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Living in the Middle, Between the Two Extremes

Back after the Republican debate "moderated" by Chris Matthews, I started thinking about the whole stupid "do you believe in evolution" question. That single moment of dumbness started a line of thought in me that kept growing. It seems appropriate, considering that "bullshit" is both a rhetorical term of meaninglessness and a potent fertilizer.

I've often described myself as an agnostic. I clearly distinguish my status as a "doubter," not a "disbeliever." I hold no great hostility for religion; it simply "doesn't work" for me.

But I don't reject it.

I've always been a believer in science. It doesn't always come up with the answers right away, but it has a consistent record of finding the right answers -- eventually -- that no other approach comes close to. It's tangible, it's logical (if often counterintuitive), and it's verifiable.

Some have taken science to be their substitute for religion. They sink all their faith and belief in science, and hold the devout (and their beliefs) in contempt. It's mysticism, it's self-delusion, it's fantasy.

On the other side, there are those to whom their faith is all they need. Scientists are godless heretics, meddling in matters Man was not to trifle with and playing God.

Then there's the middle, where the vast majority of Americans live.

At its core, I don't think there is anything fundamentally incompatible with Christianity and science, between the Bible and natural history. All it takes is a little application of common sense and logic.

In the Bible, God is most often described paternalistically. "Holy Father," "Our Father who art in Heaven," even in the old drunken priest joke of "Daddy, Junior, and the Spook." He is our creator, our father, and we are His children.

I don't have any children of my own, but I'm very close to some people who are -- in my opinion -- excellent parents. And one element they all have in common is they teach their children what they need to know in terms the child can comprehend.

With that in mind, and considering the social and technological development of the people at the time the Bible was written (or handed down by God), there is no problem with accepting the Bible as history -- written in a way that the intended audience can grasp it.

I find myself inspired by Bill Cosby's "Noah" routine. I see God dictating the Bible to some poor schlub:

"Then I saw that things weren't going so well, so I figured I'd pretty much wipe the slate clean and start over. I arranged for nearly all life on the planet to be wiped out."

"Wow, that's big. How'd You do that?"

"I steered an asteroid to..."

"An aste-what?"

"A big rock. I had a big rock fall from the sky."

"Just one big rock?"

"It was a very big rock."

"And it landed on everything?"

"No, it was so large that it blasted enough debris into the air and blotted out the sun."

"And they all died because it was dark?"

"No, because the dust changed the climate so severely, almost no plants and animals could survive."

"What's 'climate'?"

(Sigh) "Never mind. You know what a flood is?"

"Yes, last year my cousin's village got wiped out by one."

"OK, then. Just write down that I made it rain so hard and so long that the whole world flooded."

"Wow."

That resolves pretty much all of the problems in the Bible. God once stopped the sun in the sky at Joshua's request, but that flies in the face of the fact that the sun doesn't move through the sky, the Earth revolves around the sun.

Or to simply add, parenthetically, a bit of clarifying detail: for example, in Genesis, that "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth (with a big bang)."

Science, to the devout, is not about disproving God or replacing Him. It's about seeing how He did what He did, discovering the laws and rules that He set down and then followed. It's about learning the laws of God that He didn't spell out in the Bible, but had it written down by Newton and Einstein and Edison and Galileo and Copernicus and Brahe and Tesla and Watson and Crick and Hawking and Ptolemy and Archimedes and uncounted other seekers of truth.

But back to the original point: is there anything heretical in believing in evolution? No. It, like pretty much every other scientific theory or principle, is simply a study of how God works, learning the rules that He set up for His creation. Or it's simply the way things developed, because it was the most efficient way.

There's an old aphorism that inverts the Biblical phrase and says that "Man created God in his own image," and there's a strong element of truth to that. Each person's perception of God is, largely, based on his perception of himself.

I think of myself as a writer. And one of the goals of any writer -- hell, any artist -- is to be invisible. To create our art in such a way that the art itself stands on its own, seemingly independent of any creator, to totally captivate the audience that they don't see it as a creation, a construct, a work of fiction, but as a reality all its own. To erase the puppet strings that tie us to our works.

From one writer to another, I salute God (if He exists). For he has done what I aspire to: to craft a creation that literally stands on its own without His constant attention, without Him having to show His hand on a regular basis to maintain things, to engineer an entire universe where it is not only possible to overlook His role in the creation, but even fashionable to deny His very existence. This entire universe, in that sense, can be considered the ultimate achievement in the Creative Arts.

And all those who play little "gotcha games" with oranges and platypuses and dinosaurs -- grow up. You're the modern-day equivalent of the medieval theologians who argued about angels dancing on heads of pins -- and the last thing this world needs is more pinheads.

I'd like to thank two dear friends of mine (who are both outstanding parents, in nearly opposite ways) for helping me come to these conclusions. I've mentioned Candy many times, but the other is an irregular presence here who always changes his name in a little game to see if he can "sneak" comments past me. I'll just refer to him by the name I gave him last summer -- "Jay Paparazzo."


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Comments (219)

Psalm 139:13-14 1... (Below threshold)
Mark:

Psalm 139:13-14

13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother's womb.

14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.

I myself believe in God's M... (Below threshold)
jpm100:

I myself believe in God's Machine. The universe being a system that can unfold on its own and in the process creates life.

But this sort of reminds me of a reverse Hitchhiker's Guide's babelfish dilemma.

Nothing is science can prove or disprove God's existence. It is a question of faith. However, man is not a perfect being. Therefore man should misinterpret what science teaches and be biased one way or the other. The fact that man has a choice to believe or not can only exist by design. Therefore God exists.

The point for many parents ... (Below threshold)
jay paparazzi:

The point for many parents it to get the big picture across and make them understand what is going on . Problem.. how to do it without lying to them.. Answer.. Badly

It's true that Republicans ... (Below threshold)
Gringo:

It's true that Republicans have a problem with their base that doesn't think evolution is good science.

BUT... it's better than democrats, whose base doesn't think economics is good science.

Give the devil his due; thi... (Below threshold)
Robert the Original:

Give the devil his due; this question was as diabolical as it was exploratory.

Make no mistake - there are compromises that must be made to accommodate evolution and the Old Testament. Those who are not so willing are the same ones who find one School Board a year to advocate teaching "Creationism" alongside evolution. Dangerous ground that, Intelligent Design notwithstanding.

The allure of teaching "Creationism" is a mantrap into which many conservatives might easily fall, including President Bush. Any wavering in support for evolution would be as injurious to the quest for centrist and independent voters as it would be red meat to some fundamentalists. Tactically speaking, this would be unwise and candidates word your answers with care.

For Rosie is salivating with the inevitable Taliban comparisons and to note that under Sharia law, belief in evolution cannot be other than a jailable offense.

For at least the last 100 years evolution has been about as well accepted in the scientific community as, say, Newton's Laws of motion, although I'm certain this comment will find the usual doubters. It is fair to say however, that there are no dispositive arguments against evolution and an election fought on these grounds would be a sure loss, however much I respect the strength of your belief.

Just the same, this is a landmine better sidestepped.

"...is there anything heret... (Below threshold)
Jeff Blogworthy:

"...is there anything heretical in believing in evolution? No."

I've got to disagree. I used to think that, but I've grown since then. Evolution does not seek to "explain how God did it" - it replaces God. And that is what it is "designed" to do. As Dawkins said, "Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist." That is exactly the point. One starts with the philosophical premise that God does not exist and the Bible is a lie. Something must explain life and that something is evolution. Evolution replaces God. Evolution (or the Cosmos, if you like) becomes God. It is either/or, not both. Two contradictory and competing philosophies.

My feelings run pretty much... (Below threshold)

My feelings run pretty much parallel to yours, Jay. I really don't see that religion has to be incompatible with science. It's entirely possible that someday science will prove the existence of God. Although He might not be anything like most think He is.

I think of God as a source. Something big of which we are all a smaller part of. Not a separate entity passing down edicts, punishing the unbelievers and "moving in mysterious ways".

Why should God have to punish the unbeliever anyway? We have people that do that.

Count on the creationists t... (Below threshold)
kim:

Count on the creationists to find the area where evolutionists require faith; that the development of so-called 'irreducible complexities' was by natural means, because the scientists cannot yet explain them so.
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IMHO, the Bible was writte... (Below threshold)
hermie:

IMHO, the Bible was written in a manner which could be understood by the vast, uneducated masses. We were taught that the earth was created in 6 days, because we would not be able to comprehend the idea of a billion years. Things were in effect 'dumbed down' so that we would get the 'big picture', rather than let the actual details obscure God's message.

But I'm appalled at the peo... (Below threshold)
kim:

But I'm appalled at the people who won't let the arguments of the ID people into public classrooms. Where, but science class, should we be discussing the theory of knowledge? Why do scientists and educators think that evolution can't hold its own in a debate about science? Are they afraid children are going to have to think?
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Faith is the substance of t... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

Jeff is correct, it is all about faith. No science can ever determine the mind of GOD. Just not possible. As far as evolution goes, I have no problem with it as long as it is taught as a theory, and have the teachers explain to the child what a theory is.

I have been around a while and I have seen scientists, many times, make incorrect assertions. Another ice age, eggs are bad for you, etc. For me, I will rely on my faith for eternity, not science. I do respect the dicipline and education of scientists though. This latest global warming sham is again showing how inaccureate scientists can be. ww

Jeff, your comment came in ... (Below threshold)

Jeff, your comment came in while I was typing. Are you saying that evolution, that for which we have a tangible fossil record of, was explained with the purpose of disproving God? I don't believe so. It was seized upon by some as a relacement, yes, but I don't believe that was the original intention.

Even so, many religionists, while unable to disprove the fossil record right in front of their faces, have adapted and come up with "intelligent design" theories. So not all are as unbending as you may think. They are indeed adapting.

How the hell did my comment... (Below threshold)

How the hell did my comment post again so much later? Can you delete it please?

Nevermind. I'm tripping :-... (Below threshold)

Nevermind. I'm tripping :-)

Oyster,Obviously, ... (Below threshold)
Jeff Blogworthy:

Oyster,

Obviously, I have no problem with the fossil record. How can one? It is what it is. It hardly proves (macro) evolution. The "fossil record" and the "geologic table" are not the same thing. One actually exits. The actual fossil record does not jibe with Darwin's theory. The Cambrian Explosion, the lack of transitional forms, the "appearance" of design, etc. are problems that are largely ignored or given unsatisfying explanations. The theory of evolution can never be disproved however, because it is the "incredible morphing theory." No matter what contradictory evidence is found it will always be absorbed and casually explained away. It is philosophy, not science.

Instead of taking Christian... (Below threshold)
Eric Forhan:

Instead of taking Christians to task for this, why not take Matthews to task for demanding a one-word answer to a complex question? It was ~he~ that presumed that religion and science don't mix.

To me, the Creation/Evoluti... (Below threshold)
John F Not Kerry:

To me, the Creation/Evolution "debate" is a red herring. Coming at it from the extremes of either side, people are demonized as heretics or unthinking boobs who don't believe in science. While some on the Creation side are fearful of science, mainly out of ignorance, some on the Evolution side use it to "prove" the nonexistence of God.

Science can only carry us so far. The best criminal investigators can figure out a whole bunch from the evidence they find, but can never know conclusively the "why" of a crime unless the perpetrator gives an accurate first-hand account.

On the other hand, I cannot "prove" the existence of God through empirical means. Should that be surprising? I think not. It is certainly possible that "someone" created all that we see (whatever the mechanisms involved), but we are unable to see the Creator.

Dang! Gotta go! Conitnued later...

John not Kerry"Com... (Below threshold)
Jeff Blogworthy:

John not Kerry

"Coming at it from the extremes of either side, people are demonized as heretics or unthinking boobs who don't believe in science."

Not quite. The label of "heretic" is only applied to those who claim to be within the Christian faith. If you are not in the faith, you are simply an "unbeliever". May I suggest that this is the real political football? Politicians who say they believe in evolution do not have the courage of their convictions to go all the way and say that they do not believe in God. This would be true political suicide. As is usually the case with politicians, they try to have it both ways and placate the broadest number of people possible.

At least the ones who say they do not believe evolution have the courage to take a stand - and deserve respect for it.

The self described "liberal... (Below threshold)
Amy:

The self described "liberal Democrat" editor of my local newspaper liked the evolution question so much he called our two Republican Senators to ask them to answer it. I mean it's so utterly pertinent to the problems of the world today, isn't it?

If a creator did fabricate ... (Below threshold)
kim:

If a creator did fabricate the world, it certainly would have been by means found in nature; hence, the world is naturally created, by God.

Heh, heh. Dispute that.
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Jeff, the purpose of my com... (Below threshold)

Jeff, the purpose of my comment was not to say there is proof of evolution or that evolution disproves creation. It was merely to demonstrate that more and more people are actively trying to find some middle ground with the "intelligent design" theory, though there is still a hard core group at both ends of the spectrum. On one end we have the, let's call them, "athiest evolutionists" who castigate those who are trying to reconcile their beliefs with scientific discoveries and the, let's call them, "unbending creationists" who also castigate the same group.

I am willing to entertain a lot of ideas myself. That more and more others are willing to do the same is encouraging to me. It does seem though that more Christians have been far more accomodating than the athiests.

But you're absolutely right about the politicians. I'd guess there are a lot of them who do not have the courage to admit to being agnostic and that neither science nor religion can give us all the answers.

Actually it does not requir... (Below threshold)
Bolshevik:

Actually it does not require one to be of any religion what so ever to question the theory of evolution, after all it will always remain an artificial construct.

Jay, in some religions, let... (Below threshold)
BarneyG2000:

Jay, in some religions, let's say Evangelic, the word of the bible is absolute. Therefore, science must fit the text. In other religions, let's say Catholicism, the church's hierarchy can 'evolve' with scientific advances since they are not burdened by the mostly myths of the old testament.

Your line of science not di... (Below threshold)
mag:

Your line of science not disbelieving or replacing God, but a means to explain what and how He did it etc., was the best I heard of explaing science and God. It is what my father, a devout Catholic ,taught me. Beautiful and simple.

"The fact that man has a... (Below threshold)
Wieder:

"The fact that man has a choice to believe or not can only exist by design. Therefore God exists." jpm100

Nice try jpm, but that line of thought is no different from the Cartesean attempt to prove "god."

Your definition is no more than man's self-wondering about what he believes amounts to having "choice" in a vain attempt to prove "design."

You can't break the chain. If we and our humble circumstance in the universe is proof of a "designer," then who designed the "designer?" Super-designer...ad infinitum?

This line of thought falls on our limited perspective of what we deem to be "cause and effect."

"That is exactly the point ... (Below threshold)
Wieder:

"That is exactly the point [evolution]. One starts with the philosophical premise that God does not exist and the Bible is a lie. " Jeff Blogworthy

Actiually, Jeff, that is just a bit simplistic.

Darwin began as a believer and signed on to the Beagle in oder to observe world-wide the proof of god's existence. By the time he reached the Galapagos, his observations had solidified the theory of evolution whicht he proposed.

The theory of evolution was born out of observation and not from a starting point of disproving god.

My father is an Engineer, a... (Below threshold)
Song-Sae-Nim:

My father is an Engineer, a conservative, and a Catholic. I respect his religion, and have never known it to interfere with him properly executing his duties as a man of science. I don't care if people want to go to church or pray at home. I DO have a problem with people advocating for the teaching of Intelligent Design in the science classroom, as does my father--it has no empirical basis, and seeks to fill an imaginary explanatory gap with the preconceived notion of a Judao-Christian-Islamic deity. Why does the universe have to have a purpose? Why one "God"? Why not a hundred? And why assume He/She/It/They are benevolent, or omnipotent? I'm not as hostile towards religion as Dawkins, but I share his belief that when two theories are in competition, one of which is based largely on empirical evidence (albeit with explanatory gaps) and the other is predicated upon a supernatural phenomenon of which no credible empirical basis can be established with which to assert its existence... well, is there even a choice to be made for people who understand what science is and ought to be?

I don't understand why evolution only being a "theory" means it ought to be relegated to the "maybe" pile with ID. It is very likely true. The difference between a theory and a fact isn't as stark as the difference between fact and opinion, for instance. Our contemporary understanding of electricity is "merely" theoretical, after all, but I bet you're comfortable with the supposition that when you plug an electrical device into an AC outlet, it will be energized.

Kim:

"If a creator did fabricate the world, it certainly would have been by means found in nature; hence, the world is naturally created, by God.

Heh, heh. Dispute that."

Okay. Here's your argument, logically diagrammed:

A ---> B
B
ergo, A

or:

If A occurs, B occurs by necessity
B occurs
ergo, A also occurs

That's an elementary logical fallacy called asserting the consequent. Here's a simpler argument that commits the same fallacy:

"If I watch Hot Fuzz, I will laugh.
I'm laughing.
Therefore, I must have watched Hot Fuzz."

Alright, Wieder, my congrat... (Below threshold)
kim:

Alright, Wieder, my congratulations; you do metaphysics better than most. What a crazy mix of metaphysics and excrement you are, you poor piece of clay.
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No, no, SSN, it's much simp... (Below threshold)
kim:

No, no, SSN, it's much simpler than that; I'm simply negating the possibility of supernaturality. What ain't nature?

But, I appreciate the attempt at disputation. At heart, it was just a linguistic trick.
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You did spot the tautologic... (Below threshold)
kim:

You did spot the tautological element, which is the metaphysical metaphor for creation. It is all turtles all the way down, fool.
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SSN, I believe the ID peopl... (Below threshold)
kim:

SSN, I believe the ID people massively underestimate the effect of time and the evolutionary value of some of the 'irreducible complexities'. There is immense survival value in mobility, which required the development of cilia, and there is untold survival value in the ability to maintain an 'internal milieu' which required a clotting mechanism among other things like membranes. This were so necessary that they were inevitable given the advantages and the time span. The IDers just don't have the right numbers plugged into the equations. They are right, though, that the evolutionists invoke faith to proclaim, nay insist, that the development of these complex systems was by natural means. They cannot prove that, yet.
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Why would God, have a creat... (Below threshold)
U.P. Man:

Why would God, have a creator?

The Universe has a Beginning and an End, God doesn't.

If God has no beginning then there is no need for God to be created?

And you suffer a common mis... (Below threshold)
kim:

And you suffer a common misconception, SSN, that ID advocates are all creationists in the biblical sense.

There is no better place than the science classroom for the ideas of the intelligent design advocates and those of the evolutionists to be debated. This is just explication of the theories of knowledge in a situation where most student are aware of the distinction and interested. If we do not bring this issue into the science classroom, we miss an opportunity to develop the philosophical richness of our culture, and we may well retard the elucidation of the actual natural mechanisms of the development of 'irreducible complexities'. I'm sorry you can't see it that way. Present this argument to your father and see what he says.
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The story of creation allow... (Below threshold)
bryanD:

The story of creation allows no room for "evolution" in Genesis. Each phase is completed with the phrase "and the evening and the morning were...", signifying the course of a day.

That's why Jews and Arabs still count the start of a new day at sundown.

Even on the eigth day and the creation of Adam's woman, where the English translation: bone/rib is used, the Hebrew word means "curve". So a curve is taken from Adam's body. The helix of DNA?
And the word "curve" happens to jibe with the sexes' interlocking parts :o) Cool!

So: dinosaurs(Behemoth) and deep space (Plieides and Orion) (Job), spacecraft (Ezekial), micro-organisms (Revelation), the spherical nature and rotation of Earth (Isaiah), the intended lifespan of man (120 years; Genesis), it's all in there.

Most of the confusion comes in translating the concise Hebrew or Koine Greek into (say) the more fluid English. And because of the political imperatives of royal translators. The most obvious example is substituting "servant" for the original "slave", because being slaves of God will overide being "subjects" to a man, even if the man is a king.


Ah, I took you too literall... (Below threshold)
Song-Sae-Nim:

Ah, I took you too literally. Apologies.

The thing about creationists/ID proponents that really bothers me is their dogged insistence that the complexity of certain aspects of the universe (the human eye, the very low probability of a planet such as Earth being properly "built" and positioned such that it will sustain human life) points necessarily (or very probably) to a designer. This is false for several reasons, but the easiest to explain is that the universe, as large as it is, must contain planets nearly identical to Earth because of the "laws" of probability. If the chance of another planet such as ours existing is 1/1,000,000,000,000,000, then the fact that universe is as vast as it is, and expanding all the time, means that there are by mathematical necessity countless life-sustaining planets. Do the math: (probability of a planet like Earth existing) x (volume of space in the universe, let's say infinity minus 1) = number of planets that, along with Earth, were not designed but simply came to be.

As a former Catholic, it was a pretty harsh jolt to my psyche to realize that our planet doesn't mean anything, that the only meaning in our lives is what we create... but you get used to it. I've come to accept that consciousness is most likely an accident of evolution, and that morality is little more than an evolved precursor for our transition to social beings. Life feels more precious to me now than it did before, knowing that death is a genuine terminus of consciousness.

I didn't see your last post... (Below threshold)
Song-Sae-Nim:

I didn't see your last post before posting my own at 10:56. I agree that the merits of ID need to be discussed as an alternative metaphysic, and thus that debate ought to occur in the context of a philosophy lecture. If only all high school students had the opportunity to take such a course; alas, only the minority of undergraduates who take intro level philosophy of religion/epistemology/metaphysics courses will be exposed to the debate in its proper environment. Theories of knowledge are not the jurisdiction of scientists, but of philosophers of science and epistemologists.

As for all ID proponents not being monotheists (Christians, Jews, Muslims), I'm open to the possibility that a significant number of them are simply persuaded by the argument and are not looking for a way to sneak their religious convictions into scientific discourse through the back door; I'd also like to meet some of them, as I haven't yet.

You had to go and write it,... (Below threshold)
mantis:

You had to go and write it, didn't you Jay? Fine.

Jeff,

The actual fossil record does not jibe with Darwin's theory.

Yes, it does. Of course Darwin was not 100% correct, and the theory has been fine-tuned since then. But all life has evolved through natural selection. The fossil record jibes perfectly with that.

The Cambrian Explosion

What about it?

the lack of transitional forms

what lack of transitional forms?

the "appearance" of design

Don't make me laugh.

are problems that are largely ignored or given unsatisfying explanations.

Just because you don't know about something doesn't mean it's ignored.

The theory of evolution can never be disproved however

Sure it can. God can create another man out of clay. Instantly disproved (well, it would at least call things into doubt. One would wonder why God stopped doing that and fooled us all with evolution at the very least). Really, evidence of any supernatural tinkering or creation would suffice. Thus far, none is forthcoming. Settle in; it'll probably be a long wait.

because it is the "incredible morphing theory." No matter what contradictory evidence is found it will always be absorbed and casually explained away. It is philosophy, not science.

It is one of the most robust and well-supported scientific theories that exists. The fact that it has changed to explain new data does not harm it at all. That is how science works. Newton's laws of mechanics work quite well if you're bouncing a ball or driving a car, but they don't explain how atomic particles work or electromagenetism. Thus we have Maxwell and quantum theory. Do those explanations make Newton "wrong?" No, they do not. Further, neither Newton, Maxwell, or quantum theory explain the behavior of particles approaching the speed of light where gravity is not a factor, thus we have the theory of special relativity. Does that disprove, or in any way harm, Newton's theories? It does not. Theories in physics have developed and adapted to new information and greater understanding of the physical world the same way biology has developed and adapted to new information and greater understanding of the biological world. Finding this to be a flaw reveals a fundamental misunderstanding of science.

But I'm appalled at the ... (Below threshold)
mantis:

But I'm appalled at the people who won't let the arguments of the ID people into public classrooms.

Because it's not science, and doesn't belong in a science classroom.

Where, but science class, should we be discussing the theory of knowledge?

Epistemology? That belongs in philosophy class.

Why do scientists and educators think that evolution can't hold its own in a debate about science?

They don't, and it can. They just have standards. Since intelligent design is not a scientific theory, is not supported by any evidence, and is really just, as they say, "creationism in a cheap tuxedo," it would be absurd to introduce it as science. Do you want astrology taught when students are learning about the solar system? Reflexology? Hollow-Earth theory? Why not?

Are they afraid children are going to have to think?

They don't want to teach students that every half-baked refashioning of religion is science. It demeans and dilutes science and does not educate. However, I, for one, welcome the introduction of intelligent design into biology class if only to show how it is not science, and to teach students to stay away from such snake oil (this is in fact done in many university biology classrooms. High school science classes have too much ground to cover and tend to move past evolution too quickly).

Belief that God created the... (Below threshold)

Belief that God created the world demands faith. I have no desire to "prove" that God created the world as accounted in Genesis (yes, I'm one of those crazy Creationists).

I do have a question for all the eggheads here, though. What would a world-wide flood punctuated by volcanic eruptions and other geological phenomena do to the earth and the creatures on it?

One thing that hasn't been brought up (surprisingly) is the concept of the earth's age. Most Christians hold that the earth is about 6,000 years old, give or take, which does not jive with the evolutionist account. However, since the 6,000 figure is based on the genealogy of Christ, one must take a very careful look at that. Jews did not record every generation, only the ones that mattered to the lineage, so it's quite possible that generations were left out - maybe more than are included. That would push the age of the earth back quite a bit - certainly not billions of years, but maybe back to 12,000 or so? I'm not sure if that happened in this particular case, but it's worth thinking about.

You seek to make a belief i... (Below threshold)

You seek to make a belief in evolution an extreme position but it isn't. In fact, the theory of evolution is commonly accepted as being the current best explanation for the history of life on the Earth.

Well, Abigail, since we don... (Below threshold)
kim:

Well, Abigail, since we don't know how many generations were left out, it could be more than 12,000 years. Considerably more, I'm sure you'll agree.
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Most Christians hold tha... (Below threshold)

Most Christians hold that the earth is about 6,000 years old, give or take, which does not jive with the evolutionist account.

The 1 billion + Catholics in the world don't believe that.

What I don't understand is ... (Below threshold)
Greg:

What I don't understand is that if Evolution is such good science then why do its' supporters fear any questioning of it. It seems that whenever any element of Evolution is questioned then the person asking the questions is immediately attacked and called called an ignorant Christian that does not believe in science. If Evolutionists are truly the supporters of the scientific method that they claim to be, without any emotional investment (aka religious belief), then they would welcome any and all criticism and know that their position can stand up under scrutiny and that this process of being so open and accepting and answering critics would win them converts.

