not many people would turn against ID if they found out about S & S.

Bottom like: I think ID is a scam, and most people still see it primarily as honest belief, if not honest “alternative science”. Last I heard 60-70% of the public is OK with “teach the controversy,” and that includes ~20% that claims to accept evolution. Maybe I’m wrong, but it seems that the approach that is impressively winning in the courts is not the one that will win in the court of public opinion.

Comment #192787

Posted by Ron Okimoto on August 6, 2007 6:56 AM (e)

What gets me is that these guys know that the teach the controversy scam is being perpetrated by the same dishonest perps that lied to them about the teach ID scam, and they don’t care. They are falling all over themselves to be lied to again.

This is a mind set that I can’t understand. Why would a majority of the Ohio State board of education take the replacement scam, offered in the bait and switch scam that the ID perps played on them, when the ID perps tried to lie to their faces about the “science” of ID? It isn’t like they knew that they could trust the ID perps. Heck, they had to know that the bait and switch was being played on them. Once they actually saw the model lesson plan they had to know that ID wasn’t even mentioned in the replacement scam, so why did they try to continue? They had bought into the teach ID scam. There is no doubt about that. So why get scammed by the bait and switch ploy?

Do these guys blame themselves for not understanding what the real scam was? Anyone that didn’t know that the bait and switch was being run was probably in the majority, but after it was being played out how could they go along with it?

Now the ID perps are trying to claim that they never proposed to teach ID in the public schools. Who would believe that? Meyer left the Ohio board with the parting shot that he didn’t think that the decision to teach ID should be made at the state level, but should be made at the local level. Everyone found out what a lie that was during the Dover fiasco. You couldn’t get any more local than that.

What is the mental rationalization? Is it because it is the only game in town? Why don’t they find another dealer once they know that the one they have is dealing off the bottom of the deck and taking them for a rube?

Comment #192822

Posted by Raging Bee on August 6, 2007 8:44 AM (e)

What are evolutionists fighting so hard against, other than a conscience that recognizes their Creator

Actually, most “evolutionists” do indeed believe in a Creator; and our faith is probably stronger than that of the creationists, who show their insecurity, uncertainty, and lack of faith by desperately trying to deny the obvious reality that we observe in our Gods’ creation.

Evolutionists first and foremost fight against their consciences, which necessitates a doctoring of facts and reality to appease it for brief moments.

Creationists routinely lie, appeal to ignorance, and bear false witness with the intent of inciting hatred against innocent people. And now you’re questioning OUR conscience? At least we’re not making death-threats against you, as some of you have done to us. Your desperation is as laughable as it is obvious.

And threatening eternal punishment is the final proof that you have nothing else to offer.

Comment #192872

Posted by harold on August 6, 2007 10:48 AM (e)

Frank J. -

Bottom like: I think ID is a scam, and most people still see it primarily as honest belief, if not honest “alternative science”. Last I heard 60-70% of the public is OK with “teach the controversy,” and that includes ~20% that claims to accept evolution. Maybe I’m wrong, but it seems that the approach that is impressively winning in the courts is not the one that will win in the court of public opinion.

Once again, although we are on the same side and our views overlap substantially, I must register some respectful and collegial disagreement.

Victories in the courts have been strongly associated with victories in public opinion. The court loss in Dover also led to a very strong electoral defeat for school board creationists.

This round began in 1999 in Kansas. In that incident, creationists, who wanted nothing more than to censor the teaching of evolution, were defeated solely by electoral results - no court case was even necessary.

Although these are anecdotes, they are also actual data from the field, and they show that, when forced to pay attention to ID and its agenda, the public is turned off by it. And these incidents took place in rural areas where ID would be presumed to have its strongest support. (Note, also, that the very presumption that ID should be most popular in rural, conservative areas, made by both sides, is an admission that ID is more about relgious, social and political identity than science.)

There is no evidence of widespread public acceptance of DI figures like Dembski, Wells, Behe, and the like. The public does not know who they are, does not buy their books, does not show any interest in them. I have never met anyone who has read an ID book other than opponents of ID and hard core right wing activists.

Non-specific poll results are simple not very relevant. That is especially true when the polls are set up, either deliberately or accidentally, to reflect social bias. I have explained on this board time and time again, although it should not even need to be explained, that if you set up a poll asking people whether a “scientific controversy” should be “taught”, you strongly bias the poll with a strong implication that a legitimate controversy exists, virtually forcing anyone who does not have the specialized knowledge to catch the trick to choose “teach the controversy”. Likewise, I have pointed out that Americans don’t like to “contradict religion”. Hence, if you ask them whether bacteria or plants evolve, 70% say yes, but if you ask whether humans evolved, it falls to about 50%, and only very few say that “God had nothing to do with it”.

Furthermore, I have explained time and time again that most people don’t know what “intelligent design” means and mistake it to mean a nice Mr Rogers kind of vague theism, until it is explained (this is no coincidence; it’s why that particular term was coined, to bamboozle people). Indeed, although I have never met anyone who read an ID book other than the two types described above, I have met many intelligent people who thought that “intelligent design” sounded like a reasonable idea, without knowing what it really meant. A little talk about bacterial flagella, sand castles, and Howard Amahnson always sets them straight. For an illustration, see Dover transcripts.

However, none of this really matters. We have only one real weapon to fight with - the honest scientific validity of the theory of evolution, regardless of the religion of the person examining the evidence. I’m sure you agree that it would be creationist-like and internicine to propose a dissembling strategy of “one message in court and a different message in public”.

I’m not arguing against our side using honest positive approaches to maximize the public understanding and acceptance of science. On the contrary, I’m strongly in favor of using honest means to do so. Although the facts are the facts and the evidence is the evidence, although what’s true is true no matter how it’s presented, there is no rational or ethical reason to present things in a way causes needless negative reaction. At the same time, though, even that would be better than a dissembling or inconsistent approach.

Comment #192878

Posted by Bill Gascoyne on August 6, 2007 10:55 AM (e)

What are evolutionists fighting so hard against, other than a conscience that recognizes their Creator?

We fight against the idea that specific statements about the nature of that creator and creation must be accepted on faith and cannot be questioned.

Comment #192879

Posted by BDeller on August 6, 2007 10:57 AM (e)

Dang,
Anyone know how to get the PowerPoint for “E.E.”?

I want to get my hands on the PowerPoint that is provided with the text. I start my school year off showing my science students Godzilla as a fun prop for a discussion on science and scientific theory. The PowerPoint would be an even better monster to show the chillins what is not science and scientific theory.

No disrespect to Godzilla intended

Comment #192885

Posted by Frank J on August 6, 2007 11:15 AM (e)

harold wrote:

Furthermore, I have explained time and time again that most people don’t know what “intelligent design” means and mistake it to mean a nice Mr Rogers kind of vague theism, until it is explained (this is no coincidence; it’s why that particular term was coined, to bamboozle people).

In fact my reason for wanting to treat ID (including the “don’t ask, don’t tell” creationism that preceded it and the “teach the controversy” that followed) separately from classic creationism (while never denying their “common ancestry”) is to show that the former is more dishonest than the latter.

I probably said this before, but I hope you are right about ID falling out of favor. I also agree that the poll questions are very misleading, but the one that is most worrisome is the one that is worded least ambiguously, namely the one that shows ~60-70% that are OK with “teach the controversy.”

Comment #192895

Posted by harold on August 6, 2007 11:38 AM (e)

What are evolutionists fighting so hard against, other than a conscience that recognizes their Creator?

We fight against the idea that specific statements about the nature of that creator and creation must be accepted on faith and cannot be questioned.

I’m not even that theoretical, although on a personal level I strongly support the sentiment. Here’s what I’m fighting against. (Note - although I don’t use the near-nonsense term “evolutionist” to describe everyone who has some knowledge of basic biology, I know I’m what you mean by “evolutionist”, so…)

1) Creationists have specifically attempted to censor or distort the teaching of mainstream evolutionary science in tax-payer funded public schools, and/or to insert pseudoscience which is perceieved as bolstering their own religious, social and political ideology. I’m fighting against that. I’d fight against that type of thing no matter who was trying to do it.
2) Creationists or identified allies of creationists also advocate for other public policies that I oppose, such as global warming denial, denial of funds for stem cell research, abstinence-only health education, and denial of family planning in international aid packages. Unlike “1)”, these policies are not overtly unconstitutional, they’re just bad ideas.
3) I don’t care about peoples’ private beliefs very much. I “fight” against public policy that impacts on me. If some guy who is mistakenly convinced by creationism or ID wants to discuss it theoretically, and I have a lot of free time, I might argue in favor of science, and indeed, sometimes I do. I don’t perceive that as “fighting”.

One thing I am NOT AT ALL fighting against is your right to live your private life as you see fit, and believe and worship privately, as you see fit, within only the limitation that you respect the rights of others and the law. In fact, I’d fight FOR your right to do those things.

Comment #192899

Posted by PvM on August 6, 2007 11:43 AM (e)

My only hope is that they too will turn to Jesus Christ, the hope of all the world, just as I have done.

Many have done so and still have found no reason to reject good science. Think about it, what kind of God would require one to reject fact? Are you sure you have committed your faith to the right God here?

Comment #192909

Posted by Frank J on August 6, 2007 12:11 PM (e)

Harold wrote:

I’m sure you agree that it would be creationist-like and internicine to propose a dissembling strategy of “one message in court and a different message in public”.

Sure, which is why I only advocate a different emphasis on 2 parts of the same message.

All the information is out there for anyone intersted to see. I wish most people would read the Dover transcripts, or even a decent one-page rebuttal of the “flagellum” argument, but sadly few have the time or interest. That example in fact brings up what may be the biggest lie of all - that we are the ones who want to “censor” anything just because religion and pseudoscience (& anti-evolution activism is both) do not belong in science class.

Comment #192910

Posted by 386sx on August 6, 2007 12:12 PM (e)

Are you sure you have committed your faith to the right God here?

He says right there that he turned to Jesus Christ, the hope of the world. Sounds like the right God to me.

Both of you, of course, are only speaking metaphorically and neither of you have a clue what you’re talking about. But you both sound very impressive to each other, I’m sure.

Comment #192922

Posted by PvM on August 6, 2007 12:37 PM (e)

He says right there that he turned to Jesus Christ, the hope of the world. Sounds like the right God to me.

In name perhaps but there is more to it than proclaiming one’s faith in a name. For instance, what if a nefarious JC wannabe pretends to be Him and lures in people? Just a hypothetical scenario of course.

Both of you, of course, are only speaking metaphorically and neither of you have a clue what you’re talking about. But you both sound very impressive to each other, I’m sure.

Just because you are confused as to what we are talking about, does not mean that we are confused… That’s called projecting.

Of course, rejecting evolution because it ‘conflicts’ with faith is a sure indicator of lack of faith.

Comment #192923

Posted by Frank Degenaar on August 6, 2007 12:40 PM (e)

Thanks for the thought-out responses. Many people certainly make sense. It depends what side of the coin you‘re presented with first though, except that in this case the analogy of a coin does not suffice.
Quick question just out of curiosity, since I am not familiar with all of the possibilities: Would anyone out there call themselves (or at least identify their standpoint) as being that of both a creationist and evolutionist at the same time? I mean, I know that there are innumerable people who believe in a Creator, and don‘t rule out the possibility of evolution being within His scope of things… but just for the sake of terminology, I‘m interested to find whether anyone would consider themselves to be an advocate of both “labels”, despite the heated debate, saying, “I am a creationist and an evolutionist.”

Comment #192942

Posted by Frank J on August 6, 2007 1:35 PM (e)

Frang Degenaar wrote:

Quick question just out of curiosity, since I am not familiar with all of the possibilities: Would anyone out there call themselves (or at least identify their standpoint) as being that of both a creationist and evolutionist at the same time?

Several past regulars on Talk.Origins preferred to be called “creationists,” even though they denied none of evolution, and even objected to how it’s misrepresented by other creationists (which I prefer to call “anti-evolution activists”). If the word wasn’t used in so many different ways, and particularly associated with those who prefer to cherry pick evidence, bait-and-switch terms and concepts and quote mine than test their own ides, I guess I too would not mind the label for myself.

Comment #192943

Posted by 386sx on August 6, 2007 1:37 PM (e)

Of course, rejecting evolution because it ‘conflicts’ with faith is a sure indicator of lack of faith.

Possibly a lack of faith in a particular sort of God. But not a lack of faith in a nefarious JC wannabe. :-)

Comment #192944

Posted by pigwidgeon on August 6, 2007 1:37 PM (e)

Frank: You speak of the position known as theistic evolution, the belief that God created the Earth and life but that he used the natural mechanisms we observe to accomplish it, evolution being one of them.

This is, however, an unfortunate middle ground for some. Fundie Christians don’t like it because they feel it’s a cop out, a pandering to the other side and a rejection of the truth of the Bible. Hardcore atheists don’t like it for reasons I’m less familiar with - perhaps because they feel it’s a flimsy attempt to keep everyone happy.

I, personally, feel it is the best way to reconcile faith and science. All you have to do is assume God is not lying to you or trying to trick you, when you look at the world.

Comment #192951

Posted by mark on August 6, 2007 1:58 PM (e)

The IDers can present their “sciencey” product to school boards and some of those members, like Heather Geesey, the former Dover Area School Board member, will swallow it (without fully comprehending it or even reading the entire tract), because they will see it as a way of bringing Jesus back into school. Such people will likely find EE very convincing.

Comment #192954

Posted by Frank Degenaar on August 6, 2007 2:01 PM (e)

386sx wrote, “Possibly a lack of faith in a particular sort of God. But not a lack of faith in a nefarious JC wannabe. :-)”

I actually learned something from you, but I must admit that I had to go to an online dictionary to find out what nefarious meant:
—Synonyms flagitious, heinous, infamous; vile, atrocious, execrable.
There´s no doubt that you must be a very intellectual individual, especially when I see nefarious mentioned twice in the same thread.
Thanks Frank J and pigwidgeon for your explanations. Much appreciated.

Comment #192962

Posted by harold on August 6, 2007 2:20 PM (e)

Frank -

Would anyone out there call themselves (or at least identify their standpoint) as being that of both a creationist and evolutionist at the same time? I mean, I know that there are innumerable people who believe in a Creator, and don‘t rule out the possibility of evolution being within His scope of things… but just for the sake of terminology, I‘m interested to find whether anyone would consider themselves to be an advocate of both “labels”, despite the heated debate, saying, “I am a creationist and an evolutionist.”

The answer to that is “no”, but that’s because of the definition of the word “creationism”.

It nearly always refers to one of the first two meanings given here - http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/creationi… (I’ve never heard of the third one and have no opinion on it one way or the other; I totally disagree with the more common definitions, the first two given). Note that, while a dictionary is not a good reference for a scientific topic, it is a good reference for confirming the usually accepted meaning of a non-technical word.

Also, although a few British evolutionary biologists call themselves “evolutionists”, most people don’t. I accept the theory of relativity, too, that doesn’t make me a “relativity-ist”.

However, there are many people who are religious, but also accept the the theory of evolution. Some post here. Others include…

http://www.butler.edu/clergyproject/clergy_proje…

http://www.news.com.au/heraldsun/story/0,21985,2…

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kenneth_R._Miller

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francis_Collins

Caveat - I don’t agree with everything Francis Collins is quoted as saying in the article. In particular, he expresses a very commonly held logical fallacy about the “probability” of the universe having certain constants. That’s a rather subtle point (so subtle that Collins and a number of other brilliant scientists make the mistake) and I won’t expand on it here.

I consider myself religious, broadly defined, in a non-traditional way.

I say “nefarious” all the time, I might add.

Comment #192974

Posted by 386sx on August 6, 2007 2:56 PM (e)

Well thank you Frank. It’s really pretty simple. If you have faith in a God that doesn’t make sense, then a belief in something that doesn’t make sense does not indicate a lack of faith in a God that doesn’t make sense. it really doesn’t take a very intellectual individual to comprehend that. But thanks. :-)

Comment #192976

Posted by Dave Thomas on August 6, 2007 2:58 PM (e)

Of course, Intelligent Design is Creationism.

To prove it with a simple computer experiment, simply click on the following link: http://www.creation-science.com/

Before you click, make sure the link will be to www.creation-science.com. Or just type in “www.creation-science.com” in your browser’s “location” field.

Where do you end up? At a creationist site, or at an ID site?

If the latter, why is it that “Intelligent Design” people own the domain “www.creation-science.com” ?

Q.E.D.

Dave

Comment #192986

Posted by Raging Bee on August 6, 2007 3:30 PM (e)

Would anyone out there call themselves (or at least identify their standpoint) as being that of both a creationist and evolutionist at the same time?

Short answer: No. “Creationist” doesn’t just mean “believing in a Creator;” it means believing – and, most importantly, believing science classes should teach – that supernatural agency in the creation/development of life on Earth can be, and/or has been, scientifically proven; that modern evolutionary theory is wrong, or at best incomlete because it doesn’t allow for said supernatural agency; and that religious doctrine should therefore be integrated with science.

There are plenty of people, scientists and non-scientists, who believe in a Creator who used his/her/their powers to ensure that life on Earth, including Humans, turned out the way it did; but who also flatly reject “creationism,” “creation science,” and “intelligent design” as ignorant and/or dishonest pseudoscience, on the level of astrology. We believe in various Gods, but we also accept that science has not, and probably never will, prove or disprove the existence or agency of our Gods.

Comment #193003

Posted by James Collins on August 6, 2007 4:01 PM (e)

Sounds like a very good idea. If evolutionists can’t defend their belief, maybe they should consider Intelligent Design.

But if they really want to enhance their popularity they should build us a living cell from scratch. That should do it.

If it weren’t so pitiful it would be humorous, that intelligent people have swallowed the evolution mythology.

Beyond doubt, the main reason people believe in evolution is that sources they admire, say it is so. It would pay for these people to do a thorough examination of all the evidence CONTRARY to evolution that is readily available: Try answersingenesis.org. The evolutionists should honestly examine the SUPPOSED evidence ‘FOR’ evolution for THEMSELVES.

Build us a cell, from scratch, with the required raw material, that is with NO cell material, just the ‘raw’ stuff, and the argument is over. But if the scientists are unsuccessful, perhaps they should try Mother Earth’s recipe, you know, the one they claim worked the first time about 4 billion years ago, so they say. All they need to do is to gather all the chemicals that we know are essential for life, pour them into a large clay pot and stir vigorously for a few billion years, and Walla, LIFE!

Oh, you don’t believe the ‘original’ Mother Earth recipe will work? You are NOT alone, Neither do I, and MILLIONS of others!

PS: Please don’t lie about the ‘first life’ problem, scientists are falling all over themselves to make a living cell. Many have admitted publicly that it is a monumental problem. And is many years away from happening, if ever. Logical people understand this problem and have rightly concluded that an Intelligent Designer was absolutely necessary. Think of it this way, if all the brilliant scientists on earth can’t do it how on earth can anyone believe that it happened by accident?????

Comment #193020

Posted by Stephen Wells on August 6, 2007 4:45 PM (e)

“James Collins” appears to be saying that if we could intelligently design a cell then he’d believe in evolution.

Comment #193022

Posted by harold on August 6, 2007 4:50 PM (e)

James Collins -

Sounds like a very good idea. If evolutionists can’t defend their belief, maybe they should consider Intelligent Design.

Even if the theory of evolution were not supported many lines of independent evidence, it still wouldn’t make sense to “consider Intelligent Design”, because ID is illogical, with or without a good theory of evolution.

But if they really want to enhance their popularity they should build us a living cell from scratch. That should do it.

That would have nothing to do with the theory of evolution.

If it weren’t so pitiful it would be humorous, that intelligent people have swallowed the evolution mythology. Beyond doubt, the main reason people believe in evolution is that sources they admire, say it is so.

You’re a very bad mind reader; most people who post here have an actual scientific education.

It would pay for these people to do a thorough examination of all the evidence CONTRARY to evolution that is readily available: Try answersingenesis.org. The evolutionists should honestly examine the SUPPOSED evidence ‘FOR’ evolution for THEMSELVES.

Almost everyone here has been familiar with the childish lies of that web site for years. Probably more familiar that you are.

Build us a cell, from scratch, with the required raw material, that is with NO cell material, just the ‘raw’ stuff, and the argument is over.

Again, this would not have anything to do with evolution per se, although it would probably lead to a good model of abiogenesis. Can you explain the theory of evolution correctly?

But if the scientists are unsuccessful, perhaps they should try Mother Earth’s recipe, you know, the one they claim worked the first time about 4 billion years ago, so they say. All they need to do is to gather all the chemicals that we know are essential for life, pour them into a large clay pot and stir vigorously for a few billion years, and Walla, LIFE!

Oh, you don’t believe the ‘original’ Mother Earth recipe will work? You are NOT alone, Neither do I, and MILLIONS of others!

This is bizarre gobbledygook.

The layers of ignorance and, yes, dishonesty here are astonishing. Not only do you confuse abiogenesis with the theory of evolution (which deals with cellular and post-cellular life) but you create a childish straw man version of abiogenesis.

PS: Please don’t lie about the ‘first life’ problem, scientists are falling all over themselves to make a living cell. Many have admitted publicly that it is a monumental problem. And is many years away from happening, if ever. Logical people understand this problem and have rightly concluded that an Intelligent Designer was absolutely necessary. Think of it this way, if all the brilliant scientists on earth can’t do it how on earth can anyone believe that it happened by accident?????

This is not only more or less a lie, although there are scientists working on abiogenesis models, but it’s also utterly illogical. Not long ago, all the brilliant scientists on earth were incapable of generating a useful electric current. That doesn’t mean magic is required for it. However, again, your entire ill-informed and apparently disingenuous post is about abiogenesis. You haven’t said a word about the theory of evolution.

Comment #193023

Posted by hooligans on August 6, 2007 4:56 PM (e)

I beleive a teacher from the following school is planning on using the textbook to “teach the controversy” in a biology class this upcoming school year. What a shame.

Curtis High School
8425 40th Street W
University Place, WA 98466
Phone: (253) 566-5710; Fax: (253)566-5626
David Hammond, Principal
Terry Jenks, Asst. Principal &Athletic Dir.
Jeff Johnson , Asst. Principal
Rosalynn McKenna, Asst. Principal
Ron Brock, Coordinator Student Discipline

Comment #193025

Posted by George Cauldron on August 6, 2007 5:02 PM (e)

Sounds like a very good idea. If evolutionists can’t defend their belief, maybe they should consider Intelligent Design.

‘Belief’?

No, we’re not talking about ID/C here.

Besides, the problem doesn’t arise anyway. Pay closer attention next time.

Think of it this way, if all the brilliant scientists on earth can’t do it how on earth can anyone believe that it happened by accident?????

So basically, you’re saying that for anything observable, if man can’t (yet) make one, then the only explanation is that God made it?

Bravo.

Aren’t you a tad worried about having your key ‘evidence’ for ID being something that people can’t do yet? Last I heard that whole ‘God of the gaps’ thing wasn’t working all that well for you guys.

Comment #193027

Posted by George Cauldron on August 6, 2007 5:05 PM (e)

Not long ago, all the brilliant scientists on earth were incapable of generating a useful electric current. That doesn’t mean magic is required for it.

It’s very simple: before humans were able to create an electrical current, God was the explanation behind electricity. The second that humans were able to create an electrical current, ‘materialist’ explanations for electricity suddenly became correct.

Comment #193028

Posted by Noturus on August 6, 2007 5:12 PM (e)

Collins wrote:

But if they really want to enhance their popularity they should build us a living cell from scratch. That should do it.

1. No, that would be Intelligent Design. If the ID folks want to enhance their popularity, they should build us a living cell from scratch (no cheating now- its Intelligent Design, not Intelligent Reverse Engineering), or show how God, er, the Intelligent Designer did it. Until then they don’t even have a hypothesis.

2. Evolution only requires a replicator to work, not a cell. So all we have to do is build a replicator not found in nature from scratch. Doesn’t seem like that big a deal. I would guess it will be done in the next 5 years, if it hasn’t already.

Comment #193029

Posted by raven on August 6, 2007 5:13 PM (e)

James Collins:

But if they really want to enhance their popularity they should build us a living cell from scratch. That should do it.

JC sure is setting records for stupidity. A hit and run troll for sure.

Scientists have already recreated 3 life forms from scratch. Polio, the 1918 epidemic form of influenza, and a human endogenous retrovirus now called Phoenix. Two of those were extinct, the retrovirus had long ago gone defective.

The creation of de novo life forms is going on right now. Recent advances in sequencing and synthesis of long macromolecules makes this possible. Look up minimal cell project in any search engine.

James, is being a moron on line fun? Do you ever get tired of it? How about trolling? Let’s see, in James weird world, “being a moron, being wrong, lying, and trolling…proves god exists!!! So easy, isn’t it?

Comment #193044

Posted by Raging Bee on August 6, 2007 5:39 PM (e)

Beyond doubt, the main reason people believe in evolution is that sources they admire, say it is so.

No, it’s because people who have earned RESPECT by getting results and demostrating understanding of the real world say it is so. And the people who deny it, are people who show no understanding of the real world, get no beneficial results, and lie as easily as they fart.

Comment #193061

Posted by harold on August 6, 2007 6:18 PM (e)

Raven -

I’m posting this primarily so that some creationist troll doesn’t have a “gotcha” moment.

