Nick Matzke posted Entry 3277 on August 14, 2007 10:19 PM.
Trackback URL: http://www.pandasthumb.org/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb.fcgi/3263

Well, my time at NCSE is almost up. Next week I will be moving up to Berkeley to start a PhD in for-real, honest to goodness evolutionary biology. It’s quite exciting. Unfortunately, before I go I have to clean all my files out of my cubicle at NCSE to make way for Josh Rosenau (yes, the Thoughts from Kansas guy), who will be occupying my desk. Amongst the stacks of books that I have checked out from libraries, borrowed from various people at NCSE without giving them back, etc., I came across one I hadn’t seen since The Great Hunt for the Origins of Intelligent Design back in early 2005, during the research period of the Kitzmiller case. As everyone now knows, even though the ID guys will never admit it, “intelligent design” as such originated in the 1989 ID textbook Of Pandas and People, with “intelligent design” being the new label chosen after the 1987 Edwards decision made creationist terminology difficult to use in textbooks. Pandas was the first place the term “intelligent design” was used systematically, defined in a glossary, claimed to be something other than creationism, etc. In a desperate attempt to obfuscate this basic historical point, ID guys have dug up various random instances of the words “intelligent” and “design” placed together (although they missed the 1861 Darwin letter, and the 1847 Scientific American article), most of them with absolutely no evidence of having influenced the actual actors in the 1980s who created the ID movement (there are some legitimate precursors, but they are in explicitly creationist works, e.g. Lester and Bohlin’s (1984) The Natural Limits to Biological Change, so the ID guys won’t cite them post-Kitzmiller).

A.E. Wilder-Smith (1915-1995) was a European “creation scientist,” now deceased, sometimes described (pre-Kitzmiller) as inspiring pieces of ID. He was active from the 1960s to the mid-1980s. It is true that Wilder-Smith discusses “information”, “design”, “Design”, Paley, etc., a lot (as well as human tracks next to dinosaur tracks, Noah’s Flood, and other extremely embarassing creationist nonsense). But I have never found the actual phrase “intelligent design” in his work. However, in early 2005, I did come across this, in a 1968 work by Wilder-Smith, discussing a certain oh-so-amazingly-complex organ. For some reason the IDers don’t cite this example as a precursor:

To deny planning when studying such a system is to strain credulity more than to ask one to believe in an intelligent nipple designer, who incidentally must have understood hydraulics rather well.

(pp. 144-145 of: Wilder-Smith, A. E. (1968). Man’s origin, man’s destiny: a critical survey of the principles of evolution and Christianity. Wheaton, Ill., H. Shaw. Italics original, bold added.)

There you have it. The origin of “intelligent…design.”

(In fairness, the full quote is posted below the fold.)

There are also grave difficulties in the more general application of the idea of intermediate forms. It is often impossible to account for a complex organ and its derivation. It is only understandable in its fully developed form. The halfway stages in its evolution would serve no purpose, being completely useless. As an example take the complex structure possessed by the female whale for suckling its young under the water without drowning the suckling. No halfway stage of development from an ordinary nipple to that of the fully developed whale nipple, adapted for underwater feeding, is conceivable. Either it was completely developed and functional, or it was not. To expect such a system to arise gradually by chance mutations upward is to condemn all suckling whales during the development period of thousands of years to a watery grave by certain drowning. To deny planning when studying such a system is to strain credulity more than to ask one to believe in an intelligent nipple designer, who incidentally must have understood hydraulics rather well (see pp. 207-208).

The same applies, of course, to many other intermediate organs and states. But lack of space forbids us to go into further details here. The principle remains the same: in a highly developed complex organ intermediate stages must of necessity have often been less than functional and therefore probably a hindrance rather than a help in natural selection.

(pp. 144-145 of: Wilder-Smith, A. E. (1968). Man’s origin, man’s destiny: a critical survey of the principles of evolution and Christianity. Wheaton, Ill., H. Shaw. Emphasis original.)

Come to think of it, this sounds an awful lot like Behe’s “irreducible complexity” also…

PS: I know I kind of opened the door, but please let’s try to keep the comments in safe-for-kids mode, shall we?

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Comment #196315

Posted by Mike Elzinga on August 14, 2007 10:50 PM (e)

Nick,

I think everyone here will agree that your efforts at NCSE have been magnificent. I and everyone here have deeply appreciated the detailed footwork you did for the Dover case, and we all appreciate your contributions to this site. NCSE is better for having had your services.

Have a great time at Berleley. I assume you will stay in touch even though your prime commitment will be to your studies.

Comment #196320

Posted by Henry J on August 14, 2007 11:03 PM (e)

Re “As an example take the complex structure possessed by the female whale for suckling its young under the water without drowning the suckling.”

Well, the obvious question to ask here is whether during that period of evolution, the whales might done their calf feeding on land? Or if not on land, in shallow water?

Henry

Comment #196325

Posted by Gary Hurd on August 14, 2007 11:14 PM (e)

How far do you really have to move (other than office space)?

I am sure you will have a wonderful experience.

Re: Nipples. I recall a Steve Gould essay on “Why men have Nipples?” One answer was, “So men have something to do with their other hand.”

Err, maybe that wasn’t Gould’s responce. ;)

Comment #196326

Posted by Nick (Matzke) on August 14, 2007 11:15 PM (e)

Obviously, it’s totally impossible for a critter that suckled on the beach to suckle in the same way in the water. I mean, how could anyone think that?

Comment #196331

Posted by Nick (Matzke) on August 14, 2007 11:22 PM (e)

Gary –

How far do you really have to move (other than office space)?

Like four miles. I am moving from my oh-so-huge studio apartment which I could afford while working for NCSE, to a cosy little room in a house with like 8 grad students. Downside: tiny room. Upside: the house has a fussball table.

Mike – thanks! I will try to keep a hand in although I’m sure I will have to cut back.

Comment #196333

Posted by Nick (Matzke) on August 14, 2007 11:26 PM (e)

PS: Baby hippos nurse underwater.

Comment #196336

Posted by Inoculated Mind on August 14, 2007 11:34 PM (e)

Hahaha!

You should check Hugh Ross’s book, Creation as Science, he goes at length about how male nipples were created for sexual arousement. There’s something about these guys, Haggard included, that really perks up about nipples. Now, I think the nipple is a fine structure built by evolution, but I have no doctrine underlying my beliefs that suggests I shouldn’t be thinking about such things…

Nick, you’ve done science, and science education a huge service, built upon the work of everyone at the NCSE and the members that sent in little bits of info that helped you dig up the transitional fossils of Intelligent Design. Now you can join the ranks of the researchers working on those problems themselves, and perhaps you may find your papers quoted in the next generation of science defenders, and maybe it will be your turn to be the expert witness at Scopes 3.0. Good luck, We’re both getting going on that next stage right now!

Enjoy the honey, there’s more when you publish again!

Comment #196338

Posted by Pierce R. Butler on August 14, 2007 11:44 PM (e)

Obviously, the infamous Designer messed it up yet again.

All the nipples that I’ve encountered, heard or read about haven’t been very intelligent at all - in fact, most of them could best be described as boobs.

Comment #196350

Posted by k.e. on August 15, 2007 12:34 AM (e)

Clearly this whole subject is pumped up and over blown.

The Designer’s grand plan was not for an hydraulicaly assisted feeding arangement for a certain kind of animal but actually for the amusement of him and his buddies. Down at the cosmic gym where the shaved hard oiled bodies of the masters of the universe work out in front of hell to heaven mirrors it was quite accepatble to gaze longingly at the male nipple.

Why else would the designer put them there?

When the Designer made Adam, did he add nipples as an afterthought? I think not.
No, nipples were given to Adam to celebrate the The Designers gaze and so when he made Women they couldn’t complain he short changed them by making them bigger than Adams. Even though he tricked them by keeping the best bit for himself.

So there you have it, The Designer made Adam in his own image and females were just a fantasy to keep straight men away from his boys.

Comment #196380

Posted by Cedric Katesby on August 15, 2007 3:13 AM (e)

I’m tempted to throw in a comment here, but for the sake of good taste I’ll refrain.
After all, I wouldn’t want to make a tit of myself.

Comment #196420

Posted by TomS on August 15, 2007 6:08 AM (e)

For the pedantically inclined, I see that this book is a translation from a German original:

Herkunft und Zukunft des Menschen.
Ein kritischer Uberblick der dem Darwinismus und Christentum zugrunde liegenden naturwissenschaftlichen und geistlichen Prinzipien,
A E Wilder-Smith

Giessen, Basel, Brunnen-Verlag, 1966

I think that it is worthwhile to make a reference to this quotation in the Wikipedia article on “Irreducible Complexity” under the heading “Forerunners”:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irreducible_complex…

Comment #196421

Posted by Torbjörn Larsson, OM on August 15, 2007 6:17 AM (e)

Nick,

You have done a great work and I have also enjoyed your kick-ass posts. Good luck in your studies and future research!

And don’t worry about PT, I’m as pleased as Punch to see that Josh moves in here.

Btw, the Intelligent Nipple Design theory is a titillating addition to the zoo of woo. When they come to Intelligent Boob Design theory…, we could start field tests identifying diverse plastic surgeons. Safe-for-kids field tests of course.

Comment #196451

Posted by Andrea Bottaro on August 15, 2007 8:00 AM (e)

This clearly adds to a large body of evidence against evolutionary theory.

Comment #196453

Posted by Freud_wore_a_slip? on August 15, 2007 8:16 AM (e)

Udderly ridiculous, but I’m glad they made a clean breast of it.

Comment #196454

Posted by Uri on August 15, 2007 8:17 AM (e)

Why do you keep this endless debate?
Do you think you’ll be able to convert a single ID believer into an evolution theory advocate?

Comment #196455

Posted by David Heddle on August 15, 2007 8:37 AM (e)

Andrea Bottaro

This clearly adds to a large body of evidence against evolutionary theory.

Warning: do not click on the provided link if you have coffee in your mouth. Trust me.

Comment #196456

Posted by pig on August 15, 2007 8:45 AM (e)

Heddle: Damn you. I should have listened. XD

Uri: no, people who genuinely believe in ID (and it is a belief, since ID offers no evidence beyond well-thats-kind-of-like-what-a-human-does) are probably beyond help - but there are surely people still undecided who we can save from the scam.

Comment #196460

Posted by raven on August 15, 2007 8:59 AM (e)

No halfway stage of development from an ordinary nipple to that of the fully developed whale nipple, adapted for underwater feeding, is conceivable.

This is an argument from ignorance. “I can’t see how my foot evolved, so god exists.”

It isn’t even a very good example of ignorance. There are many mammals who have various levels of adaptations to water, otters, beavers, muskrats through hippopatamuses, sea otters, seals, sea lions, to whales and dolphins. None of them seem to have any trouble feeding their young.

There is also a transitional whale fossil record complete with 4 limbed whales. Whales have vestigal leg bones and occasionally whales are found with atavistic….legs sticking out their sides.

A better example of sophistry is the creo claim. “There is no fossil record of bat echolocation evolving.” True, there are not even many fossils of bats inasmuch as fragile flyers don’t fossilize well, especially their brains and ears. There is also no evidence that echolation didn’t evolve.

Comment #196463

Posted by raven on August 15, 2007 9:09 AM (e)

Why do you keep this endless debate?
Do you think you’ll be able to convert a single ID believer into an evolution theory advocate?

Probably not the hard core. After 400 years, 20% of the US population still believes the sun goes around the earth.

The serious ID advocates believe what they believe for ideological, political, and religious reasons. There are many more people who just want to know what is real and what is true.

Comment #196466

Posted by GuyeFaux on August 15, 2007 9:15 AM (e)

Look at that, two fallacies in one:

To deny planning when studying such a system is to strain credulity more than to ask one to believe in an intelligent nipple designer, who incidentally must have understood hydraulics rather well (see pp. 207-208).

Perfect example of the argument from personal incredulity, and a false dichotomy to boot.

Comment #196467

Posted by Russell on August 15, 2007 9:19 AM (e)

Hey! Good luck with the graduate studies. It will be fun.

We’ve never met, but Nick is the guy who inducted me into the “ID Resistance”. I’m sure scores of others of us would say the same thing.

Comment #196483

Posted by analyysi on August 15, 2007 10:03 AM (e)

Hi Nick!

Why do you want never even mention James E Horigan?

He used the terms “intelligent design” and “intelligently designed” over 50 times in his book the “Change or Design?” (Philosophical Library, 1979).
Some examples here.

He wrote about “intelligent design” also elsewere.

Comment #196485

Posted by analyysi on August 15, 2007 10:07 AM (e)

Hi Nick!

Why do you want never even mention James E Horigan?

He used the terms “intelligent design” and “intelligently designed” over 50 times in his book the “Change or Design?” (Philosophical Library, 1979).
Some examples here.

