10 Ways Darwinists Help Intelligent Design:
Addendum — PZ Myers Proves My Point

Intelligent Design — By on August 14, 2006 at 12:10 am

Last week I wrote three posts listing the reasons I believe that critics of Intelligent Design (ID) are losing the rhetorical battle and helping to promote the theory. Since then at least three rebuttals have popped up claiming to show that my claim is in error. Because I ‘



  • http://zackofalltrades.com Zack

    Wouldn’t all the energy being expended on these sort of pointless arguments between people who already have entrenched ideas be better spent living out the Gospel?
    How much better would the world be if we said “Heck with the IDvsEvolution/Abortion/Gay Marriage/insert-hotbutton-issue-here debate, let’s go help some widows and orphans!” ?
    Sheesh.

  • http://www.evangelicaloutpost.com Joe Carter

    Zack,
    Your comment reminded me of a recent Breakpoint commentary by Charles Colson:

    The New York Times quotes Pastor Boyd attacking

  • http://www.twoorthree.net seeker

    Joe, you are making a valiant effort at reasoned argument, but like you, I am also tired of arguing with the evolutionary faithful. I think we should ignore all but those who show some sign of reason and respect, and continue to promote good science in leiu of evolutionary nonsense.
    Let’s continue to take our cause to the people, and continue to raise up intellectuals who can supplant the evolutionary die hards, and ignore those who refuse to differentiate between macro-evolution and the myriad other change processes we all agree exist (mutation, adaptation, natural selection, etc.), who refuse to admit that you can have theistic assumptions and still do real empirical science, and who refuse to accept that macro-evolution is poorly supported by the facts, and not incontrovertable.
    Let them scoff, they are merely wasting the time of those who are interested in finding truth. They are more comitted to their world view, and often to an anti-Christ/Christian world view than to scientific truth. Let them keep their religion, their fanciful story of origins, while we move on to better things without them.

  • http://thebronxblogger.blogspot.com Matthew Goggins

    Joe: “I would give up advocating for intelligent design if anyone can explain how it can be sufficiently ruled out. If it cannot be ruled out, then why not at least consider that is might be a legitimate hypothesis?”
    You’ve nailed the most important point here, Joe, albeit unintentionally.
    The problem with ID theory is that it cannot be ruled out.
    When I first checked ID out a year and a half ago, I was hopeful that it would have some provocative and useful things to say about evolution — and above all, it would suggest some program of research by positing some testable or falsifiable hypotheses.
    After doing some research, I found that ID does not seem to have any testable hypotheses at all. In all the time since then, I still have not seen one testable ID hypothesis. And if you can’t test it, it ain’t science.
    “If it cannot be ruled out”, you might want to believe ID as a best inference, but what you’re believing is not science.

  • Eric & Lisa

    Good article Joe and i’m glad you havn’t abandoned it yet. I posted in one of your other threads about how Wikipedia and the opponents of Intelligent Design have hurt their case there as well. Here are some highlights of what the Darwin zealots have etched in stone over at Wikipedia.
    leading proponents, all of whom are affiliated with the Discovery Institute,[2]
    How long have you been affiliated with the Discovery Institute, Joe?
    An overwhelming majority[4] of the scientific community views intelligent design as pseudoscience[5][6] or junk science.[7] The U.S. National Academy of Sciences has stated that intelligent design “and other claims of supernatural intervention in the origin of life” are not science because they cannot be tested by experiment, do not generate any predictions, and propose no new hypotheses of their own.[8]
    Remember as I give these quotes that this article is supposed to be about Intelligent Design.
    United States District Judge John E. Jones III ruled that intelligent design is not science and is essentially religious in nature.
    Yikes, a judge told is it isn’t science. Wow.
    The earliest known modern version of intelligent design began, according to Dr Barbara Forrest, “in the early 1980s with the publication of The Mystery of Life’s Origin (MoLO 1984) by creationist chemist Charles B. Thaxton with Walter L. Bradley and Roger L. Olsen. Thaxton worked for Jon A. Buell at the Foundation for Thought and Ethics (FTE) in Texas, a religious organization that published MoLO.”[16]
    I don’t suppose PZ Meyers wrote that, I mean, you can’t be both a creationist AND a Chemist, can you?
    Intelligent design deliberately does not try to identify or name the specific agent of creation

  • Eric & Lisa

    Matthew,
    Some are certainly giving it their all, aren’t they?
    http://www.chp.edu/pressroom/newsrelease295.php
    These folks specifically think that if they’ve found Junk DNA then that rules out an intelligent designer.
    So what are the choices? ID is not science until we can falsify it and then it is bad science?

  • http://www.timpanogos.wordpress.com Ed Darrell

    Joe,
    What set of creationism arguments does not quickly stray into disinformation? It seems harsh to say all forms of creationism lead to dishonesty — but I can’t think of one that does not.
    And each of the IDists mentioned — Johnson, Wells, Behe and Dembski — have rather famously been caught in what might most politely be called self-delusion, if one really struggles to avoid calling a shovel a shovel.
    You offer an interesting definition of what intelligent design is, but it is not a consensus defintion that would be agreed to by Johnson, and Wells, and Behe, and Dembski, and it is not a definition that has been put forward anywhere in any scientific literature as a hypothesis backed by any sort of data.
    So, in calling it “theory,” you’ve committed a bit of scientific dissembling right there.
    You might argue that these are small, petty crossings with the truth. Without such false claims, no brand of creationism stands logically, let alone scientifically. We don’t have to look to the fruits of that tree to see the roots are rotten.
    And then there’s the definition you offer, that suggests we have some method of detecting design that defies natural processes. That’s simply not so. Consequently, to offer ID as a hypothesis that posits some intelligent behind design that is detected in the universe requires that real observations of nature be ignored, which is itself a form of dishonesty. Science looks for proximate causes, not ultimate causes. There is no occasion yet known where there is any compelling evidence or reason to claim intelligent ultimate causes over natural proximate causes.
    The facts are that there are only two possible scientific assertions out of ID: Dembski’s explanatory filter, which has been shown not to work, and which assumes that certain forms of mutation cannot occur, which forms have been demonstrated to occur; and Behe’s “irreducible complexity” test, which has been absolutely and totally unsuccessful in practice and has been abandoned by its author, Behe, by all appearances (he’s doing no research on it).
    Were someone to argue that cold fusion is amply demonstrated and that, therefore, national governments should invest billions in developing it to commercial application, they would be relegated to the fringe of crank science. Alas for intelligent design, cold fusion offers much more supporting data published in scientific journals than does intelligent design. Until ID can produce at least the quantity and quality of research that cold fusion has already produced, ID doesn’t deserve to be given the credence in biology that cold fusion is given in physics.
    And, under such circumstances, one has to wonder about the ethics of anyone who would advise their grandmother or anyone else to invest in cold fusion stock. Absent a certificate of insanity, ethical lapse appears the best alternative.
    Joe, evolution is key to crop research, livestock research, and medicine. These are not debates with no stakes. It’s not just philosophy. It’s cancer cures, diabetes treatment and cures, boll weevil eradication, grapefruit farming, wheat breeding, rice enrichment. Every dime spent to advocate ID over evolution is a dime spent against a cure for cancer. Every minute spent advocating ID over evolution before a state school board is a minute spent advocating ignorance.
    Under the circumstances, an ethical person of any religious persuasion is being kind in calling ID merely “misguided.” Claiming that ID has the imprimatur of Christianity behind it raises it to the level of abomination. Christianity has no book calling for a triumph of dogma over truth in any enterprise.
    You can dismiss Dr. Myers well-formed and accurate criticisms for no legitimate reason. Yes, he’s atheist. It’s a sad day for the church when atheists are leading the way to ethical behavior, and Christians resist. We have a duty to other people to stick to the truth. We have a duty to the integrity of the church not to advocate untruth in the church’s name. We have a duty to God to get the facts right. Pay attention when Myers’ calls the pursuit dishonest — he’s right, and we need to fix it.

  • http://brightline.typepad.com/law_evolution_science_and/ Joe Mc Faul

    “Has PZ even read the Dover decision? It is a legal and philosophical embarrassment. Judge Jones’ conclusion was that we must not judge science based on facts or evidence but on the motives of the people who propose or challenge ideas. Because the advocates of ID are religious and may have a religious motive, their ideas must be kept out of the classroom.”
    Obviously, you have either not read the decision or not comprehended it. That is not the judge’s ruling at all.
    The judge held that ID proponents had presented no valid scientific arguments, as they themselves admitted. The Judge further found that many proponents had lied–repeatedly. The judge then determined the reason they lied–to conceal their religious motivation.
    There is a difference between the judical holding in a case and a judicial finding of fact.

  • Eric & Lisa

    Joe Mc Faul wrote;
    The Judge further found that many proponents had lied–repeatedly.
    I remember reading this in the ruling, specifically about one of the school board members. I also remember reading in the ruling when the Judge made this statement he didn’t back it up, he said something along the lines of, “This will become clear later in the ruling.” or something like that.
    But it never comes back up in the ruling. Ive always wondered what happened there. Maybe there was a page omitted or redacted or something? Please help me with this Joe Mc Faul, since ive been unable to find the lies that were told in the judges ruling, only that he says they lied and would point out where later but never seems to.
    Appreciated.

  • http://www.4simpsons.com Neil

    Great articles, Joe. I appreciate all the work you put into this.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HkZy2k_aphA Master Peace

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    THE FRAUDULENT GURUS PERFORM SAKU RADO ONCE EVERY TEN YEARS IN SERENE CELEBRATION OF JOYOUS BEING THROUGH INFINITE SUSTAIN.

  • Deuce

    Joe:

    In other words, discussions of evolutionary biology require using the language of design because otherwise we would not be able to understand it. This, of course, is nonsense. If evolution is non-teleological then it will have more in common with other non-teleological processes than it will with purpose-driven design. Metaphors and analogies could be easily constructed without reference to design. PZ may be fooling himself, but I doubt many other people are falling for this silly claim.

    Indeed. If Myers’ explanation held any water, the problem of not being able to understand things without intentional language would extend to all the sciences. However, we’re able to do physics, chemistry, astronomy, geology, etc, without it just fine. This is a “problem” that seems unique to biology. Myers cannot account for this difference unless he admits that the subject matter that biology is trying to explain is in some way distinct in evoking teleological language, but then he’d be making your point.
    If he wants to say that evolutionary biology does not invoke teleology, but that teleological concepts are required to understand it, well that makes no sense. If something is non-teleological, but can’t be understood in non-teleological terms, then it can’t be understood at all.

  • Jimbo

    Ed Darrell said:

  • http://mumonno.blogspot.com Mumon

    Given that you’re in the group of people that equates zygotes, blastulae, and brain dead people with born people, why should we trust you on anything?

  • http://zackofalltrades.com Zack

    Joe,
    My point was restricted to “pointless arguments between people who already have entrenched ideas”.
    Talking about these sorts of things with people who are receptive and interested is worthwhile, talking to brick walls is not (obviously).
    It was not an intended as an “either/or” proposition, but a “pick your battles” proposition. I’m sorry for the misunderstanding.
    - Zack

  • http://www.redbluechristian.com/ Rusty Lopez

    Nice work, Joe.

  • ex-preacher

    As it interesting as it is to see Joe Carter and P.Z. Myers go at each other, I’d be more interested in getting Joe’s take on Francis Collins. You mention Collins in this post, Joe, and reveal that Myers has little regard for him as a scientist. You also imply that Collins doesn’t know anything about ID. I certainly don’t know Collins or that much about him, but I would suspect that you are being a bit unfair. Have you read his book? Are you sure he is unfamiliar with ID “theory”?
    Please respond, either now or in a future column, to the following quote (or others if you prefer) from Collins:
    “I see no conflict in what the Bible tells me about God and what science tells me about nature. Like St. Augustine in A.D. 400, I do not find the wording of Genesis 1 and 2 to suggest a scientific textbook but a powerful and poetic description of God’s intentions in creating the universe. The mechanism of creation is left unspecified. If God, who is all powerful and who is not limited by space and time, chose to use the mechanism of evolution to create you and me, who are we to say that wasn’t an absolutely elegant plan? And if God has now given us the intelligence and the opportunity to discover his methods, that is something to celebrate.
    “I lead the Human Genome Project, which has now revealed all of the 3 billion letters of our own DNA instruction book. I am also a Christian. For me scientific discovery is also an occasion of worship.
    “Nearly all working biologists accept that the principles of variation and natural selection explain how multiple species evolved from a common ancestor over very long periods of time. I find no compelling examples that this process is insufficient to explain the rich variety of life forms present on this planet. While no one could claim yet to have ferreted out every detail of how evolution works, I do not see any significant “gaps” in the progressive development of life’s complex structures that would require divine intervention. In any case, efforts to insert God into the gaps of contemporary human understanding of nature have not fared well in the past, and we should be careful not to do that now.”

  • http://TheEverWiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    And in the second century, Athenagoras wrote a plea to Emperor Marcus Aurelius:

  • http://TheEverWiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    This argument represents the reddest of herrings in the anti-ID arsenal. I

  • ex-preacher

    Slight correction, Boonton. Joe is not defending “truth,” he says he’s defending “Truth.” Does that send chills up anyone else’s spine?

  • http://TheEverWiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    More on Joe:
    Science has standards? You mean the standards that allowed a Korean stem-cell researcher to publish science fiction in the most prestigious science journal in the world? If the peer-review process hadn

  • http://TheEverWiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    BTW, when I wrote:
    If IDers said “we don’t even have the beginnings of a sensible test but dammit we think there’s something here and we will work on it until we get it” then at least you could credit them with being honest and wish them well in their research
    This can probably accurately describe the state of string theory in physics today.

  • http://www.evangelicaloutpost.com Joe Carter

    Boonton,
    Indeed Joe began tis series by basically distorting the results of a survy which showed that a minority of doctors rejected evolutionary theory (Joe lied and asserted a majority had).
    You have lost the last remaining bit of respect that I had for you. Even after I corrected you on this point and showed that I said nothing of the sort, you continue to lie about what I wrote. Do you not think that people can go back and read that post to see that I wrote:

  • Tim L

    Joe,
    Slightly off topic, but your response to Zach in quoting Chuck Colson regarding Boyd, etc. is completely off track.
    As someone who attends WHC, has listened to every sermon about the subject and read the “Myth” book, the conclusion you have read is a conclusion that can only be reached by someone who hasn’t read or even tried to understand the material.
    Boyd etc. does not once suggest to abandan cultural issues, He (they) only suggest that they way we approach cultural issues is not consistent with being Christ-like. This a a big difference.
    I find that Boyd is largely right. I disagree with some conclusions that he makes because of the principles expressed in his series and books, but I think disagreement is expected.
    But part of your response stated “We also have a duty to defend Truth and to be the salt that preserves culture from rot and decay”.
    Where is this duty stated by Christ? Where is his example? How much did he try to change Roman culture from rot and decay? It seems that his example was to only love those who were considered the rot and decay of society. Christ was perfect, no sin yet does he rail against these people? Not once. In fact, he tells you to consider the tree trunk in your eye before worrying about dust in those that you criticize.
    A change in priorities is needed, a change to that of the 1st century church. This change is about being apolitical not amoral. Again, another huge difference that some people (not suggesting you) just seem incapable of understanding.

  • http://TheEverWiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    You have lost the last remaining bit of respect that I had for you. Even after I corrected you on this point and showed that I said nothing of the sort, you continue to lie about what I wrote. Do you not think that people can go back and read that post to see that I wrote:
    Actually both times you quoted surveys you made it clear you depend upon people to trust your view of them and not follow up on the links you provide. I replied to your correction and explained in great detail why it wasn’t acceptable.
    Now is that an assertion that the majority of doctors reject evolutionary theory? No, it isn’t. So please, please, please, stop lying about what I said.
    Hmmm, let’s imagine I put a car on a car lot with sign saying “runs great, $200″. Some customer without a lot of time buys the car and discovers it has no engine. “ohhh my, I never said it did! Just push it to the top of a hill and it will run great going down. Better than any go cart will run!” Guess what, a court will find me guilty of fraud and not be amused by my little attempt to dance around the technicality.
    In a post purporting to explain how the public had rejected evolutionary theory you cited doctors as having more scientific education than the average member of the public. You then cited that post adding the little weasal words “overwhelmingly (60%) reject the claim that humans evolved through natural processes alone”.
    Now either your citation was totally irrelevant to the essay you were writing since as I pointed out the doctors really overwhelmingly rejected creationism and overwhelmingly supported statements that were perfectly consistent with any textbook on evolutionary theory or you intended your readers to skip over the fine print and believe that not only does the public reject evolution but even the sainted doctors have as well (and if you don’t trust your doctor then whom can you trust?).
    So Joe, take your pick, were you being brillantly deceptive or just stupidly sloppy?

  • http://TheEverWiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    And for the record I’m not saying this to be trollish or unnecessarily mean. I sincerely do believe Joe was deceptive in his use of both the doctor poll and to a lesser degree the ‘great scientists are atheists’ poll. I’m willing to grant that maybe he was unintentionally so but I think he should take an honest moment to really examine what he wrote.

  • http://mumonno.blogspot.com Mumon

    I see now Joe’s got some competition: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has a blog. From what I’ve read on Wikipedia, Ahmadinejad shares Joe’s suspicion of scientists. And Joe Stalin shared Joe’s suspicion of doctors…

  • http://www.lfix.co.uk/oliver/christian Oliver

    Ed Darrel: Science looks for proximate causes, not ultimate causes. There is no occasion yet known where there is any compelling evidence or reason to claim intelligent ultimate causes over natural proximate causes.
    This idea, when applied to history, is the root of the atheistic and evolutionary error. It is true that when investigating how things work now, you look at proximate causes. But no intelligent person will be satisfied with that. Anyone with normal curiosity will also be interested in more remote causes, and the more so in history – and the science of origins is history. When investigating a death, no one will be satisfied to know merely that a bullet passed through a victim’s heart because it was propelled at high speed from a gun. They will want to know how the gun came to be aimed at the victim and how the trigger came to be pulled. Similarly, no biologist ought to be satisfied with proximate causes; it is the more remote causes that are actually more interesting.
    The kind of distinction being made here by Darrel is designed for obfuscation and to direct attention away from our Creator. Historical enquiry is ultimately for the purpose of finding out what happened and why. If science admits that it cannot enquire into why and is content to leave the question open, well and good. But atheistic science is not content with that. It wants to exclude God from the picture altogether and therefore claims not just that his actions cannot be investigated but that they must be assumed never to have happened. All too many in the church go along with this, and in doing so they depart from the truth. There is no way to determine, from investigating what we see now, at what point God intervened in the past; therefore the historical speculations of atheists are valueless in establishing what happened. But we have a record given us by the source of all truth and it does not disagree with any scientific observations. (It certainly disagrees with atheistic interpretations!)
    I am a bit puzzled from reading the comments on this blog as to who its audience are. Although it is called Evangelical Outpost, it doesn’t seem to harbour many Evangelical Christians, unless the definition of Evangelical has been changed without my noticing! Atheists are blind to the truth any way, but too many others show alarming evidence of the deception and apostasy prophesied for the end of the age. Those who do claim allegiance to Jesus need to realise that in denying the truth of the plain reading of Genesis they are contradicting him who said “the scripture cannot be broken”. The gospel (to evangelion) is the good news about what God has done for us. If there was not a first Adam, created directly by God, there cannot be a second Adam either. If there was no fall, neither can there be any redemption. If the world described by evolution – death, bloodshed and extinction – was “very good”, how can I believe the promise of a new creation where “they shall not hurt or destroy on all my holy mountain”. If the world is indeed 4.5 billion years old, am I not wasting my time looking eagerly for the return of Jesus for his Bride?
    In other words, Genesis is as crucial to faith in God as the cross and resurrection of Jesus, and denying it makes God a liar. Denying it may mean you get less abuse from the atheists and apostate, but if it destroys your trust in Jesus, it may send you to hell. Is respectability worth that?

  • ex-preacher

    It appears, Oliver, that you are starting with the conclusion (everything in the Bible is Truth, doubting this will send me to hell) and then deciding that any evidence we discover to the contrary cannot be trusted. Some of us prefer to start with the evidence and see what conclusions that leads us to.

  • Deuce

    Ed Darrel:

    Science looks for proximate causes, not ultimate causes.

    If this were true, then science must stay out of historical inference business altogether. Furthermore, the word “random” could only be used in the subjective sense, and never as an objective statement about a cause, because that would be to make a statement about the ultimate nature of the cause. Following this rule would render Darwinism a subjectivist theory, rather than objective historical explanation about how life came to be how it is.

    There is no occasion yet known where there is any compelling evidence or reason to claim intelligent ultimate causes over natural proximate causes.

    This is incoherent. A proximate explanation cannot contradict an ultimate explanation. If it does, then it’s really an ultimate explanation itself. If invoking a natural cause contradicts an intelligent ultimate cause, as you appear to claim here, then the proposed natural cause isn’t proximate after all, but ultimate.
    What you’re really trying to say, in your weasely way, is that ultimate blind causes are always to be preferred over ultimate intelligent causes, and that science can consider one but not the other. That’s nothing more than 3rd-rate philosophy – special pleading for your own metaphysic.

  • Rob Ryan

    Joe: “Personally, I find atheism to be an absurd and childish idea and can hardly understand how intelligent people can hold such a belief.”
    You’ve mentioned this before, but it is still pretty annoying. I feel the same way about religions, especially yours. I once mentioned my belief that atheists were in general more intelligent, better-educated people than theists, and how nice it would be for someone to do a study on it. You expressed confidence that the reverse was true. You’ll probably dismiss these results, coming as they do from a scientific publication, but what the heck. Enjoy.
    http://kspark.kaist.ac.kr/Jesus/Intelligence%20&%20religion.htm

  • http://www.lfix.co.uk/oliver/christian Oliver

    ex-preacher: It appears, Oliver, that you are starting with the conclusion (everything in the Bible is Truth, doubting this will send me to hell) and then deciding that any evidence we discover to the contrary cannot be trusted.
    Correct. (Doubt is not sin, but unbelief – an act of the will – is sin.)
    The word “evidence” is tendentious. There are observations. They are interpreted according to the presuppositions of the interpreter. My presupposition is that God is faithful and that his word is true. Yours is that human reason is supreme. This results in diametrically opposed world views.
    The evidence cannot prove one or the other, because neither side will give up its presuppositions. However, the total picture from the creationist world view is more consistent with all the observations than is the picture given by the humanistic world view.
    Some of us prefer to start with the evidence and see what conclusions that leads us to.
    The proper description of this attitude is pride and it is quite futile. How could you discover anything about God, or what he has done, by such an approach? How can created beings investigate their creator? Of such people God says, “For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the philosopher of this world? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?”
    You cannot operate without presuppositions. If you really think you do, you are deluded. You are responsible before God for your choice of presuppositions.

  • http://mumonno.blogspot.com Mumon

    My presupposition is that God is faithful and that his word is true. Yours is that human reason is supreme. This results in diametrically opposed world views.
    We may then reasonably categorize your views as unreasonable, and illogical then, no?

  • ex-preacher

    Ah, a presuppositionalist. As you imply, for you there is no point in looking at the evidence since you take the conclusion as your premise. This is also known as circular reasoning. Your view carries little weight with me, though, since I lived 35 years of my life presupposing god until the evidence, much of it from the Bible itself, forced me to conclude otherwise.

  • Joe McFaul

    Eric and Lisa ask:
    Maybe there was a page omitted or redacted or something? Please help me with this Joe Mc Faul, since Ive been unable to find the lies that were told in the judges ruling, only that he says they lied and would point out where later but never seems to.
    Appreciated.”
    Certainly:
    The 139 page opinion sets out several examples of playing fast and lose with the truth. the Judge found deception in the following areas:
    1. The change in wording from “creationism to Intelligent design in Of Pandas and People–with no other changes in text. “Astonishing” says the judge. (“Astonishing” is a polite courtroom form of saying “liar, liar , pants on fire”.)
    2. The Discovery Instituter’s Wedge documents and wedge strategy is religious documents despite defendants “protestations to the contrary” (another judicial euphemism for “lying.”)
    3. The disclaimer:Because Darwin’s Theory is a theory, it continues to be tested as new evidence is discovered. The Theory is not a fact. Gaps in the Theory exist for which there is no evidence. A theory is defined as a well-tested explanation that unifies a broad range of observations. is “misleading” and is “misrepresenting the scientific claims.”
    4. ID proponents are coy about the identity of the designer and are also “guilty of “misrepresenting well- established scientific propositions” The misrepresentations are discussed at length in the opinion.
    5. Of Pandas and People “systematically distorts and misrepresents established, important evolutionary principles” and is “inaccurate and downright false.” Court describes three particular ways this is so. The court correctly notes Bebe concedes the inaccuracies.
    6. “ID’s backers have sought to a void the scientific scrutiny which we have now determined that it cannot withstand by advocating that the controversy, but not ID itself, should be taught in science class. This tactic is at best disingenuous, and at worst a canard.”
    In short ID proponents lie when they say they just want to teach the controversy.
    7. Board members were not truthful: “Although Baksa claims he does not recall Bonsell identifying “creationism” as the subject with which he wanted to share equal time with evolution, nor that Bonsell mentioned “creationism” at any time up until April 1, 2003, we do not find his testimony on this point to be credible.”
    8. And again: “It is notable, and in fact incredible that Bonsell disclaimed any interest in creationism during his testimony, despite the admission by his counsel in Defendants’ opening statement that Bonsell had such an interest.. Simply put, Bonsell repeatedly failed to testify in a truthful manner about this and other subjects.”
    9. and again:”Finally, although Buckingham, Bonsell, and other defense witnesses denied the reports in the news media and contradicted the great weight of the evidence about what transpired at the June 2004 Board meetings, the record reflects that these witnesses either testified inconsistently, or lied outright under oath on several occasions, and are accordingly not credible on these points. The paragraphs in the opinion that precede the quotes detail the inaccuracies.
    10 and again:
    “The testimony at trial stunningly revealed that Buckingham and Bonsell tried to hide the source of the donations because it showed, at the very least, the extraordinary measures taken to ensure that students received a creationist alternative to Darwin’s theory of evolution. To illustrate, we note that at January 3, 2005 depositions taken pursuant to an order of this Court so Plaintiffs could decide whether to seek a temporary restraining order, upon repeated questioning by Plaintiffs’ counsel on this point, neither Buckingham nor Bonsell provided any information about Buckingham’s involvement in the donation or about a collection he took at his church. (30:50-56 (Buckingham); 33:31-35 (Bonsell) (emphasis added)). Buckingham actually made a plea for donations to purchase Pandas at his church, the Harmony Grove Community Church, on a Sunday before services and a total of $850 was collected as a result. (30:38-40 (Buckingham)). As proof of such donation amount, Plaintiffs introduced into evidence a check in the amount of $850 indorsed to Donald Bonsell, Alan Bonsell’s father, drawn on Buckingham’s account jointly held with his wife, with the notation “Of Pandas and People” appearing on the check. (P-80; 30:46-47 (Buckingham)). Alan Bonsell gave the money to his father who purchased the books. (33:131-32 (Bonsell)). When Spahr received the shipment of books and began to unpack them, she discovered a catalogue from the company that sold the books listing Pandas under “Creation Science.” (13:94-5 (Spahr); P-144 at 29).
    When we were moved to question Bonsell regarding this sequence of events at trial, he testified that his father served as the conduit for the funds from Buckingham’s church because: “He agreed to

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    If science admits that it cannot enquire into why and is content to leave the question open, well and good. But atheistic science is not content with that. It wants to exclude God from the picture altogether and therefore claims not just that his actions cannot be investigated but that they must be assumed never to have happened.
    There is no such thing as atheistic science. There is not a single scientific theory that is atheistic.

  • http://carpus.wordpress.com Carpus

    Joe,
    I’m going to insert myself into this little argument you’re having with Booton about how he lies about what you say.
    First off, you say:

  • http://carpus.wordpress.com Carpus

    Sorry I just realized that last question was unclear. I’m speaking of the link contained in the first quote at ‘overwhelmingly (60%) reject’.

  • http://www.lfix.co.uk/oliver/christian Oliver

    There is no such thing as atheistic science. There is not a single scientific theory that is atheistic.
    Strictly speaking you are correct. The atheistic speculations of evolution cannot properly be described as science. However, they claim to be science so I use that label. Atheistic “science”, then, is distinct from the true science of Boyle, Newton, Pasteur and many others in that it goes beyond what can now be observed to speculate about the past, with the particular aim of denying the existence of God. It goes beyond what can be observed by its illegitimate extrapolation from limited current observations to an all-encompassing theory. The object of this is a futile effort to escape from the demands that God makes of all men, whom he has created.
    By calling it atheistic science I refer to the motivation of its proponents (or at least of its originators). A theory is not proposed in a philosophical vacuum; theories about origins are derived from an atheistic world view and are intended to support it.
    You should not find this idea surprising. Evolutionists are quick to ascribe ulterior motives to those who oppose them as is evident from the Dover trial record referred to above. People need to realise that evolutionists do exactly the same thing that they acccuse others of.

  • http://TheEverWiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    carpus,
    Well of course it is! If someone does not believe that natural processes, i.e. evolution, are responsible for the apearance of humans, then he/she is rejecting evolutionary theory!
    When I click on the link I get a slide that says:
    38% agree with “Humans evolved naturally with no supernatural involvement – no divinity played any role.”
    42% agree with “God initiated and guided an evolutionary process that has led to current human beings.”
    18% agree with “God created humans exactly as they appear now.”
    2% agree with “I don’t like to think about such matters”
    I assume this a survey of doctors as Joe claimed. Clearly Joe adds together the 42% and the 18% to get his magical 60% of doctors. Yet the fact is clearly a supermajority of doctors here reject creationism. The second statement is perfectly consistent with evolutionary theory therefore the fact is 80% of doctors’ belief is perfectly consistent with anything written in any standard text on biology or evolution.
    Now Joe is presenting this as ‘evidence’ to refute the charge that the public may not accept evolution as a scientific theory because it is poorly informed about science in general.

    Eighty years after the Scopes “Monkey” Trial, the public still refuses to accept the idea that Darwin’s theory of natural selection is a sufficient explanation for complex biological phenomena. In fact, opinion polls show that fewer people are willing to accept the idea that human beings developed from earlier species than they were just ten years ago.

    In Britain—a country that is not exactly known for fundamentalist Christianity—fewer than half accept the theory of evolution as the best description for the development of life. (And more than 40% of those polled believe that creationism or intelligent design (ID) should be taught in school science lessons.) Even doctors, who are more informed about biology than the general public, overwhelmingly (60%) reject the claim that humans evolved through natural processes alone.

    Why do so many people have such difficulty accepting the theory?….

    Now either this little side track into 60% of doctors who express disagreement not with the theory of evolution but the PHILOSOPHY of naturalism is either irrelevant, as sloppy and pointless as inserting a survey showing 3 out of 4 dentists like Colgate toothpaste, or meant to deceive the casual reader into thinking there huge numbers of doctors are rejecting what they read in their biology textbooks in college.

  • http://TheEverWiseboonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    The atheistic speculations of evolution cannot properly be described as science. However, they claim to be science so I use that label. Atheistic “science”, then, is distinct from the true science of Boyle, Newton, Pasteur and many others in that it goes beyond what can now be observed to speculate about the past, with the particular aim of denying the existence of God. …
    Oliver, you are confusing scientists (or those who write a lot about science) who are atheists with the science itself. This would be as absurd as calling the theory of relativity ‘Jewish science’ because Einstein was Jewish. No well known advocate of evolution, and this includes the likes of Dawkins, Dennett and others, has ever argued that science had proven their atheism. Never. If they have produce the evidence and I’ll agree with you that they are wrong.

  • http://apologiachristi.blogspot.com Daniel F.

    Today, I began a series entitled “The Grace Series: Romans 5:1 – ‘The Grace of Salvation’” Part I. Here is an excerpt from the middle of the post:
    “Today, I want to focus on the first verse in Romans 5. “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God.” Now this word justification is not the first time we see in the book of Romans. We see it a variety of times certainly in chapter 3, “By the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight. Being justified is a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus.” Romans 3:28, “We maintain that man is justified by faith apart from the works of the Law.” But when we examine this term, justification, we find that it means literally “to declare innocent or free from any or all guilt.” It is the language of the lawcourt. It’s like a lawyer is talking. In salvation terms, it’s God declaring, “You’re righteous, holy, free, and forgiven.” Now this term does not mean to make righteous because that is what God does in sanctification as His grace is dispensed in our lives. Sanctification is the growing in Christ’s likeness. But his term (justification) means to declare righteous and holy. It’s not a pardon, but rather and acquittal. “Not guilty! Free from punishment from penalty.” Justification is that gracious act of God whereby he declares a sinner righteous and free from any guilt or punishment upon there putting faith or trust in Jesus Christ. That is what justification means. Christ has paid for our sins; we are free at last!”
    I thought you might be interested in reading the article. Let me know what you think about it.

  • http://www.lfix.co.uk/oliver/christian Oliver

    I said:

    My presupposition is that God is faithful and that his word is true. Yours is that human reason is supreme.

    Humon: We may then reasonably categorize your views as unreasonable, and illogical then, no?
    No. A presupposition is an axiom. It is a premise on which all argument is based. Axioms are, by definition, assumed, not proved. Because men are in rebellion against God, their reasoning is flawed and unreliable; therefore rejecting the supremacy of human reason as a usable axiom is not unreasonable. Even leaving aside revealed knowledge about man, it is silly to make human reason the measure of things, since it obviously cannot tell you anything about how it came into existence.
    ex-preacher: Ah, a presuppositionalist. As you imply, for you there is no point in looking at the evidence since you take the conclusion as your premise. This is also known as circular reasoning.
    You too need to learn the meaning of axioms and a correct definition of circular reasoning. In this case, circular reasoning would be to derive from my presupposition a conclusion that God is faithful.
    Your view carries little weight with me, though, since I lived 35 years of my life presupposing god until the evidence, much of it from the Bible itself, forced me to conclude otherwise.
    If you had truly put your faith in God and had wanted to serve him, you would not have concluded thus. “If anyone desires to do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it is of God…” (Jn 7:17) For a long time I was obliged to hold science and faith as separate and irreconcilable until I discovered creationist explanations of the observed data and learned how weak the evolutionary arguments were. Having chosen to remain faithful to God in spite of the opposition of “science”, I was vindicated when he showed me the truth.

  • http://www.lfix.co.uk/oliver/christian Oliver

    boonton: No well known advocate of evolution…has ever argued that science had proven their atheism.
    I do not say that (or do not mean to say it). Because they are atheists they produce atheistic theories. But atheism is a presupposition of theirs, so it cannot be proved – it is assumed.
    However, since they are so vocal (particularly Dawkins) in opposing the idea that God has worked in the world, and are so keen to offer alternative ways in which things could have happened without God, I do feel that their theories are intended to support atheism. It seems a reasonable conclusion to come to.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Yet as you just agreed with me there are no atheistic theories. Considering the fact that there are plenty of atheists in science one would have expected one by now.

  • Eric & Lisa

    Joe Mc Faul wrote;
    The Judge further found that many proponents had lied–repeatedly.
    The following that you posted is the line that I was talking about
    As we will discuss in more detail below, the inescapable truth is that both Bonsell and Buckingham lied at their January 3, 2005 depositions about their knowledge of the source of the donation for Pandas
    This is the only lie that the Judge claims given by the board members but he never comes back to it. It’s what I was referring to above. He says, “As we will discuss in more detail” but he never does. Maybe the Judge just meant that the case itself would be discussed in more detail, not the “lies”.
    Your other points can best be described as redefinition of the word lie. Just to clarify, a lie isn’t something said or done by people you don’t like.
    Here is a better example of a lie:
    That would at least be a start. In part III jhudson came pretty close when he actually ventured to make some predictions about front-loading. Then when he saw that his statements could actually be turned into something that could be actually tested in the real world he pulled back.
    Boonton is becoming a real disgrace on this message board.

  • http://mumonno.blogspot.com Mumon

    Oliver:
    You have explictly eschewed the use of human reason…which means everything you subsequently say melts into a puddle of jelly…
    In particular, despite your claiming that you start from an “axiom” that humans basically can’t reason, the point of even claming that you deduce based on some logical combinations of axioms seems utterly pointless and absurd…
    Because men are in rebellion against God, their reasoning is flawed and unreliable;…
    You beleive your reasoning is flawed and unreliable because your “natural” state – your mind as it is naturally- can’t reason. Your thinknig cap’s been checked at the door, lest you be sent to heck. You’re reasoning from a place of fear, not logic.

  • Tim

    Mumon,
    This isn’t particularly addressed to you, just your comments.
    You said “We may then reasonably categorize your views as unreasonable, and illogical then, no?”
    I realize this was not addressed to me but you are absolutely right.
    We are to love our enemies. Whoever is first is last and whoever is last is first. We are to give the shirt off our back to one who does not have a shirt. We are to offer the other cheek. We are to serve others. We are not to place importance on worldly things including worldly possessions and worldly wisdom.
    Of course there is more and of course we all too often fail at this (look at the state of Christendom in the western world today) but it is definitely unreasonable and illogical.
    Too bad we can’t all be unreasonable and illogical, then truly the kingdom of heaven will be on earth.

  • http://www.lfix.co.uk/oliver/christian Oliver

    You have explictly eschewed the use of human reason
    Please cultivate some exactness in reading. I reject human reasoning as a reliable source of truth and a foundation for argument as compared to the revelation of God. That is not the same as saying that reason cannot be used. It should be obvious that reason in the context does not merely refer to the process of deduction but to the whole process of choosing premises and giving weight to various factors, a process which is corrupted and distorted by sin. But if you prefer word games to submitting to the truth…
    You’re reasoning from a place of fear, not logic.
    What a strange assertion! What should I be afraid of? Here is the glory and the wonder of knowing God:

    For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption, by whom we cry,

  • http://jackhudson.wordpress.com/ jhudson

    That would at least be a start. In part III jhudson came pretty close when he actually ventured to make some predictions about front-loading. Then when he saw that his statements could actually be turned into something that could be actually tested in the real world he pulled back.
    Boonton,
    Didn’t you mom ever teach you not to talk about people when they weren’t around not to defend themselves?
    I didn’t ‘back off’ of the discussion about front-loading; in fact I offered two recent studies that gave credence to the theory here and here. Indeed, there appear to be more evidences for front-loading – like this one, offered, by no one less the PZ Meyers himself:
    This is a tiny snippet of what we know

  • Barrie

    Boonton argues: These folks specifically think that if they’ve found Junk DNA then that rules out an intelligent designer.
    Those folks are being generous to ID. Unfortunately ID would just respond “it was designed with junk DNA” just like Windows is designed to be bundled with a lot of useless extra programs that no one ever has any real use for.
    Shockingly poor reasoning, Boonton.
    This seems to be re-run of the ‘vestigial organs’ claims of a century ago. The claim was that humans have many useless ‘hangovers’ from earlier forms, proving origins.
    But real science advanced and proved that some or most of these did have useful functions -like the little toes or the appendix – so the argument was gradually omitted from textbooks as false.
    The problem was that it was always an argument from ignorance – just as claims of ‘junk DNA’ are now.
    There are other odd features of this too.
    “A lot of useless extra programs” should be discarded by natural selection in such a long time, as a break on survival efficiency.
    How do you define ‘junk’ scientifically anyway? It may well be found to be the detritus of externally-caused nucleus damage, and be ‘shunted aside’ by a built-in program that does this to repair the function damaged, hence an elaborate survival mechanism or back-up program.
    Now THAT suggests intelligence, and is a prediction worthy of ID!
    Degraded data suggests non-degraded data, and so purpose in the first place..
    Moreover, the analogy to Microsoft is to programs that DO have both function and design, but are redundant for some -just as ‘vestigial organs’ can have purpose in an organism’s development from infancy.
    Listen to yourself Boonton – ‘designed with junk’ is in NO way what MS programs actually are.