I had a lovely conversation... (Below threshold)
kim:

I had a lovely conversation with a woman once whose son was amazed that the metaphysics behind creationism has a solid philosophical basis; she had to admit that, but said it was all just to make slaves of women again, and I had no good answer for that.
=================================

Correct, Greg, and a health... (Below threshold)
kim:

Correct, Greg, and a healthy discussion of the theory of knowledge is more likely to lead to the curiosity that will explicate the natural development of the 'irreducible complexities', and think of the power that knowledge could give us.

Why do those opposed to the introduction of this topic into public schools want to restrict the debate, when it so clearly is harmful to do so?
==========================

"Yes, it does. Of course Da... (Below threshold)
Jeff Blogworthy:

"Yes, it does. Of course Darwin was not 100% correct, and the theory has been fine-tuned since then. But all life has evolved through natural selection. The fossil record jibes perfectly with that."

Just the kind of "just-so" story and glossing of the facts I was talking about.

"It is one of the most robust and well-supported scientific theories that exists."

Indeed. It is a robustness enforced with the zeal of a Spanish inquisitor. Woe to them who dare dissent. Their careers are over. This is science?

If we do not bring this ... (Below threshold)
sean nyc/aa:

If we do not bring this issue into the science classroom, we miss an opportunity to develop the philosophical richness of our culture, ...
kim

You disprove your own point, namely ID should be debated in philosophy class, not science class. I could teach the scientific basis for ID in one sentence:

"All this evolutionary evidence I just showed you, some people think God guided it, but I have little to no empirical proof of it. Now move along to your next class, philosophy, where you can debate the merit of believing God played a guiding role in evolution."

I've come to accept that consciousness is most likely an accident of evolution,
Song-Sae-Nim

I'd have to disagree about consciousness being an accident of evolution. Evolution doesn't really have accidents - it tries various permutations of useful appendages, organs, mental states, etc. and keep those that work. So I guess you could consider it an accident if you consider all evolution an accident.

and that morality is little more than an evolved precursor for our transition to social beings.
Song-Sae-Nim

This is where I believe the boundary between evolution and religion begin to blur, as there are no fossil records to prove or disprove an evolutionary advantage to morality. And in humans, holding these moral standards has contributed to our own evolution and acquisition of knowledge for the progress of mankind and technology which has benifitted our existence. So, there is a purpose for morality and consciousness which can be viewed in the context of evolution, and it also raises the point that God may have a role in guiding our development.

This avenue of discussion also evokes a larger question, at least for me, simply: what do you consider God? There is one aspect, which set the laws of the universe in motion and resulted in the formation of the planets, life and evolution, and eventually humans.

Then there is also the aspect of a shared consciousness and morality that humans, and some advanced animals share (for instance, a dog knows if it bites the hand of its owner, it has done something bad, but it does not have the ability to pass this knowledge onto its ancestors as humans, and possibly primates, whales, and elephants in other contexts, can).

Humans have the rare ability to recognize both and generally consider them to be part of some larger, single entity (specifically that part of the laws of the universe is the ability for consciousness to exist, so they are essentially one and the same).

Life feels more precious to me now than it did before, knowing that death is a genuine terminus of consciousness.
Song-Sae-Nim

I can't say I truly disagree, but I interpret death differently. I don't believe in heaven or hell, at least not strictly as a place w/ clouds and angels or fire and demons. I think it may be possible that, using string theory as a building block, that there may be extra dimensions we cannot experience during our life, and that upon death the 3-dimensional world we exist in becomes useless and we enter these other dimensions, with the time dimension possibly continuing, or not, who knows.

There is also the possibility that our afterlife/immortality continues on earth by the memories of one's life and work held by their children, friends, and society in general if they were famous. So, Jesus may truly have reached immortality because his existence will likely be remembered for the rest of human existence, or at least the vast majority of it. However, this of course means that not all humans will reach immortality as not everyone will be remembered. But that is where faith and religion play a role - by devoting yourself to that larger purpose and believing that every person, at least in small part, is remembered as long as that religion is worshipped.

Why do those opposed to ... (Below threshold)

Why do those opposed to the introduction of this topic into public schools want to restrict the debate, when it so clearly is harmful to do so?

Mainly because it is not science. If you want to have a scientific debate then you need to have more than one scientific theory or idea to discuss. Creationism or its marketing slogan, intelligent design, isn't a scientific theory.

Also, who or what is harmed by keeping creationism out of science class?

Wiedner,Indeed. D... (Below threshold)
Robert the Original:

Wiedner,

Indeed. Darwin had just completed his education as a man of the cloth prior to his voyage on the Beagle. As a strong believer, his intention was to serve the church upon his return to England. His work was based on observation, not agenda.

Observation such as that occuring in fast generation species like insects and viruses that evolve before our eyes. The discovery of drug resistant viruses is one such example of evolution.

Observation such as the genome decoding, in part a revelation of historical information, yielding long, very complex tree-like structures, which associate with those of chimps at 96%.

I am a conservative and a Republican, but I would not find it reasonable to have my child taught the Navaho theory of creation in science class.

The mountain of evidence for evolution is large and growing, and peer reviewed and published in scientific journals. Most of the "evidence" cited here by the ID folks does not comport with the scientific method.

Many too thought the "Shroud of Turin" was legit until it was subjected to the rigours of real science.

Just the kind of "just-s... (Below threshold)
mantis:

Just the kind of "just-so" story and glossing of the facts I was talking about.

You want to talk about facts instead of generalities, then introduce some.

Indeed. It is a robustness enforced with the zeal of a Spanish inquisitor.

Right, you'll get put on the rack if you don't believe in evolution.

Woe to them who dare dissent. Their careers are over. This is science?

It is science. If an astronomer spends his time trying to explain how the stars determine our fates, without introducing any supporting theory, presenting any evidence supporting said theory, and instead spends most of his time insisting that his ideas be given equal time in classrooms, should he continue to have a career as an astronomer?

Of course you're right, SSN... (Below threshold)
kim:

Of course you're right, SSN, but how many kids take science class, and how many philosophy? I maintain that the philosophy of science is properly taught in science class, and what better subject to explicate an interesting problem to interested students. What do you have to lose by discussing intelligent design in science class? I insist, contemplation of the problem is more likely to lead to earlier explication of the as yet unknown pathways of development. Why would you oppose that?

In other words, your objection is dilatory.
===============================

I just now read your 11:12 ... (Below threshold)
kim:

I just now read your 11:12 post, and I'm pleased to meet you. I thought I was an atheist until I was 15, when it occurred to me that I have no more proof of the existence as of the non-existence of God, so I've fluttered since agnostically. Recently someone exposed me to Chesterton and I'm trying to digest his criticism of skepticism.

I re-iterate that ID ideas ought to be allowed in public classrooms. We otherwise miss a chance for culture enriching discussion. I'm amazed you don't see this point.
============================

Personally, I'd be happy if... (Below threshold)
SCSIwuzzy:

Personally, I'd be happy if schools just put a little more emphasis on the word "Theory" when discussing evolution. Too often it is taught as established fact, but it is far from proven. It does a good job of explaining what we see, but not the how or why. Rather like pre-Copernicus diagrams of the Earth/Sun relationship, it may turn out to be wrong.
Debate is healthy, but I know from experience that if you question darwinian evolution you are often tossed in with the creationists, flat earthers and raliens by virtue of your dissent. To some, like global warming, evolution is matter of near religious faith, and they will not hear infidels speak heresy about it.

What do you have to lose... (Below threshold)
mantis:

What do you have to lose by discussing intelligent design in science class?

Intelligent Design, such as it is, is not an invitation to further inquiry, but rather an impediment to it. When you give an explanation that cannot be tested, cannot be falsified, is not supported by a scientific theory, and relies upon supernaturalism, you leave no avenue for further thought. You simply must accept the hand of the designer: "That looks designed." "Then it is. Moving on." Not science. It is not welcome in science classrooms because it is not worthy of the mantle of science. It is pseudoscience.

And now I've reread it and ... (Below threshold)
kim:

And now I've reread it and I see your elitist attempt to place thinking about knowledge into the specialized province of 'philosophers of science and epistemology'. That's your rationale for keeping it from the public young?

You, kind gentleman, are a wise fool.
===================

mantis, that objection is u... (Below threshold)
kim:

mantis, that objection is unbecoming. You've repeated the standard talking points without satisfactorily answering my point that ID, particularly contemporaneously, is marvelously exemplar for discussion about knowledge, which is always relevant.

Are you even still reading my stuff?
=======

Philosophy of science is pr... (Below threshold)
Song-Sae-Nim:

Philosophy of science is properly taught in science classes? That's a nice thought, Kim, but we're a tectonic shift in pedagogy away from that coming to fruition. The philosophy of X ought to be taught in X class in all cases, in my opinion. You don't have a real understanding of whatever it is you're doing without fully appreciating the foundation upon which the given discipline is structured. However, most teachers are incapable of going about making such things clear, and anyway it's not part of any curriculum that I'm aware of. Did you ever come across names such as Thomas Kuhn or Karl Popper when building bridges out of Popsicle sticks or cross-fertilizing beans?

There's no reason to suppose that a scientist, or science teacher, would be better able to discuss the philosophy of science than there would be to suppose that your GP could coherently discuss the difference in Hippocrates' and Galen's ontologies. In a perfect world, sure, everybody would know the how and why of their profession. I don't live in such a world. And if I did, I ca assure you that completing at least one course in philosophy would be a prerequisite to graduating from high school.

You've repeated the stan... (Below threshold)
mantis:

You've repeated the standard talking points without satisfactorily answering my point that ID, particularly contemporaneously, is marvelously exemplar for discussion about knowledge, which is always relevant.

There are far better examples to be used for the discussion of epistemology. In any case, high school science classes being what they are and covering the breadth of material that they do, do not have time to introduce whatever crackpot theory happens to be in vogue in order to facilitate a discussion of knowledge. A teacher can introduce such discussions much more usefully by discussion the history of the study of biology (or any other science): ancient and medieval to Vesalius to Linnaeus to Buffon to Lamarck to Darwin to Wallace to Mendel. A much more satisfying discussion by virtue of the fact that it is based in actual science.

Well, folks, how about allo... (Below threshold)
kim:

Well, folks, how about allowing them to be exposed to one contemporaneous example of epistemology, one in which they can have an active and unholy debate? Isn't that preferable to testing for knowledge of the cathedral in which Linnaeus is buried?
=============================

That is the problem, isn't ... (Below threshold)
kim:

That is the problem, isn't it, SSN. You agree it is preferable, but impossible without a tectonic shift. How about little baby steps, then. You are fossilized, I say. Rigid.
=============================

Musn't let them think. The... (Below threshold)
kim:

Musn't let them think. They might make slaves of women, again.
=================================

Well, folks, how about a... (Below threshold)
mantis:

Well, folks, how about allowing them to be exposed to one contemporaneous example of epistemology, one in which they can have an active and unholy debate?

That's fine, for philosophy class. Science classrooms are places for science.

Y'all are arguing the virtu... (Below threshold)
kim:

Y'all are arguing the virtually untenable position of opposing the introduction of an idea into the education of the public young. Why would you do so, except for prejudice?
========================================

His point is that we've sup... (Below threshold)
Song-Sae-Nim:

His point is that we've superceded Linnaeus, but can still appreciate his work within its appropriate context. It is my (perhaps naively optimistic) hope that Intelligent Design will receive no such treatment in the annals of the history and philosophy of science; that it will be a comical footnote alongside the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

You want to foster a healthy epistemological debate? Make kids watch Blade Runner, Total Recall, The Matrix, or any other popular film that addresses an actual epistemological point of disagreement and discuss it as it relates to Descartes' scepticism. It's a genuinely debatable subject that will surely foster the same calibre of discussion on the topic of knowledge, no?

Why Intelligent Design?

I have built things you peo... (Below threshold)
kim:

I have built things you people wouldn't believe.
==============================

Y'all are arguing the vi... (Below threshold)
mantis:

Y'all are arguing the virtually untenable position of opposing the introduction of an idea into the education of the public young.

No, we are arguing that it matters how you introduce ideas. If you introduce unscientific concepts as science, it does harm to the students' education. Do you really believe every pseudoscience is a legitimate topic for discussion in science class?

Why would you do so, except for prejudice?

Commitment to quality science education.

Ok, I am late to this threa... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

Ok, I am late to this thread. Why not discussing openly the open problems in Darwinian evolution: the information content (eg. the "genetic code") in DNA for example? Currently there are no verifiable natural mechanism to generate these codes. Let the students see whether they can see any natural mechanisms that they can experimentally verify to generate such complexity.

mantis, come on. I'm not p... (Below threshold)
kim:

mantis, come on. I'm not proposing introducing this idea as science; I'm proposing introducing it as exemplar of the philosophy of science, in a science classroom, to interested and disputative students. Sure, Blade Runner might get a good discussion going, and I'm sure the Professor wouldn't feel as clownish as usual, but for heartfelt and deep thought argument, name a better contemporary issue, one about which high school students already bring some information?

Don't disappoint me. So far, this thread, I'm unimpressed.
=============

I mean, there you are strok... (Below threshold)
kim:

I mean, there you are stroking away with the standard objections and not paying attention to me. Want some privacy?
===============================

"It's not science". What, ... (Below threshold)
kim:

"It's not science". What, science is the disallowing of the consideration of an idea?

Bah, humbug.
========================

LAI,<a href="http:... (Below threshold)
mantis:

LAI,

Yawn.

mantis, That 's a c... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

mantis,
That 's a cheap talk from a known prop website. Show me the experiments that demonstrate it. Urey-Millere was an honest attempt to show that. But what happened since then.

Show me the scientific experiments. Otherwise, you are simply spouting cheap talking points. If you cannot admit that this is a huge open problem, then you either don't know what you are talking about or you are not honest enough to admit it.

sean, keep trying to unders... (Below threshold)
kim:

sean, keep trying to understand; you've a good start.
===============================

mantis, come on. I'm not... (Below threshold)
mantis:

mantis, come on. I'm not proposing introducing this idea as science; I'm proposing introducing it as exemplar of the philosophy of science, in a science classroom, to interested and disputative students.

Well, that would be fine, but it shouldn't be part of required curriculum and should not be introduced as science. Otherwise, discussion is fine. Although, as has been pointed out, science teachers often do not have much time to devote to such topics, NCLB and all. Gotta get those test scores up!

Sure, Blade Runner might get a good discussion going, and I'm sure the Professor wouldn't feel as clownish as usual, but for heartfelt and deep thought argument, name a better contemporary issue, one about which high school students already bring some information?

I'll bet more high school students are familiar with Blade Runner and The Matrix than ID.

"It's not science". What, science is the disallowing of the consideration of an idea?

No, read Kuhn and Popper to find out what science is. Consideration of ideas is fine, but defining any old crank's ideas as science is wrong. ID starts with a conclusion, and then dishonestly distorts evidence and legitimate scientific study to support that conclusion. That is not science.

mantis:Intelligen... (Below threshold)
_Mike_:

mantis:
Intelligent Design, such as it is, is not an invitation to further inquiry, but rather an impediment to it. When you give an explanation that cannot be tested, cannot be falsified, is not supported by a scientific theory, and relies upon supernaturalism, you leave no avenue for further thought.

Well said.

The only thing I'll add to the discussion is that the problem of what should/ should not be taught in the classroom, as a matter of government policy, is created by having a system of government run schools.

If the private sector provided the schools with any tax based funding channeled through the parents, the decision of what should be taught in the classroom would be decided in the most democratic of forms - through the market, by the parents... and not left for politicians and bureaucrats to decide.

That 's a cheap talk fro... (Below threshold)
mantis:

That 's a cheap talk from a known prop website.

Actually, it's a collection very well-referenced refutations of standard creationist arguments. The fact that you dismiss it tells me all I need to know about your position. Weak.

Show me the experiments that demonstrate it. Urey-Millere was an honest attempt to show that. But what happened since then.

So you are only talking about origins? Ok, read

Kral, T. A., Brink, K. M., Miller, S. L. and McKay, C. P. (1998). "Hydrogen consumption by methanogens on the early Earth." Orig Life Evol Biosph, 28(3): 311-319.

and get back to me. And stop reading Wells; it rots the brain.

Show me the scientific experiments. Otherwise, you are simply spouting cheap talking points. If you cannot admit that this is a huge open problem, then you either don't know what you are talking about or you are not honest enough to admit it.

I don't claim anyone has come up with an undeniable answer for the origin of life on this planet. They're working on it, though, with, you know, science. I let you know when something comes up.

By the way, pointing out that we haven't come up with the answer to every question proves absolutely nothing. Newton didn't have all the answers, but that doesn't mean gravity doesn't exist.

Mantis, Show me the... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

Mantis,
Show me the experiments. IT has been 50 yeas since Urey-Miller first experiment. So by now they should be able to perform similar if not better experiments. Given the global warming hoax, I won't be bluffed by the hiding behind the scientific authority anymore. Kids can learn computer language in high school now. So they can learn the basics of genetic in schools also. It is a huge open scientific problem currently. So intellectual honesty would require open discussion it in school. Admit that this is a huge problem that you don't have a solution now and haven't had a one since the first experiment 50 years ago. It may take another 50 or 100 years, but let 's be honest about it.

So we can we teach this openly in school now?

"If you introduce unscienti... (Below threshold)
Gary Baker:

"If you introduce unscientific concepts as science, it does harm to the students' education."

Actually, no. You can introduce any concept into a science course. It's not the concept that makes science, but the method of investigation, the matter the data is evaluated, an so forth. I am an environmental engineer and have taken several courses involving evolution. I am also a Christian that believes the Old Testament literally. The fact of my faith has not hampered my science aptitude in the slightest. I do think it pretty amusing when devout evolutionists claim that harm will be done to students from teaching ID when just about every trace of evolutionary science could be wiped from the Earth tomorrow with little to no noticable affect. (Excepting of course the glut of former professors looking for new careers.)

that doesn't mean gravity d... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

that doesn't mean gravity doesn't exist.
------------------------------------------
That 's an example of cheap talk. You can show experiment to demonstrate the existence of gravity. Please show me the scientific experiments to demonstrate the creation of genetic information by random natural processes. Urey-Miller was a first attempt at that. It has been 50 years now. So you don't need to bluff any more, right?

LAI, the fact that you thin... (Below threshold)
mantis:

LAI, the fact that you think there have been no subsequent experiments on origins shows how little you know about the subject. I'll give you a few, but since I have no reason to believe you'll actually try to find out about them, this is more for other readers than for you. You do not have the intellectual curiosity required.

- Joan Oró synthesized nucleotide adenine from hydrogen cyanide in the early '60s.

- Jeffrey Bada refined and reproduced the Miller experiments (see here)

- Manfred Eigen proposed the theory of the chemical hypercycle as an explanation of the self-organization of prebiotic systems in the late '70s.

- Gunter Wachtershauser introduced the iron-sulfur world theory, proposing a mechanism for near oceanic hydrothermal vents in the '80s, since refined by Martin and Russell.

There's more, but let's see if you can be honest about those first.

Gary, the word "devout" doe... (Below threshold)
Song-Sae-Nim:

Gary, the word "devout" doesn't apply to scientists who apply the scientific method when discussing the origins of life on Earth. Scientists don't fetishize their methods; they evolve, as it were. Read Thomas Kuhn's Structure of Scientific Revolutions to gain some understanding of the subject matter.

Unscientific alternatives to evolution have no place in a science class. Discuss them to your heart's content in a church, living room, or philosophy class. Who cares if ID isn't an impediment to properly doing scientific work? Neither is talking about unicorns. The harm is when teachers are forced to spend an hour introducing and then debunking pseudo-science when students should be studying science.

Instead of attacking evolution as a "mere" theory, why not defend ID as something more than wishful conjecture? Oh, right--you can't. I stated earlier that our current understanding of electricity is theoretical--aren't you comfortable operating on the assumption that the theory is, at least functionally speaking, a pretty good approximation of how electricity actually works?

"but let's see if you can b... (Below threshold)
Gary Baker:

"but let's see if you can be honest about those first."

Hope this discussion isn't too private, but here is an honest comment: The level of experimentation is impressive, but basically proves nothing one way or the other. What the scientist in the linked article did was hypothesize an atmospheric condition that could have caused DNA type chemicals to form under precise conditions. In short, the experiment was "an intelligent design." To start from the present and extrapolate all the way back to a time when such conditions may have been present has far too many inherent assumptions to be verifiable or falsifiable. And even if that were the correct atmospheric mixture and the compounds produced, you require another huge assumption to show that the compounds would form life as we know or understand it.

That's the major, unacknowledged weakness in evolutionary theory: The best that it can possibly do is show what might have happened. It can provide no assurance as to what did happen.

Song-Sae-Nim,I had... (Below threshold)
Gary Baker:

Song-Sae-Nim,

I had a discussion once with a young college student about evolution. She was thoroughly convinced. She was also pretty much a straight A student. I asked her why she was so convinced. She said that they had brought up large amounts of evidence, such as carbon dating, that proved it. I asked her how carbon dating was done and what it showed us. She got a blank look and confessed she wasn't really sure. Her knee-jerk reaction was to point to methods that she didn't understand and mention "large amounts of evidence," none of which she could really justify. When she and a lot of people like her are taking that much on faith, I think "devout" is a fair word to use.

"Instead of attacking evolution as a "mere" theory, why not defend ID as something more than wishful conjecture?"

That's a little difficult when no one will grant any class time to do so, wouldn't you say?

"aren't you comfortable operating on the assumption that the theory is, at least functionally speaking, a pretty good approximation of how electricity actually works?"

Yes, because unlike the most controversial claims of evolution, electrical phenomena is subject to in-lab testing of properties and verification. There is no test that can be performed to indicate positively whether one ancient fossil is in the family tree of another. You can point to physical or genetic similarities. That is all. I'm not saying that there isn't some good evidence for that point of view. I am saying that the propenents attach a certainty that is neither reasonable nor scientific.

Mantis, No need to ... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

Mantis,
No need to bluff anymore. You can definitely show scientific experiments to demonstrate gravity now. If you have scientific experiments to demonstrate how natural processes can create the genetic information, then feel free to show tehm.
If you are so confident of your theory, and Wells is such a dumb guy. Then have an open scientific discussion about the huge problem of genetic information in the DNA. You can laugh at Wells in such a debate, right? So what is the fear of openly discussing that problem in a science class room? You seem so confident that your theory is correct and it will bear out, so what is the fear?

And what's the evolutionist... (Below threshold)
bryanD:

And what's the evolutionists' explanation for fossils. I say fossils are souvenirs from the antediluvian world. This (2nd) Age has "forgot" how to make them.

LAI, agree with you re: man... (Below threshold)
bryanD:

LAI, agree with you re: mantis' link. Circular. Like phone tag to customer service.

Precisely, what is the fear... (Below threshold)
kim:

Precisely, what is the fear? The justification for keeping this from young minds has been an elitist argument, so far.

Bear in mind, mantis and SSN, that I believe in evolution. And nature is an intelligent design in so far as it follows laws. Do you like this circularity which creates reality?
======================

Well, here's a coupla right... (Below threshold)
kim:

Well, here's a coupla right brains yinyanging. Was it good for you, too?
======================================

Another comment in the real... (Below threshold)
Gary Baker:

Another comment in the realm of full disclosure: I have looked into ID enough to develop an opinion on the scientific merits of the concept one way or the other. (My opinion is that neither have most of the people criticizing it, but that would be hard to verify.) My big bone about this debate is the tactic of one side basically using the argument "your idea is stupid" to close down debate. It's been happening with evolution for a while, and now it's spread to the global warming realm. Science that is that close minded is no science at all.

The best that it can pos... (Below threshold)
sean nyc/aa:

The best that it can possibly do is show what might have happened. It can provide no assurance as to what did happen.
Gary Baker

And how does ID meet this criteria? It requires you take an even bigger leap of faith and say:
"All this evidence leads us to the general conclusion that life gradually evolved over millions of years. Now, just trust me that God 'designed' certain genetic information here and there and, presto, you have humans."

"Instead of attacking evolution as a "mere" theory, why not defend ID as something more than wishful conjecture?"

That's a little difficult when no one will grant any class time to do so, wouldn't you say?
Gary Baker

Why not do it here in the venue of this blog discussion? Granted, few people ever change their minds on blogs, but why not try and we'll critique or support it depending on the strength of the argument.

Gary Baker and LAI:

What is this argument about not testing evolution? Granted, we cannot test the origins of DNA or whether one fossil is in another's family tree, but there is good reason for this: we cannot time travel. You're putting an excessive burden on what you expect science to be able to achieve. It would be like expecting us to construct an entire new solar system to prove the earth revolves around the sun - it is simply not practical or reasonable. However, in other contexts we are able to test evolution on timescales we can see, namely insects and mice.

Part of science is realizing there will uncertainty in any experiment you conduct, but taking all available information to reduce this uncertainty as much as possible. Right now, all evidence points to evolution. Yes there gaps, but taking it on faith that God fills these gaps is not scientifically rigorous and it diminishes God's value because if/when these gaps are filled, you're conceding that God has less and less influence.

Imagine years from now that the entire fossil record is complete, we've explained how to do everything from the creation of DNA to the development of consciousness, does this mean God doesn't exist? I would hope not because there are reasons for belief in God other than satisfying a need to instill doubt in science.

"And nature is an intellige... (Below threshold)
Song-Sae-Nim:

"And nature is an intelligent design in so far as it follows laws."

Unless that's a tongue-in-cheek jab at ID, I have to disagree with you, Kim. I believe that nature would exist and follow the same "laws" whether or not we were here to describe said laws--we didn't design gravity, nor is it a social construct. Design implies intention, which nature lacks.

To repeat: the "fear" of evolutionists/scientists is that allowing ID to be taught in a science class will necessarily supplant something scientific in the curriculum. American students are already leagues behind Scandinavian, Indian, and East Asian students in maths and sciences; best not to clutter their brains with groundless conjecture.