He wrote about “intelligent design” also elsewere.

Comment #196495

Posted by Doug S on August 15, 2007 10:24 AM (e)

Out of curiosity, is there a generally accepted hypothesis/theory about how underwater nursing evolved in whales. Nick mentioned that hippos also nurse under water, perhaps underwater nursing evolved even before whales, and was one of several prerequisites before proto-whales could become totally independent of land?

Good luck at Berkeley Nick! We all appreciate your hard work and dedication towards good science education in America.

Doug

Comment #196504

Posted by Glen Davidson on August 15, 2007 10:49 AM (e)

No halfway stage of development from an ordinary nipple to that of the fully developed whale nipple, adapted for underwater feeding, is conceivable.

I just realized that this is Behe’s argument against irreducible complexity, however it denies not only “Darwinism” but also any sort of evolution at all.

So, Behe, how do you answer Wilder-Smith? Your so-called irreducible complexity has more problems than mere complexity, after all. Did your “designer” not only fix the problem of “simultaneous mutations” (in your ignorant phrase), also fixing the problems of transitioning slowly (presumably) between land mammal and sea mammal?

The fact is that Behe’s descent with modification is an absurdity all around, because the problems (and they are genuine problems in science, because we know from the evidence that they did rather gradually (very gradual compared with normal design practices, no matter how large some changes might be) appear, yet we don’t always know how this could happen) involve much more than merely how many mutations have to “appear simultaneously”, or even that have to recombine. The fact is that the flagellum’s evolution involves a great many changes, most likely, and if it really could’t change gradually (not that there couldn’t be any larger changes, like two protein systems combining), it didn’t evolve. Likewise with the eye. Yet all of the evidence is that they did evolve, and Behe is using arguments that they can’t evolve to say that they evolved with assistance.

The fact is that either the eye and the flagellum are challenges to evolution, or they are not. Either “nipple evolution” is a challenge to evolution, or it is not. No “designer” tweaking evolution can fix the problems of transitional forms (if indeed they are ‘problems for evolution’ per se) so long as one recognizes that fairly gradual evolution took place. Wilder-Smith and Behe are both arguing that complex organs and systems in biology were actually created, Behe is just too incoherent to recognize this fact. And neither one has any sort of explanation for why every solution the “designer” chose happened to involve modifying the organs that their apparent ancestors had, rather than transplanting and more slightly modifying the organs from unrelated organisms.

Oh yeah, obligatory titter about “nipples”.

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

Comment #196507

Posted by Frank J on August 15, 2007 11:08 AM (e)

Nick,

Best of luck and many thanks again for your major contributions to NCSE. I hope you’ll encourage many new colleagues to join.

To the lurkers, This is not a paid ad, nor am I employed by NCSE. I’m just a member since 1999.

Comment #196508

Posted by TomS on August 15, 2007 11:11 AM (e)

Glen Davidson wrote:

I just realized that this is Behe’s argument against irreducible complexity, however it denies not only “Darwinism” but also any sort of evolution at all.

More general than that. The argument is really an argument against change. The argument appears in an early form as an argument against embryonic development, and in favor of preformation. And many of the preformationists were “creationists” in the sense that they believed that each individual was the product of an individual act of creation, back at the beginning, remaining in latent form for all those years. I think that it is interesting that Behe has toyed with the idea of a kind of preformation of the DNA, with the genes for such-and-such being designed into the genome at the beginning and remaining hidden over the generations until they were expressed.

Comment #196509

Posted by nickmatzke on August 15, 2007 11:14 AM (e)

analyysi: I have read Horigan’s book and article.

(a) Show me someone, anyone, in the early ID literature actually citing the guy. You can’t, in 2007, just dig up an obscure reference and then claim it was influential without any evidence that it actually was influential, especially when probably a dozen “histories” of ID have been published, many of them pro-ID, and none of them have ever cited Horigan as a source AFAIK. Ditto for the 1897 Schiller reference and other things dug up after Kitzmiller and retrospectively inserted into apologetic histories of ID. In the vast expanse of english writing some people will occasionally stick the two words together when discussing the Design Argument (e.g. Darwin), and these instances can be found with computer searches (e.g. Horigan’s article comes up when you google the ASA website, probably no one would know about it otherwise) but this is not necessarily at all relevant to the actual history of the modern ID movement and their adoption of “intelligent design” as a term.

(b) Horigan freely mixes in creationist and Bible terminology, whereas denials of exactly this are associated with the ID of the ID movement

© Ain’t in a glossary and not an official term in Horigan. Pandas came along and said what “intelligent design” was, instead of just using it in passing. Behe came along and said what “irreducible complexity” was. Horigan did nothing like this for his pairing of the words AFAICT.

Comment #196511

Posted by David Stanton on August 15, 2007 11:22 AM (e)

Nick,

Thanks for everything. Enjoy grad school, it can be the greatest time of your life (with the right advisor). I’m sure we’ll be hearing from you from time to time and I’m also sure that you will make your mark in Biology and have a long and succesful career. Best of luck.

Comment #196529

Posted by John Pieret on August 15, 2007 12:27 PM (e)

Best of Luck, Nick! Remember, if you finish the Ph.D. in less time than John Wilkins took, you win!

Comment #196541

Posted by Henry J on August 15, 2007 1:40 PM (e)

Re “Re: Nipples. I recall a Steve Gould essay on “Why men have Nipples?” One answer was, […]”

Funny, I sort of figured the reason would be that suppressing them in males would require additional regulatory stuff in the DNA, and there probably wasn’t really any evolutionary advantage to developing that.

Ah well, at least this thread is keeping us abreast of things…

Comment #196565

Posted by Glen Davidson on August 15, 2007 3:38 PM (e)

On the whole, I have certainly appreciated Nick’s posts and overall approach to the public controversy. I thought about it when I read what a Turkish science guy wrote concerning the differences between Muslim countries and Western countries when evolution comes up:

By “the liberal option,” do you mean reading sacred texts as metaphor rather than literal truth? For instance, liberal Christians don’t take the creation stories in Genesis as scientific fact. They read these stories more as poetry. Are you saying that option, for the most part, doesn’t exist for Muslims because the Quran is seen as a text that’s been handed down from God?

It would be an overstatement to say that option does not exist, but it has a much weaker social position. Let me give an example. Here in the United States, the mainstream scientific community has a big problem with creationist movements and intelligent design. As scientists, one of our closest allies in trying to combat creationism is the liberal religious community. It’s much more effective to send somebody to a school board meeting who’s not a scientist but actually a priest or rabbi or minister in a more liberal denomination and to explain that they don’t see a conflict between teaching evolution and religion. But in the Muslim world, this is much more difficult because the public affinity toward creationism is much stronger. Darwinian thinking really hasn’t penetrated the popular discourse. Plus, it’s very hard for scientists who work in Muslim countries to find liberal religious figures who would go out there and publicly say Darwinian evolution is not a problem for Islam.

http://www.salon.com/books/feature/2007/08/13/ta…

Of course it’s still Taner Edis’s opinion that liberal Xians believing in evolution are part of the greater success of evolutionary theory in Western countries than in most Muslim countries. However, he’s a guy who actually lived in Turkey, and if we’re appalled at the level of creationism here, it’s considerably worse there, and many Muslim countries simply don’t teach evolution in their schools. I’m saying that, as opinions go, his is probably more worthy of paying attention to than those of people who really know only America.

I’ve never thought everyone ought to take the same approach, and the fact that some blogs attack Xianity, related religions, and even all religion, isn’t my concern. My point is that cross-cultural considerations do suggest that the NCSE and its spokespersons as official representatives of science and education have done well to do what usually cannot be done in Muslim countries, which is to use science-friendly religionists in order to show that science and evolution do not exist in order to attack and destroy religion.

Bad as it is now, it could be worse, and I’m happy for all who have done a good job at keeping it from getting worse, and possibly reversing the situation (at least it seems fair to say that ID has seen its best days).

Have a good time at Berkeley.

Glen D

Comment #196570

Posted by Nick (Matzke) on August 15, 2007 4:00 PM (e)

Posted by Uri on August 15, 2007 8:17 AM (e)

Why do you keep this endless debate?
Do you think you’ll be able to convert a single ID believer into an evolution theory advocate?

I actually apparently did play a significant role in de-IDifying one guy who went by the name of “DNAunion”. This was before I was at NCSE. He kept asking questions about the origin of this or that and I kept sending references to relevant papers. So very occasionally such things can work.

Comment #196584

Posted by Nick (Matzke) on August 15, 2007 6:02 PM (e)

Just to emphasize the point about Horigan:

It has no appeal to say that some internal natural life force, within the substance of things, could bring about such inter-related meaning and coordination. [referring to “designed” structures in the Universe] It does appeal, however, that the Designer of our universe is vested with such an awesomess [sic] of power, knowledge, and intellect that it would seem remiss to deny the attributes ascribed to the biblical God. This is especially so when we take into mind that the biblical account of Genesis fits quite comfortably into the sequential occurrence of events that have been reviewed herein. In this regard, too, it would seem reasonable that a Designer would have made known through revelations to man a code of conduct to accompany the freedom of choice in relation to a moral order. Indeed, such a code was presented to man through Moses and refined in meaning and interpreted in the life of Christ.

(p. 207 of: Horigan, James E. (1979). Chance or design? New York, Philosophical Library.)

It would be fine if Horigan really were an influence on the early ID movement, I just don’t see any evidence of it. But if he was, it’s just another example of a creationist using the Design Argument, examples of which are legion. As we noted in the PNAS paper:

Long before the ID movement arose, creation scientists constantly invoked design arguments. Some deny this connection (48), but an extensive 1989 survey (50) of creationist literature notes the ubiquitous role of design:

The venerable Argument from Design remains the chief weapon in creationist apologetics. Creationists consider it self-evident and incontrovertible. Although the theory of evolutionary adaptation stood the design argument completely on its head, creationists continue to appeal to Design without even a trace of defensiveness. It is featured in virtually every book or article promoting creation-science. “Actually,” says John Morris [(49)], Henry Morris’s son, “any living thing gives such strong evidence for design by an intelligent designer that only a willful ignorance of the data (II Peter 3:5) could lead one to assign such intricacy to chance.”

Design as an argument against evolution has historically been a constant theme in creationist periodicals such as the Creation Science Research Quarterly. A cursory search shows that design arguments are invoked for tetrapod limbs (51), the yucca and its moth (52), the hummingbird (53), and long lists of adaptations from across biology (54, 55). All of these examples of design use some version of Behe’s irreducible complexity argument, and even Behe’s mousetrap is presaged by numerous articles claiming design for the traps of carnivorous plants (56–58). Even the bacterial flagellum, the iconic example of the ID movement, is found in the creation science literature before Behe promoted it (59, 60). In fact, creation science leaders have criticized the ID movement for stealing their arguments.

[…]

48. Ratzsch, Del (2005). “How Not to Critique Intelligent Design Theory: A Review of Niall Shanks, God, The Devil, and Darwin.” Ars Disputandi. 5: 1-18. (PDF)

49. Morris, John D. (1989). “Is There Evidence Against Evolution?” ICR Acts & Facts. 18(6): d. (HTML).

50. McIver, Thomas Allen (1989). “Creationism: Intellectual Origins, Cultural Context, and Theoretical Diversity”. Anthropology. Los Angeles, University of California, Los Angeles: 1-655 .

51. Davis, Percival William (1965). “Land-dwelling Vertebrates and the Origin of the Tetrapod Limb.” Creation Research Society Quarterly. 2(1): 27-31.

52. Clark, Harold W. (1965). “‘The Plants will Teach You’.” Creation Research Society Quarterly. 2(2): 3-5.

53. Keithley, Willis E. (1977). “Hotrod Helicopter.” Creation Research Society Quarterly. 14(1): 3-4.

54. Shute, Evan V. (1965). “More Extraordinary Adaptations.” Creation Research Society Quarterly. 2(3): 22-26.

55. Shute, Evan V. (1965). “Remarkable Adaptations.” Creation Research Society Quarterly. 2(1): 22-26.

56. Keithley, Willis E. (1972). “The Barbaric Bladderwort.” Creation Research Society Quarterly. 9(2): 95.

57. Keithley, Willis E. (1982). “The Serpent’s Snare.” Creation Research Society Quarterly. 19(3): 155, 184.

58. Howe, G. F. (1978). “The Venus flytrap – a cagey plant.” Creation Research Society Quarterly. 15(1): 39-40.

59. Anonymous (1992). “Rotary engines.” Creation. 15(1): 23. (HTML)

60. Lumsden, Richard D. (1994). “Not So Blind A Watchmaker.” Creation Research Society Quarterly. 31(1): 13-22. (Abstract)

Comment #196585

Posted by trrll on August 15, 2007 6:03 PM (e)

Why do you keep this endless debate?
Do you think you’ll be able to convert a single ID believer into an evolution theory advocate?