Scientists have already recreated 3 life forms from scratch. Polio, the 1918 epidemic form of influenza, and a human endogenous retrovirus now called Phoenix. Two of those were extinct, the retrovirus had long ago gone defective.

I’m sure James Collins doesn’t know whether viruses are cells or not, but technically, his challenge was that they create a living “cell”. I’ve never seen a creationist get anything about biology right yet, but I mention this so that any “gotcha” rants will be pre-empted. In the incredibly unlikely event that a creationist somewhere knows the difference between an independently reproductive cell and a virus. Purely hypothetically, Behe and Wells should possess this knowledge.

The creation of de novo life forms is going on right now. Recent advances in sequencing and synthesis of long macromolecules makes this possible. Look up minimal cell project in any search engine.

And this does meet JC’s challenge (say…those initials…but I’m sure James Collins isn’t trying to imply that he’s the next messiah or anything…). At least he didn’t call himself G. These are models of abiogenesis.

They are also, as others pointed out, unequivocal examples of intelligent design. There is no contradiction. They were intelligently designed by humans as models to help formulate and test hypotheses of abiogenesis.

Just to draw together and clarify multiple lines of valid reasoning.

Comment #193089

Posted by raven on August 6, 2007 8:04 PM (e)

Harold,

Sure. I didn’t read much of JCs ravings and wasn’t going to spend much time on a nuanced reply.

With his hit and run troll style and high levels of incoherence and confusion, why bother?

Science in general including biology and medicine have made the world very different and in many ways much better in the last 200 years. Anyone who needs the obvious explained to them, is on a permanent vacation from reality and wouldn’t understand.

Comment #193129

Posted by stevaroni on August 6, 2007 9:46 PM (e)

What are evolutionists fighting so hard against?

The idea that we should all stick our heads in the sand and pretend that a simple, easy to demonstrate law of nature does not exist.

The idea that we have to lie to our kids about the way nature works in order to hide these simple facts from them because, for some reason, they will become promiscuous, drug-addicted sociopaths who beat up old ladies and cause genocides if they were to know the real reason they have tailbones.

Lying is wrong, Frank. Look it up.

It’s in Exodus, under “Thou Shalt Not”.

Comment #193162

Posted by Torbjörn Larsson, OM on August 6, 2007 11:14 PM (e)

Frank Degeenar wrote:

Would anyone out there call themselves (or at least identify their standpoint) as being that of both a creationist and evolutionist at the same time?

Of course, when we read this and the similar statement from James Collins, we know that nothing we say will make the person blind for that biology, and especially evolutionary biology, is a science among others, seeing.

If people wasn’t brainwashed to see anything they don’t like as a ‘dangerous faith’ but could consider that there are empirical methods that are giving us knowledge, the world would be a better place. There are other reasons for a secular sector besides providing freedom for religion - it is also freedom for facts.

Of course, being hit over the head by a two-by-four would demonstrate that there are hard facts, and dropping it from a larger height would demonstrate that there are hard theories explaining those hard facts. But “intelligent falling” will always be a retreat for the thumb-suckers. (Or suckers in general. :-P)

harold wrote:

Purely hypothetically, Behe and Wells should possess this knowledge.

Hmm. Then why is it he says in World Magazine that “… HIV is a microbe…”? [Hat tip: ERV and John Wilkins.]

In context he says: “Like malaria, HIV is a microbe that occurs in astronomical numbers. What’s more, its mutation rate is 10,000 times greater than that of most other organisms. So in just the past few decades HIV has actually undergone more of certain kinds of mutations than all cells have endured since the beginning of the world.”

So presumably he knows the difference between HIV and cellular lifeforms. But his knee-jerk reflexes, even in any context of simplification, doesn’t speak well for an internalization of that knowledge.

Comment #193189

Posted by hoary puccoon on August 7, 2007 12:26 AM (e)

Frank Degenaar–
Please, please don’t pay much attention to James Collins. He has his own agenda. The take-home message here is that millions of people are sincere Christians and also sincerely believe that the living world evolved over billions of years. In fact, a lot of sincere Christians are appalled by the creationists because of their low morals and their endless lies.
You will read many comments by atheists on this blog, but they do not include everyone, and I suspect even the most vocal atheists here would stand firm for your right to practice your religion as you see fit– as long as you don’t interfere with the United States constitution, which is what the creationists are doing.
I hope you’ll seriously reconsider your opposition to evolution, after these exchanges.

Comment #193259

Posted by Torbjörn Larsson, OM on August 7, 2007 4:40 AM (e)

hoary puccoon wrote:

You will read many comments by atheists on this blog, but they do not include everyone, and I suspect even the most vocal atheists here would stand firm for your right to practice your religion as you see fit

Frank, to clarify: Perhaps I should have extended my general observation to another population of individuals who, while not retreating into seeing anything they don’t like as a ‘dangerous faith’, retreat into seeing such behaviors in other individuals as a ‘beneficial faith’. :-P

My point was that the basic problem may be that some groups doesn’t seem to recognize all areas of science as science but persist in a mischaracterization. The cue word is the term “evolutionist” instead of “biology” (of evolution).

I could easily be wrong in individual cases of course, which would make me happy.

And FWIW to support hoary’s prediction, I don’t know about vocal, but if it wasn’t obvious I can confirm that I am an atheist (but not biologist) and I notably claimed that freedom for religion is (or should be) a characteristic of modern secular societies.

Science is concerned with facts, not views - but obviously different world views may chose degree of conflict with facts. And “freedom for facts” wouldn’t suffice for science to work without more or less “freedom for ideas” - which of course ideally also means “freedom for religion”. Just my 2c.

Comment #193273

Posted by Frank J on August 7, 2007 5:20 AM (e)

Steven Wells wrote:

“James Collins” appears to be saying that if we could intelligently design a cell then he’d believe in evolution.

Quite the opposite. An “intelligently designed” cell would be spun as evidence against common descent. That would make ID even more like classic creationism because, instead of being either vague about common descent or occasionally conceding it, IDers would finally have something to directly refute it.

Of course there will still be that “minor inconvenience” of the hopeless contradictions between YEC and OEC. And IDers will certainly keep that cover-up going.

Comment #193274

Posted by Frank J on August 7, 2007 5:23 AM (e)

Sorry. Make that “Stephen,” not “Steven.” It’s bad enough that a “Steve” has to live with a last name of “Wells.” ;-)

Comment #193316

Posted by harold on August 7, 2007 7:55 AM (e)

Torbjorn -

Like malaria, HIV is a microbe

Actually, this is relatively okay. “Microbe” is a generalized term; it can refer to bacteria, fungi, protozoan parasites, viruses, etc. Virology is a branch of microbiology.

In fact the word “microbe” is often used to avoid getting into a technical discussion of taxonomic classification, especially when talking to lay people, or where controversies might exist.

There are legitimate analogies between cells infected with certain viruses and individual malaria parasite cells at different life cycle stages, such as the variation of surface proteins.

It would have been even better to clarify that HIV is a virus and malaria is a eukaryotic parasite, but calling them both “microbes” is okay.

Basement Activist -

Perhaps Raven, 193029, is not aware that many scientists don’t characterize viruses as life?

Hah, raven is aware…raven is just lying.

You are guilty of a false and very rude accusation of lying.

The fact that you yourself say “many” rather than “all” means that logically, Raven would not be lying even if your glib comment was meaningful.

It is a somewhat interesting philosophical and semantic question whether viruses are “alive”. However, it is a semantic and philosophical question that cannot be answered without applying some kind of arbitrary definition of “life”, and any supporter of the idea that viruses are either “alive” or “not alive” could always just advance their own arbitrary definition of “life” that either excludes or includes viruses.

From a pragmatic point of view the study of viruses is a major part of biomedical science. I don’t know how many current scientists would bother to debate whether viruses are “alive”, because the question is actually not relevant to the scientific study of viruses. They are what they are and they do what they do, whether you call them “alive” or not.

My own arbitrary point of view is that it is rather silly to deny that they are alive. They are nucleic acid self-replicators who can self-replicate successfully in the correct environment. However, other views are equally valid.

Viruses are composed of the same biochemical elements as cellular life, depend on cellular life, and most likely arose from cellular life. (Alternately, although in my view much less likely, some suggest that they could represent some form of proto-life that has adapted itself as a parasite of living cells, with all freely reproducing examples either extinct or undetected. These views are not mutually exclusive, since viruses are diverse and may well have originated multiple times.)

Comment #193337

Posted by raven on August 7, 2007 9:03 AM (e)

Websters New World Medical Dictionary
Definition of Viruses

Viruses: Small living particles that can infect cells and change how the cells function. Infection with a virus can cause a person to develop symptoms. The disease and symptoms that are caused depend on the type of virus and the type of cells that are infected.

Comment #193350

Posted by harold on August 7, 2007 9:35 AM (e)

Raven -

It would appear that there is some consensus that virues are living (which is the view I strongly favor).

In a not-terribly-good section, Wikipedia claims that there is still some debate - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virus#Lifeform_deba…

The absence of citations obviously weakens that section considerably.

It doesn’t really matter. Let’s review the context.

1) A creationist nonsensically claimed that “evolutionists” should “create a living cell”, showing that he does not even know what evolution means, disingenuously seeks to set an impossible goalpost, and so on.
2) In addition to having it pointed out that this would be a model of abiogenesis not evolution, he was told, by you, that scientists have, in fact, already reconstituted some viruses and created some freely replicating systems, which was relevant because it shows that even his irrelevant “impossible” goalpost was not as impossible as he ignorantly assumed.
3) So a second creationist showed up and called you a “liar” on the grounds that “many” scientists don’t “consider” viruses to be alive. Note that the accusation would false even if the claim were true - if “many” but not all don’t, then “some” must.

These two have no clue what they’re talking about and all the criticisms of their posts were valid. Whether or not anyone still makes an argument against considering viruses to be “alive” - which can be reasonably, although I think pointlessly, made - is really not important.

Comment #193354

Posted by harold on August 7, 2007 9:44 AM (e)

Head Cheese -

You chose a good name for yourself.

Bullshit.

That is NOT the mainstream conception.

Damn, you really were lying, weren’t you?

I’ve explained twice why it isn’t even relevant, but yes, it is a mainstream conception.

Although medical dictionaries certainly contain some errors, a medical dictionary entry in support of it is good evidence of this.

Any definition of “life” becomes arbitrary and semantic at some level.

Since your post contains no discussion of definitions of life, nor of viruses, but merely consists of an unsupported contradiction, it adds little.

Comment #193361

Posted by raven on August 7, 2007 9:54 AM (e)

Harold, you are dealing with a troll. It isn’t worth the time. I’ve got that guy’s number. He isn’t a xian, he is mentally ill and has been banned from numerous boards. If the PT moderators were awake, he would be gone here as well.

The word I used was life form. Whether calling viruses living or not is semantics.

More would agree that an organic based replicator with a genetic code that reproduces, persists, spreads, mutates, and evolves is on the animate side of the animate-inanimate divide.

Comment #193362

Posted by harold on August 7, 2007 9:56 AM (e)

Head Cheese -

Good link. I retract the part about unsupported contradiction above.

From that link (emphasis mine) -

Are Viruses Alive?
It’s largely an anthropomorphic (or biopomorphic?) position to say that a virus is alive. We’d be more comfortable with them if they were, but by the rules we’ve established, they’re not. They clearly cannot respire, grow or reproduce on their own.

This is what I’m trying to say over here. It’s an arbitrary, semantic question. They define life as requiring respiration, growth and reproduction, implicitly in an extracellular environment (since viruses DO reproduce, and I would say “grow”, in an intracellular environment).

I don’t personally agree with those “rules”, but who cares? It’s a semantic question, not a scientific one.

Viruses are a lot closer to being alive than diamonds are. They are what they are and they do what they do. Whether you call them “living” or not is arbitrary and irrelevant in most contexts.

Comment #193366

Posted by harold on August 7, 2007 10:02 AM (e)

More would agree that an organic based replicator with a genetic code that reproduces, persists, spreads, mutates, and evolves is on the animate side of the animate-inanimate divide.

And I would be one of them.

I suppose it’s disturbing to very concrete magical thinkers that the line between living and non-living is blurry at the boundaries.

Comment #193370

Posted by George Cauldron on August 7, 2007 10:18 AM (e)

Ja! Who cares about words?

Mere semantics.

The DEED is the thing.

So why hasn’t legion been banned from here??

Comment #193423

Posted by Admin on August 7, 2007 12:06 PM (e)

Troll comments removed.

If the PT moderators were awake, he would be gone here as well.

Try emailing us a heads-up next time. It may well work better than sniping. The PT administration is a volunteer effort, which means that any particular troll infestation may be on the board for some hours (or longer) before an admin happens across it. An email may shorten the time to removal significantly.

Comment #193434

Posted by raven on August 7, 2007 12:46 PM (e)

Here is a biologically based definition of viruses and life forms. By the broadest definition of life, “An organism is the unit element of a continuous lineage with an individual evolutionary history.” they pass.

Semantics isn’t high on my list of things to worry about but this issue has come up before and inevitably will come up again.

What is a Virus?

http://www.mcb.uct.ac.za/tutorial/virwhat.html

DEFINITION
VIRIONS
OTHER VIRUS-LIKE AGENTS

Viruses

Viruses may be defined as acellular organisms whose genomes consist of nucleic acid, and which obligately replicate inside host cells using host metabolic machinery and ribosomes to form a pool of components which assemble into particles called VIRIONS, which serve to protect the genome and to transfer it to other cells.

They are distinct from other so-called VIRUS-LIKE AGENTS such as VIROIDS and PLASMIDS and PRIONS
—–

Alternative definitions:
Luria et al. Cann

The concept of a virus as an organism challenges the way we define life:

viruses do not respire,
nor do they display irritability;
they do not move
and nor do they grow,
however, they do most certainly reproduce, and may adapt to new hosts.
By older, more zoologically and botanically biased criteria, then, viruses are not living. However, this sort of argument results from a “top down” sort of definition, which has been modified over years to take account of smaller and smaller things (with fewer and fewer legs, or leaves), until it has met the ultimate “molechisms” or “organules” - that is to say, viruses - and has proved inadequate.

If one defines life from the bottom up - that is, from the simplest forms capable of displaying the most essential attributes of a living thing - one very quickly realises that the only real criterion for life is:
—-
The ability to replicate

and that only systems that contain nucleic acids - in the natural world, at least - are capable of this phenomenon. This sort of reasoning has led to a new definition of organisms:

“An organism is the unit element of a continuous lineage with an individual evolutionary history.”

The key words here are UNIT ELEMENT, and INDIVIDUAL: the thing that you see, now, as an organism is merely the current slice in a continuous lineage; the individual evolutionary history denotes the independence of the organism over time. Thus, mitochondria and chloroplasts and nuclei and chromosomes are not organisms, in that together they constitute a continuous lineage, but separately have no possibility of survival, despite their independence before they entered initially symbiotic, and then dependent associations.

The concept of replication is contained within the concepts of individual viruses constituting continuous lineages, and having an evolutionary history.

Thus, given this sort of lateral thinking, viruses become quite respectable as organisms:

they most definitely replicate,
their evolution can (within limits) be traced quite effectively, and
they are independent in terms of not being limited to a single organism as host, or even necessarily to a single species, genus or phylum of host.

Copyright Ed Rybicki, October 1995; April, June,1998

Comment #193444

Posted by harold on August 7, 2007 1:07 PM (e)

Nobody -

Is there any evidence of these “replicators” in the fossil record?

Is that a joke? Of course not.

Any that predate living cells?

Unless living cells were poofed into existence by magic, presumably they had to arise from earlier, simpler organic structures.

Have any such “replicators” been observed in the field?

All currently known organic replicators are either living cells, or require living cells.

You can believe that the first living cells were poofed into existence by magic if you wish. That has nothing to do with the theory of evolution, which explains the diversity of cellular and post-cellular life.

Concrete-minded creationists are obsessed with abiogenesis - the study of how life on earth could have come into being by natural means. I can’t understand why they’re so obsessed with the idea that primitive living cells, billions of years ago, had to be poofed into existence by magic, but that’s the way it has to be for them. For some reason - either honest confusion or dishonest efforts at straw man building - they seem to confuse hypotheses and models of abiogenesis with the theory of evolution.

However, abiogenesis is not evolution. A good hypothesis of abiogenesis would be a nice adjunct to the theory of evolution.

Cells still evolve, we’re still primates, and we still share a recent common ancestor with chimpanzees, regardless of how life began.

Comment #193445

Posted by Glen Davidson on August 7, 2007 1:09 PM (e)

The study of viruses is almost invariably considered to be a part of biology. Viruses replicate and evolve, and it is possible that some could have evolved from cells of some kind.

The old distinction was that viruses aren’t life as separate “collections of chemicals”, but are life when they have invaded the cell and their genetic material becomes part of the metabolism. It’s not an entirely useless view, since crystallized viruses hardly seem to be living, but does it make sense to us that non-life becomes life during the cycle of infection?

I don’t see many troubling with that rather tedious distinction any more.

What I really thought might be worth bringing up is how arbitrary the definition of “cell” could be considered to be. Yes I know, cells have membranes, viruses have capsids or might even be “naked”. Seriously, though, does any of this matter to the “creation of life”?

Especially a virus in a capsid might be thought of as a cell in the more generic sense. There’s nothing wrong with the biological definition that identifies viruses as non-cells, but I’d sure hate to hang the ability of humans to re-create living things on the biological definition of “the cell”.

One more thing. Of course IDists will claim any success by humans in re-creating a bacterium for “design,” but they do that for any and every time that humans copy biology to tap into the solutions invented by evolution. It’s stupidly circular, of course.

I don’t think anyone should suggest that re-creating a bacterium would be evidence in favor of ID, any more than the fact that we can create DNA is evidence for ID.

Copying “nature” is an old human pursuit, and, for instance, it is how the Wright brothers managed to come up with both a plane and flight (flight skills, maneuverability) at the same time. Oddly enough, the design looked almost nothing like evolved flying organisms, plus it bettered flight in at least one aspect (while birds are still better in other aspects), power, for thought can do what billions of years of evolution cannot.

I wonder why we never see these triumphs of thought in nature. I mean, you’d almost think that everything evolved and wasn’t designed.

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/2kxyc7

Comment #193451

Posted by Glen Davidson on August 7, 2007 1:25 PM (e)

It just occurred to me that perhaps we ought to demand evidence for thought in nature from IDists.

“Design” was deliberately chosen by IDists to use because it is rather amorphous and confusing. To most of the public, “design” does imply a designer, while traditionally in science one could speak of the “designs” of life and of patterned frost on windows, since “design” can be taken to be a pattern (this can be what is meant outside of science as well, it’s just that “design” points first to designers in the vernacular).

And IDists continue to insist that design exists in biology without in the slightest showing that anything is the result of rational, or even irrational, thought. Doesn’t God think?

So we could ask them to provide evidence of actual thought existing in nature, something that anticipates need, perhaps shows some concern for humanity (Behe’s claiming the opposite, the design of mosquitos and P. falciparum which afflict the humans which supposedly are the telos of design). I mean, anything that shows thoughtfulness, concern, care, rationality, you know, aspects that we associate with intelligence.

Sure, they’ll ignore these types of questions just as they always have ignored any call for evidence in favor of their claims. But it might help to puncture their bags of hot air if occasionally employed, no matter how much they try to avoid accountability.

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/2kxyc7

Comment #193733

Posted by Torbjörn Larsson, OM on August 8, 2007 3:14 AM (e)

harold:

harold wrote:

Actually, this is relatively okay. “Microbe” is a generalized term;

Thanks for the correction!

In that case you would perhaps want to clarify Wikipedia, that says A microorganism (also spelt [sic] as microrganism [sic]) or microbe is an organism that is microscopic (too small to be seen by the human eye). The study of microorganisms is called microbiology. Microorganisms can be bacteria, fungi, archaea or protists, but not viruses and prions, which are generally classified as non-living.

I should have read more carefully, because it refers to microbiology, and I know very well that virus is a part since I happened to take a course at the university - well, at least a part in the biochemistry involved which the course covered.

[What can I say - it was optional, since the local microbiologists wanted to attract mostly engineers and to some degree physicists to help out with instruments and math, biology is fun, and of course the girls were cute. (~_^) ]

harold wrote:

They are nucleic acid self-replicators who can self-replicate successfully in the correct environment.

I think some refers to self-replicators as “the NASA definition of life”, usually “carbon-based” (organic based) to circumvent AI issues and describe what we know is possible. Which is rather stupid really, since astrobiologists are currently resorted to look for thermodynamically disturbed chemistries instead.

FWIW, my own POV is that the definition from an evolutionary viewpoint, such as raven shows, is the best. (It even handles the problem of defining individual organisms in the case of clonal colonies, I think.)

But I agree with you that dormant stages aren’t relevant, and to deny viruses their natural replication environment as a base for a decent definition is as stupid as claiming that humans can’t be alive because we wouldn’t outside Earths biosphere.

Comment #193771

Posted by Nigel D on August 8, 2007 5:05 AM (e)

OK, here’s another tedious troll spouting nonsensical challenges and many-times-refuted arguments. However, for the benefit of spectators, I will attempt to point out most of the errors in this post.

James Collins wrote:

Sounds like a very good idea. If evolutionists can’t defend their belief, maybe they should consider Intelligent Design.

The only “belief” that “evolutionists” (by which I assume you mean rational people who are convinced by the evidnce) have is that physical evidence, combined with logical deductions and inferences from the evidence, can provide some form of universally-constant, consensual truth. If you use the term “belief” to mean a conviction that Modern Evolutionary Theory (that I abbreviate to MET) is the best description and explanation we have for the facts we observe in biology, then there is no call to defend it. The basic idea has already survived nearly 150 years of peer review and criticism. It is now established as the core of biological science.

Thus, when you claim it is wrong, you take up the burden of proof. It is therefore your task to supply evidence to support your position.

However, as far as I can determine, ID is not a position, it is simply the gainsaying of MET. All there is to it is “not evolution, therefore design” which is simply a non-sequitur.

But if they really want to enhance their popularity they should build us a living cell from scratch. That should do it.

Why should anyone bother? What would it prove? It certainly wouldn’t prove or disprove anything in evolutionary biology. It sounds like you’re suggesting someone should do it as a publicity stunt. But that’s all it would be. In the context of evolutionary science, it would be a waste of resources.

If it weren’t so pitiful it would be humorous, that intelligent people have swallowed the evolution mythology.

Implying that unintelligent people have swallowed the creationism / ID myth. Except that MET is based on miountains of facts and logical deductions and inferences from those facts. MET is consistent with everything we know from the biological sciences. It unifies all of the different areas of scientific endeavour and provides a powerful explanation and an exploratory framework for new research.

On the other hand, ID is empty. It says “this biological structure looks like it was designed if you ask me. But I won’t ask any questions about the nature of the designer; oh, no. That isn’t the kind of theory ID is.”

Beyond doubt, the main reason people believe in evolution is that sources they admire, say it is so.

This is so utterly wrong.

Starting your sentence with “beyond doubt” does not validate your viewpoint. The main reasons people are convinced by MET are twofold: (A) biologists are convinced by the evidence and the explanatory power of MET, coupled with the fact that all alternative theories that have been proposed have been explored and found to be lacking; (B) biologists tell the lay audience that MET is the best theory available, and those rational people who understand that (i) science works on the principle of intellectual honesty and (ii) they themselves are not qualified to gainsay the consensus of experts are convinced by their respect of those experts. (But also in the knowledge that they could find out for themselves if they wished to devote a significant chunk of time to learnign about it in detail).

These scientists you criticise have earned your respect, yet you diss them out of nothing more than ignorance and laziness.

It would pay for these people to do a thorough examination of all the evidence CONTRARY to evolution that is readily available:

This is so tired. There is no evidence that contradicts MET. Every “argument” put forth by the creationists and IDists has been refuted several times over.

For example, here:
http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/index.html

Try answersingenesis.org.

I tell you what. You follow my link, then I’ll follow yours. Every claim made by AiG has been refuted. That they ignore the refutations is a sad display of intellectual dishonesty and self-delusion.

The evidence is what it is and the deductions made from it are sound. No amount of claiming otherwise can make it so.

The evolutionists should honestly examine the SUPPOSED evidence ‘FOR’ evolution for THEMSELVES.

I have only examined a small fraction of the evidence, and I am wholly convinced. It would take several lifetimes to re-examine the entire corpus of work that supports MET. How about you try examining some of the evidence. I’ll make it easy for you. Here is a link to an essay that summarises the main fields from which evidence arises that supports MET:
http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/comdesc/

Build us a cell, from scratch, with the required raw material, that is with NO cell material, just the ‘raw’ stuff, and the argument is over.

You clearly have no idea what you are talking about. First off, abiogenesis is not part of MET.

Second, doing such a thing would not make any impact on evolutionary biology, except as a nice adjunct, since it is of extremely limited relevance to MET.

Third, doing what you suggest in a lab will be extremely hard, for several reasons: (1) While we know, in global terms, the conditions of the early Earth, we do not know the precise microclimate that is most favourable to abiogenesis. (2) Such an experiment may well take thousands or millions of years to complete. There is no compelling reason to suspect that abiogenesis took less than a million years to occur. (3) It is hard to exclude contamination of the experimental apparatus with existing microbes for such a long experiment. (4) It will be very hard to conclusively demonstrate that any cellular life arising in such an experiment is not the result of contamination.

I could go on, but I can’t be bothered.