My big bone about this d... (Below threshold)
sean nyc/aa:

My big bone about this debate is the tactic of one side basically using the argument "your idea is stupid" to close down debate.
Gary Baker

I could see why this could be offensive; it could be seen as an insult to your religion. But it must be done in the context of science, as there is no point debating an unverifiable conclusion (ID is a conclusion, not even a hypothesis). For instance, when cold fusion theories first came out in the mid-80's, people analyzed them and thoroughly mocked them once they were disproven. Does this mean cold fusion is not possible? Not necessarily, but certainly not without definitive proof.

This type of debate is occuring in the field of physics, as well, where some scientists say it's not worth studying string theory because there are currently no ways to test these hypothetical strings since they are so small. But at least in string theory there are mathematical means for expressing the strings, branes, and dimensions in which they theoretically exist. There is no scientific or mathematical support for ID, other than gaps and doubt in evolution, which is far from actual evidence of your position.

If you have scientific e... (Below threshold)
mantis:

If you have scientific experiments to demonstrate how natural processes can create the genetic information, then feel free to show tehm.

Not the sort of work I do. But others do, and I gave you several examples, which you chose to ignore, as I predicted you would. Creationists are very predictable.

If you are so confident of your theory, and Wells is such a dumb guy.

I didn't say Wells is dumb. He's very smart, and good at what he does. Too bad he's a trickster, a specialist in bait and switch.

Then have an open scientific discussion about the huge problem of genetic information in the DNA. You can laugh at Wells in such a debate, right?

You want me to debate Wells? Ok, set it up. In the meantime, read or listen to his debate with Massimo Pigliucci.

So what is the fear of openly discussing that problem in a science class room? You seem so confident that your theory is correct and it will bear out, so what is the fear?

There's no fear, and it is discussed. And if you think people aren't trying to figure out origins, you aren't paying attention (and you've already shown that you aren't). We just aren't willing to discard the search for an explanation, throw our hands up in the air, and proclaim that god did it.

And nature is an intelli... (Below threshold)
mantis:

And nature is an intelligent design in so far as it follows laws.

No, nature is an ordered system in so far as it follows laws. To presume that there is a sole "intelligent designer" is foolhardy.

I have looked into ID en... (Below threshold)
mantis:

I have looked into ID enough to develop an opinion on the scientific merits of the concept one way or the other. (My opinion is that neither have most of the people criticizing it, but that would be hard to verify.)

Well, I for one know a great deal about ID, from the Wedge Strategy on. Can't speak for anyone else.

My big bone about this debate is the tactic of one side basically using the argument "your idea is stupid" to close down debate.

Bullshit, this is debated endlessly. The frustrating part is that every point you disprove, every distortion you bring to light, every misunderstanding you attempt to clear up, the creationists and ID proponents just bring them all up again as if they haven't already been covered. But your contention that anyone closes down debate is absurd. It is constantly debated. We just don't want pseudoscience injected into school curriculum. It's that simple.

Oh, good lord, then, 'intel... (Below threshold)
kim:

Oh, good lord, then, 'intelligent construction'. As if you could understand.
====================

It's not even an elitist ar... (Below threshold)
kim:

It's not even an elitist argument that epistomology is 'useless conjecture'. Oh, how the mighty have fallen. And does construction imply intention? If not, why does design?
=========================

Sean,As I did ment... (Below threshold)
Gary Baker:

Sean,

As I did mention above, I am not a proponent of ID, nor am I well versed in the methods nor assertions. My major point of impatience is when the evolution proponents try to shut down the debate by saying basically that there is no debate. If that does not characterize your stance, then no criticism is intended. Commenting on one of your statements:

"It requires you take an even bigger leap of faith and say"

ID may require a bigger leap of faith. I don't know. My point is that evolutionists are already making huge leaps of faith and still insisting that it's science. I understand the reasons and the limitations (no time travel, etc.). That's fine. Any subject matter involving historical data has those limitations, and that's part of my point.

"You're putting an excessive burden on what you expect science to be able to achieve."

The data only supports so much probability whereas the "devout" evolutionists (there's that word again) seem to be passing onto the students that are coming out of the high schools and colleges that this is a done deal, we know what happened, and we're just clearing up the fine points. If the burden seems excessive, consider the level of insistence is being made by the proponents.

"However, in other contexts we are able to test evolution on timescales we can see, namely insects and mice."

I understand genetic variability at least reasonably well for a non-biologist. Can you point me to some articles or references where there have been clear species shifts beyond expected variability for insects and mice?

"Right now, all evidence points to evolution."

Is it true that "all evidence" points to evolution? Don't things occasionally pop up that don't fit?

"Bullshit, this is debated ... (Below threshold)
Gary Baker:

"Bullshit, this is debated endlessly."

Except that one side, when they lose in public opinion goes to court to shut down debate. It's not the ID side. One side tries to refuse to authorize course credit for material that teaches both sides, even if the evolution side is taught to accepted standards. It's not the ID side. And one side has a monopoly on who can get projects approved for projects, research grants, etc. It's not the ID side. Pardon me, but I think I see a pattern here...

Can you point me to some... (Below threshold)
mantis:

Can you point me to some articles or references where there have been clear species shifts beyond expected variability for insects and mice?

Yes.

Is it true that "all evidence" points to evolution? Don't things occasionally pop up that don't fit?

Do you mean organisms that couldn't possibly have come about as a result of evolution or mutation? No, none have come up yet.

Except that one side, wh... (Below threshold)
mantis:

Except that one side, when they lose in public opinion goes to court to shut down debate. It's not the ID side.

That's not debate, it's teaching something other than science in science class. Tell me that religious folks would not sue if their children had to learn about the Flying Spaghetti Monster in science class.

One side tries to refuse to authorize course credit for material that teaches both sides, even if the evolution side is taught to accepted standards. It's not the ID side.

Wow, they won't give science credit for learning pseudoscience? The nerve! And I was really hoping my reflexology degree would become legit.

And one side has a monopoly on who can get projects approved for projects, research grants, etc. It's not the ID side. Pardon me, but I think I see a pattern here...

The Discovery Institute has massive funding. Yet, curiously, they produce no research. Hmmm.

mantis, the mechanism of ev... (Below threshold)
kim:

mantis, the mechanism of evolution of these so-called 'irreducible complexities' such as cilia and clotting mechanisms has not been elucidated. That they have evolved naturally is asserted, necessarily, on faith.

The creationists just point that faith out. Until that is understood, the understanding of those mechanisms will be delayed. Why do you support such delay?
===============================

There's no fear, and it is ... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

There's no fear, and it is discussed. And if you think people aren't trying to figure out origins, you aren't paying attention (and you've already shown that you aren't). We just aren't willing to discard the search for an explanation, throw our hands up in the air, and proclaim that god did it.
-------------------------------------------------
Another example of cheap talk to bluff. If you are confident of your theory and position, there is no need for you to create these straw men (in bold). This tells me that you are not defending science but a dogmatic religion. If this is science, there should not be any problem with an open/honest discussion about the most important open problem in modern biolody in the science class rooms.

Let 's discuss this problem and stimulate the students. We will not talk about God or anything else but the problem and all the scienfitic experiments to show how complex the genetic information in the DNA is. Why do you still have objection and try to create straw men to defend your position? This is not science but dogmatic religion. You are simply not honest enough to admit it.


T minus, ok here we go. If... (Below threshold)
kim:

T minus, ok here we go. If you get a generation of biologists honed in bitter battles to justify their faith in evolution, you will find many of them desiring research into the particular points at which there arguments are most vulnerable. These are the mechanisms of development of the so-called 'irreducible complexities'. That will bring understanding of these mechanisms and the power that that knowledge will bring, possibly just in time to save the human race from itself.

It's not funny if you have to explain it.
==============

The creationists just po... (Below threshold)
mantis:

The creationists just point that faith out.

No, they grasp on to anything that has yet to be completely explained as evidence against evolution (while at the same time providing no scientific theories of their own). They are not honest critics.

A few words on eukaryotic cilia, clotting, and irreducible complexity.

LAI,Until you make... (Below threshold)
mantis:

LAI,

Until you make an honest attempt to respond to every other point I made and link I supplied in response to your assertions, I will not respond to your simple-minded and dishonest attempts to declare everything I've written as strawmen by grasping onto three words you don't happen to like. Get working.

Mantis,"Do you mea... (Below threshold)
Gary Baker:

Mantis,

"Do you mean organisms that couldn't possibly have come about as a result of evolution or mutation"

This doesn't really say much. If evolution can explain it, it is evolution. If not, it is mutation. Kind of hard to fight that logic.


BTW - I looked at the website linked. Again, some impressive evidence as far as it goes, but it still doesn't get over the basic limitations of long periods of little to no data. Saying that it is reasonable to have little to no data is fine, but again it does not mitigate the fact that many times the proponents claim a certainty that is unsupportable. What is fallen back on many times is the "So, do you have a better idea?" No, but I'm not pushing a personal view as scientific fact or theory.

Here's a question about something I have a hard time fitting into evolutionary theory: I've heard that homosexual behavior has a genetic component. How is that possible considering that homosexuality leads to behavior in direct conflict to long term reproduction?

Mantis, I simply se... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

Mantis,
I simply see more cheap talk. In principle, a computer are made up of the same basic chemicals in nature as a junk car. So the computer can be created by random processes over billions of years, right? You can claim that organic materials have the creating power that inorganic materials don't have. Science does have counter-intuitive explanations, but those have to be verified experimentally. If you offer a counter-intuitive theory, the burden of proof is upon you.

The first test of honest science is an open/honest acknowledgement of the problem and the overwhelming scientific evidences of the informational complexity of the DNA. And honest science won't try bluff people with straw men and hiding behind "authority".

What i have seen so far from your argument is not honest science, but a dogmatic religion.

Science is founded on two f... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

Science is founded on two fundamental tenets. One - the universe is unreasoning. Two - the universe is governed only by laws that humans can understand. Neither of these can be proven and that's why they are tenets of faith.

Even if God raised an embalmed man from the dead science could not accept the existence of God because His very existence violates the fundamental tenets of science. Something can be true and yet not science. Sure, a person who observed such a resurrection might believe in God, even if they were a scientist, but they could not write a paper about their experience and have it accepted by other scientists. Nor could that paper be legally studied in a science class at a public school in the U.S.

Many past events are not subject to scientific enquiry. For example, take a coin out of your pocket in which you have many such coins. In an area away from any recording device, flip the coin and determine if it comes up heads or tails. Do this a number of times and on the fifth toss have the results witnessed by two adults of sound mind, then flip the coin a few more times and put it back in your pocket. You can establish what the results of the fifth toss were in a court of law based on the testimony of two witnesses, but there's know known means of determination that fact using scientific methods. It's important because it turns out you bet your life on the outcome of that fifth flip.

Science is based on tenets of faith that cannot accept the existence of God. Many historical facts are not subject to scientific enquiry. However, we have the written eye-witness accounts of men who have see God raise an embalmed man from the dead and much more. That written account can be scientifically proven to have existed in the lifetimes of some of the eye-witnesses. That written account contains many dates, places, distances, and historical facts and all of them that can be verified independently have shown that written account is accurate. Yet some think it foolish to believe the eye-witness accounts.

This doesn't really say ... (Below threshold)
mantis:

This doesn't really say much. If evolution can explain it, it is evolution. If not, it is mutation. Kind of hard to fight that logic.

All evolution is mutation, but not all mutation is evolution. Most mutations are negative, and the resulting organism does not live to reproduce, and thus that evolutionary branch is cut before it grows.

Again, some impressive evidence as far as it goes, but it still doesn't get over the basic limitations of long periods of little to no data. Saying that it is reasonable to have little to no data is fine, but again it does not mitigate the fact that many times the proponents claim a certainty that is unsupportable.

Yes, how unfair of the Earth to not give us fossils of every single organism that ever lived. Life would be so much easier for evolutionary biologists if it did.

Ok, that was a bit snarky. The fact is we're very fortunate to have as complete a fossil record as we do, incomplete as it is. But since you have no alternative theory to explain things, all you have is a criticism of other people's certainty. Skepticism is great; I have no objection. If anyone comes up with a better theory, I'm open to it.

Here's a question about something I have a hard time fitting into evolutionary theory: I've heard that homosexual behavior has a genetic component. How is that possible considering that homosexuality leads to behavior in direct conflict to long term reproduction?

No one has conclusively resolved the genetic homosexuality theory/debate. I for one doubt that there is one "gay gene."

Yes, how unfair of the Eart... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

Yes, how unfair of the Earth to not give us fossils of every single organism that ever lived. Life would be so much easier for evolutionary biologists if it did.

Ok, that was a bit snarky. The fact is we're very fortunate to have as complete a fossil record as we do, incomplete as it is. But since you have no alternative theory to explain things, all you have is a criticism of other people's certainty. Skepticism is great; I have no objection. If anyone comes up with a better theory, I'm open to it.
-------------------------------------------------
And an honest theory is "punctuated equilibrium" or "hopeful monster". This theory fits the data much better than the gradual evolution theory.

Oh, easy, homosexuality is ... (Below threshold)
kim:

Oh, easy, homosexuality is a reflection of the necessary profligacy of sexuality.
=========================

Mantis,"But since ... (Below threshold)
Gary Baker:

Mantis,

"But since you have no alternative theory to explain things, all you have is a criticism of other people's certainty."

Thank you for proving my point. Such certainty goes beyond what science allows.

"The fact is we're very fortunate to have as complete a fossil record as we do, incomplete as it is."

The fact is that the fossil record is neither fortunate nor unfortunate. It simply is. The fossil record is under no obligation to justify your certainty. If it doesn't support the level you have, the reasonable thing to do is adjust your view.

Thank you for proving my... (Below threshold)
mantis:

Thank you for proving my point. Such certainty goes beyond what science allows.

Certainty based on a preponderance, if not totality, of evidence is far more defensible that certainty based on no evidence at all.

The fact is that the fossil record is neither fortunate nor unfortunate.

It is fortunate for us as we wish to understand the world around us.

The fossil record is under no obligation to justify your certainty.

Who said it was?

If it doesn't support the level you have, the reasonable thing to do is adjust your view.

Agreed.

"The fact is we're very for... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

"The fact is we're very fortunate to have as complete a fossil record as we do, incomplete as it is."

The fact is that the fossil record is neither fortunate nor unfortunate. It simply is. The fossil record is under no obligation to justify your certainty. If it doesn't support the level you have, the reasonable thing to do is adjust your view.
------------------------------------------------
Yup and some well known paleontologists offer the other theory like "punctuated equilibrium" or "hopeful monster" to explain the data as is.

And the honest thing to do is to tell students about this theory and the reasons why they chose it. This is another good thing to openly discuss in a science classroom as well.


Gary BakerMy ma... (Below threshold)
sean nyc/aa:

Gary Baker

My major point of impatience is when the evolution proponents try to shut down the debate by saying basically that there is no debate.

There is no debate in the context of scientific and empirical rigor. ID's entire argument is: "Evolution doesn't explain everything, therefore God did it." There is no way around mocking ID in this context. We can debate if God "intelligently constructed" (as kim put it above) the laws of the universe and how consciousness and morality shaped our own evolution. But these are philosophical questions as there are few if any scientific means for measuring them.

There are theories that if we are but one universe among many in a multiverse, it is possible that those other universes have different elemental laws of nature and physics and life might take on completely different forms. What does this mean God - that has multiple personalities? That God was just playing a game of craps and each universe is a different roll of the dice?

Again, science is analyzing the hard data you have, not inferring what role God may play for lack of hard evidence. There is a region where science, religion, philosophy all blur, but the evolutionary record is not at the forefront in that regard. I would say the main field of debate where science and religion potentially overlap is physics, generally "the laws of the universe", specifically dark matter and energy, inflation theory, string theory, quantum theory, etc. because to test these are pushing the physical limits of our technology. The lack of evidence in evolution is because we haven't scoured the globe for or nature did not leave evidence of definitive proof of every evolutionary stage.

My point is that evolutionists are already making huge leaps of faith and still insisting that it's science.

I see your point, but I don't think those leaps of faith are anywhere near the same degree as needed for ID. Evolution's leaps of faith are: we see evolution from W to X and from Y to Z, so it's likely evolution occurred from X to Y. How it exactly occurred is difficult to say, as any hypothesis w/o evidence is hard to support, but it does not require relying supernatural forces for the explanation.

that this is a done deal, we know what happened, and we're just clearing up the fine points.

As unfortunate as it may seem, this is probably correct. Now, there will always be unanswered questions, but the big picture is there. Just as with the solar system we know the sun is at the center and the planets are held in orbit by gravity, but there are finer points about the sun's magnetic field (hat tip to the global warming doubters), the behavior/origins of planets' rings/satellites, etc. Just as with the cell we know there is a nucleus, mitochondria, etc., but how they chemically react with and transport molecules is harder to specify. That is science, you (generally) attempt to explain the big picture first and methodically gain better explanations for everything else. Evolution is the big picture and filling in what major developments yielded significant change are the finer points. ID is the big picture and the finer points, it's all-encompassing and self-explanatory and requires no scientific methodology or validation. Therefore, it does not belong in science class.

I understand genetic variability at least reasonably well for a non-biologist. Can you point me to some articles or references where there have been clear species shifts beyond expected variability for insects and mice?

I'm a non-biologist as well, so I'm more familiar with the anecdotal examples: the recent find of a half-alligator, half-fish us in the artic; the transition from reptilian dinosaurs to birds; the various stages of human development; the differentiation of dog sub-species into multiple breeds; the development of early, single celled to multi-celled organisms; plus probably hundreds of other examples I'm not as familiar with. mantis seemed relatively familiar with some specific examples, maybe he could help here.

Is it true that "all evidence" points to evolution? Don't things occasionally pop up that don't fit?

I exaggerate sometimes - the vast majority of evidence points to evolution. But even those rare cases lead to new hypotheses which generally try to use evolutionary theory as the framework to guide their explanation. One example of this is a fish that live in pitch black caves which develop eyes but then shut off further growth of them during the early stages of development (this was in a recent article in Seed magazine). One might think that evolutionary theory would dictate that development of the eye should gradually be phased out completely. But the reason this was not the case (and excuse me, I can't remember the exact explanation) was something like the early development of the eye was embedded in the DNA along with the development with other vital functions. So to completely remove any development of the eye would result in loss of other advantageous characteristics, namely a better sense of smell and touch. This means that nature may have tried to remove the process of eye development to save energy for more useful purposes, but in doing so the species that maintained some early eye development was still the preferred version. But who knows, as time goes on, nature may try again and find a way to delete eye development but still retain the current level of smell and touch, and this species will eventually be the dominant variation. So long story short, even in those cases that don't fit the current understanding of evolutionary theory, the general principles of it are applied to try and determine what unique circumstances have led to this anomaly.

Kim,the m... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

Kim,

the mechanism of evolution of these so-called 'irreducible complexities' such as cilia and clotting mechanisms has not been elucidated. That they have evolved naturally is asserted, necessarily, on faith.

The problem with irreducible complexity from a scientific standpoint is that it leads to a conclusion that science cannot accept. That conclusion violates the fundamental tenets of science, and thus, science responds by assertions based on faith in its fundamental tenets. In this regard science is like other religions.

I exaggerate sometimes - th... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

I exaggerate sometimes - the vast majority of evidence points to evolution.
---------------------------------------------
Not sure what you mean by evolution here. In paleontology, it means "punctuated equilibrium" or "hopeful monster" to explain the fossil record.

I assume that the vast amount of scientific evidences of the informational complexity of the DNA also points to "evolution" in your terminology. I guess you mean "hopeful monster" as a synonymn for evolution in this case as well.

From a Christian perspectiv... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

From a Christian perspective John 2:1-11 explains the fossil record with no need to invoke the religion of science.

"At its core, I don't think... (Below threshold)
jp2:

"At its core, I don't think there is anything fundamentally incompatible with Christianity and science, between the Bible and natural history. All it takes is a little application of common sense and logic."

Genius. 900 year old men, the earth was created in 7 days, seas parting, burning bushes, zombie saviours...

Yeah, just dabble a little common sense and chuckle at some Cosby and you'll see, science and religion fit.

By definition common sense ... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

By definition common sense applies to the natural world. By it's application you can know nothing about the supernatural. For that you have to rely on what has been revealed.

Yeah, just dabble a litt... (Below threshold)
sean nyc/aa:

Yeah, just dabble a little common sense and chuckle at some Cosby and you'll see, science and religion fit
jp2

I think science and religion can fit, but as long as one is not substituted for the other. To put it most generally, science provides the how while religion provides the why.

On a side note, the Bible and science have a very hard time meeting literal agreement, although the creation story is a suprisingly decent attempt at explaining the origins of the universe and earth considering they didn't have any sort of physical data. I'm talking about the progression from 'Let there be light' to the existence of man, of course, the six days is complete bunk.

Looks like we made some pro... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

Looks like we made some progess today. Seems like we have a consensus that an honest science would openly discuss/teach the following in the science class rooms:

(1) The theory of "punctuated equilibrium" or hopeful monster and the fossil record.

(2) The vast amount of scientific evidence of the informational complexity of the genetic code etc... This is a huge open problem in modern science and the students should be made aware of it.

LAI,Nothing can be... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

LAI,

Nothing can be taught in a science class in a U.S. public school that leads to a conclusion that calls into question the tenets of faith that underpin science. By definition, such teachings are not scientific even if true. Teaching variations of evolution is like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. Teaching philosophy is a better way to enlighten young minds to the full scope of truth.

Mac, I don't have a... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

Mac,
I don't have any problem with teaching a class in philosophy of science in addition to the science class. My point is that an honest science would explain openly/honestly why some well-known paleontologists chose the theory of "hopeful monster" theory to explain the fossil record. The informational complexity of the DNA is another area where we may need sth similar to the "hopeful monster" theory to explain it.

LAI,There's an end... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

LAI,

There's an endless number of evolution theory nuances, but the limits of what can be taught in any depth in a high school class require the curriculum it stick to the mainstream ideas. Science is all about entertaining new ideas as long as those ideas don't threaten it's underpinnings. If the "hopeful monster" theory gains mainstream acceptance it will be taught, but if it somehow threatens the underpinnings of science it won't be allowed in class.

If science accepts a jump from a series of small changes to a much more evolved "hopeful monster", then the next question is how big of a jump is possible. You then start running into the same problem as irreducible complexity. If the jump is too large then the odds against it become staggering and the hand of the creator is reviled. Science cannot accept a creator even if there's a scientific theory to explain the creator. That would mean the universe is not unreasoning, and thus, it has purpose. Even a scientifically explainable creator might be able to suspend natural laws as we know them. Science simply can't exist in that environment, so it must reject the possibility.

Sean,I would like ... (Below threshold)
Gary Baker:

Sean,

I would like to thank you for a well constructed and polite reply. While we still disagree on a great deal, this gives us the basis for a reasonable exchange of ideas.

"I see your point, but I don't think those leaps of faith are anywhere near the same degree as needed for ID."

Perhaps we view probabilities differently. I've seen rough statistical analysis run on the types of things that would have to occur in tandem for life on Earth to evolve as it has (or even for life to occur given that scientists are correct in the assumption that it could happen by chance). The number is staggeringly low. As far as I know, nothing can truly be said to have "zero" probability, but this comes pretty darn close. The ID person says it came about because it was designed that way. The evolutionist says it came about by chance. I do not find that argument persuasive.

"Evolution's leaps of faith are: we see evolution from W to X and from Y to Z, so it's likely evolution occurred from X to Y."

A reasonable approach given the limitations. But it leaves out a lot of what I believe to be valid inquiry. For example, suppose that an in-depth analysis of the situation you describe above (environment, variability, etc.) is done and it indicates that instead of going from "W to X", the system should have gone from "W to X1." Evolutionary theory would reject the analysis, since the system obviously did go to X. Intelligent design proposes that it might be possible to trace what external stimuli could have been applied so that things turned out the way they did. I see potential value in that line of questioning.

"but it does not require relying supernatural forces for the explanation."

To the best of my knowledge, everything requires supernatural forces for the explanation at some point. There is an entire universe out there. We can track how some of it is going and where some of it has been. But something began it all. To the best of my knowledge, no one has come up with a good answer for that one excluding supernatural forces. If you accept the fact that something supernatural, or at least beyond our understanding, affected the system at least once in the past, it seems very arbitrary to insist that it stopped after that one time.

"ID is the big picture and the finer points, it's all-encompassing and self-explanatory and requires no scientific methodology or validation. Therefore, it does not belong in science class."

Again, I am not familiar enough with the particulars of the theory (pick your favorite term). I do seem to recall that there were a number of serious missteps in evolutionary theory as it was being developed. I am convinced that a lot of people think that it is at least worth a look, and many are quite intelligent. I will be very interested in what is developed over the next generation of study. As for what belongs in science class - When I went through ninth grade biology, we got a considerable background of prior theories (e.g., spontaneous generation). Would you say that review did not belong in science class because it was history? Or is there value in learning about past and competing view points?

"One might think that evolutionary theory would dictate that development of the eye should gradually be phased out completely. But the reason this was not the case (and excuse me, I can't remember the exact explanation) was something like the early development of the eye was embedded in the DNA along with the development with other vital functions."

Here is a case in point. The explanation that you pointed out - is it what we know, or is it what is adopted because it fits the theory? Where did that fish come from? If it had eyes, why would it go into a lightless area to begin with? Does it make sense that some fish that deep have sightless eyes, while others have bio-lights (which make them great targets for predators)? You can learn a lot by examining what is. You can also learn a lot by asking why is that and does it make sense.

"the general principles of it are applied to try and determine what unique circumstances have led to this anomaly."

And this leads back to my major criticism. Anything that does not seem to support the principles is considered an anomaly. The principles are now sacrosanct, beyond question. The simple truth is that evolutionary theory doesn't care. It has no stake in itself or any disagreement among scientists or the public. Yet people constantly seem to think that science will suffer from the discussion. To hear some of the hype, when the infamous textbook stickers first came out in Kansas you would have thought that the Puritans were burning heretics every day (except Sunday, of course). I've challenged people before and do so again to demonstrate any harm that would come if both sides went away. I've never gotten a reasonable answer. Science is rigor and method. The subject to which it is applied in discussion is irrelevant. As I've said before, I've aced the evolution classes while being very judicious about what I accept. Science will survive the disagreement just fine.