Most ID/creationism believers seem to have battened onto ID/creationism to shore up their failing religious faith, and hang onto it as desperately as a drowning man in the middle of the ocean, so conversions are doubtless few and far between.

On the other hand, this has led them into increasingly desperate attacks on the teaching of biology and now upon the very definition of science. It is somewhat incredible that these guys, who seem to have discovered nothing of any consequence, imagine themselves competent to redefine the most successful tool for discovery and technological advance in the history of mankind, but such is the case, and they have political friends in high places. The Discovery Institute has worked very hard to promulgate the falsehood that scientists regard natural selection as a “theory in crisis.” Past experience when biology has fallen under the influence of anti-darwinian dogma (the Lamarkian era in the Soviet Union) argues that it is not wise to let such creeping irrationality go unchallenged.

Comment #196586

Posted by Steviepinhead on August 15, 2007 6:18 PM (e)

I’m joining the parade of those congratulating Nick for his, um, transition from the NCSE to graduate work in evolution. Nick rocks!

(And, to keep with the theme, ID sucks, heh heh…)

Congratulations once again on the superb work at the Kitzmiller trial, Nick.

Despite the occasional internecine spat/misunderstanding between the atheists and the more “moderate” science supporters, I have enjoyed Nick’s posts over the years.

And it has not escaped thid pinhead’s notice that Nick’s provision of the “Biblical Inerrancy” post–for creationist Mark H. to post his preachments in–that finally got PT to the magical, mystical, numerologically-significant, and (AFAIK) unprecedented “mark” of 1,000 comments on a single thread. Woo-hoo!!!

For a dedicated science defender, Nick sure has the magic touch!

And since a poor starving grad student will certainly need them, I’ll see what I can do to get my, ahem, buddy Lenny’s Pizza Guy to send along a steady stream of hot’n’tasty virtual pizza pies!

Comment #196587

Posted by Steviepinhead on August 15, 2007 6:21 PM (e)

“thid” ==> “this”

Though one does wonder where Mark H. will go now to post his responses to the many pending questions.

The “Biblical Inerrancy” thread seems to no longer be accepting comments, now that the millenium has been achieved…

Comment #196588

Posted by Nick (Matzke) on August 15, 2007 6:34 PM (e)

And it has not escaped thid pinhead’s notice that Nick’s provision of the “Biblical Inerrancy” post–for creationist Mark H. to post his preachments in–that finally got PT to the magical, mystical, numerologically-significant, and (AFAIK) unprecedented “mark” of 1,000 comments on a single thread. Woo-hoo!!!

Yeah, it’s far beyond any previous PT record I think.

Comment #196607

Posted by David Jones on August 15, 2007 9:17 PM (e)

Hey Nick,
Do you remember taking the tour of the ‘Museum of Creation Science’ east of San Diego at the ‘college/indoctrination center’ in the warehouse after an ESRI conference a few years ago when you were a grad student (the first time, ha ha)?

Dude, send me an email, its been way to long.

Dave

Comment #196610

Posted by Gerry L on August 15, 2007 10:49 PM (e)

What a week! First Red State Rabble announces he’s going into semi retirement. Then Nick Matzke heads off to school. Sad for us, but good for you, Nick. All the best.

Comment #196611

Posted by Nick (Matzke) on August 15, 2007 10:53 PM (e)

Hey Dave – oh yeah, I remember. In retrospect, an initial sign of my peculiar interests…

PS: My new email will be matzkeATberkeley.edu

Comment #196612

Posted by Popper's Ghost on August 15, 2007 10:56 PM (e)

And it has not escaped thid pinhead’s notice that Nick’s provision of the “Biblical Inerrancy” post–for creationist Mark H. to post his preachments in–that finally got PT to the magical, mystical, numerologically-significant, and (AFAIK) unprecedented “mark” of 1,000 comments on a single thread. Woo-hoo!!!

However, Nick’s claim that “Usually this sort of person is about six months away from complete deconversion from creationism…. Once they’ve gone this far, most people can’t maintain the necessary doublethink for very long” has not panned out. As I wrote in that thread,

What’s the evidence for this? I doubt very much that it is true; those who have reached this stage have demonstrated, and have honed, the sort doublethink required, and Hausam demonstrates it well. He almost certainly will still be a YEC six months from now, and far beyond.

The participants in that thread had the “opportunity” to see that sort of doublethink up close in gory detail. As Mike Elzinga commented, “it is a bit like watching someone giving themselves a lobotomy up through their nose”.

Comment #196619

Posted by nickmatzke on August 15, 2007 11:59 PM (e)

However, Nick’s claim that “Usually this sort of person is about six months away from complete deconversion from creationism…. Once they’ve gone this far, most people can’t maintain the necessary doublethink for very long” has not panned out.

You are right, I was wrong. He seemed so genuine at first…

Comment #196637

Posted by Lebon on August 16, 2007 2:04 AM (e)

About Intelligent Design
ID is most often and wrongly linked to God and creationism, as opposed to Darwinism and evolutionism. We are there in fact facing an old philosophical problem transposed this time from man to the universe: the difficult and even impossible distinction between what is innate and what is acquired. But the reader of my pages http://controlled-hominization.com/ will perhaps agree that evolutionism is not in contradiction with all forms of ID. As a materialist, I think that the confrontation between both concepts is sterile and that a synthesis is even possible.
If any great complexity of a feature could not exclude evolutionism, science itself could not reject some forms of ID in the evolution of the universe, at least in some steps of the process. After all, man himself is already a local actor in this evolution, an actor showing little intelligence so far (global warming, life sciences …). He could however be led to play a greater and nobler part if he succeeds to survive long enough (dissemination of life in the cosmos, “terraforming” of planets, planetary and even stellar formation, artificial beings…). The development of this kind of “draft ID” could only be limited by our refusal to do so and by our ability to survive. We would be viewed as gods by our ancestors from the middle Ages, and we would also view our descendants as gods if we could return in a few hundreds or thousands years.
By his refusal to consider that intelligence could already have played a significant part in the evolution of this universe, man takes in fact for granted that he is the most advanced being. It is in fact just another way for placing himself once again in the middle of everything, as for the Earth before Galileo. This anthropocentric view is not very rational.
Within the frame of evolutionism, the concept of ID could however be applied to the future man if he manages to survive long enough to be able to play a significant part in the evolution of this solar system, in the galaxy, and why not more. And it could also apply to eventual advanced ET preceding man in this cosmic part, advanced ET who could for instance, thanks to their science, have already played a significant part, even if they were themselves born from random processes.
Without going back to a controversial God, pure intelligence born from random processes is so far too easily ignored in the evolution of this universe, and I think that this choice has more to do with faith in man’s solitude in the universe than with true science. Even if it appears later that the ID concept has yet never been used by other beings in this universe, what could prevent man from applying it in the future? As with the Big Bang, ID would certainly remain in the field of hypotheses, but science progresses that way, and it would not be scientific to exclude one hypothesis that could be quite credible. ID is too easily discarded and laughed at, somewhat like continental drift not long ago, and a lot of other concepts too.
Benoit Lebon

Comment #196653

Posted by analyysi on August 16, 2007 4:23 AM (e)

Hi Nick!

Horigan’s ideas were discussed before there was “ID literature”. I am now not able to show any “early ID literature” actually citing the guy. But here are some speculations:

Many of the “members” of early “ID-movement” were readers of ASA journal. For example Charles Thaxton has been a Fellow of ASA.

The other major figure in FTE is Charles Thaxton, its “Director of Curriculum Research.” Thaxton, who holds a Ph.D. in chemistry, coauthored an earlier FTE-sponsored book, The Mystery of Life’s Origins. Mystery offers a skeptical look at current theories of abiogenesis and closes with a chapter advocating a hypothesis of special creation to explain the origin of life. Thaxton is also a Fellow of the American Scientific Affiliation, an organization of theistic scientists that requires assent from its members to a statement of Christian principles.
(NCSE, 1990)

It might be reasonable to suppose that Thaxton (and many others who were interested about design arguments) had read Horigan’s ASA article (where Horigan had used his term “intelligent design”).

The Mystery of Life’s Origin (1984, by Thaxton, Bradley and Olsen was published by - Philosophical Library, like Horigan’s book.

Nick Matzke wrote:

(b) Horigan freely mixes in creationist and Bible terminology, whereas denials of exactly this are associated with the ID of the ID movement

Of course he used terminology that was available in his time. (I is nice to see that you now were able to make difference between ID and “ID movement”.) Horigan was supporter of ID outside and before of the “ID movement”.

He was not even the first one

Both Plato and Aristotle regard him [Anaxagoras] as the first to attribute the evident structural harmony and order in Nature to some form of intelligent design plan rather than the change concourse of atoms.
(Barrow & Tipler: The Anthropic Cosmological Principle, p 32

;)

Nick Matzke wrote:

But if he was, it’s just another example of a creationist using the Design Argument, examples of which are legion.

I dont’t know, what is your definition of “creationist”. Horigan was a Christian, and he believed that there exist a Creator - and that there is evidence for belief. It was also a basic idea of his book - from his publisher:

This important recent book takes a fresh look at an old problem - whether and to what extend the hand of an intelligent Creator can be discerned from the phenomena of the universe, as reflected overall in modern scientific fact and theory….
With this book the reader may now seriously question whether the “reason/belief” split, long held to be an insurmountable barrier between scientific and religious thought, continues to be legitimate in the post-Modern era.
http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/issue_pdf/frontmat…

I have found 0 reference, where any creationist has seen Horigan as a creationist. Do you know any?
Some of his ideas were compatible with creationism, but not all. It could also be one reason, why his book was not celebrated by creationists.

Ps. John F. Haught described in his book (1984) [where he also used Horigan’s book as a reference], how the terms “chance” and “design” were “usually” used.

John F. Haught wrote:

Usually discussions of evolution hold out the term “chance” in opposition to “design.” Chance is seen as exclusive of design. The evolution of the universe, therefore, is controlled either by chance or by design.

According to him the terms “design” and “chance” were used as opposites - but the term “design” was NOT (necessarily) used (1984) as opposition to “evolution”.

Comment #196662

Posted by Frank J on August 16, 2007 6:25 AM (e)

Nick and Popper,

FWIW I think you are both right, but that Nick was not entirely wrong before.

It’s very rare that someone stops defending pseudoscience after investing enough time and effort to be noticeable on blogs or newsgroups. Mark seemed to be near that point after which one either admits to having been being misled, or much more likely, becomes either hopelessly compartmentalized or in on the scam. So Mark may “become” a YEC in the sense of wanting to promote it, but not necessarily in the sense of actually believing it.

Comment #196669

Posted by David Stanton on August 16, 2007 7:43 AM (e)

Frank J,

You might be right. After all, as you are fond of pointing out, we can never know for sure what anyone really thinks. However, my take on Mark was that there was never any real chance of changing his mind about anything. Don’t get me wrong, I still think Nick was right in providing the opportunities that he did. But consider, Mark’s views were never based on evidence. He was undoubtedly already aware that his beliefs were contrary to mainstream science and yet he choose not to even understand the basics of science, let alone examine the evidence for himself. In addition, as Mike pointed out, by this time he simply has too much invested socially and economically to admit that he could be wrong.

The only problem I had with the entire affair is that it went on far too long after Mark had proven absolutely that he had no intention of ever discussing any science and was in fact (by his own admission) incapable of doing so. Still, it served as an invaluable example of exactly the kind of childishness that the original Science article described. Nick gave everyone an opportunity to see close up the kind of mindset that is absolutely impervious to evidence. It might have been hard for some to believe that such individuals could exist in a modern technological society, but here is the proof.

I’m also pretty sure that we have not heard the last of Mark. He seems to think that he can convince people that he is right and is thus following the commandments to convert heathens. But then again, I’m sure we have not heard the last from Nick either. We will be able to contrast his approach (grad school, research, grants and publications in peer-reviewed journals) and that taken my Mark (preach until they can’t stand it anymore). I know which approach I prefer.

Comment #196671

Posted by pig on August 16, 2007 8:10 AM (e)

Lebon: you probably want to discuss this on the antievolution boards, not here, but:

1) There is no theory of ID. It’s a scam, not a hypothesis.
2) Evolution does not mean what you want it to mean. In the context of biology it refers to a very specific idea.
3) If you’d been following ID as long as most people here have, you’d be laughing too.

Also, because I forgot earlier, a round of applause to Mr. Matzke. :)

Comment #196684

Posted by Raging Bee on August 16, 2007 9:23 AM (e)

Do you think you’ll be able to convert a single ID believer into an evolution theory advocate?