  • Joe McFaul

    “Just to clarify, a lie isn’t something said or done by people you don’t like.”
    Just to clarify, lying for God is still a lie.
    Now look into your own hearts and re-read what I wrote. They lied about the science. The judge detailed specific ways in the 139 page opinion. When Pandas lied about the state of science–it was lying for God.
    When the board members denied purchasing Pandas under oath and later admitted that they did purchase pandas–that’s lying for God.
    When they denied using the word creationism at news conferences, and then were confronted with videotapes of the conferences where they used the words–that’s lying for God.
    “This is the only lie that the Judge claims given by the board members”
    is recklessly inaccurate. my points 7, 8 and 9 document other lies by board members described by the judge.
    Reckless inaccuracy is also lying.
    The opinion is replete with specific examples of falsified science, falsified studies and falsified claims–all lies.
    Lying takes many forms. It can be an omission of key informaiton. It can be a distortion of soemone else’s position, like this one:
    “Just to clarify, a lie isn’t something said or done by people you don’t like.”
    That is a distortion of my position. It’s a lie. But that’s OK–you’re lying for God. Sadly I’ve come to belive that my fellow Christians will leap at the chance to lie for God.
    Don’t lie for God again.

  • Barrie

    I am reposting this below from an earlier thread because The Raven or ex-preacher [can't recall which] said no-one had yet tried to answer Collins’s contentment with theistic evolution, a view which I find incoherent and i hope Joe does too..
    Theistic evolution clashes with Christian ‘theology’ properly understood, and too little attention is being paid here to what Christians actually believe. Most theisitic evolutionists in my experience have an unorthodox view of Christianity’s God anyway..
    It’s a case of not talking past each other, so [with small improvements]:
    Boonton: A few responses to your thoughtful words, which include some theological confusions.
    “If God wanted some excitement.” There is no evidence in the Bible for your proposition. The attributes of foreknowledge and predestining power are not qualified at all, difficult as it is for us humans to fathom that. We are told ‘He knows the End from the Beginning, the Alpha and the Omega.’
    You see, I take the Bible as accurately revealing God’s attributes. ‘Modern’ theologians, by contrast, make up their own authority and return to paganism.
    So I find this quite incoherent: “simply permitting his universe to have true probability”, would by definition limit God to mansize
    and this just incorrect:
    “We are, after all, just guessing what things look like from God’s POV”.
    If He tells us, then we do know!
    Quote: [asking me] “How then would you proceed if you were asked to write a textbook chapter on lotteries and other games of chance? Wouldn’t you proceed with the standard tools of probability which assume no pre-ordination?”
    I would do more. If I found sequences and complex data that went far, far beyond randomness working alone, I would agree with the Alien Intelligent searchers that that’s good evidence of intelligent design, [or fiddling the wheel in a casino, if you prefer].
    Why don’t the evolutionists take these respectable statisticians seriously? I say because they don’t like the [non-random] results they define as significant. Presumably the atheist will accept non-random radiation data, IF it is found, as evidence of intelligent beings ‘out there’, just as he interprets the data from stars as yielding other information because he works on the principle that the universe really is ordered.
    Now for your last part: “When God interacts with humans in the Bible he doesn’t seem to act like a person who has perfect foreknowledge.”
    True, and false. The Bible includes a few anthropomorphic epiphanies as illustrations. Jesus Himself didn’t have perfect foreknowledge, but only as Incarnate Man. ‘Seems to’ proves nothing in the face of many very clear statements that God is NOT man, in His essence.
    But your point fails to answer my objection about God not knowing the Universal Film’s ending until it ends IF He is not all-knowing because not predestining. You can’t have it both ways, nor can a ‘process God’.
    ‘Process theology’ is a technical term. It points towards pantheism ['God' IS Everything, or will be], and panentheism [not a spelling error] is ['God' is somehow IN Everything and *indivisible from it*, so can only evolve with it, much as pantheism holds too.]
    When the Bible says ‘God is All and is in All’ it is not saying either of these things. The Christian God is omnipresent WITH His creation and sustains it, but is not indivisible from it or a necessary joint part of it.
    So you see, neither of these describe the Christian-Judaic God, whose first attribute is that He is NOT His Creation, but intrinsically independent of it. He created because He wanted to love it, not out of any known necessity.
    I hope that helps you undertand where Christians are coming from who have problems with undirected, directionless evolution [the standard theory.]
    Boonton wants to quibble that gravity is ‘directionless’, misunderstanding the ‘arrow of time’ to which I allude, which in fact produced MAN and not some other ‘evolved thing’.
    Collins is no theologian and hasn’t thought about what sort of God is described in the Bible.

  • http://bevets.com/evolution.htm bevets

    Confronting the issue head-on is exactly what we need. We don’t need to convert people to atheism, but we do need to wake them up and let them know that there are legitimate arguments with their unquestioning acceptance of Christian dogma. ~ PZ Myers In which I envy the British January 10, 2006
    Scientists will never be the close, reassuring father figures that Americans see every week. We will always be threats to the backwards-looking flocks of the majority of the religious, and we will always be railed against from the pulpits

  • Eric & Lisa

    Joe Mc Faul wrote;
    The opinion is replete with specific examples of falsified science, falsified studies and falsified claims–all lies.
    You’d think if the opinion were replete with evidence of lies you’d have given us some. The best you can come up with is that a book was edited by people you don’t like (Not a lie). Someone you don’t like who doesn’t remember something is not telling a lie, it’s called not remembering.
    What is really shocking is that if they committed perjury under oath that would have been a lie. For some strange reason though, none of the folks you don’t like have been convicted of Perjury.
    When you made the following claim:
    The Judge further found that many proponents had lied–repeatedly. The judge then determined the reason they lied–to conceal their religious motivation.
    I thought, well, it’s been two years, certainly a judge would have taken action on this if true.
    McFaul wrote;
    Just to clarify, lying for God is still a lie.
    And if you do it under oath, it’s a crime. Where’s the crime?

  • Noumenon

    Joe: Keep arguing about intelligent design. It’s not about persuading PZ Myers, it’s about there being someplace on the Internet where you can find a rational defender of intelligent design. Because there are a lot more atheists and scientists out there (or at least on my blogroll).
    Just don’t burn yourself out, you don’t have to bear the whole load of defending everything. Don’t fisk the whole point-by-point response, just get PZ’s strongest arguments. And really don’t argue with commenters. They will cancel each other out themselves. Just answer e-mails and bless the occasional sincere comment with a reply.
    OK, finally, I have an argument.
    “Since humans evolved in a context that excludes an intelligent designer, why would our language evolve any differently?”
    I would think humans evolved in a context where humans were the intelligent designers. It’s not a regress; you can evolve humanity and noun-based language first and then add intention-based verbs later.
    The whole line of argument that using teleological language means the subject matter is teleological doesn’t work for me. In math if you want to find the number of different ways to arrange 100 numbers you use language like (6 2) “six choose two” or resort to metaphors about an infinite row of mailboxes, because the only way to progress in math is to develop your intuitions so that they match the reality of the system. You can’t grasp the system directly. So you’ll end up using a “distance” metaphor to describe different configurations of a Rubik’s cube even though there’s no distance involved except in the math.
    You need spatial and teleological language to understand things because humans don’t understand any other way. Your job is to develop concepts in a way that your intuition can grasp so that you can

  • Noumenon

    Oops, that last paragraph was not edited out. And this paragraph is pointless. How sad!

  • http://thebronxblogger.blogspot.com Matthew Goggins

    Eric & Lisa,
    Here is a better example of a lie:
    [Boonton:]“That would at least be a start. In part III jhudson came pretty close when he actually ventured to make some predictions about front-loading. Then when he saw that his statements could actually be turned into something that could be actually tested in the real world he pulled back.”
    Boonton is becoming a real disgrace on this message board.
    Calling Boonton a disgrace serves to empty the word “disgrace” of all useful meaning. It is a most undeserved insult.
    I understand why Boonton gets your goat: he is a forceful, unapologetic, and effective writer who argues for a position you despise. And he has accused Joe Carter of being either intentionally or negligently deceptive.
    Boonton is correct, though, when he points out that Joe cited his doctor poll incorrectly, and that Joe has yet to admit his error.
    I don’t think Joe meant to be deceptive. I think this is just a case of Joe having a hard time admitting a big boo-boo — probably because he prides himself on being a good editor.
    Nonetheless, Boonton is being quite fair to take Joe to task on the poll citation. Boonton should be commended for advancing the debate. Insults are not only un-Christian, but wholly inappropriate.
    Cheers,
    Matthew

  • http://TheEverWiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Now I don’t expect that you will pick up on that, as I expect you are less apt to be able to discuss bilateralism than you are the morphology of microbats. But the gist of it is this; significant genomic capabilities appear to have been present very early in life’s development, and were expressed invarious ways during the course of life’s development, anticipating as it were future needs.
    This would seem to create an odd situation for you. What I pointed out was that front loading actually leads to a testable hypothesis of ID. If species were front loaded then by examining their code today we can detect what these species will evolve into in future generations. In other words if modern human DNA was encoded in more primitive humanoids then that would be a pretty potent blow to evolution as well as a good point for ID. After all, how could the blueprint for a future animal exist inside one that has not yet evolved to that point?
    Now I don’t doubt that certain genes are shared accross species and you provided some examples but I don’t think that is truely what you meant by front loading nor do I think that it particularily problematic for evolution.
    But I notice a trend in your posts, and this is just an observation from someone who doesn

  • Darrell DeLaney

    “I am reposting this below from an earlier thread because The Raven or ex-preacher [can't recall which] said no-one had yet tried to answer Collins’s contentment with theistic evolution, a view which I find incoherent and i hope Joe does too..
    Theistic evolution clashes with Christian ‘theology’ properly understood, and too little attention is being paid here to what Christians actually believe. Most theisitic evolutionists in my experience have an unorthodox view of Christianity’s God anyway..”
    A very large percentage of Christians across multiple denominations have no problem accepting theistic evolution. Those numbers don

  • http:/// jhudson

    This would seem to create an odd situation for you. What I pointed out was that front loading actually leads to a testable hypothesis of ID. If species were front loaded then by examining their code today we can detect what these species will evolve into in future generations. In other words if modern human DNA was encoded in more primitive humanoids then that would be a pretty potent blow to evolution as well as a good point for ID. After all, how could the blueprint for a future animal exist inside one that has not yet evolved to that point?
    Well, no, I don’t think you quite get it. We can’t “detect what these species will evolve into in future generations” for a few reasons, the first being that we can’t even predict how the genome will be express in existent animals much less ‘future’ ones.
    The other is that the way front-loading would work would be similar to what we see in the case of Nematostella vectensis; the same genes that exist in frogs and flies that express bilateralism exist in an organism that is much older; the anemone. The ancient animal has genes that are much more complex than previously thought and which are utlized by organism that came later; i.e. the genes indeed preceded their full usefulness. One couldn’t have predicted ‘frogs’ by looking at an ancient anemone, but looking back one can see genes that existed before there utilization in the frog; that is the predicition that lends credence to front-loading.
    It also adds another layer of difficulty for evolution to explain; why would an organism develop and retain genetic information that is not particularly useful to the living organism, but instead will be utilized by later organisms? Perhaps we can add prescience to evolutions seemingly endless bag on magic tricks.

  • http:/// jhudson

    Boonton is correct, though, when he points out that Joe cited his doctor poll incorrectly, and that Joe has yet to admit his error.
    I don’t think Joe meant to be deceptive. I think this is just a case of Joe having a hard time admitting a big boo-boo — probably because he prides himself on being a good editor.
    Here is what Joe said:
    Even doctors, who are more informed about biology than the general public, overwhelmingly (60%) reject the claim that humans evolved through natural processes alone. (emphasis mine)
    Here is the breakdown of the poll numbers Joe employed:
    God created humans exactly as they appear now. 18%
    God initiated and guided an evolutionary process that has led to current human beings. 42%

    Doctors had this option as well:
    Humans evolved naturally with no supernatural involvement – no divinity played any role. 38%
    While those who don’t like Joe’s statements might argue that his interpretation is biased, there is no way one can look at those raw numbers and say he lied, or was even wrong per se.
    Indeed, one can say with a high degree of confidence, that to the degree this poll is an accurate assessment of the opinions of doctors, those that adhere wholly to Darwin’s theory are in a distinct minority.

  • http://TheEverWiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    The last question you ask is easy. Genetic information (which can come from mutation but also other sources such as failed virual infections) may not be used by an organism today but tomorrow some use may be found for it. The day after tomorrow a casual glance might make it appear that the original organism magically ‘knew’ it needed that information for some future generation but that’s not really the case. The future generation simply exploited something its parents failed to exploit.
    If you wanted to do front loading you should look at it from the perspective of the beginning of the process, not the end. If you have, say, a reproducing robot that’s designed to look like a car but you want it to someday turn into a helicopter type thing. You need to both front load the helicopter information into the car-robot AND also load mechanisms that will trigger future generations to unlock the helicopter information and use it in the future.
    If you’re just counting on some random event to trigger the info to be unlocked then you’re really back in the hands of undirected evolution..or at least a bit back in its hands.

  • http://TheEverWiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Indeed, one can say with a high degree of confidence, that to the degree this poll is an accurate assessment of the opinions of doctors, those that adhere wholly to Darwin’s theory are in a distinct minority.
    Darwin’s theory says nothing about whether or not God set it up or even guided it (by definition God would have the power to guide a process without leaving any trace of his actions behind).
    The idea that atheism is somehow ‘more Darwinistic’ and theism is less so is what is deceptive about this statistic.

  • http://TheEverWiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    While those who don’t like Joe’s statements might argue that his interpretation is biased, there is no way one can look at those raw numbers and say he lied, or was even wrong per se.
    This isn’t a matter of interpretation but distraction. Looking at the paragraph that preceeded the doctor survey as well as the one it was in and it is obvious this isn’t a post about how poorly atheism has fared as a philosophy but how evolution AS A THEORY has not been accepted by the public. Joe introduces the doctor survey to refute the argument that the public may not accept evolution because they do not have a good scientific education.
    Take a careful look at the statements he is using and tell me what his point is:
    In fact, opinion polls show that fewer people are willing to accept the idea that human beings developed from earlier species than they were just ten years ago.
    public still refuses to accept the idea that Darwin

  • http:/// jhudson

    The last question you ask is easy. Genetic information (which can come from mutation but also other sources such as failed virual infections) may not be used by an organism today but tomorrow some use may be found for it. The day after tomorrow a casual glance might make it appear that the original organism magically ‘knew’ it needed that information for some future generation but that’s not really the case. The future generation simply exploited something its parents failed to exploit.
    Well, you aren’t really addressing evolutionary mechanisms of development. Anemone’s represent a class of animals that is very old; Pre-Cambrian. That would indicate that these significant genomic complexities arose quite apart from selective pressures, and appeared at a rate that really can’t be explained mutationally. This is particularly true when you understand, as science does now, that the genome both protects against mutations, and preserves significant portions of the genome for which their is no immediate use.
    If you wanted to do front loading you should look at it from the perspective of the beginning of the process, not the end. If you have, say, a reproducing robot that’s designed to look like a car but you want it to someday turn into a helicopter type thing. You need to both front load the helicopter information into the car-robot AND also load mechanisms that will trigger future generations to unlock the helicopter information and use it in the future.
    Again, you have to understand it from the perspective of an information system, which it is. Front-loading from the perspective of a computer program really has to do with instantiating components of a program which basically anticipate future uses of the program; we see this increasingly with modern programs that personalize themselves for a user. They do this because a programmer anticipated a range of concievable uses, and created the program in such a way that it would be modified by actions of the user. In the same way, the genome of ancient animals is proving to be magnitudes more complex than evolution ever predicted (or can account for through evolutionary mechanisms) and the expression of the complexity is revealed over time as the need arises.
    If you’re just counting on some random event to trigger the info to be unlocked then you’re really back in the hands of undirected evolution..or at least a bit back in its hands
    No, as I explained above, this is very similar to how well designed programs run; having built in complexities that anticipate conceivable circumstances. This is quite different than the evolutionary idea of genetic development through mutational happenstance and selective pressure.
    This understanding of the genome also further underscores the importance of knowing how information systems work. Those who don’t are at a distinct disadvantage in terms of understanding biology on a real working level.

  • http://TheEverWiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Well, you aren’t really addressing evolutionary mechanisms of development. Anemone’s represent a class of animals that is very old; Pre-Cambrian. That would indicate that these significant genomic complexities arose quite apart from selective pressures, and appeared at a rate that really can’t be explained mutationally. This is particularly true when you understand, as science does now, that the genome both protects against mutations, and preserves significant portions of the genome for which their is no immediate use.
    Wasn’t Dawkin’s point of The Selfish Gene that selection happens on the gene level, not the organism level? In reality it’s the genes that are trying to survive and reproduce and organisms are the vehicles they use for that? In that case asking why an organism has so many mechanisms to preserve ‘useless DNA’ is like asking why a car has so many safety features to protect its passengers.
    In the same way, the genome of ancient animals is proving to be magnitudes more complex than evolution ever predicted (or can account for through evolutionary mechanisms) and the expression of the complexity is revealed over time as the need arises.
    Indeed but evolution isn’t about complexity. A dinosaur isn’t necessarily less complicated than a modern animal simply because it evolved a long time ago. I would imagine that any life, once it got beyond its most basic stage, would explode in complexity rather quickly and then find something of an equilibrium.
    No, as I explained above, this is very similar to how well designed programs run; having built in complexities that anticipate conceivable circumstances. This is quite different than the evolutionary idea of genetic development through mutational happenstance and selective pressure.
    Wouldn’t having a ‘swiss army knife’ of a genetic code be a pretty useful trait even if any particular organism only used a few of them during its individual lifetime?

  • http://beamingvisionary.blogspot.com Beaming Visionary

    “Richard Dawkins, yes. He

  • http:/// jhudson

    Darwin’s theory says nothing about whether or not God set it up or even guided it (by definition God would have the power to guide a process without leaving any trace of his actions behind).
    The idea that atheism is somehow ‘more Darwinistic’ and theism is less so is what is deceptive about this statistic.

    It has already been made clear, most staunch advocates of Darwinism are quite insistent that there can be no supernatural component; and one is at a loss as to how someone could agree that

  • http:/// jhudson

    Wasn’t Dawkin’s point of The Selfish Gene that selection happens on the gene level, not the organism level? In reality it’s the genes that are trying to survive and reproduce and organisms are the vehicles they use for that? In that case asking why an organism has so many mechanisms to preserve ‘useless DNA’ is like asking why a car has so many safety features to protect its passengers.
    You misunderstand Dawkins argument for a gene-centric view of evolution; a gene still has to express itself phenotypically in order to be subject to natural selection pressures. Adaptations are seen as phenotypic effects which propagate genes. The complexities we see in anemones and many other early animals precede such phenotypic effects.
    Indeed but evolution isn’t about complexity. A dinosaur isn’t necessarily less complicated than a modern animal simply because it evolved a long time ago.
    Evolution isn’t ‘about complexity’? It certainly is. One of the primary purposes of evolutionary theory is to explain the increasing complexity of organisms; that development of complexity may not be linear, but it its existence requires an explanation.
    I would imagine that any life, once it got beyond its most basic stage, would explode in complexity rather quickly and then find something of an equilibrium.
    Why would evolution indicate that? According to evolution, complexity is the product of random changes to the genome; one would no sooner expect an ‘explosion’ of complexity from such processes that one would expect an ‘explosion’ of lottery winners once a certain number of people had won the lottery.
    Wouldn’t having a ‘swiss army knife’ of a genetic code be a pretty useful trait even if any particular organism only used a few of them during its individual lifetime?
    Again, evolutionarily genes are selected based on their ability to produce phenotypical traits that enhance survival; having a ‘swiss army knife’ locked in a closet that cannot be opened until long after one is dead does not help one survive.

  • ex-preacher

    I do have to give Barrie and Oliver points for honesty. In dealing with the problem of Francis Collins, they make no attempt (as others around here do) of trying to fault him on his science. It is absurd to accuse of Collins of adhering to evolution because he is ignorant of ID. This man understands DNA and he sees in it overwhelming and undeniable evidence that all living creatures are descended from a common ancestor.
    So how do Barrie and Oliver deal with Collins? By accusing him of not understanding theology.
    Says Barrie:

  • plunge

    “It has already been made clear, most staunch advocates of Darwinism are quite insistent that there can be no supernatural component;”
    This is misleading. Most biologists, including most Christian biologists, are insistent that science cannot have a non-evidential component. Claims about the supernatural are without any coherent means of limiting them. Once we admit in explanations for which we feel no need to present evidence of and any means to explore them, then anything becomes possible and science’s ability to separate out false claims becomes impossible and without context.
    Front loading doesn’t really stand as a plausible idea. Why is the code for all these supposedly front loaded systems now missing in all but the particular lines that have those systems? Not a single near relative retained this pre-planned information, or even a trace of it having once been there? Why, if these currently non-functional sections of future information were preserved for millions of years unexpressed, would they suddenly be dumped?
    Furthermore, it’s just not so that enough of any genome is specially protected to conceal things like blood clotting and so on for millions of years before there was even blood. When things are not actively expressed and have some functional role in the organism, they are steadily scrambled by mutation as has been demonstrated time and time again. Even Behe abandoned this line of argument.
    In short, there’s no evidence for front loading, and lots of things that make it pretty implausible. That’s on top of it being pointless. If there is a designer, then they can just insert code as needed whenever they want: there’s no need to have bacteria carry around genes for human brains for a billion years when you can just insert those genes as needed. Somehow, though, we never see anything like that in the genetic code. Things that are so trivial that human geneticists are doing them right now: like taking some large sequence of interesting function from one creature and putting it in another, just don’t seem to happen in nature. Was the deisgner lazy? Did he die early on and so wasn’t around for most of history? Was he just not interested at all? What gives?
    Of course, if you can just make up ad hoc any story about what he might or might not do or want to do, then of course I’m sure you can come up with a story as to why not. But it wouldn’t be scientific.

  • http://TheEverWiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    It has already been made clear, most staunch advocates of Darwinism are quite insistent that there can be no supernatural component; and one is at a loss as to how someone could agree that

  • http://TheEverWiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    ex:
    On this point, I find myself in complete agreement with Barrie. It is inconsistent to believe in an all-knowing, all-loving, all-powerful god and accept the theory of evolution. Anyone with the most basic understanding of evolution or the natural world, or indeed someone who has watched the Discovery channel for more than 10 minutes, cannot believe that a loving god designed such a painful, bloody, undirected way of organizing life.
    This has nothing to do with evolution. If you knew nothing about evolution or you rejected it entirely you are still left with the fact that an all loving God created a world where there is evil and suffering. This is a classical theological problem and simply rejecting evolution doesn’t solve it.

  • ChrisB

    Matthew Goggins brought up the question of testability. Hugh Ross and his group Reasons to Believe have done a lot of work in this area, and a book on their “testable” creation model is supposed to be out in Sept.

  • ex-preacher

    Boonton writes: “This has nothing to do with evolution. If you knew nothing about evolution or you rejected it entirely you are still left with the fact that an all loving God created a world where there is evil and suffering. This is a classical theological problem and simply rejecting evolution doesn’t solve it.”
    You are right, of course. I think one could say, though, that an acceptance of evolution also entails a realization that the amount of pain and suffering is multiplied many fold since the struggle has been going on for so long.

  • http:/// jhudson

    I find it interesting that Collins finds support for his belief outside the area of his expertise. Likewise, Anthony Flew, an expert on philosophy, finds support for his quasi-deism, outside his field of expertise. This confirms something I discovered while teaching at a Christian university. As I studied all the problems with Christianity that I had put on the

  • http://TheEverWiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Perhaps this is an assumption many people make that there are other people who are smarter than them. When they look around at their own department they see dopes so they assume the department next door must have gotten the smart people. People also like to think their beliefs are correct so put 2+2 together and you get a weird mix of humility and arrogance. The dopes in my field couldn’t be given the credit for proving my philsophy so Department X must have the smart people who have vindicated me!

  • ex-preacher

    Actually, juhudson, the most important reasons leading to my deconversion had to do with theology, not science. There were about 12 key problems I studied that convinced me I was wrong about Christianity. I had decided that any one of them, if the result was contrary to what I had always believed, was very damaging to my existing belief system. After a 2 year study I concluded that all 12 were in fact best resolved by answers that negated my existing belief structure.
    Only one of those had anything to do with science, specifically the evolution/creation controversy. I read fairly widely on the subject since I had been an ardent creationist. I will admit that in this area, I did rely on the work of experts in the field. I did read and listen to experts on all sides of the question. All of us do this to some extent, as we cannot possibly know everything about everything.
    One of things that my parents asked me was, “Why do you have to know the answers to all these questions? Can’t you just wait and ask God when you get to heaven?” That was a fair question. I explained to them that I wasn’t looking for the answer to every question, just the best answers to the most important questions.

  • http:/// jhudson

    This is misleading. Most biologists, including most Christian biologists, are insistent that science cannot have a non-evidential component. Claims about the supernatural are without any coherent means of limiting them. Once we admit in explanations for which we feel no need to present evidence of and any means to explore them, then anything becomes possible and science’s ability to separate out false claims becomes impossible and without context.
    Sure; not sure what your point is though. If Darwinian evolution is wholly true (that is, man’s mind and nature are the product of mutations and natural selection as evolution asserts) God is not simply outside of scientific exploration, He is unnecessary to our understanding of man’s existence.
    So a statement to the effect that evolution alone is insufficient to explain man’s existence is significant.
    Front loading doesn’t really stand as a plausible idea. Why is the code for all these supposedly front loaded systems now missing in all but the particular lines that have those systems? Not a single near relative retained this pre-planned information, or even a trace of it having once been there?
    What? It’s not missing; I just detailed three instances where it has been found. And many ‘near relatives’ (whatever the heck those are) appear to have retained this information; again Meyer’s point, not mine.
    Why, if these currently non-functional sections of future information were preserved for millions of years unexpressed, would they suddenly be dumped?
    Bilateralism has been ‘dumped’? Maybe on your side of the family tree, but I still got both halves.
    Furthermore, it’s just not so that enough of any genome is specially protected to conceal things like blood clotting and so on for millions of years before there was even blood. When things are not actively expressed and have some functional role in the organism, they are steadily scrambled by mutation as has been demonstrated time and time again. Even Behe abandoned this line of argument.
    Behe abandoned what line of argument?
    That ‘not actively expressed’ (as opposed to what, inactively expressed?) functional (hey, I thought they weren’t expressed! – how are they ‘functional’?) things are ‘steadily scrambled’ by mutation?
    What kind of crappola gobbledy-gook is this? How would anyone know what Behe was supposed to have abandoned? I think you can make a strong case for suing both your English and Science teachers here.
    In short, there’s no evidence for front loading, and lots of things that make it pretty implausible.
    Did you even read the evidence? You may find it unconvincing (for mysterious reasons) but it is there.
    That’s on top of it being pointless. If there is a designer, then they can just insert code as needed whenever they want: there’s no need to have bacteria carry around genes for human brains for a billion years when you can just insert those genes as needed.
    This is sort of like the “If men evolved from monkeys how come there are still monkeys?” sort of argument.
    The idea that a significant portion of the genome is front-loaded (an idea born out by recent discoveries) doesn’t exclude the ongoing involvement of a designer anymore than front-loading in our current computer code stops a modern programmer from creating new components to a program. It is a practice that anticipates changes in the enviroment and an information system’s response to those changes; that’s smart, not lazy.
    Somehow, though, we never see anything like that in the genetic code. Things that are so trivial that human geneticists are doing them right now: like taking some large sequence of interesting function from one creature and putting it in another, just don’t seem to happen in nature. Was the deisgner lazy? Did he die early on and so wasn’t around for most of history? Was he just not interested at all? What gives?
    We do see things like that in the genetic code; in fact, the entire history of early life seems to be just that; organisms seem to have exchanged information freely. That why the ‘tree of life’ doesn’t really look like a tree, it looks like a bush with no single point of origin.
    And such a capability is hardly ‘trivial’ considering it has taken humans thousands of years of learning to even contemplate doing such a thing, and even now it is an extremely time and resource intensive venture. And if ‘trivial things’ like that require such effort from an intelligent agent, how much more so de novo segments of code that seem to have appeared with no antecedents?

  • plunge

    “I have found that atheists often maintain belief in their faith by assuming that experts in other fields (particularly science) provide solid evidence of that faith.”
    In general, I find that people who claim that atheism is a faith have a poor grasp of the nuances of debate.
    But before we get any further: tell me. I don’t believe in any gods. Am I an atheist?

  • http:/// jhudson

    Actually, juhudson, the most important reasons leading to my deconversion had to do with theology, not science. There were about 12 key problems I studied that convinced me I was wrong about Christianity. I had decided that any one of them, if the result was contrary to what I had always believed, was very damaging to my existing belief system. After a 2 year study I concluded that all 12 were in fact best resolved by answers that negated my existing belief structure.
    Only one of those had anything to do with science, specifically the evolution/creation controversy. I read fairly widely on the subject since I had been an ardent creationist. I will admit that in this area, I did rely on the work of experts in the field. I did read and listen to experts on all sides of the question. All of us do this to some extent, as we cannot possibly know everything about everything.
    One of things that my parents asked me was, “Why do you have to know the answers to all these questions? Can’t you just wait and ask God when you get to heaven?” That was a fair question. I explained to them that I wasn’t looking for the answer to every question, just the best answers to the most important questions.
    As a former agnostic evolutionist I find your understanding of biology lacking. I also find it to be fairly dated vis a vis your reference to nature as “a painful, bloody, undirected way of organizing life”.
    There was an interesting discussion recently surrounding National Geographics March of the Penguins because it depicted the penguins acting cooperatively as opposed to acting like organisms that were in a Darwinian struggle for survival. The French team who filmed them of course were no creationists; they simply filmed what was there. The evolutionists disliked what they saw because it didn’t back up their metaphysics.
    Even in terms of organisms being antagonistic, we have discovered that out of 30 million microbial species, 70 are pathogenic, the rest being exceedingly beneficial to all life; hardly evidence of a ‘a painful and bloody’ world.
    As the Talmud puts it, “You do not see life as it is. You see it as you are.”

  • http://TheEverWiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Sure; not sure what your point is though. If Darwinian evolution is wholly true (that is, man’s mind and nature are the product of mutations and natural selection as evolution asserts) God is not simply outside of scientific exploration, He is unnecessary to our understanding of man’s existence.
    That doesn’t follow at all. Understanding man’s existence is a very broad thing that includes a lot more than simple biological understanding. Darwin’s theory and its later modifications, in this respect, are quite limited. Here what you’re doing is taking a scientific theory beyond its scope.

  • http:/// jhudson

    In general, I find that people who claim that atheism is a faith have a poor grasp of the nuances of debate.
    But before we get any further: tell me. I don’t believe in any gods. Am I an atheist?
    Why on earth would I care what number of gods you might or might not believe in, or what you call yourself? Can we stick to science here?

  • http:/// jhudson

    That doesn’t follow at all. Understanding man’s existence is a very broad thing that includes a lot more than simple biological understanding. Darwin’s theory and its later modifications, in this respect, are quite limited. Here what you’re doing is taking a scientific theory beyond its scope.
    I in now way promote biology as the only, or even primary way to understand man’s existence; but that is because I don’t restrict my view of man’s development to mere biological development; a Darwinist does – ask any evolutionary psychologist.

  • http://TheEverWiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    There was an interesting discussion recently surrounding National Geographics March of the Penguins because it depicted the penguins acting cooperatively as opposed to acting like organisms that were in a Darwinian struggle for survival. The French team who filmed them of course were no creationists; they simply filmed what was there. The evolutionists disliked what they saw because it didn’t back up their metaphysics.
    Which evolutionists were they? Nothing precludes cooporative strategies among organisms as part of the Darwinian struggle. You hardly need to visit penguins to observe it, just look at any ant colony. And that wasn’t news in Darwin’s time either.

  • http://TheEverWiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    I in now way promote biology as the only, or even primary way to understand man’s existence; but that is because I don’t restrict my view of man’s development to mere biological development; a Darwinist does – ask any evolutionary psychologist.
    I wasn’t aware that Darwin claimed to have not only achieved a scientific breakthrough but also replaced art, literature, and philosophy. Please reference where I can find these passages so claiming.
    Even an evolutionary psychologist would not claim that evolution itself explains all about man’s existence. Find me a single one, just to use an easy example, that claims environment plays no role on a human’s behavior or personality.

  • http://TheEverWiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    BTW, at least according to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/March_of_the_Penguins#Political_and_social_commentary the first to find inspiration in Penguins were Michael Medved (for promoting ‘family values’) and some unidentified intelligent design supporters. The closest example to an ‘evolutionist’ not liking the movie was George Will who asked why an intelligent designer would have penguins raise chicks in -80 degree temps. Hardly much of an ‘evolutionist’ and hardly much of a criticism of the movie.
    Rich Lowry of the National Review implied that the ‘controversy’ was more media driven than anything else, especially from reporters itching to get juicy quotes from various pundits on how the penguins supported their views.

  • RB

    “entails a realization that the amount of pain and suffering is multiplied many fold since the struggle has been going on for so long.” ex-p.
    The only amount of pain that can be experienced is the total amount of pain that one single organism can endure. There is no collective experience of pain. And, as far as we can tell, we humans are the only creatures that can conceptualize and understand pain and evil at all (evil and pain are not the same) and make any impact on them. Pain can help us; pain can hurt us, but to say it disproves a loving God would be to suppose you had the omnipotent potential to understand the ultimate redemption, and the ulitmate purpose of pain, which I believe you would fail at terribly. Sentences like the one above seem more of a way to try and turn a loving God once trusted into a devil to be hated.

  • Rob Ryan

    “There was an interesting discussion recently surrounding National Geographics March of the Penguins because it depicted the penguins acting cooperatively as opposed to acting like organisms that were in a Darwinian struggle for survival…The evolutionists disliked what they saw because it didn’t back up their metaphysics.”
    You must be joking, or your understanding of evolution is much weaker than I thought. You write as if “acting cooperatively” and “a Darwinian struggle for survival” were somehow not compatible. On the contrary, cooperation is for some species the very key to survival. Schooling fish, bees, ants, meerkats, baboons…the number of species that depend on often complex social behaviors is staggering. It’s not like evolutionists are taken aback by documentaries that explore such behaviors. They explain these behaviors in the context of the theory: behaviors are selected for in addition to more outward physical traits; they are instinctual, actually hard-wired in the brain. For example, if animals with protracted periods of vulnerability and helplessness, like humans, did not provide extended care for their young, their progeny would not survive.
    Show me the evolutionists who were perturbed by the film.

  • http://TheEverWiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Indeed, where are these disturbed evolutionists. Why do I have a feeling this little factoid was just made up out of nothing.

  • http:/// jhudson

    Which evolutionists were they? Nothing precludes cooporative strategies among organisms as part of the Darwinian struggle. You hardly need to visit penguins to observe it, just look at any ant colony. And that wasn’t news in Darwin’s time either.
    I wasn’t aware that Darwin claimed to have not only achieved a scientific breakthrough but also replaced art, literature, and philosophy. Please reference where I can find these passages so claiming.
    Actually, Darwin laid the groundwork:
    In the future I see open fields for far more important researches. Psychology will be securely based on the foundation already well laid by Mr. Herbert Spencer, that of the necessary acquirement of each mental power and capacity by gradation. Much light will be thrown on the origin of man and his history. (Chap. 15, Origin of Species)
    He even mentions Herbert Spencer, he of social Darwinian fame. So there is a connection of course.
    Even an evolutionary psychologist would not claim that evolution itself explains all about man’s existence. Find me a single one, just to use an easy example, that claims environment plays no role on a human’s behavior or personality.
    Why would the ‘environment’ not be part of Darwinian development?

  • http://TheEverWiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    An organism inherits its genes from its parents but nonetheless its environment would play a huge role in its behavior. Even an evolutionary psychologist wouldn’t state that all behavior can be explained by evolution. And while we are on the subject even your quote from Darwin does not claim to have surplanted art, literature and philosophy or even psychology. ‘Much light’ doesn’t stand up to your big claims.
    Now who were those ‘disturbed evolutionists’ again?

  • http:/// jhudson

    Indeed, where are these disturbed evolutionists. Why do I have a feeling this little factoid was just made up out of nothing.
    Actaully, it was Steve Jones who had the problem with depicting penguins as ‘cooperative’:
    Steve Jones, professor of genetics at University College London and an atheist, said: ‘I find it sad that people with intrinsically foolish viewpoints don’t recognise this as a naturally beautiful film, but have to attach their absurd social agendas to it.
    ‘The problem with intelligent design is that there is no conceivable observation in nature that can disprove the idea. It’s not part of science, which is why scientists are not interested in it. A group of penguins standing upright looks like co-operation, but in fact the ones on the outside are struggling to get in and those on the inside are trying to stand their ground: it’s a classic Darwinian struggle. The idea that the life of a penguin is any more beautiful than that of a malaria virus is absurd. The Guardian Observer (September 18, 2005)

  • plunge

    “Why on earth would I care what number of gods you might or might not believe in, or what you call yourself? Can we stick to science here?”
    How disinguenous of you to say this, because you certainly are not doing so. You made a statement about atheists and atheism. I have every right to call you on that.
    And no person who claims to be specially more informed and enlightened about evolution “now” should be making the sorts of poorly informed claims you are making about things like the scope of evolution, March of the Penguins, and so forth.