"I'm talking about the prog... (Below threshold)
Gary Baker:

"I'm talking about the progression from 'Let there be light' to the existence of man,"

Something fascinating about that account - "Let there be light" came several days earlier than the sun, moon, and stars; all of the things that primitives would have associated with creating light. That such a beginning is listed thousands of years before anyone considered a "big bang" I find nothing short of inspired.

Robert the Original, Wieder... (Below threshold)
Jeff Blogworthy:

Robert the Original, Wieder;

This thread is out of control. i don't have time to wade though it, but I would like to address your (false) assertions regarding Darwin. Namely, that Darwin set out on a religious pilgrimage, notebook in hand, observing nature in all it's glory only to be lead by empirical observation to the inexorable conclusion that nature could not have possibly originated from God. An epiphany! Complete with dramatic music playing in the background.

As emotionally satisfying as the above scenario may be to the evolutionist - it is utterly false.

Darwin's grandfather Erasmus, held the same views as Charles did. He was a pantheist and a unitarian. Erasmus was also a medical doctor and author. He published his own work in which he propounded the "spontaneous origin of life."

Heresy first, evolution later. His father Robert was an atheist who told his son Charles, that he knew "scarcely any intelligent men who were orthodox Christian believers."

Darwin's wife had the following words edited out of his autobiography, "I can indeed hardly see how anyone ought to wish Christianity to be true; for if so the plain language of the text seems to show that the men who do not believe, and this would include my Father, Brother and almost all my best friends, will be everlastingly punished. And this is a damnable doctrine."

Sounds like a devout Christian family there.

As a young man, Charles' closest friend was Robert Edmund Grant, an atheistic evolutionist and a leading authority in invertebrate zoology.

Darwin refused to accept the literal truth of the book of Genesis.

On board the Beagle Darwin chose Charles Lyell's Principles of Geology vol. 1 as his reading material. Lyell insisted that the geological features of the earth can, and indeed must, be explained by "slow gradual processes" of erosion, sedimentation, earthquakes, volcanism, etc., operating at essentially the same average rate and power as observed today. Lyell's work had far more influence on Darwin's ideas than the observation of nature. Darwin took Lyell's principles and applied them to biology.

Lyell was in turn influenced by others. They all had one thing in common - the rejection of God.

Darwin seems to have compromised his intellectual principles somewhat in order to gain entry into Cambridge University, an embrace of religious doctrine being a requirement for entry. However, it is clear that Darwin had far more interest in secular education than theology. He necessarily kept his anti-religious views close to the vest until he was beyond the reach of school and church discipline.

Darwin did make some statements that sound somewhat convincing regarding religious faith, but taken in the larger context of his life I believe they were but lip service to satisfy the mores of the day. Peer pressure and all that.

LAI:I'd agree that... (Below threshold)
sean nyc/aa:

LAI:

I'd agree that your two points are fair to discuss in a science class as they point out the weaknesses of evolutionary theory and where further inquiry should be directed, BUT do not substitute an "intelligent designer" as the explanation for such weaknesses. All scientific progress had various steps and missteps, but if someone along the way simply said, "That can never be explained because God stepped in and just made it that way," we would have lost out on a lot of scientific discovery. For instance, at the end of the 19th century, some scientists believed there was little else to learn in the field of physics: elements were identified, gravitational theory and the laws of motion were defined, etc., and all that could be done was further specifity in natural constants. But then along came Einstein who developed a whole new field of physics. Then Bohr came along with atomic theory. Both would have been much slower in coming about if people did not have an inquisitive nature and simply excepted the status quo. That is the main argument against ID that it essentially takes the easy way out with regard to rigorous scientific analysis.

sean, Any preconce... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

sean,

Any preconceived notion can stymie the search for knowledge. You said "That is the main argument against ID that it essentially takes the easy way out with regard to rigorous scientific analysis." The opposite is also true, the main argument against evolution is that it takes the easy way out with regard to a rigorous logical analysis. I alluded to a scientific theory that offers a natural explanation of a creator, but it's really a logical theory because no explanation of a creator can be scientific by definition. Science is simply blind to the possibility. It's that understanding of the limitations of scientific inquiry that's missing from our public education. I contend that knowing the limitations of science makes better scientists.

"What do you have to los... (Below threshold)
Wieder:

"What do you have to lose by discussing intelligent design in science class?"

Simple: rationality and reason

ID belongs in the ash heap of flat earths, earth centric universes and moons of green cheese, if not man in.

Gary Baker:To t... (Below threshold)
sean nyc/aa:

Gary Baker:

To the best of my knowledge, everything requires supernatural forces for the explanation at some point. There is an entire universe out there. We can track how some of it is going and where some of it has been. But something began it all. To the best of my knowledge, no one has come up with a good answer for that one excluding supernatural forces. If you accept the fact that something supernatural, or at least beyond our understanding, affected the system at least once in the past, it seems very arbitrary to insist that it stopped after that one time.

I'll address this point first since it lays the groundwork for the basis of this discussion. I accept the general knowledge that the Big Bang is what appears to have happened based on the data we have, but what exactly the Big Bang was has never been, and may never be, defined. Was it the action of some divine entity? Was it the explosion of some enormous black hole? Have the laws of the universe themselves evolved over time as physical conditions have changed and what we see now gives us an altered view of what actually happened? There are several hypotheses for explaining the Big Bang and even if it were a divine entity, maybe God did move on after the creation of our universe, create more universes ad infinitum, and doesn't bother with us anymore, like Gateway making computers with certain programs to let their customers do whatever they want with them. We cannot guess at what God's intentions may be, like when Einstein said when refuting quantum mechanics, "God does not play dice with the universe." and Neils Bohr replied, "Stop telling God what to do with his dice."

As far as I know, nothing can truly be said to have "zero" probability, but this comes pretty darn close. The ID person says it came about because it was designed that way. The evolutionist says it came about by chance. I do not find that argument persuasive.

I think both are hard to believe, but saying that chance is near zero probability is of little consequence in a near infinite universe. I find it amazing and miraculous that whatever the explanation is we're here at all. Again, the "why are we here" question is one of religion, but the "how did we get here" is one that science can attempt to explain through the evidence presented to us.

Evolutionary theory would reject the analysis, since the system obviously did go to X. Intelligent design proposes that it might be possible to trace what external stimuli could have been applied so that things turned out the way they did. I see potential value in that line of questioning.

I don't see how ID has any value here because ID could be applied to have W go to F, or W to L, or W to Q depending on God's mood. He could potentially alter all conditions, variables, and stimuli at his discretion to create any outcome he desired. Evolution is much more strict in this regard that you would expect to see certain outcomes, but it is possible you don't get the anticipated answer and have to consider what factors were overlooked or were not immediately apparent. That is the scientific method while ID is essentially a black box, ie A in, B out, with no explanation as to how the transition was carried out (other than God did it of course).

Would you say that review did not belong in science class because it was history? Or is there value in learning about past and competing view points?

Competing scientifically based viewpoints should be taught, but 1) thoroughly debunked theories should not, unless for the purpose of showing bad science and then they'd probably fit better in history class, eg flat-earth theory, and 2) theories that do not have their basis in the scientific method should not be taught in science class. Again, there are valid reasons for believing in ID, but not in the arena of advancing our knowledge of evolutionary history and not in the context as presenting it as alternative science.

The explanation that you pointed out - is it what we know, or is it what is adopted because it fits the theory? Where did that fish come from? If it had eyes, why would it go into a lightless area to begin with? Does it make sense that some fish that deep have sightless eyes, while others have bio-lights (which make them great targets for predators)? You can learn a lot by examining what is. You can also learn a lot by asking why is that and does it make sense.

You're pretty mixed up in this response. These fish from my example are found in caves, not in the deep ocean, although similar things may happen there as well, but not as likely since they can transition to shallower depths where light does reach and sight would have a purpose. They probably went there because there may not have been competition with other species for food, or they may have saught refuge from a predator, or it was a safe place to lay eggs, etc. I'm not sure, that wasn't the lesson to be drawn from the example. Also, the fish which utilize bioluminesence (sp?) are generally predators and use the light to attract prey, so clearly there is an evolutionary advantage.

The explanation that you pointed out - is it what we know, or is it what is adopted because it fits the theory?

This is the sentiment that causes the problem with ID, ie that any doubt disproves everything and we should just admit it's a worthless theory. I'll provide a parallel example which shows why we cannot rely on this mentality. For a while, the behavior of galaxies indicated there was dark matter and energy. We could not see it or detect it, but our theory of gravity indicated that these extra forces were causing the behavior we saw. Did we say God must be this mysterious force causing this behavior? Did we throw out the theory of gravity as we had it? No, we did just the opposite and found evidence that dark matter does exist. Now, dark matter is still very mysterious and what it is has not been clearly defined. But we're refining our methods for finding it, measuring it, etc. and one day we may find out a few more of its secrets, which could lead to scientific breakthroughs like extra dimensions, wormholes, or maybe even time travel (highly unlikely, but still possible in a near infinite universe). So simply put, I outright reject this line of reasoning. If a theory is to be discarded, there must be sufficient credible evidence to refute it, not simply be thrown away for convenience.

Anything that does not seem to support the principles is considered an anomaly. The principles are now sacrosanct, beyond question.

You're completely wrong here. The principles are very much up for questioning, but they have a legimate and well-documented history that requires a lot more creationism with lipstick to rightly justify that they have been disproven.

Science will survive the disagreement just fine.

Yes, science will survive, but that's not the point. Conservatives constantly rail against the shoddy state of our public education system, but promoting ID as science does nothing to improve our lagging performance in science and elsewhere. It only encourages students to be intellectually lazy and except certain complexities as "irreducible" rather than experiment with unique and ingenious ways to explain how they could have occurred in our observable world.

Thanks Jay, your post produ... (Below threshold)
mark:

Thanks Jay, your post produced a very civil debate.

Personally, I am thankful and I praise the random mutations that caused women to evolve side by side with man.

Mac Lorry:I genera... (Below threshold)
sean nyc/aa:

Mac Lorry:

I generally agree that knowing the limitations of any scientific theory or model is important. As with any thorough analysis, the level of uncertainty is important to determine if the conclusions reached are valid.

But I disagree with the basis for your position that God and science are incompatible. The study of science is essentially trying to figure the laws of the universe which God wrote. After all, we (humans) were kicked out of the Garden of Eden for eating from the Tree of Knowledge, ie trying to be God-like. So in my opinion, the study of science is one of the various ways for proving the existence of God.

Now, there are certain things that we may never know, like what happened before the Big Bang, what happens inside black holes, are we part of a multiverse rather than universe, is our sense of morality and justice merely a product of evolution or is there some divinity to it, etc. But this does not mean there may not be "scientific" expanation to these things, just that our physical state, technological limitations, level of consciousness, etc. do not allow us to measure or comprehend these things and draw logical conclusions from whatever data may exist.

On the other hand, ID proponents seeks to interject it into a field of study which already has a pretty accurate means of describing the behavior we've seen. So, I do not believe ID is a logical conclusion to be drawn from the gaps that exist in evolutionary theory and there is no scientific method involved with its conception to justify it being taught as science.

Jeff BlogworthyYou... (Below threshold)
Wieder:

Jeff Blogworthy

You'll have to do far better than quote BS from that "Parent Company" screed from which you quote so much of what you pretend to know about Darwin.

That piece is pure distortion about Darwin from an ID religious clack of loonies.

You ought to have more intellectual honesty than to rely on that sort of garbage and then regurgitate like a good Pavlovian puppy.

But then, an ID believer with intellectual honesty is an oxymoron.

You ought to have more inte... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

You ought to have more intellectual honesty than to rely on that sort of garbage and then regurgitate like a good Pavlovian puppy.

But then, an ID believer with intellectual honesty is an oxymoron.
-------------------------------------------------
And Wieder, you are a perfect example of intellectual dishonesty. Honest science doesn't resort to ad-hominen attack to bluff. You are not confident of your position, so that 's why you have to resort to this tactic. It is not a sign of honest science. It is a sign of a dogmatic pseudo-scientific religion.

Again, I repeat: an honest teaching of evolution will openly discuss these well known problems

(1) The theory of "punctuated equilibrium" or hopeful monster and the fossil record.

(2) The vast amount of scientific evidence of the informational complexity of the genetic code etc... This is a huge open problem in modern science and the students should be made aware of it.

So far I have seen you guys defending a dogmatic religion (hiding behind science) using ad-hominen, straw-men, and appealing to authority. It is cheap and dishonest.

Wieder,If you have... (Below threshold)
Jeff Blogworthy:

Wieder,

If you have some dispute with the facts, spit it out. Gratuitous assertions and ad hominem attacks don't cut it.

Darwin's motives are irrele... (Below threshold)
Song-Sae-Nim:

Darwin's motives are irrelevant. Debate what his findings have wrought upon contemporary science; I don't care about the psychological underpinnings of Origin of the Species. If it just so happens to make literal belief in Genesis ridiculous... then stop reading Genesis literally. In fact, stop reading it all together. The bit about "original sin" is awful--I feel no compunction to feel guilty about my human imperfections.

Anyway, yes, LAI, conclusions have been drawn in this thread: evolution is not "complete"; ID is not science; things that are irreducibly complex are useful for fostering meta-scientific discussions in science classrooms; and any supernatural explanation as to the origin of said complexities ought to be raised in philosophy classes.

Fun thread to read, though.

SSNAnyway, yes, LAI,... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

SSN
Anyway, yes, LAI, conclusions have been drawn in this thread: evolution is not "complete";
------------------------------------------------
This is quite an understatement indeed. Evolution is a synonym for "hopeful monster" in paleontology. The informational complexity of the DNA make this "hopeful monster" theory even more applicable. In other words, evolution so far has been less than an honest science but more a terminology play so far. Also the teaching of "evolution" has also been less than honest.

ID can be a scientific depending how it is defined. Can you have a rigirous definition of determining how a system is designed or can be generated by a random process? Does information require intelligence etc.? The fact that people defending evolution are afraid of confronting that question tells me that what they are defending is not real science, but pseudo-scientific belief.

Jeff,I wrote that ... (Below threshold)
Robert the original:

Jeff,

I wrote that Darwin studied to become a man of the cloth. This is true to the best of my ability to know it and is in agreement with the view of the preponderance of historians. Nothing you have said in any way refutes it much less provides evidence of falsehood. Next time - BEFORE YOU CALL ME A LIAR - check your facts. Please give me sources - generally accepted historians please - you seem to be using fundamentalist agenda-driven nutjobs.

Further, your (and others') general contention that Darwin was a secret atheist set out to disprove the existence of God fails on several counts:

1) If, as you say, Darwin were a closet atheist, why would he enroll in the Theology program at Cambridge? Darwin himself stated that he believed, attended church regularly until 1851, and only became agnostic late in life. That transition had more to do with the death of his daughter than anything else.

2) You acknowledge statements of faith by Darwin but discount them only based on your own supposition. Please, this is not even an argument much less proof that anything I wrote is false.

3) If Darwin set out on a mission to validate his relatives' supposed disbelief, why would he choose this method to do it? He went on long voyages for five years, collected lots of stuff - and then spent twenty (20) years studying it before publishing.

4) I find it quite normal for a scientist to be influenced by the work of others (gasp) including professors of biology and geology. What is your point?


Logic Jeff, suggests that one who works so long to publish is not on a mission to discredit anything. Almost all historical accounts identify Darwin as a believer during most of his life through his actions and writing and those of his wife and children. Indeed, there are accounts of his running about the HMS Beagle quoting scripture to the hands.

Desperately you seek to twist and discredit Darwin's relatives and through that, his theory. This is similar to the desperation of creationists to disprove evolution through gaps. Sad and feeble, Jeff, and it puts one in mind of the intolerance of past times.

But you could discover that Darwin was Jack the Ripper and it would do nothing to slow the mounting evidence for evolution. The results are in, and have been, for quite a time.

Finally to your use of the term "heretic" I hold you in contempt. This is not a term in general use these days, Jeff, and your twisted and distorted portrayal of Darwin does a disservice to your integrity, the requirements of history, or the furtherance of honest debate.

All you did was figuratively burn a witch.

SSN, look upon 'original si... (Below threshold)
kim:

SSN, look upon 'original sin' as the development of a moral sense. Then you won't have to refuse to feel guilty.
=========================

"but promoting ID as scienc... (Below threshold)
Gary Baker:

"but promoting ID as science does nothing to improve our lagging performance in science and elsewhere. It only encourages students to be intellectually lazy and except certain complexities as "irreducible" rather than experiment with unique and ingenious ways to explain how they could have occurred in our observable world."

I can think of little more intellectually lazy than simply dismissing competing theories via labeling. And again, the really controversial claims of evolution have no underpinning or confirmation via experimentation. The whole theory could disappear tomorrow. No harm to anyone. No loss to science. My point remains the same: Science has no viewpoint. Science is method and evaluation.

Sean,More notes:</... (Below threshold)
Gary Baker:

Sean,

More notes:

"We cannot guess at what God's intentions may be"

No, but that doesn't mean that it is improper to look for evidence of influence.

"but saying that chance is near zero probability is of little consequence in a near infinite universe"

And likewise, pointing out how large the universe is does nothing to mitigate the near zero probability.

"They probably went there because there may not have been competition with other species for food, or they may have saught refuge from a predator, or it was a safe place to lay eggs, etc."

Again, you take a reality and guess a reason in view of the theory. It could be all of those reasons. It could be none. Maybe it just happened. You don't know. Can you set up an experiment that will show you? Can you demonstrate it? If not, why are you coming up with guesses and calling it "science"?

"Anything that does not seem to support the principles is considered an anomaly. The principles are now sacrosanct, beyond question.

You're completely wrong here. The principles are very much up for questioning"

No, they are not. They are defended with a religious zeal that would do any Knight Templar proud. If not, the science crowd would welcome the challenge of ID. They would include it, happily debunk it, and move on. The fact that they resist any mention of it in the public arena demonstrates this nicely.

"Did we say God must be this mysterious force causing this behavior? Did we throw out the theory of gravity as we had it? No, we did just the opposite and found evidence that dark matter does exist."

In short, scientist went looking for answers and encouraged new areas of study. That's great. It's a pity the evolution scientists are determined to discourage new ways of looking at things. They are so fearful, there are some questions they won't even ask.

Robert the original,<... (Below threshold)
Jeff Blogworthy:

Robert the original,

"I wrote that Darwin studied to become a man of the cloth."

You also wrote that Darwin was "a strong believer". Technically, you are right on the first count and certainly wrong on the second.

"Please give me sources - generally accepted historians please - you seem to be using fundamentalist agenda-driven nutjobs."

Cambridge University generally accepted enough for you?

The Darwins' world was one of wealth and privilege,... The wealth came from both sides of the family, as did the intellectual ambience in which Darwin grew up. From his father, a physician trained at both Leiden and Edinburgh, Charles absorbed something of the ethos of the Scottish medical tradition, in particular its philosophical materialism about life and matter. Equally unorthodox religious and scientific doctrines, including the transmutation of species, had been publicly manifest in the writings of his famous-even notorious-grandfather, the natural philosopher and minor poet Erasmus Darwin. Counterbalancing these tendencies were Charles' mother and his three older sisters Marianne, Caroline and Susan. From them Darwin acquired a Unitarian sensibility that acknowledged a Creator, though not the divinity of Jesus Christ. [ED. NOTE: Despite these feelings, Darwin took the oath of the church because it was a condition on entry to Cambridge and the price of a quality education. Thus he misrepresented himself.] These different influences from the male and female sides of his family helped define the complex relation he had to conventional religion to the end of his life. At the age of eight, Charles was enrolled in the school of the local Unitarian minister, the Reverend George Case. 1


Phillip R. Sloan, "1 The Making of a Philosophical Naturalist," The Cambridge Companion to Darwin, ed. Jonathan Hodge and Gregory Radick (Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, 2003)

All emphases mine. Here is a newsflash for you Robert: Unitarianism and rejection of the divinity of Christ are church heresies, not tenets of orthodox Christian belief. It's a good think he had his mother and sisters as a "counterbalance." Whoo boy. Darwin was a heretic with an agenda, not an orthodox Christian dissuaded by his own keen observations.

Check your own sources. I can back up everything I said and then some.

Robert:"3) If Darw... (Below threshold)
Jeff Blogworthy:

Robert:

"3) If Darwin set out on a mission to validate his relatives' supposed disbelief, why would he choose this method to do it? He went on long voyages for five years, collected lots of stuff - and then spent twenty (20) years studying it before publishing."

Could it be that he wanted to make a name for himself as a naturalist and emulate those he admired most? Nothing wrong with that - just don't turn it into a religious pilgrimage from which he was delivered by a naturalistic conversion experience like Paul on the road to Damascus.

Sean,I'm not defen... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

Sean,

I'm not defending ID. What I'm pointing out is that regardless of the truth, science cannot accept any theory that leads to conclusions that falsify the tenets of faith that underpin science. By definition then, science can never prove God's existence for in doing so science ceases to exist. Furthermore, the logic of philosophy demonstrates that science can never disprove God's existence. From an understanding of John 2:1-11 it can be shown that the lateral reading of Geneses and the scientific understanding of the universe and life on Earth can both be true. 1 Corinthians 1:18-31 explains why God would create the universe in this way.

Christians know they accept the Bible on faith. What many skeptics don't know or won't acknowledges is that they also accept evolution on faith.

Gary Baker:The ... (Below threshold)
sean nyc/aa:

Gary Baker:

The whole theory could disappear tomorrow. No harm to anyone. No loss to science. My point remains the same: Science has no viewpoint. Science is method and evaluation.

Yes, and ID is not science. There is no method or evaluation to test or prove it, or evidence to support it other than gaps in evolution. I raised this point yesterday, provide a stirring defense with factual, scientifically supported information to defend ID if you want to convince anyone otherwise, rather than just nipping at evolution's heels. It's as similar situation as to when Republicans say that Democrats don't take any stands and they just mock Bush, there is a valid point to that argument.

pointing out how large the universe is does nothing to mitigate the near zero probability.

Do you have any idea how probability works? It absolutely does make a difference how large the universe is. For instance, a chance of rolling any number on a die is 1/6. If you have only one die, you're not very likely to roll a 3 on your first roll, it would take a couple of chances. However, if you have 100 die, you're near guaranteed to roll a 3 on one roll of all the dice. Similarly, if there are 10^very high number of planets, it increases the odds that one of them will have life. However, if there were ID, why would God bother with all that wasted space? Why isn't there more intelligent life w/in our own solar system? Why is earth so special? I realize these questions would be "guessing at God's intentions", so they cannot be answered, but your statement was completely foolish.

Again, you take a reality and guess a reason in view of the theory. It could be all of those reasons. It could be none. Maybe it just happened. You don't know. Can you set up an experiment that will show you? Can you demonstrate it? If not, why are you coming up with guesses and calling it "science"?

I'm not the scientist that conducted the research, I only read a magazine article. The scientists that did possibly do know with much more certainty as to why. My ignorance on this matter does not mean there is complete ignorance in the scientific community.

And this is what I mean about nipping at the heels, ID supported get caught up on these small points because not everyone has all the answers. So someone more familiar about this example might be able to answer your question, but they would not be as familiar with a different subject, so the critics would say that shortcoming was proof of evolution's faults. No, not necessarily, it just means you might have to do more research because the answer is out there and a single person is not familiar with it. That also is science, the practice of researching previous studies to see how they agree or disagree with your position. ID does not seek to do this, it seeks to stifle progress by saying God is the answer, no reason to look and further.

No, they are not. They are defended with a religious zeal that would do any Knight Templar proud. If not, the science crowd would welcome the challenge of ID. They would include it, happily debunk it, and move on. The fact that they resist any mention of it in the public arena demonstrates this nicely.

How many times do I have to say it? Evolution's principles are subject to debate in the context of scientific and empirical rigor. Do you even know what this means? Please show me papers on ID published in well-known science journals (Science, Nature are some examples) that have stood up the the analytical review of peers. Give me examples of how the research conducted has led to breakthroughs or insights in its own or other fields. Getting a book published is not sufficient. Teaching at religious school is not sufficient. Debating on TV is not sufficient. This is another problem with ID, it expects to be vaulted to the level of acceptable science w/o going through the painstaking process of proving it is.

scientist went looking for answers and encouraged new areas of study. That's great. It's a pity the evolution scientists are determined to discourage new ways of looking at things. They are so fearful, there are some questions they won't even ask.

Scientists are more than welcome to study whatever they want. But just because they were scientists doesn't mean whatever they're studying is science. Again, it just gets back to what you want to define science as. If you think science involves supernatural forces answering the questions you can't, then I'd tell you I don't want you teaching science. But you're more than welcome to tell students where our current understanding falls short and that if they want to study the issue further, those are areas they could focus on.

This does not mean that God is completely out of the picture. With any difficult subject, humans have always been awed at how God could have made it work and we worked to figure it out. But what it means is that God is not the final answer, just part of the answer. (Again, the Big Bang and String Theory are areas of research where wondering how God is involved is much relevant, at least in my opinion, since they are literally at the very extremes of our universe. Gaps in the evolutionary record or uncertainty in the origins of DNA are no where near this level of grandeur.)

Sean said: "I'm talking abo... (Below threshold)

Sean said: "I'm talking about the progression from 'Let there be light' to the existence of man,"

Then Gary said: "Something fascinating about that account - "Let there be light" came several days earlier than the sun, moon, and stars; all of the things that primitives would have associated with creating light. That such a beginning is listed thousands of years before anyone considered a "big bang" I find nothing short of inspired."

Yup, "let there be light" could mean something entirely different than actual light. It COULD mean awareness, understanding, reason, or "The Big Bang" itself wich was followed by creation of the suns, stars, etc.

Maybe even the birth of a new dimension.

Note that NASA itself is do... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

Note that NASA itself is doing ID research with their SETI (Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence). What is NASA trying to do? Search for intelligence by detecting information in signals received in space. Defendeers of evolution is simply trying to brush this off because this is shaking the very foundation of their pseudo-scientific belief in evolution.

Oyster,The point G... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

Oyster,

The point Gary was making is that the Genies account of light being created before the Sun appeared to be wrong until less than 100 years ago. There are a number of these statements in the Bible that appeared to be wrong until recently. Revelations specifies an army of 100 million. Such a number was inconceivable less than 200 years ago. The explanation, of course, is that these writings did not depend on human understanding.