But if the scientists are unsuccessful, perhaps they should try Mother Earth’s recipe, you know, the one they claim worked the first time about 4 billion years ago, so they say. All they need to do is to gather all the chemicals that we know are essential for life, pour them into a large clay pot and stir vigorously for a few billion years, and Walla, LIFE!

I shall assume you meant “Voila!”.

Such an experiment would be pointless and impossible. It would be pointless because, within 30 minutes, you would be able to detect life. But this would not be new life, it would be contamination. Life on Earth is completely ubiquitous. There are microorganisms everywhere on the surface of the planet except inside active volcanoes (and inside the living tissue of multicellular life forms except during infections). Were you aware, for instance, that the bacterial cells on your skin and inside your gastro-intestinal tract outnumber your own cells by about 10 to 1?

Oh, you don’t believe the ‘original’ Mother Earth recipe will work? You are NOT alone, Neither do I, and MILLIONS of others!

But you are shooting down a straw man. Your recipe simply won’t work because life already exists on Earth. Contaminating microbes will easily out-compete any nascent new life form. I don’t think there is anyone who believes that your rather inadequate experimental design would work. So, you prove nothing.

PS: Please don’t lie about the ‘first life’ problem, scientists are falling all over themselves to make a living cell.

Go on then. Tell us who these scientists are who are “falling over themselves” to make an artificial cell. I think, if you bother to research your claim, you will find it is a very few groups. Perhaps it is you who are lying? After all, if you do not support your claim, what else are we to suppose?

And what those few will be doing is making an artificial cell from components extracted from existing cells. Things like ribosomes are too difficult for us to make using synthetic chemistry. Yet, these organelles will be needed if we are to see an artificial cell within the time frame of a human lifespan.

Many have admitted publicly that it is a monumental problem.

Yes, I happen to agree that it will be difficult. But it is difficult for technical reasons, not because there is any principle making it impossible.

And is many years away from happening, if ever.

Well, I happen to think it would be pointless. If it never happens, what will that prove? And, if it does happen ,it will be funded by someone who is more concerned about publicity than about science, unless there is an application for this technology that I cannot foresee but someone else can.

Logical people understand this problem

Yes, they do. Perhaps you should leave it to the people who do understand the problem.

and have rightly concluded that an Intelligent Designer was absolutely necessary.

On the contrary, it is not logical to postulate the existence of a designer, for two main reasons: (1) MET is a perfectly good explanation for the diversity of life we see around us; and (2) since no designer is required by MET, the principle of parsimony demands additional reasons to suppose the existence of a designer. Since there are no such additional reasons to postulate a designer, it is not logical to suppose that there is a designer.

Think of it this way, if all the brilliant scientists on earth can’t do it how on earth can anyone believe that it happened by accident?????

This is a argument from both ignorance and personal incredulity.

First of all, no amount of brilliance will allow the technical problems to be overcome if those technical problems are genuinely insurmountable. It takes a good deal of background knowledge to fully appreciate the technical challenges involved. You obviously lack this background knowledge.

Second, you suppose that abiogenesis is hugely improbable, and you marvel, after the event, at the enormous unlikelihood that was overcome. Yet the latest research in this area is indicating that it may not be so unlikely after all. I cannot refer to a primary source on this, as all my knowledge of abiogenesis is second-hand.

However, consider this: with a planet on which no life exists but where organis molecules are commmon; with trillions of litres of experimental mixrture and millions or hundreds of millions of years available; something that could replicate itself arose. It had no competition, so it did not need to be efficient. All it needed was the raw materials to continue replicating. Once a large enough population of replicators existed, the principle of natural selection would have started to make them more efficient.

From this point on, life exists and MET applies. The result is the wonderfully rich biosphere we know today.

Comment #193789

Posted by Frank J on August 8, 2007 5:43 AM (e)

Nigel D wrote:

If you use the term “belief” to mean a conviction that Modern Evolutionary Theory (that I abbreviate to MET) is the best description and explanation we have for the facts we observe in biology, then there is no call to defend it.

One thing I have noticed over the years is that “defenses” of evolution are not “defenses” per se but attempts to show how evolution, like any testable, self-correcting science, needs no defending. What complicates it are the many public misconceptions, a common false caricature of evolution, and the many misrepresentations of anti-evolution activists that need to be corrected. No wonder the “defenses” often sound “defensive” to most nonscientists.

In contrast, the defenses of the various anti-evolution positions truly are “sales pitches” – select only those sound bites that make your product sound better than it is, and misrepresent the competition as much as possible. While classic creationists occasionally include other creationist positions as competition, mostly they have learned to pretend that evolution is the only competition. IDers, who really have no product of their own to sell, take that to the extreme. While they occasionally acknowledge the existence of classic creationism as competition, that inconvenience is neatly omitted from their “sales pitches,” which are almost exclusively devoted to misrepresenting evolution.

Comment #193798

Posted by Nigel D on August 8, 2007 6:14 AM (e)

Frank, that’s a fair point.

How can science, which is based on facts (all the facts, and nothing but the facts), compete with a sales pitch, in which facts are twisted, distorted, omitted or invented to serve the message?

Comment #193807

Posted by Frank J on August 8, 2007 6:50 AM (e)

Nigel,

I assume that your question was meant to be rhetorical, but for the sake of the lurkers, unless the culture values science, it can’t compete.

Several people here have been telling me that ID has been losing popularity since the Dover defeat. But when I see millions falling, more than ever, for all sorts of feel-good sound bites, whether for “miracle cures,” horoscopes, etc., I’m not ready to celebrate yet. ID will “evolve” to meet the need.

Comment #193828

Posted by Torbjörn Larsson, OM on August 8, 2007 7:54 AM (e)

Nigel D wrote:

I shall assume you meant “Voila!”.

Safe assumption.

I have a hard time seeing why one would want to replace the french “see there” (voilà) with indian “worker” (walla/wallah) or native american “river” (walla). Unless Collins were concerned with all the work and liquid he needs. :-P

Nigel D wrote:

Yet the latest research in this area is indicating that it may not be so unlikely after all.

It could well turn out that we will observe this phenomena and get a likelihood for it out of astronomy.

I can’t find the article right now, but IIRC one of the leading researchers on exoplanets expected to see habitable Earth analogs about 2 +/- 1 yr from now. (They now have rather good and improving statistics on rates of detection for different star and planet populations.)

His estimate was that detection of planets with biospheres would follow a few decades (20-30 yr IIRC) from that (probably based on the work you quote). With a fair sampling we should get a handle on the likelihood, and also observe different stages of abiogenesis and evolution of biospheres. He expected these results to feed back into organism abiogenesis work.

AFAIK the detection methods would consist of observing thermodynamically improbable atmospheres and albedo spectra.

For example, IIRC Mars seems to emit 10 times the amount of methane that you would expect from the volcanic activity. (And perhaps some other organic gases.) Even assuming shorttime release from frozen deposits, a longer steady state could imply an exciting possible source. So perhaps we can even test these methods in the end.

Comment #193863

Posted by raven on August 8, 2007 9:38 AM (e)

Frank J.:
Several people here have been telling me that ID has been losing popularity since the Dover defeat. But when I see millions falling, more than ever, for all sorts of feel-good sound bites, whether for “miracle cures,” horoscopes, etc., I’m not ready to celebrate yet. ID will “evolve” to meet the need.

20% of the population believes the sun goes around the earth despite it being 400 years since Copernicus. A lot more believe in astrology and that the ancient Jews kept dinosaurs as pets.

I’m afraid believing in whacky and demonstrably false woo woo things is part of the human condition. People always have and always will. Not clear why but really, 50% of the population have IQs below the median of 100. Way it goes.

Comment #193873

Posted by harold on August 8, 2007 10:27 AM (e)

Torbjorn -

All I can say to Wikipedia is that I disagree with a semantic definition of “microorganism” or “microbe” that excludes viruses, and in my personal experience, using the term in an inclusive sense is well-accepted, at least informally. My grounds are mainly pragmatic. Viruses by their nature are the purview of such fields as microbiology and infectious disease. It’s helpful to have not only specific terms, but also a generalized term.

Of course, the virus-excluding definition would have the advantage of making Behe wrong one extra time :-), but that’s like a drop in the ocean.

(Prions are another story. Even if the protein-only hypothesis is correct, they could almost be conceived of as chemical toxins. The “reproduction” spoken of in this hypothesis is merely an induced change in the conformation of a second, already-formed protein molecule. Possible secondary upregulation notwithstanding, in the protein-only hypothesis, prions cannot, of course, directly cause the construction of new prions from individual amino acids. So refering to a prion protein molecule as a “microbe” or organism” would be ludicrous. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prion)

Raven and Frank J. -

I have a bit more faith in the average person. I think that polls are often biased, and make people look far more ignorant than they actually are.

The number of people who are seriously committed to a belief that the sun goes around the earth is surely well below 20%. The maximum number who can make that mistake is 20%, but carelessness, apathy, and confusion play roles.

You could shift the bias to the correct answer by doing something like including a diagram of the solar system, or writing the question along the lines of “Since the 16th century, it has been known that the sun is at the center of the solar system, and the planets, including the earth, revolve around the sun. Do you agree with this?”

Likewise, I wonder what kind of support ID would get if this question were on a poll -

“Recently elected Fundamentalist school board members in a rural school district, who possess little formal education themselves, wish to replace some science teaching with lessons from a book that the vast majority of scientists condemn, and that lawyers warn violates the constitutional rights of students by singling out some religious sects for favoritism, as well as by potentially putting them at a competitive disadvantage, relative to students from districts where mainstream science is taught.

Voters were not aware that the school board members would recommend this course of action when they voted for them.

Do you think that the school board should insist on the use of this controversial book, or stick to the teaching of accepted, mainstream science?”

Comment #193894

Posted by James McGrath on August 8, 2007 11:07 AM (e)

I’m teaching my course on religion and science again this semester, and while I’m absolutely opposed to the ‘teach the controversy’ approach in a science class (since there isn’t a scientific controversy over evolution in the way some creationists and ID proponents claim), it seems to me appropriate to present readings from both sides in this undergraduate college course specifically on religion and science.

Reading some young-earth creationist excerpts again made me cringe with just how awful and inaccurate they are. But even including on my reading list excerpts from Behe’s latest book (see my blog at http://exploringourmatrix.blogspot.com/2007/08/h… for some of my thoughts on it) together with critiques of Intelligent Design, seems to me to be necessary, not simply because of ‘fairness’, but because a failure to do so might lead students to think that I wasn’t doing justice to the strength of ID’s arguments. This way, they can see them for what they are.

Is that the best approach? Does anyone have any thoughts or suggestions on this?

Comment #193900

Posted by Frank J on August 8, 2007 11:23 AM (e)

Harold,

I’ll try to find it, but long ago I wrote (here or Talk.Origins) what i think would be a fair poll question.

In the meantime, I would add this to your question about the school board:

“Those books put students at a competitive disadvantage because they misrepresent the relevant science under the pretense of “critical analysis.” Such methods have been shown to cause students to infer alternative “theories” that are demonstrably false. Those who write and promote those books to unsuspecting school boards are aware that such books conveniently exempt those other “theories” from a critical analysis that they know they cannot withstand.”

Comment #193913

Posted by Glen Davidson on August 8, 2007 11:57 AM (e)

I have a bit more faith in the average person. I think that polls are often biased, and make people look far more ignorant than they actually are.

They may not be as gullible as they appear to be from the polls, but I’m not sure that they are less ignorant than they appear to be. If 20% think that the sun goes around the earth (and that strikes me as the figure I’d read earlier), it isn’t that the 20% cares about it and has the wrong idea, it’s probably just that most of them don’t care either way and never listened when their teacher told them how it goes. They might be able to tell you everything about Paris Hilton, or Brad and Angelina (sp?).

That’s what I thought when I heard Vincent Bugliosi tell how 75% of the public believes the conspiracy theories of how JFK was assassinated (and I might be bringing up controversy even here). What with Oliver North’s film and a whole lot of flim-flam, people see the smoke, so suspect a fire. They don’t care enough to read Bugliosi’s 1600 pages (IIRC), nor do I, but use the human way of evaluation, see if the “arguments” are plausible on the surface (many are, mainly by leaving out so much) and go with whatever your neighbor believes.

I might have been among the 75% once, just to hedge against the “possibility”. But I read too much, so that if I’m still not very interested in it either way, I’ve encountered the reasons why Oswald is the only reasonable assassin given the known evidence.

This gets back to the “Child’s Play” blog that launched the Mark Hausam deny-evolution-at-any-cost thread. Humans have evolved some fairly good rule-of-thumb methods of getting close enough to the truth to succeed in the group. A mix of what the “authorities” who “should know” say (perhaps Behe, by his credentials, or Cyril Wecht (JFK) by the same means), plus the sense of how much “smoke” there is (the IDists know to play up the scientifically non-existent “controversy”) and what one’s friends and neighbors say, and indeed you’re probably going to do all right.

So that’s good enough, after all. I don’t think it would take long to turn the majority of creationists (especially the younger ones) into those who accept science, if somehow their jobs were to be affected by their knowledge of biology, and especially taxonomy and similarity/dissimilarity. Few jobs are so affected, though, so they don’t evaluate the evidence according to how successfully it explains data and predicts certain aspects of biology.

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/2kxyc7

Comment #193922

Posted by Nigel D on August 8, 2007 12:50 PM (e)

Glen, you make some interesting points there. I think also that so many people, having been raised in a town or city with very little contact with nature, are entirely ignorant of how plants and animals grow, reproduce and behave.

I recently started reading The Origin of Species, and it amazes me how much knowledge (that Darwin uses in examples) that was once general has been lost to the populace at large. Of course, back in 1859, most people valued education, because it was available to so few, relatively speaking.

Comment #193923

Posted by Frank J on August 8, 2007 1:02 PM (e)

James McGrath wrote:

Is that the best approach? Does anyone have any thoughts or suggestions on this?

I’m not an expert on educational methods, but since your article is subtitled “What Does God Do,” and since such a question is appropriate for a religion class, I think my 2c may have some value.

In terms of the origin of species, it’s simple. God “does” evolution, “macro” and all, and has done it on Earth has for nearly 4 billion years. I didn’t read enough of your article to see if you cover it, but YEC, and even OEC that denies common descent, simply fail to hold up to the evidence regardless of whether there are any problems with evolution, or whether God or other intelligent designer is ultimately responsible. IMO, that, not “Edwards v. Aguillard,” is the main reason why the ID strategy is so evasive on the issue of what God (or other designer) did, when, and how. And why when Behe conceded the 4 billion years and common descent, no other major IDer challenged him directly.

My belief is that if taught “correctly,” and by that I mean not taking the IDers’ bait and debating the designer’s identity or whether ID “is” creationism, such an approach will have all but the most hopelessly compartmentalized students convinced that ID is nothing but a scam, and one perpetrated by those who know that classic creationism (YEC and OEC), whether or not itself a scam, is nothing but a mess of scientific failures and irreconcilable differences.

Comment #193927

Posted by raven on August 8, 2007 1:15 PM (e)

James McGrath:

Is that the best approach? Does anyone have any thoughts or suggestions on this?

1. One of my minor quibbles with creationism is how boring and mundane it is. The earth is 6,000 years old, it will end any day, nothing much good or new ever happens. Since new species never evolve, it is just running down everytime we wipe out something. Humans have no future since we can’t evolve either.

Compare this with a 13.7 billion year old universe which might just be a dot in a multiverse, 4.5 billion year old earth, an incredible variety of life, >99% of which is extinct. Another 2 billion years left in the old biosphere and we or our descendants could colonize the galaxy. Life wants to survive and spread out. The real world is so much more mysterious, fascinating, large, complicated, and open ended than a simple minded story written by sheepherders barely out of the stone age.

2. And it doesn’t conflict with science and reality since it was derived from same. Proof and facts not faith. Internal consistency rather than internal contradictions.

3. It is entirely possible that the story of life has and is being played out millions or more places in the universe. We just don’t know but if it happened once, why not more?

4. The creo version demeans god. To make it work he has to stand around and go “poof” everytime something contradicts physics or biology or screws up. To take one famous example, 99% of the animals on the Big Boat died after landfall including all our dinosaurs. This is a scandal that has been covered up for 4,000 years. Somebody dropped the ball bigtime. Makes god look like an amateur.

Comment #193935

Posted by Frank Degenaar on August 8, 2007 2:17 PM (e)

Raven wrote:
“The real world is so much more mysterious, fascinating, large, complicated, and open ended than a simple minded story written by sheepherders barely out of the stone age.”

It is interesting to note that Raven, by his own admission is also barely out of the stone age… do you really think you have a higher inherent capacity for intelligence than people who lived a few thousand years ago? Your ignorance is popping at the seams.
A simple minded story… well, simple enough for anyone to understand, but really an account which heralded in a reality which we barely understand on a biological level, as we strain even no to discover what is right under our nose (microscope).
By heart, you are as you say, fascinated with the mysterious… don´t let this cloud your perception.

Comment #193962

Posted by joli on August 8, 2007 3:39 PM (e)

Oliver North?

Comment #193984

Posted by Richard Rodriguez on August 8, 2007 5:07 PM (e)

I am sure the movie referenced in comment 193913 is the one by Oliver Stone.
Although Oliver North’s story would make a good movie too -“Shreds of Evidence”

Comment #193987

Posted by Glen Davidson on August 8, 2007 5:30 PM (e)

Oops, yes, Oliver Stone.

It’s hard to keep track of names that mean so little to me, but thanks for straightening them out.

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/2kxyc7

Comment #194005

Posted by GuyeFaux on August 8, 2007 6:25 PM (e)

Frank Degenaar,

What’s your point? You misrepresent Raven, who never implied that she (“she”, right? Damned gendered language) has a higher capacity for intelligence than stone age shepherds.

Also,

By heart, you are as you say, fascinated with the mysterious… don´t let this cloud your perception.

Umm… how exactly does curiosity and a fascination with the mysterious cloud one’s perception?

Comment #194006

Posted by Frank J on August 8, 2007 6:30 PM (e)

raven wrote:

One of my minor quibbles with creationism is how boring and mundane it is. The earth is 6,000 years old,…

C’mon, you know that that’s only the positive claim of only one of the mutually contradictory creationist positions. And that all of them, especially the “don’t ask, don’t tell” ID variant are primarily negative attacks on evolution. Actually a class debunking all these misleading claims would be anything but boring and mundane.

Comment #194013

Posted by raven on August 8, 2007 7:29 PM (e)

It is interesting to note that Raven, by his own admission is also barely out of the stone age… do you really think you have a higher inherent capacity for intelligence than people who lived a few thousand years ago? Your ignorance is popping at the seams.

Actually no. I also didn’t say that. Where we differ from the bronze age nomads is obvious.

1. We have better tools to study the universe. Electricity, computers, microscopes, space telescopes, satellites, mass spectrometers, worldwide communication and travel, and a thousand other instruments.

2. We also have gigantic databases built over the centuries. A modern university library is a huge building running 5-6 stories and holding a fraction of accumulated knowledge. On the internet and in electronic storage is so much info that Google is a major company based on….search engines.

By heart, you are as you say, fascinated with the mysterious… don´t let this cloud your perception.

Curiosity and learning are what make us human IMO. It is why we no longer live in caves but instead in the space age.

“I do not feel obliged to believe that same God who endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect had intended for us to forgo their use.”
Galileo Galilei (1564-1642

Comment #194027

Posted by Mike on August 8, 2007 8:16 PM (e)

Explore Evolution might be useful. If it is printed on soft, absorbent paper.

Comment #194036

Posted by Torbjörn Larsson, OM on August 8, 2007 9:13 PM (e)

Frank Degenaar:

Frank Degenaar wrote:

do you really think you have a higher inherent capacity for intelligence than people who lived a few thousand years ago?

I suspect you are a “postmodern” relativist that interprets everything in a frame of ‘relative’ knowledge. Replacing descriptions of increased knowledge with an interpretation as increased intelligence is logical for the relativist in full denial. Which was of course not raven’s intended meaning.

Unfortunately for the relativist, out in the real world of science and technique we know there are hard facts and verified explanations. (We know, because those areas work.)

Perhaps you should ask yourself, if science was relative and decided in debate clubs, if anything goes, why is it that scientists demonstrably doesn’t work that way? Is it a centuries old global conspiracy to keep “power”, or is it perhaps more probably because it wouldn’t work?

And if some view, say mechanistic explanations, works, is it really privileged or are we simply forced to accept that as a neutral fact?

If you can grasp the fundamental concept of a hard, objective fact, you would shortly find that science and objective knowledge isn’t terribly difficult to get.

Comment #194046

Posted by Torbjörn Larsson, OM on August 8, 2007 9:41 PM (e)

harold:

harold wrote:

All I can say to Wikipedia is that I disagree with a semantic definition of “microorganism” or “microbe” that excludes viruses, and in my personal experience, using the term in an inclusive sense is well-accepted, at least informally.

I understand - and it would really be my task to try to change Wikipedia. (But I lack the necessary expertise in this area, so I wouldn’t touch it directly.)

harold wrote:

Prions are another story. Even if the protein-only hypothesis is correct, they could almost be conceived of as chemical toxins.

I hadn’t thought that far, but I guess so.

Um, so in this picture prions seems to be like chain reactions, no more alive (an organism) than an inflammatory response, crystal growth or a nuclear chain reaction.

Seems to me like the Luria et al definition can’t distinguish between prions and viruses, though.

Whatever it comes down with, I would like to adhere to it because it could tell us directly which organisms obey evolutionary theory. (Though that is of course not a strictly necessary requirement of such a definition.)

On the surface of it, prions “evolve” when they infect individuals with related but not identical prion proteins, and especially infect other species.

[But the replication is really confined to a change in configuration, as you point out. Granted, different prions will have different configurations, but perhaps the change is topologically equivalent. (I.e. perhaps all prion disease works the same.)

So modulo differences in configurations, prions may never really evolve - they are stuck to be chain reactions of a certain kind. “Twisted” and not in the spirit of Luria’s definition which doesn’t care about constraints, but somehow a bridge between the views of “a replicator with unusual genetic information” and “without amino acid replication (and a very unevolvable thing)”.]

Comment #194050

Posted by Torbjörn Larsson, OM on August 8, 2007 10:04 PM (e)

harold:

Come to think of it, AFAIK there may be another major reason not to care much for prion “evolution” outside epidemiological models - they are really an unusual byproduct of a common mechanism.

AFAIK some proteins will fold wrong, after production, after provocation, or spontaneous change. It is just that prions are much more resistant against the mechanisms that restore or destruct such proteins.

Kind of the transcript situation in reverse, as I understand it - some random transcripts may perhaps happen at low frequency, by failures in normal transcripts or by mistake outside normal transcription areas, but who would care to call this, um, for example genes and gene products?

Comment #194084

Posted by Mark Studdock, FCD on August 8, 2007 11:55 PM (e)

Just a passer by wanting to note after reading some of the comments above….

You would have to be insane or completely biased, or a liar (but I’d rather not mention that), to think that FL hasn’t shown here how Nick Matzke is unabashedly devoted to rhetoric and misinformation.

It is very very apparent to those of us in the middle that the anti-ID crowd has almost entirely resorted (a long time ago) to name-calling, misinformation, and statement making as their chosen weapon of argumentation. And it is so pathetically sad…

MS

Comment #194088

Posted by Frank Degenaar on August 9, 2007 12:02 AM (e)

Raven…
It´s pretty basic when I asked whether Raven assumes to have a higher intellectual capacity than Moses, who lived a few thousand years ago and “penned” the first 5 books of the Bible. A few thousand years is absolutely nothing when it comes to millions of years in evolutionary thought. Moses barely coming out of the stone age - as you put it - has no bearing on whether we perceive a “story” to be simple-minded or not… and in so saying you speak down on a period of history as if it had no capacity other than for simple-minded stories. You know exactly what I mean. Your comment was intended to be denigrating. I´m sure you got my point the first time.
A point in case is the book of Leviticus (written by Moses) which is the first and only system in any culture that has ever existed that details sanitary procedures (related to general hygiene and quarantine of communicable diseases or illnesses), until modern medicine arrived on the scene.
You basically say that Moses was a “sheepherder barely out of the stone age”. It sure sounds poetic and colorful, but it sounds equally as daft.

Guyefauxe… My comment regarding Raven´s use of “mystery”, and not to let it cloud his/ her perceptions, comes about when in the same breath he/ she talks about opinions as if they were empirically proven. His/ her cravings for mystery lean toward personal opinion rather than science or the absolute. I myself love mystery… but you can´t spout romantic sentiments and absolute truth in the same paragraph when you are making a demeaning statement that millions of people in this world believe otherwise about.

Comment #194108

Posted by stevaroni on August 9, 2007 1:07 AM (e)

A point in case is the book of Leviticus (written by Moses) which is the first and only system in any culture that has ever existed that details sanitary procedures

No, I think the Assyrians were noted for their sanitary system in ancient Ashur, which predated the early Israelites by about 500 years.

Also, thought they didn’t write it down, you pretty much have to assume that the Old Kingdoms of Egypt understood sanitary engineering pretty well, or the vast work camps that supported the pyramids would have degraded to vast breeding grounds for disease. (We know they weren’t because it would have shown up in the skeletons of the thousands of workers who died and buried there in the several centuries of aggressive pyramid building).

Besides, I’m missing the point.

Are you saying that Darwin was wrong because Moses dug pit latrines in the desert?