  • http:/// jhudson

    An organism inherits its genes from its parents but nonetheless its environment would play a huge role in its behavior. Even an evolutionary psychologist wouldn’t state that all behavior can be explained by evolution. And while we are on the subject even your quote from Darwin does not claim to have surplanted art, literature and philosophy or even psychology. ‘Much light’ doesn’t stand up to your big claims.
    You seem to think “art, literature and philosophy or even psychology” popped in on a spaceship.
    Presumably they are the product of men’s minds – which in turn would be the product of evolution (as are the ‘environments’ we create).
    Pretending there is some magical space in between an evolved mind and it’s products doesn’t help your case that evolutionists considers men’s abilities to be any more special than, to quote the afore mentioned Prof. Jones, the abilities of ‘a malaria virus’.

  • http:/// jhudson

    How disinguenous of you to say this, because you certainly are not doing so. You made a statement about atheists and atheism. I have every right to call you on that.
    And no person who claims to be specially more informed and enlightened about evolution “now” should be making the sorts of poorly informed claims you are making about things like the scope of evolution, March of the Penguins, and so forth
    I don’t think you have demonstrated any ability to judge anyone’s grasp of science, no matter how few gods you claim to believe in.

  • http:/// jhudson

    How disinguenous of you to say this, because you certainly are not doing so. You made a statement about atheists and atheism. I have every right to call you on that.
    And no person who claims to be specially more informed and enlightened about evolution “now” should be making the sorts of poorly informed claims you are making about things like the scope of evolution, March of the Penguins, and so forth
    I don’t think you have demonstrated any ability to judge anyone’s grasp of science, no matter how few gods you claim to believe in.

  • plunge

    “Actaully, it was Steve Jones who had the problem with depicting penguins as ‘cooperative’:”
    Is that his problem? If it was, then I’m not sure this quote would make much sense. He isn’t objecting to the idea that their actions canbe construed as cooperation, but rather that this is somehow outside of any natural explanation and so must be an act of God. The part of his quote you left out goes on to say “Supporters of intelligent design think that if they see something they don’t understand, it must be God”
    which makes the meaning a lot more clear.

  • plunge

    “I don’t think you have demonstrated any ability to judge anyone’s grasp of science, no matter how few gods you claim to believe in.”
    Do you always argue by non-sequitur, changing the subject, refusing to defend or respond to points you made earlier on, and trying to mislead people? Or only when it comes to matters that upset your beliefs?

  • plunge

    I should probably point out that the quoute also fails to back up your point about the film itself disturbing scientists. It’s pretty clear that the ID interpretation that church groups and others tried to put on the film which was disturbing to them.

  • Rob Ryan

    So when you said. “The evolutionists disliked what they saw because it didn’t back up their metaphysics.”, you meant ONE evolutionist didn’t like the way some ID folks spun the film.
    jh: “Actaully, it was Steve Jones who had the problem with depicting penguins as ‘cooperative’”
    No, not exactly. Jones didn’t have a problem with the depiction in the film; he had a problem with people attaching “absurd agendas” TO the depiction.
    Got it. You should try to be more clear, or people will think YOU are spinning information, if not engaging in outright misrepresentation.

  • ex-preacher

    I’m sure that people dying of malaria or whose loved ones have died will be very happy and relieved to hear that “out of 30 million microbial species, 70 are pathogenic, the rest being exceedingly beneficial to all life.”

  • http:/// jhudson

    Do you always argue by non-sequitur, changing the subject, refusing to defend or respond to points you made earlier on, and trying to mislead people? Or only when it comes to matters that upset your beliefs?
    I didn’t change the subject, you did; you interupted a conversation with a confusing and unscientific analysis of the subject I was discussing with someone else, and then challenged me to make guesses about your faith, which I could care less about.
    Now, do you have a point other than being annoying?

  • http:/// jhudson

    I’m sure that people dying of malaria or whose loved ones have died will be very happy and relieved to hear that “out of 30 million microbial species, 70 are pathogenic, the rest being exceedingly beneficial to all life.”
    Actually malaria are a virus, something completely different.
    But the ability to ignore the overwhelmingly beneficial and integrated nature of life really says more about one’s dour outlook than it does about a basis for rejecting the existence of a designer.

  • http:/// jhudson

    No, not exactly. Jones didn’t have a problem with the depiction in the film; he had a problem with people attaching “absurd agendas” TO the depiction.
    Actually, he did have a problem with what they were doing in the film being described as ‘cooperative’, as they are in the companion book:
    The males can be aggressive the rest of the year. But they are docile and cooperative now, united to protect the eggs and survive the cold. Each takes turns getting warm by spending time near the center of the turtle. The huddled mass coils around itself in an undulating spiral. The penguins on the outside move in toward the center, the ones on the inside go outward. And this rotation happens very gently in order to safeguard the eggs. (p. 75)

  • http:/// jhudson

    Well, guys, I will let you decide whether the little penguins are being cooperative or engaged in struggle ‘red in tooth and claw’ for survival out on the ice; we have football to play.
    Catch you later.

  • plunge

    “I didn’t change the subject, you did; you interupted a conversation with a confusing and unscientific analysis of the subject I was discussing with someone else, and then challenged me to make guesses about your faith, which I could care less about.”
    You are the one who raised the topic. You don’t get to whine when someone else challenges you on it. If you didn’t care about defending it, then don’t say stupid things in the first place.
    “Actually, he did have a problem with what they were doing in the film being described as ‘cooperative’”
    Only insofar as this was thought to imply that what they were doing was miraculous. I find it very very hard to believe that he was really saying it’s always wrong to regard some feature as cooperative. Most likely he was simply being reductionist at most. He pretty clearly says that the film is great.

  • http:/// jhudson

    You are the one who raised the topic. You don’t get to whine when someone else challenges you on it. If you didn’t care about defending it, then don’t say stupid things in the first place.
    I didn’t ‘raise the topic’ I was answering someone’s question to which you added some odd little paragraphs which you have subsequently dropped because you apparently have nothing else to add.

  • Rob Ryan

    “Actually, he did have a problem with what they were doing in the film being described as ‘cooperative’, as they are in the companion book:”
    But that’s not what you said. This reminds me of someone else who resorts to dodges and obfuscation when he gets something wrong. It undermines your credibility.

  • ex-preacher

    jhudson writes: “But the ability to ignore the overwhelmingly beneficial and integrated nature of life really says more about one’s dour outlook than it does about a basis for rejecting the existence of a designer.”
    So recognizing the existence of all the diseases in the world is just having a negative outlook? When someone is suffering from a horrible illness supposedly designed by your god, do you tell them about all the nice bacteria out there? “Always look on the bright side of life.” You probably think the Jews are excessively dour for always dwelling on the Holocaust. “Hey, cheer up people. Only six million were killed! Just think, it could have been all twelve million of you.” Think about it, 2/3s of Europe’s population didn’t die in the plague. Hooray!
    Did you know that the average baby born in Jesus day had only a 50% chance of living to age six? Do you care? Did Jesus care?
    Have you ever known someone who suffered from leukemia? or Alzheimer’s? or was bipolar? or one of a thousand other diseases? Was it your god who designed polio? Wasn’t it a human who found the vaccine to prevent polio? Did that make god mad?
    Did you know that scientists have identified 500 diseases that are unique to canines? Maybe for you it makes sense for your god to specially design diseases to afflict all the sinful humans (including babies). But what sense does it make to design a disease to afflict dogs?
    Shall we talk about droughts, floods, tsunamis, tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes?
    Shall we talk about animals that harm humans and each other? Have you ever studied the lovely hookworm? Isn’t the e coli bacteria a real treasure of design? And the brilliantly designed mosquito.
    It takes a willful Pollyanna to deny the fact that nature is on the whole utterly indifferent to the fate of humans.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Actaully, it was Steve Jones….
    He was upset by the film? He wrote (I know because you quoted him!)
    I find it sad that people with intrinsically foolish viewpoints don’t recognise this as a naturally beautiful film, but have to attach their absurd social agendas to it….
    Gee that doesn’t sound like someone who was upset by the film. And while he goes into more detail in the second passage you quoted even then he writes nothing to indicate that he was upset by the film.
    Now you said evolutions were upset. Whose your next example?
    Presumably they are the product of men’s minds – which in turn would be the product of evolution (as are the ‘environments’ we create).
    True and instead of using receipes and cooking books we could try to understand cooking by mapping every chemical change that happens as we mix ingredients together and apply heat. No one denies that chemistry happens in cooking but it’s not a good tool to use to try to understand it.
    I’m sure that people dying of malaria or whose loved ones have died will be very happy and relieved to hear that “out of 30 million microbial species, 70 are pathogenic, the rest being exceedingly beneficial to all life.”
    This isn’t very surprising. Being pathogenic is probably a pretty hard evolutionary nich. You are basically killing your host, which you depend upon to multiply. On the other hand if your beneficial or at least not so much of a parasite that you’re harming your host you can have an easier time of things. Also another way of looking at this is larger animals, in order to make it in this bacteria rich world, have to have an immune system that can police at least 30 million different types of microbial species.

  • http://TheEverWiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Also does anyone really think he is wrong? Yes the penguins are coorporating but I also don’t doubt that the outside ones are trying to get in and the inside ones trying to stay put and the ‘taking turns’ behavior is due to the fact that while individual penguins may vary in strength they are close enough to the average so that no single penguin can defy the force of the entire crowd pressing in on it.

  • http://TheEverWiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    BTW, Thomas Schelling won a Nobel in Economics partly for his work in describing how crowds behave as a group when individuals follow their own goals…such as a lecture hall where no one wants to sit in the front rows etc. or a party where everyone wants to be around a few people but not around too many people or too few.

  • http://jackhudson.wordpress.com/ jhudson

    But that’s not what you said. This reminds me of someone else who resorts to dodges and obfuscation when he gets something wrong. It undermines your credibility.
    I think what has been obfuscated is my original point; which is that observed events can be interpreted differently depending on the observers philosophical predilictions. Thus one person might see the penguins as cooperative as the National Geographic researchers did, and another, like the British geneticist might see them as being in a battle for position.

  • http://jackhudson.wordpress.com/ jhudson

    It takes a willful Pollyanna to deny the fact that nature is on the whole utterly indifferent to the fate of humans.
    So, the way to ‘care’ for humans is to see them as animals whose lives are meaningless and deaths irrelavent?
    If one is seeking to make human lives and suffering matter, seeing them the product of chance and circumstance isn’t going to get anyone very far.

  • ex-preacher

    Where did I say that human lives are meaningless and their deaths are irrelevant? You’ve made an amazing and completely warrantless leap there. Is that the real reason you can’t accept evolution? You’re afraid of what it might mean?
    Two points.
    1. Life without a god does not make life meaningless or death irrelevant. In fact, I would argue the opposite. It makes this life all the more exciting and rich with meaning. When I deconverted I felt as if my life when from black and white (saved/lost) to living color.
    2. Even if accepting evolution made life meaningless, that doesn’t make evolution untrue. As George Bernard Shaw said, “The fact that a believer might be happier than an unbeliever is no more to the point than the fact that a drunk man is happier than a sober one.” Perhaps you would rather believe a comfortable lie than face the uncomfortable truth. For me, I long ago decided to follow truth regardless of where it leads. But I certainly respect the right of others to cling to comforting beliefs.

  • Barrie

    #60 I must refer Darrell again to my previous comments above that he has not responded to:
    Quoting Boonton: [asking me] “How then would you proceed if you were asked to write a textbook chapter on lotteries and other games of chance? Wouldn’t you proceed with the standard tools of probability which assume no pre-ordination?”
    I would do more. If I found sequences and complex data that went far, far beyond randomness working alone, I would agree with the Alien Intelligent searchers that that’s good evidence of intelligent design, [or fiddling the wheel in a casino, if you prefer].
    Why don’t the evolutionists take these respectable AI statisticians seriously? I say because they don’t like the [non-random] results they define as significant.
    Presumably the atheist will accept non-random radiation data, IF it is found, as evidence of intelligent beings ‘out there’, just as he interprets the data from stars as yielding other information because he works on the principle that the universe really is ordered, not random.
    Now Darrell says I haven’t offered any argument against theistic evolution. ex-preacher agrees with me that the Christian God and randomness *fundamentally* in the universe are not compatible. ['God does not play dice'.]
    Darrell doesn’t understand that randomness is a statistical thing defining lack of interference, so God would have to keep completely out of his own universe’s evolution [like a deistic god].
    Gould et al represent the ‘scientific’ naturalist view in this very sense, decrying any direction.
    Theistic evolutionists simply ignore this fundamental point [like Darrell does], which is also the very point made when denying that ID people CAN do science. [Why? because Naturalism IS God.]
    But in practice, as I have argued, evolutionists want it both ways – assume that the universe is precisely and reliably ordered, but ALSO that evolution is ‘a randomly-generated process of development’ [despite the inherent anomaly in that very statement].
    I have also pointed to the deeper problems of theology generated by fine philosophers and theologians -these deal with similar issues.
    ex-preacher claims he lost his faith by logical reasoning -but he doesn’t admit he’s only deferring the same sorts of problems Christians must also defer.
    Atheism is NOT a ‘natural conclusion’ drawn from reality.

  • http://jackhudson.wordpress.com/ jhudson

    Where did I say that human lives are meaningless and their deaths are irrelevant? You’ve made an amazing and completely warrantless leap there. Is that the real reason you can’t accept evolution? You’re afraid of what it might mean?
    1. Life without a god does not make life meaningless or death irrelevant. In fact, I would argue the opposite. It makes this life all the more exciting and rich with meaning. When I deconverted I felt as if my life when from black and white (saved/lost) to living color.
    Well, I have been an evolutionist and an agnostic; I guess I was never the good at pretnding – unlike some I actually believed evolution was true.
    2. Even if accepting evolution made life meaningless, that doesn’t make evolution untrue. As George Bernard Shaw said, “The fact that a believer might be happier than an unbeliever is no more to the point than the fact that a drunk man is happier than a sober one.” Perhaps you would rather believe a comfortable lie than face the uncomfortable truth. For me, I long ago decided to follow truth regardless of where it leads. But I certainly respect the right of others to cling to comforting beliefs.
    I agree that one shouldn’t cling to beliefs that aren’t borne out by reality; which is why I am skeptical of those who claim that it is both true that life began and continues without any external purpose or meaning, and yet, we should pretend that life is, “exciting and rich with meaning”.

  • http://jackhudson.wordpress.com/ jhudson

    More reason for PZ Meyers to be depressed:
    How did we get here?

  • Barrie

    Boonton’s points:1. To the human perspective it is perfectly acceptable to describe probability as we do because our information and knowledge is always limited. Therefore it is perfectly acceptable to describe your mom winning the lottery as a result of ‘pure chance’.
    ME: No, it’s not ‘pure chance’, since I believe in God’s total control, plus His omnipresence!
    2. To God’s perspective the situation is quite broader. Since God is defined as having infinite power and knowledge he knew your mom would win the lottery before the universe came into existence and if he didn’t want that to happen he could have made it so that it wouldn’t.
    ME: So God isn’t subject to ‘the laws of chance’ including the ‘random mutations’ involved in evolution? You seem to be arguing for theistic evolution unknowingly. Yet God is the Predestiner too. If He ‘tweaks the wheel’, it is not ‘chance’ or ‘random’ at all AT THAT point!
    3. Therefore the probability textbook is correct in describing the lottery as chance AND your mom isn’t a fool for thanking God if she won the lottery (that’s assuming there is a God, our atheist friends would disagree on that point but nothing in the probability textbook can settle that argument in one direction or another).
    ME: Probability defines likelihood. A real event [eg winning] defines the real world, not ‘chance’.
    4. So as far as theistic evolution is concerned to the scientist it wouldn’t be any different than atheistic evolution just as there’s no such thing as ‘theistic gravity’ versus ‘atheistic gravity’ to the NASA engineer plotting the next shuttle launch. As philosophy it would be a major difference but at its core the difference is really between atheism and theism which is not a scientific dispute but a philosophical one.
    ME: If you understood what predesination involves philosophically and in theology, Boonton, you couldn’t separate things so facilely. You DO argue for theism as being AS irrelevant to ‘creation’ as atheism.
    But orthodox Christians don’t and can’t. Our God is NOT just a deistic Prime Mover with Perfect Forward Vision.
    Please engage with this.
    Now Darrell says in similar vein:
    Weather is a prime example. We can

  • plunge

    “I didn’t ‘raise the topic’ I was answering someone’s question to which you added some odd little paragraphs which you have subsequently dropped because you apparently have nothing else to add.”
    Not so. You said: “I have found that atheists often maintain belief in their faith by assuming that experts in other fields (particularly science) provide solid evidence of that faith.”
    Did you or did you not say that? Why are you acting as if me responding to that is somehow some sort of distraction from anything? YOU said it!
    “If Darwinian evolution is wholly true (that is, man’s mind and nature are the product of mutations and natural selection as evolution asserts) God is not simply outside of scientific exploration, He is unnecessary to our understanding of man’s existence.”
    True.
    “So a statement to the effect that evolution alone is insufficient to explain man’s existence is significant.”
    Except we can’t make such a statement scientifically. All we can say is that such and such is the best _evidential_ explanation we have at the moment.
    “What? It’s not missing; I just detailed three instances where it has been found. And many ‘near relatives’ (whatever the heck those are) appear to have retained this information; again Meyer’s point, not mine.”
    No you didn’t detail any of these. You cited some studies about hox expression and various features being more fundamental then we thought and then leaped to the conclusion that this means they were front-loaded. But there’s no evidence for that.
    This is what creationists seem to do a lot though: they leap at some new discovery for the hope that in shaking things up, they can stuff in their own similar sounding ideas.
    “Bilateralism has been ‘dumped’? Maybe on your side of the family tree, but I still got both halves.”
    What does that have to do with front-loading? All of these studies suggest that basic elements that regulate development and expression are more fundamental and evolved earlier than we thought: not that they were stuffed into a genome and did nothing for millions or years before reaching their intended usage date.
    “Behe abandoned what line of argument?”
    The idea that IC systems were front loaded into some sort of megacell. It’s in his book which you might have heard about.
    “What kind of crappola gobbledy-gook is this? How would anyone know what Behe was supposed to have abandoned?”
    I guess you could, like, read his work. But I assumed that you had, since you seemed to know something about the front-loading controversy. My mistake.
    “Did you even read the evidence? You may find it unconvincing (for mysterious reasons) but it is there.”
    Uh, no. Claims about it being evidence cannot both be unconvincing and also “there.”
    “The idea that a significant portion of the genome is front-loaded (an idea born out by recent discoveries) doesn’t exclude the ongoing involvement of a designer anymore than front-loading in our current computer code stops a modern programmer from creating new components to a program.”
    It doesn’t exclude it no, but I didn’t claim it did: I claimed that it rendered front-loading pointless. The whole POINT of front-loading is that it allows ID’sts to claim that seeming evolutionary change was really pre-planned or anticipated. But if you anyway believe that constant adjusting is necessary/possible, then front-loading is wholly unnecessary.
    “We do see things like that in the genetic code; in fact, the entire history of early life seems to be just that; organisms seem to have exchanged information freely. That why the ‘tree of life’ doesn’t really look like a tree, it looks like a bush with no single point of origin.”
    This is just dodging the point: yes some early life could exchange code without passing it down solely by reproductive means. But this was and is something that is explicable by natural means. When it comes to organisms that do not have this capability: i.e. all the organisms we’ve been discussing, we do not see the most obvious element of design: the ability to transfer good ideas developed in one creation to all the rest. Your rambling about how hard it is for humans to do is similarly careening off-topic: obviously the hypothetical designer, from all the claimed things it is supposed to have done and will do, is imagined as being far far more advanced than human scientists. So how come something that human designers can pretty easily do to multicellular genetic code now that we have the understanding and technology (which the designer must have had all along) isn’t apparent in nature? Why does the “design” in nature seem restricted by the materialistic mechanisms of reproduction and other direct, physical transfers of genes?

  • Rob Ryan

    “I agree that one shouldn’t cling to beliefs that aren’t borne out by reality; which is why I am skeptical of those who claim that it is both true that life began and continues without any external purpose or meaning, and yet, we should pretend that life is, “exciting and rich with meaning”.”
    I don’t see what you have a problem with here. My life matters to me whether or not it matters to the universe or in any objective way at all. My life is rich with personal, not objective, meaning. Meaning is subjective.

  • http://TheEverWiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    But in practice, as I have argued, evolutionists want it both ways – assume that the universe is precisely and reliably ordered, but ALSO that evolution is ‘a randomly-generated process of development’
    Most randomly generationed processes are just a shorthand to deal with our lack of knowledge or our inability or unwillingness to fully calculate the implications of something. To use the lottery as an example again, the winning numbers are not really random. They are precisely and reliably determined by the forces that act upon the balls in the lottery machine. However we don’t know those forces and probably would have a hard time with the math even if we did hence we model it as a random function but it’s not.
    To use another analogy if you’re taking a test you didn’t study for and one of the questions is a true/false question you have a 50% chance of getting it right by guessing. The ANSWER isn’t random as the person who studied knows very well. There’s an argument that maybe on the quantum level true randomness exists but that’s a bit beyond my scope this morning.
    In evolution random events should include climate shifts, natural diasters, or even the process of evolution on other species. These are events that are not really random but since they fall outside the theory they are treated as random shocks.
    ME: If you understood what predesination involves philosophically and in theology, Boonton, you couldn’t separate things so facilely. You DO argue for theism as being AS irrelevant to ‘creation’ as atheism.
    But orthodox Christians don’t and can’t. Our God is NOT just a deistic Prime Mover with Perfect Forward Vision.
    Please engage with this.

    Sometimes not understanding something is better so maybe I’m better off not being as familiar as you are with all the philosophical and theological issues involved in predestination. I would again return to the lottery. The numbers are determined by the laws of motion. We do not have the information to apply those laws hence we can only guess at the number and figure out what our chances are of guessing right.
    God, though, when he set the laws of motion would have been aware of all the implications down to Monday’s lottery winner. So I agree you don’t have to believe that God is JUST a deistic Prime Mover w/ Perfect Forward Vision but you do have to accept that he is that.
    I would say, to me, it makes sense to see God as that but with the ability to step into his creation if an when he wants. Theology wise, both the Jewish and Christian religions assert this is just what he did… But to me it seems to be pretty degrading to a vision of God to see him as constantly intervening to make minor tweaks every moment. I have described this as the view of God as Microsoft, constantly issuing patches for its buggy software. A view of God as one who created the universe as he wanted it at the beginning is more compatatible, IMO, with an infinite beign. However we have long ago ventured out of the world of science here.
    ME: False analogy. Weather doesn’t ‘go’ anywhere like evolution claims to. We can try to make limited predictions based on models, but even these are difficult. BUT evolution, according to Gould, can’t, in its essence, be predicted. So we an only lok back and try to ‘reverse engineer’.
    Also terribly difficult to make a workable model.

    I think you are misunderstanding evolution here. Unlike the laws of motion evolution does not have many tools for making immediate and precise predictions beyond the fact that organisms will adapt to changes in their environments. There is a debate as to whether or not evolution leads to intelligent creatures like us or not. Some argue yes but Gould did not.

  • http://TheEverWiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    The evolutionists disliked what they saw because it didn’t back up their metaphysics.
    So whose another evolutionist who didn’t like the movie? You said there’s more than one!

  • Nick

    Jhudson:
    Actually malaria are a virus, something completely different.

    Typo? Malaria (a disease, not an organism) is caused by species of the protozoan genus Plasmodium (a eukaryote, not a virus).

  • http:/// jhudson

    Not so. You said: “I have found that atheists often maintain belief in their faith by assuming that experts in other fields (particularly science) provide solid evidence of that faith.”
    Did you or did you not say that? Why are you acting as if me responding to that is somehow some sort of distraction from anything? YOU said it!
    My primary conversation, and your first response had to do with front-loading; my atheist comment was to someone else in a different conversation.
    Except we can’t make such a statement scientifically. All we can say is that such and such is the best _evidential_ explanation we have at the moment.
    What do you mean we can’t ‘say that scientifically’? How do you say something ‘scientifically’? It’s a comment on the poll about doctor’s beliefs about the origin of humans – they aren’t required to state their beliefs ‘scientifically’ – whatever that means.
    No you didn’t detail any of these. You cited some studies about hox expression and various features being more fundamental then we thought and then leaped to the conclusion that this means they were front-loaded. But there’s no evidence for that.
    Obviously you didn’t read the studies; if you had you would realize it was more than just ‘hox-genes’, and that fundamental aspects of the organization of body types and capabilities were anticipated in ancestor organisms.
    I didn’t ‘leap’ to any conclusion, I said these studies led credence to the idea; I in no way consider the idea established, indeed, I don’t even favor it.
    This is what creationists seem to do a lot though: they leap at some new discovery for the hope that in shaking things up, they can stuff in their own similar sounding ideas.
    This isn’t even close to a ‘creationist’ idea.
    What does that have to do with front-loading? All of these studies suggest that basic elements that regulate development and expression are more fundamental and evolved earlier than we thought: not that they were stuffed into a genome and did nothing for millions or years before reaching their intended usage date.
    Yes, the capability for bilateralism was present long before bilateralism was expressed; and we have no idea how long they were present in the genome, though it certainly appears to be millions of years if the genome of an anemone is any indication.
    The idea that IC systems were front loaded into some sort of megacell. It’s in his book which you might have heard about.
    First off, front-loading is not some megalithic over-arching theory that all the genetic material was somehow contained in a single original cell.
    Secondly, I would like to see some evidence that Behe ‘abandoned’ the idea, particularly as I don’t recall it ever being offered as a definitive theory of origins of genetic information in the first place, and especially since you can’t seem to recall the name of the book where he did this.
    And finally, and I will say it again for those who seem incapable of getting things the first three times, while it is an idea for which there is both merit and some evidence, it is in no ways an idea I consider to be unalterably established.
    I guess you could, like, read his work. But I assumed that you had, since you seemed to know something about the front-loading controversy. My mistake.
    I have read much of his work, I just couldn’t make heads or tails of your mangled sentence.
    Uh, no. Claims about it being evidence cannot both be unconvincing and also “there.”
    What are you talking about? Something can be a claim for evidence and not be ‘convincing’; that is what the entire progress of science entails – accumulating evidence until a claim becomes established. Did you study science in any depth?
    It doesn’t exclude it no, but I didn’t claim it did: I claimed that it rendered front-loading pointless. The whole POINT of front-loading is that it allows ID’sts to claim that seeming evolutionary change was really pre-planned or anticipated. But if you anyway believe that constant adjusting is necessary/possible, then front-loading is wholly unnecessary.
    There isn’t a ‘point’; either it occurred or it didn’t, and either there is evidence for it or there is isn’t. They aren’t mutually exclusive ideas at all. It has nothing to do with what IDers ‘want’.
    This is just dodging the point: yes some early life could exchange code without passing it down solely by reproductive means. But this was and is something that is explicable by natural means. When it comes to organisms that do not have this capability: i.e. all the organisms we’ve been discussing, we do not see the most obvious element of design: the ability to transfer good ideas developed in one creation to all the rest. Your rambling about how hard it is for humans to do is similarly careening off-topic: obviously the hypothetical designer, from all the claimed things it is supposed to have done and will do, is imagined as being far far more advanced than human scientists. So how come something that human designers can pretty easily do to multicellular genetic code now that we have the understanding and technology (which the designer must have had all along) isn’t apparent in nature? Why does the “design” in nature seem restricted by the materialistic mechanisms of reproduction and other direct, physical transfers of genes?
    Again, you have a long conflated statement that is almost impossible to follow or break down into any decipherable actual point. You seem to be saying, ‘If the designer is so smart, why doesn’t he just modify life transgenically as we do?”.
    Of course this begs the question (two actually) the first being, how do we know he hasn’t? The second being, considering the designer appears to have at least created life, created it’s novel capabilities such as intelligence and self-awareness, and to have created it all so that it is part of one amazingly wholly integrated, self-sustaining, self-perpetuating, energy conserving and generating whole, to say it should have been done the way ‘we’ do things is laughable.

  • http://www.sufficientscruples.com Kevin T. Keith

    PZ [thinks that] being a

  • http:/// jhudson

    I don’t see what you have a problem with here. My life matters to me whether or not it matters to the universe or in any objective way at all. My life is rich with personal, not objective, meaning. Meaning is subjective.
    I don’t have a problem with it; you are free to make up whatever meaning you deem neccesary, I’m just not a good pretender.

  • http:/// jhudson

    Typo? Malaria (a disease, not an organism) is caused by species of the protozoan genus Plasmodium (a eukaryote, not a virus).
    You are absolutely correct; my mistake. I should know better having had to take medicines for the same.

  • http:/// jhudson

    So whose another evolutionist who didn’t like the movie? You said there’s more than one!
    Jeez, how many do I need to list for a minor little aside? Here’s Steven Pinker’s take:
    March of the Penguins delighted millions with its stunning footage of emperor penguins trekking through forbidding ice fields to bring food back to their offspring. But a striking aspect of the spectacle

  • ex-preacher

    jhudson,
    Accepting the fact that meaning is not imposed on us by some outside force does not mean that we are pretending about meaning in life. The meaning we find and create for ourselves, our families and our larger communities are not pretend – they are very real. I respect the fact that you and others may believe very deeply in your religion. I don’t accuse you of pretending to believe just so you can pretend there is meaning to your life. Please don’t insult me by accusing me of pretending to have meaning.
    Allow me to give a very trivial analogy. I have a piece of green paper in my pocket with a big number 10 on it. I like to think it is worth something. In just a minute, my son and I will go to Taco Bell where I will exchange the piece of paper for a very real “zesty chicken salad,” a couple quesadillas, and two small drinks. What real value or meaning does our money have, other than the meaning we all assign to it? It was not given by any god. The whole concept of money is a man-made invention. You might call it pretend. Does it have any meaning? Do you like to play pretend with your money?
    I’m looking forward to a tasty lunch. I will also enjoy time with my son. These things give me pleasure and fill my life with meaning.

  • http://TheEverWiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    I recall years ago watching Rush Limbaugh’s tv show (he had one briefly in the early 90′s). He reviewed some article about a study that found that certain birds that had been thought to be faithfully monogamous were actually quite the opposite. He went into a little diatribe about how foolish liberals are because they would have us think that animal behavior should be a model to challenge our social norms.
    How ironic that hardly a tad more than a decade later it would be the right leaping all over a movie about penguins.
    Anyway, jhudson, it’s pretty clear now you just invented your charge out of thin air. If anyone read too much into the penguin movie it was IDers & ‘social conservatives’. You haven’t shown us any examples of evolutionists upset because the movie showed penguins cooperating rather than, say, ripping each other apart like insand gladiators.
    Furthermore, you assumption that evolution would exclude coorporative behavior stretches the credibility of your claim that you used to be an evolutionist and have studied the subject. Perhaps you think you once understood the theory but I’m starting to suspect you never really did.

  • RB

    ex-preacher,
    Sort of think you’re taking it a bit far to claim that you have the truth. Also find it insulting that you think we believers live in a ‘comfortable’ faith. Indeed, by all the problems you have mentioned, how could it be as comfortable as you say? Why is it more comfortable than your current beliefs? You are still in a stance of faith, not a holder of the truth, but a believer in the fleeting knowledge of man. You’re still preaching, you’ve just changed dugouts. It’s interesting, as a past proponent of the gospel, I would think you’d be much less interested in tearing down the faith of others. It’s really quite sad.
    “Truth can never be told so as to be understood, and not to be believed.” Wm. Blake

  • http://kleyau.blogspot.com Kent

    A little aside on that doctor survey:
    38% agree with “Humans evolved naturally with no supernatural involvement – no divinity played any role.”
    42% agree with “God initiated and guided an evolutionary process that has led to current human beings.”
    18% agree with “God created humans exactly as they appear now.”
    2% agree with “I don’t like to think about such matters”
    So, 38% completely trust the theory of evolution, 42% use evolution (not ID) with god, and 18% beleive in god created people as they are now, like ID. So to say that 60% of doctors dismiss evolution seems like an out and lie. In fact 80% of doctors support evolution (not ID, reread it again if you’re not sure), just some with a god, and some without. It’s just that 18% that dismisses evolution.
    Oh, and I kind of have to accept natural selection as a valid scientific theory. You see, like mechanical engineers who have to use Newtonian physics to do their work, and chemists who have to use thermodynamics, I have to use natural selection in my work in the biotech field.
    My company’s entire technology (which is a vaccine, by the way) uses the principles of natural selection to work. Nothing else really works in designing effective technology. Kind of strange, this real world test of the valid content in theories.

  • http://www.sufficientscruples.com Kevin T. Keith

    [T]he Dover decision . . . is a legal and philosophical embarrassment. Judge Jones’ conclusion was that we must not judge science based on facts or evidence but on the motives of the people who propose or challenge ideas.
    Do try to recall what was at issue in the trial. The case was not to decide which scientific theory was better – trials are not held for that purpose. The case was to decide whether the requirement to teach “intelligent design” violated the Constitutional prohibition on establishment of religion, which means it was a trial to determine whether that theory was religious in nature. The religious development of the theory, its wink-and-nod religious content, and the motives of its proponents, who explicitly described it as part of their detailed plan to spread religion by making inroads for Christian beliefs in the public schools, are obviously relevant to making that determination. The fact that the “theory” utterly fails as science puts the icing on the cake, but its religious origins, content, and motivation are central to the only issue the trial did or could consider.
    Because the advocates of ID are religious and may have a religious motive, their ideas must be kept out of the classroom.
    Well, yes.
    To put that more exactly, because their ideas have (solely) religious content and serve no purposes other than those motivated by religion, they must be kept out of the classroom.
    Why is this even an issue? Why (aside from their obvious mendacity, scientific incompetence, and ulterior motives) do “ID” proponents even bother with this religious skulduggery? There is one absolute and unequivocal route to being taken seriously in science, and it’s perfectly well open to them: simply produce some data. That’s all they have to do. They don’t even have to be right, if all they want is simply to enter the debate. Just produce any data in any accessible format (not “God told me in a dream”), and people will take a look at it.
    In fact, scientists have been giving IDers a huge compliment all along, by pointing out for them why their ideas are wrong, and even sketching out possible lines of research IDers could pursue if they were serious about doing science, before the IDers produced any data at all, and even after they refused to produce any. ID is being taken much more seriously than phlogiston theory or astrology (which Behe claimed, in sworn testimony, was “science” in the same way that ID is “science”!), but it has produced even less data than either of those. But they still claim there’s some sort of conspiracy against them. The only conspiracy is their continued refusal to actually do any research. Simply produce some data and they’d have the whole world watching them. Maybe they should give it a try?

  • http:/// jhudson

    Accepting the fact that meaning is not imposed on us by some outside force does not mean that we are pretending about meaning in life. The meaning we find and create for ourselves, our families and our larger communities are not pretend – they are very real. I respect the fact that you and others may believe very deeply in your religion. I don’t accuse you of pretending to believe just so you can pretend there is meaning to your life. Please don’t insult me by accusing me of pretending to have meaning.
    I’m not ‘insulting’ you; it is a rather straight forward understanding of life apart from anything eternal. There is no meaning to ‘find’, and what meaning one like’s to think one enjoys, is gone in a few short years when one’s lungs stop working. What little impact one thinks they have had in others lives is gone when they too cease to exist, and then all memory and purpose is gone.
    There are a lucky few who makes a greater impact on the world; but even then, their memories and contributions are frequently distorted and abused by those remain, so even they are gone permanently.
    So the reality, that is, if one wants to look a godless life full in the face without flinching, is that we are just a breath and of no concern to the universe at large which will grind on long after all memory and desire has faded. If we have had enjoyment, or pain, or done great things or horrible things they will all be equal in the dust that remains.
    That is not the reason I believe in God, because I had accepted that reality before I knew God, but that is a good reason to consider why the issue cannot be dismissed with a simple study of our current understanding of ‘science’ or any other human school of thought.
    Allow me to give a very trivial analogy. I have a piece of green paper in my pocket with a big number 10 on it. I like to think it is worth something. In just a minute, my son and I will go to Taco Bell where I will exchange the piece of paper for a very real “zesty chicken salad,” a couple quesadillas, and two small drinks. What real value or meaning does our money have, other than the meaning we all assign to it? It was not given by any god. The whole concept of money is a man-made invention. You might call it pretend. Does it have any meaning? Do you like to play pretend with your money?
    I’m looking forward to a tasty lunch. I will also enjoy time with my son. These things give me pleasure and fill my life with meaning.
    You are very lucky to be able to enjoy the brief time available to you; it is much easier to do so in a luxurious culture – but both the money and the life will be equally forgotten an a few short years.

  • http:/// jhudson

    So, 38% completely trust the theory of evolution, 42% use evolution (not ID) with god, and 18% beleive in god created people as they are now, like ID. So to say that 60% of doctors dismiss evolution seems like an out and lie. In fact 80% of doctors support evolution (not ID, reread it again if you’re not sure), just some with a god, and some without. It’s just that 18% that dismisses evolution.
    Actually, ID doesn’t say “God created people like they are now”, and ID doesn’t completely dismiss the mechanisms of evolution, so that 42% is well within the range of those who would hold ID like ideas about life’s development.
    Oh, and I kind of have to accept natural selection as a valid scientific theory. You see, like mechanical engineers who have to use Newtonian physics to do their work, and chemists who have to use thermodynamics, I have to use natural selection in my work in the biotech field.
    My company’s entire technology (which is a vaccine, by the way) uses the principles of natural selection to work. Nothing else really works in designing effective technology. Kind of strange, this real world test of the valid content in theories.
    So you your company

  • http://TheEverWiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    So you your company

  • http:/// jhudson

    Now why would this follow from a claim that a person uses the theory of evolution in their line of work?
    He said, “My company’s entire technology (which is a vaccine, by the way) uses the principles of natural selection to work. Nothing else really works in designing effective technology.”
    That simply isn’t true; something else is required – intelligence.

  • Rob Ryan

    jh: “I’m just not a good pretender.”
    Maybe you are a better pretender than you think. You seem to be pretending your life would have no meaning for you if there were no God and death were final. I think you would find that you still loved your life, perhaps even more than before. You would still rejoice in your children’s triumphs and weep for their pain.
    I agree with ex-p that it is rather insulting for you to insinuate that those atheists who find personal meaning in their lives are pretending. I’m glad you don’t intend it to be, but I wonder how we are supposed to interpret it otherwise.
    jh: “So the reality, that is, if one wants to look a godless life full in the face without flinching, is that we are just a breath and of no concern to the universe at large which will grind on long after all memory and desire has faded. If we have had enjoyment, or pain, or done great things or horrible things they will all be equal in the dust that remains.”
    Ummm…so what? I won’t be here. Why should I worry about my insignificance in the big picture? Everyone shares that fate, so I suppose it’s good enough for me as well.