Sean,"Yes, and ID ... (Below threshold)
Gary Baker:

Sean,

"Yes, and ID is not science. "

You keep repeating that as though it has some magic power. My was point: Evolution theory could disappear tomorrow, and there would be no loss. You say that ID is not science? Neither is evolution. The science involved is how the data is evaluated and the method used. What you are defending is not science, but a world view. The principles of science can be employed in almost any endeavor.

You talk about a factual defense? Go back to your comments on the cave fish: You didn't provide any facts. It was a long list of it could have been this, that, or the other thing. Facts? Give me a break.

"Do you have any idea how probability works?"

Yes I do, as a matter a fact. I also know that predictions aren't worth a darn without a valid distribution model. All you have is a large number of planets, a very small probability, and a tautology - It must be able to happen naturally this way because it did happen.

"My ignorance on this matter does not mean there is complete ignorance in the scientific community. "

No. Neither does it justify the "faith" you appear to place in it.

"Do you even know what this means? Please show me papers on ID published in well-known science journals (Science, Nature are some examples) that have stood up the the analytical review of peers. "

Yes, I know what scientific rigor means. I make my living in a science and technical field. A few things you may or may not know about peer reviews: They vary widely in depth and quality, but it's not as though the scientists reviewing the articles are reproducing the research to check. They give it varying look for obvious problems. As for the lack of publication, that's rather like me saying "Show me the prominant pro-life democrats." When those in charge of the publications reflexively reject the subject matter, it's a bit difficult to overcome. Especially when you consider that the recognized "experts" have personal, professional, and financial incentives to reject the material that have nothing to do with the science involved.

"This is another problem with ID, it expects to be vaulted to the level of acceptable science w/o going through the painstaking process of proving it is."

No, it expects to be evaluated on its merits, not on scientific prejudice.

"But what it means is that God is not the final answer, just part of the answer."

Perhaps, but you'll never know until you have the courage to investigate the question.

"Yup, "let there be light" could mean something entirely different than actual light. It COULD mean awareness, understanding, reason, or "The Big Bang" itself wich was followed by creation of the suns, stars, etc.

Maybe even the birth of a new dimension."

Or it could mean light. Energy. That certainly makes more sense in context than awareness, understanding, etc., since God would have already had those, and when he made that pronouncement nothing else had been created with awareness or understanding.

This is my take from variou... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

This is my take from various discussion on evolution and ID so far.

Evolution is not science. It is a pseudo-scientific belief. Large scale evolution (ie macro) is not supported by the data in the fossil record. Now the informational complexity of the DNA is a fundamental problem for this "evolution". The data simply point in the opposite direction of the philosophy or the theory. Honest science would openly and honestly admit the scale of the problem and move away from the failed theory. Instead the defenders of evolution ignore, minimize, or brush aside the data in order to cling to their belief.

On the other side, there should be no fundamental reason to oppose to ID research since NASA is doing it. Again, defenders of evolution just arbitrarily change the definition of science to exclude competing theory. This is again not real science.

In short, evolution has become a dogmatic ( even anti-science) religion.

You know, the funniest thin... (Below threshold)
P. Bunyan:

You know, the funniest thing about this whole debate is that the leftist religious fanatics (Mantis, Sean nyc, Blue Neponset, & Son-Sae-Nim) who are arguing in this thread to keep ID out of science class are no different than the Christian religious fanatics of 100 years ago, who argued to keep evolution out of the classrooms.

I'm sure they don't see it, though. The reality is that there is practically no difference in the argument used by either group.

Anyone who makes the claim that I.D. "is not science" has no clue what "science" is.

Gary Baker:Evol... (Below threshold)
sean nyc/aa:

Gary Baker:

Evolution theory could disappear tomorrow, and there would be no loss.

You'd like that wouldn't you? And praytell what would replace it, biblical literacy? Wouldn't that be convenient.

You say that ID is not science? Neither is evolution.

In a way this is true, evolution cannot be tested in a laboratory, but I've already told you why: we cannot time travel. We also cannot put someone into suspended animation and have them wake up in a million years to see what happened. Even if we could and videotaped everything, how could that person know for sure the tapes weren't doctored or "intelligently designed". We couldn't, but he would have to work with what he had and have "faith" that the videos were legit.

But in another way, your statment is completely wrong. Yes it started with the fossil record and there are gaps which lead to LAI's "hopeful monster" hypothesis, but DNA has shown us that there is evidence of progression within every specie's genome. The discovery of DNA is less than 50 years old, yet look at the breakthroughs we've made already. We've cloned animals, genetically engineered food, found certain proteins which make you more or less susceptible to disease. In another 50 years we will figure out more, all without ID being the source of inspiration for this advancement. Also, recent technology has given us ultrasound and fiber optics which allow us to see the development of fetuses in the womb, and what do you know, human development is almost like evolution on fast-forward starting with a single cell which divides, to a multi-cell organism with some specialized features, to a miniscule tadpole-like creature, into a little tiny human being. Who'd a thunk it? Oh yeah, people who thought of evolution. So which would I rather do without, no question ID.

You talk about a factual defense? Go back to your comments on the cave fish: You didn't provide any facts. It was a long list of it could have been this, that, or the other thing. Facts? Give me a break.

Again, I was not the one who did this research and was just trying to recall off the top of my head. Maybe in the paper written about it the scientists do take a definitive stand and say: "We analyzed the DNA and the growth process of the fish at various stages and found the preliminary stages of eye development worked in conjunction with other sensory development in the brain." No ifs or buts about it. This is not my field of study, so I'm not familiar with a lot a papers, but mantis has already linked to some.

All you have is a large number of planets, a very small probability, and a tautology - It must be able to happen naturally this way because it did happen.

No, what I have is a lot of planets and a small probability, which leads to a more likely chance of it happening. And what do you know, we exist, so it can happen. If we didn't exist, would it change the odds at all - no, it just means someone one a planet 1,000,000 light years away might be having the same argument. God just blessed us that we happen to be one of those planets, but that doesn't mean he reached down out of the sky like the Michaelango painting.

On the other hand, what you have is: God, so it must happen, nothing more. That is a tautology that can never be disproven with no factual evidence, in other words faith and not science.

They vary widely in depth and quality, but it's not as though the scientists reviewing the articles are reproducing the research to check.

Not always, some scientific findings are absolutely checked, like the Korean doctor who forged his cloning data. In fact, I would say a decent amount is reproduced, not necessarily for the purpose of proof, but for the purpose of seeing if there is a practical use for the subject.

As for the lack of publication, that's rather like me saying "Show me the prominant pro-life democrats." When those in charge of the publications reflexively reject the subject matter, it's a bit difficult to overcome.

This is true, but this gets back to Mac Lorry's point where there is a fundamental disconnect between science and God. Scientists have every right to believe, or not believe in, God. But unfortunately, saying I couldn't figure it out so God must be the answer is not science, there is no way around it.

You can say, "I couldn't figure X, Y, and Z out. I tried methods A, B, and C to test them. My data leads me to believe that the system may not be able to be defined because of L, M, and N." However, if you say L, M, and N are God and only the divine touch do what you saw, you end scientific inquiry. Then what if someone comes along and figures out X, Y, and Z - does that disprove God? Absolutely not, but that is where ID leads us to believe. This is the hidden secret about ID its proponents don't seem to realize - it only weakens the importance of God by only assigning him certain functions, and if those are figured out by natural processes, then is God removed from that process? No, God is that process; science is trying to figure out how God does what he does, not replace him.

it expects to be evaluated on its merits, not on scientific prejudice.

Science is viciously prejudicial, and that prejudice is based on the validity of your data and the conclusions you can draw from them. ID does not have that validity and probably never will because you cannot prove or disprove the existence of God, therefore it is not science (I keep saying it because it has magic powers.)

Perhaps, but you'll never know until you have the courage to investigate the question.

Investigate away, but unless you have hard evidence, which I imagine will be pretty tough to come by as God is notorious for not leaving many clues, let me know of your answers in philosophy class.

Anyone who makes the cla... (Below threshold)
mantis:

Anyone who makes the claim that I.D. "is not science" has no clue what "science" is.

Oh really? By all means, please tell us what the scientific theory of ID is, and how to test it using the scientific method.

Should be a simple matter if ID is, as you contend, science.

P. Bunyan:You k... (Below threshold)
sean nyc/aa:

P. Bunyan:

You know, the funniest thing about this whole debate is that the leftist religious fanatics (Mantis, Sean nyc, Blue Neponset, & Son-Sae-Nim) who are arguing in this thread to keep ID out of science class are no different than the Christian religious fanatics of 100 years ago, who argued to keep evolution out of the classrooms.

Except that they had hard evidence demonstrating how different environmental factors resulted in birds developing differently shaped beaks to fill each niche. ID has gaps and unresolved complexities, no definitive proof of its own, big difference.

Anyone who makes the claim that I.D. "is not science" has no clue what "science" is.

ID is taking flaws in a theory and drawing conclusions which do not naturally follow from those flaws. Yes, those flaws exist, but I could just as easily make up a host of other reasons (Flying Spaghetti Monster, earth was sucked into a black hole and spit back out, aliens, etc.) which do not naturally follow and are just as provable (as in they're not).
That is not science.
Show me otherwise.

I'll not waste time on stra... (Below threshold)
P. Bunyan:

I'll not waste time on strawmen. I have had this argument before on Polipundit (think it went 3 days and 500 comments or so). The reality is that nothing a I say will change your religious beliefs. You have to be open minded amd thoughtful and those are qualities seldom found in far leftists. (Or far-rightists for that matter.)

ANYTHING can be studied scientifically.

If you don't understand that, you don't understand science.

Really, you should do some reading about the arguments that the anti-evolution people were making over a century ago. You'd be amazed at how much you sound like them.

This is what happens every ... (Below threshold)
mantis:

This is what happens every time you ask an ID advocate to tell you what the scientific theory of ID is, and how it can be tested using the scientific method (btw Bunyan, that's how things are studied scientifically). They wave their hands, ignore the question, and call you religious.

Why? Because ID isn't a fucking scientific theory! If it was, at least one of them would be able to define it! How can I study the validity of a scientific theory you won't define?

Why? Because ID isn't a fuc... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

Why? Because ID isn't a fucking scientific theory! If it was, at least one of them would be able to define it! How can I study the validity of a scientific theory you won't define?
------------------------------------------------
Pick that up with NASA. They have a scientitfic criteria for detecting information in signals from space to conclude whether they have detected intelligence. Why can't we apply that same scientific criteria to biological systems?


I just found it that Polipu... (Below threshold)
P. Bunyan:

I just found it that Polipundit argument (thanks Mantis for introducing me to advanced google).

I just found it that <a hre... (Below threshold)
P. Bunyan:

I just found it that Polipundit Thread (thanks Mantis for introducing me to advanced google) that I'd mentioned above.

It was actually 800+ comments and 15+ days. I must've lost interest after 3 days and 400 some odd comments...

Anyway if you're interested enough to read that you will see how I prove that most of what is taught is highschools regarding "evolution" is religious beliefs, not scientific fact even thought the teachers and textbooks present it as fact.

You will also see good examples of how the Intelligent Design Theory of Evolution is in fact scientific and how it can be tested using the scientific method.

I'm not gonna bother doing all that again as it's impossible to get a fanatic to even question their religious beliefs.

Jeff,"Darwin was a... (Below threshold)
Robert the original:

Jeff,

"Darwin was a heretic with an agenda, not an orthodox Christian dissuaded by his own keen observations".

___

You seek to bring down evolution on the strength of the claim that Darwin's father was a Unitarian?

Your source concludes nothing about Darwin except some influences, from which you pick and choose. Even in this you cannot be fair, discounting and ignoring the part about his mother and sisters, FROM YOUR OWN DAMN SOURCE.

Further, although your source claims nothing more than complexity and uncertainty about Darwin's beliefs, you go beyond this and make your own assertions, still unsupported I might add. Nothing here even disputes Darwin's statement that he was a strong believer.

You admit that he enrolled in Theology and admit (I suppose) that his mother and sisters were strong believers. You have offered nothing to support your claim of any agenda (much less one to disprove the existence of God) on the part of Darwin except your own dreams.

The only thing challenged here is your own logic and honesty.

Demonic heretical closet atheists, hell bent on disproving the existence of God, would not be likely to wait 25 years before putting their diabolical plans into action, Jeff. You are letting your faith guide you, not your brain.

Not many historians would describe Darwin's voyage to the Galapagos as a "religious pilgrimage", Jeff. You say you can backup everything you say. Good luck with that one.

Since the days of the Scopes trial, you creationists and ID folks have lost with consistency before the rigors of science and in the Courts. There is a reason for this, as both forums require facts, truth and evidence - concepts with which you are unfamiliar.

You will also see good e... (Below threshold)
mantis:

You will also see good examples of how the Intelligent Design Theory of Evolution is in fact scientific and how it can be tested using the scientific method.

Where? I don't have time to read that entire thread but I did a quick word search and couldn't find any instance of what you're referring to. Where is it defined, and where are specific tests elucidated?

I'm not gonna bother doing all that again as it's impossible to get a fanatic to even question their religious beliefs.

If I'm fanatical about anything, its the value of the scientific method in understanding the natural world. I'm always open to new theories, new data, new hypotheses. The problem is that ID produces none of those. The thread you linked, after a cursory look, supports this.

NASA is doing ID research r... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

NASA is doing ID research right now, but the evolution defenders are not honest enough to admit it.
They have a rigorous scientitfic criteria for detecting information in signals from space to conclude whether they have detected intelligence. Why can't we apply that same scientific criteria to biological systems?

Paul Bunyan,"Excep... (Below threshold)
Gary Baker:

Paul Bunyan,

"Except that they had hard evidence demonstrating how different environmental factors resulted in birds developing differently shaped beaks to fill each niche. ID has gaps and unresolved complexities, no definitive proof of its own, big difference."

No they don't actually. They have hard evidence demonstrating that birds have different shaped beaks and observations of them filling different niches. To the best of my knowledge, they have no reproducible experiments or data that would show under similar events the same type of results would occur.

The basic idea of evolution is a tautology. The best adapted survive and continue to adapt. How do you know they are the best adapted? Because they survive and continue to adapt. The theory holds almost no practical value (outside of understanding genetics, which can fully be understood outside of evolution) because the people that write the books give themselves enough lattitude for anything they can agree on. They decide what constitutes a species, when a new one occurs, but the criteria are hardly set. Are there three major definitions of speciation, or four? Who decides when one applies, but not the others? Inability to produce offspring is one definition. Approximately one out of twelve couples in the US is unable to produce offspring. I guess we have a lot of people out there that aren't really people, huh?

And then there are the behavioral criteria. Selfish behavior is covered by evolution, except that so is selfless behavior...and neutral behavior. And agressive behavior is good, except where docile behavior is favored. And larger predators are more successful, except that sometimes it's better to be a smaller predator.

Scientists have done a lot of good work in excavating, examining, and collecting remnants of what was. I salute them. The collection and testing are the science, and that's fine. The insistence on their worldview is opinion. Educated opinion, to be sure, but opinion all the same. It's a great way to sell books and get tenure, but if it all (evolution related theory)disappeared tomorrow it would be no loss at all.
They're biggest claims are nothing more than guesses that can never be verified.

Why did you direct that com... (Below threshold)
P. Bunyan:

Why did you direct that comment at me Gary?

I agree with most of what you wrote here.

If NASA is interested in it... (Below threshold)
Song-Sae-Nim:

If NASA is interested in it, it must be scientifically noteworthy, LAI?

You exclude the possibility that an organization that depends heavily on politicians for its budget might try and secure more funding by attempting to lend credibility to Christian politicians' very unscientific agenda by calling something supported by nothing but conjecture "science".

"If sedimentary rock layers... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

"If sedimentary rock layers have formed by Berthault's mechanism, then they do not show evidence of macroevolution (large changes from molecules to man) over long periods of time, but are simply the result of what water can do in sorting and transporting particles."

Some may find this site interesting as it goes to the rigors of science as applied to evolution. Warning, this is a creationist web site.

You exclude the possibility... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

You exclude the possibility that an organization that depends heavily on politicians for its budget might try and secure more funding by attempting to lend credibility to Christian politicians' very unscientific agenda by calling something supported by nothing but conjecture "science".
-------------------------------------------------
The same for the "evolution" research. A lot of politics involved there as well. Just keep their funding for sth they know is not supported by empirical data. So they have to hide behind a pseudo-scientific rhetoric to bluff people into supporting them?

Evolution is not science. Honest paleontologists had to call it "hopeful monster" theory to fit the fossil record. And the informational complexity just blows the Darwinian theory out of the water. Honest scientists would follow the empirical data instead of ignoring it to keep a failed theory.


You exclude the possibility... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

You exclude the possibility that an organization that depends heavily on politicians for its budget might try and secure more funding by attempting to lend credibility to Christian politicians
-------------------------------------------------
SSN, you are spinning here. I don't know any "real" christians would believe in extra-terrestrial intelligence. This is in fact an effort to support evolution. Francis Crick when faced with the complexity of the DNA had to conclude that the initial "life" cell cannot be created by natural processes. So it must have come from somewhere else in the universe. That 's their basis for searching extra-terrestrial intelligence. Also this doesn't solve the problem, it just transfer from earth to somewhere else in the universe. But Crick might inadvertently admitted that we need intelligence to create all the informational complexity in the DNA.

You will also see good e... (Below threshold)
mantis:

You will also see good examples of how the Intelligent Design Theory of Evolution is in fact scientific and how it can be tested using the scientific method.

Where? I can't find them.

Robert the original,<... (Below threshold)
Jeff Blogworthy:

Robert the original,

I laid the facts out and you either ignore them or can't comprehend them. I can't help you.

Here is a primer on the ID ... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

Here is a primer on the ID research from Nasa:


http://www.seti.org/site/pp.asp?c=ktJ2J9MMIsE&b=179781

Here's <a href="http://www.... (Below threshold)
mantis:

Here's SETI's response to the attention of ID advocates:

In short, the champions of Intelligent Design make two mistakes when they claim that the SETI enterprise is logically similar to their own: First, they assume that we are looking for messages, and judging our discovery on the basis of message content, whether understood or not. In fact, we're on the lookout for very simple signals. That's mostly a technical misunderstanding. But their second assumption, derived from the first, that complexity would imply intelligence, is also wrong. We seek artificiality, which is an organized and optimized signal coming from an astronomical environment from which neither it nor anything like it is either expected or observed. Very modest complexity, found out of context. This is clearly nothing like looking at DNA's chemical makeup and deducing the work of a supernatural biochemist.

D'oh!

Mantis, You don't e... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

Mantis,
You don't even think before you write. I used a research to support evolution to show you how low a standard they used for the detection of civilization
In fact, we're on the lookout for very simple signals.

Let 's assume that you are objective and don't have any bias. Suppose NASA receives a sequence as specific as the genetic code (Francis Crick was honest enough to admit that), would they conclude that it is noise or it is a code from another civilization from space?

Just to show you how the evolutionists have to twist themselves in pretzels to deny what they are doing. NASA didn't even dare to mention the informational complexity in their statement.

The NASA standard is too low compared to the ID research. We have information in the DNA not just some simple signal.

We seek artificial... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:
We seek artificiality, which is an organized and optimized signal coming from an astronomical environment from which neither it nor anything like it is either expected or observed. Very modest complexity, found out of context.

And they think this separates them from Creationists? What they describe looking for is known on Earth as out-of-place artifacts. For example the Wolfsegg Iron, sometimes referred to as The Salzburg Cube, is a small lump of iron allegedly found within a block of coal at a mine in the village of Wolfsegg in Austria. Here's a link to a bunch of these OOPArts.

If you follow the links you'll find these objects of "very modest complexity found out of context" are used by creationists to refute evolution. SETI is seeking the same type of evidence, just not on Earth. If one accepts that SETI is real science then why are OOPArts rejected by evolutionists? After all, if you accept the possibility of extraterrestrial intelligence it's irrational to reject the possibility that they have visited Earth and left objects behind. Maybe they even left life behind. Maybe Earth has been visited many times and various forms of life at various forms of evolution were left behind. Opps, that would invalidate evolution, so mainstream science says searching for extraterrestrial intelligence is real science, but it's pure poppycock to say such beings visited Earth.

From the <a href="http://ww... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

From the SETI web site

In fact, the signals actually sought by today's SETI searches are not complex, as the ID advocates assume. We're not looking for intricately coded messages, mathematical series, or even the aliens' version of "I Love Lucy." Our instruments are largely insensitive to the modulation - or message - that might be conveyed by an extraterrestrial broadcast.

Maybe that explains whey they are not finding anything. Intelligent beings smart enough to know about other intelligent life in the universe are not likely to transmit a homing beckon. Even the SETI scientists have decided not to transmit such a signal unless there's a consensus to do so. Our own history shows that contact with a more technologically advance civilizations doesn't bode well for the less advanced civilization.

Guest Article: Evolutio... (Below threshold)
Herman Cummings:

Guest Article: Evolution vs. the Observations of Moses

The dictionary gives the following definitions for biological evolution:

1. Change in the genetic composition of a population during successive
generations, as a result of natural selection acting on the genetic
variation among individuals, and resulting in the development of
new species.
2. The historical development of a related group of organisms; phylogeny.

The definition for phylogeny is as follows:

The sequence of events involved in the evolutionary development of a
species or taxonomic group of organisms

Evolution is a fundamental concept in modern biology. Biology is defined
as being:
The science of life and of living organisms, including their structure,
function, growth, origin, evolution, and distribution. It includes botany
and zoology. The life processes or characteristic phenomena of a
group or category of living organisms.

Now, we reach the point of discussing the history of living organisms. When
biology is taught to our students in public schools, what are they required to
learn? It is the theory of evolution, and any and all other explanations are
excluded. Secular science is dogmatic about trying to establish evolution
as an undeniable fact, and is not interested in accepting or exploring other
possibilities, no matter how plausible they may be.

Lets look deeper into evolution. The theory does not take the responsibility
of stating how life originated. It delegates that to the theory of the "Big
Bang", which states that all matter in the universe was somehow contained
In a very small dense hot atom, molecule, or singularity, which exploded
into all the elements and celestial bodies of the universe, about 16 billion
years ago. Never mind what caused that to happen, the origin of the
dense entity, or what was in existence thirty trillion Earth years ago.
Somehow, that explosion of inorganic matter is to have produced organic
attributes somewhere in outer space that would later find its way to
planet Earth and begin to grow.

But before we talk about the growth of life forms, we have to accept the
theory that our solar system was formed from a previous exploded star,
which condensed and re-exploded, much like the Big Bang theory.
However, this was on a relatively small scale. This is called the Nebular
Hypothesis, which has the cloud of gas and dust to start spinning and
flattening out to form the shape of a rotating pancake, with a bulge in
the middle. As the nebula collapses further, instabilities in the collapsing,
rotating cloud cause local regions to begin to contract gravitationally.
These local regions of condensation become the Sun (which was the
bulge in the center) and the planets, as well as their moons and other
debris in the Solar System. Never mind that the nebula was not uniform
and that the local regions had their own unique composition, and that
dust and gas somehow hardens to become gold, silver, copper, and
other metals. Also, never mind about the elliptical orbits.

Now, with supposition upon supposition, we have the Earth formed,
and many years passing by as it cools and becomes suitable for life.
I guess that the molecules of life had to remain in a holding pattern
around Earth until the conditions were "just right" to sustain life
and get the "primordial soup" ready. The Primordial Soup theory
suggests that life began in a pond or ocean as a result of the
combination of chemicals from Earth's atmosphere and some form
of energy to make amino acids, the building blocks of proteins,
which would then supposedly evolve into all the species. It seems
that secular science is only interested in theories that are the best
sounding fantasies, as long as it does not address the reality of
the supernatural.

For decades, evolutionists have been claiming, that the first life
on Earth appeared in that "primordial soup" consisting of some
body of water loaded with chemicals necessary for the start of life.
This "warm little pond" was believed to have been struck by an
electrical discharge (the energy source) which caused the chemicals
to form complex protein molecules, which eventually brought forth
life. From this first life, evolutionists hypothesize, all other life on
Earth evolved. Never mind how water formed on Earth, we will
only unravel just so much in this article.

Now, we have finally reached solid evidence to examine, which is
the fossil record of past life forms, and the evidence of past geologic
ages on Earth. We have tangible data, but secular science has its
own conclusions concerning that data. Science concludes that since
the simplest organisms of life appear at what is considered to be the
earliest periods of time that Earth was inhabitable (maybe about 1
Billion BC), and the life forms found seems to become more complex
and abundant as time progresses, that this constitutes the "fact" of
evolution. Never mind that the theory allows for the fully formed
species to be much more abundant, and the expected transitional
forms are extremely hard to find, or are actually non-existent. If
there were transitional forms, they should be just as easy to find,
and abundant, as the other fossils.

Enough about evolution. What about the "Observations of Moses"?
Well, we have to clarify some things first. Those that try to compare
creationism with evolution do not understand the facts. Creationism
is the undisciplined doctrine that the Holy Bible (Genesis) teaches
how God created the Earth. That is false. There are no "creation
accounts" in Genesis, as stated by the "foremost terrestrial
authority" on the book. Genesis states that God created our universe,
but it does not give us details on the process. The Bible only gives
us the amount of time (144 hours) it took to complete, and God rested
on the seventh day (24 hrs). What we can gather is that the supernatural
realm, gave birth to our natural existence in one week, about 4.6 billion
years ago.

What Genesis does give us is what we must call the Observations
of Moses (OM). God showed Moses, on Mt. Sinai in 1598 BC, six
days from the ancient past which Moses would later write down (or
have written) in the book of Genesis. Theology mistakenly calls them
the "Six Days of Creation", but that too is false, because bible
scholars, other creationists, and theologians do not understand the
text, and have misled mankind into thinking that early Genesis is
just "folklore".

What mankind in general does not know is that God was defining
geologic time to Moses, but Moses did not understand. Centuries
before mankind discovered the fossil record (of death), and the
notion of the Geologic Time Scale, the only account of prehistoric
history was given to the chosen nation of Israel. God did not show
Moses how the sphere of outer space and our Earth were created,
but showed him one day from each of the different past geologic
ages of time, as defined by God, in biblical order..., not
chronological order.