Or that Moses was brilliant because he instructed his men not to crap inside the camp? Maybe I’m just dense here, but “Awww gross David! For cryin’ out loud - go do that over there behind the bushes!” doesn’t seem to be the kind of command decision that requires much holy inspiration.

Comment #194117

Posted by Stephen Wells on August 9, 2007 1:31 AM (e)

On the prion point, is it significant that a prion protein does not code for the production of more prion protein in the cell. There are genes which produce prion proteins; and a misfolded protein catalyses other proteins to also misfold. But none of this makes the cell produce more prion protein, in either the normal or the misfolded form- I guess because the cell has no mechanisms to back-translate proteins into genes. I think I’d put prions on the non-living side of the (rather vague and blurry) life/nonlife classification, whereas I’d put viruses on the living side because they carry genes that code for their own proteins. Sure, they reproduce only inside other cells, but if we count obligate parasites as living creatures it seems unfair to penalise viruses just for not having their own ribosomes.

Comment #194123

Posted by Zarquon on August 9, 2007 1:46 AM (e)

which is the first and only system in any culture that has ever existed that details sanitary procedures (related to general hygiene and quarantine of communicable diseases or illnesses), until modern medicine arrived on the scene.

Then what were the Romans with their vast sewer systems and fresh water aqueducts, chopped liver?
Look at Life of Brian if you want to learn more.
That’s the trouble with creationism, it makes you proud to be ignorant.

Comment #194124

Posted by Frank Degenaar on August 9, 2007 1:48 AM (e)

Stevaroni,
you certainly build a crappy case, no doubt.
Actually, I´d like to redirect the emphasis to that of hygiene and stopping the spread of communicable diseases. You should read Leviticus…
Anyways, it is generally accepted that modern medical science came about when Louis Pasteur demonstrated the idea that contagion passes from one individual to another. Before that it was scoffed upon.
I´m not talking about digging pit latrines in the desert… or about keeping away from feces… that goes without saying.
You´re a much better comedian than I, well done… and you certainly usher us all into a better logic. Thank you.
Is your 2nd name perhaps David? I mean we all learn through trial and error right?

Comment #194125

Posted by Frank Degenaar on August 9, 2007 1:52 AM (e)

I don´t much care for chopped liver Zarquon.
You´ve probably memorized vast portions of the script of the Life of Brian. You are funny.

Comment #194165

Posted by Nigel D on August 9, 2007 5:01 AM (e)

Mark Studdock wrote:

Just a passer by wanting to note after reading some of the comments above….

You would have to be insane or completely biased, or a liar (but I’d rather not mention that), to think that FL hasn’t shown here how Nick Matzke is unabashedly devoted to rhetoric and misinformation.

If you read the post to which FL refers and to which Nick Matzke links, you will (assuming you have adequate comprehension skills) notice that FL totally missed the point. Mike is saying that Biblical creationists are at least honest about what they believe, whereas the ID proponents go out of their way to conceal their creationist belief in order to pretend that ID is not the same as creationism.

In this much, he agreed with Denyse O’Leary. FL quotes from Mike’s article without making clear that some phrases (s)he quotes were actually Mike quoting Denyse, not Mike’s own words. The implication of FL’s post is that Mike is wrong, but it is Denyse’s words with which (s)he is disagreeing.

It is very very apparent to those of us in the middle

But are you really in the middle? Are you approaching this topic with a mind that is open to persuasion by logical argument, or do you have preconceptions that you do not wish to abandon?

that the anti-ID crowd has almost entirely resorted (a long time ago) to name-calling,

Come on, give us some examples. I’ve seen pro-ID arguments criticised heavily. I’ve seen one or two pro-science people get exasperated and resort to name-calling. But by far the larger proportion of name-calling comes from the pro-ID crowd.

ID supporters have likened evolutionary theory to Nazi philosophy; they have tried to associate it with Lysenkoism, and with eugenics. Yet these have all been proven false. None of those approaches was based on evolutionary theory (and, in fact, eugenics was most widely espoused in the US by creationists at the beginning of the 20th century). So when you make accusations of name-calling, are you really looking at all of the exchanges in the debate, or are you just cherry-picking from a few areas that make some people arguing against ID look like they are being childish? There’s a term for this, you know: quote-mining.

It’s a tactic used by ID supporters to misrepresent science so that they have a straw man that can be destroyed.

misinformation,

But I think, if you spend a little time looking, that those arguing against ID are the ones supplying rich lists of references at the end of their essays. Whereas those arguing for ID are the ones who ignore huge collections of facts because they do not fit their ideas. The pro-ID supporters (such as Wells, Dembski and Johnson) are the ones who misrepresent reality, who ignore genuine criticisms of their ideas, and who refuse to engage in an actual debate over these issues.

and statement making as their chosen weapon of argumentation.

Well, I do not see how it is possible to refute a pro-ID argument without making statements. In fact, it is not possible to put forth any argument at all without making statements. This is because an argument is a connected series of statements designed to set forth a proposition.

I have made some statements in this post. These are based on information that is readily available in the public domain. For example, read some of the previous PT posts. Go and read talk origins or talk design or talk reason. Essays posted on these sites are full of statements, but they are statements backed up by references to the primary literature. It is the ID supporters who make statements and then either fail or refuse to back them up.

And it is so pathetically sad…

What I find sad here is your lack of ability to construct an argument. You have made statements that I see as blatantly false. If you can back these up with facts (and not just cherry-picked, but taking a view across all pertinent facts) then I will obviously have to reconsider my position. However, the fact is that you have made these statements without any actual support in the first palce. This implies to me either (a) that you are too lazy to bother with facts and have made a purely emotion-based judgement, or (b) that you are aware of the facts but that the facts actually contradict your position, so you would rather not share them.

You’ve made the claims. By so doing, you take up the burden of proof. Now back it up with some evidence.

Web references:
http://www.talkorigins.org
http://www.talkreason.org
http://www.talkdesign.org/cs/

Comment #194170

Posted by Wesley R. Elsberry on August 9, 2007 5:14 AM (e)

“Mark Studdock”:

Just a passer by wanting to note after reading some of the comments above….

You would have to be insane or completely biased, or a liar (but I’d rather not mention that), to think that FL hasn’t shown here how Nick Matzke is unabashedly devoted to rhetoric and misinformation.

It is very very apparent to those of us in the middle that the anti-ID crowd has almost entirely resorted (a long time ago) to name-calling, misinformation, and statement making as their chosen weapon of argumentation. And it is so pathetically sad…

“Just a passer by”… Who is passing “misinformation” here? “Mark Studdock” has made at least 49 comments on this site since 2005/11/16, more than a few of those being entirely meta-commentary. Nor is the commenter by any stretch of the imagination “in the middle”.

IDC is a subset of “creationism” argumentation. Nick Matzke is entirely correct to point this out. This has been established in sworn testimony in the Kitzmiller v. DASD trial record.

Comment #194185

Posted by Nigel D on August 9, 2007 6:14 AM (e)

Wesley, thanks for the info. I suspected that Mark Studdock was not simply a neutral observer.

Comment #194191

Posted by Torbjörn Larsson, OM on August 9, 2007 7:57 AM (e)

Stephen Wells:

Thanks for the input, it was useful.

Stephen Wells wrote:

On the prion point, is it significant that a prion protein does not code for the production of more prion protein in the cell.

I think you mean biological “code” as in DNA machinery, not code as in general information.

The prion “code” is in a topological (or chemical, if you wish) form, and most of the topological information is probably given by the native prion template. As for a virus, it doesn’t process all of the constituents for the next generation, it hijacks a cell to provide material. OTOH, you could call that its metabolism as well.

Stephen Wells wrote:

But none of this makes the cell produce more prion protein, in either the normal or the misfolded form-

Interesting observation. The population isn’t regulated by selective pressures at all then, as I understand it. Not a very convincing “evolutionary history”. [“An organism is the unit element of a continuous lineage with an individual evolutionary history.”]

I fully expected the boundary between life and non-life (of different conceptions) to be at least as blurry as between species (of different conceptions). But prions tests my inner peace. :-P

Comment #194198

Posted by harold on August 9, 2007 8:30 AM (e)

Stephen Wells -

On the prion point, is it significant that a prion protein does not code for the production of more prion protein in the cell. There are genes which produce prion proteins; and a misfolded protein catalyses other proteins to also misfold. But none of this makes the cell produce more prion protein, in either the normal or the misfolded form- I guess because the cell has no mechanisms to back-translate proteins into genes. I think I’d put prions on the non-living side of the (rather vague and blurry) life/nonlife classification, whereas I’d put viruses on the living side because they carry genes that code for their own proteins.

I certainly agree. That’s why I said -

(Prions are another story. Even if the protein-only hypothesis is correct, they could almost be conceived of as chemical toxins. The “reproduction” spoken of in this hypothesis is merely an induced change in the conformation of a second, already-formed protein molecule. Possible secondary upregulation notwithstanding, in the protein-only hypothesis, prions cannot, of course, directly cause the construction of new prions from individual amino acids. So refering to a prion protein molecule as a “microbe” or organism” would be ludicrous. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prion)

I was basically trying to make the same point.

Comment #194199

Posted by FL on August 9, 2007 8:35 AM (e)

FL quotes from Mike’s article without making clear that some phrases (s)he quotes were actually Mike quoting Denyse, not Mike’s own words.

Hey Nigel, did you miss Comment #192588 or something?
I already established the context thing and where Mike was quoting Denyse (and also where Mike was using his own words.

It’s clear what Mike said, it’s even clear where and on what point he agreed with Denyse. You gotta quit this end-running bizness, dude!

Tell me now. If “ID is creationism” as Matzke claims, why has evolutionist and vocal ID opponent Kenneth Miller been publicly called a creationist not once, but TWICE, by his fellow evolutionists?

FL :)

Comment #194203

Posted by Frank J on August 9, 2007 8:42 AM (e)

Wesley R. Elsberry wrote:

IDC is a subset of “creationism” argumentation. Nick Matzke is entirely correct to point this out. This has been established in sworn testimony in the Kitzmiller v. DASD trial record.

On that note, I will soon post on Talk.Origins a clarification of my position on that issue. Which is that I fully agree with the way it is stated above, even though I dislike the way it is normally stated, and how that is routinely exploited by anti-evolution activists.

Comment #194205

Posted by harold on August 9, 2007 8:46 AM (e)

Mark Studdock -

Just a passer by wanting to note after reading some of the comments above….

Given what follows, it is ironic indeed that this statement was shown to be disingenuous

You would have to be insane or completely biased, or a liar (but I’d rather not mention that), to think that FL hasn’t shown here how Nick Matzke is unabashedly devoted to rhetoric and misinformation.

You throw out an outdated and inappropriate smear at people with mental illness, and a glaringly false accusation of lying at a whole group of people, but offer nothing to support your point.

Surely, if what you said was correct, you would have included illustrative points from the dialogue between FL and Nick Matzke.

It is very very apparent to those of us in the middle that the anti-ID crowd has almost entirely resorted (a long time ago) to name-calling,

How ironic that you would make a statement like this immediately after hurling out “insane” and “liar” in a completely unjustified way.

Of course, some pro-science people do call creationists names. In some circumstances, that may be rude. This does not change reality, however.

misinformation, and statement making as their chosen weapon of argumentation. And it is so pathetically sad…

I don’t know what “statement making” means.

Other than that, I have to say that your post lends support to the concept of “projection” - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychological_proje…

You essentially describe your own rude behaviors and delusions, and ascribe them to others.

Comment #194212

Posted by raven on August 9, 2007 9:21 AM (e)

Frank:
It´s pretty basic when I asked whether Raven assumes to have a higher intellectual capacity than Moses, who lived a few thousand years ago and “penned” the first 5 books of the Bible.

Well I’ve yet to write any books in the bible, never had a burning bush speak to me, parted even a stream, or founded a religion. So I guess Moses will always be better known.

OTOH, any first grader today knows more science than Moses did. Not his fault, he was born into the first technology era post stone age. No one else knew anymore at the time either or for thousands of years after.

The YEC creo myths are just that, myths. I seriously doubt that Moses or whoever wrote genesis even believed they were anything but. For one thing there are two genesis stories and they are differenct in details. All cultures use stories as allegory and metaphor for things that are murky or hard to understand.

Even most Xian denominations accept that they are allegory and have no problem with what science has discovered. The Pope just said that again recently.

There are dozens of creation myths, one for every culture and religion at least. No one cares if Scientology holds that Zenu the Galactic overlord dumped a few million Thetan ghosts on earth a few million years ago and they have been interfering with people’s reincarnations every since.

The issue comes up because the Xian cults in south central USA want to force their myths on our children in their science classes as part of a plan to overthrow the US government and create a theocracy. Don’t be surprised that a few tens of millions or hundreds of millions aren’t crazy about the idea.

About that fascination with mysteries. It is a scientist thing. You don’t seem to understand. Ever wonder where modern medicine, electricity, computers, the internet and HDTV came from? Hint: They weren’t prayed into existence.

Comment #194217

Posted by Raging Bee on August 9, 2007 9:28 AM (e)

If “ID is creationism” as Matzke claims, why has evolutionist and vocal ID opponent Kenneth Miller been publicly called a creationist not once, but TWICE, by his fellow evolutionists?

What does one have to do with the other?

Comment #194219

Posted by Wesley R. Elsberry on August 9, 2007 9:30 AM (e)

“Studdock” was apparently attempting a construction parallel to that used by Richard Dawkins in a famous comment. I’ll quote it here:

So to the book’s provocation, the statement that nearly half the people in the United States don’t believe in evolution. Not just any people but powerful people, people who should know better, people with too much influence over educational policy. We are not talking about Darwin’s particular theory of natural selection. It is still (just) possible for a biologist to doubt its importance, and a few claim to. No, we are here talking about the fact of evolution itself, a fact that is proved utterly beyond reasonable doubt. To claim equal time for creation science in biology classes is about as sensible as to claim equal time for the flat-earth theory in astronomy classes. Or, as someone has pointed out, you might as well claim equal time in sex education classes for the stork theory. It is absolutely safe to say that if you meet somebody who claims not to believe in evolution, that person is ignorant, stupid or insane (or wicked, but I’d rather not consider that).

Leaving out the “ignorant” option, though, means that “Studdock”’s attempt fails to be a parallel construction, as Dawkins’s very next paragraph reveals:

If that gives you offense, I’m sorry. You are probably not stupid, insane or wicked; and ignorance is no crime in a country with strong local traditions of interference in the freedom of biology educators to teach the central theorem of their subject. I recently toured East Coast radio stations, doing phone-ins. I came away optimistic. I had expected hostile barracking from creationists with closed minds. Instead, what I found was genuine curiosity and honest interest. I got sincere questions from intelligent people who really wanted to know because they had literally no education in evolution.

In the case of IDC being a subset of antievolutionary creationist argumentation, it is people who assert a difference who either remain ignorant of the evidence (see the Kitzmiller trial record) or who chose to tell falsehoods about it.

Comment #194256

Posted by Frank J on August 9, 2007 11:51 AM (e)

Raging Bee wrote:

What does one have to do with the other?

A lot, but not the way FL pretends. My upcoming Talk.Origins post will elaborate, but there are different definitions of creationism (although “evolutionists” who prefer to call themselves or other “evolutionists” “creationists” because of a belief in God are few) and anti-evolution activists love to bait-and-switch them.

Comment #194268

Posted by Frank Degenaar on August 9, 2007 12:54 PM (e)

Wesley, Nigel, Harold,
Come on, you guys are nitpicking and then giving one another the high five - on Mark´s comment that he´s just a passer by.
49 comments from your researched start date would mean that IF he spaced his comments out evenly since then, he would post a comment only once every two weeks. That´s good enough to be a passer by to me.
Now given the nature of the responses that one gets on this site, you would be inclined to at least check back on a post… and then there would be a little banter back and forth… so I wouldn´t consider Mark to be a regular visitor…
Your invested interests in this thread, which is at least something to hold onto is obvious. Where else would you get encouragement and pats on the back?… if not for the camaraderie, you too would be “passers by”.
Never mind me… just passing through.

Comment #194269

Posted by Wesley R. Elsberry on August 9, 2007 1:20 PM (e)

Frank D. wrote:

That´s good enough to be a passer by to me.

“Studdock”’s participation at PT is not only non-negligible, it is long-term. How you think that qualifies as “passer by” status is beyond me.

I suspect that your standards comprise twice the usual amount.

Comment #194270

Posted by Nigel D on August 9, 2007 1:26 PM (e)

FL, looks like I slipped up and you caught me. My humblest apologies.

FL wrote:

Hey Nigel, did you miss Comment #192588 or something?

I was just scanning back through the posts to try and see how Mark Studdock could have thought you’d disproved Nick’s post. It turns out I missed the text you put in between the quote boxes in that post. I was looking for the use of the “quote author” xml tag.

…It’s clear what Mike said, it’s even clear where and on what point he agreed with Denyse. You gotta quit this end-running bizness, dude!

Hey, it was an honest mistake. Are you trying to make me regret apologizing for it?

Anyhow, it doesn’t change the fact that you were saying Nick is wrong that ID is creationism because of Mike’s post. However, Mike’s post was about the behaviour of Biblical creationists versus the behaviour of the ID proponents. Whereas I am sure that Nick was pointing out that, after you have stripped away the obfuscation, ID is creationism in a new frock.

Tell me now. If “ID is creationism” as Matzke claims, why has evolutionist and vocal ID opponent Kenneth Miller been publicly called a creationist not once, but TWICE, by his fellow evolutionists?

I have no idea what an “evolutionist” is.

I have not followed Kenneth Miller’s exploits so I cannot comment on them.

However, this does not prevent a Biblical creationist from opposing ID. ID is about concealing the religious message of creationism in order to sneak it into the classroom. Well, some creationists object to this whole idea - they don’t want to sneak in, they want to march in with a fanfare (metaphorically speaking).

Comment #194271

Posted by Wesley R. Elsberry on August 9, 2007 1:30 PM (e)

Frank J.,

You may want to check out this essay.

Comment #194272

Posted by CJO on August 9, 2007 1:33 PM (e)

Frank Degenaar wrote:

Moses, who lived a few thousand years ago and “penned” the first 5 books of the Bible.

Just as an aside; nobody seems to have commented on this.

There is no extra-Scriptural evidence that any such person as Moses ever existed. And even if one did, the Pentateuch was certainly not writted by a single individual.

Comment #194273

Posted by CJO on August 9, 2007 1:36 PM (e)

gah! “written”
[ordinarily wouldn’t bother, but “writted” just sounds… illiterate]

Comment #194274

Posted by Frank Degenaar on August 9, 2007 1:59 PM (e)

CJO, perhaps you´d like to comment on Raven´s statement if you´re so good at not passing by or overlooking comments…
If Raven implies that Moses was barely out of the stone age, writing simple-minded stories… then how did the Israelites fashion a golden calf… and then Pharaoh must have pursued them in his chariots with caveman-like stone wheels.
As far as Moses goes, Jesus referred to him countless times… and there is in fact more extra scriptural evidence that Jesus existed than both Julius Caesar and Napoleon, who you certainly wouldn´t doubt existed.
The fact that you question Moses´ existence is not the issue, it has more to do with your refusal to recognize the existence of a God who has revealed Himself and “penned” the writings of the Pentateuch by way of Moses… otherwise known as the Laws of Moses, or the Books of Moses.
You´re just making statements, trusting that no one from your standpoint will utter a word to your contrary, which is probably the way it will remain.

Comment #194275

Posted by Nigel D on August 9, 2007 2:00 PM (e)

Frank Degenaar wrote:

Wesley, Nigel, Harold,
Come on, you guys are nitpicking and then giving one another the high five - on Mark´s comment that he´s just a passer by.

No.

It was not nitpicking - Mark Studdock claimed a neutral position, then spouted a strongly partisan line. If you disagree with a post here, that’s fine. We get some quite lively debates going on from time to time. However, to claim that your argument stems from a position of neutrality when this is not the case is disingenuous at best, or sly and deceitful at worst. Basically, I object to people lying to me, even if their remark is not directed to me specifically.

I don’t see any evidence that we were effusively congratulating one another. I thanked Wesley for supplying information that confirmed a suspicion I had concerning Mark’s claimed status.

49 comments from your researched start date would mean that IF he spaced his comments out evenly since then, he would post a comment only once every two weeks. That´s good enough to be a passer by to me.

Really? Obviously, he must be a passer-by who passes by quite frequently. After all, I would be surprised if he posted a response every single time he visited the site. At what frequency would a long-term recurrent passer-by cease to count as a passer-by? Once every ten days? Once a week? Once every 5 days? 4? 3? 2?

Now given the nature of the responses that one gets on this site, you would be inclined to at least check back on a post… and then there would be a little banter back and forth… so I wouldn´t consider Mark to be a regular visitor…

It’s not clear exactly what you are saying here. It seems to me you are implying he would be a sporadic visitor to the site, with stretches of very few visits interspersed with clusters of frequent posts but over a limited time. Is it, or not really?

Your invested interests in this thread,

I shall assume you meant “vested” interest…

which is at least something to hold onto is obvious. Where else would you get encouragement and pats on the back?…

Erm … at home? At work?

This debate interests me for three main reasons:
(1) My sense of justice (I cannot stand to see scientific discoveries so deeply misrepresented);
(2) The fact that, as a biochemist / protein scientist, I am able to contribute something of value to the pro-science side of the debate;
(3) I have relatives who are YECs, and it baffles me why they chose that path.

if not for the camaraderie, you too would be “passers by”.

Well, I admit that it feels good when a comment I post gets a positive response, but I would guess that fewer than 10% of the comments I have posted have done so. Most get no response at all. So I cannot see how your conjecture stands up in light of this fact.

Never mind me…

I wish I could.

just passing through.

I have no problem with you or anyone else challenging what is posted here, as long as they are polite. However, if you are going to challenge something I have posted, I would prefer that you not misrepresent my posting, even if only by exaggeration.

Comment #194276

Posted by Frank J on August 9, 2007 2:00 PM (e)

Wesley,

That’s actually one of 3 references in my post. I don’t go into as much detail as you or Mark Isaak (another reference) but I hope to make the point that, just because the wording is a bit different, does not mean that I disagree with either of your approaches.

Comment #194277

Posted by Frank J on August 9, 2007 2:01 PM (e)

Wesley,

That’s actually one of 3 references in my post. I don’t go into as much detail as you or Mark Isaak (another reference) but I hope to make the point that, just because the wording is a bit different, does not mean that I disagree with either of your approaches.

Comment #194278

Posted by Frank Degenaar on August 9, 2007 2:04 PM (e)

CJO,
I thought that your grammar may have been evolving - I never once thought of illiteracy coming into play. Just kidding.

Comment #194281

Posted by Frank Degenaar on August 9, 2007 2:14 PM (e)

Nigel D,
Thanks for the reply. Sincerely. I apologize if I offended you. I guess I shouldn´t try to defend someone you say was “caught out”.

Comment #194282

Posted by David B. Benson on August 9, 2007 2:14 PM (e)

Well, I actually liked the idea that Moses writted the books of Moses…

Comment #194299

Posted by Wolfhound on August 9, 2007 3:33 PM (e)

Frank D wrote:

As far as Moses goes, Jesus referred to him countless times… and there is in fact more extra scriptural evidence that Jesus existed than both Julius Caesar and Napoleon, who you certainly wouldn´t doubt existed.

Wow, that has got to be the lamest “proof” for the existence of Moses that I have ever seen. A fictional character in a popular sequel to a previous book of fiction happens to mention one of the main characters from said previous work of fiction and you consider that to be a compelling argument? Boggles the mind, really.

I am curious about that “extra scriptural” evidence for the existence of Jesus, I must confess. I mean, evidence that wasn’t manufactured decades or longer after he supposedly walked the earth would be pretty cool. Church relics with his image on them and velvet paintings don’t count, BTW. ;)

Comment #194301

Posted by harold on August 9, 2007 3:44 PM (e)

Frank Degenaar -

If Raven implies that Moses was barely out of the stone age, writing simple-minded stories… then how did the Israelites fashion a golden calf… and then Pharaoh must have pursued them in his chariots with caveman-like stone wheels.

You’ve really taken Raven’s comment, which compared the level of scientific sophistication of the bronze age to that of the current era, too literally.

As for the historicity of Moses and the archaeological records of his time and place, those are intriguing topics, but they’re not the topics of this board.

The wheel is a more recent invention than you may realize.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wheel

Many sophisticated civilizations in the “new world”, such as the Maya, Inca, Aztec, etc, remained more or less in the “stone age” and didn’t make much use of the wheel, yet developed complex math, science, art, and engineering.

As far as Moses goes, Jesus referred to him countless times… and there is in fact more extra scriptural evidence that Jesus existed than both Julius Caesar and Napoleon, who you certainly wouldn´t doubt existed.

I actually perceive the Bible as having a lot of value, and I don’t think that such value is dependent on what the mix of symbolism and relatively accurate historical truth is. This is not the place for this discussion. However, I have to point out, purely in the interest of accuracy, that it is simply not true that there is more evidence for the historical existence of Jesus than for the historical existence of Napoleon. I’m not sure where you got that information from, but think about it.

The fact that you question Moses´ existence is not the issue, it has more to do with your refusal to recognize the existence of a God who has revealed Himself and “penned” the writings of the Pentateuch by way of Moses… otherwise known as the Laws of Moses, or the Books of Moses.
You´re just making statements, trusting that no one from your standpoint will utter a word to your contrary, which is probably the way it will remain.