  • http:/// jhudson

    Maybe you are a better pretender than you think. You seem to be pretending your life would have no meaning for you if there were no God and death were final. I think you would find that you still loved your life, perhaps even more than before. You would still rejoice in your children’s triumphs and weep for their pain.
    Sure; we’re all alive, we all feel emotions and sensations; animals may as well. But that doesn’t really have anything to do with ‘meaning’.
    I agree with ex-p that it is rather insulting for you to insinuate that those atheists who find personal meaning in their lives are pretending. I’m glad you don’t intend it to be, but I wonder how we are supposed to interpret it otherwise.
    You may not be pretending; but that doesn’t make the idea that there is ‘meaning’ to our lives, when indeed our lives our a brief and forgotten event in the history in the universe, a pretense.
    Ummm…so what? I won’t be here. Why should I worry about my insignificance in the big picture? Everyone shares that fate, so I suppose it’s good enough for me as well.
    Exactly; meaning is irrelevant to those who won’t know the difference anyway. It would make no difference ultimately how we lived, or what we may have experienced.

  • Eric & Lisa

    My company’s entire technology (which is a vaccine, by the way) uses the principles of natural selection to work. Nothing else really works in designing effective technology. Kind of strange, this real world test of the valid content in theories.
    So you’re an ID supporter now?
    In case you missed it, you just said that to design effective technology you have to use natural selection.
    You even went so far to say that nothing else works in designing effective technology.
    So I guess I would ask you to explain yourself. Perhaps if we can see how your work uses natural selection to design things we’ll have insight into how God might have used natural selection to design us.
    I’m fascinated to hear how you are using natural selection to design vaccines.

  • Rob Ryan

    jh: “But that doesn’t really have anything to do with ‘meaning’.”
    Actually, it has a great deal to do with meaning. Meaning only exists in the mind. Outside the human mind, “meaning” has no meaning.
    jh: “…that doesn’t make the idea that there is ‘meaning’ to our lives, when indeed our lives our a brief and forgotten event in the history in the universe, a pretense.”
    Exactly! It does NOT make the idea that there is meaning in our lives a pretense. But aren’t you the one who suggested that idea was a pretense? By the way, I fail to see what brevity or permanence has to do with meaning. Regardless of my longevity or legacy, my life has meaning for me and for those touched by my life.
    “It would make no difference ultimately how we lived, or what we may have experienced.”
    That’s right, with the emphasis on “ultimately”. Those things only have meaning for us while we live. They have meaning for our successors while they live. They have no meaning at all when the last of us is gone.
    I have no idea why you are so concerned with objective meaning and the ultimate fate of mankind. To my mind, the former does not exist and the latter is irrelevant.
    Eric&Lisa: I am perplexed by your last comment in response to Kent. Are you suggesting that anyone who uses the word “design” is a supporter of intelligent design? Are you suggesting that anyone who believes people can design things are ID supporters? Wow! The controversy just evaporated! But…your definition of ID, if you answer “yes” to either of those questions, is not the same as the definition of the ID that is the bone of contention here.

  • Chris Lutz

    Rob Ryan:
    I agree with ex-p that it is rather insulting…
    How can anyone insult anyone else? Does a dog insult another dog when he tries to take his bone? It’s all about dominance in that evolutionary manner.
    I think you would find that you still loved your life,
    Sorry, but you aren’t really loving your wife. Your “feelings” are the result of natural selection that make you want to be a good (spreading your genes via reproduction) husband.
    You would still rejoice in your children’s triumphs and weep for their pain.
    Again, it’s all about reproducing. If they are successful, they will continue to spread your traits. In the end, that’s all it comes down to. Your calls to emotion are rather irrational.
    Ummm…so what? I won’t be here. Why should I worry about my insignificance in the big picture?
    That’s right, it’s all about the here and now. Nothing matters but survival of the species….actually evolution doesn’t care one way of the other. It’s a very nihilistic outlook. Of course, that is why secularists, in general, have far lower birthrates than the religious. I guess the leaders of the evolutionary race right now are the religious who have a meaning for their existence, even if it is false according to evolution.
    I would feel sorry for you Rob, but it would just be an evolutionary mechanism with no true meaning behind it.

  • http://jackhudson.wordpress.com/ jhudson

    Actually, it has a great deal to do with meaning. Meaning only exists in the mind. Outside the human mind, “meaning” has no meaning.
    Again, an excellent point. If this is so, life only means something as long as you have your cognitive facilities, and as long as the memory of you remains; once those are gone, you are rendered meaningless.
    Exactly! It does NOT make the idea that there is meaning in our lives a pretense. But aren’t you the one who suggested that idea was a pretense? By the way, I fail to see what brevity or permanence has to do with meaning. Regardless of my longevity or legacy, my life has meaning for me and for those touched by my life.
    Well, I think we are talking past each other a bit here; you find your life experiences meaningful; but neither you, nor indeed, anyone, has has any intrinsic ‘meaning’; that is your life serves no real ultimate purpose. Only while you are able to maintain within your mind an idea of meaning does it exist. This is akin to imagination and, yes, pretense; to have something in one’s mind that does not in fact exist in reality.
    That’s right, with the emphasis on “ultimately”. Those things only have meaning for us while we live. They have meaning for our successors while they live. They have no meaning at all when the last of us is gone.
    Of course; and meaning would be totally relative to individual desire and interest. If meaning to one is ridding the earth of the ‘Jewish’ problem, as it was for the Nazi’s, then their lives lived out accordingly is meaningful. If it is to help the poor, as in the case of Mother Theresa, then her life is too, is temporally meaningful.
    Or, if, as in the case of many today, it is to sit on a couch drinking beer and playing video games, then this too has equal worth. Thus the assertion that life has ‘meaning’ means nothing to the for us now, or for us ultimately.
    I have no idea why you are so concerned with objective meaning and the ultimate fate of mankind. To my mind, the former does not exist and the latter is irrelevant.
    Yes, then, you would have no idea why I am concerned.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Eric&Lisa: I am perplexed by your last comment in response to Kent. Are you suggesting that anyone who uses the word “design” is a supporter of intelligent design? Are you suggesting that anyone who believes people can design things are ID supporters? Wow! The controversy just evaporated! But…your definition of ID, if you answer “yes” to either of those questions, is not the same as the definition of the ID that is the bone of contention here.
    Being somewhat picky about language one could argue that what would be done in a lab would be more artificial selection than natural selection. By that reasoning if a human uses a grow lamp to feed a plan artificial sunlight then the sun must be a human-made machine!
    Really Eric&Lisa are a disgrace here but a typical disgrace. Notice how childish word games are so quickly substituted for arguments but do that even a little bit on the other side and you’ll be treated to cries over incivility and so on.

  • Rob Ryan

    Chris: “How can anyone insult anyone else?”
    Look up “insult”, Chris, and if you still don’t know, I’ll try to help. Hint: evolution and insult and not incompatible concepts.
    Chris: “Sorry, but you aren’t really loving your wife.”
    I said “life”, not wife, but now that you bring it up, I love her too. Tomorrow is our anniversary, and I might even TELL her I love her on this special day. Look up “love”, Chris, while you are at it, and I will help if the fog doesn’t roll back.
    Chris: “Your calls to emotion are rather irrational.”
    How so? You think people don’t have emotions? Or shouldn’t have? Are you Mr. Spock? Will you autograph my Star Trek CDs?
    “…that is why secularists, in general, have far lower birthrates than the religious.”
    That is one explanation. I don’t concur. My personal choice to have only two children has to do with my ability to provide for them and that of the earth to sustain them. I think people have procreate to excess are irresponsible. A lot of these are religious people who believe contraception is immoral or third-world people who view children as needed labor and a form of security for one’s old age.
    Chris: “I would feel sorry for you Rob, but…”
    You are making the right decision for the wrong reason. I do not want or need your sympathy. If you are a happier man than I, you are very lucky indeed.

  • http://TheEverWiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    How can anyone insult anyone else? Does a dog insult another dog when he tries to take his bone? It’s all about dominance in that evolutionary manner.
    Yea if you believed evolution was a philosophy or a system of ethics or whatnot. It isn’t except in the imagination of too many of its critics.
    Sorry, but you aren’t really loving your wife. Your “feelings” are the result of natural selection that make you want to be a good (spreading your genes via reproduction) husband.
    Why would this make your feelings any less real?
    That’s right, it’s all about the here and now. Nothing matters but survival of the species….actually evolution doesn’t care one way of the other. It’s a very nihilistic outlook….
    Gravity doesn’t care either, it wants everything to fall down. That doesn’t mean that if I believe in gravity I must campaign against paracheutes because they are in defiance of gravity’s ‘values’.
    jhudson
    Well, I think we are talking past each other a bit here; you find your life experiences meaningful; but neither you, nor indeed, anyone, has has any intrinsic ‘meaning’; that is your life serves no real ultimate purpose. Only while you are able to maintain within your mind an idea of meaning does it exist. This is akin to imagination and, yes, pretense; to have something in one’s mind that does not in fact exist in reality.
    I’m sorry are we talking about science here or philosophy? If its the former I’d like you to explain how one makes objective observations to either support or refute statements like this. If it is the latter then what the hell does science have to do with it? Even if life on earth was designed by some other intelligence that doesn’t mean life suddenly takes on meaning, likewise if life wasn’t designed then that doesn’t suddenly remove meaning from it. You are speaking far outside science here and that’s all fine and good but stop pretending you aren’t.

  • ex-preacher

    jhudson writes: “So the reality, that is, if one wants to look a godless life full in the face without flinching, is that we are just a breath and of no concern to the universe at large which will grind on long after all memory and desire has faded. If we have had enjoyment, or pain, or done great things or horrible things they will all be equal in the dust that remains.”
    Is this supposed to depress me? It is reality and I can deal with it. Was it your inability to handle this that drove you to religion? I realize that sounds condescending, but I mean it in all honesty. I know that the idea of eternal life (and avoiding eternal torture) motivates many believers.
    I’m not at all bothered by the fact that in 100 years no one will remember me. I don’t remember many people from 100 years ago. I think I’ll be as worried about not existing in 100 years as I worried about it 100 years before I was born. I’m also not depressed by the fact that of the 6.5 billion people alive today, only a few thousand, if that, have ever known me or even heard of me.
    The fact that we will be little remembered in 100 years has nothing to do with finding (or maybe “making” is a better word) meaning in our lives during our lifetime. That does not mean we are pretending. The meaning is no less real for being limited to my lifetime.
    I had a wonderful and very meaningful encounter with my wife yesterday afternoon. No one besides the two of us will ever really understand or share that meaning. That doesn’t make it any less real or meaningful to me.
    I do like to think that my life, and for that matter all lives, have a little more impact on the future than you seem to be willing to acknowledge. It’s true that my great-great-great garndchildren won’t know anything about me, but the influence (and genes) are passed down generation by generation. Maybe you’ve had a really rough day, but I think you have more influence on people around you than you may think.

  • Rob Ryan

    jh: “This is akin to imagination…”
    No, it is akin to experience.
    jh: “Or, if, as in the case of many today, it is to sit on a couch drinking beer and playing video games, then this too has equal worth.”
    For them, perhaps.
    jh: ” Thus the assertion that life has ‘meaning’ means nothing to the for us now, or for us ultimately.”
    Non sequitur.
    jh: “Yes, then, you would have no idea why I am concerned.”
    Precisely. That’s why I said it.

  • ex-preacher

    Chris, you need to study the difference between the “is” of nature and the “ought” of ethics. Even a creationist such as yourself must recognize that because lions eat gazelles doesn’t mean you should eat other people.
    Also, I would suggest that birthrates have more to do with level of income and education than religious belief. Christians with high incomes and education levels in the US are just as likely to have low birthrates as non-Christians with high incomes and education levels. Before you point out Europe to me, let me remind you that three of the most Christian countries in Europe (Poland, Italy and Russia) are facing critical declines in birthrates. The countries with the highest birthrates are impoverished nations in sub-Saharan Africa, whether Christian, Muslim or animist.

  • Rob Ryan

    “Yes, then, you would have no idea why I am concerned.”
    Having thought about it, I DO have an idea. It is your indoctrination. Because you were taught that objective meaning exists and that man’s ultimate fate is relevant, you believe that ought to be true. I don’t blame you. Cherished ideas are probably difficult emotionally to abandon. I was but an adolescent when theism became intellectually untenable for me, so that particular crisis may have been covered up by all the other teen angst. I have never experienced the despair you seem to associate with my worldview, and I’m closing on 50.

  • http://jackhudson.wordpress.com/ jhudson

    I’m sorry are we talking about science here or philosophy? If its the former I’d like you to explain how one makes objective observations to either support or refute statements like this. If it is the latter then what the hell does science have to do with it? Even if life on earth was designed by some other intelligence that doesn’t mean life suddenly takes on meaning, likewise if life wasn’t designed then that doesn’t suddenly remove meaning from it. You are speaking far outside science here and that’s all fine and good but stop pretending you aren’t.
    I didn’t know I had to make an announcement every time I spoke in a different otological mode (so many rules – whose blog is this anyway?) We are having a somewhat typical conversation here that by it’s nature is inevitably prone to the metaphysical. I don’t recall ever ‘pretending’ that it was ‘science’.
    And I don’t know that I started down this path, but I am more than willing to return to an in-depth discussions of genetic antecedents and interdependent biosonar mechanisms.

  • http://jackhudson.wordpress.com/ jhudson

    Having thought about it, I DO have an idea. It is your indoctrination. Because you were taught that objective meaning exists and that man’s ultimate fate is relevant, you believe that ought to be true. I don’t blame you. Cherished ideas are probably difficult emotionally to abandon. I was but an adolescent when theism became intellectually untenable for me, so that particular crisis may have been covered up by all the other teen angst. I have never experienced the despair you seem to associate with my worldview, and I’m closing on 50.
    Well, interesting theory. As I said, I spent a good part of my youth as an agnostic, so at didn’t have much opportunity to get ‘indoctrinated’ in much of anything other than suburban marxism and beer. It’s not so much that I believe “objective meaning exists and that man’s ultimate fate is relevant”, but rather that I have the cajones to admit that if it doesn’t, whatever else we believe doesn’t really matter.

  • http://jackhudson.wordpress.com/ jhudson

    No, it is akin to experience.
    An experience has no meaning unless it has an external meaning, or you apply meaning to it from your own mind.
    For them, perhaps.
    Sure; to whom else would it need meaning, if meaning is personal?
    Non sequitur.
    What doesn’t follow? That the lack of real meaning = no meaning?

  • http://jackhudson.wordpress.com/ jhudson

    Is this supposed to depress me? It is reality and I can deal with it.
    You are fee to do with that information what you will; but I am glad you agree it is reality, I respect your honesty.
    Was it your inability to handle this that drove you to religion? I realize that sounds condescending, but I mean it in all honesty. I know that the idea of eternal life (and avoiding eternal torture) motivates many believers.
    Nah, I was an agnostic; I pleaded ignorance to ultimate realities.
    I’m not at all bothered by the fact that in 100 years no one will remember me. I don’t remember many people from 100 years ago. I think I’ll be as worried about not existing in 100 years as I worried about it 100 years before I was born. I’m also not depressed by the fact that of the 6.5 billion people alive today, only a few thousand, if that, have ever known me or even heard of me.
    The thing that interests me isn’t so much being indifferent to one’s own obsolescence, but rather that such willful meaninglessness gets pushed off on others as ‘science’, and truth.
    The fact that we will be little remembered in 100 years has nothing to do with finding (or maybe “making” is a better word) meaning in our lives during our lifetime. That does not mean we are pretending. The meaning is no less real for being limited to my lifetime.
    I had a wonderful and very meaningful encounter with my wife yesterday afternoon. No one besides the two of us will ever really understand or share that meaning. That doesn’t make it any less real or meaningful to me.
    That’s great; however, such personal meaning could be anything depending on one’s personal desire, helping others or harming them – some just happen to prefer the morality with which they are familiar.
    I do like to think that my life, and for that matter all lives, have a little more impact on the future than you seem to be willing to acknowledge. It’s true that my great-great-great garndchildren won’t know anything about me, but the influence (and genes) are passed down generation by generation. Maybe you’ve had a really rough day, but I think you have more influence on people around you than you may think.
    I don’t doubt influence can persist, but that is equally true for an abusive parent as for a loving and kind one; if there is no object measure by which to weigh them, what possible difference does it make?

  • Eric & Lisa

    Rob Ryan wrote;
    Are you suggesting that anyone who uses the word “design” is a supporter of intelligent design?
    Nope. Didn’t mean to suggest that either.
    Are you suggesting that anyone who believes people can design things are ID supporters?
    No. To be clear, i’m suggesting that anyone who claims to be designing things through the use of natural selection is a confused ID supporter.
    As a reminder, he wrote;
    My company’s entire technology (which is a vaccine, by the way) uses the principles of natural selection to work. Nothing else really works in designing effective technology.

  • Rob Ryan

    E & L: “Nothing else really works in designing effective technology.”
    Thanks for clearing that up with the emphasis on what you apparently see as a key clause. Still, it seems that you are equating organisms with technology. Though they are comparable in some respects, there are limits to the analogy.
    jh: “…to whom else would it need meaning, if meaning is personal?”
    I’m thinking of those who are close to such people, or those like myself who try to see the perspectives of others. The actions of my loved ones have meaning for me, and the actions of my fellow man even have meaning for me, because they affect my environment and my perceptions.I would not find much meaning in the life you describe, so it’s hard for me to think they could. However, I acknowledge the possibilities that (a) such a life would have meaning for them and (b) maybe they are so nihilistic they care nothing for meaning.
    jh: “What doesn’t follow? That the lack of real meaning = no meaning?”
    Who decides what “real” meaning is?

  • Rob Ryan

    “I don’t doubt influence can persist, but that is equally true for an abusive parent as for a loving and kind one; if there is no object measure by which to weigh them, what possible difference does it make?”
    Do you mean to suggest that factors that cannot be objectively measured have no significance? I think that only means their significance can’t be measured.

  • http://kleyau.blogspot.com Kent

    Using the principles of natural selection in designing things does not imply that natural selection is itself designed. The beliefs of ID are of no use whatsoever in drug development, they have never, and probably will never, form the backbone of any technology, biological or otherwise.
    A lake is not designed, but an individual can design a painting using the lake as a template. My educational experience wasn’t really designed in advanced, seeing as how I dropped out of high school with no plan, and ended up with 200+ hours of random college credit and two B.S. degrees, but I can use my experience as a tool to help other people design an educational experience that is more focused and relevant.
    The migration movements of people into and throughout the United States are not designed, but police planners can use this information, and the probable reasons for the migrations, in designing effective policy to deal with the flow of people. This forum debate was not designed in advance, but I’m assuming the people involved will used what they’ve learned from it to design better comments in their subsequent writings.
    I will say that most ID people are better than this, though: http://thenexthurrah.typepad.com/the_next_hurrah/2006/08/the_heliocentri.html
    But, it makes me laugh, which reduces stress, which reduces cortisol buildup, which helps me live longer. Which is nice, since I’ll burn in hell when I die, assuming ID is correct.

  • Rob Ryan

    “…since I’ll burn in hell when I die, assuming ID is correct.”
    Now, now, Kent; in all fairness, it should be pointed out that ID itself draws no conclusions as to the nature of the designer. But I’m sure most people who promote ID would expect such a fate for you.

  • plunge

    “My primary conversation, and your first response had to do with front-loading; my atheist comment was to someone else in a different conversation.”
    Well, it’s nice of you to stop wasting several posts worth of obfuscation and admit you said it: can we now get on discussing what you said, or are you going to give me the run around again and accuse ME of bringing up something that isn’t scientific?
    “What do you mean we can’t ‘say that scientifically’?”
    The meaning is simple. It’s a belief that we can’t do much to confirm whether its true or is supported by evidence or not. Once you run off that trolley track, you can of course make all sorts of claims. The problem with supernatural explanation is not that they are hard to justify or imagine, but that they are too easy: you can think up millions of different magical ways to explain this or that, as long as you don’t bother yourself with needing evidence to sort one out from the other.
    “Obviously you didn’t read the studies; if you had you would realize it was more than just ‘hox-genes’, and that fundamental aspects of the organization of body types and capabilities were anticipated in ancestor organisms.”
    No, there is no demonstration that they were “anticipated” by anything. That’s your and the DI’s spin on things, without any sort of decent support for the idea.
    “This isn’t even close to a ‘creationist’ idea.”
    Of course it is. ID is a version of creationism with all the specifics removed. I don’t know of a serious ID person outside the Raelians (who aren’t serious by anyone’s definition) who believes that the ID is anything other than a supernatural being who is their God.
    “Yes, the capability for bilateralism was present long before bilateralism was expressed; and we have no idea how long they were present in the genome, though it certainly appears to be millions of years if the genome of an anemone is any indication.”
    It’s not enough to demonstrate a “capability” for something: you need to demonstrate the genes encoding for something. Exaption of earlier elements which are present in a broad lineage and later adapted for a particular use in some doesn’t count. Genes for human brains that stuck around in birds but aren’t expressed would be one obvious, exagerrated example of obvious front-loading. Yet we never see anything even close to that.
    “Secondly, I would like to see some evidence that Behe ‘abandoned’ the idea, particularly as I don’t recall it ever being offered as a definitive theory of origins of genetic information in the first place, and especially since you can’t seem to recall the name of the book where he did this.”
    Give me a break. Behe has written ONE major book. Do you REALLY have no idea which one it is, or are you just being pedantic to be annoying. It’s Darwin’s Black Box. DBB.
    “What are you talking about? Something can be a claim for evidence and not be ‘convincing’”
    I can claim that the fact that my house is blue is evidence for the fact that it rains blue paint here in Cleveland. But that doesn’t mean that this is evidence for my paint theory: even if my house IS blue.
    “that is what the entire progress of science entails – accumulating evidence until a claim becomes established.”
    Of course: but that doesn’t mean that all things that are claimed to be evidence are de facto actually evidence of something. The claims themselves can be unconvincing or deeply confused, as this one seems to be.
    “Did you study science in any depth?”
    Probably more so than yourself I’m guessing.
    “Of course this begs the question (two actually) the first being, how do we know he hasn’t?”
    Because we don’t even have a single observed instance of it. Sure there could be one outstanding, but in that case, show it to me.
    “The second being, considering the designer appears to have at least created life, created it’s novel capabilities such as intelligence and self-awareness, and to have created it all so that it is part of one amazingly wholly integrated, self-sustaining, self-perpetuating, energy conserving and generating whole, to say it should have been done the way ‘we’ do things is laughable.”
    You are the one who is confused about what is being discussed. The argument is over whether there is any evidence of design. The problem is that all of the really obvious tell-tale signs, all of the things that we know designers do, are missing. I was pointing out a key one.
    Of course you can always claim that the designer is SO smart that he jerry-rigged everything to look exactly like evolutionary change with no interventions. But heck, I can say the same thing about my blue house. It’s not REALLY blue: it’s just that when you look at it, the designer changes the light in transit so that it looks blue to you.

  • plunge

    Talking about “meaning” without at least understanding that this implies meaning TO someone is simply incoherent. Either YOU find your life meaningful or you don’t. There is no “objective” sense of meaning: that’s akin to an incomplete thought, as nutty as saying “walked to the store” without any reference to a subject. Claiming that God’s judgement is “objective” is likewise nonsense: God’s is just another party to which things mean things or don’t. If someone is meaningless to God, then they can still find meaning in their lives. If they mean something to God, they can still find God’s purposes meaningless.
    Implying that life is meaningless if it is not eternal is likewise incoherent. Unless finite amounts of life can be meaningful, infinite amounts cannot be any more meaningful. An infinite series of 0s still sums to 0. The fact that I and everything I know or that knew me will perish cannot prevent it from being meaningful to me. After I am dead it won’t be meaningful TO ME anymore, obviously. But how does that magically make the fact that it was meaningful to me illusionary or false?
    Likewise, theological claims about morality have failed to prove any more convincing than any other sort, and this has been the status quo since the days of greek philosophy. Either rape is wrong or it isn’t: if something like the existence of god affects whether or not it’s wrong, then it’s merely arbitrary, not fundamental. Likewise, if “good” is nothing more than “what God wants” or “the nature of God” then the term “good” becomes meaningless.

  • Eric & Lisa

    Kent wrote;
    Using the principles of natural selection in designing things does not imply that natural selection is itself designed.
    What are the principles of natural selection (Time and chance?) and how does your company use those to design something?

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    I’ll let him speak for himself but I can imagine two ways. The first would be to assume that out of a huge population of organisms a certain portion would have immunity or some type of defense against a disease. Find those individual organisms and mine them for what their defense does and then design your treatment from there. Evolution is doing the heavy lifting.
    The second way would be to stimulate something like this happening by subjecting a population of organisms to the virus or whatever you are trying to develop a treatment/defense for. This may be fudging a bit because the ‘environment’ is not technically natural but artificial but nevertheless it is evolution that is still doing the work. An animal breeder isn’t ‘designing’ but simply directing the flow of nature.

  • Eric & Lisa

    Boonton wrote;
    Evolution is doing the heavy lifting.
    He didn’t say evolution, he said natural selection. Isn’t evolution a much broader term than natural selection?
    The first would be to assume that out of a huge population of organisms a certain portion would have immunity or some type of defense against a disease.
    From your answer i’m having trouble determining what principle of natural selection is being used in the assumtion. Could you clarify?
    but nevertheless it is evolution that is still doing the work.
    It’s possible you want to argue that all of natural selection is evolution and all of evolution is natural selection, and if that is the case then by all means, interchange the words to your hearts content.
    So let’s suppose for a moment that you mean to use evolution as a psynonym for natural selection, your words would look like this:
    Natural selection is doing the heavy lifting.
    And
    This may be fudging a bit because the ‘environment’ is not technically natural but artificial but nevertheless it is natural selection that is still doing the work.
    Is that right?

  • Joe Mcfaul

    Eric and Lisa,
    your verbal masturbation is most disgusting.
    Here, let me introduce you to a little thing known as “google.”
    Read.
    http://dimacs.rutgers.edu/Workshops/VaccineUse/announcement.html
    http://www.indiana.edu/~ensiweb/pap.apld.html
    http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CA/CA215.html
    http://www.aphis.usda.gov/lpa/pubs/pub_ahvetbiologic.html
    I don’t care if you make fools of yourselves as you usually do. I *very much* care when you hold your foolish selves out as Christians.
    Please do not insult my religion. Do not speak on behalf of Christians at all. Please don’t tell anybody what your religious beliefs are. People may generalize.

  • Eric & Lisa

    Joe Mcfaul wrote;
    Please don’t tell anybody what your religious beliefs are.
    I find that I am unable to keep silent and therefore will not be able to adhere to your request. Shouting it from the mountain top is my mode of operation.

  • Chris Lutz

    Mr. McFaul, let’s take a look at some information from one of your links.
    Yet, evolution, especially microevolution, has been fundamental to some social improvements this century, and it promises to be profoundly important to biomedical technology in the next generation.
    The majority of the article only discuss how microevolution is used for biological technology. I don’t believe the E&L are doubting that the understanding and use of selection and genetic mutation are important. However, remember that in this case, it is a guided process. Biotechnicians don’t just throw in a bunch of bacteria and sit back to watch what happens. They take steps to force the organism to do what they want.
    Perhaps the core of evolutionary theory is that all life forms are connected with each other through common ancestry. Molecular biology has reinforced this view to a far greater level than was deemed possible even 50 years ago. On a short time scale [emphasis mine], of course, we observe that this is true – everything alive comes from something else that is both alive and similar. One of the big developments in evolutionary biology over the last 2 decades is a methodology to estimate the underlying patterns of ancestry among living things.
    Here is the crux of the issue I believe E&L, I, and others have. It is provable and understood that you can track genetic changes from one person or organism to the next. The problem we have is that that does not necessarily prove that all life came from a single organism in the distant past. Before you mention the genetic trees, realize that there are several different versions of the trees and they split, interweave, and look pretty confused. In general, they are pretty much speculation. And, from the examples given in the article, the proven fact that you can track an organism by it’s genetic code, do not somehow show that the belief in common descent is necessary.
    I believe that the problem here is that the term evolution is getting attached to items in an attempt to show how evolution is all important and force the acceptance of the entire theory.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    I don’t care if Eric & Lisa want to tell us about their/his/her/its religious beliefs but I think Joe’s description of their ‘argument’ as verbal masturbation is dead on. I don’t get the sense that they have a serious argument but just intend to try to trip us up with word games.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    The majority of the article only discuss how microevolution is used for biological technology. I don’t believe the E&L are doubting that the understanding and use of selection and genetic mutation are important. However, remember that in this case, it is a guided process. Biotechnicians don’t just throw in a bunch of bacteria and sit back to watch what happens. They take steps to force the organism to do what they want.
    Indeed, as is animal breeding or any other active involvement with other living things (people often forget that dogs were created though thousands of generations of humans choosing certain wolves over others for various reasons).
    This is a big ‘so what’ though. If you want an example of how humans use evolution then you’re going to get an example of humans USING evolution. If you asked me to show how humans use gravity and I showed you a watermill it hardly follows that gravity is a human invention or designed by humans. The above is like calling things humans do with gravity ‘microgravity’ and defining it as anything less than the gravitational force near the event horizen of a black hole.
    This is an artifical distinction without real meaning. If it did have real meaning IDers could tell us what the true difference was between ‘microevolution’ and evolution itself (aside from micro simply being something that happens fast enough to observe in your lifetime). A long time ago I pointed out that if such a barrier existed then it would form a perfect definition of a species (anything capable of ‘microevolving’ from a particular organism would be inside the species, anything not would be a different species).
    Here is the crux of the issue I believe E&L, I, and others have. It is provable and understood that you can track genetic changes from one person or organism to the next. The problem we have is that that does not necessarily prove that all life came from a single organism in the distant past. Before you mention the genetic trees, realize that there are several different versions of the trees and they split, interweave, and look pretty confused. In general, they are pretty much speculation. And, from the examples given in the article, the proven fact that you can track an organism by it’s genetic code, do not somehow show that the belief in common descent is necessary.
    Occums Razor please! Perhaps hundreds of millions of years ago there was another type of life, also made from DNA, that came to earth and intermixed with the life already there. Perhaps there are two trees whose upper branches are so entangled that from a distance they may look like one. Perhaps but the problems with this are:
    1. Without any hard evidence why assume a more complicated theory than needed?
    2. This would not be fatal to evolution if true, the assumption of common descent would simply have to be modified to common descent from the original life line if it turns out that several different types of DNA based life either originated seperately on earth or somehow arrived here.
    I believe that the problem here is that the term evolution is getting attached to items in an attempt to show how evolution is all important and force the acceptance of the entire theory.
    On the contrary, it is IDers here who seem to think that evolution is a theory that tells everything from whether or not you should give the homeless person on a street your nickle to whether you should put butter or cream cheese on your bagels.

  • Gordon Mullings

    All:
    I see there is an addendum theread complete with its own back-forth.
    Very little new, just the usual rhetorical games from the NDT advocates. Sadly, the real point Joe makes, that PZM shows just the pattern or argument in the list of 10, is amply substantiated. To wit, such advocates inadvertently help the cause of ID through tactics that reveal a less than watertight case:

    1] By remaining completely ignorant about ID while knocking down strawman versions of the theory
    2] By [falsely] claiming that ID is stealth [Biblical] creationism.
    3] By resorting to

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Worthless as usual.

  • http://kleyau.blogspot.com Kent

    I used the term natural selection, not evolution, because natural selection is what Darwin wrote about; it was just the more emotionly charged and ambiguous evolution that caught with the general public.
    Natural selection could be classified as a subset of the myriad definitions that are intended under the evolution moniker, like religion and christianity. The ambiguity of evolution is unfortunate, because many arguments are merely on the syntax and semantics in which the word is used. Like this one.
    Natural selection is very simple. It goes like this: survive, then reproduce, survive then reproduce. However, others are also trying to survive, and reproduce, and the universe has natural tendency order towards entropy, so there is a natural selection for those forms that are most able to survive, and reproduce.
    This very simple principle is what all medicine is based on, where our survival and reproductive success often means inhibiting the survival and reproductive success of many other species.
    If you know of any species that does not survive, reproduce, and lives in an environment with know selection factors for surviving and reproducing, let me know.
    And no, people don’t count. Not every survives to reproductive age, and those that do don’t always reproduce, and those that reproduce are doing it less.

  • http://jackhudson.wordpress.com/ jhudson

    The meaning is simple. It’s a belief that we can’t do much to confirm whether its true or is supported by evidence or not. Once you run off that trolley track, you can of course make all sorts of claims. The problem with supernatural explanation is not that they are hard to justify or imagine, but that they are too easy: you can think up millions of different magical ways to explain this or that, as long as you don’t bother yourself with needing evidence to sort one out from the other.
    As far as the development of life, I am not making a ‘supernatural’ argument. My statement, “evolution alone is insufficient to explain man’s existence is significant” was in response to the survey of doctors; if they agree to this, they are making a counter claim to the claim of evolutionists that evolution alone is sufficient to explain man’s existence.
    No, there is no demonstration that they were “anticipated” by anything. That’s your and the DI’s spin on things, without any sort of decent support for the idea.
    No, it’s a rather plane fact; the genetic capability for bilateralism existed much earlier than it was expressed in bilateral organisms.
    Of course it is. ID is a version of creationism with all the specifics removed. I don’t know of a serious ID person outside the Raelians (who aren’t serious by anyone’s definition) who believes that the ID is anything other than a supernatural being who is their God.
    Nice ‘True Scotman’s’ fallacy you got going there. Try again.
    It’s not enough to demonstrate a “capability” for something: you need to demonstrate the genes encoding for something. Exaption of earlier elements which are present in a broad lineage and later adapted for a particular use in some doesn’t count. Genes for human brains that stuck around in birds but aren’t expressed would be one obvious, exagerrated example of obvious front-loading. Yet we never see anything even close to that.
    Why would ‘genes for humans’ be stuck around in birds be an example of ‘front-loading’, particularly considering no one considers birds to be ancestral to humans? What about genes for bilateralism stuck around in non-bilateral anemones? How would that be different?
    Give me a break. Behe has written ONE major book. Do you REALLY have no idea which one it is, or are you just being pedantic to be annoying. It’s Darwin’s Black Box. DBB.
    You are dissembling; where did he abandon the idea of ‘front-loading’?
    I can claim that the fact that my house is blue is evidence for the fact that it rains blue paint here in Cleveland. But that doesn’t mean that this is evidence for my paint theory: even if my house IS blue.
    Of course; but how does that compare to the fact genetic bilateralism in anemone’s being evidence for the idea that there are genetic antecedents for traits which aren’t expressed until much later?
    Of course: but that doesn’t mean that all things that are claimed to be evidence are de facto actually evidence of something. The claims themselves can be unconvincing or deeply confused, as this one seems to be.
    “that doesn’t mean that all things that are claimed to be evidence are de facto actually evidence of something.”? – if it is actually evidence, than one presumes it is evidence for something.
    Again, I ask you, how is the uncontested fact, delineated by Meyers, that the genetic component for bilateralism is present in anemones, a form thought to procede bilateral animals by millions of years, not evidence that at least in some cases there are genetic antecedents for traits expressed much later?
    Probably more so than yourself I’m guessing.
    I was a biology major – you?
    Because we don’t even have a single observed instance of it. Sure there could be one outstanding, but in that case, show it to me.
    Observed instance of what; the designer transgenically modifying genomes?
    You are the one who is confused about what is being discussed. The argument is over whether there is any evidence of design. The problem is that all of the really obvious tell-tale signs, all of the things that we know designers do, are missing. I was pointing out a key one.
    You were pointing out a method that humans, who have had the ability to modify the genome for what – ten years? – use as a method for modifying the genome. Why would we expect that a designer capable both of creating a genome from chemical elements, and adding wholly novel functionality de novo to use that method? And considering the current simple methods of modifying the genome, like transgenics, are a product of intelligence, wouldn’t it follow that much more complex changes would require significantly more involvement of intelligence to occur? This is particularly true when one considers that complex changes are being made to an already complex coded information system.
    Of course you can always claim that the designer is SO smart that he jerry-rigged everything to look exactly like evolutionary change with no interventions. But heck, I can say the same thing about my blue house. It’s not REALLY blue: it’s just that when you look at it, the designer changes the light in transit so that it looks blue to you.
    In many cases it doesn’t look at all like evolution, that is a series of small incremental changes to the genome ultimately producing complex modifications to organisms.

  • http://jackhudson.wordpress.com/ jhudson

    Natural selection is very simple. It goes like this: survive, then reproduce, survive then reproduce. However, others are also trying to survive, and reproduce, and the universe has natural tendency order towards entropy, so there is a natural selection for those forms that are most able to survive, and reproduce.
    This very simple principle is what all medicine is based on, where our survival and reproductive success often means inhibiting the survival and reproductive success of many other species.
    If you know of any species that does not survive, reproduce, and lives in an environment with know selection factors for surviving and reproducing, let me know.
    And no, people don’t count. Not every survives to reproductive age, and those that do don’t always reproduce, and those that reproduce are doing it less.
    Natural selection is one of two mechanisms neccesary for evolution from unicellular organisms to later forms of life. The other is mutations. Observed natural selection is not observed evolution in this sense.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    I would add, Kent, a few more elements. Those that do reproduce tend to have traits similar to their parents but they are rarely exact copies of their parents. Hence there is variation in each round of reproduction but variation whose ‘mean’ is centered around the traits of those that were able to reproduce.
    Species then are a bit like a statistical description of the population that is under this type of selection and evolution is a description of what happens to those stats when natural selection plays out.
    This is similiar too economics where a lot of analysis goes into seeing what happens when everyone tries to do the same thing at once (like make a lot of money or get the best seats at a concert).