Maybe not, but if we keep on exposing and shooting down their nonsense, the general, uncommitted public will learn to stop listening to them, and they will find themselves isolated, ridiculed and irrelevant. Even if we don’t convert anyone, we can still shame them into silence.

Besides, some IDers have indeed been converted. I remember reading about one of the signatories to that infamous list of “dissenting scientists” explicitly renouncing the whole ID scam.

Comment #196700

Posted by Glen Davidson on August 16, 2007 10:31 AM (e)

By his refusal to consider that intelligence could already have played a significant part in the evolution of this universe,

Perhaps you’ve never heard of Paley. The fact is that the idea that intelligence could have played a role in the evolution of the universe and life has been considered, and it has found to lead to no advances in knowledge or explanation of what data have been gathered.

man takes in fact for granted that he is the most advanced being.

Man makes the entirely reasonable, if provisional, conclusion that he is the most advanced being operating on this earth. SETI wouldn’t exist if you were stating anything true or intelligent regarding “universal” assumptions in science.

It is in fact just another way for placing himself once again in the middle of everything, as for the Earth before Galileo. This anthropocentric view is not very rational.

Or even true. I’d have to say that the jerk making up assumptions about scientists isn’t being very rational.

Within the frame of evolutionism, the concept of ID could however be applied to the future man if he manages to survive long enough to be able to play a significant part in the evolution of this solar system, in the galaxy,

Uh, really? You mean that we might have to consider that design might have played a role in the production of potsherds, pyramids, and Saturn V rockets?

Where are you getting this errant crap, from the liars at the DI and UD, who claim that we actually deny that design has left its mark on this world?

and why not more. And it could also apply to eventual advanced ET preceding man in this cosmic part, advanced ET who could for instance, thanks to their science, have already played a significant part, even if they were themselves born from random processes.

Why are you saying things like “could” and “if”? Is it because you have no evidence that they have, and thus we are best off using our provisional conclusions from the limited data available at present?

You might as well be telling us that the flying sphagetti monster might all have done it, for we don’t deny idle “possibilities” at all, we merely demand evidence if it is to be considered as part of science.

Without going back to a controversial God, pure intelligence born from random processes is so far too easily ignored in the evolution of this universe, and I think that this choice has more to do with faith in man’s solitude in the universe than with true science.

Actually, it has more to do with your abject ignorance of science. At the present time we see none of the marks of design in biology (rational solutions to problems, novelty, unrestricted borrowing, and purpose are all good markers of such), hence we don’t accept scatterbrained “arguments” that after all intelligence “could have” affected it. Come up with some substance, then we’ll talk.

Even if it appears later that the ID concept has yet never been used by other beings in this universe, what could prevent man from applying it in the future?

Nothing, cretin. Occasionally when I’m pointing out that biology simply does not look designed, certainly not at close inspection, I except the relatively minor design additions that we’ve made to some organisms (though some recent ones are not so minor, like completely changing out the genetic material in an organism).

As with the Big Bang, ID would certainly remain in the field of hypotheses, but science progresses that way, and it would not be scientific to exclude one hypothesis that could be quite credible.

Only in your fake world has science excluded the hypothesis. It has rejected the hypothesis for being insufficiently (essentially, not at all) supported.

ID is too easily discarded and laughed at, somewhat like continental drift not long ago, and a lot of other concepts too.
Benoit Lebon

ID has not simply been discarded, it has been considered and discarded for being inadequate.

Now it is best laughed at, much as it is best to discard and laugh at Lebon’s cheesy nonsense.

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

Comment #196704

Posted by Glen Davidson on August 16, 2007 10:56 AM (e)

However, Nick’s claim that “Usually this sort of person is about six months away from complete deconversion from creationism…. Once they’ve gone this far, most people can’t maintain the necessary doublethink for very long” has not panned out.

You are right, I was wrong. He seemed so genuine at first…

Well, it’s a fairly minor bump in a good ride.

However, the reason why many of us didn’t like the tone of the “Biblical Inerrancy” blog is that it denied the judgment of some sharp folk who made excellent points regarding Mark, perhaps most crucial of all being that he obviously didn’t know science, or use its methods to discuss the evidence. It is not a mode of thinking easily obtained, in fact, which most who do learn it tend to forget due to the fact of how gradually it was attained.

We really aren’t out to trample honest seekers after knowledge, and we happen to have some insight into the minds of creationists. Had this been acknowledged, instead of being denied in the rush to “protect” the one who really was playing people for fools, that particular episode would have been much better.

Regardless of that, I’ve appreciated Nick’s tenure at the NCSE and his many great contributions to this blog. I do hope that the latter will continue, though I presume that they cannot be as common as beforehand.

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

Comment #196719

Posted by Henry J on August 16, 2007 12:11 PM (e)

Re “[…] will perhaps agree that evolutionism is not in contradiction with all forms of ID. As a materialist, I think that the confrontation between both concepts is sterile and that a synthesis is even possible.”

In order to do that, ID would first have to say something about a set of evidence. As long as all it says amounts to “evolution is wrong about something”, that won’t happen.

Sure, it’d be possible for formulate a hypothesis that some aspects of life were deliberately engineered by somebody or something, but so far attempts to do that either don’t actually say anything about any evidence, or say something that contradicts the available evidence. So what’s the point of attempting a “synthesis” of that?

Henry

Comment #196731

Posted by Frank J on August 16, 2007 12:31 PM (e)

David Stanton wrote:

However, my take on Mark was that there was never any real chance of changing his mind about anything.

Or if he changed his mind, not admitting it.

Raging Bee wrote:

Besides, some IDers have indeed been converted. I remember reading about one of the signatories to that infamous list of “dissenting scientists” explicitly renouncing the whole ID scam.

Most of those signatories are neither “IDers” in the sense of believing what most of the rank & file infer from ID (YEC or OEC), or in the sense of being past that “critical point” after which they are extremely unlikely to admit having been misled. The statement was deliberately written ambiguously enough, so that few evolutionary biologists would have any problems signing it if they didn’t know that it was being used for propaganda.

Unfortunately I have been unsuccessful at locating it, but in a Panda’s Thumb thread of ~2005 someone reported questioning 6 of the signatories, and 5 admitted that they had been misled. That sounds very believable, because in a related example, every one of 26 scientists who replied to an NSCE questionnaire admitted their work was misrepresented by the DI as supporting ID.

Comment #196732

Posted by hoary puccoon on August 16, 2007 12:32 PM (e)

Glen D and Lebon,

Minor point, but it drives me crazy. Continental drift was ‘discarded and laughed at’ because it was wrong, wrong, wrong.
Wegener’s fossil data showing the continents had moved were later accepted. But his theory of continental drift, that the continents had, for reasons best known to themselves, gone merrily plowing through the harder rock of a static ocean floor, was quite understandably laughed at by geologists.
Plate tectonics was a later, much more plausible theory of how the continents moved; then, Wegener’s fossil evidence was accepted as support. But continental drift, his theory to account for the fossil evidence, never was accepted, and undoubtedly never will be.

Nick–
I’ve really appreciated a lot of the threads you’ve started. Best of luck in grad school, or as the Northwestern poly sci grad students called it, the Long March.

Comment #196735

Posted by Glen Davidson on August 16, 2007 12:46 PM (e)

Glen D and Lebon,

Minor point, but it drives me crazy. Continental drift was ‘discarded and laughed at’ because it was wrong, wrong, wrong.
Wegener’s fossil data showing the continents had moved were later accepted. But his theory of continental drift, that the continents had, for reasons best known to themselves, gone merrily plowing through the harder rock of a static ocean floor, was quite understandably laughed at by geologists.
Plate tectonics was a later, much more plausible theory of how the continents moved; then, Wegener’s fossil evidence was accepted as support. But continental drift, his theory to account for the fossil evidence, never was accepted, and undoubtedly never will be.

Huh? I never wrote anything about continental drift. I passively ignored Lebon’s comments about it.

Nevertheless, now that the issue has been amplified, I can hardly allow that continental drift was “wrong, wrong, wrong” (in fact the continents do drift, but only as a part of a larger set of motions). Like most newly stated scientific hypotheses, it had a number of elements which were discarded along the way, but to say that it was “wrong” would be like saying Darwin was “wrong” because he still considered acquired characteristics to be a part of evolutionary mechanisms and believed in a “pangenetic” mechanism of inheritance.

Of course the continents don’t plow through the ocean floor, and people had reason to believe that they could not. Considering the pioneering work that Wegener did to push us toward plate tectonics, though, I hardly think the riducule of his ideas was justified.

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

Comment #196786

Posted by David B. Benson on August 16, 2007 7:08 PM (e)

Nick — Thank you for your work!

Comment #196854

Posted by hoary puccoon on August 17, 2007 2:02 AM (e)

Glen D–
I knew I shouldn’t have brought that up. I admire what you write here and don’t want this to be a flame war, but please think about what I’m actually saying.
You say that calling Wegener’s theory of continental drift wrong, is like saying, ‘Darwin was “wrong” because he still considered acquired characteristics to be a part of evolutionary mechanisms….’
Well, yes. It’s precisely like that. Darwin WAS wrong about the inheritance of acquired characteristics. That idea was discarded, while natural selection was tested and accepted. That’s exactly why the theory of evolution is a science, not a religion.
Wegener’s theory of continental drift is analogous to the inheritance of acquired characteristics. It takes into account some valid data, but is falsified by other data.
I don’t really know how much Wegener’s theory pushed geologists to accepting that the continents moved. The prime impulse was that oceanographers trying to get an accurate chart of the ocean floor discovered ocean floor spreading along the mid-Atlantic ridge. There was a very short-lived theory, also wrong, that the globe was expanding. I’m not sure when somebody had the bright idea to correlate the new theories with the fossil data, and whether the fossils or the discovery of the role of deep trenches tipped the balance to plate tectonics as we know it.
But my basic point was, Wegener’s particular theory of how the continents moved around never was accepted. Wegener didn’t deserve all the ridicule he got from geologists (scientists don’t always read the fine points in Miss Manners) but he also doesn’t deserve to be held up as a shining example by every crank who comes down the pike.

Comment #196946

Posted by Glen Davidson on August 17, 2007 10:52 AM (e)

I don’t think that this will be a flame war. However, it isn’t clear that the problematic “mechanisms” of Wegener’s were fatal before “continental drift” was largely discarded, because in 1928 Holmes came up with the proper mechanism, according to this:

In 1928 Arthur Holmes (Dott and Batton 1976), despite Harold Jeffrey’s objections to the contrary, argued for Wegener suggesting that convection in the Earths mantle was the mechanism that caused the drift of the continents. Harry Hess (1962) of Princeton and Bob Dietz, of the U.S. Coast and Geodetic were supporters of Wegener and Holmes and suggested that seafloor spreading was responsible for the continental drift. Hess proposed that as oceanic crust spread away from the ridges with a conveyor belt-like motion it was simultaneously descending and being consumed at the oceanic trenches. Starting in the 1950s magnetometers were used in the Atlantic to map parallel patterns of magnetic on the ocean floor that had a zebra-like pattern. Vine and Matthews in 1963 proposed that the alternating stripes of magnetically different rock were laid out in rows on either side of the mid-ocean ridge: one stripe with normal polarity and the adjoining stripe with reversed polarity. On the Leg 3 of the Deep Sea Drilling Project Glomar Challenger, 1968, drilled 17 holes at 10 different sites along a oceanic ridge between South America and Africa established that the sediments of the Atlantic were youngest close to the mid Atlantic Ridge and were older closer to the continental margins proving that the seafloor spreading hypothesis was correct. In 1965, J. Tuzo Wilson described transform faults that connected areas of ocean spreading and subduction, so initiating the new geologic discipline of Plate Tectonics.

Found at: strata.geol.sc.edu/history/tectonics.html

And while it is true that the alternating magnetic polarities on the ocean floor kickstarted Holmes’s and Wegener’s ideas into renewed prominence, according to this source (and a couple others, at least), Hess and his fellow neo-“drift” theorists were indeed influenced by Wegener, and Holmes as well.

I know that the cranks will use anything they can get their hands on, but science is not without its flaws (indeed, some of Darwin’s ideas appear racist today), and they will find genuine mistakes to misuse along with their enormous arsenal of false claims (like Lebon’s supposition that present-time dismissal of unsupported ideas mean that we’re dead-set against any notion of “design”, just as the lying IDists state).

It is not really obvious that Wegener’s ideas, even with Holmes’s superior mechanism, ought to have actually prevailed prior to mid-20th century, given the paucity of the evidence before that time. Yet the way he and his ideas were treated demonstrates that science does have its blind-spots and unfair practices. Likewise with Lynne Margulis, although one feels a tad less sympathetic toward her, given the apparently unlikely notions that she holds today (I suppose I could regret those words, and I note that I haven’t studied her claims. However, I can see no way for her to explain the usual evolutionary data sans Darwinian mechanisms being by far the dominant processes (including genetic drift, and other “neutral evolutionary” factors), unless we were to credit Behe’s puff of smoke by his God whose thoughts apparently are all dominated by genetic algorithms).