Science teachers are required to learn and teach their students the
suppositions of biological and stellar evolution, and exclude what
is taught in Genesis. Why? Is it because there is no evidence?
That is not true, because Genesis reveals the previous living
existence of the life forms that mankind would later find in the
geologic strata as fossils, and also declares the existence of life forms
that have not yet been discovered, such as prehistoric mankind of
40+ million years ago.

The Observations of Moses tell us that God created different life
forms on Earth in each of seven different geologic ages in which He
defines. The Eternal Spirit allowed Moses to be the only modern
human to see those prehistoric animals, living as they were in the
geologic age in which they lived on Earth. This is why there are no
"transitional forms", because when a total extinction occurred to
all surface life, God would created new life forms out of the ground
to replace them, after an interval of time.

Every state governor (in the USA) and their educational supervising
administrators were contacted in the fall of 2005 about this. Yet
none of them have taken any step to secure training for their
teachers. They continue to allow indoctrination of their students
in the prejudice of secular science, which refuses to investigate the
reality of our origins. A twelve hour course is available for science
teachers in order to help them to give a more balanced education to
their students.

If we learn nothing else, please be advised that there is no such
controversy between evolution and creationism. The correct
"match ups" are the combined theories of both the Big Bang and
Nebular Breakdown against Biblical Creation, and also evolution
against the Observations of Moses.

A new era of understanding is coming, because the first book ever written
about Biblical Creation is about to be printed soon. The title of the book
is "Moses Didn't Write About Creation!!", written by Ephraim. It dives
into areas that no other has dared to discuss, and reveals the truth of
Genesis.

Herman Cummings
PO Box 1745
Fortson GA, 31808
[email protected]

Herman,There's sim... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

Herman,

There's simply no need to resort to such contortions to reconcile the Bible with evolution. A proper understanding of John 2:1-11 is all that's needed to see that the literal reading of Genesis and mainstream evolution can both be true. If you want to know why God made it that way read 1 Corinthians 1:18-31.

Christians get it all wrong... (Below threshold)
Song-Sae-Nim:

Christians get it all wrong. It was by the grace of His Noodly Appendage that all life on Earth has come to fruition. Pitch your crosses into the ocean and strap on your eye patch, lest global warming be the death of ye.

How in the name of the Flying Spaghetti Monster did a discussion of the Bible become relevant to ID vs. evolution? Even if a designer can be inferred, and scientists think that it can't, how do you make the leap to a book that must be so far divorced from its original content that it might as well be a different book entirely? If there was a designer, as the evidence does not in fact imply, why do you assume that there was one? Why do you use masculine pronouns to refer to the singular deity?

Gary:No they do... (Below threshold)
sean nyc/aa:

Gary:

No they don't actually. They have hard evidence demonstrating that birds have different shaped beaks and observations of them filling different niches. To the best of my knowledge, they have no reproducible experiments or data that would show under similar events the same type of results would occur.

You're right, they didn't. What they had was a logical, naturally explained justification for how these birds adapted to fill these niches, but no they could not time travel to see the birds actually evolve step by step over millions of years. If you want to consider evolution heretical dogma for that reason, then there's little I can do to change your mind.

This also reminds me of Heisenberg's uncertainty theory and quantum theory in a way. Under Heisenberg, if an observer wishes to measure a particle's position or velocity, you can only do it with so much accuracy. Under quantum theory, if an observer wishes to measure a photon (particle of light) or a particle, measuring it breaks the wave/particle duality and it is only measured as a particle. Using the same basic principles, the reason we could not observe a similar system to what the birds evolved in and have the same outcome because our observation of that system alters its conditions.

That, and of course that recorded history is only 4000 years old, and Abraham wasn't keeping logs of his science experiments, so we haven't seen evolution in our specie's existence. But you're probably right, I should just take the word of a 2000 year old book. What was I thinking?

The best adapted survive and continue to adapt. How do you know they are the best adapted? Because they survive and continue to adapt.

I see why you don't like this, but what do you want, the weakest species to survive? And this aspect of evolution we do observe in nature today, look at the hierarchy of monkeys, lions, and wolves where the alpha male gets to breed with whomever he chooses and weaker males are lucky if they get to pass along their genes and their offspring is not killed by the alpha male. There you go, observable, testable, empirical proof of evolution.

The theory holds almost no practical value (outside of understanding genetics, which can fully be understood outside of evolution)

Can it? What about all that "informational complexity" LAI keeps yakking about? What's all that doing there? How did it get there? Isn't it possible it's the remnants of our evolutionary history? That over the eons we've copied an extra protein here or there, jumbled one or two, had a couple fold improperly, have an extra one every so often (Down's syndrome), and sometimes these changes actually make things work better, or not, or it makes no difference. But all those times it worked better make quite a difference over the long run while the ones that do worse are weeded out. Like it or not, that's just the way it is, and always will be.

Selfish behavior is covered by evolution, except that so is selfless behavior...and neutral behavior. And agressive behavior is good, except where docile behavior is favored. And larger predators are more successful, except that sometimes it's better to be a smaller predator.

You have to be more specific, because in different environments, all can be advantageous or not. So for a while maybe small predators are dominant, but then the climate changes and gets colder so these predators need to build up more fat so they get bigger. Or a larger predator is dominant in the savannah, but expands its territory to a jungle setting where it needs to be more nimble to weave through the trees to catch its prey. Or large squid in the deep ocean needs to be aggressive because food is scarce, but then it moves to shallower depths and is more visible so it becomes smaller and develops camaflouge. So yes, your point is true because different scenarios require different adjustments, and species that can make those adjustments propogate, ie evolution.

The insistence on their worldview is opinion. Educated opinion, to be sure, but opinion all the same. It's a great way to sell books and get tenure, but if it all (evolution related theory)disappeared tomorrow it would be no loss at all.

Maybe so, you're entitled to that opinion. But I'm also entitled to believe you're flat out wrong and, sorry to say it but, pretty damn foolish. Neither of us can be proven wrong.

They're biggest claims are nothing more than guesses that can never be verified.

At best no different for ID, but I'd actually say ID has it even worse off. At least evolution can fill in those gaps and finds those "hopeful monsters", or model and test the early earth chemistry to see how DNA might have originated.

ID, on the other hand, is only giving God arbitrary jobs and weakening his value by inserting him into roles from which he can be invalidated if a natural explanation is found.

There is a level of agreement we can reach: that God and nature are the process and science is figuring out that process.

SeanCan it? What abo... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

Sean
Can it? What about all that "informational complexity" LAI keeps yakking about? What's all that doing there? How did it get there? Isn't it possible it's the remnants of our evolutionary history? That over the eons we've copied an extra protein here or there, jumbled one or two, had a couple fold improperly, have an extra one every so often (Down's syndrome), and sometimes these changes actually make things work better, or not, or it makes no difference. But all those times it worked better make quite a difference over the long run while the ones that do worse are weeded out. Like it or not, that's just the way it is, and always will be.
-------------------------------------------------
Sean,
You really don't know what you are talking about and you are simply bluffing. Long post full of bluffing. You don't know the scale of the problem you are facing, you simply repeat the typical cheap spin you picked up from places like TalkOrigin etc...
The big evolutionists know better. Francis Crick won a Nobel prize for the discovery of the DNA. He knew that no way the conditions on earth could create the first "life" cell with all the informational complexity in the DNA. So he must posit that life must begin somewhere in the universe. The whole premise of the SETI program is to do just that.
YOu simply come here and spout cheap rhetoric when you don't even know the scale of the problem you are dealing with. Evolution is simply a religion to you.

Here is what another big ev... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

Here is what another big evolutionist, Lewontin (an evolutionary geneticist) had to say. Note that
they are honest enough to admit their prior commitment to materialism in spite of contrary evidences. In other words, they openly admitted that they are willing to discard evidences to keep the philosophy (i.e. THEY ARE NOT CONSTRAINED BY EVIDENCES). These guys know that they are simply committed to a philosophy (i.e a religion) and they have to defend it dogmatically.

We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism. It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counterintuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door....

[All quotes are from Lewontin, "Billions and Billions of Demons," in the New York Review of Books, January 9, 1997.]

Herman:In general,... (Below threshold)
sean nyc/aa:

Herman:

In general, I think you're a little off your rocker, but here are my thoughts on your lengthy post.

It delegates that to the theory of the "Big Bang", which states that all matter in the universe was somehow contained In a very small dense hot atom, molecule, or singularity, which exploded into all the elements and celestial bodies of the universe, about 16 billion
years ago. Never mind what caused that to happen, the origin of the dense entity, or what was in existence thirty trillion Earth years ago.

This I agree with, there is nothing science can do to explain pre-Big Bang. That is let entirely to the realm of religion and philosophy.

Somehow, that explosion of inorganic matter is to have produced organic attributes somewhere in outer space that would later find its way to
planet Earth and begin to grow.

Here you're wrong. The early universe is believed to have been a hot plasma of quarks and hydrogen. Once it cooled slightly, it was pretty much all hydrogen (which it still is, I think hydrogen is 90+% of all mass in the universe.)

Also, inorganic and organic matter is a term specific to the earth climate we know. There may very well be life forms composed of what we might call inorganic matter on a world with a different atmosphere, with different gravitational conditions, and under a different star emitted different wavelengths of light. Whether or not we could even communicate with a life form like this in unknown and may never be known.

These local regions of condensation become the Sun (which was the bulge in the center) and the planets, as well as their moons and other
debris in the Solar System. Never mind that the nebula was not uniform and that the local regions had their own unique composition, and that
dust and gas somehow hardens to become gold, silver, copper, and other metals. Also, never mind about the elliptical orbits.

Think of the solar system as a big centrifuge. Fluids (which this nebulus was as gas is a fluid) of different densities will settle out at various depths from the center. That is why Venus, Earth, and Mars are relatively similar, and the gas giants: Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune are also relatively similar. Why they settled in this way, I'm not sure, but there are probably physicists who do. As far a gold, silver, etc. go, they come from the fusion and explosion of the early star to mention. Solar fusion cannot create an atomic with atomic weight above iron (I believe 28 of the top of my mind). Heavier atoms require an influx of energy greater than that of fusion, which the explosion (a supernova is an example of such an event) provides. And your elliptical orbit point, that's all Einstein. So all your "never minds" have pretty much been answered already, you may just not be aware of it.

The Primordial Soup theory suggests that life began in a pond or ocean as a result of the
combination of chemicals from Earth's atmosphere and some form of energy to make amino acids, the building blocks of proteins, which would then supposedly evolve into all the species.

Actually it's believed the very first elements of life were formed in an environment of noxious ammonia, methane, and sulfur, something that life today could never survive (except possibly life which exists in oceanic vents). The "some form of energy" you're so vague about is 1) heat, 2) ultraviolet solar radiation, which reached the surface because the ozone layer did not form, and 3) collisions from meteors which may have brought unique elements our molecules which formed under conditions different than that on earth. But then yes, things would calm and cool down allowing more complicated life forms to fluorish.

It seems that secular science is only interested in theories that are the best sounding fantasies, as long as it does not address the reality of the supernatural.

Clearly no, I just explained it all rather succinctly and reasonably I thought. Then your second sentence is an oxymoron: "the reality of the supernatural". Something is supernatural because it is not part of regular reality.

For decades, evolutionists have been claiming, that the first life on Earth appeared in that "primordial soup" consisting of some
body of water loaded with chemicals necessary for the start of life. This "warm little pond" was believed to have been struck by an electrical discharge (the energy source) which caused the chemicals to form complex protein molecules, which eventually brought forth life.

The first primordial soup, as you call it, did not contain any water. The earth was too hot, it would have boiled off. The second "primordial" soup (if that's even possible to have a second primordial, another oxymoron I suppose) did consist of some water with these chemicals mixed in. This stage of evolutionary development is clearly one of the harder to theorize because it is so foreign to the environment we're accustomed to. But as I stated early, we've only recently discovered life forms in oceanic vents. Maybe they will give us clues as to how life progressed from these early stages. Oh, and your electrical discharge is pretty easy to explain, it's called lightning. Or it could have been more high energy radiation from the sun, or both.

Never mind how water formed on Earth, we will
only unravel just so much in this article.

Could it have possibly been combustion? You know, methane and other hydrocarbons burning with oxygen. Or possibly a reaction of ammonia (NH3) with oxygen in some way. This I'm not as familiar with, but there are plenty of reactions that yield water as a product. Someone has probably figured this out.

Never mind that the theory allows for the fully formed species to be much more abundant, and the expected transitional forms are extremely hard to find, or are actually non-existent.

I don't get what you mean by "allow". A theory "allows" what it observes in nature. If that's what is observed, then that's was is "allowed".

But maybe your premise is wrong. Maybe they weren't more abundant, just the environmental conditions for fossilizing were better at this later stage of development so we found more fossils. Maybe the early life forms were cannibals and ate so many of the transitional species it required some significant advancement to prevent this, and that is why there are no transistional fossils.

I hope you realize I'm just hypothesizing alternatives which fall under evolution to refute that idea that only ID can explain this. I realize it's unlikely any of these can be proven.

Enough about evolution. What about the "Observations of Moses"?

No thanks.

In summary, we have shown i... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

In summary, we have shown in this discussion that evolution is not a science. It is a pseudo-scientific belief. Large scale evolution (ie macro) is not supported by the data in the fossil record. Now the informational complexity of the DNA is a fundamental problem for this "evolution". The data simply point in the opposite direction of the philosophy or the theory. Honest science would openly and honestly admit the scale of the problem and move away from the failed theory. Instead the defenders of evolution ignore, minimize, or brush aside the data in order to cling to their belief.

On the other side, there should be no fundamental reason to oppose to ID research since NASA is doing it in searching for extra-terrestrial intelligence. Note that NASA scientific program even has a far lower standard than ID research. Again, defenders of evolution just arbitrarily change the definition of science to exclude competing theory. This is again not real science.

In short, evolution has become a dogmatic ( even anti-science) religion. Defenders of evolution in this thread like Sean, SSN etc.. don't really know the scale of the problem evolution is facing. I am not sure they even know that they have been deceived into defending a dogmatic pseudo-scientific religion.


Mac Lorry:I just r... (Below threshold)
sean nyc/aa:

Mac Lorry:

I just read the John and Corinthians sections you mention. I guess I don't have the proper understanding of John, because I don't at all see how that passage is relevant.

Corinthians makes much more sense with regards to this discussion. Whether that means anything, it depends on your interpretation of the Bible.

LAI:You don't k... (Below threshold)
sean nyc/aa:

LAI:

You don't know the scale of the problem you are facing,

Maybe not and I can admit that, I already have acknowledged that evolution has shortcomings in multiple areas. But I have been able to propose hypotheses completely independent of ID which could explain these gaps. What gives you the belief that ID is the answer rather than something else? Also, why do you feel you know the scale of the problem so well?

By the way, I've never read TalkOrigin, so if my statements agree with them it's just coincidence (or maybe not since all us evolution believers have been brainwashed).

And I would love to see the Crick quote. When did he make it? Did he factor in the computing power man would achieve? Did he say we'd never sequence the genome? What des Watson say, since he discovered DNA with Crick, so his opinion should be valued like Crick's, right?

With regards to NASA and SETI - I don't really care about SETI. I think there are much better things to spend money on. And whether it's similar to ID research or will prove evolution because life that contacts us will have evolved on another planet, I don't know. It just seems strange that both sides can argue that the same program supports their viewpoint.

Song-Sae-Nim,<blockqu... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

Song-Sae-Nim,

How in the name of the Flying Spaghetti Monster did a discussion of the Bible become relevant to ID vs. evolution?

Who says it a thread about ID vs. evolution? You better go back and take a look at Jay's story.

Even if a designer can be inferred, and scientists think that it can't, how do you make the leap to a book that must be so far divorced from its original content that it might as well be a different book entirely?

Wrong again. That's what a lot of lazy intellectuals would like to believe but the truth is that the books of the Bible are nearly unchanged from their most ancient known sources. Leaves of papyri from the 1st Century have been discovered that contain portions of the book of "John". From such papyri we know that the book of John existed in it's current Greek form at a very early date and likely during the lifetime of Saint John. The Chester Beatty collection contains hundreds of such leaves. Then there are the Dead Sea Scrolls, archaeological finds and other ancient documents. The New Testament contains hundreds of factual statements about places, people and distances. All of these facts can be independently verified have proven the New Testament correct The supernatural aspects of the Bible are a matter of faint but the Bible has been scientifically proven to be both authentic and accurate in it's verifiable detail. Go check it out for yourself if you dare. That how many skeptics of the past have become Christians.

I trust your faith isn't fa... (Below threshold)
kim:

I trust your faith isn't faint.
=================

Sean, you've got a clue the... (Below threshold)
kim:

Sean, you've got a clue there with your phrase 'regular reality' in your 12:40 post. Follow that thought up. Google solipsism, too.
================================

Do you see now why it is us... (Below threshold)
kim:

Do you see now why it is useful to debate ID and evolution in public?
===============================

sean,The miracle o... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

sean,

The miracle of water to wine as recorded in John 2:1-11 is unlike any other miracle Jesus did in His earthly ministry. This is a miracle of creation; a small example to be sure, but nevertheless we can learn some important principles from it. When the headwaiter examined the wine he determined it was better than that which had been first served and commented as he did because that was unusual. Good wine is evidence of grape vines growing in good soil and receiving ample sun and rain. Good wine is also evidence of a proper harvest, pressing and fermenting. In spite of the at least 130 gallons of this evidence, the living grape vines, the growing season, the harvest, pressing and fermenting NEVER existed. This demonstrates how the literal reading of Genesis could be true and the fossil record could also be true. The universe was simply created in a mature state complete with evidence to mask that creation. I'm not saying there are no other explanations that also reconcile the literal reading of Genesis and the fossil record, but this one is complete from within the Bible itself.

From 1 Corinthians 1:18-31 you can see why God would created the universe in such a way. God has chosen faith as the ONLY means of finding Him. If the universe was created in such a way that the very smartest person could know God from examining the universe, then that person would not need faith. That person could then boast to God that like in the Wizard of Oz, I pulled back the curtain you hid yourself with and found you by my own ability. There is simply no place in the age to come for the proud and stubborn. God nor any of the rest of us could suffer them for eternity. This age is all about filtering out those who cannot be compatible with the age to come.

God has placed the greatest treasure in plan sight where the most mentally disadvantaged can easily grasp it, and yet the proud of heart will never find it unless they humble themselves.

Sean,And ... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

Sean,

And whether it's similar to ID research or will prove evolution because life that contacts us will have evolved on another planet, I don't know.

For the assertion to be true, that contact with extraterrestrial intelligent life proves evolution, you must also prove no interstellar travel is possible. If interstellar travel is possible then life anywhere may just have been brought from it's original place of creation. Nonetheless, such contact would have a profound impact on religion. If interstellar travel is not only possible, but prevalent, it disproves evolution as we know it because life from various places and in various stages of development may have been brought from other places. Simple life may have even been created by advanced civilizations. The gaps in the fossil records would then be readily explained, but the science of evolution would be profoundly impacted. How would you know what had evolved from what when it might not have even been a native life form.

Similarly, some scientists have been trying to produce life in the laboratory in an attempt to prove a natural start to life, and thus, evolution. However, they inevitably prove creation is possible by doing the very thing they are trying to disprove; create life.

we are all equally lost sin... (Below threshold)

we are all equally lost since we are unable to agree on a single thing that serves as a base for both science and religion. Einstein found such a base but was unable to complete his theory in math terms using that base. What is that base? "there is no such thing as force (or action) at a distance" I have completed what Enstein started... in simple algebraic terms, no tensor math needed---Frank Morgan

It's turtles all the way do... (Below threshold)
kim:

It's turtles all the way down, and always has been, fools.
==================================

SeanCan it? What abo... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

Sean
Can it? What about all that "informational complexity" LAI keeps yakking about? What's all that doing there? How did it get there? Isn't it possible it's the remnants of our evolutionary history? That over the eons we've copied an extra protein here or there, jumbled one or two, had a couple fold improperly, have an extra one every so often (Down's syndrome), and sometimes these changes actually make things work better, or not, or it makes no difference. But all those times it worked better make quite a difference over the long run while the ones that do worse are weeded out. Like it or not, that's just the way it is, and always will be.
-------------------------------------------------
What you wrote here is more like a fairy-tale than science. What are the detailed sequences that can be verified every step of the way? You can show an experiment to demonstrate the existence of gravity now. You cannot do that with "evolution". That 's why honest paleontologists had to admit that it is a "hopeful monster" theory. Your writing above fits with the "hopeful monster" theory as well.


And I would love to see the Crick quote. When did he make it? Did he factor in the computing power man would achieve?
-------------------------------------------------
So evolution needs "human intelligence" now? I thought we are talking about random natural processes. You inadvertently put "intelligence" into evolution. That is a very commmon mistake. Even Tim Berra had to use the "Corvette" evolution to illustrate "natural evolution". He forgot the Corvette was intelligently designed by 3M. Did he say we'd never sequence the genome? What des Watson say, since he discovered DNA with Crick, so his opinion should be valued like Crick's, right?
-------------------------------------------------
So you think Watson would say that a computer, which has the same basic fundamental chemicals as the bird, can come together by itself by a random process over billion of years?


With regards to NASA and SETI - I don't really care about SETI. I think there are much better things to spend money on. And whether it's similar to ID research or will prove evolution because life that contacts us will have evolved on another planet, I don't know. It just seems strange that both sides can argue that the same program supports their viewpoint.
-------------------------------------------------
I just show you by logic that the people who use intelligent design research to support evolution don't even know it. You did it in the same thread here. Just look at the premise and logic of SETI. Search for Extra-Terretrial Intelligence. What are they doing? Search for intelligence, right? Can you use your own logic to see that there is no fundamental reason to oppose ID now?

CorrectionAnd I wo... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

Correction

And I would love to see the Crick quote. When did he make it? Did he factor in the computing power man would achieve?
-------------------------------------------------
So evolution needs "human intelligence" now? I thought we are talking about random natural processes. You inadvertently put "intelligence" into evolution. That is a very commmon mistake. Even Tim Berra had to use the "Corvette" evolution to illustrate "natural evolution". He forgot the Corvette was intelligently designed by GM.


Did he say we'd never sequence the genome? What des Watson say, since he discovered DNA with Crick, so his opinion should be valued like Crick's, right?
-------------------------------------------------
So you think Watson would say that a computer, which has the same basic fundamental chemicals as the bird, can come together by itself by a random process over billion of years?

Sean, Here is a simp... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

Sean,
Here is a simple primer for you on Crick. If we are intellectually honest, we would see that there is no reason to oppose ID.

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

Crick and Orgel further speculated about the possibility that the production of living systems from molecules may have been a very rare event in the universe, but once it had developed it could be spread by intelligent life forms using space travel technology, a process they called "Directed Panspermia"

LAI:Wow, did you e... (Below threshold)
sean nyc/aa:

LAI:

Wow, did you even read what you linked to? Some particularly interesting passages:

For Crick, the mind is a product of physical brain activity and the brain had evolved by natural means over millions of years. Crick felt that it was important that evolution by natural selection be taught in public schools and that it was regrettable that English schools had compulsory religious instruction. Crick felt that a new scientific world view was rapidly being established, and predicted that once the detailed workings of the brain were eventually revealed, erroneous Christian concepts about the nature of man and the world would no longer be tenable; traditional conceptions of the "soul" would be replaced by a new understanding of the physical basis of mind. He was skeptical of organized religion and did not believe existence of God, referring to himself as a skeptic and an agnostic with "a strong inclination towards atheism".

Crick and Orgel noted that they had been overly pessimistic about the chances of abiogenesis [ed: formation of life for inanimate compounds] on Earth when they had assumed that some kind of self-replicating protein system was the molecular origin of life. Now it is easier to imagine an RNA world and the origin of life in the form of some self-replicating polymer besides protein.

Steyn's critique of Crick ignored the fact that Crick never held a belief in panspermia. Crick explored the hypothesis that it might be possible for life forms to be moved from one planet to another. What "drove" Crick towards speculation about directed panspermia was the difficulty of imagining how a complex system like a cell could arise under pre-biotic conditions from non-living chemical components. After ribozymes were discovered, Crick became much less interested in panspermia because it was then much easier to imagine the pre-biotic origins of life as being made possible by some set of simple self-replicating polymers.

It has been suggested by some observers that Crick's speculation about panspermia, "fits neatly into the intelligent design concept."[52] Crick's name was raised in this context in the Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District trial over the teaching of intelligent design. However, as a scientist, Crick was concerned with the power of natural processes such as evolution to account for natural phenomena and felt that religiously inspired beliefs are often wrong and cannot be trusted to provide a sound basis for science.
Crick wrote, "The age of the earth is now established beyond any reasonable doubt as very great, yet in the United States millions of Fundamentalists still stoutly defend the naive view that it is relatively short, an opinion deduced from reading the Christian Bible too literally. They also usually deny that animals and plants have evolved and changed radically over such long periods, although this is equally well established. This gives one little confidence that what they have to say about the process of natural selection is likely to be unbiased, since their views are predetermined by a slavish adherence to religious dogmas." (source: The Astonishing Hypothesis)
In a 1987 case before the Supreme Court, Crick joined a group of other Nobel laureates who advised that, "'Creation-science' simply has no place in the public-school science classroom."[53] Crick was also an advocate for the establishment of Darwin Day as a British national holiday.[54]

---
So please tell how exactly Crick concedes that ID is a possible alternative to evolution. Even when he did (but that opinion changed as the chemistry was discovered), it was more like Scientology where aliens planted some sort of seed which grew, not the influence of a supernatural force. So is that what you are advocating, that we teach Scientology in school as science? You must be joking.

So evolution needs "human intelligence" now? I thought we are talking about random natural processes. You inadvertently put "intelligence" into evolution. That is a very commmon mistake.

You are incredibly dense. I was not comparing the development of computers to evolution. I was pointing out how when Crick made his hypothesis about panspermia, the computing power that exists today did not exist then. We have used this computing power to do things he may never thought possible. Maybe he thought we'd never have the tools to dissect and sequence the genome, but we do now. And with that ability we already made incredible advances in multiple fields, yet you're still arguing all this science is junk just scrap it.