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    No, it’s a rather plane fact; the genetic capability for bilateralism existed much earlier than it was expressed in bilateral organisms.
    Perhaps I missed this, I’ve read that bilaterial organisms existed as long as half a billion years ago. How do we know that the genes for bilateralism existed before that but weren’t ‘turned on’? Also is bilaterialism itself so complicated genetically that it should count as ‘frontloading’?
    As far as the development of life, I am not making a ‘supernatural’ argument. My statement, “evolution alone is insufficient to explain man’s existence is significant” was in response to the survey of doctors; if they agree to this, they are making a counter claim to the claim of evolutionists that evolution alone is sufficient to explain man’s existence.
    This requires you to explain your terms. By ‘explain man’s existence’ are you limiting yourself to biology or everything there is about men? If it’s the latter then you will be hard pressed to find an ‘evolutionist’ who makes such a statement.
    Nice ‘True Scotman’s’ fallacy you got going there. Try again.
    On the contrary, on this very blog IDers dance back and forth between religion and science. On the one hand they claim ID has nothing to do with religion, on the other hand they will claim the fight for ID is a fight for religion. Even among Joe’s points he cited atheism among leading scientists as a reason to support the statement that ID suffers because of bias against religion. If ID isn’t about religion then why would the faith or lack of faith of scientists matter? Even when the Shroud of Turin, a clearly Christian artifact, was subjected to scientific scrutiny no one made a claim that Jewish or other non-Christian scientists couldn’t study it impartially.
    You were pointing out a method that humans, who have had the ability to modify the genome for what – ten years? – use as a method for modifying the genome. Why would we expect that a designer capable both of creating a genome from chemical elements, and adding wholly novel functionality de novo to use that method? And considering the current simple methods of modifying the genome, like transgenics, are a product of intelligence, wouldn’t it follow that much more complex changes would require significantly more involvement of intelligence to occur? This is particularly true when one considers that complex changes are being made to an already complex coded information system.
    We had the ability to use fusion to generate energy from hydrogen atoms for what, 50 years now? Considering how we can produce nuclear bomb sized energy from fusion with out intelligence what does that say about the sun which produces millions of times more energy? Doesn’t that prove the sun had to be designed by a greater intelligence than ours?
    The only think that follows from jhudson’s paragraph is that more complicated genetic manipulation than we currently do would require more intelligence than we have. It does not follow that because we need more intelligence to understand something that what we are trying to understand could not have been produced by a natural system.

  • http://kleyau.blogspot.com Kent

    Y’all ever notice that hasty replies tend to miss important details. Like that whole mutation thing being important in evolution.
    It’s those damn atheistic computer engineers and information technologists that due that to my responses.
    Yakwak told us in his Holy Bablik that He designed information systems and they work by superfantasmgorical transmission. Those engineers and technologists can’t keep my computer working all the time, let alone design stable internet connections, so they try to hide their lack of knowledge and falsehoods by screwing up my replies.
    Freaking evil atheists.

  • http://kleyau.blogspot.com Kent

    They did it again. I used evolution and then due instead of do. Watch yourselves, they’re clever evil doers.

  • Darrell DeLaney
  • http://jackhudson.wordpress.com/ jhudson

    Perhaps I missed this, I’ve read that bilaterial organisms existed as long as half a billion years ago. How do we know that the genes for bilateralism existed before that but weren’t ‘turned on’?
    Well, that would be the point, they did exist before that.
    Also is bilateralism itself so complicated genetically that it should count as ‘frontloading’?
    How ‘complicated’ would it have to be before it ‘counts’ as front-loading?
    This requires you to explain your terms. By ‘explain man’s existence’ are you limiting yourself to biology or everything there is about men? If it’s the latter then you will be hard pressed to find an ‘evolutionist’ who makes such a statement.
    This isn’t rocket science; does the statement, “God initiated and guided an evolutionary process that has led to current human beings.” conform or not with what most evolutionists believe? And if it does, doesn’t evolution as it is commonly understood then fall outside of a naturalistic view of the life?
    On the contrary, on this very blog IDers dance back and forth between religion and science. On the one hand they claim ID has nothing to do with religion, on the other hand they will claim the fight for ID is a fight for religion. Even among Joe’s points he cited atheism among leading scientists as a reason to support the statement that ID suffers because of bias against religion. If ID isn’t about religion then why would the faith or lack of faith of scientists matter? Even when the Shroud of Turin, a clearly Christian artifact, was subjected to scientific scrutiny no one made a claim that Jewish or other non-Christian scientists couldn’t study it impartially.
    The statement, “I don’t know of a serious ID person outside the Raelians (who aren’t serious by anyone’s definition) who believes that the ID is anything other than a supernatural being who is their God.” requires two things; the knowledge of all persons who ‘believe ID’ and the ability to lay down an objective (dare we say, scientific?) definition of what constitutes a ‘serious’ person. Other than those two things being demonstrated, it is classic True Scotsman’s.
    Plus he seems ignorant of at least Anthony Flew.
    We had the ability to use fusion to generate energy from hydrogen atoms for what, 50 years now? Considering how we can produce nuclear bomb sized energy from fusion with out intelligence what does that say about the sun which produces millions of times more energy? Doesn’t that prove the sun had to be designed by a greater intelligence than ours?
    If the sun could be demonstrated to be based on a complex coded information system which produced irreducibly complex components on which it was dependent to function, then perhaps we might. Thus far however our observations indicate that chance and necessity are the only components necessary for the existence of stars.
    It’s not simply a matter of ‘better’; it is a matter of what it takes to produce the structure in question. If we discovered a more advanced spacecraft, we wouldn’t conclude it was a product of chance and necessity simply because ‘it wasn’t produced the way we produce our spacecraft’, in the same vein, it doesn’t follow that an organic computer driving nanomachines is naturally produced because ‘we don’t produce computers that way’.
    The only think that follows from jhudson’s paragraph is that more complicated genetic manipulation than we currently do would require more intelligence than we have. It does not follow that because we need more intelligence to understand something that what we are trying to understand could not have been produced by a natural system.
    Of course; and that is not IDs primary contention – it is that some structures cannot be caused at all without intelligent agency, not that certain structures require ‘more’ intelligence.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    How ‘complicated’ would it have to be before it ‘counts’ as front-loading?
    Good point, I’m not sure. When we first talked about it we said front loading would be something like the entire blueprint of a future species inside a contemporary one (the future species being something, presumably, the designer would want to ‘unlock’ later on).
    When you delved into it the definition shifted to something a bit less dramatic…a useful trait that isn’t used by a contemporary organism but is made use of later on. As I pointed out if you’re looking backwards it may indeed appear an old organism was carrying around baggage that was totally useless to it but had it because some future generation would use it. But if you shift your point of view to the beginning then you have an organism with a useless bit of baggage that a future generation found a use for…hardly inconsistent with evolution.
    This isn’t rocket science; does the statement, “God initiated and guided an evolutionary process that has led to current human beings.” conform or not with what most evolutionists believe? And if it does, doesn’t evolution as it is commonly understood then fall outside of a naturalistic view of the life?
    It is perfectly consistent with any standard text on evolutionary theory. As for what most evolutionists believe, I guess we’d have to define evolutionist and survey the people that fit that definition. YOu’re getting very close to speaking in circles here, very close. Just define evolutionists as those who don’t believe in God and vola, you can say ‘evolutionists don’t believe in God so those 42% of doctors must reject evolutionists!”
    Of course; and that is not IDs primary contention – it is that some structures cannot be caused at all without intelligent agency, not that certain structures require ‘more’ intelligence.
    Hmmm, I wonder if now’s a good point to ask if anyone has thought about Stephen Wolfram (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_New_Kind_of_Science). His work showed pretty clearly that simple systems of rules can result in amazingly complicated structures. Is ID really capable of proving structures ‘too complicated’ to have been made by anything other than intelligence?

  • gerald, messenger of Gawd

    Eric and Lisa:
    If you have ever dealt with the legal system in this country, you eventually realize three things.
    People lie under oath.
    Judges expect it.
    Usually, nothing is done about it.

  • Spark

    @ The person who decided to deconstruct wikipedia for failing to have NPOV, go take it up at the talk page. But see the archives first, they’ll tell you a lot.
    But please don’t bring up any of the points there which have been discussed to death,

  • Eric & Lisa

    Kent wrote;
    This very simple principle is what all medicine is based on, where our survival and reproductive success often means inhibiting the survival and reproductive success of many other species.
    And how does your company use this very simple principle to design vaccines?
    What vaccine has your company designed and how did it create that vaccine by applying this very simple principle?

  • Gordon Mullings

    All:
    Sadly, the thread continues to bear out the force of Joe’s point.
    1] B: re “worthless”
    Kindly notice I simply posted a brief note with links for those serious about the matter and willig to examine it on merits of fact and logic, especially that of inference to best explanation. Sadly, as the overnight exchange in the other, main, thread shows all too plainly, some plain speaking is in order: you are an economist out of your league with a habit of being wrong but strong.
    And, that abundantly illustrates Joe’s point.
    2] DD:
    I see you are trying to engage Joe’s list. I will comment on selective points, starting with:
    . I

  • http://google.com bundlebox
  • plunge

    “As far as the development of life, I am not making a ‘supernatural’ argument. My statement, “evolution alone is insufficient to explain man’s existence is significant” was in response to the survey of doctors; if they agree to this, they are making a counter claim to the claim of evolutionists that evolution alone is sufficient to explain man’s existence.”
    Talking about “evolution alone” being sufficient is a straw man in any case. No one believes that, say, non-evolutionary events are important in the history of man’s existence.
    “No, it’s a rather plane fact; the genetic capability for bilateralism existed much earlier than it was expressed in bilateral organisms.”
    Except that you are misrepresenting what’s there. We don’t have “here’s how to be bilateral!” in the genes. We have “here’s some basic mechanisms that in some lineages will turn out to be really useful for bilateral development.” Not even close to the same thing.
    “Nice ‘True Scotman’s’ fallacy you got going there. Try again.”
    How is it a True Scotsman fallacy? Are you really trying to pretend that ID is not an overwhelmingly religious movement. Who are you going to name here? Flew? The guy who seems to have retracted his support for ID and blamed the incident on his aged befuddlement? Berlinski? Sorry, doesn’t pass the smell test.
    “Why would ‘genes for humans’ be stuck around in birds be an example of ‘front-loading’, particularly considering no one considers birds to be ancestral to humans?”
    Don’t be deliberately thick in order to waste both of our time’s: that’s exactly the point: front-loading suggests that genes for some future purpose “stuck around” until the time and situation came in which they were needed. If that’s so, then we would expect that they would likewise “stick around” in other lineages, or that there would be SOME evidence of them elsewhere. They wouldn’t somehow be preserved for millions of years in living things, including those that branch off, and then instantly vanish from every single lineage the second one lineage found a use for them.
    “What about genes for bilateralism stuck around in non-bilateral anemones? How would that be different?”
    Read these articles for goodness sakes. We aren’t talking about “genes for bilateralism.” We are talking about systems of developmental regulation that happened to be really useful for bilaterialism once they were modified a bit.
    “You are dissembling; where did he abandon the idea of ‘front-loading’?”
    How am I dissembling? You rather ridiculously asked which book he made the claim in. I just told you. Now instead of acknowleding that you want to change the subject? He abandoned it in the sense that despite presenting it as a mechanism for ID, he’s never mentioned it again since, perhaps because it faced a rather withering critique of its plausibility.
    “Of course; but how does that compare to the fact genetic bilateralism in anemone’s being evidence for the idea that there are genetic antecedents for traits which aren’t expressed until much later?”
    It compares because when the claim gets the physical evidence wrong, the claim is no longer valid as evidence for some conclusion.
    “if it is actually evidence, than one presumes it is evidence for something.”
    If the claim that it is evidence for something is based on a faulty interpretation, then no, it isn’t evidence for that something.
    “Again, I ask you, how is the uncontested fact, delineated by Meyers, that the genetic component for bilateralism is present in anemones, a form thought to procede bilateral animals by millions of years, not evidence that at least in some cases there are genetic antecedents for traits expressed much later?”
    Because the traits play a role in the present creatures and are exapted later. The uncontested fact is that it’s surprising that these components are so fundamental and flexible, not that they are evidence of some magical future plan for bilaterialism.
    “I was a biology major – you?”
    No, you’re a person on the internet who says they are a biology major. Not the same thing in the least, and not a particularly interesting qualification either. Can you diagram the Krebs cycle? Wow. What an informed expert on evolutionary biology that makes you.
    “Observed instance of what; the designer transgenically modifying genomes?”
    Observed instance of any sort of manipulation outside of the already known channels of gene transmission. Observed instances of some of the sorts of things a designer might do to accomplish its goals if the designers role is so important and obvious.
    “You were pointing out a method that humans, who have had the ability to modify the genome for what – ten years? – use as a method for modifying the genome. Why would we expect that a designer capable both of creating a genome from chemical elements, and adding wholly novel functionality de novo to use that method?”
    Because its one of the things it can do that nature cannot. We most CERTAINLY don’t see any “de novo” running around. Indeed, nature seems to plow on stupidly without solutions to very very obvious problems that even a kindergardener could figure out: simply because there is no ready and nearby genetic pathway to get there. If your de novo designer was around, however, it could radically alter genomes without any worry about what came before. And yet that’s not at all what we see. We see a dogged sticking close to the past that only makes sense if change could only happen via reproductive descent and mutation.
    “And considering the current simple methods of modifying the genome, like transgenics, are a product of intelligence, wouldn’t it follow that much more complex changes would require significantly more involvement of intelligence to occur? This is particularly true when one considers that complex changes are being made to an already complex coded information system.”
    Sure. But again: your point? Where is the evidence of the designer sticking its fingers into things? Where is the deviation from gene transmission from reproductive descent?
    “In many cases it doesn’t look at all like evolution, that is a series of small incremental changes to the genome ultimately producing complex modifications to organisms.”
    What? You’ve used too many pronouns here for this to make sense or clearly fit into the discussion.

  • http://kleyau.blogspot.com Kent

    Kent wrote;
    This very simple principle is what all medicine is based on, where our survival and reproductive success often means inhibiting the survival and reproductive success of many other species.
    Eric & Lisa wrote:
    And how does your company use this very simple principle to design vaccines?
    We produce vaccines that inhibit the survival and reproduction of viruses, bacteria, protozoa, and tumors. This tends to help with the survival and reproduction of humans. :)

  • Eric & Lisa

    Kent wrote;
    We produce vaccines that inhibit the survival and reproduction of viruses, bacteria, protozoa, and tumors. This tends to help with the survival and reproduction of humans.
    Yes, you’ve made this abundantly clear. What isn’t clear yet is how you use the very simply principle of natural selection in order to do that. From what you’ve said thus far, one could say the exact same thing of intelligent design.
    You’ve used your unnamed company and your unclear position in that company as a defense of natural selection, putting it up as evidence that natural selection works.
    In so doing you’ve avoided the tough questions of just how your unnamed company is managing to do that.
    I’ll give an example of what I mean. Suppose you are an ID supporter, you could have come here and said,
    The very simple principle of intelligent design is what all medicine is based on. Where our survival and reproductive success often means inhibiting the survival and reproductive success of many other species through intelligent processes.
    As a matter of act, thus far, you’re argument seems to be more of an argument against natural selection and an argument for intelligence.
    It would seem that if you really believed in natural selection as opposed to intelligent agents, you’d all be out searching for what certainly natural selection has already produced. Instead, though, you are apparantly not confident enough in your stated beliefs and you therefore rely instead on the designing of these vaccines.
    So that is what i’m trying to figure out.
    Is your unnamed company manipulating nature in order to design something via our intelligence, or is your unnamed company searching for something already produced by nature through a selective process put in place billions of years ago?

  • http://TheEverwiseboonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Actually I think he should answer for himself but I already laid out two possible ways I suspect they could use natural selection to develop a vaccine.
    The first is to seek out organisms that have developed defenses to the virus. That such organisms exist would be a prediction that derived from the standard theories of evolution. Unless some organism has destroyed all other life on earth there must be some checks on its ability to keep spreading… There’s no guarantee that such defenses could be adapted for use in humans of course or that they could be adapted in the form of a vaccine (some humans seem to have a type of immunity to HIV and AIDs but it seems to be genetic rather than something that can be utilized in a easy vaccine form).
    The other way would be to try to induce an organism to develop a defense by exposing it to the pathogen over numerous generations.
    No doubt there are other examples and those with the biological background could articulate my guesses in a more rigerous fashion.

  • http://kleyau.blogspot.com Kent

    Eric & Lisa, let’s look at this one more time:
    Kent wrote;
    This very simple principle is what all medicine is based on, where our survival and reproductive success often means inhibiting the survival and reproductive success of many other species.
    Eric & Lisa wrote:
    And how does your company use this very simple principle to design vaccines?
    We produce vaccines that inhibit the survival and reproduction of viruses, bacteria, protozoa, and tumors. This tends to help with the survival and reproduction of humans. :)
    Now, when I used the term ‘very simple principle,’ and defined it, and you used the term ‘very simple principle’ in a question in the next sentence, I was assuming you were using the same definition, or else you would have stated to the contrary. My bad.
    Now, natural selection is survive, reproduce (with the reproductions being slightly mutated). That which can survive an reproduce does, that which can’t, doesn’t. That’s it. ID is God (or an omnipotent being that bears a surprising resemblance to the being formally known as Yahweh) did it.
    Also, we don’t inhibit other species through intelligent processes, we use non intelligent chemical processes. If you must know, I am a peon at my work, but I also graduated in May, so it’s to be expected.
    However, I do understand the technology. We take a virus, cut it in half and take out the genes it uses to replicate. We then replace these with other genes that we want expressed. We find these other genes in organisms that have already been naturally selected for by a process that has been place for billions of years.

  • http://jackhudson.wordpress.com/ jhudson

    Talking about “evolution alone” being sufficient is a straw man in any case. No one believes that, say, non-evolutionary events are important in the history of man’s existence.
    So, the statement, “God initiated and guided an evolutionary process that has led to current human beings.” is perfectly acceptable to you as legitimate evolutionary theory?
    Except that you are misrepresenting what’s there. We don’t have “here’s how to be bilateral!” in the genes. We have “here’s some basic mechanisms that in some lineages will turn out to be really useful for bilateral development.” Not even close to the same thing.
    No, the genes for bilateralism are there. According to Meyers:
    These are old, old genes. We share them with other animals, like insects, so they arose and acquired their functions in generating asymmetries before our lineages separated, sometime way back in the pre-Cambrian. They are part of our makeup as members of the Bilaterian superphylum, the animals with bilateral symmetry, and, we thought, distinguish us from the Radiata (diploblasts with radial symmetry) and Parazoa (multicellular animals with no discrete tissues or organs.
    They seem to be older than we thought, though. Recent work by Matus et al. has delved into the developmental molecular biology of the starlet anemone, Nematostella vectensis, specifically plumbing the sequenced anemone genome for the same genes used in frogs and flies and people to define our dorso-ventral axis, and they’re there
    . (emphasis mine)
    How is it a True Scotsman fallacy? Are you really trying to pretend that ID is not an overwhelmingly religious movement. Who are you going to name here? Flew? The guy who seems to have retracted his support for ID and blamed the incident on his aged befuddlement? Berlinski? Sorry, doesn’t pass the smell test.
    Yes, and this is the problem with your argument; you make lame excuses for every example given; it isn’t Berlinski who doesn’t pass the ‘smell test’.
    Don’t be deliberately thick in order to waste both of our time’s: that’s exactly the point: front-loading suggests that genes for some future purpose “stuck around” until the time and situation came in which they were needed. If that’s so, then we would expect that they would likewise “stick around” in other lineages, or that there would be SOME evidence of them elsewhere. They wouldn’t somehow be preserved for millions of years in living things, including those that branch off, and then instantly vanish from every single lineage the second one lineage found a use for them.
    Again you seem confused by examples in front of your face; the anemone has preserved a capability for bilateralism that it doesn’t use; i.e. it has ‘stuck around’.
    Read these articles for goodness sakes. We aren’t talking about “genes for bilateralism.” We are talking about systems of developmental regulation that happened to be really useful for bilaterialism once they were modified a bit.
    No, as I quoted Meyers above, these are specific genes used for bilateralism. They are evident in Radiata, a phylum that doesn’t utilize the genes for bilateralism.
    How am I dissembling? You rather ridiculously asked which book he made the claim in. I just told you. Now instead of acknowleding that you want to change the subject? He abandoned it in the sense that despite presenting it as a mechanism for ID, he’s never mentioned it again since, perhaps because it faced a rather withering critique of its plausibility.
    I asked where he abandoned front-loading.
    Let’s get your logic straight; he wrote one book on ID. He presented front-loading as a possible mechanism. He hasn’t, by your own admission, written a book since that one – therefore he has abandoned front-loading as a mechanism? Your logic is stunning.
    It compares because when the claim gets the physical evidence wrong, the claim is no longer valid as evidence for some conclusion.
    I am starting to get the feeling you don’t know an anemone from a wet mop.
    Because the traits play a role in the present creatures and are exapted later. The uncontested fact is that it’s surprising that these components are so fundamental and flexible, not that they are evidence of some magical future plan for bilaterialism.
    And what role do the genes for bilateralism play in the anemone? And even if they do play ‘a role’ why would this not be ‘front-loading’? And what about the other two examples I gave – it’s not as if the anemone were the only example.
    No, you’re a person on the internet who says they are a biology major. Not the same thing in the least, and not a particularly interesting qualification either. Can you diagram the Krebs cycle? Wow. What an informed expert on evolutionary biology that makes you.
    I noticed you didn’t answer the question – your qualifications?
    Observed instance of any sort of manipulation outside of the already known channels of gene transmission. Observed instances of some of the sorts of things a designer might do to accomplish its goals if the designers role is so important and obvious.
    I have detailed how microbats are excellent examples of just such a thing; there are no known “channels of gene transmission” to produce the unique and interdependent echolocation capabilities of a microbat.
    Because its one of the things it can do that nature cannot. We most CERTAINLY don’t see any “de novo” running around. Indeed, nature seems to plow on stupidly without solutions to very very obvious problems that even a kindergardener could figure out: simply because there is no ready and nearby genetic pathway to get there. If your de novo designer was around, however, it could radically alter genomes without any worry about what came before. And yet that’s not at all what we see. We see a dogged sticking close to the past that only makes sense if change could only happen via reproductive descent and mutation.
    Humans have never created life, a novel organ, a novel capability on an organism, reorganized entire structures, neural capabilities, modes of movement and behavior in organisms. If humans are so smart, how come they can’t do the things that have been occurring in nature for billions of years? And if nature’s designer is so dumb, how has life endured all that time, in many cases so successfully, that no significant changes were required for eons? The designer of life got the most successful organism, the bacteria, right the first time out; everything else is just icing.
    Sure. But again: your point? Where is the evidence of the designer sticking its fingers into things? Where is the deviation from gene transmission from reproductive descent?
    The organizational patterns of the complex, coded self-replicating information system coupled with irreducibly complex nano-machinery is modified significantly over time is ‘evidence’ of a designer; alternate explanations for the existence such structures have been considered and found wanting.

  • http://jackhudson.wordpress.com/ jhudson

    Good point, I’m not sure. When we first talked about it we said front loading would be something like the entire blueprint of a future species inside a contemporary one (the future species being something, presumably, the designer would want to ‘unlock’ later on).
    When you delved into it the definition shifted to something a bit less dramatic…a useful trait that isn’t used by a contemporary organism but is made use of later on. As I pointed out if you’re looking backwards it may indeed appear an old organism was carrying around baggage that was totally useless to it but had it because some future generation would use it. But if you shift your point of view to the beginning then you have an organism with a useless bit of baggage that a future generation found a use for…hardly inconsistent with evolution.
    I am not sure I ever said, “the entire blueprint of a future species inside a contemporary one”; and i also am not saying “a useful trait that isn’t used by a contemporary organism but is made use of later on.” – it not like the gene for bilateralism just ‘isn’t useful’; it specifically codes for something that constitutes the entire body plan for radically different organisms. It’s an essential capability that ‘just happens’ to have existed long before that essential capability was necessary.
    Indeed, we are finding that there appears to be no ‘original organism’ but many – in which case font-loaded capabilities my have existed in some line still living, and in some which no longer exist.
    It is perfectly consistent with any standard text on evolutionary theory. As for what most evolutionists believe, I guess we’d have to define evolutionist and survey the people that fit that definition. YOu’re getting very close to speaking in circles here, very close. Just define evolutionists as those who don’t believe in God and vola, you can say ‘evolutionists don’t believe in God so those 42% of doctors must reject evolutionists!”
    You keep saying that, but I have never seen a “standard text on evolutionary theory” which said anything like this. If you know of one, please share.

    Hmmm, I wonder if now’s a good point to ask if anyone has thought about Stephen Wolfram (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_New_Kind_of_Science). His work showed pretty clearly that simple systems of rules can result in amazingly complicated structures. Is ID really capable of proving structures ‘too complicated’ to have been made by anything other than intelligence?

    Interestingly, if you read criticisms of Wolfram’s work, they are like echoes of criticisms of ID; and yet, you consider them to be of some value – we all have our own preferences I guess.

  • http://kleyau.blogspot.com Kent

    jhudson, you’ve made a couple errors in your writings.
    jhudson said:
    If humans are so smart, how come they can’t do the things that have been occurring in nature for billions of years?
    No one ever said humans were so smart, and the theory of evolution doesn’t depend on humans being smart. You’ve stated a premise that you think is very important and disabling to the idea you’re arguing against, even though the proponents of evolution do not make this suggestion. That’s sloppy and dishonest.
    jhudson said:
    Let’s see – it’s been 150 years, and fewer people than ever are buying into evolution as proposed by Darwin. I would say trends aren’t so good for this.
    Darwin proposed his theory of evolution jointly with Alfred Russel Wallace. That makes two people who believed in evolution as proposed by Darwin when he proposed it. Are there more than two people who buy into evolution today? I believe there are. Also, where is the data for this trendline? To make sweeping generalizations without data is very unscientific, but I suppose it works for ID. Which is why ID is not science, and evolution is.

  • http://jackhudson.wordpress.com/ jhudson

    No one ever said humans were so smart, and the theory of evolution doesn’t depend on humans being smart. You’ve stated a premise that you think is very important and disabling to the idea you’re arguing against, even though the proponents of evolution do not make this suggestion. That’s sloppy and dishonest.
    You seemed to have missed the point of the conversation you have bumped into; the comparison is between human intelligent activity vis a vis genetic manipulation, and those of would be designer of life, not between humans and evolution.
    Darwin proposed his theory of evolution jointly with Alfred Russel Wallace. That makes two people who believed in evolution as proposed by Darwin when he proposed it. Are there more than two people who buy into evolution today? I believe there are. Also, where is the data for this trendline? To make sweeping generalizations without data is very unscientific, but I suppose it works for ID. Which is why ID is not science, and evolution is.

    Again, you don’t seem to have paid attention to the post that I responded to; the poster claimed that, “In a year, or two, or ten, when the issue is conclusively settled” meaning when evolution was undeniably established in the minds and hearts of the citizenry. The simple trend seems to counter this, as wide acceptance of Darwin’s theory seems to have peaked sometime ago.
    I linked to a poll previously in England that is but one example of this trend.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    So, the statement, “God initiated and guided an evolutionary process that has led to current human beings.” is perfectly acceptable to you as legitimate evolutionary theory?
    It’s perfectly consistent with evolutionary theory.
    I am not sure I ever said, “the entire blueprint of a future species inside a contemporary one”; and i also am not saying “a useful trait that isn’t used by a contemporary organism but is made use of later on.” – it not like the gene for bilateralism just ‘isn’t useful’; it specifically codes for something that constitutes the entire body plan for radically different organisms. It’s an essential capability that ‘just happens’ to have existed long before that essential capability was necessary.
    Chicken or the egg, did the capacity exist beforehand or did life make use of something afterhand?
    A fully front loaded blueprint of an entire future species would indeed be pretty power and pretty difficult to explain from an evolutionary perspective. Bilaterialism, though, I don’t think makes the cut.
    You keep saying that, but I have never seen a “standard text on evolutionary theory” which said anything like this. If you know of one, please share.
    Show me a standard text that it is inconsistent with! Believing God made the universe is perfectly consistent with the law of relativity but I doubt the physics text books will say the statement “God made the universe” is part of the theory or even bother saying it is consistent with it.
    Interestingly, if you read criticisms of Wolfram’s work, they are like echoes of criticisms of ID; and yet, you consider them to be of some value – we all have our own preferences I guess.
    The criticisms I’ve read are either that Wolfram’s work is not as original as he thought they were and that he has not been very rigerous in many of his claims and that he ignored a lot of rigerous work in the mathematical branch of complexity theory. However the point remains that he did demonstrate that very simple programs can yield results of immense complexity. A simple set of natural rules, therefore, cannot be ruled out for spawning something highly complicated.

  • http://jackhudson.wordpress.com/ jhudson

    It’s perfectly consistent with evolutionary theory.
    So, such a statement would be prefectly acceptable taught in a biology class then, I suppose.
    Chicken or the egg, did the capacity exist beforehand or did life make use of something afterhand?
    The specific genetic capacity existed.
    A fully front loaded blueprint of an entire future species would indeed be pretty power and pretty difficult to explain from an evolutionary perspective. Bilaterialism, though, I don’t think makes the cut.
    As I have said (fairly often) it’s offered as a mechanism for which this set of genes is but one bit of evidence. I have offered other examples, and I could probably find a number of others if I bothered.
    Show me a standard text that it is inconsistent with! Believing God made the universe is perfectly consistent with the law of relativity but I doubt the physics text books will say the statement “God made the universe” is part of the theory or even bother saying it is consistent with it.
    Again, if it is ‘perfectly consistent’, then why do evolutionists like Meyers, Dawkins, Dennett, et. al. consistently say it isn’t?
    The criticisms I’ve read are either that Wolfram’s work is not as original as he thought they were and that he has not been very rigerous in many of his claims and that he ignored a lot of rigerous work in the mathematical branch of complexity theory. However the point remains that he did demonstrate that very simple programs can yield results of immense complexity. A simple set of natural rules, therefore, cannot be ruled out for spawning something highly complicated.
    You seem to ignore the very texts you cite:
    A common criticism of NKS is that it does not follow established scientific methodology. NKS does not establish rigorous mathematical definitions, nor does it attempt to prove theorems.
    Along these lines, NKS has also been criticized for being heavily visual, with much information conveyed by pictures that do not have formal meaning.
    It has also been criticized for not using modern research in the field of complexity, particularly the works that have studied complexity from a rigorous mathematical perspective.
    Critics also note that none of the book’s contents were published in peer-reviewed journals, the standard method for distributing new results, and complained he insufficiently credited other scientists whose work he builds on. (Wolfram relegates all discussion of other people to his lengthy endnotes and thus no one is directly credited in the text. But his critics argue that even the endnotes are misleading, glossing over many relevant discoveries and thus making Wolfram’s work seem more novel.)
    These sound very much like criticisms of ID advocates. Interestingly, Wolfram is also a critic of Darwinism. Again, from your own citation:
    Wolfram’s claim that natural selection is not the fundamental cause of complexity in biology has led some to state that Wolfram does not understand the theory of evolution. A common sentiment is that NKS may explain features like the forms of organisms, but does not explain their functional complexity.
    Maybe he does have some good ideas…

  • http://kleyau.blogspot.com Kent

    jhudson, I don’t need to know anything about your previous statements to know that the statements “Let’s see – it’s been 150 years, and fewer people than ever are buying into evolution as proposed by Darwin. I would say trends aren’t so good for this.” are false. No matter what you said before, that statement is false. Maybe you read trends different than me, but 2 compared to millions seems like an upward trend.
    Also, the peak percentage of believers in Christianity, for Christian regions, was long ago, before Copernicus and Galileo did that whole the earth is no longer the center of the universe theory. So, one can make your same trendline argument, and it would apply equally well to Christian beliefs.
    Societies beliefs swing up and down based on a myriad of factors, one of the most important being the effort of those holding the beliefs to spread them.
    Scientists have not really tried to spread evolution to the general populace much, thinking that the reasoning was self evident. They have sense realized their mistake, and have begun the offensive in the last couple of years. So, let’s see how ID fares over the next couple of years. Scientists aren’t satisfied with Dover, and will not repeat the mistake of complacency.
    And as far as this front loading idea is concerned, I have a question for you. Are baseball bats and crowbars designed to beat people senseless? Is that potential there?
    Also, is the male g-spot in the asshole because gay sex is designed into human beings? Or is it just a result of the shared structural genes of males and females, where the actual structures produced are slightly different, and little things like that result?

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    So, such a statement would be prefectly acceptable taught in a biology class then, I suppose.
    Sure, if the biology class was combined with a theology one. Are you sure you understand the meaning of the word ‘consistent’?
    Again, if it is ‘perfectly consistent’, then why do evolutionists like Meyers, Dawkins, Dennett, et. al. consistently say it isn’t?
    Errr, no those people consistently say they are atheists because, well, they are. Show me where the they say evolution proves their atheism and I’ll say they are wrong.
    You seem to ignore the very texts you cite:
    No I didn’t list all the criticisms of him. They appear to all be very valid points. ARe they fatal to his work? I don’t know enough about it to be honest with you. No doubt time will tell.
    These sound very much like criticisms of ID advocates. Interestingly, Wolfram is also a critic of Darwinism. Again, from your own citation:
    Actually it sounds like he wants to have his idea incorporated into a theory of abiogensis. Bad news for you, another candidate your proof by elimination will have to deal with. Like the prosecutor who just finished proving all 4,999,999 people besides OJ innocent being told by his supervisor he forgot the 1,259,999 illegal immigrants and 750,252 tourists who were in LA that night.

  • http://jackhudson.wordpress.com/ jhudson

    Sure, if the biology class was combined with a theology one. Are you sure you understand the meaning of the word ‘consistent’?
    Okay, we have two statements in the poll:
    -God initiated and guided an evolutionary process that has led to current human beings.
    -Humans evolved naturally with no supernatural involvement – no divinity played any role.
    Which one is more consistent with evolution as it is taught? Which one is more consistent with ID? Try to answer without considering what the answer will do to your argument.
    Errr, no those people consistently say they are atheists because, well, they are. Show me where the they say evolution proves their atheism and I’ll say they are wrong.
    For Darwin, any evolution that had to be helped over the jumps by God was no evolution at all. It made a nonsense of the central point of evolution. The Blind Watchmaker (1996) p.249
    More generally it is completely unrealistic to claim, as Gould and many others do, that religion keeps itself away from science’s turf, restricting itself to morals and values. A universe with a supernatural presence would be a fundamentally and qualitatively different kind of universe from one without. The difference is, inescapably, a scientific difference. Religions make existence claims, and this means scientific claims. You can’t have it both ways: Irreconcilable differences?
    Skeptical Inquirer July 1999 pp.62-64
    Whenever Darwinism is the topic, the temperature rises, because more is at stake than just the empirical facts about how life on Earth evolved, or the correct logic of the theory that accounts for those facts. One of the precious things that is at stake is a vision of what it means to ask, and answer, the question “Why?” Darwin’s new perspective turns several traditional assumptions upside down, undermining our standard ideas about what ought to count as satisfying answers to this ancient and in inescapable question. Here science and philosophy get completely intertwined. Scientists sometimes deceive themselves into thinking that philosophical ideas are only, at best, decorations or parasitic commentaries on the hard, objective triumphs of science, and that they themselves are immune to the confusions that philosophers devote their lives to dissolving. But there is no such thing as philosophy-free science; there is only science whose philosophical baggage is taken on board without examination. Darwin’s Dangerous Idea (1995) p.21
    Darwin’s idea had been born as an answer to questions in biology, but it threatened to leak out, offering answers — welcome or not — to question in cosmology (going in one direction) and psychology (going in the other direction). If redesign could be a mindless, algorithmic process of evolution, why couldn’t that whole process itself be the product of evolution, and so forth, all the way down? And if mindless evolution could account for the breathtakingly clever artifacts of the biosphere, how could the products of our own “real” minds be exempt from an evolutionary explanation? Darwin’s idea thus also threatened to spread all the way up, dissolving the illusion of our own authorship, our own divine spark of creativity and understanding. Darwin’s Dangerous Idea (1995) p.63
    These ideas are clearly contrary to the statement, “God initiated and guided an evolutionary process that has led to current human beings.”
    No I didn’t list all the criticisms of him. They appear to all be very valid points. ARe they fatal to his work? I don’t know enough about it to be honest with you. No doubt time will tell.
    I didn’t say they were ‘fatal to his work’; I said the criticisms were the same sort you employ against ID – apparently you only employ those criticisms when you personally disagree with something, but if you happen to adhere to an idea yourself, such criticisms are of little importance.
    Actually it sounds like he wants to have his idea incorporated into a theory of abiogensis. Bad news for you, another candidate your proof by elimination will have to deal with. Like the prosecutor who just finished proving all 4,999,999 people besides OJ innocent being told by his supervisor he forgot the 1,259,999 illegal immigrants and 750,252 tourists who were in LA that night.
    I don’t think you have actually read his book. While it makes for an interesting computational analysis, he in no way has offered any mechanisms for life’s beginnings. There is no suspect here – maybe next time.

  • http://jackhudson.wordpress.com/ jhudson

    jhudson, I don’t need to know anything about your previous statements to know that the statements “Let’s see – it’s been 150 years, and fewer people than ever are buying into evolution as proposed by Darwin. I would say trends aren’t so good for this.” are false. No matter what you said before, that statement is false. Maybe you read trends different than me, but 2 compared to millions seems like an upward trend.
    Well, yes, I read actual trends; I don’t start 150 years ago and skip to today. But your unwillingness to actually look at statistics tell me you are just hoping against hope because you really want it to be so; I won’t tamper with your faith.
    Also, the peak percentage of believers in Christianity, for Christian regions, was long ago, before Copernicus and Galileo did that whole the earth is no longer the center of the universe theory. So, one can make your same trendline argument, and it would apply equally well to Christian beliefs.
    Well, no, not actually. South America, Africa, and Asia are filling with Christians even as the West fades into oblivion, or the domination of Islam (which incidentally was the majority religion in the world for much of the time of Copernicus and Galileo).
    Societies beliefs swing up and down based on a myriad of factors, one of the most important being the effort of those holding the beliefs to spread them.
    Sure; Marxism goes away, Freud goes away, just as the last of the old Victorian philosophies, Darwinism, will go away.
    Scientists have not really tried to spread evolution to the general populace much, thinking that the reasoning was self evident. They have sense realized their mistake, and have begun the offensive in the last couple of years. So, let’s see how ID fares over the next couple of years. Scientists aren’t satisfied with Dover, and will not repeat the mistake of complacency.
    Evolution only succeeds because the courts have protected its hegemony – if it were forced to actually face criticism, it would disappear even faster.
    And as far as this front loading idea is concerned, I have a question for you. Are baseball bats and crowbars designed to beat people senseless? Is that potential there?
    The problem with this analogy is that it suggests that this segment of the genome once served another use, and that by happenstance it just started coding for bilateralism. This of course, to anyone who knows anything about how the genome codes, is poppycock – there is no evidence for this.
    Also, is the male g-spot in the ####### because gay sex is designed into human beings? Or is it just a result of the shared structural genes of males and females, where the actual structures produced are slightly different, and little things like that result?
    You know, can’t say I know much about male g-spots as pertain to homosexual arousal; perhaps you have some expertise with which to enlighten us?