Anyhow, I hope that it can be recognized by all that the picture is not so simple as it is typically portrayed. Science, what a surprise, works quite well over decadal time scales, particularly when more evidence in favor of an idea like moving continents is discovered. Even IDists like to point out that orthodoxy eventually crumbles when the evidence is strongly against it, which is their excuse for the various dates of Jesus’ soon return (no, actually it’s the date of the end of “Darwinism”, but the two sound about as reasonable as each other, scientifically).

I suppose I should point out (for any possible lurkers) not only that these predictions pathetically fail, they have nothing going for them in the first place. Wegener went around finding evidence, and Holmes provided a mechanism consistent with observation and physics. IDists find no evidence (merely recycling old papers, and never once explaining why their shining examples of what “couldn’t possible evolve by random processes” are found to be exactly similar to the things that evolved by random processes), and have only magic as their “explanation” (their occasional alien “designers” wouldn’t come with the expectation of producing only apparently-evolved organisms, nor could aliens fine-tune the universe).

Wegener and Holmes did science, which is why the dismissal and ridicule of their ideas is lamented by those of us having the clear view of hindsight. IDists have never done any ID science (how could it be done, when they deny any expectations for said “design”?), and even if by some fantastic stroke of luck intelligent design suddenly became science, there would be no reason for us to apologize for our ridicule of Behe and Dembski.

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

Comment #196960

Posted by hoary puccoon on August 17, 2007 11:48 AM (e)

Glen D–

To belabor this OT topic a final time, thanks for the quotation about Hess. I wasn’t aware that Hess was taking Wegener into account from an early stage. (Hence my statement above, “I don’t really know how much Wegener’s theory pushed geologists to accepting that the continents moved.”) I’m not in a place where I have any access to a research library, but it’s my impression that the geologists had some legitimate problems with the particular way Holmes applied convection.

The more interesting point for me has always been that, given the fossil data, static continents would mean real problems for evolutionary theory. According to creationist dogma, the geologists should have jumped right on Wegener’s bandwagon to shore up the theory of evolution. In fact, we all know they did nothing of the kind.(Of course, the creationists argue instead that scientists were too arrogant to listen to different ideas, blah blah blah…. So the creos are arguing out of both sides of their mouths. But what else is new?)

Comment #196964

Posted by Ken Mareld on August 17, 2007 12:23 PM (e)

Nick,
Good luck in grad school. Kudos to all you have contributed here and for NCSE. Especially for your exemplary work in Kitzmiller vs. Dover. Who will play you in the movie? Matt Damon or Johnny Depp?

Best Wishes
Ken

Comment #196969

Posted by GvlGeologist, FCD on August 17, 2007 12:37 PM (e)

Glen D and hoary puccoon,

I think the problem here is that there are two parts to Alfred Wegener’s Continental Drift hypothesis. First, is Wegener’s contention that the continents did, in fact, move. Second, is his proposed mechanism, that tidal forces and “polar flight” (“centrifugal” pushing towards the equator, and yes, I know it’s not really centrifugal) were responsible for the movement.

The first was based on an enormous collection of data by Wegener and others (dating back to the late 1500s!), showing that coastal outlines, geological formations, mountain ranges, mineral deposits, fossil evidence, distribution of climatic indicators such as coal beds, coral reefs, and glacial features, all pointed to (what is in hindsight) the incontrovertible conclusion that the continents are today in different positions than they used to be, and that they were at one time connected to one another.

The second idea is (and was) easily demonstrated to be incorrect. The forces suggested are too weak, continental rocks not strong enough, oceanic rocks not weak enough, and the expected evidence in ocean basins of wakes of broken rock as the continents moved through them not present. Even at the time of Wegener, these facts were known.

In hindsight, what should have happened is that geologists should have simply said that the evidence was overwhelming that the drift occurred, but that the mechanism was incorrect. What happened instead is due to a combination of factors. Not only was Wegener a meteorologist rather than a geologist, but from what I’ve read, he was a difficult man to get along with. In addition, a lot of his evidence came from the Southern Hemisphere, and a certain Euro-centric (and USA-centric [?]) attitude may have prevented the evidence being taken seriously. These factors (along with the usual reluctance to have an entire lifetime’s learning overthrown) conspired to give geologists and geophysicists the incentive to throw out Wegener’s entire thesis.

The evidence could not be entirely ignored, however, and several ideas were proposed to explain especially the fossil evidence. As hoary pointed out, one idea was that the Earth was expanding (incidentally you can find crank websites that still say this is correct). Others proposed that organisms migrated between continents through land bridges (which did in fact occur between Asia and North America in the late Pleistocene, and between North and South America about 5 million years ago and up to today), island hopping, or rafting. Although these all have been observed in recent times, none of them adequately explain the similarity of fossils on different continents. What was left is that many geologists were “stabilists” who thought the Earth’s continents have been substantially in the same place over much of geologic time. Arthur Holmes, as Glen points out, came very close to the right ideas (although there were important differences between his ideas and what today we think are correct).

Geophysical discoveries during and after WWII did, as Glen points out, eventually lead to a synthesis of sea floor spreading, subduction, and transform activity into what today is known as Plate Tectonics.

So, it would be correct to say that with regard to his mechanism, Wegener was indeed, as hoary says, “wrong, wrong, wrong.” But at the same time, as Glen points out, the continents do indeed drift. Just not in the same way that Wegener envisioned. Wegener was a visionary in terms of synthesizing a huge amount of data to come to the conclusion that the continents had drifted. He erred in the mechanism, but was indeed unfairly ignored by geologists for a long time. Today, though, most geologists recognize that he was one of the major players in what eventually became Plate Tectonics.

Sorry for the long post. I wanted to point out that you’re both right in discussing one of my favorite parts of Geology. If you want to see more about this, the USGS has a great website on it (http://pubs.usgs.gov/gip/dynamic/dynamic.html).
If I can blow my own horn, my class website is: http://inst.sfcc.edu/~gmead/platetec/Ptintro.htm…

Comment #197135

Posted by hoary puccoon on August 18, 2007 2:10 AM (e)

GvlGeologist,

Naturally, I’m thrilled with your long post.

In spite of the geologists’ alleged rudeness to Wegener and his followers, the whole history is a good example of how science ought to work. The geologists refused to accept Wegener’s dubious theory to prop up the theory of evolution. But they were willing to reverse themselves and admit the continents did move when further data and a new, more plausible theory (plate tectonics) proved a static model wrong.

Compare this to the creationists’ latest attempts to use plate tectonics to shore up a 6000 yo earth, and the geologists actually look extremely good.

Comment #197316

Posted by Stuart Weinstein on August 18, 2007 10:40 PM (e)

“I actually apparently did play a significant role in de-IDifying one guy who went by the name of “DNAunion”. This was before I was at NCSE. He kept asking questions about the origin of this or that and I kept sending references to relevant papers. So very occasionally such things can work.”

I remember butting heads with DNAonion on the AOL evolution boards.
He had more brains than most creatobabblers. But not too many as he
was an IDer. He couldn’t handle A1-Milano. Myself and another poster
who was more expert on that topic than I was drove him banannas.

So he underwent a change of heart did he?

Well good for him and you.

And good luck in graduate school. Given what you have produced so far,
I look forward to your accomplishments in Evolutionary biology.

Stuart

Comment #197325

Posted by Stuart Weinstein on August 18, 2007 11:06 PM (e)

“Found at: strata.geol.sc.edu/history/tectonics.html

And while it is true that the alternating magnetic polarities on the ocean floor kickstarted Holmes’s and Wegener’s ideas into renewed prominence, according to this source (and a couple others, at least), Hess and his fellow neo-“drift” theorists were indeed influenced by Wegener, and Holmes as well.

I know that the cranks will use anything they can get their hands on, but science is not without its flaws (indeed, some of Darwin’s ideas appear racist today), and they will find genuine mistakes to misuse along with their enormous arsenal of false claims (like Lebon’s supposition that present-time dismissal of unsupported ideas mean that we’re dead-set against any notion of “design”, just as the lying IDists state).

It is not really obvious that Wegener’s ideas, even with Holmes’s superior mechanism, ought to have actually prevailed prior to mid-20th century, given the paucity of the evidence before that time. Yet the way he and his ideas were treated demonstrates that science does have its blind-spots and unfair practices. Likewise with Lynne Margulis, although one feels a tad less sympathetic toward her, given the apparently unlikely notions that she holds today (I suppose I could regret those words, and I note that I haven’t studied her claims. However, I can see no way for her to explain the usual evolutionary data sans Darwinian mechanisms being by far the dominant processes (including genetic drift, and other “neutral evolutionary” factors), unless we were to credit Behe’s puff of smoke by his God whose thoughts apparently are all dominated by genetic algorithms).

Anyhow, I hope that it can be recognized by all that the picture is not so simple as it is typically portrayed. Science, what a surprise, works quite well over decadal time scales, particularly when more evidence in favor of an idea like moving continents is discovered. Even IDists like to point out that orthodoxy eventually crumbles when the evidence is strongly against it, which is their excuse for the various dates of Jesus’ soon return (no, actually it’s the date of the end of “Darwinism”, but the two sound about as reasonable as each other, scientifically).

I suppose I should point out (for any possible lurkers) not only that these predictions pathetically fail, they have nothing going for them in the first place. Wegener went around finding evidence, and Holmes provided a mechanism consistent with observation and physics. IDists find no evidence (merely recycling old papers, and never once explaining why their shining examples of what “couldn’t possible evolve by random processes” are found to be exactly similar to the things that evolved by random processes), and have only magic as their “explanation” (their occasional alien “designers” wouldn’t come with the expectation of producing only apparently-evolved organisms, nor could aliens fine-tune the universe).

Wegener and Holmes did science, which is why the dismissal and ridicule of their ideas is lamented by those of us having the clear view of hindsight. IDists have never done any ID science (how could it be done, when they deny any expectations for said “design”?), and even if by some fantastic stroke of luck intelligent design suddenly became science, there would be no reason for us to apologize for our ridicule of Behe and Dembski.”

Wegner is often portrayed as some sort of victum, but in truth he brought a lot of it on himself. His idea that continental drift
was powered by the Eotvos effect was pretty well dispatched by physicists who could easily point out that
the Eotvos effect was much to weak to have a significant effect on the figure of the Earth much less move Continents
about. Wegner’s principle contribution was as a popularizer. he managed to capture some of the public’s attention, but
he was also Albatross around the necks of Holmes and Dutoit who did their best to defend him.

I think there is a lesson here, and I have thought about it some. Darwin and Wegner had a similar problem. Both intuitively knew,
as well as having a lot of evidence, that something interesting was happeneing. With Darwin, it was Evolution, with Wegner it was
Drift. What neither of them had was a palatable mechanism. Darwin didn’t have a clue as to how heredity worked. His theory of Gemmules was hardly satisfying and he didn’t defend it much. Rather Darwin concentrated on evidence and the analogies with
animal breeders. Wegner never gave up on the Eotvos effect pushing continents through a substrate of Basalt, thus givig a
nice big bull’s eye for the fixists to shoot at. Darwin didn’t make it easy for the Biological fixists to dismiss him, Wegner
with his Eotvos mechanism and the occasional geological howler (he was a meteorologist, not a trained geologist) made it
too easy for his detractors to dismiss him, as well the greater geological community as whole.

Holmes was already famous for producing with Rutherford the first useful radiometric age dates. Todays modern theory of Plate Tectonics owes quite a bit to Holmes. Sir Arthur predicted the existence of subduction zones for starters. Continental Drift was
a failed hypothesis, although it headed at least in the right direction. Holmes ideas weren’t taken as seriously as they should have been, but nobody dismissed Holmes as a crackpot as far as I can tell. His problem was Sir Harold Jeffreys. Jeffrys claimed that mantle convection would eventually seize up due to the phenomanon of strain hardening. However, we know now the mantle is way to hot
for strain hardening to occur.

I do think comparing Darwin and Wegner might make an intersting study, and have toyed with the idea of doing it myself. But I have
had too many earthquakes and tsunamis to deal with and can’t find the time to do such a comparison justice.

For the record, Wegner is often portrayed as the first to propose non-fixity of the Continents. He wasn’t. The Geologist Frank Taylor did so decades before. His mechanism didn’t make much sense either, however. To his credit Wegner didn’t claim the idea was all his eitther. But he certainly enjoyed himself talking and writing about it. One can’t but help but admire the man’s enthusiasm for the topic.