Again, the issue under discussion on this board is basically the theory of evolution.

And again, for me, the fundamental issue is really what’s taught as mainstream science in public schools and what science guides public policy.

Some others may be more interested in convincing people to change their private beliefs, one way or the other.

Most of the world’s Jews and Christians don’t perceive the Bible as true in a concrete, literal way, I would suggest that it can’t possibly be, since among other things, it says that pi equals exactly three. However, it’s not my goal to convince others of this, unless they ask for my opinion, as long as they respect my rights.

Plenty of people who are atheist or have a non-traditional religious view, including me in the latter category, post here, but there are also pro-science posters who are traditional Christians.

Although it may get confusing at times, this is absolutely not a board for discussion of which religion is the one true faith, or whether “atheism” is better than “religion”.

If you believe that science conflicts with your own religious beliefs, this is one place where you can discuss that, if you can handle doing so. That is entirely your own business, as far as I’m concerned.

Comment #194315

Posted by GuyeFaux on August 9, 2007 4:25 PM (e)

I am curious about that “extra scriptural” evidence for the existence of Jesus, I must confess.

We’re looking for extra-scriptural evidence for Moses’ existence and are being supplied with extra scriptural evidence for same. I.e. not getting anywhere.

Comment #194317

Posted by Henry J on August 9, 2007 4:30 PM (e)

Re “We’re looking for extra-scriptural evidence for Moses’ existence”

Movie “The Ten Commandments”, with C. Heston.

Movie “History of the World, Part 1”, with M. Brooks.

Next question? ;)

Comment #194354

Posted by Shay M on August 9, 2007 9:14 PM (e)

Presenting students with strengths and weaknesses of any theory should be a fairly commonplace occurrence in any educational institution. From what I gather, “Explore Evolution” was created by ID proponents but does not explicitly support ID or Creationism. So what is the problem? Anyone who vaguely claims to value science should celebrate this! The last time I checked, science produced verifiable results, considered new discoveries, endured ruthless peer reviews and always invited criticism.
The fact that Evolutionists are all up-in-arms about a book that allows students to question the theories that they have been taught is counter-productive to our enduring pursuit of knowledge. If evolution is indeed a fact, as it is presented in the classroom, then the concept should be able to withstand this kind of scrutiny. However, the Theory of Evolution is just that…a theory. It seems to me that the opinions and attitudes of evolutionist have become more dogmatic than scientific these days.

I find it funny that those who are always so quick to dismiss anything that could possibly be associated with “religion” become most indignant when someone attempts to question the “sacred cow” of evolution.

Comment #194356

Posted by raven on August 9, 2007 9:50 PM (e)

However, the Theory of Evolution is just that…a theory.

Just like the Germ Theory of Disease is just a theory. So forget about those silly antibiotics and vaccines. If you catch one of those germs that haven’t been proven to exist, worse that can happen is you will die.

The ID criticizes the fact of evolution from the standpoint of a cult version of xianity tied in with the xian dominionist/reconstructionist movement. They’ve said so many times, it is in fact part of their governing strategy document, The Wedge. To be fair, maybe they should let scientists and atheists critique their religion and creation myths in church on sunday.

A minor reason why the ID tries real hard to disguise their agenda and creo mythology. It is unconstitutional and illegal to try to shove a cult version of some religion into kid’s heads in public school science classes.

All of the ID criticisms are just recycled pseudoscience fallacies, some dating back to the 1800’s. Been there, done that, got the T shirt.

Not all explanations are necessarily worth considering.
The stork theory of human reproduction, the flat earth theory, the sun going around the earth, Zenu the Galactic overlord and his gang of Thetan ghosts, the ID nonsense.

Comment #194359

Posted by raven on August 9, 2007 10:03 PM (e)

The ID is free to criticize evolution any time they want. They do so. They write books, publish a pseudoscience journal, run a website, give invited talks, and so on. Free country after all.

So far nothing they have said has made much sense. They aren’t really even trying anymore.

What they can’t do is indoctrinate other peoples kids in science classes. Which was always their real goal anyway.

So Shay, when are you going to invite scientists to your church to teach the scientific background for the real world? There is a lot in biology, astronomy, geology, and paleontology that has been discovered in the last 200 years. Six months worth would be a good start. After all, what can it hurt to hear an alternative viewpoint?

Comment #194360

Posted by Cheryl Shepherd-Adams on August 9, 2007 10:03 PM (e)

Shay M: “The last time I checked, science produced verifiable results, considered new discoveries, endured ruthless peer reviews and always invited criticism.”

Evolution has fulfilled all of these criteria.

Please show where ID has fulfilled any of these requirements.

Thanks in advance.

Comment #194374

Posted by Frank Degenaar on August 10, 2007 12:40 AM (e)

Harold,
tsk tsk… do I really have to spoon-feed you? Just because Moses is not the topic of the board, doesn´t mean that I can´t respond to a comment Raven made about simple-minded stories being written by sheepherders barely out of the stone age. You are obviously not with the program, since Raven was not comparing two ages, but rather making whimsical comments about something he didn´t bargain anyone would answer. Of course when you make a mockery in the way he did, you´d expect an answer from someone such as me.
There there Harold, don´t get bent all out of shape about me answering to inadvertent attacks on what I believe… after all, I didn´t instigate the attacks on religion that are on this page… and if you´d rather not hear anything from me, then you should ask every one of this page´s contributers to kindly refrain from making remarks about religion that have no basis.
I on the other hand am fine with seeing all kinds of injustices that are written on this page and needn´t comment on everything… I´m not under any illusion that I´ll in the slightest change anyones opinion… so quit pouting like I´m hurting your feelings.
In fact your arguments are self incriminating when you selectively ask ME not to talk about religion… when it comes as a rebuttal to a few absurdities I´ve come across on this board, which by the way have nothing to do with science.
You wrote, “If you believe that science conflicts with your own religious beliefs, this is one place where you can discuss that, if you can handle doing so.” Make up your mind Harold.
I recognize a solid argument when it has a foundation (even when I don´t agree with it), which is the case with a lot of the material I see on this site… and it has even more weight considering that you have the presence of protein scientists like Nigel D and the likes… but you seem to selectively ignore what is intended to be poetic mockery, since it by no means threatens your standpoint.
Maybe I should ban myself from this board… so that I don´t have to answer some of the ludicrous things I see written here by select individuals… and as a result - some really worthwhile discussion wouldn´t be disjointed by having to scroll pages to follow a topic.
I´m sure you may agree at least in part - that even someone who agrees with your standpoint, should not have poetic license on a page so sternly focussed on the facts as you infer. If you´re going to scold me for not sticking to the norm then perhaps you should take a wider look at some of the often overlooked creative writings of many others on this page.

Comment #194384

Posted by dhogaza on August 10, 2007 2:54 AM (e)

Just because Moses is not the topic of the board, doesn´t mean that I can´t respond to a comment Raven made about simple-minded stories being written by sheepherders barely out of the stone age.

Well, let’s put things into perspective … even God didn’t have access to a printing press when he gave Moses the Ten Commandments.

Comment #194433

Posted by Nigel D on August 10, 2007 7:06 AM (e)

Shay M wrote:

Presenting students with strengths and weaknesses of any theory should be a fairly commonplace occurrence in any educational institution.

Actually, there is often too much ground to cover for this kind of presentation at the secondary school / high school level. I did not encounter detailed evolutionary theory until I was at university.

Also, are you suggesting that we should include critical evaluations of all the other major theories that exist in science? Such as, in Raven’s example, the germ theory of disease. If a theory is demonstrated beyond any reasonable doubt (as are evolutionary theory and germ theory), is it a valuable use of time to teach a critique of that theory?

From what I gather, “Explore Evolution” was created by ID proponents but does not explicitly support ID or Creationism. So what is the problem?

The problem is the way in which the science is represented in such books. The creationist / IDist authors never present evolutionary theory as it actually is, they instead present a feeble parody that is easy to demolish. This is known as the straw man logical fallacy.

These authors also tend to completely ignore huge swathes of evidence that stands in contradiction to their own pet ideas, or that would invalidate the criticisms they level at evolutionary theory.

Thus, while I have no even seen a copy of Explore Evolution, I can confidently predict that it will be full of misrepresentations, straw man arguments, non-sequiturs (“not evolution, therefore design” is not a logically viable argument) and sheer ignorance, both of what evolutionary theory actually includes and of the evidence that supports it.

Anyone who vaguely claims to value science should celebrate this!

Not as such, no. I do not value nearly 150 years of science being falsely represented in order to prepare the way for a religious alternative. Besides, Modern Evolutionary Theory (MET) is sufficiently firmly established that evaluating arguments against it is of no further scientific value. Maybe in the 1870s, teaching a critique of Darwin’s theory would have had some value. MET is so firmly validated by the evidence that it is of no value to question its foundations, particularly in tyhe absence of an alternative.

The last time I checked, science produced verifiable results, considered new discoveries, endured ruthless peer reviews and always invited criticism.

Yes, by all means criticise new science. By all means, evaluate each new discovery with a sceptical mind. But don’t drag up many-times-refuted arguments in a pretense of scientific enquiry. Evolutionary theory, out of all humanity’s scientific achievements, has been singled out for criticism, particularly in the USA, because it contradicts a literal interpretation of Genesis and because it does not permit the notion that humans have a special place in the world.

The fact that Evolutionists are all up-in-arms about a book that allows students to question the theories that they have been taught is counter-productive to our enduring pursuit of knowledge.

No it isn’t. What is counter-productive is that the DI and others are encouraging the ignorant to question one of the most firmly-established and extensively-confirmed theories in the whole of human knowledge. To make a reasonable attempt at a critical evaluation of MET requires first of all that one (a) unsderstand the theory, including what it claims and what it does not claim, and (b) be aware of all the evidence that supports MET and why it does so.

It is disingenuous to encourage a criticism of a theory without first encouraging an understanding of that theory.

The creationists / IDists are encouraging ignorance. They are trying to prevent schoolchildren from learning about one of the most important pieces of science (in biology it is the most important piece of science).

If evolution is indeed a fact, as it is presented in the classroom, then the concept should be able to withstand this kind of scrutiny.

Evolution as a fact is that life on Earth has changed over time.

Evolutionary theory explains how and why this has occurred, and supplies a framework in which to ask meaningful scientific questions as we progress to the future.

However, the Theory of Evolution is just that…a theory.

Oh, dear, this is so wrong. While this phrase is, in a strictly semantic sense, correct, it is wrong in any meaningful sense. MET is as firmly established in science as quantum theory, as special relativity, as the germ theory of disease, and as pretty much any other major scientific theory you could name. It is so well supported by the evidence, and it has such explanatory power, and having no credible rival, that it is, as far as biological science is concerned, a fact. MET is the way biology is, unless a better theory comes along. But any better theory would have to agree with the evidence even better than does MET. Which would be very hard indeed, because MET is supported by everything we know in biology.

It seems to me that the opinions and attitudes of evolutionist have become more dogmatic than scientific these days.

Well, you will be able to guess that I disagree. Evolutionary theory has changed since Darwin’s time. It has accommodated new knowledge, particularly with the re-discovery of Mendelian genetics and, more recently, the proposal of puntuated equilibria, which changed the way we think about the mechanisms of evolution. Science as a whole is not dogmatic.

Contrast this with Dembski, who, after all of his arguments have been refuted, continues tyo espouse the same arguments.

I find it funny that those who are always so quick to dismiss anything that could possibly be associated with “religion” become most indignant when someone attempts to question the “sacred cow” of evolution.

Questioning the fundamental ideas behind MET is pointless, not because it violates any principles or because MET is “sacred”, but because it is not productive. It has been done, over and over. Doing it some more would not allow us to achieve anything new.

Whereas teaching a religious idea as if it were science is dogmatic, it is pointless and it will spread ignorance.

Comment #194440

Posted by Wesley R. Elsberry on August 10, 2007 7:22 AM (e)

From what I gather, “Explore Evolution” was created by ID proponents but does not explicitly support ID or Creationism. So what is the problem?

The problem is that, as usual, antievolutionists don’t “gather” much in the way of real information. In your case, you’ve overlooked demonstrations that EE is comprised of the very same arguments used for “intelligent design” and “creation science”, and also uses misquotation derived from religiously motivated antievolution sources. EE does not explicitly support “intelligent design” not because they decided to do something different, but because they apparently think that not being explicit will help perpetuate the sham in the next court outing.

It isn’t going to work.

Comment #194458

Posted by Frank J on August 10, 2007 7:50 AM (e)

Shay M wrote:

So what is the problem?

The problem is that it is not a real critical analysis (which would certainly be desirable), but a deliberate misrepresentation, based on gross misconceptions that most students already have. From the wording of your comment, you have them too (e.g the “theory, not fact” thing).

It would actually be better if the “strengths and weaknesses” of the long-refuted alternate “theories” were also taught. One does not need to cherry pick evidence, bait-and-switch terms and concepts and quote mine to show how they fail. The activists know that, which is why nowadays they conveniently exempt them from critical analysis.

Comment #194464

Posted by Richard Simons on August 10, 2007 8:41 AM (e)

However, the Theory of Evolution is just that…a theory.

A scientific theory is an explanation of a set of facts that fits all the known evidence and makes verifiable predictions. A theory never grows into a fact, rather a fact contributes to a theory.

The fact that Evolutionists are all up-in-arms about a book that allows students to question the theories that they have been taught is counter-productive to our enduring pursuit of knowledge. If evolution is indeed a fact, as it is presented in the classroom, then the concept should be able to withstand this kind of scrutiny.

To question in any meaningful way the theory of evolution requires college-level courses (or the equivalent knowledge) in a variety of topics, depending on just which aspect you intend to examine. High-school students are probably less ready to criticize the theory of evolution than they are to criticize theories on the composition of the Earth’s core. To suggest that a well-established theory could not withstand scrutiny from children who are not even aware of such things as the Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium is, quite frankly, rubbish.

Comment #194473

Posted by Pete Dunkelberg on August 10, 2007 9:13 AM (e)

Every crank thinks he has found a “weakness” of science or history or whatever his subject is. There is certainly no rule that schools are obliged to teach the alleged “weakness”.

Comment #194492

Posted by Raging Bee on August 10, 2007 10:00 AM (e)

Frank D: You made a lot if ignorant statements; we took the time to point out how those statements were wrong; and instead of acknowledging what we said and engaging with it, you ignored all of it and have now reverted to mocking us as ignorant and emotional, pretending to be the injured party, and pretending to be superior. Can we take this change-of-subject as an admission that you know you’ve lost the argument you started?

Comment #194500

Posted by FL on August 10, 2007 10:11 AM (e)

To be fair, maybe they should let scientists and atheists critique their religion and creation myths in church on sunday.

Interesting. I’d say yes to that one, IF (and only if) they were willing to have a 30-minute Q and A session after their lecture presentation.

(I figure 30 minutes should be long enough to dissect the hapless vict — err, dialogue and interact in depth with their presentation.)

FL :)

Comment #194508

Posted by Les on August 10, 2007 10:36 AM (e)

Homo habilis anyone? Oops, another one bites the dust.

Comment #194524

Posted by raven on August 10, 2007 11:00 AM (e)

(I figure 30 minutes should be long enough to dissect the hapless vict — err, dialogue and interact in depth with their presentation.)

FL :)

You would be off by minimum of 3 million fold. People from the reality denial and voluntary ignorance communities have been pretending that science is wrong for 150 years. About all that happened in that time is science and humankind have advanced spectacularly while they sat on the sidelines and occasionally lobbed a mudpie.

It doesn’t seem to stop the fundies from reaping the benefits though. They have computers, internet connections, probably drive cars and see doctors. This is the life strategy of parasites.

Just once I would like to see these hypocrits walk their talk and move to some fourth world dump without electricity, running water, medical care, or stores.

Comment #194525

Posted by Frank J on August 10, 2007 11:01 AM (e)

Les wrote:

Homo habilis anyone? Oops, another one bites the dust.

What do you mean by that?

Comment #194556

Posted by Nigel D on August 10, 2007 12:26 PM (e)

Raven wrote:

Just once I would like to see these hypocrits walk their talk and move to some fourth world dump without electricity, running water, medical care, or stores.

Erm … the Amish community?

At least they seem to have integrity. Then again, they also leave the rest of us alone, so I would be grateful if all creationists followed their example.

Comment #194563

Posted by Glen Davidson on August 10, 2007 12:52 PM (e)

Homo habilis anyone? Oops, another one bites the dust.

IOW, why are there still apes?

Frankly, Mary Leakey (or her interpreters, anyway) is making an incorrect assumption (that H. habilis couldn’t give rise to H. erectus and still exist), with a lot of news media lapping it up. What’s even more absurd is that they’re announcing that the hominin “tree” is a bush, which is hardly news at all.

Leakey may be right that H. habilis didn’t give rise to H. erectus. However, what we have so far from her is hardly convincing. After all, H. floresiensis is thought by some to be a form of H. erectus, and no one had conniptions over the fact that H. erectus and H. sapiens might have co-existed (there are disagreements on other grounds, but that “argument” doesn’t fly). Australopithecines probably co-existed with Homo spp., which doesn’t mean that Homo didn’t come from some austalopithecine (again, there are arguments that Homo didn’t come from them, but co-existence is hardly a good argument to the contrary).

I suppose what I’d like to find out is if any creationist or IDist has any kind of explanation for H. habilis’ existence, even if it isn’t ancestral to H. sapiens. I mean, what “design goal” did the designer meet when it made an organism much like other Homo spp., then caused it to die, or at least allowed it to go extinct? What about H. habilis, or H. sapiens for that matter, indicates any kind of intelligent thought?

OK, so whether or not H. habilis is ancestral to H. erectus and H. sapiens, it is the kind of transitional that is predicted, and explained by, MET. And neither creationists nor IDists have any kind of explanation for it whatsoever, apart from what they stole from actual science.

I don’t at all know that Leakey’s claims are correct, but even to make a meaningful claim in paleoanthropology means that one accepts MET. She’d have as little excuse for saying anything about evolution as Behe does if she didn’t recognize that H. habilis fits nicely with hominin evolution in some manner, and it was not at all designed (or the same thing epistemologically, it was possibly designed by some designer who slavishly followed the evolutionary scenario).

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/2kxyc7

Comment #194568

Posted by CJO on August 10, 2007 1:06 PM (e)

Presenting students with strengths and weaknesses of any theory should be a fairly commonplace occurrence in any educational institution. From what I gather, “Explore Evolution” was created by ID proponents but does not explicitly support ID or Creationism. So what is the problem? Anyone who vaguely claims to value science should celebrate this!

Only those who “vaguely” claim this should celebrate. Those of us who are more concrete in our esteem for sound science education recognize yet another lame (and ultimately futile) attempt to circumvent the law and “wedge” creationist canards into impressionable minds.

The last time I checked, science produced verifiable results, considered new discoveries, endured ruthless peer reviews and always invited criticism.

You’re blurring the distinction between “science” –as it is practiced– which does indeed have all these attributes, and “science education,” which, while it should not hesitate to impart a sense of all of these activities and their importance to the process of generating empirical knowledge, is primarily concerned with teaching the outcomes of that process. In the case of empirical investigation of the living world, the outcome is an overwhelming consensus in favor of Darwinian evolution as the primary generator of biological diversity. A text like EE serves the opposite purpose –to foster doubt in unformed minds where no such doubt exists in the mainstream scientific community. It is bad pedagogy, plain and simple.

The fact that Evolutionists are all up-in-arms about a book that allows students to question the theories that they have been taught is counter-productive to our enduring pursuit of knowledge.

The clear implication here is that students are not “allow[ed] to question the theories that they have been taught” without such a text. I challenge that implication.

If evolution is indeed a fact, as it is presented in the classroom, then the concept should be able to withstand this kind of scrutiny.

It is more than able to withstand it. That’s not the point. The point is that students are not well served by a textbook full of specious criticisms and long-ago-refuted claims which will inevitably take up time that would be better spent learning the theory as it is used and understood by scientists –which is as the framework upon which all biological investigation proceeds.

However, the Theory of Evolution is just that…a theory. It seems to me that the opinions and attitudes of evolutionist have become more dogmatic than scientific these days.

Yes, yes. “Just” a theory. One of the first things students will learn in a decent science curriculum is how inane that statement is.
As for the supposed dogmatism of scientists, I submit that this perception is a direct result of a sustained attack on the principles and methods of science by religious fundamentalists and authoritarian political movements over the last thirty years. If you are new to “the controversy,” you may not understand that the arguments and methods of this crowd have not evolved substantially in that time. Dogmatism would be to reject the claims without consideration. Simple weariness better explains the curt dismissal of arguments long ago rejected –after exhaustive examination.

I find it funny that those who are always so quick to dismiss anything that could possibly be associated with “religion” become most indignant when someone attempts to question the “sacred cow” of evolution.

There is nothing sacred about it. If someone has a better idea, they are welcome, nay, begged, to bring it before their scientific peers for consideration. What most of us here are indignant about is the under-handed attempt to circumvent this crucial step and bring anti-scientific dogma into classrooms full of students who haven’t yet had the chance to learn the fundamentals.

Comment #194579

Posted by Glen Davidson on August 10, 2007 1:30 PM (e)

However, the Theory of Evolution is just that…a theory. It seems to me that the opinions and attitudes of evolutionist have become more dogmatic than scientific these days.

Tell me, cretin, why it is that Paul Nelson (who at least does come by occasionally), W. Dembski, M. Behe, and D. Berlinski won’t answer the questions we ask. We’re all for dialog, here, where people who already understand evolution could be answered once and for all.

But no, they’re off in their little censored forums (other than the occasional visit by Sal or Paul, who never address our questions adequately), or refusing to dialog altogether, other than in “debates” where the situation is weighted in favor of rhetoric and indifferent to the evidence.

Oh yeah, we’re completely willing to debate in the tried-and-true scientific manner, even though they’re hackneyed pseudo-scientists. It’s they who are afraid of debate, and wish instead to teach lies to children who lack the proper knowledge to know how philosophically and scientifically mendacious a book like Explore Evolution is.

But people like Shay have no regard for the proper process, and they regurgitate whole the lies told to them by the DI, that somehow science is a debate among the uneducated. Well, of course it is in the eyes of IDists and creationists, because virtually none of them have the education to understand these matters themselves, and the few who do are so beholden to their religions (or with Behe, possibly to delusions of grandeur that the window-dressing on his recycled YEC arguments for design raise him to the levels of Newton, Einstein, etc.) that they don’t even properly present (perhaps they don’t understand) the evolutionary arguments.

Science as a debate among the ignorant. Now that’s teaching ID “methods” to unsuspecting minors.

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/2kxyc7

Comment #194585

Posted by hoary puccoon on August 10, 2007 1:46 PM (e)

About Moses, people–
Apparently Jewish men named Cohen (and some related names) who, according to Jewish tradition, are descended from Moses’s brother Aaron, are very likely to have the same Y chromosome. Hence, there is some slim extra-scriptural evidence that Moses was a real person.
May I suggest that trying to prove biblical figures didn’t exist is pointless? Even if there were iron-clad evidence that every historical figure in the bible actually lived, their creation story would still be wrong and the theory of evolution would still be confirmed beyond any reasonable doubt.

Comment #194588

Posted by FL on August 10, 2007 1:57 PM (e)

However, the Theory of Evolution is just that…a theory

And if it’s prebiotic evolution, it’s just a hypothesis (not even a theory) – with generous dollops of unproven speculations to provide some necessary filler!

Comment #194594

Posted by Glen Davidson on August 10, 2007 2:08 PM (e)

And if it’s prebiotic evolution, it’s just a hypothesis (not even a theory) – with generous dollops of unproven speculations to provide some necessary filler!

And?

Do any textbooks on the higher levels say otherwise?

I don’t vouch for the lower level texts at all, because I know that many have been rather poor guides—and of course not only in the area of evolution, though you find almost no complaints from IDists and creationists about issues other than evolution being botched by the texts.

Gee, you’d think that they don’t know much about science, or maybe they’d be in favor of fixing the texts everywhere, strengthening the coverage of evolution.

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/2kxyc7

Comment #194600

Posted by PvM on August 10, 2007 2:20 PM (e)

And if it’s prebiotic evolution, it’s just a hypothesis (not even a theory) – with generous dollops of unproven speculations to provide some necessary filler!

Of course ID will not even reach the stage of a hypothesis as it really has nothing to say, scientifically speaking.

As far as prebiotic speculations, I am sure that FL is familiar with the predictions and research in these areas.

Comment #194602

Posted by PvM on August 10, 2007 2:21 PM (e)

Homo habilis anyone? Oops, another one bites the dust.

Another data point of what ignorance can do for your ability to understand science. ID surely seems to dumb down the mind

Comment #194607

Posted by Flint on August 10, 2007 2:26 PM (e)

FL:

And if it’s prebiotic evolution, it’s just a hypothesis (not even a theory) – with generous dollops of unproven speculations to provide some necessary filler!

While you may regard this as very clever invective, I can’t parse any useful content out of it. What is “prebiotic evolution”? Do you intend to indicate speculations as to how life as we know it may have started? Since this is (and will remain) unknown, of course it necessarily consists of “unproven speculation.”

But wait, EVERY hypothesis is an unproven speculation! The goal is to cast unproven speculations into a form that allows them to be tested. Why is that to be mocked?