  • http://kleyau.blogspot.com Kent

    jhudson,
    I understand the point you’re trying to make with the trend, however you said “Fewer people than ever are buying into evolution as proposed by Darwin.” It’s not fewer than ever. The fewest was two. There has never been fewer than this. A more relevant statement would have been, “There are fewer people, as a percentage (not an absolute number, because absolutely there are more people that believe in just about everything), in the industrialized nations of the United States, the United Kingdome, and a few other countries, as opposed to the peak percentage in the 1970′s.” That could be accurate, assuming that you actually trust that the survey’s are valid and reliable (which mean consistent with real world events, and that they produce the same results when repeated, in case you’re not a science major). The point you were trying to make might have some validity, but the statement you actually used is false.
    And my statement was that the percentage of people in Christian regions believing in people peaked over five hundred years ago, not that the absolute number went down. The percenatage of people dying before the age of thirty was also much higher then, but the absolute number of people who die before thirty is higher now than ever. The world went from less than a billion people to over 6 billion people in the last century. This increases the absolute number of just about everything people related.
    And where did you come up with “The problem with this analogy is that it suggests that this segment of the genome once served another use, and that by happenstance it just started coding for bilateralism. This of course, to anyone who knows anything about how the genome codes, is poppycock – there is no evidence for this.” I must have missed that in my 50 college hours of biology, molecular genetics, and evolution. But, I am a little slow, seeing as how I only scored in the 98th percentile of the Major Field Achievement Test in biology, so obviously anybody who knows anything about how the genome codes know that. Like none of my genetics professors.
    Also, where’d you pull this one from: “Evolution only succeeds because the courts have protected its hegemony – if it were forced to actually face criticism, it would disappear even faster.” First off, hegemony is when people willfully go along with something that is bad for them, when they don’t know any better (I have a sociology minor, and they love hegemony), not when the courts force them to unwilling follow a system that they don’t want. And if you’re so keen on equal time for science and ID, why don’t you invite those evolution loving college professors to teach some Sunday school classes on evolution. Hell, let’em give the sermon. It’s teaching the controversy. But wait, that doesn’t fly because if it’s not god, you don’t want to hear about it.
    And way to make a smart ass comment about the last question, without giving a valid response. The example shows that genes produce results that are in addition to the results from their primary selection processes. Kind of like how the male g-spot keeps the Catholic Church together, when it evolved under a selection pressure to help females enjoy sex. Seriously, you’d think a religion that was run by gay people for over a thousand years wouldn’t be so homophobic.

  • http://kleyau.blogspot.com Kent

    That last post should read “Christian regions believing in creationism” not “Christian regions believing in people.” Thought I’d clarify this before you rip me for my poor typing skills. And, it should be “unwillingly follow,” not “unwilling follow.”

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Which one is more consistent with evolution as it is taught? Which one is more consistent with ID? Try to answer without considering what the answer will do to your argument.
    As far as evolution is concerned they are both equally consistent. As for ID, if we take ID advocates at their word I’d have to give the same answer. Remember IDers have made a big deal out of the fact that their theory does not assume the designer is a diety. Therefore, at least if they are being honest (Joe in this series has basically said that it’s ok if IDers lie) both statements are equally consistent with ID.
    Now for your quotes:
    The Blind Watchmaker passage does not say that evolution proves God doesn’t exist. It says that evolution did not require supernatural intervention by God. Equilivant to saying the moon does not require God’s help to orbit the earth, the laws of motion are sufficient (which, of course, one can believe God created in the first place).
    Your next quote was not from a text on evolution or even about evolution itself. It was from the Skeptical Inquirer, which advocates atheism or agnosticism and argued that religous claims are scientific cliams.
    The Darwin’s Dangerous Idea passage likewise says nothing about whether evolution proves or disproves God’s existence. It says that philosophy cannot be dismissed as a ‘decoration’ on scientific theories. The second passage likewise talks about how Darwin’s idea was threatening but does not, does not, argue that the theory itself can prove or disprove anything about God.
    I didn’t say they were ‘fatal to his work’; I said the criticisms were the same sort you employ against ID – apparently you only employ those criticisms when you personally disagree with something, but if you happen to adhere to an idea yourself, such criticisms are of little importance.
    That’s strange, I just said that the criticisms of him appear to be valid points. Yet I cited him as a point in support of my argument (which, BTW, you have ignored and continue to ignore).
    I don’t think you have actually read his book. While it makes for an interesting computational analysis, he in no way has offered any mechanisms for life’s beginnings. There is no suspect here – maybe next time.
    Nor did you I suspect. From what I read, though, it appears he would have us consider that life originated not so much through a process of selection but by a process of ‘cellulear automatica’ which seems to be a process a bit like the creation of a snowflake. Simple natural rules spawn immensely complicated structures. However, the results of the rules cannot be simplified. The only way to determine their resulting structures is to actually calculate them out. Not easy to do until computers came along.

  • http://jackhudson.wordpress.com/ jhudson

    I understand the point you’re trying to make with the trend, however you said “Fewer people than ever are buying into evolution as proposed by Darwin.” It’s not fewer than ever. The fewest was two. There has never been fewer than this. A more relevant statement would have been, “There are fewer people, as a percentage (not an absolute number, because absolutely there are more people that believe in just about everything), in the industrialized nations of the United States, the United Kingdome, and a few other countries, as opposed to the peak percentage in the 1970′s.” That could be accurate, assuming that you actually trust that the survey’s are valid and reliable (which mean consistent with real world events, and that they produce the same results when repeated, in case you’re not a science major). The point you were trying to make might have some validity, but the statement you actually used is false.

    You are correct that more people accept Darwin’s theory now than the day after he wrote his book. I guess I assumed that was such an obvious point that no one would get confused that way, but apparently I was wrong. In the last few decades, the trend is for fewer people to accept a purely Darwinian view of the world; Darwin reached his peak, and is now going the way of Marx and Freud.
    And my statement was that the percentage of people in Christian regions believing in people peaked over five hundred years ago, not that the absolute number went down. The percenatage of people dying before the age of thirty was also much higher then, but the absolute number of people who die before thirty is higher now than ever. The world went from less than a billion people to over 6 billion people in the last century. This increases the absolute number of just about everything people related.
    I think the problem with your statement is that it happens to be Euro-centric; while it is true that Christianity dominated Europe for most of the last 2000 years, and has declined in a number of those countries, Christianity has rapidly spread through Central and South America, and is growing in Africa and Asia. So it is not just the fact that people happen to be ‘older’ now (and incidentally that is another generally Euro-centric statistic) but also that whole new cultures have embraced Christianity.
    And where did you come up with “The problem with this analogy is that it suggests that this segment of the genome once served another use, and that by happenstance it just started coding for bilateralism. This of course, to anyone who knows anything about how the genome codes, is poppycock – there is no evidence for this.” I must have missed that in my 50 college hours of biology, molecular genetics, and evolution. But, I am a little slow, seeing as how I only scored in the 98th percentile of the Major Field Achievement Test in biology, so obviously anybody who knows anything about how the genome codes know that. Like none of my genetics professors.
    It’s not as if we are guessing at what the genome is doing; the same gene exists in Radiata as it does for later bilateral animals; it isn’t serving ‘another’ use.
    Also, where’d you pull this one from: “Evolution only succeeds because the courts have protected its hegemony – if it were forced to actually face criticism, it would disappear even faster.” First off, hegemony is when people willfully go along with something that is bad for them, when they don’t know any better (I have a sociology minor, and they love hegemony), not when the courts force them to unwilling follow a system that they don’t want.
    Here hegemony is used in it’s simple, literal sense: The predominant influence, as of a state, region, or group, over another or others. In this sense evolution maintains an influence (hegemony) in education in large part because it isn’t allowed to be challenged – it is the only theory of science that requires a court to protect it because it simply isn’t a product of apparent evidence.
    And if you’re so keen on equal time for science and ID, why don’t you invite those evolution loving college professors to teach some Sunday school classes on evolution. Hell, let’em give the sermon. It’s teaching the controversy. But wait, that doesn’t fly because if it’s not god, you don’t want to hear about it.
    I am not sure if this is facetiousness or ignorance. I don’t think either ID or evolution should be taught in Sunday school classes, as they really aren’t the best place to teach science. And no one is suggesting ‘Sunday school teachers’, who are presumably uninterested in ID, should teach college courses on the subject.
    But what has happened, and what should continue to happen is for universities to offer classes like Allen MacNeill’s BioEE 467, Evolution and Design class at Cornell.
    And way to make a smart ass comment about the last question, without giving a valid response. The example shows that genes produce results that are in addition to the results from their primary selection processes. Kind of like how the male g-spot keeps the Catholic Church together, when it evolved under a selection pressure to help females enjoy sex. Seriously, you’d think a religion that was run by gay people for over a thousand years wouldn’t be so homophobic.
    Again, I’m afraid this just isn’t anything I know about or am particularly interested in knowing about.

  • http://jackhudson.wordpress.com/ jhudson

    As far as evolution is concerned they are both equally consistent. As for ID, if we take ID advocates at their word I’d have to give the same answer. Remember IDers have made a big deal out of the fact that their theory does not assume the designer is a diety. Therefore, at least if they are being honest (Joe in this series has basically said that it’s ok if IDers lie) both statements are equally consistent with ID.
    Other than your snarky misstatement of what Joe said, you seem to be saying here that what ID folks proffer is completely compatible with what is taught by evolution; I guess that would make teaching ID in schools not a big deal.
    The Blind Watchmaker passage does not say that evolution proves God doesn’t exist. It says that evolution did not require supernatural intervention by God. Equilivant to saying the moon does not require God’s help to orbit the earth, the laws of motion are sufficient (which, of course, one can believe God created in the first place).
    So, the statement, “God initiated and guided an evolutionary process that has led to current human beings.” would then be incompatible with Dawkins definition of evolution. That demonstrates my point.
    The Darwin’s Dangerous Idea passage likewise says nothing about whether evolution proves or disproves God’s existence. It says that philosophy cannot be dismissed as a ‘decoration’ on scientific theories. The second passage likewise talks about how Darwin’s idea was threatening but does not, does not, argue that the theory itself can prove or disprove anything about God.
    It is actually the heart of the matter; Dennett claims that everything humans are, the ‘products’ of our minds, our religion, our culture, our philosophies, are ultimately the product of evolution, not a, “God initiated and guided an evolutionary process”.
    That’s strange, I just said that the criticisms of him appear to be valid points. Yet I cited him as a point in support of my argument (which, BTW, you have ignored and continue to ignore).
    And my point, which you keep avoiding, is that you dismiss ID because of the same criticisms that are made of Wolfram. If the criticisms against Wolfram are irrelevant, so to are the criticisms against ID, and ID has legitimacy.
    Nor did you I suspect.
    I didn’t pretend to.
    From what I read, though, it appears he would have us consider that life originated not so much through a process of selection but by a process of ‘cellulear automatica’ which seems to be a process a bit like the creation of a snowflake. Simple natural rules spawn immensely complicated structures. However, the results of the rules cannot be simplified. The only way to determine their resulting structures is to actually calculate them out. Not easy to do until computers came along.
    I am not sure what kind of discussion you hope to have on this as you are not particularly familiar with his book nor am I. Wolfram is a mathematician, and like other very bright mathematicians he hopes that the universe runs like his calculations. While I am amenable to the idea that cellular process are very much like information driven machines, I think Wolfram overstates his case; he thinks the entire universe is such.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Other than your snarky misstatement of what Joe said, you seem to be saying here that what ID folks proffer is completely compatible with what is taught by evolution; I guess that would make teaching ID in schools not a big deal.
    Not at all, Joe said we cannot call IDers out on it if they tell lies because that’s a ‘lazy argument’. If you say it’s against the rules for one side to accuse the other side of telling a lie is that not implicitly giving one side permission to lie with immunity?
    Now IDers claim their theory has nothing to do with religion therefore it is equally compatible with those two statements you offered. What does that have to do with it being taught in schools? The theory of ether, which Einstien overturned, was also compatatible with those two statement yet it should not be taught in schools because it was wrong.
    So, the statement, “God initiated and guided an evolutionary process that has led to current human beings.” would then be incompatible with Dawkins definition of evolution. That demonstrates my point.
    Perhaps, but I don’t think so. Dawkins is a popularizer of science and a philosopher, not a textbook writer. I was quite clear that the statements were consistent with any standard textbook on evolution or biology. Certainly since you claim to have once studied it you must be familiar with textbooks on the subject as would doctors who had biology classes in college would be.
    As for the statement, I think it is poorly worded since it seems to imply God had to both initiate and guide while most people I suspect would read it as God initiated or guided. REgardless the passage from Dawkins is limited to the theory of evolution so the statement would remain consistent with Darwkin’s statement because:
    1. God could have set up the universe knowing the process of evolution would bring about results he desired (in other words initiated it).
    2. God could have guided the process though exogenerous events. For example, if the metor that wiped out the dinosaurs opened up the room for mammels and later humans to develop nothing in the theory of evolution could rule out whether the metor was an accident or part of a plan. (This BTW, takes us into the philosophical discussion I had with Barrie on Parts II, III and here about whether it makes sense to talk about accidents when you are looking thru the perspective of an infinite beign like God).
    It is actually the heart of the matter; Dennett claims that everything humans are, the ‘products’ of our minds, our religion, our culture, our philosophies, are ultimately the product of evolution, not a, “God initiated and guided an evolutionary process”.
    Yes as I said Dennett is an atheist and a philosopher so yea he is going to argue his position. Even with him, though, you are unable to find him saying that evolution itself proves his position. At best he is showing how his position is consistent with evolution which is the best anyone can do with a scientific theory.
    And my point, which you keep avoiding, is that you dismiss ID because of the same criticisms that are made of Wolfram. If the criticisms against Wolfram are irrelevant, so to are the criticisms against ID, and ID has legitimacy.
    Did I say they were irrelevant? In fact I said they sounded like valid points and time would tell if they were fatal to his ideas or not.
    I am not sure what kind of discussion you hope to have on this as you are not particularly familiar with his book nor am I. Wolfram is a mathematician, and like other very bright mathematicians he hopes that the universe runs like his calculations. While I am amenable to the idea that cellular process are very much like information driven machines, I think Wolfram overstates his case; he thinks the entire universe is such.
    I was only pointing out that very simple systems can produce objects of immense complexity. No one disagrees with Wolfram there, his computerized exercizes demonstrate that clearly. That’s all. For the record though, I suspect he may have found some useful mathematical tools (or at least laid out some ideas that could be developed into useful tools) but he is overstating them as some type of universal theory.

  • http://jackhudson.wordpress.com/ jhudson

    Not at all, Joe said we cannot call IDers out on it if they tell lies because that’s a ‘lazy argument’. If you say it’s against the rules for one side to accuse the other side of telling a lie is that not implicitly giving one side permission to lie with immunity?
    Well, no, he never said this, which means that you are either being dishonest by saying so, or unable to actually parse a sentence.
    Now IDers claim their theory has nothing to do with religion therefore it is equally compatible with those two statements you offered. What does that have to do with it being taught in schools? The theory of ether, which Einstien overturned, was also compatatible with those two statement yet it should not be taught in schools because it was wrong.
    The reality is, you have done nothing here to demonstrate that the doctors in question adhere to a wholly materialistic view of life’s development, and thus have done nothing to bolster your claim that Joe was misleading in his post. At best, you have shown that a vague notion of evolution taught in a very narrow way might be compatible with the polls statements and also completely compatible with the ID theory of life’s development. You are starting to talk circles now.
    Perhaps, but I don’t think so. Dawkins is a popularizer of science and a philosopher, not a textbook writer. I was quite clear that the statements were consistent with any standard textbook on evolution or biology. Certainly since you claim to have once studied it you must be familiar with textbooks on the subject as would doctors who had biology classes in college would be.
    I am familiar with standard text book descriptions of evolution, which is why I find your claims unconvincing; particularly as you have never even attempted to demonstrate that this is so by quoting an actual text book.
    As for the statement, I think it is poorly worded since it seems to imply God had to both initiate and guide while most people I suspect would read it as God initiated or guided. REgardless the passage from Dawkins is limited to the theory of evolution so the statement would remain consistent with Darwkin’s statement because:
    1. God could have set up the universe knowing the process of evolution would bring about results he desired (in other words initiated it).
    2. God could have guided the process though exogenerous events. For example, if the metor that wiped out the dinosaurs opened up the room for mammels and later humans to develop nothing in the theory of evolution could rule out whether the metor was an accident or part of a plan. (This BTW, takes us into the philosophical discussion I had with Barrie on Parts II, III and here about whether it makes sense to talk about accidents when you are looking thru the perspective of an infinite beign like God).
    It may be ‘poorly worded’, but the poor wording doesn’t help your case that Joe was misleading anyone by quoting it.
    The statement itself plainly implies that something is needed in addition to ordinary mechanical processes; you obviously realize this by your options above. Either way, this is beyond what evolution offers.
    Yes as I said Dennett is an atheist and a philosopher so yea he is going to argue his position. Even with him, though, you are unable to find him saying that evolution itself proves his position. At best he is showing how his position is consistent with evolution which is the best anyone can do with a scientific theory.
    Again, this isn’t all that difficult to parse for somebody with half a thought about it. Dennett and Dawkins and Meyers have intractably intertwined a belief in evolution and a belief in atheism; that is the point of Darwin’s Dangerous Idea, and The God Delusion. Either you are ignorant of these texts, or are intentionally being obtuse because you can’t fathom that this is so. It is a major waste of time to continue to banter about this when you haven’t demonstrated the ability to grasp simple and readily understood points.
    Did I say they were irrelevant? In fact I said they sounded like valid points and time would tell if they were fatal to his ideas or not.
    Of course; but again, future proof is not present knowledge.
    I was only pointing out that very simple systems can produce objects of immense complexity. No one disagrees with Wolfram there, his computerized exercizes demonstrate that clearly. That’s all. For the record though, I suspect he may have found some useful mathematical tools (or at least laid out some ideas that could be developed into useful tools) but he is overstating them as some type of universal theory.
    Sure. And interestingly, it lends credence to front-loading.

  • http://talkwisdom.blogspot.com/ Christinewjc

    This is a great article Joe! I have linked my post, Faithful to God, Science to yours today, because I thought that your arguments fit so perfectly with my topic of discussion.
    I’ve read only a few of the comments (there are a lot!) here. Today, my time is short so I decided to scroll down and tell you about the link.
    I am also looking forward to reading the preceding arguments that you have written. God bless your efforts here at this blog and may He bless your day!
    Christine

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Well, no, he never said this, which means that you are either being dishonest by saying so, or unable to actually parse a sentence.
    There is no mistatement here. Joe said calling IDers out on telling lies is a ‘lazy argument’. So what to do if IDers lie? If they are called out their defenders here will cite Joe’s list. The only alternative is to let them get away with telling lies. How do you propose supporters of evolution deal with the issue of IDers lie in support of their cause? Is there some alternative to ignoring it that will still keep one in line with Joe’s top ten list?
    The reality is, you have done nothing here to demonstrate that the doctors in question adhere to a wholly materialistic view of life’s development, and thus have done nothing to bolster your claim that Joe was misleading in his post….
    Materialism is a philosophical idea, not a scientific one. A materialistic view would assume that matter is all that exists and nothing exists beyond matter. Evolution does not require this assumption and does not prove it true or false. Like all other scientific theories all that is required is to assume that matter exists (or as I put it in other threads ‘matter matters’).
    I am familiar with standard text book descriptions of evolution, which is why I find your claims unconvincing; particularly as you have never even attempted to demonstrate that this is so by quoting an actual text book.
    Really? Then why are you pushhing Dawkins, Dennett etc. here instead of a standard textbook as being incompatible with the doctor’s responses? Even if you sold your college texts long ago I’m sure you can at least vaguely remember what they said…especially since you supposedly studied it so intensly.
    There are a million ideas that can be described as compatatible with any particular scientific theory. Believing in God or not believing in God would both be compatible with any textbook explanation of gravity yet I’d be hard pressed to find a textbook that bothers to waste space pointing out “This doesn’t prove or disprove your religious beliefs”.
    The statement itself plainly implies that something is needed in addition to ordinary mechanical processes; you obviously realize this by your options above. Either way, this is beyond what evolution offers.
    No it doesn’t. If one believes in God then one would believe that God could have initiated a mechanical process that would do anything he wanted. Where do you read in the survey results “God made a mechanical process to create life and eventually man but it was insufficient and he had to intervene on some undefined number of occassions to ‘help’ it along”?
    Again, this isn’t all that difficult to parse for somebody with half a thought about it. Dennett and Dawkins and Meyers have intractably intertwined a belief in evolution and a belief in atheism; that is the point of Darwin’s Dangerous Idea, and The God Delusion. Either you are ignorant of these texts, or are intentionally being obtuse because you can’t fathom that this is so. It is a major waste of time to continue to banter about this when you haven’t demonstrated the ability to grasp simple and readily understood points.
    This isn’t in dispute. They have indeed intertwined the scientific theory of evolution with their belief in atheism but what you have failed to demonstrate is that they claim evolution proves or requires atheism.
    Wolfram
    Sure. And interestingly, it lends credence to front-loading.
    Which would mean a future species could then be calculated from current species. Do you have any evidence we can detect such information from the genetic code of any known species today or from any preserved DNA we might find from older species?

  • http://jackhudson.wordpress.com/ jhudson

    There is no mistatement here. Joe said calling IDers out on telling lies is a ‘lazy argument’. So what to do if IDers lie? If they are called out their defenders here will cite Joe’s list. The only alternative is to let them get away with telling lies. How do you propose supporters of evolution deal with the issue of IDers lie in support of their cause? Is there some alternative to ignoring it that will still keep one in line with Joe’s top ten list?
    First off Bontoon, you tend to refer to something that most aren’t familiar with in hopes everyone will take your word for it. The actual exchange went like this:
    LudVanB :
    Joe did make a valid point though…he exposed just how badly misinformed the general public is about the ToE and how currupt ID proponents do prey on that misinformation to further their political agenda.
    Joe:
    I should have added #11 — accusing ID advocates of dishonesty. That’s become the lazy way of dealing with all intellectual opponents nowadays. It’s not enough to say someone is wrong, they must know they are wrong and be lying about it.
    His point, which again I can’t believe I have to explain, is not that either side shouldn’t point out actual dishonesty when it occurs, but rather that ID opponents tend to just throw out the accusation of ‘liar’ instead of engaging the actual issues. To wit, I am generously assuming you simply misunderstood the point Joe made, instead of just calling you a ‘liar’ for misstating Joe’s point.
    Materialism is a philosophical idea, not a scientific one. A materialistic view would assume that matter is all that exists and nothing exists beyond matter. Evolution does not require this assumption and does not prove it true or false. Like all other scientific theories all that is required is to assume that matter exists (or as I put it in other threads ‘matter matters’).
    It can be both actually. As Ken Miller conveys in his college Biology textbook, (1993) Biology: Discovering Life, the following about the necessity of philosophical materialism to evolutionary theory:
    Darwin knew that accepting his theory required believing in philosophical materialism, the conviction that matter is the stuff of all existence and that all mental and spiritual phenomena are its by-products. Darwinian evolution was not only purposeless but also heartless – a process in which the rigors of nature ruthlessly eliminate the unfit.
    Suddenly, humanity was reduced to just one more species in a world that cared nothing for us. The great human mind was no more than a mass of evolving neurons. Worst of all, there was no divine plan to guide us. These realizations troubled Darwin deeply, for in his day, materialism was even more outrageous than evolution (Figure 8.14). Some scholars speculate that fear of being branded a heretic for his materialism contributed to Darwin’s 21-year delay in publishing his theory. The same antimaterialistic reasoning also drives much modern-day opposition to evolutionary thought.
    Yet as pointed out by evolutionary scholar Douglas Futuyma, seldom do the detractors of the Darwinian world view take note of its positive implications. In Darwin’s world we are not helpless prisoners of a static world order, but rather masters of our own fate in a universe where human action can change the future. And from a strictly scientific point of view, rejecting evolution is no different from rejecting other natural phenomena such as electricity and gravity.

    Really? Then why are you pushhing Dawkins, Dennett etc. here instead of a standard textbook as being incompatible with the doctor’s responses? Even if you sold your college texts long ago I’m sure you can at least vaguely remember what they said…especially since you supposedly studied it so intensly.
    There are a million ideas that can be described as compatatible with any particular scientific theory. Believing in God or not believing in God would both be compatible with any textbook explanation of gravity yet I’d be hard pressed to find a textbook that bothers to waste space pointing out “This doesn’t prove or disprove your religious beliefs”.
    Actually I quoted a text above that ties philosophical materialism to evolution quite decisively.
    No it doesn’t. If one believes in God then one would believe that God could have initiated a mechanical process that would do anything he wanted. Where do you read in the survey results “God made a mechanical process to create life and eventually man but it was insufficient and he had to intervene on some undefined number of occassions to ‘help’ it along”?
    What part of “initiated and guided” don’t you understand? There are times I sincerely think this issue has more to do with an inadequacy in English than it does in science.
    This isn’t in dispute. They have indeed intertwined the scientific theory of evolution with their belief in atheism but what you have failed to demonstrate is that they claim evolution proves or requires atheism.
    As I detailed above, in an actual biology text (of the sort you seem to be unfamiliar with) evolution, as it is commonly taught, is tied to philosophical materialism.
    Which would mean a future species could then be calculated from current species. Do you have any evidence we can detect such information from the genetic code of any known species today or from any preserved DNA we might find from older species?
    This has to be your most absurd point yet, and one which again belies a misunderstanding of what Wolfram and front-loading proffer. His whole point isn’t that future configurations are ‘predictable’, but that simple calculations can produce complex results – ones we wouldn’t at all expect. If I created a computer program and ‘front-loaded’ it with various options to respond to various different user scenarios, I couldn’t ‘predict’ how it might turn out – that is the point – ‘how it turns out’ depends on how the program is used in the future.
    If you can’t convince me that you understand this basic concept, then I don’t know how I can even continue patiently go through this with you.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    His point, which again I can’t believe I have to explain, is not that either side shouldn’t point out actual dishonesty when it occurs, but rather that ID opponents tend to just throw out the accusation of ‘liar’ instead of engaging the actual issues. To wit, I am generously assuming you simply misunderstood the point Joe made, instead of just calling you a ‘liar’ for misstating Joe’s point.
    So you’re saying it’s ok to call an ID advocate a liar if he is telling lies. Thank you.
    I congraduate you on finding a scientific text finally. Oddly it just so happens to have been making the rounds on the ID websites of various types. Here’s a paragraph you left out:

    Darwin remained to the end a devout, if somewhat unorthodox, Christian. “I see no good reason why the views given in this volume should shock the religious feelings of anyone,” he wrote. Like religious scientists of many faiths today, he found no less wonder in a god that directed the laws of nature than in one that circumvented them.

    (http://telicthoughts.com/?p=792)
    Odd there, the very text you’re citing seems to be saying…GEE, God INITIATED the natural laws of that lead to the evolution of man!
    In fact, Miller even wrote a book arguing that both evolution is right AND God exists. (see Finding Darwin’s God on http://www.amazon.com/dp/0060175931/?tag=evangeoutpos-20).
    Scientific American’s review of the book:

    Miller, professor of biology at Brown University, believes firmly in evolution. He also believes in God-a belief not widely shared among scientists. Here he sets out to offer thoughts on how to reconcile the conflict many people see between the two positions. Evolution, he says, is a story of origins; so too is the Judeo-Christian creation story. “The conflict between these two versions of our history is real, and I do not doubt for a second that it needs to be addressed. What I do not believe is that the conflict is unresolvable.” Laying out the positions with care and clarity, he offers his resolution: “As more than one scientist has said, the truly remarkable thing about the world is that it actually does make sense. The parts fit, the molecules interact, the darn thing works. To people of faith, what evolution says is that nature is complete. God fashioned a material world in which truly free, truly independent beings could evolve.”

    So here your attempt to find a standard textbook asserting that evolution disproves the existence of God has resulted in a dismal failure. Not only did the text assert the opposite (although those paragraphs did have me going for a bit) but its author has advocated the exact opposite. Not only that, the text actually would put Darwin himself in that group of doctors who said God initiated evolution. Wow, I guess now you’re going to have to tell us Darwin was an IDer too. I wonder why that defender of the evil evolutionary empire, Sci Am, didn’t chastise Mr. Miller for neglecting to mention that evolution had disproved God?
    This has to be your most absurd point yet, and one which again belies a misunderstanding of what Wolfram and front-loading proffer. His whole point isn’t that future configurations are ‘predictable’, but that simple calculations can produce complex results – ones we wouldn’t at all expect. If I created a computer program and ‘front-loaded’ it with various options to respond to various different user scenarios, I couldn’t ‘predict’ how it might turn out – that is the point – ‘how it turns out’ depends on how the program is used in the future.
    Actually his point is that there is no mathematical shortcut, the ‘simple rules’ have to be actually calculated out to produce the results. Unlike, say, the infinite sums we might have studied in college math these do not converge or cancel their terms out in such a way that we can quickly reduce the result down to a single number.
    Anyway, you’d be able to predict how the program would react to different users. In the case of genetic matieral then you might have something that says “wolly mammoths appear if climate is cold, elephants if hot”….we should then be able to find not one but several future species options embedded in modern species if that is the case.

  • http://jackhudson.wordpress.com/ jhudson

    So you’re saying it’s ok to call an ID advocate a liar if he is telling lies. Thank you.
    Of course; if it’s not just a matter of “I don’t agree with you, therefore you are a liar!”
    I congraduate you on finding a scientific text finally. Oddly it just so happens to have been making the rounds on the ID websites of various types. Here’s a paragraph you left out:
    Darwin remained to the end a devout, if somewhat unorthodox, Christian. “I see no good reason why the views given in this volume should shock the religious feelings of anyone,” he wrote. Like religious scientists of many faiths today, he found no less wonder in a god that directed the laws of nature than in one that circumvented them.
    I think we can dismiss the rest of your post as filler, and concentrate on this. As usual, you don’t bother to read your own citations beyond a point that you think backs your argument.
    Other than the fact that this statement doesn’t in any way contradict the previous section, it’s simply historically wrong. Darwin notably said:
    “Thus disbelief crept over me at a very slow rate, but was at last complete. The rate was so slow that I felt no distress, and have never since doubted for a single second that my conclusion was correct. 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.”
    Autobiographies/Charles Darwin, Thomas Henry Huxley, edited by Gavin de Beer, Oxford University Press, 1974, p.49-50
    Obviously, on this point, Miller has no idea what he was talking about. Miller, like you, is tacking something on (in this case, a clear falsehood) to make Darwin more acceptable to the masses. If Darwin was a Christian, ‘unorthodox’ or otherwise, then you Boonton are the Pope
    Actually his point is that there is no mathematical shortcut, the ‘simple rules’ have to be actually calculated out to produce the results. Unlike, say, the infinite sums we might have studied in college math these do not converge or cancel their terms out in such a way that we can quickly reduce the result down to a single number.
    Anyway, you’d be able to predict how the program would react to different users. In the case of genetic matieral then you might have something that says “wolly mammoths appear if climate is cold, elephants if hot”….we should then be able to find not one but several future species options embedded in modern species if that is the case.
    Considering we aren’t yet capable of looking at what the genome is actually doing in an extant organism in many instances, it would be absurd to say that we could ‘predict’ what it might do in a ‘future’ organism – all we can do is look back, and looking back we see the current genome’s coding is quite ancient.

  • Gordon Mullings

    H’mm:
    I find the switching back-forth between this thread and the main one from which it has branched interesting, and evidently reflective of where the evo mat advocates think for the moment they can gain a rhetorical advantage. What is especially interesting is that they now remind me of Hitler’s Generals circa 1944: rushing from devastating losses on one front to losses on the other then back, as their room for maneuver grows ever more slender and defeat looms ever more plainly over their cause.
    In that context, I will comment on a point or two:
    1] JH: Evolution only succeeds because the courts have protected its hegemony – if it were forced to actually face criticism, it would disappear even faster . . . . hegemony is used in it’s simple, literal sense: The predominant influence, as of a state, region, or group, over another or others. In this sense evolution maintains an influence (hegemony) in education in large part because it isn’t allowed to be challenged – it is the only theory of science that requires a court to protect it because it simply isn’t a product of apparent evidence.
    –> Onlookers may find the exchange with RR on censorship in education over in the other thread interesting.
    –> In the highlighted words, too, JH has touched on a raw nerve and exposes a crucial gap in the theory’s status.
    –> For, in their formative years, a great many of the current educated elites of the USA were exposed to a selective, uncritical exposure to NDT and associated models and theories such as abiogenesis, in the further context of the implicit — and sometimes explicit materialistic worldview that has long been a close partner of this theory. So, in their perceptions — seldom revised in light of other evidence since those formative years — NDT etc are “science” and so to be treated as axiomatically true, as once the leadership of former generations viewed “Gospel Truth.”
    –> As a direct result of that, they [and their fellow travellers in the public and even in forums like this] are perfectly willing to use their domination of institutions of power to suppress what they perceive as ill-informed and dangerous pseudoscience and religion intruding where it should not. Unfortunately, too often they are precisely not open to examine whether their perceptions and assertions on the critiques and alternatives are fair and accurate.
    –> That is, sadly, we are quite literally back to the era of heresy trials and inquisitions — only the doctrine to be privileged has changed. RR’s remark in the other thread is therefore inadvertently quite revealing:

    RR [5:47 am, Aug 18,in the parent thread]: What “Darwinists” Have done [GEM: through what, sadly, may accurately be termed media show trials and kangaroo court rooms] is to prevent IDers from forcing its [ie ID's] inclusion in the curriculum [GEM: of schools -- and of course this misrepresents what was suggested: inclusion of the contents of key peer-reviewed critiques of evolution along with its exposition, return to historically accurate and generally accepted rather than question-beggingly materialistic definitions of science, letting students know they should be critically aware, pointing out that alternative paradigms are currently emerging].

    –> But on the history of such tactics in Western culture, such efforts will sooner of later backfire, in this case especially as more and more people become aware that the theory has persistent and potentially fatal gaps and philosophical assertions and assumptions deeply embedded in it. JH’s citation of the textbooks and philosophers above is telling here.
    2] B: The Darwin’s Dangerous Idea passage likewise says nothing about whether evolution proves or disproves God’s existence. It says that philosophy cannot be dismissed as a ‘decoration’ on scientific theories. The second passage likewise talks about how Darwin’s idea was threatening but does not, does not, argue that the theory itself can prove or disprove anything about God.
    JH: It is actually the heart of the matter; Dennett claims that everything humans are, the ‘products’ of our minds, our religion, our culture, our philosophies, are ultimately the product of evolution, not a, “God initiated and guided an evolutionary process”.
    –> This exchange is priceless: first, B is here evidently admitting by approval of a citation, that philosophical issues are deeply embedded in research programme level scientific theorising. In short, as JH pointed out, worldview level considerations are material, and so is the issue of comparative difficulties.
    –> Further to that, once we realise that evolutionary materialism is a worldview, not science simply, we then should realise that worldview level critiques and alternatives have a proper place in the science classroom once it traipses into matters of origins and associated worldviews. For instance, if “designoid” belongs in the classroom, so plainly does design, and the issue of the filter that tells the difference between the two on an inference to best explanation basis:

    Dawkins: biology is the study of complicated things that give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose. [Elsewhere, he defines that systems which only appear to be designed should be viewed as designoid.]
    Dembski: intelligent design is . . . a scientific investigation into how patterns exhibited by finite arrangements of matter can signify intelligence.

    –> but more interestingly, JH adverts to the crucial explanatory gap in evolutionary materialism as a system of thought, namely its claim to originate mind. That brings us to:
    3] The issue of mind
    –> Here, Dawkins has said a crucial thing, with serious implications, as is cited and aptly summarised by Peterson:

    Natural selection, the mechanism by which some DNA continues to replicate itself and other DNA does not, is “the explanation for the existence and apparently purposeful form of all life,” Dawkins contends. It is purely a “blind, unconscious, automatic process.” It “has no purpose in mind…. It does not plan for the future. It has no vision, no foresight, no sight at all.”
    “What are all living things really for?” Dawkins replies to his own question: “The answer is DNA. It is a profound and precise answer and the argument for it is watertight….” “Flowers and elephants are ‘for’ the same thing as everything else in the living kingdoms, for spreading Duplicate Me programs written in the DNA language.” Dawkins argues that all cellular forms of life, including human beings, are specialized robots, of a kind that can duplicate themselves without external machinery for doing the duplicating.
    Under this view, our senses and minds are not designed to perceive objective truth, but are simply evolutionary products that have turned out to be useful for survival. As Dawkins puts it, “We are jumped-up apes, and our brains were only designed to understand the mundane details of how to survive in the stone-age African savannah.”

    –> therein lieth a major problem, as I have summarised — I claim no great originality — here , and as I will excerpt:

    materialism, however, has deeper problems. It argues that the cosmos is the product of chance interactions of matter and energy, within the constraint of the laws of nature. Therefore, all phenomena in the universe, without residue, are determined by the working of purposeless laws acting on material objects, under the direct or indirect control of chance.
    But human thought, clearly a phenomenon in the universe, must now fit into this picture. Thus, what we subjectively experience as “thoughts” and “conclusions” can only be understood materialistically as unintended by-products of the natural forces which cause and control the electro-chemical events going on in neural networks in our brains. (These forces are viewed as ultimately physical, but are taken to be partly mediated through a complex pattern of genetic inheritance and psycho-social conditioning, within the framework of human culture.)
    Therefore, if materialism is true, the “thoughts” we have and the “conclusions” we reach, without residue, are produced and controlled by forces that are irrelevant to purpose, truth, or validity. Of course, the conclusions of such arguments may still happen to be true, by lucky coincidence

  • Gordon Mullings

    E& L;
    I missed this from your Wiki article on ID critique:

    [Wiki Art on ID:] The earliest known modern version of intelligent design began, according to Dr Barbara Forrest, “in the early 1980s with the publication of The Mystery of Life’s Origin (MoLO 1984) by creationist chemist Charles B. Thaxton with Walter L. Bradley and Roger L. Olsen. Thaxton worked for Jon A. Buell at the Foundation for Thought and Ethics (FTE) in Texas, a religious organization that published MoLO.”[16]
    [E&L:] I don’t suppose PZ Meyers wrote that, I mean, you can’t be both a creationist AND a Chemist, can you?