Why? What is your problem with scientific achievement? Why do you insist upon thinking that ID will achieve more when the current research is already achieving so much?

So evolution needs "human i... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

So evolution needs "human intelligence" now? I thought we are talking about random natural processes. You inadvertently put "intelligence" into evolution. That is a very commmon mistake.

You are incredibly dense. I was not comparing the development of computers to evolution. I was pointing out how when Crick made his hypothesis about panspermia, the computing power that exists today did not exist then. We have used this computing power to do things he may never thought possible. Maybe he thought we'd never have the tools to dissect and sequence the genome, but we do now. And with that ability we already made incredible advances in multiple fields, yet you're still arguing all this science is junk just scrap it.
------------------------------------------------
So computer simulation and not real experiments to verify evolution? Is this real science? Crick is honest enough to say that life must have begun somewhere in the universe. Advance in computer design and algorithms are the work of INTELLIGENT DESIGN not evolution. Much advance has been achieved by INTELLIGENT DESIGN.

Sean, you are so dense and really don't know what you are talking about. You said you want to use your own logic: so I ask you a question for you to use your own logic now. The computer has the same basic chemicals as the bird and it is governed by the same natural laws. Can the computer comes together by itself over billions of years?


Why? What is your problem with scientific achievement? Why do you insist upon thinking that ID will achieve more when the current research is already achieving so much?
--------------------------------------------------
You are the one who has problems with scientific advancement. Modern scientific evidence of the informational complexity of the DNA show that Darwinian evolution is a fairy tale (as your own writing indicated). Why are you still trying to cling to it? For intellectual honesty 's sake, can we agree that there is no fundamental reason to oppose ID now?


I gave you the link to the Crick 's page to show you that the big evolutionists know better but they chose to ignore the evidence to cling to their naturalist belief. That 's why evolution is not science. It is a pseudo-scientific belief. And its defenders are dogmatic in that belief

What you post from Crick just confirms what Lewontin wrote here
---------------
Here is what another big evolutionist, Lewontin (an evolutionary geneticist) had to say. Note that
they are honest enough to admit their prior commitment to materialism in spite of contrary evidences. In other words, they openly admitted that they are willing to discard evidences to keep the philosophy (i.e. THEY ARE NOT CONSTRAINED BY EVIDENCES). These guys know that they are simply committed to a philosophy (i.e a religion) and they have to defend it dogmatically.

We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism. It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counterintuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door....

[All quotes are from Lewontin, "Billions and Billions of Demons," in the New York Review of Books, January 9, 1997.]


LAI:So computer... (Below threshold)
sean nyc/aa:

LAI:

So computer simulation and not real experiments to verify evolution? Is this real science?

Yes. That is how some science is done today. Let me welcome you to the 21st century.

Crick is honest enough to say that life must have begun somewhere in the universe.

Stop using this argument, it's clearly false as I quoted the website you linked to showing Crick supported evolution. He only hypothesized that panspermia was possible, but did not accept this as the absolute explanation for life on our planet. Can you be intellectually honest and actually read what I quoted?

Advance in computer design and algorithms are the work of INTELLIGENT DESIGN not evolution. Much advance has been achieved by INTELLIGENT DESIGN.

Again, I am not comparing the development of computers to evolution. According you, everything humans do is INTELLIGENT DESIGN. I took a dump this morning, does that mean my crap is intelligently designed or at least the fact that I can crap is intelligently designed? Be intellectually honest and admit my turd is evidence of intellegent design.

The computer has the same basic chemicals as the bird and it is governed by the same natural laws. Can the computer comes together by itself over billions of years?

This is a perplexing question, no doubt about it. I would argue, though, that any attempts to answer it would be philosophical (wondering about our own intelligence/consciousness and how this effects our interpretation of the creation of birds and computers; wondering what is the meaning of "by itself" - is anything truly "by itself"? the bird didn't form "by itself", it had ancestors procreating to lead to it, an environment molding it, food nurturing it, etc.). So to answer your question, it is highly unlikely computers could be created without an intelligent being like humans.

Let me phrase it this way in a way you might like: Humans created computers, so humans are intelligent. Evolution created humans, so evolution is intelligent. Can you be intellectually honest and admit evolution is intelligent?

But, wait, what does this mean, that evolution and intelligent design could actually be in agreement, not that evolution is a dead science that can be discarded as you insist? That the theory of evolution has itself ... evolved?

Now, for a different take, let's go with your reasoning for a minute to see where it leads us. ID started life on this earth somehow (this still isn't resolved in ID, it could be aliens planting a seed, a divine force shaping our DNA, or the laws of nature themselves defined in a certain way to lead to us, which I said earlier there is no scientfic way to test anything before the Big Bang and means that ID, in my opinion, is not much different than evolution; so generally I don't see how ID resolves anything that evolution lacks, if anything, they just overlap in some areas). Anyway, so ID starts life, and long story short, leads to humans.

Now humans exist and create computers. Maybe the first connection of the internet was its own "Big Bang". So by us creating computers (or bridges, or rockets, or anything), this shows everything must be intelligently designed? Why? Because we have intelligence and create things which otherwise would not occur? Why is it a logical statement to say "I can intelligently design, therefore I am intelligently designed"? This is similar the the philosophical statement, "I think therefore I am."

So I will agree that this is true, but science requires the proof. Where is that physical proof to support it as science rather than philosophy?

I do see what you're getting at, and I it's worthwhile to discuss these things as we are. But there is no physical science here, at least not any that does not already exist in the form of evolution. At best ID is social science by conducting thought experiments, of which philosophy is a social science. Again, where is your hard, tangible proof of ID where it differs from evolution that physical science demands?

Remember, the main argument against ID is that it should not be taught in biology class, not that it is wrong. And the reason it should not replace evolution in the biology class is because where it attempts to define evolution's gaps, it relies on supernatural forces which cannot be tested and are not scientific.

Modern scientific evidence of the informational complexity of the DNA show that Darwinian evolution is a fairy tale (as your own writing indicated). Why are you still trying to cling to it? For intellectual honesty 's sake, can we agree that there is no fundamental reason to oppose ID now?

The informational complexity of DNA has not shown Darwinian evolution to be a fairy tale, regardless of my writing. Provide proof of this other than your misunderstanding of what Crick says. And I am intellectually honest enough to admit ID can be studied as a philosophy, I already have. Are you intellectually honest enough to admit that evolution should not be discarded for the litany of reasons I've given?

I gave you the link to the Crick's page to show you that the big evolutionists know better but they chose to ignore the evidence to cling to their naturalist belief.

You showed me Crick's page on which it quotes Crick himself saying that he was a strident believer in evolution. Are you intellectually honest to admit you didn't even read your own link?

We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism.

First off, this guy dismisses the the achievements science has attained with regard to improving health and life, so I can barely take him seriously from the start. Are X-rays, surgery, chemotherapy, MRIs, pharmaceuticals, and on and on that useless that he just dismisses science's achievement as a "failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life"? Do you agree with him that science has done nothing to improve our health and life? If so, you should refuse medical treatment next time you're sick, see how that works out for you.

It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counterintuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated.

In a way, yes, that is how science works. It does not seek to explain the supernatural nor does it use the supernatural as its explanations. It uses hard evidence it has gathered and logical deductions it can prove from that evidence (I know, I know, evolution can't be proven, blah blah blah, I've already addressed it, but you may still not accept it).

Mac Lorry and I were having this discussion before about God's role in science. Namely that he doesn't have much of one unless you believe that the study of science is figuring out how God works. So science and evolution can never prove or disprove God. God can easily exist with evolution as the cause for the progress of life. In fact, I've already argued that using God to fill in the gaps is actually worse, as ID does, rather than saying God is evolution. God is also gravity, and intelligence, and consciousness, and love, and hate, and anything else you can think of because he's imagination too. But despite being all these things, I don't want you teaching God in my science class. If you don't like that, then apparently you don't like the Constitution.

Have you not figured out ye... (Below threshold)
kim:

Have you not figured out yet that teaching epistemology is not teaching God? Look, obviously, you have a subtle intelligence. And then you come out with crap like that.
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There are hundreds of dog b... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

There are hundreds of dog breeds all produced from wild dogs through selective breeding. Regardless of the dramatic differences in size and shape all dogs belong to the subspecies Canis lupus familiaris

Using the rules evolutionists apply to categorize fossils I speculate they would place existing dog breads into dozens of species and subspecies, just as they have done with birds that are nearly identical except for beak length and shape. This simulation of evolution of dogs into hundreds of breeds is dramatic both in it's speed and range of changes, yet even under such evolutionary pressure all descendents remain in one subspecies.

Does evolution then explain the origin of species or does ignorance and career pressure explain the arbitrary creation of species by evolutionists? Without living organisms to examine it's difficult to know what's a new species and what's a race within a species. Even with living organisms the acclaim that comes from discovering a new species creates career pressure to claim new species. Being all evolutionists are in the same situation, rules are added and changed to allow for more and more species so that careers can go forward. The law of survival of the most published is definitely at work within the community of evolutionists.

Teach evolution in public schools, but in order to balance that teaching classes in logic and the limitations of scientific inquirer should also be required at the same time. Otherwise, the kids are being exposed only to the propaganda of people who have a vested interest in monopolizing the discussion. Critical thinking skills should be encouraged, not prohibited.

SeanYes. That is ... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

Sean
Yes. That is how some science is done today. Let me welcome you to the 21st century.
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Then you really don't know what you are talking about. Even chip design requires real experiments to validate it. Many hardware problems occured because of faulty simulation. Still, if the genome is such a rich language that you need the most advanced computer to break it code. If NASA receives such a language from space, would they conclude that it is from another civilization in space or it simply a product of some random processes in the universe?`We simply want the truth here, can you honestly answer that?



Crick is honest enough to say that life must have begun somewhere in the universe.
Stop using this argument, it's clearly false as I quoted the website you linked to showing Crick supported evolution. He only hypothesized that panspermia was possible, but did not accept this as the absolute explanation for life on our planet. Can you be intellectually honest and actually read what I quoted?

You want to play with words I will grant you that. ARe you intellectually honest enough to admit that Crick at least know the scale of the problem he is facing, and must hypothesize panspermia as a way to avoid the problem of informational complexity? CAn we agree on that now? He is honest enough to admit the lack of evidence for evolution?

Advance in computer design and algorithms are the work of INTELLIGENT DESIGN not evolution. Much advance has been achieved by INTELLIGENT DESIGN.
Again, I am not comparing the development of computers to evolution. According you, everything humans do is INTELLIGENT DESIGN. I took a dump this morning, does that mean my crap is intelligently designed or at least the fact that I can crap is intelligently designed? Be intellectually honest and admit my turd is evidence of intellegent design.
So evolution according to you means that human just take a dump and it can make advance in computer design and algorithms?

The computer has the same basic chemicals as the bird and it is governed by the same natural laws. Can the computer comes together by itself over billions of years?
This is a perplexing question, no doubt about it. I would argue, though, that any attempts to answer it would be philosophical (wondering about our own intelligence/consciousness and how this effects our interpretation of the creation of birds and computers; wondering what is the meaning of "by itself" - is anything truly "by itself"? the bird didn't form "by itself", it had ancestors procreating to lead to it, an environment molding it, food nurturing it, etc.). So to answer your question, it is highly unlikely computers could be created without an intelligent being like humans.
Let me phrase it this way in a way you might like: Humans created computers, so humans are intelligent. Evolution created humans, so evolution is intelligent. Can you be intellectually honest and admit evolution is intelligent?
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Then you really don't know what you are talking about. Evolution is not supposed to involve intelligence at all! IF evolution involves intelligence then it is not evolution anymore. You should go back and learn about evolution (should be undirected random process). You really spin now.

But, wait, what does this mean, that evolution and intelligent design could actually be in agreement, not that evolution is a dead science that can be discarded as you insist? That the theory of evolution has itself ... evolved?
Yes you just prove it. Evolution is dead. It needs intelligence to creat human. Thank you.


Now, for a different take, let's go with your reasoning for a minute to see where it leads us. ID started life on this earth somehow (this still isn't resolved in ID, it could be aliens planting a seed, a divine force shaping our DNA, or the laws of nature themselves defined in a certain way to lead to us, which I said earlier there is no scientfic way to test anything before the Big Bang and means that ID, in my opinion, is not much different than evolution; so generally I don't see how ID resolves anything that evolution lacks, if anything, they just overlap in some areas). Anyway, so ID starts life, and long story short, leads to humans.
The genome is intelligently designed, so I can reverse engineer the genome to learn about the design principles and the purpose of the design so that I can use that learning to improve our own design. We do that all the time today. If AMD chip is a product of luck, what is the point of studying it or reverse engineer it? We spent billions of dollars to reverse engineer INTELLIGENTLY DESIGNED products, not "lucky dump"!

Now humans exist and create computers. Maybe the first connection of the internet was its own "Big Bang". So by us creating computers (or bridges, or rockets, or anything), this shows everything must be intelligently designed? Why? Because we have intelligence and create things which otherwise would not occur? Why is it a logical statement to say "I can intelligently design, therefore I am intelligently designed"? This is similar the the philosophical statement, "I think therefore I am."
So I will agree that this is true, but science requires the proof. Where is that physical proof to support it as science rather than philosophy?

I don't see a proof that evolution can create the information content (the genetic code) in the DNA. So can we treat evolution as a philosophy now. NASA should have a mathematical/rigorous criteria to distinguish between random signals (noise) and information, right? Otherwise, how can you distinguish between the two. The ID criteria far exceeds the NASA standard, which is considered a full fledged science program, right?

I do see what you're getting at, and I it's worthwhile to discuss these things as we are. But there is no physical science here, at least not any that does not already exist in the form of evolution. At best ID is social science by conducting thought experiments, of which philosophy is a social science. Again, where is your hard, tangible proof of ID where it differs from evolution that physical science demands?
ID is based on rigorous method to distinguish between information and random signals. Evolution is simply fairy tale as you wrote before. IF you have a detailed process of how evolution can create that information without intelligence, please show it. Detailed process which can be verified experimentally.


Remember, the main argument against ID is that it should not be taught in biology class, not that it is wrong. And the reason it should not replace evolution in the biology class is because where it attempts to define evolution's gaps, it relies on supernatural forces which cannot be tested and are not scientific.
This is a cheap straw man arg. NASA is simply looking for intelligence without knowing who they are. Again you really don't know what you are talking about here. This is materialism-in-the-gap. We do know the informational complexity of the DNA.

Modern scientific evidence of the informational complexity of the DNA show that Darwinian evolution is a fairy tale (as your own writing indicated). Why are you still trying to cling to it? For intellectual honesty 's sake, can we agree that there is no fundamental reason to oppose ID now?
The informational complexity of DNA has not shown Darwinian evolution to be a fairy tale, regardless of my writing. Provide proof of this other than your misunderstanding of what Crick says. And I am intellectually honest enough to admit ID can be studied as a philosophy, I already have. Are you intellectually honest enough to admit that evolution should not be discarded for the litany of reasons I've given?

You are the one who needs to provide proof. Not me. You claimed that evolution can create the information content in the DNA. All you can do is to tell me a fairy tale. Please show the evidence to support your assertion. ARe you intellectually honest enough to admit that evolution has far less supporting evidence compared to ID?

I gave you the link to the Crick's page to show you that the big evolutionists know better but they chose to ignore the evidence to cling to their naturalist belief.
You showed me Crick's page on which it quotes Crick himself saying that he was a strident believer in evolution. Are you intellectually honest to admit you didn't even read your own link?

You are either too dumb or too dense. If you want the precise wording: he is a materialist. OK, so he is not an strident evolutionist or materialist?

We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism.
First off, this guy dismisses the the achievements science has attained with regard to improving health and life, so I can barely take him seriously from the start. Are X-rays, surgery, chemotherapy, MRIs, pharmaceuticals, and on and on that useless that he just dismisses science's achievement as a "failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life"? Do you agree with him that science has done nothing to improve our health and life? If so, you should refuse medical treatment next time you're sick, see how that works out for you.

Taht 's good you agree that evolutionists cannot be taken seriously because they tried to equate evolution with science. We have an agreement here.

It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counterintuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated.
In a way, yes, that is how science works. It does not seek to explain the supernatural nor does it use the supernatural as its explanations. It uses hard evidence it has gathered and logical deductions it can prove from that evidence (I know, I know, evolution can't be proven, blah blah blah, I've already addressed it, but you may still not accept it).

So what evidence to support that evolution can create the the information content in the DNA? Evolution is not proven. It is a fact. So NASA is seeking supernatural explantion? This is a typical cheap strawman argument.

Using your own standard, we shouldn't teach evolution in biology class since you haven't shown me the evidence to show that it is science. All I have seen so far is fairy tale.


I don't want you teaching G... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

I don't want you teaching God in my science class. If you don't like that, then apparently you don't like the Constitution.
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You are right. I don't want to teach religion in science class. Evolution today is simply a materialistic religion. ID has more evidence and rigor than evolution when it comes to modern scientific advancement.

Mac, you are right. We should teach what science means to students first. We should teach them that real science will follow the evidence wherever it leads. Real science would openly discuss problems it faces, carefully define its premises/predictions and real experiments to back them up. We can use Darwinian evolution as an example of pseudo-science where disingenuous args (strawmen, shifting definition etc..) are used, evidences are ignored to cling to a philosophy, ie religion.

Have you not figured out... (Below threshold)
sean nyc/aa:

Have you not figured out yet that teaching epistemology is not teaching God?
kim

I agree with you and Mac Lorry that teaching how to properly analyze information is important. But that is not what I was arguing. I was arguing that ID attempts to insert an "intelligent designer" into the gaps that currently exist. Whether this designer is a God, the laws of nature, or aliens is not defined, but the gaps do not lead to the logical conclusion that a supernatural designer must fill it. I've gone through several of my own hypotheses already as to why the gaps may exist. I could probably come up with a bunch more if I tried. So yes, teach evolution, and teach its faults, and teach how to properly interpret these faults to proceed with your study, but don't teach that a supernatural force explains the missing links, that would be teaching God, and that is what ID appears to be attempting.

LAI:

You're creating a circular, self-explantory theory for intelligent design, which may be true, but is of little practical value. It essentially is: nature is complex, so it takes intelligent design to explain it, and intelligent design is the source of complexity, so that's why nature is complex. Well, ... duh. But what does this do for actually explaining anything?

Why are you hung up on this NASA program? I don't really care that much about it. They may be looking for informational complexity. They may be looking for evolved species on other planets. Let me know when they find something and then we can discuss what it means.

You want to play with words I will grant you that. ARe you intellectually honest enough to admit that Crick at least know the scale of the problem he is facing, and must hypothesize panspermia as a way to avoid the problem of informational complexity?

How did I play with words? I directly quoted from the site you linked to. Here it is again as to why Crick at first came up with panspermia because of the apparent shortcomings which he thought could not be explained, but then his knowledge on the subject changed:
Crick explored the hypothesis that it might be possible for life forms to be moved from one planet to another. What "drove" Crick towards speculation about directed panspermia was the difficulty of imagining how a complex system like a cell could arise under pre-biotic conditions from non-living chemical components. After ribozymes were discovered, Crick became much less interested in panspermia because it was then much easier to imagine the pre-biotic origins of life as being made possible by some set of simple self-replicating polymers.

So yes he realized the situation was complex, but then a naturally occuring solution explained the phenomenom. Are you intellectually honest enough to change your opinion when presented with direct evidence of your mistake?

Then you really don't know what you are talking about. Evolution is not supposed to involve intelligence at all! IF evolution involves intelligence then it is not evolution anymore. You should go back and learn about evolution (should be undirected random process).

Evolution is a process, not living object like humans so I meant something different by "intelligent". I meant that the process can be complex or "intelligent" - not in the sense of reaching a desired goal or being aware of itself, but having many attributes that cannot be simplistically defined or definitively quantified, but follow a general pattern, specifically that a host of environmental factors influence which traits are advantageous and how a life form will adapt. This understanding of evolution means the results from that process are undirected and random because the conditions change, even though the process is constant. You may say this allows evolution to contort to describe what ever happens. Well, yes, that's what theories are supposed to do.

Yes you just prove it. Evolution is dead. It needs intelligence to creat human. Thank you.

This just gets back to your circular reasoning. Evolution is complex process, so this proves intelligent design. So what? Evolution tells us how life forms progressed. Intelligent design just tells us, the process is complex, therefore it's source is intelligent design. What value does this have, other than philosophical thought experiments?

The genome is intelligently designed, so I can reverse engineer the genome to learn about the design principles and the purpose of the design so that I can use that learning to improve our own design.

Yes, nature is complex; the genome, the sun, the cell, the everything are complex. There is no way around admitting that these things have complexity. But the true miracle in the actual engineering of the genome, not the reverse engineering of it or recognition of this complexity. So how did the genome originally get engineered? Evolution has a theory, albeit hard to prove, but it tries. Chemical reactions created early compounds. As the earth's environment changed over time, this compounds reacted with one another forming new ones. Rinse and repeat, and a billion years later you get humans.

How does intelligent design tell us this happened other than saying its complex, so it must have been intelligent design (or an intelligent designer)? Are you seeing why there is not much practical scientific value to ID yet?

If AMD chip is a product of luck, what is the point of studying it or reverse engineer it?

Here is where intelligent design and evolution could overlap. We don't have the original engineering specs, so we take its current form and try and work backwords. But intelligent design is just the idea that the parts had to follow certain rules (similar to organic chemistry). Evolution gives us hints at to what the intermediate steps might have been to make sure we follow the proper pathway. So, in this sense, intelligent design gives us an overarching, philosophical guidelines that nature had to obey certain rules(unless you want to say an intelligent designer cheated and skipped some steps), but this is not a new concept and the rules to follow are defined under other physical sciences: biochemistry, molecular physics, genetics, etc. So again, you have to show what new scientific value ID has.

We spent billions of dollars to reverse engineer INTELLIGENTLY DESIGNED products, not "lucky dump"!

Clearly, you are not intellectually honest enough to admit that if evolution is to be discarded and ID adopted, then all human processes are intelligently designed, including my dumps. And you absolutely could reverse engineer my turds. You could look at its color, consistency, density, see if there are any bits or corn. I bet that since you're an expert on ID you could take a pretty good guess at what I had for dinner.

I don't see a proof that evolution can create the information content (the genetic code) in the DNA.

You're right. Evolution doesn't create the information content. No one claims it does. Chemistry and physics do that. Evolution just describes how environmental factors allow certain chemical and physical combinations to have biological advantages. How chemistry and physics are able to cause proteins and cells to contain this information? I don't know. If you want to consider this intelligent design, I would say this definitely deserves study, but I imagine that probably is being done in the fields of biochemistry, genetics, molecular physics, neurobiology, etc. already. So again, it's not like intelligent design would be breaking new ground, but I am beginning to see how intelligent design could establish itself as a legitimate scientific field, although it's more just a conglomeration of already existing fields focused on finding how the information expresses itself at the macro level. However, this does not eliminate the need for evolution as you insist it does. Evolution still plays a role in guiding which expressions become dominant. It also does not mean that an intelligent designer fills in or intelligent design in general explain the evolutionary gaps that currently exist.

ID is based on rigorous method to distinguish between information and random signals. Evolution is simply fairy tale as you wrote before. IF you have a detailed process of how evolution can create that information without intelligence, please show it. Detailed process which can be verified experimentally.

Ah, see now you're broadening what ID is. I thought ID provided the information, as in "designed" it. Now you're trying to say that ID is also intelligence analysis. What you're saying is that ID is essentially gene expression. That is not what we were debating earlier, at least it's not what I was debating, sorry if I was misinterpretted some of your arguments. But again, in no way has evolution become useless. In whatever way the information contained at the molecular level is expressed by the chemistry and physics of the particles, evolution still dictates that environmental forces will effect which adaptations become dominant. Now ID would argue that the molecules somehow "know" what will be able to thrive, so it automatically (or through the guidance of some designer) finds this configuration. That is not a logical conclusion that can be drawn. And it's tough to say what is "automatic" in ID and what is simply chance or persistence under evolution. So again, here is another potential overlap. I'd be very interested to know if there are any experiments that study if proteins are able to find a way to attach to a receptor it normally would not, you'd think there would be. But even if there are and the proteins can, how do we know which method the molecule used, did it "know" how to configure itself, or did it happen by chance? We're getting back to the philosophical aspect of it again.

This is a cheap straw man arg.

Is it? Maybe it is under your opinion of ID, but some people are trying to use it for the purpose of proposing that a supernatural being guided the adaptation of life over time. Have you really been unaware that this is the more generally accepted debate when arguing ID and evolution?

Then more NASA. I'm starting to under stand your point now with your argument for intelligence/informational analysis (I'll call it IIA), rather than intelligent design.

You are the one who needs to provide proof. Not me. You claimed that evolution can create the information content in the DNA. All you can do is to tell me a fairy tale. Please show the evidence to support your assertion. ARe you intellectually honest enough to admit that evolution has far less supporting evidence compared to ID?

I think we were arguing past each other here. I was not saying evolution created the information contained by the molecules, but rather that evolution is the changes over time caused by environmental factors. You're arguing IIA as molecular and genetic expression, not as what is the driving force for causing the changes (which is the typical argument for ID). That is why there is this confusion.

Taht 's good you agree that evolutionists cannot be taken seriously because they tried to equate evolution with science. We have an agreement here.

Yes, but I would say most evolutionists do not agree with them, so how do you account for that?

So what evidence to support that evolution can create the the information content in the DNA?

Again, we were misunderstanding each other.

Evolution is not proven.

It depends on what you accept as proof. There is a fossil record showing that animals have adapted to environmental conditions. No, this does not explain the information content of DNA, that is not what the theory of evolution tries to explain. It tries to explain why these changes were made over time. It leaves to the field of genetics how advantageous traits are expressed at the macro level.

ID, in the sense of showing there is an inherent awareness or a designer at the molecular level which can arbitrarily decide what adaptations to make, is not proven either and has no physical proof similar to the fossil record to support it. What is the physical proof of ID in this context (some supernatural force guiding development) other than simply the complexity of DNA? And don't just say this is a strawman, because I realize this may not be your position, but that is the debate that generally occurs between ID and evolution. So your position of ID being the expression of genes and molecules is not really analagous to the theory of evolution.