There is no “theory of abiogenesis” because a theory is a best-fit explanation for a substantial body of evidence, and there is no solid evidence for or against abiogenesis. There are suggestive hints, some useful clues, some speculations structured clearly enough to suggest experiments. Is this a bad thing? Why?

Comment #194609

Posted by Glen Davidson on August 10, 2007 2:29 PM (e)

OT: There’s an interesting article about pseudogenes, or more specifically about a pseudogene which had been claimed to have a function, here:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/08/060…

Glen D

Comment #194617

Posted by J. Biggs on August 10, 2007 2:51 PM (e)

hoary puccoon wrote:

Apparently Jewish men named Cohen (and some related names) who, according to Jewish tradition, are descended from Moses’s brother Aaron, are very likely to have the same Y chromosome. Hence, there is some slim extra-scriptural evidence that Moses was a real person.

Does that mean that Borat counts as extra-scriptural evidence that Moses was a real person?

Comment #194623

Posted by hoary puccoon on August 10, 2007 3:22 PM (e)

Whoa! “Borat” could be evidence that Moses existed. He still evolved, though.

Comment #194648

Posted by Nigel D on August 10, 2007 4:20 PM (e)

In reply to post 194281:

Frank Degenaar wrote:

Thanks for the reply. Sincerely. I apologize if I offended you. I guess I shouldn´t try to defend someone you say was “caught out”.

Frank, s’okay. I wasn’t as offended as it probably seemed. Feel free to defend other posters if you wish, just remember that some of us might examine your defence with a critical fine-toothed comb …

Comment #194651

Posted by Nigel D on August 10, 2007 4:35 PM (e)

hoary pucoon wrote:

“Borat” could be evidence that Moses existed. He still evolved, though.

Maybe, except that individuals don’t evolve.

Comment #194679

Posted by hoary puccoon on August 10, 2007 5:42 PM (e)

Nigel D–
I realized that after I posted. I was hoping nobody would catch it. Maybe I should go work for the Disco Institute. They seem to get away with saying anything.

Comment #194742

Posted by Torbjörn Larsson, OM on August 10, 2007 9:17 PM (e)

Torbjörn Larsson, OM wrote:

prions tests my inner peace

Stephen, harold, thanks again for your efforts.

Today I come to think of the other side of the coin from the “NASA definition” and Luria’s - at least the former wants to keep open for non-biological (i.e. mechanical) replicators. That would make EA agents much like prions, stuck in their niche.

Either that talks against adopting a “non-substrate” definition or not, I have concluded that either definition is fixable. (By adding the niche observation above, for example.)

I am of course accepting prevailing biological consensus while keeping my preference for theory-driven instead of descriptive definitions where they work. To twist the quote above in a sum up, with my resolution prions no longer eat on my brain. :-P

Comment #194746

Posted by Torbjörn Larsson, OM on August 10, 2007 9:22 PM (e)

“Either that talks against” - Whether that talks against…

Comment #194767

Posted by Torbjörn Larsson, OM on August 10, 2007 10:45 PM (e)

Shay M

You already got some replies, but I want to increase the pile with some of my own views:

Shay M wrote:

Presenting students with strengths and weaknesses of any theory should be a fairly commonplace occurrence in any educational institution.

The challenges theories face are mostly at the research front. That is often a complex, contingent and fast-paced area which students in most cases would not have the background to appreciate.

Persistent problems, such as the problems of quantizing gravity, can be covered briefly when there is time. Often very early because they can be fundamental, and also simple to describe. (You must be able to understand that the successes of any viable theory are enormous compared to its problems. And there is only so much time to cover some of the basics.)

The challenges biology, and especially evolutionary biology, currently faces are that anti-scientist creationists tries to distort public information and education on an 150-200 year old science. This is unfortunately a persistent fundamental problem for the science, and I agree with you that it should be presented at every opportunity.

Shay M wrote:

However, the Theory of Evolution is just that…a theory.

Evolutionary biology studies a simple phenomena, common descent. It is easy to see from your own family history, your family common descent by heredity, that individuals differ so we are looking at evolution of populations.

So we suspect that we have a phenomena that can be described by a theory. But what would be observable facts that support that?

The theory must faithfully predict these facts (or be rejected), and it does. Most simply, common descent gives nested hierarchies of traits.

And we observe all these facts. For example in horses where the horse ancestors diminished or lost one toe (trait) after the other (nested) until the modern horse leg occurred in some ancestral horse species.

Most often these nested hierarchies looks like a tree, where fossils traits as above shows that populations branch off of common ancestors, confirming the phenomena of common descent.

It is as simple as that. (Though the theory contains a lot of other related phenomena and mechanisms.)

[Now creationists like to say that fossil traits doesn’t count “because yadda, yadda, you weren’t there, yadda, yadda, dating”. Tough shit - these are observable facts that support the theory as it is defined.]

Comment #194776

Posted by Torbjörn Larsson, OM on August 10, 2007 11:13 PM (e)

Les:

Les wrote:

Homo habilis anyone?

Still fossilized and in museums for all to see. Did you have a point to make?

Oh, perhaps you mean the confirmation of some earlier predictions that populations of H. habilis and H. erectus may overlap in time? (I’m too pooped to find the references now, but look around on some biology blogs and you will see them mentioned.)

Anthropologists have known for a long time that the hominid tree is bushy. Think H. sapiens and H. neanderthalensis in Eurasia.

And AFAIK as we would expect that to be likely of similar populations this has only served to strengthen the theory, if you think honestly about this.

And, I might add, shown a more exciting picture of our ancestors and their life.

It is mostly creationists that believes in the debunked linear “ladder of progress” when they think of humans. Others know better, among them modern biologists that are refreshingly freed from earlier preconceptions and superstitions.

Comment #194950

Posted by Shay M on August 11, 2007 10:00 AM (e)

First off, let me say that I appreciate such prompt and (mostly) constructive responses to my post!

My dear Raven—there are problems within the Theory of Evolution that do deserve to be considered (see http://emporium.turnpike.net/C/cs/top.htm). Germ Theory is a different story. These “theorized” germs still exist today. Vaccines and antibiotics can be and are tested and are often proven effective. Germ theory is not heavily dependant on subjective interpretations of an incomplete fossil record. I could continue, but I hope you see where this is going.

I would also appreciate it if you would refrain from commenting on my personal life, which you have no way of knowing anything about. You have no idea if I even attend a church, much less if I invite scientists there to teach them “the scientific background for the real world.” But then again, I suppose it’s much easier for you to be dismissive of something (yes, even concrete evidence and very plausible explanations that don’t necessarily come into alignment with what you believe) if you can somehow slap the label of religion on it. Religion, my friend, is for the most part beyond the scope of science…which is why neither ID nor Creationism is forced upon students by EE. Besides, a certain degree of faith is involved in any theory that attempts to explain the origins of universe and things in them…so don’t go throwing stones in glass houses, it is not wise. Prejudice is the key to this whole argument. Just because EE was produced by ID proponents, it must be filled with “ignorance” and “regressive thought” right?

Despite our best scientific and medical efforts, the mortality rate has been and currently remains at 100%…weather we catch one of those silly little germs or not! Remember, we don’t know all there is to know and there is absolutely no reason we should become closed-minded and complacent in our scientific thinking, nor should we encourage our future generations to do the same by not promoting the criticism of theories. I’m sure that many people thought the round-earth theory was not worth considering a few centuries ago. Only today, the Church is not the persecuting party of those who decide to think outside the proverbial box of the day’s conventional thought.

Cheryl—I am referring to the fact that people (particularly evolutionists) are outraged by the fact that kids at school are being encouraged to examine evidence that does not necessarily support evolution or evidence that points to fallacies within the theory. If Evolution has fulfilled all of my aforementioned criteria, why are people threatened by the introduction of “Explore Evolution”? If there is so much faith in the theory, then why not allow it to be tested and questioned in our schools? It should be able to stand on its own two feet right ;)

The very existence of ID and Creationism is a tribute to it’s adherence to the scientific method. I really would be here all night if I wanted to personally give you a complete and thorough response to your request, but here are some interesting articles I’ve found that address the requirements in question.

http://www.intelligentdesignnetwork.org/
http://www.intelligentdesignnetwork.org/NCBQ3_3H…
http://www.creationscience.com/onlinebook/FAQ12.…
http://www.drdino.com/articles.php?spec=57 (also the inspiration for last line in my previous post!)
You may also find this website of some interest- http://www.scienceagainstevolution.org/

Although I wish I had more time address every individual concern, I do not. I will, however, try to at least post some general feedback to those who did take the time to respond to my comment.

Cheers!

P. S. Thanks for the input FL ;)

Comment #194983

Posted by Pastor Bentonit, FCD on August 11, 2007 11:54 AM (e)

Some Guy who apparently believed he had stumbled onto something original and thoughtworthy wrote:

My dear Raven—there are problems within the Theory of Evolution that do deserve to be considered (see http://emporium.turnpike.net/C/cs/top.htm).

Bwahahahahahahahahaha!

Ehrm. Excuse me (replaces broken bullsh*tometer).

Sorry, Some Guy, that only deserves ridicule. Come back when you´ve done at least some of your homework.

Comment #195018

Posted by Shay M on August 11, 2007 1:08 PM (e)

Pastor Bentonit, FCD~

Sticks and stones may break my bones…

You see? Two can play these childish games ;)

Comment #195035

Posted by Frank Degenaar on August 11, 2007 1:51 PM (e)

Raging Bee,
Your use of the royal “we” is revealing.
I prefer spending time with my wife than commenting on absolutely everything that is directed at me. You do, of course understand that time does not permit - just as many of my comments have gone unaccounted for.
I will refrain from giving a reply as I initially intended, since your conclusions have nothing of substance other than on a “raging” emotional level.

Comment #195059

Posted by Nigel D on August 11, 2007 2:58 PM (e)

Shay M wrote:

First off, let me say that I appreciate such prompt and (mostly) constructive responses to my post!

You’re welcome.

Doubly so if you are prepared to engage in the debate and address points raised.

My dear Raven—there are problems within the Theory of Evolution that do deserve to be considered (see http://emporium.turnpike.net/C/cs/top.htm).

I followed this link, and found a list of creo arguments that have been refuted over and over again.

For example, see here:
http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/

Germ Theory is a different story.

No. The evidence supporting both is interpreted within the same standard. Both are so firmly established that they are treated as fact by biological scientists.

These “theorized” germs still exist today.

As does Natural Selection. What is your point?

Vaccines and antibiotics can be and are tested and are often proven effective.

And then become ineffective when the relevant microbe evolves resistance. Again, what is your point here?

Germ theory is not heavily dependant on subjective interpretations of an incomplete fossil record.

Neither is modern evolutionary theory (MET). The fossil record, when interpreted objectively, is one of many threads of evidence contributing to MET.

See here:
http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/comdesc/

I could continue, but I hope you see where this is going.

You seem to be approaching the “how can you know, you weren’t there” argument. This is false. Events in the past leave evidence for us to observe today. The fossil record, while “incomplete” in the sense of not permitting us to deduce a direct “parent-child” relationship between species, contains many transitional series. For example, in the evolution of birds, whales and horses from their ancestral groups (be these genera, families, orders or classes). These transitional series were all discovered after the publication of The Origin of Species, and were, in fact, a prediction of evolutionary theory.

I would also appreciate it if you would refrain from commenting on my personal life, which you have no way of knowing anything about. You have no idea if I even attend a church, much less if I invite scientists there to teach them “the scientific background for the real world.”

True, but you must accept that it is possible for us to deduce some things about you from the comments you make and the words you choose.

But then again, I suppose it’s much easier for you to be dismissive of something (yes, even concrete evidence and very plausible explanations that don’t necessarily come into alignment with what you believe) if you can somehow slap the label of religion on it.

This is not true. A weak or specious argument is still a weak or specious argument whether it comes from a religious background or not. Many people object to the implications of evolutionary theory because it does not fit in with their own personal interpretation of religious text. They then try to dismiss the theory (as you yourself did - “it’s just a theory”) or they find childish arguments against it that do not withstand the most casual of informed scrutiny.

Religion, my friend, is for the most part beyond the scope of science…which is why neither ID nor Creationism is forced upon students by EE.

That does not change the facts:
(1) The “arguments” in EE are the same as those that are repeatedly proposed by creationists / IDists;
(2) EE misrepresents the science (a common tactic of creationists);
(3) EE fails to cite important evidence that invalidates the “criticisms” expounded in EE;
(4) The arguments put forth in EE have all been refuted by people who are (a) familiar with the evidence that supports evolutionary theory, and (b) familiar with what evolutionary theory does and does not claim.
(5) Additionally, ID is itself nothing more than a criticism of (a misrepresentation of) evolutionary theory coupled to a non-sequitur (“not evolution, therefore design”).

Besides, a certain degree of faith is involved in any theory that attempts to explain the origins of universe and things in them…

Ah, here we are. Now you are showing that you have not bothered to become informed about MET. MET is not a theory about the universe. It is not a theory about “origins of things in them [sic]”. It is a theory about how biological species give rise to new biological species. And it does a superb job of explaining what we find in the world around us.

Besides, science does not require any faith. Faith is, by definition, belief despite the absence of evidence, or belief despite contrary evidence. No scientist has “faith” in any scientific theory. Instead, scientists are convinced by the evidence. Often, a theory is used until a better one arises (a common example being general relativity replacing Newtonian gravitational theory), but this does not necessarily change the fact that the previous theory was a good approximation. MET is the best explanation of the similarities and differences we see in living things. If a better explanation exists, it has to do an even better job of explaining the evidence.

I’m getting deja vu here. It seems that you did not fully appreciate some of the points I made in a response to your previous post. I have already addressed some of the points you are raising now. Raising them again does not make what was previously stated go away.

so don’t go throwing stones in glass houses, it is not wise. Prejudice is the key to this whole argument.

I disagree.

The key to this argument is that religious groups are attacking science with the hope of replacing it by dogma. This view is not based on prejudice, but on an assessment of the available evidence. Christian fundamentalist groups, particularly in the USA, have been attacking evolutionary theory since it was first proposed. Unfortunately, their objections to it do not take account of the evidence that supports it; they do not object on rational grounds; they object on grounds of doctrine; ID and “critical evaluations” of MET are a more subtle tactic, but their aim is the same. They wish to spread ignorance and sow doubt in one of humankind’s greatest achievements.

Just because EE was produced by ID proponents, it must be filled with “ignorance” and “regressive thought” right?

No.

It is filled with ignorance, misrepresentations of science, illogical arguments and repetition of arguments that have been refuted many times over. It has these things all by itself, irrespective of who wrote it. However, knowing the background of its authors permits us to make deductions regarding the intended effect of such misinformation.

Despite our best scientific and medical efforts, the mortality rate has been and currently remains at 100%…

This is utterly irrelevant.

Why do you ignore the facts that science haas extended life expectancy and quality of life for all of us?

weather

That’s the worst spell of “whether” I’ve seen in years. (Sorry, folks, couldn’t resist.)

we catch one of those silly little germs or not!

What about them is “silly”, exactly?

Remember, we don’t know all there is to know and there is absolutely no reason we should become closed-minded and complacent in our scientific thinking, nor should we encourage our future generations to do the same by not promoting the criticism of theories.

I’ve already addressed this point. Maybe you should actually take note of what we say in reply to you? You know, out of courtesy? Or out of the fact that these are genuine objections to the argument you make?

I’m sure that many people thought the round-earth theory was not worth considering a few centuries ago.

Not true. The diameter of the world was first calculated in about 300 BC.

Only today, the Church is not the persecuting party of those who decide to think outside the proverbial box of the day’s conventional thought.

Well, no - instead a few churches are persecuting those who think rationally and who demand that explanations be supported by evidence; by facts that can be independantly verified.

Cheryl—I am referring to the fact that people (particularly evolutionists) are outraged by the fact that kids at school are being encouraged to examine evidence that does not necessarily support evolution or evidence that points to fallacies within the theory.

There is no evidence that contradicts MET. There are no fallacies within it. MET is the result of nearly 150 years of refinement and experimentation and scientific exploration. Can you even begin to imagine the magnitude of the endeavour that you are dissing?

If Evolution has fulfilled all of my aforementioned criteria, why are people threatened by the introduction of “Explore Evolution”?

Schoolchildren all over the US are threatened by it, for several reasons:
(1) It propagates ignorance by misrepresenting the science;
(2) It suggests that MET is doubtful, which is a lie;
(3) It presents facile arguments in simple soundbites that require an understanding of MET and the evidence supporting it to refute (acquiring this understanding is a long process because there is so much evidence, and not only will it not fit into the timetable, but very few high-school students are ready for this kind of focus);
(4) It encourages criticism of that which is not understood;
(5) It is not an honest critique, but is riddled with logical fallacies such as straw-man arguments and non-sequiturs;
(6) It exemplifies the poorest standard of scholarship;
(7) It fails to account for the fact that all of the arguments it contains have been refuted, as if shouting louder will make unwanted evidence go away.

If there is so much faith in the theory, then why not allow it to be tested and questioned in our schools?

Already answered this. Why don’t you read the previous responses?

It should be able to stand on its own two feet right ;)

It has done so against genuine, honest criticism for nearly 150 years. The criticism in EE is neither genuine nor honest.

The very existence of ID and Creationism is a tribute to it’s adherence to the scientific method.

The very opposite is true. Creationism / ID persist because the people who support them put their hands over their ears and go “la, la, la, can’t hear you” when their logical basis is shown to be false.

You seem to be doing the same thing.

Go and read the responses to your previous post.

I really would be here all night if I wanted to personally give you a complete and thorough response to your request, but here are some interesting articles I’ve found that address the requirements in question.

http://www.intelligentdesignnetwork.org/
http://www.intelligentdesignnetwork.org/NCBQ3_3H……
http://www.creationscience.com/onlinebook/FAQ12.…
http://www.drdino.com/articles.php?spec=57 (also the inspiration for last line in my previous post!)
You may also find this website of some interest- http://www.scienceagainstevolution.org/

Hmm, if these are anything like your earlier link, they will be full of arguments that have already been refuted.

I have some paint drying that I need to watch…

Although I wish I had more time address every individual concern, I do not. I will, however, try to at least post some general feedback to those who did take the time to respond to my comment.

Actually, I’d much rather you took on board the points that have been raised in response to your posts.

If you wish to adopt a contrary position, I’m fine with that. However, if you want to participate in this debate, you must address the points that have been raised. If you do not, you will be doing exactly what Bill Dembski does. Let me be clear on this point: repeating the same argument does not make it any more valid the second time than it was the first time. I have raised genuine objections to some points that you have made. You have ignored this and repeated those same points.

If you wish to participate in this debate, then you must address the points that I and others have raised.

Comment #195067

Posted by J. Biggs on August 11, 2007 3:37 PM (e)

Shay M wrote:

Germ Theory is a different story. These “theorized” germs still exist today. Vaccines and antibiotics can be and are tested and are often proven effective. Germ theory is not heavily dependant on subjective interpretations of an incomplete fossil record. I could continue, but I hope you see where this is going.

Evolution Theory is as important to Biology as Germ Theory is to Epidemiology. If you believe that the ToE is “heavily dependent on subjective interpretations of an incomplete fossil record” you are deluded. Every bit of research done in biology only strengthens the theory. Findings in molecular biology, genetics, paleontology, geology, etc… all support ToE even though many evolutionary predictions predated some of these disciplines. One of the biggest problems in Epidemiology is the evolution of antibiotic resistance in microbes. Tell me how ID explains anything? Why did the intelligent designer make microbes that kill us? If you want to get rid of ToE, fine, just come up with a more predictive theory that explains everything ToE explains while according with all available scientific evidence.

Religion, my friend, is for the most part beyond the scope of science…which is why neither ID nor Creationism is forced upon students by EE. Besides, a certain degree of faith is involved in any theory that attempts to explain the origins of universe and things in them…so don’t go throwing stones in glass houses, it is not wise. Prejudice is the key to this whole argument. Just because EE was produced by ID proponents, it must be filled with “ignorance” and “regressive thought” right?

I agree the existence or non-existence of a deity is beyond the scope of science. Some religious claims taken literally most certainly are. Most religions have creation stories that make scientific claims and roughly none of them hold up to scientific scrutiny. Explore Evolution presents ID/creationist canards (ones you apparently believe) that have been thoroughly refuted by the scientific community, and therefore has no place in the high-school biology curriculum. There is no need to teach debunked criticisms of evolution before high-school students even understand the theory. And by the way evolution theory does not attempt to explain the origin of the universe or even life, it just explains biological diversity. And Why would ID proponent’s bother to produce a book on evolution if it weren’t to push ID on HS students?

Despite our best scientific and medical efforts, the mortality rate has been and currently remains at 100%…weather we catch one of those silly little germs or not! Remember, we don’t know all there is to know and there is absolutely no reason we should become closed-minded and complacent in our scientific thinking, nor should we encourage our future generations to do the same by not promoting the criticism of theories. I’m sure that many people thought the round-earth theory was not worth considering a few centuries ago. Only today, the Church is not the persecuting party of those who decide to think outside the proverbial box of the day’s conventional thought.

So because we don’t know everything we don’t know anything? I beg to differ, while our mortality rate remains at 100%, we certainly have improved life expectancy figures and continue to do so. And your desire to teach HS students to question a theory they don’t even understand goes to show that you are for anything but open-mindedness (blind ignorance is more like it). Consider that the people that refuted flat-earth theory were intellectuals well beyond high-school age in most cases; they were well versed in the theories of their time which made them qualified to question them.

Cheryl—I am referring to the fact that people (particularly evolutionists) are outraged by the fact that kids at school are being encouraged to examine evidence that does not necessarily support evolution or evidence that points to fallacies within the theory. If Evolution has fulfilled all of my aforementioned criteria, why are people threatened by the introduction of “Explore Evolution”? If there is so much faith in the theory, then why not allow it to be tested and questioned in our schools? It should be able to stand on its own two feet right ;)

No, HS students are dishonestly being told that evidence exists the disproves evolution. It is not unreasonable for the scientific community to be angry that a very well supported biological principle is being misrepresented by pseudo-scientific charlatans. Students at the HS level are not scientifically literate enough (kinda like you)to tell the misrepresentations from the facts. That is why the shouldn’t be exposed to EE.

The very existence of ID and Creationism is a tribute to it’s adherence to the scientific method. I really would be here all night if I wanted to personally give you a complete and thorough response to your request, but here are some interesting articles I’ve found that address the requirements in question.

Really, then why don’t you point out even one peer-reviewed scientific publication an ID/creationist has ever done. I won’t hold my breath. Unfortunately for you, ID/creationism can’t reconcile the fact that the scientific method requires that preconceptions be abandoned if they do not match the evidence. Most of us have seen all of your articles and websites and remain unimpressed with your so called evidence.

Comment #195128

Posted by Frank Degenaar on August 11, 2007 6:27 PM (e)

Wolfhound wrote:

Wow, that has got to be the lamest “proof” for the existence of Moses that I have ever seen. A fictional character in a popular sequel to a previous book of fiction happens to mention one of the main characters from said previous work of fiction and you consider that to be a compelling argument? Boggles the mind, really.

Wolfhound… why would you take a rudimentary comment to be the ultimate authority, when you have access to the same material I have on the internet? Do you consider your comments about Moses and Jesus being fictional characters - and that of the Bible being a work of fiction - to be… how can I put this… compelling arguments? Poetic license, though it be by way of a rhetorical question, is so unbecoming of an objective evolutionist. Don´t stoop to undignified levels.

At the expense of ignoring Harold´s plea to stick to the topic at hand, perhaps I could spare a few moments… literally. I have much material on my bookshelf expounding evidence for Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch - in external evidence, including archaeological. Perhaps the most compelling argument after all would be internal evidence, from the Bible itself, pointing toward Egyptian influence in portions of the Pentateuch, where much of the material in Genesis and Exodus has an obvious Egyptian background. This is to be expected, if, after all, Moses was raised and educated in Pharaoh´s court. The Egyptian influence comes to light in a number of areas, most notably the diction present in the writing.

Raven´s raving about the accounts of Genesis and Exodus being ,”simple-minded stories written by sheepherders barely out of the stone age”, (which is incidentally how this started) - shows up to be spectacularly oblivious of reason… and he would have to overthrow what the Egyptians had to offer - categorizing them, too, as being “simple-minded”. As it turns out, Moses possessed a higher degree of education and literary skill than Raven, who seems to think himself superior because he came into our technologically advanced world of late.

As far as documented sources of extrabiblical historical references to Jesus go, there are innumerable. Let´s limit it to secular authorities, amongst which you´ll find: Cornelius Tacitus, Lucian of Samosata, Suetonius, Pliny the Younger, Thalius, Phlegon, Mara Bar-Serapion…

Cornelius Tacitus was a Roman historian who “lived through the reign of over half a dozen Roman emperors. He has been called the greatest historian of ancient Rome.” Writing in the reign of Nero, Tacitus speaks of the death of Christ:
“… Nero… falsely charged with the guilt, and punished with the most exquisite tortures, the persons commonly called Christians, who were hated for their enormities. Christus, the founder of the name, was put to death by Pontius Pilate, procurator of Judea in the region of Tiberius: but the pernicious superstition, repressed for a time, broke out again, not only through Judea, where the mischief originated, but through the city of Rome also. (annals XV,44)

“No serious scholar has ventured to postulate the non-historicity of Jesus.” - Otto Betz

Comment #195175

Posted by Richard Simons on August 11, 2007 8:41 PM (e)

here are some interesting articles I’ve found that address the requirements in question.

http://www.intelligentdesignnetwork.org/

http://www.intelligentdesignnetwork.org/NCBQ3_3H…;

http://www.creationscience.com/onlinebook/FAQ12.…;

http://www.drdino.com/articles.php?spec=57 (also the inspiration for last line in my previous post!)