Stuart

Comment #197336

Posted by Monado on August 19, 2007 12:20 AM (e)

I echo Mike Elzinga. I just re-read Edward Humes’s “Monkey Girl” last week and was once again enchanted to recall that you, a humble science blogger and enthusiast, were able and energetic enough to contribute so much material research to support the side of Kitzmiller and science.

Best of luck in your PhD work, Nick!

My step-daughter is in the Yukon as we speak, doing climate and forestry research for her PhD. I’ve mentioned her before…. she’s the one who has already equalled the output of the entire intelligent design movement when it comes to refereed papers.

Comment #197397

Posted by hoary puccoon on August 19, 2007 5:45 AM (e)

Nick, thanks for your tolerance of a long OT digression in what should have been a thread entirely devoted to praising your contributions to the fight against ID (or, really, against the Wedge. I don’t think many of us would care about ID if they’d just stop messing with the constitution.)

Thanks, Stuart Weinstein, for your contribution to the digression. What a pleasure to get into a disagreement with scientists! Learning new facts instead of countering snide emotional put-downs is such a relief.

The parallel between Wegener and Darwin is especially interesting, because, as you probably know, Darwin himself had some suspicions that the continents must have moved. (“…though our continents and oceans have endured for an enormous period in nearly their present relative positions, we have no reason to assume that this has always been the case….” Recapitulation, 2nd ed. OoS)

Rereading OoS, though, I was struck by how unwilling Darwin was to make leaps beyond his data and how often he admitted he didn’t know. The whole book is larded with comments that could be labeled, ‘ideas for further research.’ No wonder other scientists couldn’t resist jumping in.

Comment #197412

Posted by hoary puccoon on August 19, 2007 8:14 AM (e)

Anonymous #197401–
I wasn’t suggesting anything about Nick’s personality. I think the work he’s done deserves its own thread.

Comment #197448

Posted by shrimplate on August 19, 2007 10:24 AM (e)

“Intelligent nipple designer” speaks, perhaps, volumes regarding Wilder-Smith’s childhood psychological adjustment to weaning. But it obviously says nothing about other areas of scientific exploration.

Now if you will excuse me, I must go change into my pirate regalia.

Comment #197668

Posted by transreality on August 19, 2007 11:30 PM (e)

I think that you have totally ignored the contribution of Fred Hoyles “Intelligent Universe” otherwise known as “Evolution from Space: A Theory of Cosmic Creationism” from 1981. Fred Hoyles is a self-avowed atheist, nonetheless, his arguments have been appropriated nearly verbatim by the ID movement.

Comment #197680

Posted by PvM on August 19, 2007 11:52 PM (e)

Examples please… Are you sure you are familiar with Hoyles claims?

Comment #197741

Posted by transreality on August 20, 2007 6:06 AM (e)

Here then is a review of Intelligent Universe:

http://home.planet.nl/~gkorthof/kortho47.htm

Here is a discussion of the link between Hoyle and Wickramasinghes ideas and ID:

http://telicthoughts.com/the-birth-of-intelligen…

and Wickramasinghe appearing as a witness in a creation-science trial in 1981.

http://www.panspermia.org/chandra.htm

Comment #197742

Posted by transreality on August 20, 2007 6:09 AM (e)

Here then is a review of Intelligent Universe:

http://home.planet.nl/~gkorthof/kortho47.htm

Here is a discussion of the link between Hoyle and Wickramasinghes ideas and ID:

http://telicthoughts.com/the-birth-of-intelligen…

and Wickramasinghe appearing as a witness in a creation-science trial in 1981.

http://www.panspermia.org/chandra.htm

Comment #197826

Posted by PvM on August 20, 2007 12:48 PM (e)

I assumed as much, you are not very familiar with Hoyle, and are relying on second hand sources. Are you willing to amend and revise your original claim which seems hard to support?

Fred Hoyles is a self-avowed atheist, nonetheless, his arguments have been appropriated nearly verbatim by the ID movement.

Perhaps you meant to say that some of his arguments have been taken by the ID movement?

Your point being?

Comment #197829

Posted by PvM on August 20, 2007 12:50 PM (e)

I assumed as much, you are not very familiar with Hoyle, and are relying on second hand sources. Are you willing to amend and revise your original claim which seems hard to support?

Fred Hoyles is a self-avowed atheist, nonetheless, his arguments have been appropriated nearly verbatim by the ID movement.

Perhaps you meant to say that some of his arguments have been taken by the ID movement?

Your point being?

Comment #198018

Posted by Torbjörn Larsson, OM on August 21, 2007 6:39 AM (e)

transreality:

transreality wrote:

I think that you have totally ignored the contribution of Fred Hoyles “Intelligent Universe” otherwise known as “Evolution from Space: A Theory of Cosmic Creationism” from 1981.

This postdates the origins of ID as related in the post.

transreality wrote:

… the link between Hoyle and Wickramasinghes ideas and ID … and Wickramasinghe appearing as a witness in a creation-science trial in 1981.

I don’t know much about these ideas, except that it is panspermia. But apparently Hoyle and Wickramasinghe 1981 held that “Life was derived from and continues to be driven by sources outside the Earth” in the form of “viruses” somehow being created in space, improbably surviving implantation into an existing biosphere and mysteriously being beneficial instead of harmful for preexisting radically different life forms.

Yes, the usual argument from ignorance is there: “It is ridiculous to suppose that the information provided by one single primitive bacterium can be upgraded by copying”. Thus fundamentally misunderstanding the process of evolution (there is no “ladder of progress”) and its mechanisms (rejecting selection).

The soundbite “a steady degradation of information” is there. As is the religious context: “my own cultural inheritance of Buddhist beliefs that the Universe is eternal and that the patterns of life within it have a permanent quality”.

The McLean vs Arkansas Board of Education judgment notes:

U.S. District Court Judge William R. Overton wrote:

The Court is at a loss to understand why Dr. Wickramasinghe was called in behalf of the defendants. Perhaps it was because he was generally critical of the theory of evolution and the scientific community, a tactic consistent with the strategy of the defense. Unfortunately for the defense, he demonstrated that the simplistic approach of the two model analysis of the origins of life is false. Furthermore, he corroborated the plaintiffs’ witnesses by concluding that “no rational scientist” would believe the earth’s geology could be explained by reference to a worldwide flood or that the earth was less than one million years old. [Bold added.]

So scientifically there is no link, nor does H & W ever mention “intelligent” or “design”. Culturally, sure, existing ID movement appropriates everything in sight as “evidence”, even from a rival such as natural and ongoing panspermia theory.

Comment #198035

Posted by Joe G on August 21, 2007 9:30 AM (e)

Sorry to burst your bubble but intelligent design can trace its roots back to Aristotle. No amount of flailing can change that fact.

It is also very telling that the only people that conflate ID and Creation are the same people who know/ understand the least about both.

I hope to see you all at the next “ID trial”. At that trial all the facts will come out- I will make sure of it. That is if some parents object to my ID presentation and actually try to stop it. It hasn’t happened yet…

Comment #198047

Posted by Joe G on August 21, 2007 9:47 AM (e)

In the absence of intelligent design or a special creation all you have is sheer dumb luck.

IOW our existence, according to you anti-IDists and anti-creationists, is due to nothing more than sheer dumb luck.

Just how can one objectively test that premise?

And ya know what else is laughable?

1) There isn’t any data which demonstrates that a population of single-celled organisms can “evolve” into something other than single-celled organisms.

To date the only “test” is to observe single-celled organisms and metazoans and say one had to have “evolved” into the other.

2) The isn’t any data which can account for the physiological and anatomical differences between chimps and humans.

the only “test” of common ancestry is to say the genetic similarities could only arise via universal common descent.

And in the end the only way to refute ID and Creation is to actually find scientific data which supports your position. Yet sheer dumb luck is the antithesis of science.

Comment #198053

Posted by Glen Davidson on August 21, 2007 10:11 AM (e)

Sorry to burst your bubble but intelligent design can trace its roots back to Aristotle.

What’s your point, dimwit? That it is a guess predating modern science?

No amount of flailing can change that fact.

Since you’re a creationist, of course equivocation is second nature to you.

Nobody is actually denying that ID’s ultimate source is in the Bible (which predates Aristotle, cretin). What Nick did was to identify where the latest version of creationism, which is ID, comes into being.

It is also very telling that the only people that conflate ID and Creation are the same people who know/ understand the least about both.

You mean the big-tenters, the IDists. You’re right, they are the ones who understand it least, and they deliberately conflate the two because they know that in the end it makes little or no difference which magic scenario is said to be responsible for life.

I hope to see you all at the next “ID trial”.

I’d love it. I like seeing idiotic blowhards smacked.

At that trial all the facts will come out- I will make sure of it.

They already did, Behe made sure of it. That’s why it was deemed religion and monstrously bad pseudoscience.

That is if some parents object to my ID presentation and actually try to stop it. It hasn’t happened yet…

You mean you’ll only present the facts if some parents object to your ID presentation?

Your command of language matches your command of science. Indeed, your illiteracy is probably responsible for your science ignorance.

But thanks for playing our little game of, ‘just how stupid can IDists get.’

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

Comment #198055

Posted by Raging Bee on August 21, 2007 10:20 AM (e)

…intelligent design can trace its roots back to Aristotle.

And flat-Earth-ism can trace its roots back even further. Your point…?

It is also very telling that the only people that conflate ID and Creation are the same people who know/ understand the least about both.

Please explain the significance of the phrase “cdesign proponentsists.”

I hope to see you all at the next “ID trial”. At that trial all the facts will come out- I will make sure of it.

Any comments on all the facts that came out at the LAST “ID trial?”

That is if some parents object to my ID presentation and actually try to stop it.

Speaking of parents, where are yours? Do they know you’re making an ass of yourself in front of the whole world?

Comment #198056

Posted by Glen Davidson on August 21, 2007 10:27 AM (e)

In the absence of intelligent design or a special creation all you have is sheer dumb luck.

You mean dumb luck of this kind: “What sort of stupid uncaring deity do we get to make retinas with blood vessels on the wrong side, and who thinks only in genetic algorithms?”

Natural selection, like all of science, is the opposite of the stupid luck foisted onto us by ignorant pseudoscientists, who refuse to make any consistent predictions from something so regular (as we know it) as design. Of course they do make inconsistent predictions, but why not? They have no credibility today, with ranters like Joe G being the only ones who even dare to set foot on the uncontrolled (little controlled, anyhow) forums.

IOW our existence, according to you anti-IDists and anti-creationists, is due to nothing more than sheer dumb luck.

I suppose you’re really as stupid as to believe that. However, natural selection means the adaptation of organisms to any livable situation, the perfect counterpart to sheer dumb luck. The designer, now that’s an uncontrollable crapshoot, which Behe even credits with designing malaria for our misery.

See, malaria is not a matter of dumb luck in the evolutionary scenario, parasites like it are an inevitable (if both contingent and unfortunate) consequence of competition for resources. In the ID scenario it is either sheer dumb luck, or sheer malevolence on the part of the IDers’ God.

Just how can one objectively test that premise?

One can’t. That’s why ID isn’t science, moron.

And ya know what else is laughable?

Your intelligence quotient?

1) There isn’t any data which demonstrates that a population of single-celled organisms can “evolve” into something other than single-celled organisms.

You mean, other than the relatedness of humans and yeast, and of humans and bacteria? Still wrong, every other metazoan is also related to these, and to archaebacteria as well, and we’re related to all metazoans. Explain that, ranting pseudoscientist.

To date the only “test” is to observe single-celled organisms and metazoans and say one had to have “evolved” into the other.

God you’re dumb.

2) The isn’t any data which can account for the physiological and anatomical differences between chimps and humans.

A theory does that, dummkopf. Only sheer dumb luck could “explain” the differences under ID.

the only “test” of common ancestry is to say the genetic similarities could only arise via universal common descent.

That’s a blank statement, retard, and a stupid one at that.

And in the end the only way to refute ID and Creation is to actually find scientific data which supports your position.

Too bad you’re incapable of understanding the overwhelming evidence that supports our theory.

Yet sheer dumb luck is the antithesis of science.

Hence the judgment at Dover.

I know, I know, don’t feed the troll. Well, nothing else is happening, and Joe G was hanging a target over his chest, with the bullseye centered on his heart. I’m not supposed to shoot?

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

Comment #198060

Posted by blipey on August 21, 2007 10:51 AM (e)

Okay, Joe, this should be an easy one for you.

Can you please give us Aristotle’s Theory of Intelligent Design? He must have published one if you are citing it. After giving us this specific theory, can you please:

1. Compare it to the current SPECIFIC THEORY OF ID
2. Give us a couple of predictions made by each of the above theories.
3. Compare these predictions to each other
4. Give us the lowdown on how these predictions have fared

Thanks.

Comment #198070

Posted by Bill Gascoyne on August 21, 2007 11:13 AM (e)

Exactly what current specific theory of ID are you referring to?