Sean,I'm not defen... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

Sean,

I'm not defending ID. If there is a creator, and I believe there is, then all of evolution is wrong, not just gaps in the fossil record. I think that what drives those who promote ID is to break the monopoly evolutionists have in teaching kids about the origins of life. There are alternate theories about the origins of life that explain the fossil record as well and in some case better then evolution, but they all end up with a creator and evolutionary science simply can't allow any from of creation or intelligent design into the discussion. If they did, all their careers would be ruined.

The problem with teaching evolution as if it were proven fact is that when a kid believe that then how do you teach them moral values that flow from religion? The only law to a godless person is "don't get caught", and our society is denigrating as a result.

A counterbalance is needed. We can't teach about a creator in public school, but critical thinking skills should be required whenever evolution is being taught. Way up near the beginning of this thread I explained a simple experiment using coins where the result is beyond scientific inquire. How many kids in high school realize how easily science hits impenetrable limitations. How many kids know about the career pressures that result in arbitrary declarations of species? I'm sure you get my point.

Let me just expand a bit on... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

Let me just expand a bit on the dog breeding idea. Humankind has been doing an experiment for the last 3,000 years to see if environmental pressures (artificially created as they would be in any experiment) can actually result in new species descended from Canis lupus familiaris. So far that experiment demonstrates that environmental pressures can change the size, shape, stamina, temperament, intelligence, temperature tolerance, and cosmetic features of these animals, but it has not produced a new species. If dog breeds demonstrate the evolutionary principle of life adapting to environmental pressures, it also demonstrates that evolution doesn't give rise to new species.

Similar experiments have been done with other animals and with plants. There's speculation that plants like modern corn started out as a different species, but there's no proof. At one time corn was divided into at least eight subspecies, but DNA and other modern analysis methods have found these to be a single species. Terms like race are now used to distinguish between varieties. That begs the question that given DNA, cytology, and protein analysis of all known life, how many species would we end up with? I assert there would be less than 10% of what's on the books now. Anyway that's a different point.

Is Evolution proven? Well not according to the many thousand-years-long experiments humans have been doing. These experiments demonstrate that environmental pressures simply do not result in new species. I realize you can't prove a case by negative results. That's also true for irreducible complexity. That is, just because someone cannot demonstrate how an asserted IR system can be decompiled doesn't mean it can't be decompiled. There is a double standard here, however. Evolutionists reject the negative results of breeding experiments while embracing the negative results when it comes to IR. That's proof of Evolutionists' bias as if that wasn't already apparent.

Would you object to teaching kid such a lesson? There's no religion involve unless questioning evolution is now considered a religion. If this is ok, then demonstrating the weakness in radiometric dating should also be ok as should demonstrations of Berthault's mechanism. Kids would know for themselves Evolution is not proven without needing to put stickers on text books.

Mac Lorry:If th... (Below threshold)
sean nyc/aa:

Mac Lorry:

If there is a creator, and I believe there is, then all of evolution is wrong, not just gaps in the fossil record.

I guess your justification for this is that because the creator set the laws, he knew life would form, knew it would eventually take the form of humans, and therefore the changes are not random. That may be true.

I could also theorize a similar scenario. The creator wrote the laws of the universe to be like a kaleidescope. So he knew life would arise, but he didn't know what form it would take because he wanted to be surprised and see what various forms it could take. Evolution under this interpretation is the spinning of the kaleidescope and would not be in disagreement with a belief that a creator exists. (But then if the creator is all-knowing, he knew all the permutations that could arise over time, so he's not really surprised after all. How "boring" for God.)

There is of course no proof either of these. And there never will be as I've already ackknowledged that science cannot hypothesize anything pre-Big Bang.

This all gets back to what do you want to teach in science class. Evolution is supported by the existing fossil record (yes there are holes, but where there are not evolution is seen), its hypotheses are supported by current observation (alpha male geneology dominance; survival of the fittest/natural selection; niche exploitation), and provides an explanation of how the natural world could eventually lead to the development of intelligent human life. Does it get at the fundamental question of if there is a God that guided all this? No, but science could never prove or disprove that anyway, so it should not be discussed in science class. If it were to be discussed, one could summarize God's potential influence as I did earlier, "Evolution cannot provide the existence or non-existence of God or any other divine entity. It takes the information available to us in the natural world and theorizes how God or nature may have used various stimuli to cause life to change over time." But then how those stimuli caused certain specific traits to become dominant is evolution's main argument.

I think that what drives those who promote ID is to break the monopoly evolutionists have in teaching kids about the origins of life.

I think you're right, but that's because science is committed to, really defined by, remaining within the natural, or materialistic, world. That is just was science is, finding the natural explanation for things. There is always the uncertainty that the fingerprints of God are all over everything, but science attempts to explain how God did these things using the confines of the natural laws we observe, not to infer that he might have stepped in only here or there because we haven't come up with a scientific explanation for certain things yet. That is the dark secret of science, that every discovery that is made, it's really just learning a little bit more about God. Science just doesn't put it that way.

There are alternate theories about the origins of life that explain the fossil record as well and in some case better then evolution, but they all end up with a creator and evolutionary science simply can't allow any from of creation or intelligent design into the discussion.

If by better, you mean easier to understand or providing a simpler and more complete explanation for everything, then I'm not sure if that's really "better". Nature is not simple, and theories that attempt to describe how nature works over billions of years should not have a simple explanation. For instance, Newton first theorized gravity with perfectly circular orbits, nice and simple. But they Einstein came along and said, "Why should they be confined to circular orbits? That's too rigid." So he came up with mathematical expressions that defined how massive objects interact with space-time and result in slightly elliptical orbits that wobble. So while this is more complicated both mathematically and visually, it is clearly the correct one and logically makes more sense that such massive bodies could not maintain a perfectly circular orbit.

If they did, all their careers would be ruined.

They have absolutely every right to believe what want outside of the context of science. But yes, science will be vicious if you don't support your work with tangible evidence, which will be pretty hard to come by to prove God.

The problem with teaching evolution as if it were proven fact is that when a kid believe that then how do you teach them moral values that flow from religion? The only law to a godless person is "don't get caught", and our society is denigrating as a result.

This is more an issue of parenting than of science. But you may mean that one of evolution's tenets is "survival of the fittest", so do whatever it takes to get ahead. I think this problem is much more evident in business and that in science it actually teaches you to work with your peers and be thorough in your analysis, otherwise you will get shredded by the process, no doubt about it.

More generally in society a whole, the "survival of the fittest" should not come down to just taking care of yourself first and foremost. Humans thrive as pack animals and at developing relationships which serve our interests when we become sick, injured, old, etc. So "fittest" for humans today is not strictly about one's own well-being, but also the bonds you create to assist you and your offspring through times when individual effort is not enough. That is why we develop communities, attend religious services, volunteer, build cities, and form nations. So good parenting should instruct why public involvement is important, this is not a role science should fill.

This also ties into a point I made earlier about God's role in defined morality and justice in our society, where this is no physical data to support any conclusions. If fact, the Bible is the one of the oldest record we have of this stage of human development, so it should be studied in this respect. However, this is more theology and history, not the area of biological evolution.

How many kids in high school realize how easily science hits impenetrable limitations.

I think plenty. I know I saw science as a tool for explaining are researching natural processes, but it could never get at the really big questions. I also went to Hebrew school through confirmation, so maybe I received my healthy dose of uncertainty there. But again, this gets back to parenting and the answers they provide for their kids about the truly big questions. There is no doubt that public school science class is not the best forum for those answers. But it is the forum for teaching how to take information from the natural world and develop logical, naturally occurring explanations. Evolution does that, and it should not try more or less.

Mac Lorry:Would... (Below threshold)
sean nyc/aa:

Mac Lorry:

Would you object to teaching kid such a lesson? There's no religion involve unless questioning evolution is now considered a religion. If this is ok, then demonstrating the weakness in radiometric dating should also be ok as should demonstrations of Berthault's mechanism. Kids would know for themselves Evolution is not proven without needing to put stickers on text books.

No, I would not object. Counter examples are always needed to provide areas for new research and modification of the existing theory to eventually incorporate or be replaced by something else.

So to address specific issues with the dog-breeding example: is 3000 years enough for new speciation? How long is enough? What environmental factors are driving the need for new speciation? If dogs have found a niche at mankind's side, what adaptations must it make to thrive, that it has not so far, leading to a new species? Does our artificial selection of criteria alter how natural processes would otherwise cause new speciation to occur?

But why only look at the past 3000 years, and domesticated dogs. Could today's dogs breed this their ancestors which also lived at man's side 50 or 100,000 years ago? Has evolution occurred in that time? Isn't it possible for some dogs to breed with wolves and have a fertile offspring, even though they're different species? Is this true of all dogs? For instance, huskies, ridgebacks, and shepherds could probably breed with wolves, but what about a daschund or chihuahua? If it the case that a transitional "race" (husky) can breed with two different species that cannot breed with each other (wolf and daschund), what does this say about our definition of species? Are we testing these things? Is it ethical to attempt these cross-breeds just for the sake of proving or disproving evolution?

This is another conundrum which arises, specifically that humans are ethical beings so we do not believe it is worthwhile to experiment willy-nilly in all cases. But doing so may answer some of the questions and uncertainties we have, where do we draw the line? And when the line is drawn, how do we proceed with our analysis knowing we're excluding certain information?

So overall, dog-breeding does plant some doubts in evolution, but is it enough to disprove it entirely since as you stated yourself you cannot prove a case through negative results? (And these are not really even negative results as we do see variation over time, they're just incomplete in demonstrating all of evolutions claims, possibly because of the timescales involved.) But the theory of evolution also provides a concept which makes us as certain questions about the system promoting further study. ID (or LAI's IIA) could do this as well, but it has the potential to always fall back on the excuse that "Oh well, God did it" when conclusions cannot be ascertained. Does that make it wrong? No, but it cuts off the scientific process where that should not necessarily be the case.

On a different note, I agree with you that species definition is somewhat arbitrary. This is something that should definitely be modified as we improve our understanding of DNA.

I guess your justi... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:
I guess your justification for this is that because the creator set the laws, he knew life would form, knew it would eventually take the form of humans, and therefore the changes are not random. That may be true.

I believe in the creator as described in the Bible. He didn't just set the laws of nature into motion and sit back. He actively created life as described in Genesis. He also knew that humans would progress technologically and to prevent the intellectually proud from bypassing His plan of requiring faith to find Him, He also crated the fossil record to dumbfound the intellectually proud. Alternatively, the story of Genesis is true and the story of the world wide flood is also true and evolutionists have misinterpreted the fossil record because they think there's a sequence in time going to deeper layers rather than a sequence in sorting criteria going to deeper layers. Alternatively the story of Genesis is true, but it's a story of recreation, which depends on the translation of a single Hebrew word, and most of the fossil record is from the original creation.

This all gets back to what do you want to teach in science class. Evolution is supported by the existing fossil record (yes there are holes, but where there are not evolution is seen), its hypotheses are supported by current observation (alpha male geneology dominance; survival of the fittest/natural selection; niche exploitation), and provides an explanation of how the natural world could eventually lead to the development of intelligent human life.

From the dog breeding experiment we see that evolution supports the current observations you enumerated, but it does not support the origin of new species. This is pure science and should be taught in public schools.

Evolutionists assert the origin of new species from the fossil record, but there's no provable example. The real proof for evolutionists is that there's no other explanation yet discovered that explains the origin of species that doesn't involve a creator at some point. You and I both understand that as soon as an explanation involves a creator it can't be science by definition, but rather is religion and can't be taught in public schools. That doesn't mean the creator explanation is wrong, only that science can't accept it.

But yes, science will be vicious if you don't support your work with tangible evidence, which will be pretty hard to come by to prove God.

You greatly underestimate the impact any provable or even probable form of intelligent interference with natural laws would have on evolutionary science. Lets say that SETI did find extraterrestrial intelligence and we somehow discovered Earth had been visited often in the past, and like earthly travelers, they introduce exotic life forms to this planet. That would undermine every discovery and explanation produced by evolutionists since Darwin. What would be the point of studding evolution if you can't tell what organisms came from other places and when? That's why SETI can be considered real science, but any talk of interstellar travel is considered nonsense by evolutionists. These people are not about to let their reputations, positions and livelihoods be taken away by anyone.

There are a many science experiments that can be done as well as studying the results of human breeding efforts and these all raise questions about evolution. Rather than pushing ID, I think those who oppose the monopolistic teaching of evolution in public schools should develop such curriculum and then push school boards to require it the same year kids are taught evolution. Such a curriculum would well arm kids to recognize junk science when they see it, and that's important because a lot of junk science besides evolution is being pushed on the public nowadays.

Lets say that SETI did f... (Below threshold)
sean nyc/aa:

Lets say that SETI did find extraterrestrial intelligence and we somehow discovered Earth had been visited often in the past, and like earthly travelers, they introduce exotic life forms to this planet. That would undermine every discovery and explanation produced by evolutionists since Darwin.

Let's say we do, and in the message we hear from them, they ask us if we know how carry out interstellar travel because they don't. So in this case, the SETI signal does nothing to disprove evolution. You're proposing hypothetical situations to defend your position while evolution has the fossil record and an explanation of how it changed over time. You do not believe it, fine.

Another situation is that these aliens plant a primitive life form, but only that one. Then this life form under goes changes due to the environmental conditions in which it exists. So evolution would be wrong in the sense of explaining everything, but it would still be valuable in showing how life developed while on earth without additional alien interference.

However, this scenario you present would also disprove creation as we would now have evidence that God did not create life on this earth, but some alien life form. Maybe God created these aliens, but that is not covered in the Bible, so while it could be the case, the Bible would clearly be wrong.

Where would we be if any of this happens? Who knows, we'll figure it out if or when that happens because we will have been presented with new evidence. But until that time, we must use the evidence presented to us now to develop our scientific understanding of our natural world, not teach our science class based on hypothetical interstellar travel and aliens.

You're essentially advocating teaching Scientology in public school. Or, we could have the students watch the move Alien vs. Predator and say that how life on earth came into existence. How do either of those options sound to you? (You'll probably say, "they're just as good as evolution", which would be incredibly funny if it weren't so unfortunate.)

Evolutionists assert the origin of new species from the fossil record, but there's no provable example.

What about the mutation of viruses and bacteria to adapt to the various drugs we use to fight them? I'm not sure how the scientists studying them classify them, but couldn't we be witnessing the creation of new species? Clearly, some parts of their DNA remain the same to cause harm to our bodies, but other parts change to resist the medication. Could this be evolution as species adapt through changes at the molecular level in response to environmental changes? What would you call this if not evolution? You might say intelligent design, but it is our drugs that are intelligently designed, not the variation in the bacteria because the bacteria themselves are following natural chemical and physical processes.

The real proof for evolutionists is that there's no other explanation yet discovered that explains the origin of species that doesn't involve a creator at some point.

But some evolutionists believe in the creator as well, it just differs as to role the creator fills. There is no way around acknowledging that a creator may have set things up pre-Big Bang as this cannot be proven or disproven. The question is: once the universe became observable (ie information can be gathered about it), what role does the creator play? Some people, such as myself, believe the creator wrote the laws in such a way that planets could form, life could exist, intelligent life could one day become self aware, and we just happen to blessed and are one of those planets where this happened. It could happen on another planet in similar fashion, but result in a completely different looking and thinking intelligent creature. It could also happen with different chemicals if gravity, solar radiation, temperature, etc. are much different than we experience on earth.

Life is resilient and persistent, and in a way intelligent. But this intelligence is founded on the principle that molecules will react in whatever way possible with the energy provided them. Now they are "inclined" to do certain things and follow certain patterns, but these is because their movement is determined by certain natural forces (electricty, magnetism, gravity, and the nuclear forces). We research these forces, quantify them, document these reactions, etc. That is science, finding out as much as possible about these natural laws. This work in no way takes God out the the equation because God is those natural laws, it's just that science doesn't put it that way because it would get pretty redundant saying everything was studying God all the time. Science wants more specificity and detail and rigor. You could say God wants that from us as well since he has given us the ability to do these things, or maybe not since we were kicked out of the Garden of Eden for it (this would agree with your point that God is deceiving us by planting all those fossils).

But here we are getting back to philosophy. I guess the real root of the question is: do you want science (in its form of pure materialism) taught at all? Because science is this process, looking into Pandora's Box, pulling back the Wizard's curtain. It's legitimate to say you feel this is not a worthy cause, but I'd say you're wrong, and there's little we could do to resolve it.

Sean, YOu are reall... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

Sean,
YOu are really confused about your terms here. And you are the one who is using circular reasoning. You wrote that you were not comparing the development of computers to evolution. Yet at the same time you wrote this
Humans created computers, so humans are intelligent. Evolution created humans, so evolution is intelligent.
We have a detailed process how human created computers evey step of the way, that can be verified in the labs. Come back to me when you have a similar process to demonstrate how evolution created humans without any "intelligence" though. Remember by definition, evolution is blind (as in the Blind WatchMaker thesis by big evolutionist Richard Dawkin with the ringing endoresement of Francis Crick. Crick even told people to believe in the natural selection to save their souls).

ID can tell you the difference between turd and computer. But evolution is blind and cannot tell the difference. Evolution will treat turd as the computer since out of turd may come new species by a lucky draw. You never know. That 's a first practical value of ID, that 's why evolutionists usually mixing up ID concepts into evolution all the times just as you did here.


But the true miracle in the actual engineering of the genome, not the reverse engineering of it or recognition of this complexity. So how did the genome originally get engineered?
--------------------------------------------------
ID would guide you to look for another "law" beyond chemistry and physics. Your claim that chemistry and physics created the genome is at best unsubstantiated claim. Chemistry and physics govern the book and the ink. The information in the book is not created by chemistry and physics.

It helps you not to look at the turd and not try to reverse engineer it. ID is the system engineering study of nature.

In the end, your definition comes down to this
There is a fossil record showing that animals have adapted to environmental conditions.
Then the strictest creationists would agree with you on that. This can be taught in the context of how the Corvette has evolved or the computer has evolved from the Eniac to the current microchip. Also, it can be shown how computer is designed to adapt to its environment (workload, failure recovery etc...).


Yes you just prove it. Evolution is dead. It needs intelligence to creat human. Thank you.

This just gets back to your circular reasoning. Evolution is complex process, so this proves intelligent design. So what? Evolution tells us how life forms progressed. Intelligent design just tells us, the process is complex, therefore it's source is intelligent design. What value does this have, other than philosophical thought experiments?

The genome is intelligently designed, so I can reverse engineer the genome to learn about the design principles and the purpose of the design so that I can use that learning to improve our own design.

Yes, nature is complex; the genome, the sun, the cell, the everything are complex. There is no way around admitting that these things have complexity. But the true miracle in the actual engineering of the genome, not the reverse engineering of it or recognition of this complexity.

Sean, YOu are reall... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

Sean,
YOu are really confused about your terms here. And you are the one who is using circular reasoning. You wrote that you were not comparing the development of computers to evolution. Yet at the same time you wrote this
Humans created computers, so humans are intelligent. Evolution created humans, so evolution is intelligent.
We have a detailed process how human created computers evey step of the way, that can be verified in the labs. Come back to me when you have a similar process to demonstrate how evolution created humans without any "intelligence" though. Remember by definition, evolution is blind (as in the Blind WatchMaker thesis by big evolutionist Richard Dawkin with the ringing endoresement of Francis Crick. Crick even told people to believe in the natural selection to save their souls).

ID can tell you the difference between turd and computer. But evolution is blind and cannot tell the difference. Evolution will treat turd as the computer since out of turd may come new species by a lucky draw. You never know. That 's a first practical value of ID, that 's why evolutionists usually mixing up ID concepts into evolution all the times just as you did here.


But the true miracle in the actual engineering of the genome, not the reverse engineering of it or recognition of this complexity. So how did the genome originally get engineered?
--------------------------------------------------
ID would guide you to look for another "law" beyond chemistry and physics. Your claim that chemistry and physics created the genome is at best unsubstantiated claim. Chemistry and physics govern the book and the ink. The information in the book is not created by chemistry and physics.

It helps you not to look at the turd and not try to reverse engineer it. ID is the system engineering study of nature.

In the end, your definition comes down to this
There is a fossil record showing that animals have adapted to environmental conditions.
Then the strictest creationists would agree with you on that. This can be taught in the context of how the Corvette has evolved or the computer has evolved from the Eniac to the current microchip. Also, it can be shown how computer is designed to adapt to its environment (workload, failure recovery etc...).


Yes you just prove it. Evolution is dead. It needs intelligence to creat human. Thank you.

This just gets back to your circular reasoning. Evolution is complex process, so this proves intelligent design. So what? Evolution tells us how life forms progressed. Intelligent design just tells us, the process is complex, therefore it's source is intelligent design. What value does this have, other than philosophical thought experiments?

The genome is intelligently designed, so I can reverse engineer the genome to learn about the design principles and the purpose of the design so that I can use that learning to improve our own design.

Yes, nature is complex; the genome, the sun, the cell, the everything are complex. There is no way around admitting that these things have complexity. But the true miracle in the actual engineering of the genome, not the reverse engineering of it or recognition of this complexity.

Oops sorry for the cut-and-... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

Oops sorry for the cut-and-paste there. The point is this. If you want to exclude ID out of science class room, then you should exclude evolution out of the science classroom as well.

THis is the only thing that warrant the teaching in a classroom at this point. Change the name from evolution to adaptability to avoid confusion.

There is a fossil record showing that animals have adapted to environmental conditions.
Then the strictest creationists would agree with you on that. This can be taught in the context of how the Corvette has evolved or the computer has evolved from the Eniac to the current microchip. Also, it can be shown how computer is designed to adapt to its environment (workload, failure recovery etc...).

do you want science (in its... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

do you want science (in its form of pure materialism) taught at all?
--------------------------------------------
Yes, in the philosophy of science class. This is where students can learn about the scientific methods and what science means. The students can learn to distinguish science from materialism. It is definitely a good thing.

Sean,You'... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

Sean,

You're proposing hypothetical situations to defend your position while evolution has the fossil record and an explanation of how it changed over time.

You missed the point I was making. That point is that evolutionally science is not able to entertain even the possibility of intelligence, even naturally occurring intelligence interfering with the natural record. SETI itself is no less hypothetical than interstellar travel, but because receiving an radio signal poses no threat to the careers of evolutionists SETI is considered real science and you can teach about it in public school. If however, someone proposes interstellar travelers have visited Earth then they are considered a crackpot. The double standard is the result of evolutionists protecting their own interests rather than the scientific validity of either position. And yes I acknowledged many post ago that the reality of interstellar travelers would also devastate religion.

Another situation is that these aliens plant a primitive life form, but only that one

This would actually solve or at least displace the problem of the beginning of life. One could then speculate any kind of environment when concocting ideas about life's beginning. Well, anything but creation.

You're essentially advocating teaching Scientology in public school.

Not at all. Certainly there's enough factual information about animal and plant breading to demonstrate the evolutionary effect of adoption to a wide range of conditions, but without production of a new species. As we both agree that doesn't prove new species can't be created, but given the hundreds of breeds of animals and varieties of plants that have been produced it does establish lower limits for the probability that new species can arise in such a way. Such a study is pure science and enhances our understanding of natural history. Likewise the Berthault's mechanism is a repeatable laboratory experiment that demonstrates sedimentary layering due to sorting criteria rather than time. Again this is pure science and enhances our understanding of natural history. The sorting or separation of elements in molten rock is well known in volcanology, so much so that gases release from vents are unique to the volcano. This of course, calls into question all forms of radiometric dating which assume the molten inside of earth is consistent over distance and time. This is pure science and enhances our understanding of natural history. Why would you or evolutionists oppose teaching of such experimentally provable scientific inquires, unless of course, evolution is not as solid as evolutionists like to claim it is.

What about the mutation of viruses and bacteria to adapt to the various drugs we use to fight them?

That's the same example as dog breeds.

I'm not sure how the scientists studying them classify them, but couldn't we be witnessing the creation of new species?

Because of career pressure scientists classify organisms into as many species as they can manipulate the rules to come up with. However, that doesn't prove evolution of new species.

There are two parts of evolution, macro and micro evolution. There are many examples of micro evolution (dog breeds) but no examples of macro evolution. Evolutionists try to say there's no such division and that adaptation of a species to new conditions proves origination of species, but that's a leap of faith.

The question is: once the universe became observable (ie information can be gathered about it), what role does the creator play?

That's like asking where does an 800 pound gorilla sit? Wherever it wants. The Creator as described in the Bible plays whatever role He decides to play. In one week the Creator may have made a 15 billion year-old universe because that suited His purpose. Why wait around for 15 billion years when you can fast forward to the important part? Remember the miracle of water to wine as I explained.

this would agree with your point that God is deceiving us by planting all those fossils.

God is not deceiving anyone. He has given you the truth, but there are proud people who will not accept the truth and want to find God in their own wisdom and strength. God allows these proud people to misinterpret the fossil record, which can be explained in an number of biblically supportable ways.

do you want science (in its form of pure materialism) taught at all?

Yes, but not just the censored part. Lets have the parts that tend to undermine evolution as well. Those who say there is no such science are the ones resorting to ID, but it this case it's Intentional Deception.

There are two parts of evol... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

There are two parts of evolution, macro and micro evolution. There are many examples of micro evolution (dog breeds) but no examples of macro evolution. Evolutionists try to say there's no such division and that adaptation of a species to new conditions proves origination of species, but that's a leap of faith.
-------------------------------------------------
Mac is right on here. So let 's cut the chase. If you want to teach micro evolution (adaptability to changes in the env) in science class, that 's perfectly legitimate. Just make sure that you clarify it. I think it is better to change the term to avoid confusion or "inadvertent" effort to move from micro to macro evolution.

If you want to teach macro-evolution (evolution created humans) or chemical-evolution (chemistry/physics created the informational content of the DNA) in science classes, then you have no reason to exclude ID from science classes.

This is to apply the same consistent standard. The utility argument is irrelevant. Someone may try to develop a sophisticated instrument to observe/study human dump (or turd), he may come up with sth useful in the process! Real science is after the "truth" as presented in nature. Whatever explanation fits the best evidence available should be considered.




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