You may also find this website of some interest- http://www.scienceagainstevolution.org/

Several of these are broken links. I saw nothing on the others that deserves to be taken seriously, although I found the idea that” The North American Plate hit the Pacific Plate very fast and very hard….The collision was fast enough to build Mount Whitney almost instantly, …” quite entertaining.

Perhaps you could point us to a specific claim that you think is convincing?

Comment #195341

Posted by Nigel D on August 12, 2007 5:15 AM (e)

Frank Degenaar wrote:

“No serious scholar has ventured to postulate the non-historicity of Jesus.” - Otto Betz

Frank, this is an appeal to authority. It only has any weight if one accepts Otto Betz as being authoritative. It would be more convincing if you were to summarise the argument itself.

I’m not necessarily trying to argue against you on this one (after all, I have no idea who Otto Betz is/was), just pointing out a logical fallacy.

Comment #195353

Posted by hoary puccoon on August 12, 2007 5:59 AM (e)

After reading back through Shay M’s and FL’s posts, I am totally convinced. Yes!! We SHOULD teach the controversy!!!
I propose a second auxillary teaching aid, tentatively titled, “Designs on our Children” which will present the TRUE controversy between MET and the anti-evolutionists!!
Let’s make sure our kids understand enough to make informed choices!!!
So here goes–
“Designs on Our Children”
Chapter 1: “Quote-mining: Slander or Just Plain Lies?”
Chapter 2: “Moving the Goalposts: How to be a Weasel without the Benefit of Natural Selection”
Chapter 3: “The Gish Gallop” (or–hat tip to FL– Dissecting the Victim)
Students will be shown a video of a creationist throwing out misinformation faster than a scientist can respond, and invited to count the lies and logical fallacies on each side of the debate.
Chapter 4: “Christian Dominionism: Has the Constitution of the United States Outlived its Usefulness?”

Shay M and FL, I’m counting on you guys to get behind this. If you want schoolchildren to make informed choices about evolution, let’s give them ALL the information!!! Right???Well, okay, we can leave out the details of Ted Haggard’s little problem and that unfortunate misunderstanding between “Dr.” Dino and the IRS, but the SCIENTIFIC TRUTH about creationism should be presented, right??? Because you don’t want people to think your anti-evolutionist stance is just a “sacred cow,” now do you?

Comment #195384

Posted by Frank J on August 12, 2007 7:21 AM (e)

Shay M,

Glad you returned. I see that you link to anti-evolution positions from ID to Hovind. Yet curiously I see nothing yet about which of the mutually contradictory anti-evolution positions you personally favor. Do you agree with Michael Behe that life has a ~4 billion year history and is related by common descent, Hugh Ross, who agrees with the ~4 billion years but not the common descent, or the YECs who think that life has only been around for a few thousand years?

Even if you are unsure (which can’t be if you really think it’s about the science), please take a best guess. Then tell us if you have any plans to debate those creationists whose positions are as different from yours as evolution is (which you would surely want to do if you really think it’s about the science).

Comment #195420

Posted by FL on August 12, 2007 9:07 AM (e)

Memo to Hoary Puccoon:

Yes, ‘teaching the controversy’ is somewhere on my Insidious To-Do List. However, don’t forget the context of my dissect–I mean dialoging statement.

That wasn’t about ‘teaching the controversy’ but about Raven’s suggestion of having “scientists and atheists” stop by the church to offer critiques of the Bible and such.
That, is where the dissection would come in. (Even here on PT, Bible critiques just AIN’T you guys’ strong suit!)

I’m reckoning 30 minutes of Q and A should be sufficient to finish the barbecue — oops, I mean finish the business.

FL

Comment #195428

Posted by Nigel D on August 12, 2007 9:45 AM (e)

FL wrote:


That wasn’t about ‘teaching the controversy’ but about Raven’s suggestion of having “scientists and atheists” stop by the church to offer critiques of the Bible and such.

Hey, yeah, that’d be fun. We’d have to make sure, though, that we’d done our homework beforehand. I reckon we should at the very least be able to equal the level of scholarship displayed by (say) Jonathan Wells.

That, is where the dissection would come in. (Even here on PT, Bible critiques just AIN’T you guys’ strong suit!)

Hey, sure, but don’t forget to hold us to the same standards of scholarship to which you hold Wells, Dembski, Behe, Johnson and the other DI chappies (I mean fellows, oops). In other words, because I vaguely remember some stuff from Sunday school, that makes my opinion at least as valid as that of anyone else.

I’m reckoning 30 minutes of Q and A should be sufficient to finish the barbecue — oops, I mean finish the business.

No way, man. ‘Cos, as soon as you’ve shot down our first three points, we’ll go right back to the first one and start banging on about that one again.

It has the potential to go on for years…

Comment #195429

Posted by Science Avenger on August 12, 2007 9:58 AM (e)

Frank Degenaar inexplicably wrote:

As it turns out, Moses possessed a higher degree of education and literary skill than Raven, who seems to think himself superior because he came into our technologically advanced world of late.

Um, Frank, with all due respect, what the f*ck are you talking about? Just for starters, Moses:

1) Thought there were 5 planets

2) Didn’t know Austrailia, the Americas, or Antarctica even existed.

3) Thought the earth was the center of the universe

4) Didn’t know what cells or genes were.

5) Thought mental illness was caused by demons

6) Knew nothing of calculus.

7) Thought objects needed continuous applied force to remain in motion.

And that’s just for starters. We could literally fill this blog to overflowing with the things we know now that Moses did not. Just what sort of bizarre definition of “education” are you using that allows dismissal of everything manking has discovered in the last 2000 years? Sorry, but yes Raven’s knowledge, and that of everyone else reading this, surpasses Moses’ by orders of magnitude, precisely, and only, because we live in a far more technically advanced world than he did.

The same goes for Newton vs us, to a lesser degree, and Newton himself explained why:

“If I have seen further it is by standing on ye shoulders of Giants.”

We know more than Moses only because we stand on the shoulders of everyone who came between us and him that made discoveries about the universe.

Now what would Moses and Newton understand about the universe were they to live today? Far far more than they understood in their lives, and quite possibly more than any of us. So you see, when we dismiss the old testament as the rantings of ignorant sheep herders, it is not a declaration of superiority per se. Were we to have lived then, we too would have been as ignorant as they were. It is simply a recognition of just how much we have learned about the universe since then.

Comment #195442

Posted by Nigel D on August 12, 2007 10:24 AM (e)

Science Avenger, it looks to me like Frank D has conflated ignorance with stupidity.

It’s easily done, especially upon reading some of the posts in this thread that have regurgitated the old many-times-refuted creo arguments.

Comment #195457

Posted by raven on August 12, 2007 10:49 AM (e)

Frank Degenaar inexplicably wrote:

As it turns out, Moses possessed a higher degree of education and literary skill than Raven, who seems to think himself superior because he came into our technologically advanced world of late.

Yes, Frank has got me there. Moses had an internet connection as fast as mine. His Prophet 2000 PC had an equal CPU, more RAM and a larger hard drive. I’m sure he had a direct downlink from the BBST, Burning Bush Space Telescope. Plus an MD-PhD from Sinai Desert university.

LOL, this is too funny. The reality is that Moses may have been a brilliant scholar for his time, the bronze age. The average first grader today knows more science than Moses or any of his contemporaries.

Comment #195473

Posted by waldteufel on August 12, 2007 11:57 AM (e)

Raven, why are you arguing with Frank over the education and sophistication of a fictional character?

Comment #195530

Posted by Frank Degenaar on August 12, 2007 3:25 PM (e)

Nigel D. wrote:

No way, man. ‘Cos, as soon as you’ve shot down our first three points, we’ll go right back to the first one and start banging on about that one again.

The royal “we” is once again very telling.
So… once a point is shot down, you´ll go back to the start and keep banging on and on and on and on and on and on. This reveals the mindset so prevalent on this page.

No way, man. ‘Cos, as soon as you’ve shot down our first three points, we’ll go right back to the first one and start banging on about that one again. -nigel d.
I guess I´m appealing to the self-proclaimed authority on this page now.
The last few rebuttals to my post are becoming more unthinking by the day. There is a difference between knowledge and wisdom… for example, you know how to use search engines to find out who Otto Betz is, but you lack the wisdom to do so.
There is a difference between knowledge and genius… a difference between knowledge (which lends to the racking up of facts) and intelligence… a difference between accumulated knowledge (having stood on the shoulders of giants) and using that knowledge with wisdom.
Take away your internet and you would be devastated… prove your intelligence by what you do with what you´re presented.
At least, you should commend those giants instead of mocking them. Undermine the giants on whose shoulders you stand… and you become a self-proclaimed, living, walking and talking contradiction.

Comment #195539

Posted by Frank Degenaar on August 12, 2007 3:54 PM (e)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'quote'

Comment #195543

Posted by Frank Degenaar on August 12, 2007 4:02 PM (e)

Sorry guys, if anyone is able to retrieve a post and adjust a tag quote, you´d be able to see what I had written above.
If you´d teach me how to do so, then I would indeed be standing on the shoulders of some comparative KwickXML giants. Excuse the joke.

Comment #195561

Posted by Henry J on August 12, 2007 4:36 PM (e)

But remember, Moses started out as a basket case and in de Nile.

Comment #195568

Posted by hoary puccoon on August 12, 2007 5:03 PM (e)

FL-
If you check back to my post #194585, you’ll see I’m not in favor of over-the-top biblical critiques.

Actually I’m pretty far to the right in thinking the bible is largely a record of historical events. It is not, however, scientifically accurate. And how could it be? The bible hasn’t changed in hundreds of years, while science changes constantly as new facts emerge.

Biology has lately been one of the most successful and dynamic fields in science, thanks largely to the framework provided by the theory of evolution. There is no debate whatsoever in the scientific community that evolution really happened in the past and continues to happen today. Students need to be told that.

If you, personally, want to believe that the bible is literally true in the face of scientific evidence to the contrary, you are entitled to do so. If you want to invite scientists into your church in order to be obnoxious to them you are free to do that. You are not legally free to invade American public schools and interfere with children trying to get an education and biology teachers trying to do their jobs.

And, finally, may I ask why it is that so many hard-core biblical literalists treat “thou shalt not lie” as merely a poetic suggestion?

Comment #195569

Posted by Frank Degenaar on August 12, 2007 5:14 PM (e)

On the 9th of August, in comment 194317,Henry J. wrote:

Next question? ;)

Out of your 3 comments on this page: 192622, 194317 & 195561 (perhaps I missed one) two thirds were made about Moses… and since your above question on the 9th… it has taken you about 4 days to come up with your latest answer.
hmmmmmm…

Comment #195587

Posted by Henry J on August 12, 2007 5:58 PM (e)

it has taken you about 4 days to come up with your latest answer.

Given that two of those were obviously jokes (including the one you quoted), I don’t see what your point is.

Did you think there was an outstanding question that hasn’t been answered by somebody else already?

So… once a point is shot down, you´ll go back to the start and keep banging on and on and on and on and on and on. This reveals the mindset so prevalent on this page.

No, that was making fun of one of the habitual behaviors of most ID advocates and Creationists. Evolution supporters don’t have to do that, because the major arguments for the science have not been shot down.

Henry

Comment #195634

Posted by Wolfhound on August 12, 2007 9:25 PM (e)

Raven, why are you arguing with Frank over the education and sophistication of a fictional character?

Yeah, I was wondering the same, myself, although his arrogance and smarmy self-assurance of the veracity of his mythology is somewhat provocative. Pretty good baiting, Frank, for a creobot.

Comment #195734

Posted by Nigel D on August 13, 2007 5:05 AM (e)

OK, Frank, it really does seem that you have no sense of irony.

Let me make this as plain as I can: I was being ironic (sarcastic and / or satirical) for the purpose of pointing out the weakness of FL’s post by a comedic mechanism.

Frank Degenaar wrote:

The royal “we” is once again very telling.

Well, either that or I was actually meaning it in the plural. Recall I was responding to FL’s invitation that a bunch of us should go and critique the Bible in his church service.

So… once a point is shot down, you´ll go back to the start and keep banging on and on and on and on and on and on.

No, I was satirising the creationist / IDist argumentation strategy. I thought it was clear enough, but you seem to disagree.

This reveals the mindset so prevalent on this page.

Well, yeah, it was intended to reveal the mindset of the creationist / IDist position. The reason I thought this was because, no matter how many times an argument they put forth gets refuted, it always pops back up again. In, for example, a book such as Explore Evolution.

No way, man. ‘Cos, as soon as you’ve shot down our first three points, we’ll go right back to the first one and start banging on about that one again. -nigel d.

Ooh, you quoted my phrase twice. Was there a purpose to this?

… The last few rebuttals to my post are becoming more unthinking by the day.

Maybe that’s because you haven’t addressed the points raised in the first rebuttals?

There is a difference between knowledge and wisdom… for example, you know how to use search engines to find out who Otto Betz is, but you lack the wisdom to do so.

Not so, I just lacked the motivation. It doesn’t change the fact that you used a logical fallacy - the appeal to authority.

There were other things I wanted to do with my time.

There is a difference between knowledge and genius… a difference between knowledge (which lends to the racking up of facts) and intelligence… a difference between accumulated knowledge (having stood on the shoulders of giants) and using that knowledge with wisdom.

Yes, I don’t think this is at issue. Did you have a point to make?

Take away your internet and you would be devastated…

Not so. I went to University before the internet was the readily accessible resource it is today. I have text books.

prove your intelligence by what you do with what you´re presented.

No. This is totally wrong. Prove your intelligence by assessing the arguments for their own merits. Seek confirmation of what you are told (whether by internet or by going to a library. This is where anyone based at a good university has a big advantage - university libraries are typically the best for technical resources). I do not expect you or FL or Shay M to accept what I say at face value. I do, however, expect you to follow links that I supply, to think about what I say, and to either accept or address points that I raise (especially when these points are genuine objections to an argument you have expounded).

At least, you should commend those giants instead of mocking them.

At whom was this comment directed, exactly?

If I was mocking anyone, it was the DI fellows. Or, more specifically, their intellectual integrity and standards of scholarship. They are certainly not giants in any field of science.

Undermine the giants on whose shoulders you stand… and you become a self-proclaimed, living, walking and talking contradiction.

Hmm, yes. Instead of telling me this, perhaps you should tell it to the DI fellows. After all, it is they who are attempting to undermine the work of one of the greatest scientists to have lived.

Comment #195737

Posted by Nigel D on August 13, 2007 5:12 AM (e)

Henry J wrote:

Given that two of those were obviously jokes (including the one you quoted), I don’t see what your point is.

Henry, I’m starting to think that Frank D hasn’t actually got a sense of humour.

The jokes might have been obvious to you (and, indeed to some other posters too) but they were not obvious to Frank D.

Maybe we should flag up any future attempt at humour so Frank D will know that we are not necessarily being serious. (Although how he could have thought that I meant “… because I vaguely remember some stuff from Sunday school, that makes my opinion at least as valid as that of anyone else” seriously is beyond me.)

Comment #195788

Posted by Frank Degenaar on August 13, 2007 9:02 AM (e)

Oh, now I get it… hahaha!

Comment #195793

Posted by Frank Degenaar on August 13, 2007 9:35 AM (e)

Nigel, the comment about the internet was directed at Raven… I thought it unnecessary to distinguish between the two of you, in light of your use of the royal “we”…
Standing on the shoulders of giants was directed at “Science Avenger” - who´s name by the way is the funniest thing I´ve seen on this page to date.
Maybe I should write a “LOL” every time I kill myself laughing on this page… by the way, I did get the jokes and they brought a smile to my face. I have a more encompassing sense of humor than you would care to admit.
I took the time to distinguish between knowledge, intelligence and wisdom… for not once did I claim that Moses had more knowledge than anyone on this page (although I may definitely have a point there)… go back and take a look at what I´ve written with your fine-tooth-comb.
Have a great day.

Comment #195811

Posted by Frank Degenaar on August 13, 2007 10:30 AM (e)

Science Avenger quoting Isaac Newton wrote:

“If I have seen further it is by standing on ye shoulders of Giants.”

Isn´t “Science Avenger´s” quoting Isaac Newton just a tad bit curious… that of quoting a Creation Scientist.
I think that aptly infers that the evolutionists are standing on the shoulders of Creation Scientists(the bulk of Science that Evolutionists have their hands on these days, has it´s foundation from Creationist Scientists). That´s like biting the hand that feeds you

Comment #195817

Posted by J. Biggs on August 13, 2007 11:05 AM (e)

Frank Degenaar

Isn´t “Science Avenger´s” quoting Isaac Newton just a tad bit curious… that of quoting a Creation Scientist.
I think that aptly infers that the evolutionists are standing on the shoulders of Creation Scientists(the bulk of Science that Evolutionists have their hands on these days, has it´s foundation from Creationist Scientists). That´s like biting the hand that feeds you

Except for the fact that the beginnings of modern evolutionary theory hadn’t even been proposed until over one-hundred years after Newton’s death. Also, I wouldn’t qualify Isaac Newton a creation scientist so much as he was a scientist that happened to be a devout christian. It is well established that Newton valued reason above all in understanding how the world works and believed that an non-interventionist God had created the universe using rational and universal principles which were available for all to discover by using observation and inductive reasoning. I very much doubt that Newton, were he alive today, would agree with your characterization of him.

Comment #195828

Posted by hoary puccoon on August 13, 2007 11:25 AM (e)

Well, of course Newton was a creationist. Every scientist of his time was a creationist. Charles Darwin was a creationist, himself– until the weight of evidence proved to him that special creation just hadn’t happened.

There is only one thing separating scientific creationists like Isaac Newton and the young Charles Darwin from modern IDers. That’s honesty. Well, probably intelligence, too. But the main thing is that Newton and Darwin refused to fudge data to make it fit into their pre-conceived ideas.

The modern creationist movements are larded through and dripping with lies, prevarications, and, all too often, slanderous misstatements about legitimate scientists.

Modern evolutionary biologists stand on the shoulders of giants. IDers and so-called “scientific” creationists stand on a dunghill of shame.

Comment #195838

Posted by J. Biggs on August 13, 2007 11:45 AM (e)

You should also note, Frank, that while Newton was a christian philosopher as well as a great physicist and mathematician, he mostly kept philosophical views out of his scientific publications. He also enhanced christian philosophy of the time with his rationalism. You see, as one of the greatest thinkers in the enlightenment, Newton strove to replace the simple answer of “Goddidit” from the dark ages with, “God did it in a rational way that we can understand and describe if we observe a particular phenomenon and put our reason to work” which is totally different as one encourages ignorance while the other encourages investigation. Modern day creation “scientists” hardly encourage investigation and are only content in everyone believing their interpretation of what God did as described in the Bible, and any observation and resulting reasoning that contradicts their literal interpretation is wrong.

Comment #195840

Posted by Glen Davidson on August 13, 2007 11:46 AM (e)

Isn´t “Science Avenger´s” quoting Isaac Newton just a tad bit curious… that of quoting a Creation Scientist.
I think that aptly infers that the evolutionists are standing on the shoulders of Creation Scientists(the bulk of Science that Evolutionists have their hands on these days, has it´s foundation from Creationist Scientists). That´s like biting the hand that feeds you

Huh, it’s a wonder that Newton wasn’t an evolutionist, isn’t it? I know that creationists have trouble relating to time, but you know, it must be possible even for Frank to understand that Newton did his work in the 17th century and Darwin did his in the 19th.

As to biting the hand that feeds you, that’s creationism in a nutshell, as they use technology to try to destroy science.

To be sure, creationists generally don’t change their “arguments”, no matter how much their worthlessness is pointed out. So I don’t actually believe that Frank doesn’t know better than to use such a lame “argument”, just doing so because he doesn’t have anything meaningful to contribute.

What is important about Newton is that he understood the rules of reasoning in natural philosophy, as they were developed in Christendom, as well as in paganism, Islam, and in Jewish thought. It’s the much-despised and spat upon “naturalism” that the IDiots denounce, even as they try to claim excellent practitioners of the ill-named “naturalism” for their anti-science side.

The fact is that “evolutionists” only follow the rules of reasoning in philosophy that Newton laid out, which are here:

RULE I.
We are to admit no more causes of natural things than such as are both true and sufficient to explain their appearances.

To this purpose the philosophers say that Nature does nothing in vain, and more is in vain when less will serve; for Nature is pleased with simplicity, and affects not the pomp of superfluous causes.

RULE II.
Therefore to the same natural effects we must, as far as possible, assign the same causes.

As to respiration in a man and in a beast; the descent of stones in Europe and in America; the light of our culinary fire and of the sun; the reflection of light in the earth, and in the planets.

RULE III.
The qualities of bodies, which admit neither intension nor remission of degrees, and which are found to belong to all bodies within the reach of our experiments, are to be esteemed the universal qualities of all bodies whatsoever.

For since the qualities of bodies are only known to us by experiments, we are to hold for universal all such as universally agree with experiments; and such as are not liable to diminution can never be quite taken away. We are certainly not to relinquish the evidence of experiments for the sake of dreams and vain fictions of our own devising; nor are we to recede from the analogy of Nature, which uses to be simple, and always consonant to itself. We no other way know the extension of bodies than by our senses, nor do these reach it in all bodies; but because we perceive extension in all that are sensible, therefore we ascribe it universally to all others also. That abundance of bodies are hard, we learn by experience; and because the hardness of the whole arises from the hardness of the parts, we therefore justly infer the hardness of the undivided particles not only of the bodies we feel but of all others. That all bodies are impenetrable, we gather not from reason, but from sensation. The bodies which we handle we find impenetrable, and thence conclude impenetrability to be an universal property of all bodies whatsoever. That all bodies are moveable, and endowed with certain powers (which we call the vires inertiæ) of persevering in their motion, or in their rest we only infer from the like properties observed in the bodies which we have seen. The extension, hardness, impenetrability, mobility, and vis inertiæ of the whole, result from the extension hardness, impenetrability, mobility, and vires inertiæ of the parts; and thence we conclude the least particles of all bodies to be also all extended, and hard and impenetrable, and moveable, and endowed with their proper vires inertiæ. And this is the foundation of all philosophy. Moreover, that the divided but contiguous particles of bodies may be separated from one another, is matter of observation; and, in the particles that remain undivided, our minds are able to distinguish yet lesser parts, as is mathematically demonstrated. But whether the parts so distinguished, and not yet divided, may, by the powers of Nature, be actually divided and separated from one another, we cannot certainly determine. Yet, had we the proof of but one experiment that any undivided particle, in breaking a hard and solid body, offered a division, we might by virtue of this rule conclude that the undivided as well as the divided particles may be divided and actually separated to infinity.

Lastly, if it universally appears, by experiments and astronomical observations, that all bodies about the earth gravitate towards the earth, and that in proportion to the quantity of matter which they severally contain, that the moon likewise, according to the quantity of its matter, gravitates towards the earth; that, on the other hand, our sea gravitates towards the moon; and all the planets mutually one towards another; and the comets in like manner towards the sun; we must, in consequence of this rule, universally allow that all bodies whatsoever are endowed with a principle of mutual gravitation. For the argument from the appearances concludes with more force for the universal gravitation of all bodies that for their impenetrability; of which, among those in the celestial regions, we have no experiments, nor any manner of observation. Not that I affirm gravity to be essential to bodies: by their vis insita I mean nothing but their vis inertiæ. This is immutable. Their gravity is diminished as they recede from the earth.

RULE IV.
In experimental philosophy we are to look upon propositions collected by general induction from phænomena as accurately or very nearly true, notwithstanding any contrary hypotheses that may be imagined, till such time as other phænomena occur, by which they may either be made more accurate, or liable to exceptions.

This rule we must follow, that the argument of induction may not be evaded by hypotheses.

These are from Vol. 2 of the Principia.

IDiots and creationists violate rule I, by bringing in an “intelligent cause” that isn’t needed to explain evolutionary patterns. In fact, it’s ridiculous to claim that evolutionary predictions are met by a “designer”.

IDiots and creationists (not that there’s any line between them, I just want to make sure no one thinks I’m leaving either form of Biblical pseudoscience out) violate rule II most egregiously, by claiming that the same sorts of natural effects (descent with modification) are caused by different kinds of processes. “Darwinism” is credited for Darwin’s finches (at least by some), while the same types of changes which occurred over longer periods of time and thus produced greater effects, are credited to God. And this without them even being able to discern where evolution ends and “design” begins.

This violation is related to the first, but then that’s not surprising.

The IDiots’ and creationists’ violation of rule IV is also egregious, in that useless “hypotheses” are added in which happen to explain nothing at all, since they refuse to predict normal design expectations for their own designer (though they do claim to predict that junk DNA isn’t junk, despite their denunciations of our attempts to wring predictions from their pseudoscience). In other words, there is no excuse for claiming that induction leads us to believe that there is a designer of organisms, because the patterns and specifics fit with ordinary evolutionary predictions, and do not evidently flow from any sort of thinking with which we are familiar.