Comment #198072

Posted by Glen Davidson on August 21, 2007 11:15 AM (e)

Can you please give us Aristotle’s Theory of Intelligent Design? He must have published one if you are citing it. After giving us this specific theory, can you please:

Actually, Joe G’s command of Aristotle’s writings is as good as his command of the science literature (likely his claim came from Crowther). Aristotle’s ideas are really a rival to ID, as scientific as ID, but are really very different.

I ignored this fact because I wanted to make other points earlier, namely, that even if Aristotle was not an adherent to ID, ID is simply an old turd polished by rather incompetent shoe-shine guys (meaning that although you can’t polish a turd no matter how deft you may be, people like Behe and Dembski can’t even give a good hard piece of metal like MET a shine).

But it is worth noting that for Aristotle there is no designer at all, with God apparently simply causing motion to exist, especially heavenly motion. The cosmos is eternal for Aristotle, and it appears in his writings as though organisms are as they are simply because form is passed down from generation to generation for eternity (through the semen, alone).

Indeed, if intelligent design is ever held to be a theory, then Aristotle’s idea of eternal forms being passed on forever ought to be taught as “science” as well. True, it doesn’t fit the data, but neither does ID (at least not once we tease out some inherent predictions). The only problem is that there is no religious constituency pushing Aristotle’s views into the curricula.

I suppose that we could modernize Aristotle’s claims if we wanted to do so, and call it modern form theory (sort of an evolution aiming toward pre-existing forms), MFT. That would probably be more scientific in form (though not in substance) than ID is, affirming the consequent as the telos of the forms, rather than the sheer dumb of ID being the “explanation”.

Anyway, I thought it just as well to go along with Joe G’s incompetent statements about Aristotle earlier, because it’s all merely pre-modern nonsense. It’s funny to watch stupid Crowther (where did you think Joe G got his incorrect info about Aristotle?) and Joe G scrambling to claim pre-scientific roots to their modern blather, because it is really all too true. Doesn’t support Crowther’s and Joe G’s attacks on Nick’s affirmation of where the present “Intelligent Design” begins (one may quibble with his precision, since in many ways ID really is only an emphasis upon one aspect of YECism. But to the degree that ID can be considered to be separate, it’s a pretty fair identification of its beginnings), yet I love how quick they are to point to pre-scientiific roots to their unscientific claims.

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

Comment #198076

Posted by secondclass on August 21, 2007 11:40 AM (e)

Joe is repeating, verbatim, the drivel he has spouted in other other forums. His idiocy has been pointed out to him repeatedly and he has yet to come up with any kind of defense.

Joe, assuming there’s an ID hypothesis, how is it not sheer dumb luck? Isn’t it incredibly lucky that a designer would exist that was capable and willing to design us? You’ve been asked this several times. Do you have an answer yet? Of course not. You’re nothing but a drive-by poster without the guts or intelligence to stand by your claims.

Joe G wrote:

I hope to see you all at the next “ID trial”. At that trial all the facts will come out- I will make sure of it.

Please do. I’m sure you’ll accomplish what the top-tier IDists could not in Pennsylvania. And please use the argument that you fantasize about here, which will easily be shot down by a slew of quotes from DI fellows. And then present the argument that you bring up later in the same thread. I can’t wait to see the judge’s reaction when you say that the ID position doesn’t require the supernatural, and then turn around and say that all positions require the supernatural.

Comment #198077

Posted by Glen Davidson on August 21, 2007 11:41 AM (e)

I just re-checked, and while Crowther unsurprisingly gets it all wrong, at least he doesn’t credit Aristotle for ID. He quotes Witt:

Witt explains the origins of the term in part here:

Its roots stretch back to design arguments made by Socrates and Plato, and even the term “intelligent design” is more than 100 years old. Oxford scholar F.C.S. Schiller employed it in an 1897 essay, writing that “it will not be possible to rule out the supposition that the process of Evolution may be guided by an intelligent design.”

Found at: www.evolutionnews.org/2007/08/darwinists_fuel_urban_myths_wi.html

Plato himself didn’t adhere to anything like intelligent design, even though his is a more “heavenly” Form theory than was Aristotle’s. The Greeks knew the difference between the “organic” (physis) and the designed, which fact may be seen in Plato as well as in Aristotle. The latter thinker is the one who really drove home the differences between “techne” and physis (physis is sometimes translated as “nature”), however, so giving us good pre-scientific reasons (sound observational differences, which still mostly hold today—the key to understanding what Aristotle was doing with organic forms is that he was attempting to account for the differences between design and evolution, without his ever knowing that organisms evolved) to fault “intelligent design” of the “natural world”.

Well, it makes little difference whether one is mis-attributing ID to Plato or mis-attributing it to Aristotle. But it could be that Joe G got his “information” from people even less competent than Witt and Crowther.

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

Comment #198094

Posted by Glen Davidson on August 21, 2007 1:00 PM (e)

It strikes me that there is a serious issue for a lot of people in the “sheer dumb luck” charge against evolution. Which is a bit odd, because most people really don’t have trouble understanding that one may give reasons why certain trees and insects may be found in certain locales, and yet they also understand that there is certainly an important amount of chance to the fact of a bug being “exactly there”, and a tree growing “in just that spot”.

Ecology is not a matter of “sheer dumb luck”, of course, and most people recognize this fact without much trouble. And evolution is closely tied to ecology. Indeed it is largely responsible for the ecological interactions which explain why organisms grow where they do, and capture resources in the manner that they do.

I suspect that if we didn’t have the steady drumbeat of “random evolution” from the ignorant and the stupid, like Joe G, most people could be taught just how unrandom (yet partly random) evolution actually is. Thereby they would learn just how preferable it is to actually have an explanation for why organisms are as they are, and not rely on some random and unthinking “designer” to explain the random details of a supposedly designed set of organisms and their ecosystems.

One trouble we have in educating people is that the various dishonest purveyors of pseudoscience want the beginning datum to be that evolution is random, while design is not. What’s so bizarre about this is that about the only innovation in ID is that nothing is to be expected from design (except ad hoc and post hoc “predictions” regarding junk DNA, fine-tuning, well, you know, anything that they think will bamboozle the Joe Gs and other versions of idiots). That is, the false expectations for evolution are claimed by the IDists, so that only by sheer dumb luck are we to explain why humans are as they are, and even more weirdly, our similarities with apes is also supposed to be due to sheer dumb luck, and not the explanatory power of heredity that they apply to explaining similarities among human families and dog breeds.

We have the same explanatory process across all scales and across all of life. They use the exact same explanatory process, then, without any different kinds of patterns or derivations, they explain everything else by sheer whim of a designer who operates without utilizing known design principles (instead, producing evolutionary patterns). And no explanation why the whim of the designer is to design according to evolutionary principles. Oddly, of course, one may still be predictive with ID, you simply have to “predict” that the designer designed everything as if it all evolved according to MET principles.

Depending on how you look at ID, then, one might actually suppose that ID is not a matter of “sheer dumb luck” except at the point of explaining the designer’s whimsical ‘design according to evolutionary principles’, because everything falls out as MET predicts. The trouble then, though, is that the primary aspect of ID added onto evolution is the sheer dumb luck that the designer is only able or willing to design according to genetic algorithms, since that not only would not be expected of a designer, it would be the opposite of expectations for the designer.

Parsimony, of course, causes us to cut out the sheer dumb luck aspect of ID, which is the unpredictable (other than via evolutionary predictions) “designer”. It goes beyond that, however, because any honest ID theory would predict regularities other than those we find in evolution, notably the matching of thought-out (rational) designs to their intended purposes. Unfortunately for them, IDists can’t find any intended purposes, hence design makes no sense at all, and they feel free to call anything design. That’s why ID is not a (nearly) harmless add-on, like the theistic evolutionists’ God, rather it is the introduction of an uncontrolled and unknown aspect into evolution which is thereby supposed to be responsible for the non-design regularities seen during the course of evolution.

Just a whim of God, to produce a detailed design mimicking evolutionary processes, which is so accurate that it includes malaria and mosquitos to cause misery and death to Behe’s telos of evolutionary “design”. After all, that’s the only explanation Behe really has available for malaria, he’s just too dimwitted and lacking in a certain level of integrity to follow the sense of his “arguments”.

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

Comment #198102

Posted by Henry J on August 21, 2007 1:37 PM (e)

Many of the antievolution arguments focus on the odds against getting particular mutations, but that’s the wrong question. A better question is the odds of getting (or already having*) a mutation that improves the reproductive success rate of the individuals having it, as compared to their relatives.

*Since mutations that don’t hurt the success rate will accumulate in the gene pool over time, adding to the variety existing in the species, while selection operates by removing the less successful of the existing varieties.

Henry

Comment #198159

Posted by blipey on August 21, 2007 5:01 PM (e)

Exactly what current specific theory of ID are you referring to?

I have no idea. I was hoping that JoeG would be able to clarify what he was talking about. Actually, I’ll rephrase that:

I was hoping that JoeG would stumble around and babble and be funny while never telling us what a current or Aristotelian ID Theory looks like.

Comment #198171

Posted by Arden Chatfield on August 21, 2007 5:31 PM (e)

I was hoping that JoeG would stumble around and babble and be funny while never telling us what a current or Aristotelian ID Theory looks like.

Good for you. The key to happiness is realistic expectations.

Comment #198438

Posted by Joe G on August 22, 2007 11:05 AM (e)

Ummm, design is the antithesis of sheer dumb luck. Duh.

Also it is obvious that the “Dover” decision was based on the school boards’ lies and deception. The judge didn’t even listen to what the ID experts had to say but bought what the anti-IDists said. And those ID experts already testified that ID does not require the supernatural.

The supernatural is irrelevant- yes because all positions require either something beyond nature or some other metaphysical explanation.

As for the importance of history- history demonstrates that some/ most of the greatest scientific minds used science as a tool for understanding “God’s” creation.

IOW somewhere along the way someone arbitrarily changed the rules.

Linneaus was trying to figure out what the originally created kinds were when he came up with binomial nomenclature. Was he conducting science?

And in the end all you have to do to refute ID is to actually find some scientific data that supports your position. Yet the best you can do is hide behind your computers and post nonsensical drivel.

If you want to “educate me” Glen D- just provide the data I asked for.

BTW I can hardly wait for your reactions to Ben Stein’s film that should be released next Feb 12.

Comment #198443

Posted by Glen Davidson on August 22, 2007 11:26 AM (e)

Ummm, design is the antithesis of sheer dumb luck. Duh.

Not when it’s the magical mystery “design” which has no empirically-known designer, and none of the aspects of thought that are discernable in normal design, idiot. Can you even read, dullard?

Also it is obvious that the “Dover” decision was based on the school boards’ lies and deception.

And what you say are lies, though so pathetic that they typically don’t deceive anybody.

The judge didn’t even listen to what the ID experts had to say but bought what the anti-IDists said.

What’s the evidence for that, slug? Oh, that’s right, you don’t bother with evidence, being an IDist.

And those ID experts already testified that ID does not require the supernatural.

And they’ve often said the opposite. Behe, who has testified that ID does not require the supernatural also gives talks accusing “naturalists” of refusing to consider ID because it gets into the supernatural. Plus, what’s natural about the one who fine-tuned the entire universe, lackwit?

The supernatural is irrelevant- yes because all positions require either something beyond nature or some other metaphysical explanation.

Said the one who lacks all relevant knowledge of science and philosophy.

As for the importance of history- history demonstrates that some/ most of the greatest scientific minds used science as a tool for understanding “God’s” creation.

How does it show that, imbecile? No one denies that the religious can do good science, but we have yet to see in evidence that religion is a tool in science (other than it’s empirical aspects, of course).

IOW somewhere along the way someone arbitrarily changed the rules.

Nobody changed the rules, dishonest cretin. You bozos want to change the rules away from the science propounded by Newton and other honest religious scientists.

Linneaus was trying to figure out what the originally created kinds were when he came up with binomial nomenclature.

Here’s a thought, moron. Linnaeus’s system was part of the evidence that Darwin used to show that evolution occurred, you know, when he came up with the beginnings of the only adequate theory to explain said evolution.

Was he conducting science?

Yes, buffoon, because he was using evidence, not appealing to the supernatural like the current stupid crop of creationists do.

And in the end all you have to do to refute ID is to actually find some scientific data that supports your position.

You’ve been answered, and given reference for the evidence. Go to Talkorigins, and learn something for once, Joetard.

Yet the best you can do is hide behind your computers and post nonsensical drivel.

Can you even write something that would pass for intelligent? You can’t answer what we’ve written, you just repeat your insipid lies.

If you want to “educate me” Glen D- just provide the data I asked for.