    Actually, Thaxton — whom I met and listent to then conversed with, is not a Creationist but a Design thinker and I believe theistic evolutionist; also, TMLO is the breakthrough book on the abiogenesis challenges, that led to the rise of the modern design movement. So far Ms Forrest — a philosopher who put in a far less than creditable performance at Dover, much to the disadvantage of the quality of the resulting decision — is correct.
    But, sadly — as usual, that is only on the way to a major collision with the actual credible facts:

    Critics of the theory of intelligent design often assert that it is simply a re-packaged version of creationism, and that it began after the Supreme Court struck down the teaching of creationism in Edwards v. Aguillard in 1987. In reality, the idea of intelligent design reaches back to Socrates and Plato, and the term

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Other than the fact that this statement doesn’t in any way contradict the previous section, it’s simply historically wrong. Darwin notably said:
    Your mission was to find an example of standard evolutionary textbook that stated the theory proved atheism. You failed. Now whether or not Miller was historically correct in his assessment of Darwin’s beliefs about Christianity is moot here. Even Miller’s text, which seems to be oddly a lot less about evolution and more about Darwin disagrees with you. I don’t know the context of your Darwin passage. To me it appears to be someone wrestling with doubts about his religion and not someone who found their religion disproved by a scientific theory.
    According to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Darwin%27s_views_on_religion, Darwin’s loss of faith in Christianity (he started out as very devout) was sparked not by evolution but by the painful death of his 9 year old daughter.
    He clearly never embraced atheism but oscillated back and forth, sometimes denying that he believed in any Christian doctrines at all and other times stating the old ‘God initiated the natural laws’ line. In 1973 he wrote:

    “I may say that the impossibility of conceiving that this grand and wondrous universe, with our conscious selves, arose through chance, seems to me the chief argument for the existence of God; but whether this is an argument of real value, I have never been able to decide. I am aware that if we admit a first cause, the mind still craves to know whence it came from and how it arose. Nor can I overlook the difficulty from the immense amount of suffering through the world. I am, also, induced to defer to a certain extent to the judgment of many able men who have fully believed in God; but here again I see how poor an argument this is. The safest conclusion seems to me to be that the whole subject is beyond the scope of man’s intellect; but man can do his duty.”

    Now, my friend, you have argued that evolution requires atheism. If that was the case why is Darwin basically shrugging his shoulders here? Why isn’t he saying “God, Jeez! I bloody proved he didn’t exist back when I published Origin of the Species. Why are you still bothering me with questions about it!”
    Ironically, he even found a book advocating atheism had failed to make its case:

    In November 1878 when George Romanes presented his new book refuting theism, A Candid Examination of Theism by “Physicus”, Darwin read it with “very great interest”, but was unconvinced, pointing out that its arguments did not rule out God creating matter and energy at the beginning of the universe, with a propensity to evolve. If theism were true, “reason might not be the only instrument for ascertaining its truth”.

    Finally,

    In 1879 a letter came asking if he believed in God, and if theism and evolution were compatible. He replied that a man “can be an ardent Theist and an evolutionist”, citing Charles Kingsley and Asa Gray as examples, and for himself, he had “never been an Atheist in the sense of denying the existence of a God”. He added that “I think that generally (and more and more as I grow older), but not always, that an Agnostic would be a more correct description of my state of mind.”

    I agree Miller is being too generous here in calling Darwin a devote but unorthodox Christian. Clearly Darwin’s doubts about the Christian religion went so far as to fairly say he had left Christianity but there is no evidence his doubts were the result of what he had believed his theory had proved. He certainly did not agree that his work had demonstrated atheism and found those who claimed to have proven atheism had fallen short.

  • Gordon Mullings

    H’mm:
    yet again, when we set out on a matter of issues, we meed Socrates and Plato on the way back:
    1] Socrates, from Xenophon’s memorabilia, cf Book I Ch 4 here.
    2] Plato, the Laws, Book 10 here.
    I see why Witt holds these to be design thought pioneers.
    GEM

  • Darrell DeLaney
  • http://jackhudson.wordpress.com/ jhudson

    Your mission was to find an example of standard evolutionary textbook that stated the theory proved atheism. You failed. Now whether or not Miller was historically correct in his assessment of Darwin’s beliefs about Christianity is moot here. Even Miller’s text, which seems to be oddly a lot less about evolution and more about Darwin disagrees with you. I don’t know the context of your Darwin passage. To me it appears to be someone wrestling with doubts about his religion and not someone who found their religion disproved by a scientific theory.
    You’re bit like the Black Night in Monty Python’s Holy Grail. I have systematically chopped off the arms and legs of your arguments, but the one thing I can’t of course do is stop you from prattling on about the fact that ‘I failed’ some ‘mission’ that I wasn’t even aware I had. The text stands as such:
    Darwin knew that accepting his theory required believing in philosophical materialism, the conviction that matter is the stuff of all existence and that all mental and spiritual phenomena are its by-products. Darwinian evolution was not only purposeless but also heartless – a process in which the rigors of nature ruthlessly eliminate the unfit.
    Suddenly, humanity was reduced to just one more species in a world that cared nothing for us. The great human mind was no more than a mass of evolving neurons. Worst of all, there was no divine plan to guide us. These realizations troubled Darwin deeply, for in his day, materialism was even more outrageous than evolution (Figure 8.14). Some scholars speculate that fear of being branded a heretic for his materialism contributed to Darwin’s 21-year delay in publishing his theory. The same antimaterialistic reasoning also drives much modern-day opposition to evolutionary thought.
    Yet as pointed out by evolutionary scholar Douglas Futuyma, seldom do the detractors of the Darwinian world view take note of its positive implications. In Darwin’s world we are not helpless prisoners of a static world order, but rather masters of our own fate in a universe where human action can change the future. And from a strictly scientific point of view, rejecting evolution is no different from rejecting other natural phenomena such as electricity and gravity.

    And anyone with half a mind to read it draws rather obvious conclusions, as well as previous text provided demonstrating the clear connection drawn by Dawkins and friends betwixt evolutionary thinking and naturalism. I don’t expect you to actually admit this, because you apparently have a psychological predilection preventing you from being able to see any error in your own thinking, despite your lack of knowledge about things biological and philosophical. None the less, I am done with the boorish tail chasing portion of the conversation.
    Now, my friend, you have argued that evolution requires atheism.
    Well, no, I never argued this. Again, you just don’t read well. But I no that point is lost on you, because you would have to read this sentence to realize it.
    If that was the case why is Darwin basically shrugging his shoulders here? Why isn’t he saying “God, Jeez! I bloody proved he didn’t exist back when I published Origin of the Species. Why are you still bothering me with questions about it!”
    Why would he have to address it at all if his theory had no metaphysical connotations?
    I agree Miller is being too generous here in calling Darwin a devote but unorthodox Christian. Clearly Darwin’s doubts about the Christian religion went so far as to fairly say he had left Christianity but there is no evidence his doubts were the result of what he had believed his theory had proved. He certainly did not agree that his work had demonstrated atheism and found those who claimed to have proven atheism had fallen short.
    This is all rather irrelevant; the question is per the poll, whether the statement that God ‘initiated and guided‘ the evolutionary process. I will hold your hand on the matter this one last time and consider the words in question:
    Initiated – to cause or facilitate the beginning of : set going
    Guided – to direct, supervise, or influence usually to a particular end
    Contrast this with what Darwin plainly understood his theory to say:
    The old argument of design in nature, as given by Paley, which formerly seemed to me so conclusive, fails, now that the law of natural selection had been discovered. We can no longer argue that, for instance, the beautiful hinge of a bivalve shell must have been made by an intelligent being, like the hinge of a door by man. There seems to be no more design in the variability of organic beings and in the action of natural selection, than in the course which the wind blows. Everything in nature is the result of fixed laws. The Autobiography of Charles Darwin p.87
    These understandings of life’s development are incompatible, and to say otherwise is only to profess ignorance of the ability to understand plain language.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    You’re bit like the Black Night in Monty Python’s Holy Grail. I have systematically chopped off the arms and legs of your arguments,….
    Dude, you’re getting to be a bit like Gordon…spamming the same text over and over again hoping this time it will work. Miller has clearly stated in the very text you cited that atheism is not proven by evolution. Miller himself went on to write a seperate book arguing for theism AND evolution. Numerous episodes and quotes from Darwin himself have been offered showing that even he did not consider evolution to prove atheism or even imply it.
    This is all rather irrelevant; the question is per the poll, whether the statement that God ‘initiated and guided’ the evolutionary process. I will hold your hand on the matter this one last time and consider the words in question:
    Indeed it is irrelevant but you’re the one who went ballistic about Miller calling Darwin an unorthodox Christian. Many, many many theists are not Christians. Look carefully at your Darwin quote:
    We can no longer argue that, for instance, the beautiful hinge of a bivalve shell must have been made by an intelligent being, like the hinge of a door by man. There seems to be no more design in the variability of organic beings and in the action of natural selection, than in the course which the wind blows. Everything in nature is the result of fixed laws.
    Notice that phrase “like the hinge of a door by man”. LIKE. Darwin is saying, quite clearly, that natural living things are not like the things made by man. What he is saying is not, though, that natural laws could not have been made by an intelligent beign. If you think he is show me where in the theory this is required either as a result of observation or an initial assumption.
    Let me guess, at the end of this you are going to put all your chips down on the magical AND. You’re going to argue that simply believing God created the natural laws is insufficient to fit in the 42% statement because it requires one to beleive he created the natural laws AND periodically violated them to evolve man?

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Obviously, on this point, Miller has no idea what he was talking about. Miller, like you, is tacking something on (in this case, a clear falsehood) to make Darwin more acceptable to the masses.
    Hmmmm, so when exactly do students of biology get initiated into the secret club of atheists who believe evolution proves their philosophical beliefs correct? Here you pulled out a textbook yet a student who studied this textbook would walk away thinking that even Darwin was an unorthodox Christian who was nevertheless devout. OK that’s may be wrong historically but when do students get told that yea if you want to strike a pose for the uneducated masses that’s ok but if you want to take this seriously you’re going to have to ditch your faith in God?
    I don’t know how important Miller’s textbook ever was but it would seem odd that this secret club would select someone who appears to be an avowed theist to write a standard text on the topic. Do students have to wait for graduate school to learn that this theory really claims to not only explain the dynamics of life over time but also demonstrates atheism? Are they supposed to guess this by reading between the lines?
    I expected better of you than this. You claimed that you once studied this. Certainly even if you couldn’t footnote the texts you used long ago you could at least give us real life examples instead of trying to cherry pick them from quote-mining ID sites. Is this really the best you can do?

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Gordon:
    –> This exchange is priceless: first, B is here evidently admitting by approval of a citation, that philosophical issues are deeply embedded in research programme level scientific theorising. In short, as JH pointed out, worldview level considerations are material, and so is the issue of comparative difficulties.
    Actually no, I believe Dawkins point was that philosophy in itself is important and not just a decoration on theory. That doesn’t mean theory itself is philosophy or ‘worldviews’ etc. At NASA an atheist, a Jew, a Muslim, a Christian and a Hindu may all work together to plot the next shuttle launch. Their religions will have nothing to do with the results they get as they apply the laws of motion. Dawkins piont, IMO, is that while this is true it doesn’t mean that their differing worldviews are irrelevant….like a person who perfers to use a blue cover on his reports rather than a yellow one. That still does not mean there is no difference between science and philosophy. With Dawkins we have an example of a scientist who crossed over to do philosophy but the problem here is that just about everyone on this list wants to do philosophy but pretend they are doing science.
    Both theism and atheism stand consistent with evolution however Dawkins may have a point in that evolution, like most scientific theories, is inconsistent with certain falvors of theism. Specifically Biblical literalism is inconsistent with evolution and most other scientific theories. The view of the earth as being quite young, once suffering a worldwide flood in the recent past etc. stands inconsitent with not only evolution but more importantly geology and many other sciences. In this limited way we may say evolution is not quite fair since it is inconsistent with some types of theism but offhand I can’t name a type of atheism it would be inconsistent with. Then again there are not that many types of atheism to begin with.

  • http://jackhudson.wordpress.com/ jhudson

    Dude, you’re getting to be a bit like Gordon…spamming the same text over and over again hoping this time it will work. Miller has clearly stated in the very text you cited that atheism is not proven by evolution. Miller himself went on to write a seperate book arguing for theism AND evolution. Numerous episodes and quotes from Darwin himself have been offered showing that even he did not consider evolution to prove atheism or even imply it.
    Again, I did not say ‘atheism is proven by evolution’; you are misstating as you often do either duplicitously or ignorantly. And whatever else Miller might have said, he obviously and unavoidably connects evolutionary thinking to philosophical naturalism in the biological text, your inability to comprehend it notwithstanding.
    Indeed it is irrelevant but you’re the one who went ballistic about Miller calling Darwin an unorthodox Christian
    I didn’t go ‘ballistic’, I just proved Miller’s, and your, contention that Darwin was an ‘unorthodox Christian’ wrong. You have done nothing to demonstrate otherwise.
    Notice that phrase “like the hinge of a door by man”. LIKE. Darwin is saying, quite clearly, that natural living things are not like the things made by man. What he is saying is not, though, that natural laws could not have been made by an intelligent beign. If you think he is show me where in the theory this is required either as a result of observation or an initial assumption.
    I am not going to ‘show you’ anything further because every single time I ‘show you’ something, you either don’t understand it or you move the goalposts. Darwin was plainly saying here that there was no ‘guidance’ to life’s development as per the statement in the poll – you are wrong. Try to accept your wrongness like an adult.

  • http://jackhudson.wordpress.com/ jhudson

    I expected better of you than this. You claimed that you once studied this. Certainly even if you couldn’t footnote the texts you used long ago you could at least give us real life examples instead of trying to cherry pick them from quote-mining ID sites. Is this really the best you can do?
    “if you couldn’t footnote the texts used long ago..”
    Are you insane? Do you really think I would go through my twenty year old college textbooks and make note of them to appease a person who can’t even comprehend a simple passage from a modern text?
    You have never read a college level biology text. You don’t even have a passing familiarity with them except what you have barely gleamed from atheist apologetics sites on the web. You constently state things without reference and have never yet provided a single in depth citation to back up your points.
    I keep giving you the benefit of the doubt just because I am an idealistic optimist and I presume that given enough real information your congenital predilictions will be overcome, but perhaps biology is destiny after all.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    And whatever else Miller might have said, he obviously and unavoidably connects evolutionary thinking to philosophical naturalism in the biological text, your inability to comprehend it notwithstanding.
    And then asserts that there is no such connection in the very same text. At best any student of the subject would be left confused as to whether there are or are not theological implications to Darwin’s theory. That’s the closest you come. If such a hypothetical student tried to resolve his confusion by studying in more detail he would find the consensus is towards the exact opposite opinion as you’re stating. He would find this consensus reinforced by Miller’s work, by the positive reviews given to his work by the established scientific community, by even the historical record of what Darwin wrote.
    I guess it’s all part of the conspiracy by evolutionists to put on a good face for any theists who might be scrutinizing them but when exactly would someone new to the game be let in in the secret?
    I didn’t go ‘ballistic’, I just proved Miller’s, and your, contention that Darwin was an ‘unorthodox Christian’ wrong. You have done nothing to demonstrate otherwise.
    Errr, the contention was that the statement that got 42% of the survey results was not inconsistent with standard evolutionary theory. That Darwin was or was not a Christian (unorthodox or otherwise) has nothing to do with that.
    I am not going to ‘show you’ anything further because every single time I ‘show you’ something, you either don’t understand it or you move the goalposts. Darwin was plainly saying here that there was no ‘guidance’ to life’s development as per the statement in the poll – you are wrong. Try to accept your wrongness like an adult.
    Except Darwin plainly said that he felt such questions were beyond man’s limited understanding. Clearly you seem to have been under the mistaken assumption that only quotes from quote-mined ID sites were permitted in this debate. As predicted you seem like you are trying your best to retreat back under cover of the ‘AND’ in order to assert the 42% must believe that God periodically violated natural laws in order to provide guidence.

  • http://jackhudson.wordpress.com/ jhudson

    And then asserts that there is no such connection in the very same text. At best any student of the subject would be left confused as to whether there are or are not theological implications to Darwin’s theory. That’s the closest you come. If such a hypothetical student tried to resolve his confusion by studying in more detail he would find the consensus is towards the exact opposite opinion as you’re stating. He would find this consensus reinforced by Miller’s work, by the positive reviews given to his work by the established scientific community, by even the historical record of what Darwin wrote.
    So let me get this straight; you agree that he made a plain connection in the text. And then you say he asserts there is no such connection. Did you read the text? Does he say “Therefore there is no connection between evolution and philosophical materialism”? No, read the text you cited again:
    Darwin remained to the end a devout, if somewhat unorthodox, Christian. “I see no good reason why the views given in this volume should shock the religious feelings of anyone,” he wrote. Like religious scientists of many faiths today, he found no less wonder in a god that directed the laws of nature than in one that circumvented them.

    Is this a denial of the materialistic nature of Darwinism? No, it’s a denial that Darwin himself was irreligious. But as we have seen, Miller was wrong on this point – so their literally there remains nothing to contradict the earlier assertion of materialism which you now agree is plainly spelled out.
    And if your fictional student read the most popular texts on evolution, i.e. those by Dawkins and friends, he would find irrefutable support for the connection between evolution and materialism. Only here and there where a few evolutionists attempt to make their theory less odious to the religious do we find the idea that it is compatible with a belief that God had anything at all to do with the development of life at all; and even then, those doing so never repudiate Dawkins and the rest on this point.
    Errr, the contention was that the statement that got 42% of the survey results was not inconsistent with standard evolutionary theory. That Darwin was or was not a Christian (unorthodox or otherwise) has nothing to do with that.
    It’s not consistent with the idea that ‘God initiated and guided’ evolution, because it plainly is not.
    Except Darwin plainly said that he felt such questions were beyond man’s limited understanding. Clearly you seem to have been under the mistaken assumption that only quotes from quote-mined ID sites were permitted in this debate. As predicted you seem like you are trying your best to retreat back under cover of the ‘AND’ in order to assert the 42% must believe that God periodically violated natural laws in order to provide guidence.
    That wasn’t ‘quote-mined’ from an ID site, it was from Wikipedia’s article on ‘Darwin and religion’; a source you yourself have already referred to. You are again shown to have no grasp of the facts here, and are even unfamiliar with the basic sources of information you yourself have used. You are wrong here dude, give it up already.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    So let me get this straight; you agree that he made a plain connection in the text. And then you say he asserts there is no such connection. Did you read the text? Does he say “Therefore there is no connection between evolution and philosophical materialism”? No, read the text you cited again:
    There is no contradiction between standard evolutionary theory and the 42% statement from the survey. The closest you got was the confused passage you quoted from Miller, leaving out a paragraph that would solidly put the passage firmly in the 42% land.
    Is this a denial of the materialistic nature of Darwinism? No, it’s a denial that Darwin himself was irreligious. But as we have seen, Miller was wrong on this point – so their literally there remains nothing to contradict the earlier assertion of materialism which you now agree is plainly spelled out.
    All scientific theories are materialistic in that they deal with matter and how it behaves. The question is over philosophical materialism which states matter is all there is and nothing else. Here we see Miller contradicting your contention and he was not wrong on that point. He was, at best, wrong about calling Darwin a Christian but as I made it quite clear even Darwin himself was unwilling to committ to philosophical materialism let along claim his theory demonstrated it. Non-Christian is not the same thing as atheist or philosophical materialist.
    And if your fictional student read the most popular texts on evolution, i.e. those by Dawkins and friends, he would find irrefutable support for the connection between evolution and materialism. Only here and there where a few evolutionists attempt to make their theory less odious to the religious do we find the idea that it is compatible with a belief that God had anything at all to do with the development of life at all; and even then, those doing so never repudiate Dawkins and the rest on this point.
    If my fictional student read philosophical texts then yea they would stumble upon Dawkins and friends but as you made clear you were a student of the theory (true many will take the standard biology classes and not become biologists but all biologists have to begin with those classes so they must provide a rigerous introduction to the subject). You wouldn’t be reading popular books about it but the standard textbooks used to educate people in preparation for a career in the field and while Dawkins and others are often cited as good introductions to the topic they are NOT academic texts. Even then the best you could do was cite Dawkins et. al. arguing their philosophy, not claiming the theory itself did anything beyond being consistent with it.
    That wasn’t ‘quote-mined’ from an ID site, it was from Wikipedia’s article on ‘Darwin and religion’; a source you yourself have already referred to.
    Indeed, too bad you didn’t happen to notice that Darwin did not agree with your assessment of his theory. Since you read the same article it’s doubly bad you missed it.

  • Darrell DeLaney
  • http://jackhudson.wordpress.com/ jhudson

    There is no contradiction between standard evolutionary theory and the 42% statement from the survey. The closest you got was the confused passage you quoted from Miller, leaving out a paragraph that would solidly put the passage firmly in the 42% land.
    Your turn. Show me a definition of evolution from a standard biology text that can be reconciled with the statement “God initiated and guide evolution”.
    All scientific theories are materialistic in that they deal with matter and how it behaves. The question is over philosophical materialism which states matter is all there is and nothing else. Here we see Miller contradicting your contention and he was not wrong on that point. He was, at best, wrong about calling Darwin a Christian but as I made it quite clear even Darwin himself was unwilling to committ to philosophical materialism let along claim his theory demonstrated it. Non-Christian is not the same thing as atheist or philosophical materialist.
    Okay, so to parse what you said:
    ‘All scientific theories are materialistic’
    ‘Miller states evolution is not ‘philosophically materialistic’
    ‘Miller was wrong the Darwin was a Christian’
    ‘Miller states that Darwin was uncommitted to philosophical materialism’
    The statement in the text concerning Darwin’s approach to philosophical materialism vis a vis an understanding of evolutionary theory was this:
    Darwin knew that accepting his theory required believing in philosophical materialism, the conviction that matter is the stuff of all existence and that all mental and spiritual phenomena are its by-products. Darwinian evolution was not only purposeless but also heartless – a process in which the rigors of nature ruthlessly eliminate the unfit.
    These realizations troubled Darwin deeply, for in his day, materialism was even more outrageous than evolution (Figure 8.14). Some scholars speculate that fear of being branded a heretic for his materialism contributed to Darwin’s 21-year delay in publishing his theory. The same antimaterialistic reasoning also drives much modern-day opposition to evolutionary thought.
    So from the text we actually get this:
    ‘Evolution requires believing in philosophical materialism’
    ‘Darwin was troubled by this, and it delayed his publishing Origin of Species.’
    ‘This is why antimaterialists are often opposed to evolution’
    How you got what you did from the text is beyond me.
    If my fictional student read philosophical texts then yea they would stumble upon Dawkins and friends but as you made clear you were a student of the theory (true many will take the standard biology classes and not become biologists but all biologists have to begin with those classes so they must provide a rigerous introduction to the subject). You wouldn’t be reading popular books about it but the standard textbooks used to educate people in preparation for a career in the field and while Dawkins and others are often cited as good introductions to the topic they are NOT academic texts. Even then the best you could do was cite Dawkins et. al. arguing their philosophy, not claiming the theory itself did anything beyond being consistent with it.
    You have not shown a single biological text that contradicted the one I presented. I would like you to do that.
    Indeed, too bad you didn’t happen to notice that Darwin did not agree with your assessment of his theory. Since you read the same article it’s doubly bad you missed it.
    Again, the quote contradicts you, and only your statement claims anything to the contrary.
    The funny thing is, most evolutionists gladly embrace and point out Darwin’s philosophical materialism to counter claims he was in any way religious; you are not arguing only with me, but with most evolutionists.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Indeed, even if you insist on reading the survey as requiring constant guidence from God rather than just initiating evolution you would not ecxlude the possibility. AS I pointed out the comet that killed the dinosaurs would be an exogenerous event in the theory (a ‘random element’) yet the theory itself can tell us nothing about this event. By definition God could guide evolution without actually stepping into the picture and suspending the process.
    Dawkins and others made the point that evolution made it easier for them to be atheists but this is not because it proved atheism for them. It showed them that what was previous considered to be a mystery followed natural laws after all. In that sense it pushes the supernatural a bit further away which indeed confirms the atheists POV that not only is the supernatural farther away than most theists like to believe but is actually non-existent.
    However just because something is far away doesn’t prove it doesn’t exist or that it is trivial. The sun is far away yet it’s power is makes the earth a spec of dust by comparison.

  • http://jackhudson.wordpress.com/ jhudson

    Despite yours and Gordon

  • http://jackhudson.wordpress.com/ jhudson

    Indeed, even if you insist on reading the survey as requiring constant guidence from God rather than just initiating evolution you would not ecxlude the possibility. AS I pointed out the comet that killed the dinosaurs would be an exogenerous event in the theory (a ‘random element’) yet the theory itself can tell us nothing about this event. By definition God could guide evolution without actually stepping into the picture and suspending the process.
    This is of course absurd, equating ‘random elements’ with ‘God initiating and guiding evolution’ are quite obviously completely contradictory. Guiding clearly involves purpose and intent, moving toward a goal; evolutionary theory excludes such notions; it’s anti-teleological by nature.

  • Darrell DeLaney
  • http://jackhudson.wordpress.com/ jhudson

    Do you apply this line of thought to all of science? Is weather outside of God

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    This is of course absurd, equating ‘random elements’ with ‘God initiating and guiding evolution’ are quite obviously completely contradictory. Guiding clearly involves purpose and intent, moving toward a goal; evolutionary theory excludes such notions; it’s anti-teleological by nature.
    Yet to use a simplistic example what if God choose to hurl a comet at the dinosaur infested earth because he wanted humans to evolve. This would be a ‘random element’ in the theory because the theory is only controlling for the forces internal to the model. The most advanced textbook on evolution in the world won’t help you know how or when comets will hit the earth. The term ‘random element’ is deceptive here because it isn’t really random, it is not predictable by the model itself. Presumably most of these elements would be covered by other theories but it would not be a contradiction to say that evolution was guided either by direct action on its inputs or by indirectly setting up other natural systems to effect the inputs of evolution so as to create a desired output.

  • Gordon Mullings

    DD:
    A quickie, on your:
    all that detail does not describe any proposed mechanism for design.
    Comments:

    1] So what? [In other words, how is this material tothe questions ID has set out to answer, and answers?]
    2] The credible empirically-anchored detection of design is itself highly a significant theoretical achievement, and opens up a vast new intellectual space for science. And, for technology to follow.
    3] The insistence on “there is no answer to question n+1″ as if it refutes the existing and credible answers ro questions 1 – n, is itelf a serious manifestation of selective hyperskepticism.
    4] Further to this, there is no shortage of major points where the NDT has no answer on mechanism, including on areas where it needs credible answers, i.e. on the synthesis of functionally specified, complex information outr of chance processes. [Indeed, by neatly truncating the theory at the origin of life, there is often a dodging of the same question by NDT advocates, in addressing the beginning of the chain of life.]
    5] Indeed, the point oif design is that it, on an inference to best explanation basis, provides a far better answer to these exact points.

    I’ll come back later on other points.
    Grace open eyes
    Gordon

  • Gordon Mullings

    H’mm:
    I see my name kept coming up in some exchanges above. I excerpt two to make quick remarks:
    B; you’re getting to be a bit like Gordon…spamming the same text over and over again hoping this time it will work.
    DD: Despite yours [JH] and Gordon

  • Gordon Mullings

    Oh yes, DD was it:
    A third bite for the night. On intelligence and agency. A definition by discussion of intelligence as a functional quality, from my online note [have you had a read?], will help us see what is going on here:

    First, let us identify what intelligence is. This is fairly easy: for, we are familiar with it from the characteristic behaviour exhibited by certain known intelligent agents — ourselves. Specifically, as we know from experience and reflection, such agents take actions and devise and implement strategies that address and solve problems they encounter; a functional pattern that does not depend at all on the identity of the particular agents. In short, intelligence is as intelligence does. So, if we see evident active, intentional, creative, innovative and adaptive [as opposed to merely fixed instinctual] problem-solving behaviour similar to that of known intelligent agents, we are justified in attaching the label: intelligence. [Note how this definition by functional description is not artificially confined to HUMAN intelligent agents: it would apply to computers, robots, the alleged alien residents of Area 51, Vulcans, Klingons or Kzinti, or demons or gods, or God.] But also, in so solving their problems, intelligent agents may leave behind empirically evident signs of their activity; and — as say archaeologists and detectives know — functionally specific, complex information [FSCI] that would otherwise be improbable, is one of these signs.
    This preliminary point immediately lays to rest the insistent assertion that inference to design is somehow necessarily “unscientific” — as such is said to always and inevitably be about improperly injecting “the supernatural” into scientific discourse. For, given the significance of what routinely happens when we see an apparent message, this is simply not so; even though certain particular cases may raise the subsequent question: what is the identity of the particular intelligence inferred to be the author of certain specific messages?

    [BTW, have a read of Plato's exposition in the linked dialogue, on the soul and its action as a self-moving mover, to see how we can infer to intelligent agents in other levels of the world than the merely human. BTW, it is the same Cleanthes Plato uses as a shadow character that Paul actually cites in Ac 17 etc, i.e. on "in him we live and move and have our being." In short, natural theology has always been one of the points of contact between science, philosophy and theology. While it is appropriate to point out the reasonable limits of science, we should recognise that at research programme level, philosphy and worldviews issues are embedded and cannot be dodged save by begging major worldvieew questions.]
    Cheerio
    Gordon

  • http://TheEverWiseboonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    1] B, don’t you see what he problem is — you have made a fixed notiuon and disregard evidence. JH and I have been reminding yoiu — and more tot he pint onlookers — whatt he evidence you are ignoring or selectively citing or even distortigt is. Look back and see how you come across when confronted by plain, credible, contrary evidence. It is not a pretty picture, and you should fix it. indeed, look again at Joe’s list:
    9] By resorting to ad hominems instead of arguments (e.g., claiming that advocates of ID are “ignorant” [or stupid, or insane or wicked, etc.])
    On the contrary Gordon, I’ve addressed numerous arguments here without calling anyone ignorant, stupid, insane or wicked. Even you! As jhudson has presented his points I have googled them where appropriate and presented my counter points. You should recall the fallacy of the ad hominem is to dismiss an argument simply by insulting the person making the argument. Hence “Gordon is wrong because he is stupid” is an ad hominem. “Gordon’s argument is stupid” is not, although it might be fair to ask for more detail there.
    2] DD, the basic point is that from the beginning Darwinism was billed as a theory on “the origin of the species.” Of course, it has consistently failed to be that, for 150 years — note, esp., how much dodging happens when abiogenesis comes up and accounting for the origin og FSCI…
    Strange, to even begin to account for abiogensis one would require to know the basic building blocks of living things yet this information has hardly been available for 150 years. Therefore how has the theory failed for 150 years?

  • http://TheEverWiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    First, let us identify what intelligence is. This is fairly easy: for, we are familiar with it from the characteristic behaviour exhibited by certain known intelligent agents — ourselves. Specifically, as we know from experience and reflection, such agents take actions and devise and implement strategies that address and solve problems they encounter; a functional pattern that does not depend at all on the identity of the particular agents. In short, intelligence is as intelligence does. So, if we see evident active, intentional, creative, innovative and adaptive [as opposed to merely fixed instinctual] problem-solving behaviour similar to that of known intelligent agents, we are justified in attaching the label: intelligence. [Note how this definition by functional description is not artificially confined to HUMAN intelligent agents: it would apply to computers, robots, the alleged alien residents of Area 51, Vulcans, Klingons or Kzinti, or demons or gods, or God.
    This is an interesting idea. How would it apply to God. God, whether you’re an atheist or theist, is defined as an infinite beign with infinite power and knowlege. So what exactly does it mean to say that he ‘implements strategies’? That he tries to ‘solve problems (he) encounter(s)’?
    I gave a pretty easy example of how you could imagine God (or anything else intelligent) guiding evolution. Millions of years ago they saw the planet dominated by dinosaurs, realized mammels needed a clean field and hurled a comet into earth causing a mass extinction. Now from the POV of the theory this would be a ‘random event’ in the sense that the theory makes no predictions about comets or how passing deities or other entities might make use of them. If this was an economic model we might call such a thing an ‘external shock’.
    Arthur C Clark’s 2001 Space Odyssey series makes use of this idea of non-abiogensis ID. The large black monoliths that appear throughout history in the story are the method by which an alien intelligence attempts to guide the evolution of intelligent life. If you had read the sequal to 2010 you’d know that this intelligence even decides it made a mistake at some point…destroying life in Jupiter to turn it into a star to give Europa a chance.
    However we are faced with the odd question of how can an infinite beign like God encounter a problem? What does such a thing even mean? It makes sense for a passing alien intelligence to observe a bunch of lizards holding back the mammels and deciding to take matters into their own hands by changing the orbit of a comet just enough to clean house. But how could this be a problem for God? By definition he would have already knew when he set things up dinosaurs would have been on the planet at a given point in time, a comet would pass by etc. Why would he have to ‘correct’ things?
    The simplest explanation is that he wouldn’t have to make any corrections. If he needed a comet to hit the earth at a certain point in time he would ensure that a comet would end up in just the right orbit to smack down the dinos when needed. No need to make a special trip in & give the comet a push in a different direction. The simplest explanation would remain that if he needed it, he would have made the natural laws be the ‘guidence’ evolution needed.

  • http://jackhudson.wordpress.com/ jhudson

    Yet to use a simplistic example what if God choose to hurl a comet at the dinosaur infested earth because he wanted humans to evolve. This would be a ‘random element’ in the theory because the theory is only controlling for the forces internal to the model. The most advanced textbook on evolution in the world won’t help you know how or when comets will hit the earth. The term ‘random element’ is deceptive here because it isn’t really random, it is not predictable by the model itself. Presumably most of these elements would be covered by other theories but it would not be a contradiction to say that evolution was guided either by direct action on its inputs or by indirectly setting up other natural systems to effect the inputs of evolution so as to create a desired output.
    Again, ‘guiding’ indicates a purposeful intent, a goal in mind. Whatever might have occurred to reach that goal, the poll indicates deference to the purposeful intent of a designer, not the purposelessness of mutation and natural selection alone.

  • Darrell DeLaney
  • Gordon Mullings

    Onlookers:
    Sadly, see what I meant? [One for prayer, folks . . .]
    Plainly, and ever so sadly, the further comments overnight by evo mat advocates such as B simply underscore the pattern of attacking the man rather than cogently addressing the evidence [apart from patently ill-founded assertions of having refuted the points in question].
    B, FYI, the issue is an objective one, so you do not get to both play and umpire the game, declaring “victory” when and as you please.
    Nor is it proper to think that because you have resisted the inconvenient facts and logic once, twice, three, . . . umpteen times, they have by the fact of your willful rejection lost their cogency. All that has happened is that you are putting willful obtuseness on public display, to the discredit of the cause you think you are supporting.
    Now, let us take up some points of note:
    1] DD: ID is claiming they can claim with authority that, due to the odds involved, an unknown intelligent agent is the only possible explanation, and that specifically natural processes can not be responsible. This has been argued for life, and for the fundamental properties of the universe itself. But the odds can not be calculated without near total knowledge of the universe, and a designer can not be proven, merely suspected.
    –> Please read my note on the matter, as you will easily see that the ID argument, properly, is an inference to best explanation — i.e. the precise argument form that is at the heart of modern science.
    –> As was discussed earlier, relative to longstanding and generally accepted observations [it is in Plato's The Laws, Bk 10 for instance!] we can classify causal forces under three relevant heads: chance and/or natural regularities and/or agency. So, when we see a given phenomenon, the explanatory issue is to account for it under one or more of these heads:

    1] FSCI is a common enough phenomenon, most relevantly seen in the nanotechnology and information systems of life, and in the delicate finetuning of the cosmos, as is outlined in brief in the notes linked above.
    2] For instance, FSCI appears in telecomms, and we routinely make the inference that once an apparent message is functional in a comms system and is sufficiently complex that lucky noise is an improbable explanation, agency is the best explanation.
    3] This abductive reasoning is precisely not a “proof” [at least in the demonstrative sense], as the empirical support and the logical implications are in counter-flow: if E then O cannot entail as a demonstration, that O so E. (That is, as with science and much other empirical knowledge, we have provisionality and should be open to disconfirmation — defeatable reasoning. This is a large part of the grain of truth in Popper’s falsificationism.)
    4] That is where the BEST explanation part comes in. In principle, and often in praxis, competing explanations can allegedly give rise to an observation. So, one compares relative to factual adequacy, coherence and explanatory power. In this case, on origins matters, we are looking at on the evo mat model: CHANCE + NECESSITY alone, and on the design side: AGENCY is also held to be possible, and not ruled out ahead of time by question-begging.
    5] Now, precisely, we can use the sort of calculations on configuration/state/phase spaces etc that are say foundational to and routinely used in statistical thermodynamics, and see that it is maximally improbable that certain functionally specified configurations [which are therefore of very low entropy and high information content] arose by mere chance plus necessity. but at the same time, we know by much direct experiences that such FSCI is routinely produced by agents. (in short, onlookers, once we can identify that a given macro-system gives rise to a set of microstates and we are looking at chance to pick the microstates that we are in, the fraction of functional microstates relative to the set of all microstates a proper estimate of the probability relative to chance, as has repeatedly been shown. e.g., 7 mn ASCII characters have 128^7mn states possible, as a matter of basic mathematics. Given that there is a vocab of ~ 800 k words in English, it is a reasonable and generous estimate that the typical 7-letter word is sparse in the space to the tune of 800k out of 128^7. And so on, to the molecular case, as is elaborated by PhD level Chemists etc here, in a context that faced serious peer review, as noted above. So, sadly, DD is simply following B in ill-founded selective hyperskepticism.)
    6] For instance, observe here Dawkins, as cited in my note:

    Hitting upon the lucky number that opens the bank’s safe is the equivalent, in our analogy, of hurling scrap metal around at random and happening to assemble a Boeing 747. [NB: originally, this imagery is due to Hoyle, who used it to argue that life on earth bears characteristics that strongly suggest design. His suggestion: panspermia -- i.e. life drifted here, or else was planted here.] Of all the millions of unique and, with hindsight equally improbable, positions of the combination lock, only one opens the lock. Similarly, of all the millions of unique and, with hindsight equally improbable, arrangements of a heap of junk, only one (or very few) will fly. The uniqueness of the arrangement that flies, or that opens the safe, has nothing to do with hindsight. It is specified in advance. [Parenthetical note added, in tribute to the late Sir Fred Hoyle. (NB: This case also shows that we need not see boxes labelled "encoders/decoders" or "transmitters/receivers" and "channels" etc. for the model in Fig. 1 above to be applicable; i.e. the model is abstract rather than concrete: the critical issue is functional, complex information, not electronics.)]

    7] So, on the hypothesis of chance, FSCI is maximally improbable, but on the hyp of agency, it becomes in fact expected. Thus, absent question-begging datum lines, agency is manifestly the better explanation, and the burden of proof to dislodge it lies with those who advocate that chance plus necessity are “good enough.” On track record, I am not holding my breath waiting on a cogent answer from them.