Oh yes, Newton was a giant of science. We don’t exclude religious folk from doing science, which is the opposite of ID, which effectively excludes atheists from doing ID (not because ID has a God, but because it has a God which cannot be hypothesized inductively ). Indeed, we don’t at all exclude creationists or IDiots from doing science unrelated to biology, although I think we have every reason to exclude creationists and IDists from tenure in biology if they’re teaching and “using” creationism in their “research”.

The exclusionists are the IDiots and the creationists, not the scientists. Hence we stand on the shoulders of Newton as well as those of Darwin. IDists try to negate the methods utilized by both religious and non-religious scientists, by insisting that deduction from ancient sources and metaphysics should replace induction from the evidence.

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/2kxyc7

Comment #195844

Posted by J. Biggs on August 13, 2007 11:54 AM (e)

Should have said “…kept his christian philosophical views out…” in that first sentence of comment 195838. Newton’s naturalist philosophy and rationalism were very important in his scientific work.

Comment #195859

Posted by Mike Z on August 13, 2007 12:59 PM (e)

I’m not exactly a Newton scholar, but I do remember learning that his religious beliefs were anything but standard Christianity. He wrote much more about astrology and alchemy than about what we call regular, classical physics, and his quirky take on religion made him an awkward fit at Cambridge at the time. Anyway, this just bolsters the point made already that we remember Newton for his good, solid, scientific work and not for his religious predilections.

Comment #195876

Posted by hoary puccoon on August 13, 2007 2:24 PM (e)

Glen D–
Thanks for the long quotation from Newton.
His Rule III is clearly the intellectual forebear of Charles Lyell’s principle of uniformitarianism, which, as you probably know, says that you can study the geology of the past by observing the forces (volcanism, erosion, sedimentation) at work in the present. This was an extremely important underpinning of Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution.
It’s ironic that Frank D is castigating modern scientists for quoting Newton and also accepting evolution, while creationists like Answers in Genesis are basing their entire argument on repudiating Newton’s rules, saying ‘you can’t know if you weren’t there.’

Comment #195892

Posted by Nigel D on August 13, 2007 3:32 PM (e)

Frank Degenaar wrote:

Nigel, the comment about the internet was directed at Raven…

That may be so, but since he did not comment on your quoting Otto Betz (whereas I did), the comment seems to be directed at me, specifically, my ignorance of who Otto Betz is.

I thought it unnecessary to distinguish between the two of you, in light of your use of the royal “we”…

Erm, this is confusing. Firstly you seem to be accepting that I used “we” in the plural, but then you comment on it being the “royal we”, which is, of course, a singular (more technically, since it refers to the sovereign, it can be thought of as a reference to the entire nation and hence plural, but in colloquial use, the term “the royal we” is used when someone refers to themself in the plural).

Anyway, you use of the term “royal we” is inapplicable when Raven or I was actually referring to a collection of commenters on this blog (in the which case my or his [=”our”] use of the plural was appropriate).

Standing on the shoulders of giants was directed at “Science Avenger” - who´s name by the way is the funniest thing I´ve seen on this page to date.

Also not clear to me at the time, but what the hey.

Maybe I should write a “LOL” every time I kill myself laughing on this page…

Alternatively, you could try not to make it look like you take the humorous posts seriously.

by the way, I did get the jokes and they brought a smile to my face.

Glad to hear it.

I have a more encompassing sense of humor than you would care to admit.

Not than I would care to admit. It must just be more encompassing than you have demonstrated in this thread. The evidence I saw was that you responded seriously to at least two humorous comments. What other conclusion was I to draw?

I took the time to distinguish between knowledge, intelligence and wisdom… for not once did I claim that Moses had more knowledge than anyone on this page (although I may definitely have a point there)… go back and take a look at what I´ve written with your fine-tooth-comb.

That’ll be “fine-toothed comb”, as I do not need a comb for my teeth (which is what a “tooth-comb” would be, fine or otherwise).

However, you did actually write this:

Moses possessed a higher degree of education and literary skill than Raven

(emphasis mine)

Now, this does not address Moses’ intelligence or his wisdom, it addresses his knowledge. In that field, I have no doubt that Raven is far superior to Moses, by virtue of standing on the shoulders of giants, as has been mentioned previously.

Comment #195907

Posted by fnxtr on August 13, 2007 3:58 PM (e)

hoary:

There is only one thing separating scientific creationists like Isaac Newton and the young Charles Darwin from modern IDers. That’s honesty. Well, probably intelligence, too.

Two things: honesty and intelligence. And (in the case of the snake-oil salesmen)lust for money and power. Three things: honesty, intelligence, lust for money and power, and a fanatical devotion to the Bible… I’ll come in again.

Comment #195981

Posted by Frank Degenaar on August 13, 2007 10:12 PM (e)

J. Biggs wrote:

Also, I wouldn’t qualify Isaac Newton a creation scientist so much as he was a scientist that happened to be a devout christian… It is well established that Newton valued reason above all in understanding how the world works and believed that an non-interventionist God had created the universe using…

… what are you trying to say Mr. Biggs?

Hoary Pucoon wrote:

“scientific” creationists stand on a dunghill of shame.

This is better than reading the comics for entertainment. I understand your attempt at humor.

Comment #196014

Posted by hoary puccoon on August 14, 2007 1:26 AM (e)

Frank Denegaar–
No, that wasn’t an attempt at humor, Frank. I really do feel absolute contempt for you and your kind. You came on this thread posing as a simple searcher after truth. I an others answered you sympatheically, in that spirit.
Since then you have shown your true colors as a devious manipulator whose only real goal in being here is to derail a discussion of Explore Evolution, which might, had you not intervened, led to useful ideas for responding to that mess.
I hope and trust the Disco Institute or other plotters against the United States constitution paid you well for your contemptible behavior. You have abused the courtesy of this site, you have abused the good will of many honest people here, and, in my opinion, you have abused everything Jesus of Nazareth preached and stood for.
I for one will no longer respond to anything you post here. Go back to your dunghill, troll.
P.S. No, this is not a joke.

Comment #196029

Posted by Nigel D on August 14, 2007 2:26 AM (e)

fnxtr wrote:

Two things: honesty and intelligence. And (in the case of the snake-oil salesmen)lust for money and power. Three things: honesty, intelligence, lust for money and power, and a fanatical devotion to the Bible… I’ll come in again.

Well, when I first viewed this thread, I didn’t expect the Spanish Inquisition …

Comment #196049

Posted by hoary puccoon on August 14, 2007 3:43 AM (e)

I’m assuming my previous post addressed to Frank D. will be removed by the administration before many of you see it.
Before I am entirely banned from posting on PT, I would like to address some remarks to the, (drum roll, please) ORIGINAL TOPIC OF THIS THREAD.
In a post above I made a fascetious suggestion that there be a second supplemental book called Designs on Our Children. But really, if the ID wants Explore Evolution to be treated seriously as science, they should have no objection to the NCSE or other responsible scientists putting out at least a teacher’s manual seriously examining Explore Evolution *as science.*
I suspect creationists have let their egos get puffed by the sight of legitimate scientists being snowed under with the ‘Gish Gallop’ presented by a trained orator in front of a claque of true believers.
The results may be quite different when Explore Evolution is examined by biology teachers who are sincerely dedicated to teaching science, not pushing religion into public schools. All the misstatements, mined quotes, and logical fallacies will be on the table.
‘Teaching the controversy’ done in an honest way, could be the best thing that ever happened to science education in America.

Comment #196061

Posted by Torbjörn Larsson, OM on August 14, 2007 4:43 AM (e)

Glen Davidson wrote:

Newton was a giant of science.

No doubt. As when I am presented with fragmentary texts from Darwin, I am stricken both with the clarity (and depth) of thought as well as the breadth that these originators of new sciences displayed. For both of these men the paucity of models forced them to analyze the consequences of methods and definitions to great length. Even if that meant as here to traipse into philosophy, while later generations could take the successes as support and the methods for granted.

I was for example not aware that Newton’s definition of absolute space was forced on him because he needed to take the experience of contingent space to an abstract general idea (model) of “absolute” space. (By means of measurements of course.)

It is quite possible that Newton could have proceeded to recognize the concept of relative space which is the basis for classical mechanics, but his contemporaries seems to have initially not been ready for such abstractions.

So while I’m laughing at creationists that are as ignorant of history and literature as they are about science and technology of today while claiming otherwise, I must remember that I too should take time to study the creative geniuses of yesterday before critiquing their apparent odd blind spots or misinterpret their definitions in the historical context.

Btw, wasn’t Newton an heretic (rejected trinity)? Since he was a religious and otherwise searcher, I doubt any fundamentalist creationist of yesterday would have accepted him as a religious equal.

Comment #196093

Posted by Nigel D on August 14, 2007 6:41 AM (e)

Hoary Puccoon wrote:

I’m assuming my previous post addressed to Frank D. will be removed by the administration before many of you see it.

I read it. I can understand your feelings, but you go further in expressing them than I would.

Before I am entirely banned from posting on PT, I would like to address some remarks to the, (drum roll, please) ORIGINAL TOPIC OF THIS THREAD.

The what, now? Hee, hee - guess we got sidetracked with the OT posts.

In a post above I made a fascetious suggestion that there be a second supplemental book called Designs on Our Children. But really, if the ID wants Explore Evolution to be treated seriously as science, they should have no objection to the NCSE or other responsible scientists putting out at least a teacher’s manual seriously examining Explore Evolution *as science.*

Hmm, interesting idea. I think it would need to have some significant time set aside for it.

Oh, wow - how about we try to get the public schools to increase the time they assign to science? That would be worthwhile anyway, and it would make room for “teaching the controversy”, or rather, teaching why the controversy is artificial and how the creo arguments do not fit with the facts.

Mind you, I think it would be a bit of a challenge to explain to high-school students what is wrong with Dembski’s arguments. Then again, it occurs to me that the hardest part would be to parse out what his arguments actually are.

I suspect creationists have let their egos get puffed by the sight of legitimate scientists being snowed under with the ‘Gish Gallop’ presented by a trained orator in front of a claque of true believers.

Did you mean “clique”?

The results may be quite different when Explore Evolution is examined by biology teachers who are sincerely dedicated to teaching science, not pushing religion into public schools. All the misstatements, mined quotes, and logical fallacies will be on the table.
‘Teaching the controversy’ done in an honest way, could be the best thing that ever happened to science education in America.

Could be. If it’s done right. I think it would need to be preceded by an examination of what science actually is, so the kids would have some of the background on why science is the best way to determine how the world works.

Comment #196108

Posted by hoary puccoon on August 14, 2007 8:14 AM (e)

Nigel D–
No, I meant claque: “a group of persons hired to applaud an act or performance” or “a group of syncophants,” as my dictionary defines it.
I haven’t seen Explore Evolution. Based on Paul Nelson’s posts on PT, it won’t be nearly as sophisticated as Dembski, so the arguments should be simpler to understand and to refute.
I would work on this myself, but I’m not a scientist. On the other hand, if anyone knows how to get a copy of EE, I’d be willing to put together a rough draft for comments by evolutionary biologists.

Comment #196133

Posted by Nigel D on August 14, 2007 9:42 AM (e)

Hey, I just learned a new word. Thanks, Hoary Puccoon.

I think, to rebut the arguments in EE (I also have not seen a copy, but I can deduce the quality of scholarship it contains from what I know of its authors and sponsors), all we need to do is a copy-and-paste job from Talk Origins.

And then try to simplfy a bit to make it easier for high-school students to grasp first time.

Comment #196138

Posted by J. Biggs on August 14, 2007 10:15 AM (e)

Frank Degenaar wrote:

… what are you trying to say Mr. Biggs?

I thought what I said was quite clear, either your reading comprehension is in need of improvement or you are intentionally misrepresenting what I wrote. Modern Creation “scientists” presuppose their literal interpretation of the Bible and do not allow any observation that contradicts that interpretation to be considered. That is why I put scientists in scare quotes when the word appears behind creation. Newton on the other-hand did not presuppose anything about how God did things, he investigated phenomena and produced models to explain the world. He did not depend solely on the Bible for all of his answers. That is why I and many others don’t consider him a creation “scientist”. By your definition, Frank, theistic evolutionists would be considered creation scientists because they also believe that God created the universe, however, ID/Creationists will quickly say that TE’s are not part of their group. I think you know what I meant considering that I said “I wouldn’t qualify Isaac Newton a creation scientist so much as he was a scientist that happened to be a devout christian”. So go ahead Frank, redefine what a creation scientist is, just remember that it will only mean the vast majority of creation scientists accept that the theory of evolution is the best scientific explanation for the history of life and biological diversity.

Comment #196144

Posted by FL on August 14, 2007 10:42 AM (e)

I think, to rebut the arguments in EE (I also have not seen a copy, but I can deduce the quality of scholarship it contains from what I know of its authors and sponsors), all we need to do is a copy-and-paste job from Talk Origins.

Not even going to read and think through the Exploring Evolution textbook for yourself, eh? Just gonna rely on whatever Talk-Origins regurgitates for public consumption, mmm?

Well…no complaints from me, nope nope. In fact, my hope is that ALL the evolutionists in my state and hometown will follow your example!

FL :)

Comment #196145

Posted by FL on August 14, 2007 10:43 AM (e)

I think, to rebut the arguments in EE (I also have not seen a copy, but I can deduce the quality of scholarship it contains from what I know of its authors and sponsors), all we need to do is a copy-and-paste job from Talk Origins.

Not even going to read and think through the Exploring Evolution textbook for yourself, eh? Just gonna rely on whatever Talk-Origins regurgitates for public consumption, mmm?

Well…no complaints from me, nope nope. In fact, my hope is that ALL the evolutionists in my state and hometown will follow your example!

FL :)

Comment #196153

Posted by Wesley R. Elsberry on August 14, 2007 11:06 AM (e)

There’s a start on an “Explore Evolution Companion“, and the open discussion forum already has the run-through of EE recycled creation science arguments linked to the Index of Creationist Claims.

Comment #196161

Posted by David Stanton on August 14, 2007 12:08 PM (e)

FL,

If they did a global swap and replaced every mention of intelligent design with “teach the controversy”, would I have to read Of Pandas and People again?

Of course you should read a book before criticizing it. Only two problems with that. One, creaationists never seem to read the scientific literature they are critical of. Two, creationist arguments never seem to change, only the buzz words. No real new ideas in 150 years. Still using the same old discredited Paley argument and not because it proves anything either. As long as the arguments have already been addressed, doesn’t that in itself show that the arguments haven’t really changed in this “new” book? And even if there is anything reaally new, it won’t take long for the archive to contain a stinging rebuttal.

Get into the lab and do some science. Maybe then there will be something new to discuss.

Comment #196176

Posted by Raging Bee on August 14, 2007 1:08 PM (e)

FL: if a book promises, in the first chapter, to “prove” something I know to be false, and if all of its fans praise it for “proving” something the rest of us know to be false, there’s no need to read it any further. We know it’s crap, therefore we kick it to the curb.

Besides, you yourself show no signs of having read EE either. So who are you to pretend you’re the smartest guy in the room?

Comment #196187

Posted by Frank Degenaar on August 14, 2007 1:54 PM (e)

Hoary Pucoon wrote:

I really do feel absolute contempt for you and your kind.

So much for your sense of humor. You turned the tables on yourself.

Hoary Pucoon wrote:

You came on this thread posing as a simple searcher after truth.

Nope, I came on to this thread after doing a search for creation material… followed the link to this page… wrote something…. responded.

Hoary Pucoon wrote:

Since then you have shown your true colors as a devious manipulator whose only real goal in being here is to derail a discussion of Explore Evolution, which might, had you not intervened, led to useful ideas for responding to that mess.

I would never be able to derail a discussion, and that was not my intention. I never expected my comments to be a magnet of criticism. What people choose to respond to is up to them. Then you have contributors to this thread who challenge one to engage, even after I repeatedly acknowledge that I am only responding as others had wished and provoked… and why do you get so flustered at me responding to an intentional insult? In fact, I have kept my answers short, instead of copy-pasting from the vast resources on the internet.

Hoary Pucoon wrote:

I hope and trust the Disco Institute or other plotters against the United States constitution paid you well for your contemptible behavior.

You have no idea who I am or where I am. I am a South African living in Central America. I lead a simple and humble life (in terms of education, profession and involvement in anything related to politics).

Hoary Pucoon wrote:

You have abused the courtesy of this site, you have abused the good will of many honest people here, and, in my opinion, you have abused everything Jesus of Nazareth preached and stood for.

Jesus Christ is my Saviour, and I take his words literally… ummm… some people here have mocked him in various ways, not I.
I´m sorry if you feel that I have abused you… and I hope that all others on this page don´t feel the same way. My language is not abusive, such as much of what I see here… and even so I don´t tell people that they are abusing me.

Hoary Pucoon wrote:

I for one will no longer respond to anything you post here. Go back to your dunghill, troll.
P.S. No, this is not a joke.

If you and others would like, you would simply have to ask me, and I would never post another comment here. I have no problem with that. Deal?
God bless.

Comment #196194

Posted by FL on August 14, 2007 2:11 PM (e)

Besides, you yourself show no signs of having read EE either.

Correct. I’ll let you know when I’ve got that done.

But I’m not the one suggesting that it’s not even necessary to read the EE textbook. Mmmm.

No matter what side a given textbook may happen to support, I don’t do that kind of suggestion.

FL

Comment #196318

Posted by Frank Degenaar on August 14, 2007 10:52 PM (e)

Nigel D.,
correct, I did write this: “Moses possessed a higher degree of education and literary skill than Raven”.
Thanks for taking the time to find it.
I also talked about the difference between mere knowledge and wisdom.
Through education or instruction you may acquire wisdom and knowledge… but wisdom or intelligence do not come automatically. That is to say that some people after having “completed their formal education” may in practice be utterly bereft of the desired benefits or purpose thereof. Let me point out that I also talked about intellectual capacity - which Raven assumes to have a higher level thereof. There‘s no way to compare Moses and Raven in this area… nevertheless I would bet my bottom dollar on an assumed certainty, come to think of it, that Moses has a higher intellectual capacity than Raven, despite being a simple-minded sheepherder as Raven puts it.
Perhaps we should ask Raven to lay his credentials on the table, other than possessing internet access.
Even when talking about straight-forward knowledge… not the apparent sophistication thereof, but perhaps in quantitative terms… just out of interest, how many languages does Raven speak? Moses was adept in multiple.
For the sake of brevity, I would still say that Moses possessed a higher degree of education than Raven, considering he was schooled in Pharaoh‘s court (at the very least). Consider the fact that education is not a synonym, in it‘s entirety, for knowledge.
Failing to acknowledge which, back to the initial comment that Raven claimed to have a higher intellectual capacity than Moses, I was hardly emphasizing knowledge… and actually to go back to my original thought - that of intellectual capacity (or potential)… I did mention this in the context of evolutionary thought - that there was a mere few thousand years difference separating us and Moses… which is hardly enough time to substantiate an increase in intellectual capacity to sufficiently boast that we have a higher intellectual capacity. It can not be proved. We simply have additional knowledge, that‘s all. Now the real question is that of being simple-minded, and the intention with which that statement was made - intended to belittle that which he had no absolute certainty to back it up.

Comment #196335

Posted by djztoh ycmgsdruz on August 14, 2007 11:32 PM (e)

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Comment #196387

Posted by hoary puccoon on August 15, 2007 3:46 AM (e)

Before this thread gets derailed AGAIN,
FL– Nobody suggested that we could critque EE without reading it. The few things that I have heard about it from people who have read it make it sound extremely scientifically dubious. The things that Paul Nelson (the author of EE) has written on PT were not impressive. People would make points that I among others found transparently simple and clear, and Nelson wouldn’t seem to understand them.
It’s based on that information that I’m guessing EE would be easy to refute. If you have the book and can quote from it, go, boy. I think we’d all welcome some real information here.

Comment #196430

Posted by Nigel D on August 15, 2007 6:40 AM (e)

Frank Degenaar wrote:

Nigel D.,
correct, I did write this: “Moses possessed a higher degree of education and literary skill than Raven”.
Thanks for taking the time to find it.
I also talked about the difference between mere knowledge and wisdom.
Through education or instruction you may acquire wisdom and knowledge… but wisdom or intelligence do not come automatically. That is to say that some people after having “completed their formal education” may in practice be utterly bereft of the desired benefits or purpose thereof. Let me point out that I also talked about intellectual capacity - which Raven assumes to have a higher level thereof.

But Raven was predominantly posting about knowledge, not about intelligence.

There‘s no way to compare Moses and Raven in this area… nevertheless I would bet my bottom dollar on an assumed certainty, come to think of it, that Moses has a higher intellectual capacity than Raven, despite being a simple-minded sheepherder as Raven puts it.

Well, since, as you mention, there is no way to test this, it is just speculation.

Perhaps we should ask Raven to lay his credentials on the table, other than possessing internet access.

To what end? What purpose would this serve?

Even when talking about straight-forward knowledge… not the apparent sophistication thereof, but perhaps in quantitative terms… just out of interest, how many languages does Raven speak? Moses was adept in multiple.

This is a bit too OT for me.

For the sake of brevity, I would still say that Moses possessed a higher degree of education than Raven, considering he was schooled in Pharaoh‘s court (at the very least). Consider the fact that education is not a synonym, in it‘s entirety, for knowledge.

Be that as it may, I have no doubt that Raven’s knowledge of how the universe works is greater than the sum total of knowledge in this field at the time of Moses.

Failing to acknowledge which, back to the initial comment that Raven claimed to have a higher intellectual capacity than Moses, I was hardly emphasizing knowledge… and actually to go back to my original thought - that of intellectual capacity (or potential)… I did mention this in the context of evolutionary thought - that there was a mere few thousand years difference separating us and Moses… which is hardly enough time to substantiate an increase in intellectual capacity to sufficiently boast that we have a higher intellectual capacity.

My recollection is that Raven’s main point was indeed about knowledge. The measurement of “intelligence” is a very difficult subject.

It can not be proved. We simply have additional knowledge, that‘s all. Now the real question is that of being simple-minded, and the intention with which that statement was made - intended to belittle that which he had no absolute certainty to back it up.

Well, I don’t think that’s a question to address here in this thread. I don’t quite feel up to wading through the 250-odd posts to find out word-for-word what Raven actually did say. Raven may or may not have made claims about intelligence as an aside to the point about knowledge, but from what I recall, the main thrust of his/her argument was that human knowledge about the universe is now immense compared with a few thousand years ago.

Your posts, however, did seem to include clear contradictions, although this could have been the result of a confusion over terminology. “Degree of education”, “wisdom”, “intellectual capacity”, “intelligence”:- these are all a bit vague, whereas “knowledge” is simply what a person (or a collection of people) knows.

Comment #196433

Posted by Nigel D on August 15, 2007 6:57 AM (e)

FL wrote:

Not even going to read and think through the Exploring Evolution textbook for yourself, eh? Just gonna rely on whatever Talk-Origins regurgitates for public consumption, mmm?

Well, you raise two separate points here:
(1) Should I read EE first before I criticise the arguments it contains?
(2) Am I just going to rely on TO as a source for refuting those arguments?

(1) As others have pointed out, if EE contains no new arguments, why should anyone read it, except to confirm for themselves that this is indeed the case? I have read two or three reviews of EE, each of which focussed on a different set of arguments. However, none of the arguments was anything new.

Additionally, the reviews were posted by individuals I have come to trust, and the reviews were freely interspersed with references. On this basis, I feel no need to read EE myself, since I have come to trust the sources (note the plural) that tell me it doesn’t contain anything that has not been published before elsewhere. But those sources also suppy references so that I have the option of checking for myself.

(2) I have read nearly everything in the Talk Origins archive, but this is not my only source. However, the essays in TO form a very nice summary of the state of knowledge in the field. I myself have qualifications in biochemistry, and everything I have read at TO accords well with what was already known to me. Additionally, I have read some technical literature, some popualr science books, and some articles in science magazines (such as The Biochemist) that pertain to the subject at hand.

Furthermore, I have a tendency to be critcal of what I read, and I cannot fault what is published in the TO archive.

Therefore, I feel entirely justified in using TO as a sole source for refuting the arguments expounded in EE. Since TO summarizes evidence from many different sciences, and since it summarizes arguments from many fields within the biological sciences, I feel it does indeed contain all the information needed to refute everthing in EE.

However, TO also contains copious references, so that anyone who wishes to find out more may do so.

Contrast this with the creationist literature, that often fails to mention important work that contradicts what is claimed.

Well…no complaints from me, nope nope. In fact, my hope is that ALL the evolutionists in my state and hometown will follow your example!

Well, I’m too modest to echo this. I feel that everyone should research the evidence and the arguments for themselves and reach their own conclusion. Just don’t expect me to keep quiet if you’ve reached a conclusion with which I disagree.

Comment #197610

Posted by kevin on August 19, 2007 8:04 PM (e)

Nigel D…….

Where are the comments on TO site. The disco institute seems very picky about who gets the book.

Comment #197629

Posted by Wesley R. Elsberry on August 19, 2007 9:19 PM (e)

The TOA doesn’t have specific information on “Explore Evolution” yet, but it does have a pretty comprehensive index to creationist claims, and since EE is comprised of retread antievolution arguments, you’ll find quite a lot of the content is already discussed. Even a couple of the quotes examined so far have been featured in the TOA Quote Mine Project.

Comment #197750

Posted by Admin on August 20, 2007 7:54 AM (e)

The weather seems to be rather troll-y. We mop up the messes as we find them.