It’s out there, retard. Answer what we’ve said to you, if you can ever achieve literacy. You bring even the stupidity of ID down another notch with your incapacity even to pretend to be able to make a response.

BTW I can hardly wait for your reactions to Ben Stein’s film that should be released next Feb 12.

Oh, we’ll answer the ignorant economist, all right, droolmonkey.

Do you even know the stupidity that ID is, btw? I mean, it’s just on the border of your capacity to understand, what with it’s inability to say anything but “it looks designed” and “God, no I mean the Designer, did it”.

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

Comment #198444

Posted by Joe G on August 22, 2007 11:27 AM (e)

One more thing- ID is not anti-evolution.

Only someone completely ID ignorant could make such a claim.

ID only argues against blind watchmaker-type processes as having sole dominion over evolution.

IOW were populations designed to evolve or did they evolve solely via culled genetic accidents?

Comment #198446

Posted by Joe G on August 22, 2007 11:31 AM (e)

One doesn’t have to know the designer before making a design inference.

In fact REALITY says the ONLY way to make ANY determination about the designer in the absence of direct observation or designer input is by studying the design in question.

BTW Glenn D- thanks for demonstrating your stupidity. The data I asked for DOESN’T EXIST.

Comment #198449

Posted by Joe G on August 22, 2007 11:38 AM (e)

To Glenn Dumbass:

If it was OK to say that science was a tool for understanding “God’s” Creation and now one cannot say that, then the rules changed.

If you are too stupid to understand that then you are just too stupid.

Comment #198452

Posted by CJO on August 22, 2007 11:44 AM (e)

Ummm, design is the antithesis of sheer dumb luck. Duh.

Duh, indeed.
Glen just explained at some length why your assertion to that effect is untenable, so naturally you just assert it again. His point, in short form, is that a pretend “explanation” with zero explanatory power is indistinguishable from “sheer dumb luck” and equivalent to “how the hell should I know?” It’s useless, and can’t be refuted with the “scientific data” you pretend to be interested in, because it has no more epistemological content than an admission of ignorance.

As for the importance of history- history demonstrates that some/ most of the greatest scientific minds used science as a tool for understanding “God’s” creation.

IOW somewhere along the way someone arbitrarily changed the rules.

Presumably, you would include Sir Isaac Newton among these. Refer to his rules, explicitly stated in the Principia, and tell me some crafty atheist arbitrarily jerrymandered ID out of the game in the dark of night. You’re frankly too stupid to understand the lessons of the history of science or the evolution of empirical epistemology. Your heroes, were they alive, would heap as much scorn on your idiotic indictment of modern science as any of us out here, “hiding (in your paranoid imagination) behind computers posting [cogent arguments which between your ears become] nonsensical drivel.”

Comment #198456

Posted by Glen Davidson on August 22, 2007 11:53 AM (e)

One doesn’t have to know the designer before making a design inference.

I didn’t say that one did, retarded jerk. You really are too dumb to read anything above 5th grade level, aren’t you?

In fact REALITY says the ONLY way to make ANY determination about the designer in the absence of direct observation or designer input is by studying the design in question.

Non sequitur, impossibly stupid fool. Why can’t you even understand what was written? Why do you have to make up your own stupid patter before you’re capable of understanding anything at all?

BTW Glenn D- thanks for demonstrating your stupidity.

Wow, he can’t spell, and can’t do anything but write insults, without even a semblance of backing up his lies and mindlessness.

The data I asked for DOESN’T EXIST.

Said the one too stupid to learn anything.

To Glenn Dumbass:

You learned a little word, didn’t you retard? Ooh, you can’t spell to save your life, you can’t answer anything written, you can’t even paraphrase any of our responses properly, but you can write dumbass. Baby steps, Joe Grunt, baby steps, maybe someday you can write real insults, if you strive very hard and learn far more than you know now.

If it was OK to say that science was a tool for understanding “God’s” Creation and now one cannot say that, then the rules changed.

You aren’t dealing with the substance of what I was writing about, but then you don’t know how to do anything but ape the dullards who you admire.

If you are too stupid to understand that then you are just too stupid.

You’re even too stupid to know that I didn’t deny the retarded nonsense that you wrote above, idiot-boy.

And btw, troll-moron, I knew that you couldn’t write a sensible response to anything I wrote, or even had the intelligence to understand it, and I only wanted to reveal you more fully as the gibbering boob that you are and always will be. So write as much appallingly stupid nonsense as you wish, I’ve achieved my purpose of trolling the troll, and of reducing you to a quivering mass of jelly just trying to churn out the pathetic insults and standard idiocies of ID. I won’t be answering your tripe any more on this thread.

Even the IDiots know that you’re just an embarrassing clown.

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

Comment #198461

Posted by Joe G on August 22, 2007 12:09 PM (e)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'url'

Comment #198465

Posted by Joe G on August 22, 2007 12:13 PM (e)

OK Glen Dumbass I know the data I requested doesn’t exist.

Now you can either show everyone how “stupid” I am by presenting it, or you can admit that you are a lying piece of shit.

As for Aristotle’s link to ID, well he cared about final causes “including both purposeful and instrumental actions and activities.”

However I doubt the simple-minded regulars here will understand the connection.

BTW Glen Dumbass- natural selection is a RESULT. And it just so happens it is a result of random inputs.

Sheer Dumb Luck explained for the simple-minded PT regulars

Comment #198466

Posted by Joe G on August 22, 2007 12:14 PM (e)

OK Glen Dumbass I know the data I requested doesn’t exist.

Now you can either show everyone how “stupid” I am by presenting it, or you can admit that you are a lying piece of shit.

As for Aristotle’s link to ID, well he cared about final causes “including both purposeful and instrumental actions and activities.”

see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aristotle/

However I doubt the simple-minded regulars here will understand the connection.

BTW Glen Dumbass- natural selection is a RESULT. And it just so happens it is a result of random inputs.

Sheer Dumb Luck explained for the simple minded PT regulars

Comment #198467

Posted by fnxtr on August 22, 2007 12:14 PM (e)

On a slightly less incendiary note, Joe G., the questions we ask are still:

“What designer? What did it do? When? How? How does ID apologetics explain - in all the messy details and grand sweep - the history of life, better than the explanation that seems to be working best for those who understand it best?”

So far all we’ve seen is neo-paleyism and arguments from incredulity, and the occasional bit of Bible-thumping. If you have more, then I for one would love to see it.

Thank you.

Comment #198468

Posted by Joe G on August 22, 2007 12:17 PM (e)

OK Glen Dumbass I know the data I requested doesn’t exist.

Now you can either show everyone how “stupid” I am by presenting it, or you can admit that you are a lying piece of shit.

As for Aristotle’s link to ID, well he cared about final causes “including both purposeful and instrumental actions and activities.”

see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aristotle

However I doubt the simple-minded regulars here will understand the connection.

BTW Glen Dumbass- natural selection is a RESULT. And it just so happens it is a result of random inputs.

Sheer Dumb Luck explained for the simple minded PT regulars

Comment #198469

Posted by Joe G on August 22, 2007 12:18 PM (e)

OK Glen Dumbass I know the data I requested doesn’t exist.

Now you can either show everyone how “stupid” I am by presenting it, or you can admit that you are a lying piece of shit.

As for Aristotle’s link to ID, well he cared about final causes “including both purposeful and instrumental actions and activities.”

see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aristotle

However I doubt the simple-minded regulars here will understand the connection.

BTW Glen Dumbass- natural selection is a RESULT. And it just so happens it is a result of random inputs.

Sheer Dumb Luck explained for the simple minded PT regulars:

http://intelligentreasoning.blogspot.com/2007/07…

Comment #198471

Posted by Joe G on August 22, 2007 12:24 PM (e)

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

“The final cause is that for the sake of which a thing exists or is done, including both purposeful and instrumental actions and activities. The final cause or telos is the purpose or end that something is supposed to serve, or it is that from which and that to which the change is. This also covers modern ideas of mental causation involving such psychological causes as volition, need, motivation, or motives, rational, irrational, ethical, all that gives purpose to behavior. The final cause of the artist might be the statue itself. (teleology).”

That is his connection with ID although I doubt the regulars here will understand it.

Comment #198475

Posted by Joe G on August 22, 2007 12:30 PM (e)

On a slightly less incendiary note, Joe G., the questions we ask are still:

“What designer? What did it do? When? How? How does ID apologetics explain - in all the messy details and grand sweep - the history of life, better than the explanation that seems to be working best for those who understand it best?”

ID isn’t about the designer. The only way to make any determination about the designer or the specific design process(es) used, in the absence of direct observation or designer input, is by studying the design in question.

ID is only about the detection and understanding of that design. The designer and the specific process(es) are separate questions.

Ya know just like life’s origins is a separate question from its subsequent evolution yet any subsequent evolution depends on how life originated.

BTW the alleged history of life is useless to scientific endeavors. Heck we can’t even objectively test the premise that we share a common ancestor with chimps. No one even knows whether or not any amount of accumulated mutations can account for the physiological and anatomical differences observed.

Comment #198477

Posted by secondclass on August 22, 2007 12:33 PM (e)

Joe G wrote:

Ummm, design is the antithesis of sheer dumb luck. Duh.

In Joe’s world, bald assertions and the word “Duh” are considered valid arguments. No need to actually address the issues.

The judge didn’t even listen to what the ID experts had to say but bought what the anti-IDists said.

If that could be demonstrated, then school board would have appealed and had the decision overturned, saving themselves a million bucks. But apparently you know something that they don’t, being the genius that you are.

… ID does not require the supernatural…. all positions require either something beyond nature or some other metaphysical explanation.

It takes a special kind of imbecility to continue contradicting oneself even after the contradiction has been pointed out.

history demonstrates that some/ most of the greatest scientific minds used science as a tool for understanding “God’s” creation.

And guess what? There are still scientists who are theists, performing perfectly valid research in order to understand what they view as God’s creation.

IOW somewhere along the way someone arbitrarily changed the rules.

It’s against the rules to be a scientist and a theist? No wonder Ken Miller can’t hold down a technical job. Oh wait, that’s Dembski I’m thinking of.

BTW I can hardly wait for your reactions to Ben Stein’s film that should be released next Feb 12.

Because in Joe’s world, established scientific theories are overturned by movies rather than by primary literature.

Comment #198479

Posted by GuyeFaux on August 22, 2007 12:39 PM (e)

The final cause of the artist might be the statue itself.

Well said by Aristotle. It’s amazing that you think that this somehow supports ID.

Comment #198490

Posted by Arden Chatfield on August 22, 2007 1:11 PM (e)

BTW I can hardly wait for your reactions to Ben Stein’s film that should be released next Feb 12.

Shorter Joe: “Ben Stein will come save us! He’s making a *movie* and everything!| He’ll show all you wicked liberal atheist scientists! Then evolution will be destroyed and ID will win and you’ll all quit laughing at me!”

Comment #198496

Posted by fnxtr on August 22, 2007 2:19 PM (e)

(shrug) Okay, Joe, skip the first bit.

“How does ID apologetics explain - in all the messy details and grand sweep - the history of life, better than the explanation that seems to be working best for those who understand it best?”

Still waiting for an answer to that one.
“This looks designed” doesn’t explain how things work.
Or anything else, for that matter.

Comment #198503

Posted by secondclass on August 22, 2007 2:34 PM (e)

Joe G wrote:

Sheer Dumb Luck explained for the simple minded PT regulars:

http://intelligentreasoning.blogspot.com/2007/07…

To my simple mind, Joe’s preferred definition of luck seems to include design, as characterized by Dembski.

Joe G wrote:

Luck- an unknown and unpredictable phenomenon that causes an event to result one way rather than another

Dembski wrote:

Yet unlike natural laws, which are universal and uniform, designers are also innovators. Innovation, the emergence to true novelty, eschews predictability. Designers are inventors. We cannot predict what an inventor would do short of becoming that inventor. Intelligent design offers a radically different problematic for science than a mechanistic science wedded solely to undirected natural causes. Yes, intelligent design concedes predictability.

Comment #198557

Posted by Lynn Fancher on August 22, 2007 3:55 PM (e)

Hmmm. Things seem to have wandered over into the “feeding the troll” region.

In a pathetic swipe at the original topic, I’d like to add my good wishes and thanks to Nick Matzke. Hope you have a blast.

And re. Dr. Gould’s essay–the title was “Male Nipples and Clitoral Ripples.” According to Gould, he wanted to title it “Tits and Clits,” but his wife objected ;^)

And his point was that males have nipples because females need them. We’re all the same species, you know. Males and females are just two versions of the same critter.

Of course, if your understanding of creatures is informed by ID instead of science, that makes no sense. Why would a designer put something like nipples where they didn’t have any purpose? Doesn’t matter to the Designer–she can do anything she wants, because she gets to write out the blueprints.

Lynn