    –> DD, you may choose to disagree if you will, but in fact I am using fairly standard and quite objective scientific, epistemological, mathematical [probability theory] and logical approaches here.
    2] in the modern western world, ID does appear to have grown out of a creationist movement that was making no progress in the courts.
    –> this is a common misunderstanding of the facts, which I have excerpted on above, in response to a Wiki article.
    3] to assume that since your opponent holds a view, it must be wrong and attacked, is foolishness, and Christians should not duplicate the mistake by accepting the premise that those atheists hold, that evolution can disprove our Lord.
    –> First, I make no such assumption, e.g. I presume that b believes that 2 + 3 = 5 etc, and hold that these are true. I have argued, as again just above, that on an inference to best explanation basis, NDT fails the test, relative to design.
    –> Further to that, JH, Peterson [in the linked article -- have you read it?] and I have pointed out how the NDT functions in an evolutionary materialist worldview to create a fallacious plausibility structure in which God is seen as a superfluous, empirically unwarranted and religious idea crudely forced into the issue of origins by ill-motivated religious zealots. So, they “apply” Occam’s razor to shave away that

  • http://jackhudson.wordpress.com/ jhudson

    That

  • Gordon Mullings

    DD:
    I see your latest:
    If ID is claiming that design can be detected, then presumably the methods design is achieved by are different from purely natural processes. If there

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Again, ‘guiding’ indicates a purposeful intent, a goal in mind. Whatever might have occurred to reach that goal, the poll indicates deference to the purposeful intent of a designer, not the purposelessness of mutation and natural selection alone.
    Again and finally the 42% statement cannot and hasnot been found to be in contradiction with standard evolutionary theory. Since the environment serves as an exogenous variable in the evolutionary model it is possible for an infinite beign like God to both initiate and guide without leaving any trace in the theory. Indeed even such guidence by an outside force that was less than a supernatual deity wouldn’t leave any traces in the theory.
    Gordon:
    B, FYI, the issue is an objective one, so you do not get to both play and umpire the game, declaring “victory” when and as you please.
    Hmmm, if the issue is objective then I have every right to declare victory if indeed I am correct my friend.
    Nor is it proper to think that because you have resisted the inconvenient facts and logic once, twice, three, . . . umpteen times, they have by the fact of your willful rejection lost their cogency. All that has happened is that you are putting willful obtuseness on public display, to the discredit of the cause you think you are supporting.
    On the contrary, I have again and again attempted to give all the ID arguments here as much credit as any rational person could stomach. I see you again and again present the same arguments totally oblivious to the counter arguments that have been presented probably at least a hundred times now if not more.
    For example, in the very post you wrote the above (#249) you again bring out the ‘scrabble bag’ argument about improbability to try to prove FSCI.
    On the NASA scientists of differing faiths who still use the same theory of gravity:
    –> By sharpest contrast, in the NDT, abiogenesis and cosmology fields, we are addressing the passed past, and are trying to reconstruct how it most plausibly could have happened relative to what we can see empirically in the here and now. Thus, we are looking at essentially historical investigations, and inferences to best explanation are inescapably of that character. Moreover, we cannot re-run the past in our labs to see what it was: the actual — as opposed to plausible — past is unique and non-repeatable.
    On the contrary, often the laws of motion are used to try to make determinations or even just speculations about the past….such as trying to explain why Uranus’s axis is tilted in such a radical direction compared to all the other planets. Likewise ‘NDT’ can be applied in a forward direction such as in animal/plant breeding, dealing with resistence in insects and microbes etc.
    Here we have had it asserted by you in the past and more recently jhudson that ‘NDT’ requires some mythical atheistic ‘worldview’ and this ‘worldview’ matters when it comes to science. This is a stunning declaration. I cannot think of any other field of science where such a declaration would even be tolerated. No one, for example, tried to claim that scientists who studied the Shroud of Turin could not be Jewish or Muslim because their ‘worldview’ would blind them to an accurate study (likewise no one claimed Christian scientists couldn’t study the Shroud because they would bias the results in favor of their ‘worldview’).
    Yet you and our friend jhudson have failed miserably to support this contention. Jhudson presented at best an ambiguous passage by one scientist who turns out to be a devout theist. The ‘establishment’ likewise seems to have no problem with his theism even though it would supposedly undermine support for the all important NDT. Even Darwin himself, when he is honestly examined, cannot be found to have concluded this ‘worldview’ was a part of his theory or even an implication of it.
    –> Dawkins has conceded, properly, that philosophical issues are vital meta-issues involved in the process, emerging as we ask hard questions about what science is and how it works. Unfortunately, his philosophy is not well done when it comes to articulating a well-balanced view on the science. As a result, he too often begs major worldview level questions, instead of addressing them through comparative difficulties across live options, though he does see dimly some of the points, e.g in his neologism, designoid.
    Dawkins’ neologism is a useful teaching tool but it is not useful for science or even philosophy. ‘Designoid’, which means something that looks like it was designed, suffers from the hopeless problem that there is no rigerous definition of what it means to ‘look designed’. You’ll notice that of the dozens of examples given here and elsewhere (a watch, an arrowhead, a Commodore-64 found orbiting around Saturn etc.) all suffer from the problem that we know such things were designed at one time by human beings (either in reality or in our imaginations if you’re talking about UFO’s, Star Wars quality robots etc.). Do we truely know something really ‘looks designed’ or does it just happen to remind us of something we know was designed from our own experiences?
    Look at the black monolith from the movie 2001 and 2010. Does it ‘look designed’? We know from the movie it is some type of alien machine but it has no moving parts and is unable to be analyzed in any manner except for observing the outside of it which is just a featureless, black rectangle. Of course even this is a bad example since if such a thing were found on the moon tomorrow the first thing people would say is “that looks just like that monolith from 2001!” You’d have to try to imagine what we would make of it if we didn’t have any clues ahead of time.
    The made up idea of IC might have been promising at first but it fails because to work requires one to carry out a proof by elimination. In very limited cases this might be possible to pull off but in the case of ID it has degenerated into a false concept of “if we prove there’s a hole of any type in the story of evolutionists we’ve proved IC and therefore ID correct!!!”
    –> Of course, this neatly side-steps the point that JH adverts to and that lies in the epistemological preference termed Occam’s Razor: if one thinks he can account adequately for origins on the grounds of chance plus natural regularities alone, one is inclined to think that anything beyond that is a superfluous and ill-warranted idea that can be eliminated from the beliefs of tough-minded thinkers and bright people.
    However a preference is all Occam’s Razor is. Newton’s theory of gravity is a lot simplier than Einstein’s but Einstein’s is better because it explains more. Occam’s Razor doesn’t disprove the more complicated idea or the idea that has more elements than is necessary it only says go with the simple idea until you need to make it more complicated. This works great when talking about science because science is about matter and you can easily test if your simple idea explains the behavior of matter and then test if the less-simple idea does a better or worse job explaining matter. Philosophically, though, this does not work so well. While you may be able to say some philosophical ideas are objective the fact is for most human minds it is not so easy to make such objective determinations.
    –> immediately, I observe that when one says that G’s arguments are stupid, and fails to back them up with cogent evidence but only further fallacies and/or willfully obtuse assertions and or invidious comparisons as he has in fact recently indulged in [as the above and associated threads amply show], then one is indeed plainly committing an ad hominem.
    Errrr, no. If I say “Gordon’s argument is stupid” that is just a more rude way of saying “Gordon’s argument is false” and there’s no point of having a logical discussion if calling arguments false is ruled out of bounds. Now of course the statement “Gordon’s argument is stupid/false” is an argument in itself so Gordon or others are free to respond with “Boonton’s argument that Gordon’s argument is false is false”
    Now I have provided plenty of evidence to back up why I feel your arguments are stupid. I do not believe I used fallacies but then I believe you have tried to use fallacies yourself in your arguments. I don’t know what you mean by an ‘invidious comparisions’, is this yet another retread of your bitching about my hypothetical text program printing “Gordon wears pink underwear”? If so then indeed your argument is stupid AND you’re pretty annoying to boot.
    –> Darwin introduced a theory that purported to account for THE origin of the species, i.e. that should have an ambit from the origin of life through its diversification to the current situation we see. He of course failed to provide an actual serious public account of origins [the warm pond story comes from a private letter], he did not have a viable mechanism for macroevolution or even microevolution [in fact a major illustrative case was artificial selection i.e. Design-based manipulation of life forms], and he made excuses [incomplete and lacking in research effort to date] on the fossil record.
    The full title of Darwin’s book is On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life. The above argument by Gordon is typical of IDers on this list and elsewhere, when in trouble just try to play very annoying word games. Would a book titled The Origin of the United States require an explanation for how the universe came to be and then a blue planet with a continent of North America on it? The smart ass would so demand and we are right to swat him aside because that’s what should be done with smart asses. Darwin’s work focused on species in the plural with the working assumption that all species share a common descent to one original species. His theory’s purpose was to explain how species multiply and change through time.
    The theory did not and does not account for the origin of all this life but then Newton’s theory didn’t explain how the solar system originated, only how it is moving today as per that well known law of motion “Objects in motion will stay in motion unless acted upon by an outside force”. Of course any theory that does address the origin of the solar system will have to be mindful that it should be consistent with Newton’s laws.

  • http://jackhudson.wordpress.com/ jhudson

    Again and finally the 42% statement cannot and hasnot been found to be in contradiction with standard evolutionary theory. Since the environment serves as an exogenous variable in the evolutionary model it is possible for an infinite beign like God to both initiate and guide without leaving any trace in the theory. Indeed even such guidence by an outside force that was less than a supernatual deity wouldn’t leave any traces in the theory.
    Well, this is good to know then. If indeed, such statements “cannot and ha[ve] not been found to be in contradiction with standard evolutionary theory”, then certainly ID, which deosn’t even posit a particular ‘God’ should be available for consideration by school children in their sciences classes.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Errrr, how does that follow?

  • http://jackhudson.wordpress.com/ jhudson

    Because it isn’t in contradiction with standard evolutionary theory

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    What isn’t in contradiction? Belief in God or ID?

  • http://jackhudson.wordpress.com/ jhudson

    Either, acording to you.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    When did I say ID wasn’t in contradiction to evolutionary theory. That seems a rather strange statement after we’ve been through, what, a thousand posts on the topic?

  • http://jackhudson.wordpress.com/ jhudson

    You said the statement that “God initiated and guided an evolutionary process that has led to current human beings.” wasn’t in contradiction with standard evolutionary theory.
    Why would “A designer initiated and guided an evolutionary process that has led to current human beings” be in contradiction to evolutionary theory?

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Ohhhh it wouldn’t but that isn’t ID theory. ID theory states that an evolutionary process is insufficient for explaining the origin of development of life (including human life) AND design can be detected in living systems (and presumably other systems).
    That’s quite a bit different than saying maybe somewhere there was some type of designer who did something to put his mark on things. If a passing UFO saw the earth was dominated by lizards and they decided they just thought they were ugly and pushed a comet into the planet that too would be a type of ‘design’ yet I hardly think that’s what ID theory has in mind.

  • http://jackhudson.wordpress.com/ jhudson

    Ohhhh it wouldn’t but that isn’t ID theory. ID theory states that an evolutionary process is insufficient for explaining the origin of development of life (including human life) AND design can be detected in living systems (and presumably other systems).
    Sure; it posits that a designer is neccesary to initiate and guide the evolutionary process. Which you said wasn’t in contradiction to evolutionary theory.
    That’s quite a bit different than saying maybe somewhere there was some type of designer who did something to put his mark on things. If a passing UFO saw the earth was dominated by lizards and they decided they just thought they were ugly and pushed a comet into the planet that too would be a type of ‘design’ yet I hardly think that’s what ID theory has in mind.
    It doesn’t really matter what you think ‘ID has in mind’; that encapsulation, according to you, is fully compatible with evolutionary theory; nothing in evolution contradicts the idea that “a designer initiated and guided the evolutionary process”.

  • http://jackhudson.wordpress.com/ jhudson

    Ohhhh it wouldn’t but that isn’t ID theory. ID theory states that an evolutionary process is insufficient for explaining the origin of development of life (including human life) AND design can be detected in living systems (and presumably other systems).
    Sure; it posits that a designer is neccesary to initiate and guide the evolutionary process. Which you said wasn’t in contradiction to evolutionary theory.
    That’s quite a bit different than saying maybe somewhere there was some type of designer who did something to put his mark on things. If a passing UFO saw the earth was dominated by lizards and they decided they just thought they were ugly and pushed a comet into the planet that too would be a type of ‘design’ yet I hardly think that’s what ID theory has in mind.
    It doesn’t really matter what you think ‘ID has in mind’; that encapsulation, according to you, is fully compatible with evolutionary theory; nothing in evolution contradicts the idea that “a designer initiated and guided the evolutionary process”.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    It’s sad to see you trying to pin your case on word games. ID asserts that an evolutionary process is insufficient to account for life. Therefore it is insufficient for a ‘designer’ to simply initiate earth or even to control its environment. Life itself requires the designers direct help to both get off the ground and to develop and this help has left behind evidence contained in life itself according to ID theory.
    If you push the designer off past the point of biology you are no longer contradicting evolution but you have also left behind biology. If, for example, you want to say earth’s position around the sun and galaxy was ‘designed’ to be just right for evolving humans then yea you’re not contradicting evolutionary theory. The theory takes earth’s position as a given. But you’re no longer talking about biology…now you’ve invented a new ID theory that you should be advocating be included in the astronomy texts, or the meterology texts, or whatever field you want to reposition the designer into. But before you run off and patent “Astronomy ID” ask yourself if you actually have any evidence behind you.

  • http://jackhudson.wordpress.com/ jhudson

    It’s sad to see you trying to pin your case on word games. ID asserts that an evolutionary process is insufficient to account for life. Therefore it is insufficient for a ‘designer’ to simply initiate earth or even to control its environment. Life itself requires the designers direct help to both get off the ground and to develop and this help has left behind evidence contained in life itself according to ID theory.
    I’m not playing word games; we are considering what the words of a statement mean. You contend that the statement “God initiated and guided an evolutionary process that has led to current human beings” is not contradictory to evolutionary theory, and by comparison, neither would it be if we considered instead ‘a designer’.
    ID basically asserts that there is evidence that a designer was involved in the process of life’s development; the statement “A designer initiated and guided an evolutionary process that has led to current human beings” is wholly compatible with this understanding. Now the question remains; does evolutionary theory itself contradict the idea that “A designer initiated and guided an evolutionary process that has led to current human beings”? If not, there is no reason why it can’t be considered in a class room.
    But we can take it one step further – is there something inherent in evolution that contradicts the evidence that “A designer initiated and guided an evolutionary process that has led to current human beings”? If evolutionary theory contradicts the evidence for this statement, then it contradicts the statement.
    If you push the designer off past the point of biology you are no longer contradicting evolution but you have also left behind biology. If, for example, you want to say earth’s position around the sun and galaxy was ‘designed’ to be just right for evolving humans then yea you’re not contradicting evolutionary theory. The theory takes earth’s position as a given. But you’re no longer talking about biology…now you’ve invented a new ID theory that you should be advocating be included in the astronomy texts, or the meterology texts, or whatever field you want to reposition the designer into. But before you run off and patent “Astronomy ID” ask yourself if you actually have any evidence behind you.
    I am not sure what “push the designer off past the point of biology” means; if it true that “A designer initiated and guided an evolutionary process that has led to current human beings”, and there evidence for such (and why wouldn’t there be if it is the case?) the evidence wouldn’t be ‘contradictory to evolution’ if the statement it demonstrates isn’t.
    So again, there is no reason why such a statement couldn’t be considered in a classroom.
    And actually there is an aspect to ID which considers the organization of the universe, but that is another subject.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    I am not sure what “push the designer off past the point of biology” means; if it true that “A designer initiated and guided an evolutionary process that has led to current human beings”, and there evidence for such (and why wouldn’t there be if it is the case?) the evidence wouldn’t be ‘contradictory to evolution’ if the statement it demonstrates isn’t.
    If your going to say the method of designing life was “Put planet 95M miles from yellow star, let bake 5 Billion years” then yea you may have an ID theory that doesn’t contradict evolutionary theory but it isn’t a biological theory anymore. Such a theory would be saying that earth’s position is IDed. Your not in conflict with the biology textbooks now but the guys in the astronomy and physics departments might want to have a word with you.
    However ID as it is asserted in real life does not say that. It says specifically that the mechanisms of life itself (reproduction, descent, natural selection) are insufficient for new species to arise from previous ones and in the case of abiogensis for life to have arisen at all without direct aid. That contradicts evolutionary theory.
    So again, there is no reason why such a statement couldn’t be considered in a classroom.
    Well the primary reason to object to ID in the classroom is that the theory is both incoherent, ill formed and does not fit the evidence well. That fact that you imagine it might be in conformity with 42% of doctors who were surveyed is not very relevant to its suitability in the classroom.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    What jhudson is doing, probably unintentionally, is trying to redefine ID theory into something it isn’t. ID theory does not state just that a designer was involved somehow in the creation and development of life. ID theory states that it can detect the involvement of a designer objectively. There are many possible ID theories that may be consistent with evolution. The one I presented about hurling a comet at earth to get rid of its ugly dinos would be one but I don’t pretend that is ID theory.

  • http://jackhudson.wordpress.com/ jhudson

    However ID as it is asserted in real life does not say that. It says specifically that the mechanisms of life itself (reproduction, descent, natural selection) are insufficient for new species to arise from previous ones and in the case of abiogensis for life to have arisen at all without direct aid. That contradicts evolutionary theory.
    So then to would the the statement “God initiated and guided an evolutionary process that has led to current human beings” if contrasted with the other statement offered on the survey, that being, “Humans evolved naturally with no supernatural involvement – no divinity played any role“.
    Taken together, as they appeared to the survey takers, the first statement clearly indicates that evolution, by itself was, as you put it, “insufficient for new species to arise from previous ones and in the case of abiogensis for life to have arisen at all without direct aid”. Thus, you are agreeing here that the first statement contradicts evolutionary theory; and that Joe was correct in his original take on the survey. I am glad we finally cleared that up.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Well if you’re now going to talk about taking how people who were given the survey intrepreted the questions in a commonsense, everyday manner you’d note that the first statement was clearly Biblical Creationist, totally out of line with evolutionary theory. The third statement was firmly in line with evolutionary theory and would be consistent with a Dawkins fan. The magical 42% statement would be in line with theistic evolution and would probably be a fan of Miller.
    It’s a bit of a stretch, don’t you think, to assume people read the phrase evolutionary process as meaning Intelligent Design when all the media hype about ID has depicted it as the opposing theory to evolution?

  • Eric & Lisa

    Boonton wrote;
    It’s a bit of a stretch, don’t you think, to assume people read the phrase evolutionary process as meaning Intelligent Design
    ID is an evolutionary process. It just isn’t a Darwinian evolutionary process.
    If I know that, certainly a bunch of well educated doctors know that too.
    Not everyone gets their information from the biased media these days. Thank the Lord for the internet.

  • http://TheEverWiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Hmmmm, well my two friends, I think I read maybe 20 or more posts on these four threads of ID advocates telling us that ID theory says nothing about who the designer(s) were, how they did their designing or when. So how can you say ID’s an evolutionary theory?

  • http://jackhudson.wordpress.com/ jhudson

    Well if you’re now going to talk about taking how people who were given the survey intrepreted the questions in a commonsense, everyday manner you’d note that the first statement was clearly Biblical Creationist, totally out of line with evolutionary theory. The third statement was firmly in line with evolutionary theory and would be consistent with a Dawkins fan. The magical 42% statement would be in line with theistic evolution and would probably be a fan of Miller.
    It’s a bit of a stretch, don’t you think, to assume people read the phrase evolutionary process as meaning Intelligent Design when all the media hype about ID has depicted it as the opposing theory to evolution?
    You set the demarcation for what makes it contradictory to evolutionary theory – “that the mechanisms of life itself (reproduction, descent, natural selection) are insufficient for new species to arise from previous ones and in the case of abiogensis for life to have arisen at all without direct aid”. You were wrong; Joe wasn’t misstating the results.

  • http://TheEverWiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    So we are in agreement, I think. A majority of doctors have beliefs consistent with standard evolutionary theory according to the survey and its possible to imagine types of ID theories that would be consistent with evolution…however standard ID theory is not.
    As a test of ID theory the survey was pretty insufficient. Even as a test of evolution the survey left a lot to be desired as we have seen there are numerous ways of reading the 42% question. It would have been better if they asked a bit more nuanced question. But that’s what happens with surveys, once they ask the question the work is done and its too late to take it back and try to formulate a more precise question.

  • Gordon Mullings

    All:
    I will note on some points that catch my attention, mostly in light of my online remarks, which give further details:
    1] B; I have every right to declare victory if indeed I am correct my friend.
    –> First, “IF,” as the Spartans used to say. Second, manifestly, you are NOT correct in the above. Thus, your declarations of “Victory” ring decidedly hollow.
    2] I see you again and again present the same arguments totally oblivious to the counter arguments that have been presented
    –> Again, your counters constitute insistent repetitions of what has been exposed as fallacious, aided by a heaping dose of selective hyperskepticism, driven by begging big-time worldview questions, as has been addressed amply in the objections sections of the notes I have placed online.
    –> Onlookers, simply go to the notes then see where the true balance on the merits of fact and logic [esp. inference to best explanation] lies.
    –> For instance, when we see a sophisticated computer, the best explanation is a computer engineer. When we see clever software for same, the best explanation is a good programmer. When we see complex, functionally specific information, we infer to signal not lucky noise. And, when we see clever irreducible complex nanotech devices, the best explanation is: a first rate engineer.
    –> All of these features of course reside in every cell in our bodies, and more broadly in all life forms, pointing to the origins of life in clever design. Design of course points to a designer.
    3] in the very post you wrote the above (#249) you again bring out the ‘scrabble bag’ argument about improbability to try to prove FSCI.
    –> An excellent case in point — OF TRYING TO ASSERT AWAY AN ISSUE RATHER THAN COGENTLY ADDRESSING IT.
    4] in the very post you wrote the above (#249) you again bring out the ‘scrabble bag’ argument about improbability to try to prove FSCI.
    –> First, here is the key part of the actual exchange:

    B: [e.g.] religions will have nothing to do with the results they get as they apply the laws of motion [to launch a space craft] . . .
    [GEM] –> First, Newtonian Dynamics is in fact a telling counter-example to your intended point. For, it is a classic instance of operation science, not origins science. That is, NASA scientists and engineers are not trying to set up differential equations based on inertia as resistance to acceleration, force as the rate of change of momentum, action and reaction as equal and opposite and the inverse square law attraction between massive objects to reconstruct the plausible scientific history of the origin of the world and of life in it. They are not working with a past only accessible through explanations and traces that may help constrain it, but with things that are easily repeatable in the here and now . . . . we cannot re-run the past in our labs to see what it was: the actual — as opposed to plausible — past is unique and non-repeatable.
    –> The issues on NDT are in that context, and philosophical matters surface far more directly, precisely because there is not the sort of consensus that supports Newtonian Dynamics in its restricted context, large relatively slow moving bodies. [Back to the 1880's to 1920's, that was not so: the picture of mechanical forces and bodies, and associated electrical dynamics, were much in dispute . . . [i.e. as part of the revolution that created modern physics]]

    –> Onlookers, notice how B has now switched from launching a moon rocket, which is operations science, to the origin of the anomalous axis of rotation of Uranus, which is origins science, without informing onlookers of the context switch?
    –> In short, he refuses to acknowledge the cogency of my point, but acts based on knowing that I have hit home. Over the past year plus, this has happened countless times, and the summary notes online are in part a response to this sort of misleading and distracting rhetoric.
    5] we have had it asserted by you in the past and more recently jhudson that ‘NDT’ requires some mythical atheistic ‘worldview’ and this ‘worldview’ matters when it comes to science.
    –> Yet another major misrepresentation. JH and I have pointed out that NDT exists in a history of ideas context, and is as a matter of historical and rhetorical and educational fact the handmaiden of the evolutionary materialist — i.e. an atheistic — worldview, which in turn is often confused with “science,” as can be abundantly demonstrated above, complete with extensive citations from major Bio textbooks used in College.
    –> As Joe also points out, NDT plays a key role in the public advocacy of atheism, but there is a secondary attempt to pretend that it is not a servant of atheism. In fact, the reason why say a Dawkins publicly says that NDT makes it possible to be an allegedly intellectually fulfilled atheist is that it claims to account for life as we know it solely on the basis of Monod’s Chance + Necessity, Thus, it is held to make God an unnecessary idea in explaining the origin of life, opening the way for an Occam’s razor argument that we should pare away “unnecessary hypotheses.”
    –> But the strong evidence that points to the design of life forms starting at cellular level and the absence of a cogent explanation of how the evident functionally specified complex and contingent information in life forms as well as the many irreducibly complex mechanisms found therein [e.g. the flagellum, which in the end B in effect conceded is IC], all point to design.
    –> Design in turn raises the question of designer, and given the further fact of the finetuning of the cosmos to facilitate life as we experience it, it suggests that the best explanation for both is an Extra-Cosmic agent intending to and capable of creating such a cosmos and life in it. That of course, opens up again the worldview question that atheists would rather have closed in the name of “science” i.e. God as Creator and science as thinking his thoughts after him — a venerable way of doing modern science from its birth in that part of the world then known as Christendom.
    –> That in its own turn abundantly explains the ferocious attacks we have seen on the idea that there may well be empirically testable indicators of design in the world that can be studied scientifically.
    6] Dawkins’ neologism is a useful teaching tool but it is not useful for science or even philosophy. ‘Designoid’, which means something that looks like it was designed, suffers from the hopeless problem that there is no rigerous definition of what it means to ‘look designed’.
    –> Here comes the all too predictable and irrelevant, not to mention selectively hyperskeptical definitionitis attack again. On this, in my notes I have remarked, in light of many an exchange on the point:

    (This is of course another common dismissive rhetorical tactic. Those who use it should consider whether we cannot properly study cases of life under the label Biology, just because there is no such generally accepted definition of “life.”)
    In any case, precise definitions that identify all and only cases of a given entity X, depend for their credibility on the prior fact that we recognise that there are cases of X, and cases of NOT-X, which the definition reliably separates. That intuitive, conceptual recognition on a case by case basis is prior to precising definition, in short.

    –> Further to this, in fact there is a credible empirically anchored way to recognise design/non-design in materially important cases: FSCI. That is, as discussed (and often dismissed — as opposed to cogently addressed):

    a] we routinely and non-controversially recognize that signals can be differentiated from the chance process, noise.
    b] To do so, we next recognise that because of sparseness of functional states in the configuration space available for a sufficiently long digital string, it is vanishingly improbable on the scale of the known universe that such functional states would arise by chance.
    c] Then, we take on-board the observations that routinely such FSCI is produced by intelligent agents, and indeed in EVERY case where we do know the source, it is such an agent.
    d] Thus, on an inference to best explanation basis, FSCI is a reliable indicator of signal not noise, and design nor chance plus necessity only.
    e] It is therefore grossly inconsistent and selectively hyperskeptical to reject this candidate on a priori grounds when the evidence points in a direction that one’s evo mat worldview happens to find uncomfortable. [Onblookers, note the blatant absence of a better explanation, relative to chance plus necessity.]

    –> In short, design/designoid is a telling point, and we do have a n excellent method to reliably distinguish the two on an inference to best explanation basis anchored in the sparseness of functional states in the relevant configuration space and resulting improbabililites.
    –> Onlookers will note that a lot of sneering rather than cogent argument has been used to try to dismiss and/or distract attention from this point.
    7] of the dozens of examples given here and elsewhere (a watch, an arrowhead, a Commodore-64 found orbiting around Saturn etc.) all suffer from the problem that we know such things were designed at one time by human beings
    –> That is, we see known cases, tracing to intelligent agents. B here provides no actual instance of FSCI known to be tracing to chance plus necessity only. No prizes for guessing why . . .
    –> but more tellingly, Elliott Sober has let the cat out of this objection bag, in a telling footnote to his 1999 Presidential address to the American Philosophical Association, on “Testability”:

  • Gordon Mullings

    H’MM: I have been oscure:
    ORIGINAL: the Scientific Revolution C17
    RPT 1: The modern Physics Revolution, turn of C20 — including at least one suicide [Boltzmann] as tragedy.
    EPT 2: The farce of the ongoing NDT turf defense by tactics that, sadly, look a lot like the failed stratagems of 350 years ago.
    GEM

  • Gordon Mullings

    OOPS: I seems to have not put in a proper excerpt for # 4, a cut and paste error I did not spot in time . . . sorry:
    B: On the contrary, often the laws of motion are used to try to make determinations or even just speculations about the past….such as trying to explain why Uranus’s axis is tilted in such a radical direction compared to all the other planets.
    RESPONSE:
    -> First, here is the key part of the actual exchange:

    B: [e.g.] religions will have nothing to do with the results they get as they apply the laws of motion [to launch a space craft] . . .
    [GEM] –> First, Newtonian Dynamics is in fact a telling counter-example to your intended point. For, it is a classic instance of operation science, not origins science. That is, NASA scientists and engineers are not trying to set up differential equations based on inertia as resistance to acceleration, force as the rate of change of momentum, action and reaction as equal and opposite and the inverse square law attraction between massive objects to reconstruct the plausible scientific history of the origin of the world and of life in it. They are not working with a past only accessible through explanations and traces that may help constrain it, but with things that are easily repeatable in the here and now . . . . we cannot re-run the past in our labs to see what it was: the actual — as opposed to plausible — past is unique and non-repeatable.
    –> The issues on NDT are in that context, and philosophical matters surface far more directly, precisely because there is not the sort of consensus that supports Newtonian Dynamics in its restricted context, large relatively slow moving bodies. [Back to the 1880's to 1920's, that was not so: the picture of mechanical forces and bodies, and associated electrical dynamics, were much in dispute . . . [i.e. as part of the revolution that created modern physics]]

    –> Onlookers, notice how B has now switched from launching a moon rocket, which is operations science, to the origin of the anomalous axis of rotation of Uranus, which is origins science, without informing onlookers of the context switch?
    –> In short, he refuses to acknowledge the cogency of my point, but acts based on knowing that I have hit home. Over the past year plus, this has happened countless times, and the summary notes online are in part a response to this sort of misleading and distracting rhetoric.
    ++++++++++++=
    Sorry for the error.

  • Gordon Mullings

    ABIOGENESIS “NEWS” UPDATE: A CSM Aug 24 article reports on a current NASA anouncement of:

    Chemistry that gave rise to life on Earth may have begun in outer space. An international research team recently reported the discovery of eight “biologically significant molecules” in two interstellar clouds.
    Team leader Jan Hollis at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., says the discovery suggests “that a universal prebiotic chemistry is at work.” His colleague Phil Jewell, at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Green Bank, W.Va., which made the observations, adds that “the first of many chemical processes that ultimately led to life on Earth probably took place even before our planet was formed.”

    –> Onlookers, observe carefully how the issues of FSCI, IC, chirality in the context of the precsision geometry of the chemical nanomachines of life, etc, etc, simply do not appear in the “we’re making progress . . .” science-of-the-gaps article.
    –> Indeed, note how the many thorny challenges summarised
    here are simply absent from the rosy-tinted account.
    –> Shades of Wells’ Icons!
    –> I again leave it to the readers to identify which of Joe’s list of poor evo mat rhetorical tactics is being applied here (hint: it’s a target-rich environment):

    NDT advocates inadvertently aid hte cause of ID:
    1] By remaining completely ignorant about ID while knocking down strawman versions of the theory
    2] By [falsely] claiming that ID is stealth [Biblical] creationism.
    3] By resorting to

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    –> The last remark is of course telling on the word games and switcheroo too. Suddenly, when the cause is plainly lost, the issue is not that 42% of Doctors in the relevant survey accept that there was initiation and guidance of an evolutionary process leading to life, but that an opinion survey is not a test of the theory. But of course, it never was intended to be that, only to highlight that a very large faction of those highly educated on the relevant subject have rejected the atheistic claims about evolution and are theistic evolutionists, at minimum, an ID-compatible position.
    No switcheroo here, most surveys have flaws in the questions they ask. I once had a client whose research project involved a survey of pregnant woman and their feels about a law that required all pregnant women to get tested for HIV and those that refused would have their children tested when they were born. The questions ran several pages but as I started to help him assemble the data I realized that poor wording had serious impaired the study. For example, a question asked if the woman had ever been abused and African-American women in the survey reported a very, very low rate. In his analysis he noted that this rate was much lower than was found in other studies of the population. I noted, though, that the women’s definition of abuse might not be the same as a more objective one used for the other studies. If I could have been with him when he designed the questions I would have had him ask specific questions such as “Has your partner ever hit you?”, “Has he ever threatened you with bodily harm?” or “Could you imagine your partner ever getting so mad that he physically harms you?”. Unfortunately he had already created the questions (over 25 of them if I recall) and had collected over a hundred responses. The work was done and we had to intrepret the data as it was collected.
    Anyway, note here how ID advocates play the back and forth game. Theist evolution is now “ID-compatible” but before IDers have been telling us their theory has nothing to do with religion or whether one believes in God. Remember, the theory doesn’t require the designer be a deity? ID just requires that design can be detected but many theistic evolutionists would say that God left no trace of his actions in evolution leaving his design undetectable and indistinguishable from natural processes. Now all in the sudden it is ok to believe natural processes caused evolution if you believe God created natural processes. BUT ID advocates make their case on natural processes being insufficient. Now all in the sudden an evolutionary scientist like Miller is now ok because he believes in God?
    –> Note too B’s original contention: in effect that Joe, one of those notorious

  • http://jackhudson.wordpress.com/ jhudson

    Anyway, note here how ID advocates play the back and forth game. Theist evolution is now “ID-compatible” but before IDers have been telling us their theory has nothing to do with religion or whether one believes in God. Remember, the theory doesn’t require the designer be a deity? ID just requires that design can be detected but many theistic evolutionists would say that God left no trace of his actions in evolution leaving his design undetectable and indistinguishable from natural processes. Now all in the sudden it is ok to believe natural processes caused evolution if you believe God created natural processes. BUT ID advocates make their case on natural processes being insufficient. Now all in the sudden an evolutionary scientist like Miller is now ok because he believes in God?
    Well, no, the whole point of this exchange has been to nail you down after you threw out the “Indeed Joe began tis series by basically distorting the results of a survy which showed that a minority of doctors rejected evolutionary theory (Joe lied and asserted a majority had).” assertion. You are the one playing word games and then running away from your statements – and noticed no one has accused you of ‘lying’ even though you have obviously misrepresented other’s statements again and again until called on it. You have a whole host of people telling you the same thing over and over again, and quite frankly it has little to do with ID or evolution, but in your unwillingness or inability to engage in an honest debate – or admit when you are wrong.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    I disagree with your tortured attempts to read the 42% response as consistent with ID and inconsistent with evolutionary theory. I also think it is very clear for the reasons I gave several times that Joe was presenting the survey in order to trick the casual reader into thinking it indicated a majority of doctors had rejected the theory of evolution rather than a majority of doctors had rejected philosophical materialism.
    You are the one who suddenly discovered that ‘theistic evolution’ is consistent with ID after all. Even though you presented a theistic evolutionist as your ONLY example of how science students are supposedly taught that evolutionary theory requires a belief in atheism.
    Now getting into a little back and forth about whether theistic evolution should be put in the ID camp or not may be interesting to you (which is why I participated in this little tiff for so long) but it has nothing to do with my charge the Joe misrepresented the survey. I allowed myself to be open to the possibility that he might have done so unintentionally but his refusal to address the issue head on has reaffirmed my hunch that it was no accident.

  • http://jackhudson.wordpress.com/ jhudson

    I disagree with your tortured attempts to read the 42% response as consistent with ID and inconsistent with evolutionary theory. I also think it is very clear for the reasons I gave several times that Joe was presenting the survey in order to trick the casual reader into thinking it indicated a majority of doctors had rejected the theory of evolution rather than a majority of doctors had rejected philosophical materialism.
    You are the one who suddenly discovered that ‘theistic evolution’ is consistent with ID after all. Even though you presented a theistic evolutionist as your ONLY example of how science students are supposedly taught that evolutionary theory requires a belief in atheism.
    Now getting into a little back and forth about whether theistic evolution should be put in the ID camp or not may be interesting to you (which is why I participated in this little tiff for so long) but it has nothing to do with my charge the Joe misrepresented the survey. I allowed myself to be open to the possibility that he might have done so unintentionally but his refusal to address the issue head on has reaffirmed my hunch that it was no accident.
    Dude, you just can’t say when you are wrong, even when you have been hung out to dry; and quite frankly it’s ridiculous and boring to engage with someone congenitally incapable of realizing their own wrongness on any issue.
    Again, you are Black Knight, and because of your insistence that you are prevailing here, with no arms or legs, we aren’t laughing with you, but at you.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Sorry my friend, I think you are wrong here. Why not start at the beginning and explain in the simplest way possible why you think I’m wrong.
    I’m going to say your position is that the 42% statement is inconsistent with evolutionary theory therefore Joe’s right to imply a majority of doctors have a problem with evolution. While you’ve mounted a valient effort to redefine ID as being consistent with the 42% question you failed to back up your assertion.
    1. A textbook writer who covered the topic disagreed with you in the very textbook you quoted to support your assertion.
    2. The very same writer wrote a book arguing that, essentially, the 42% statement is not in contradiction with evolutionary theory.
    3. This very same book was favorably reviewed by the scientific establishment. Not attacked for arguing theism.
    4. Even your attempt to pull in quotes from Darwin floundered on the fact that Darwin himself clearly concluded that his theory could not conclude anything about the debate between theism and atheism.
    After all of this you suddenly discover that ID is now consistent with evolution and therefore the 42% question really belongs to the ID camp and I’m the person who just can’t take admit being wrong?

  • http://jackhudson.wordpress.com/ jhudson

    I’m going to say your position is that the 42% statement is inconsistent with evolutionary theory therefore Joe’s right to imply a majority of doctors have a problem with evolution. While you’ve mounted a valient effort to redefine ID as being consistent with the 42% question you failed to back up your assertion.
    1. A textbook writer who covered the topic disagreed with you in the very textbook you quoted to support your assertion.
    2. The very same writer wrote a book arguing that, essentially, the 42% statement is not in contradiction with evolutionary theory.
    3. This very same book was favorably reviewed by the scientific establishment. Not attacked for arguing theism.
    4. Even your attempt to pull in quotes from Darwin floundered on the fact that Darwin himself clearly concluded that his theory could not conclude anything about the debate between theism and atheism.
    After all of this you suddenly discover that ID is now consistent with evolution and therefore the 42% question really belongs to the ID camp and I’m the person who just can’t take admit being wrong?
    I’ll let others go back and review how you have again falsified the dialogue that has gone on here (and the many times it has been pointed out to you) but we don’t have to go back that far; you plainly said just a few posts back that the survey statement was contradictory to evolution. You said it, not me. You are wrong, again.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    REally? Where?