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On a Level Playing Field – We Win

It has come to my attention that some of our best informed ID supporters don’t believe politics are important to winning and that science education is the key. Now I dearly love science but without politics providing us a level playing field our arguments from math and science are doomed to being censored.

Consider that the Darwin apologists have had sole providence (no pun) for over two generations (since 1947 SCOTUS ruling in Everson vs. Board of Education) in public science education for their story of unguided, unplanned evolution. Indeed, even criticism of their story is verboten on establishment clause grounds.

In almost 60 years of presenting the “overwhelming” scientific evidence for unguided evolution in public science education, in the legally enforced absence of criticism or alternative hypotheses, they have not put a significant dent in the number of people who swallow the story that evolution was unguided (15% or fewer).

Imagine the position they’d be in if ID had been allowed a level playing field in public science education. Or even if ID is banned, if we just get to put criticisms of the unguided Darwinian narrative on the lectern. The theory in crisis would go from the critical care ward to the morgue.

Clearly, the scientific argument for unguided evolution lost and lost bigtime. In fact one might argue there was never a battle to lose. The unguided Darwinian narrative started out 150 years ago being accepted by only a tiny minority of elitist, predominantly atheist intellectuals and that remains its domain to this very day. That’s a battle only in the sense of it being a successful defense of a small plot of contested ground.

Now, in an alarming turn of events, we have 10,000 Protestant clergymen being duped into believing that if they don’t reconcile Darwinian evolution with Protestant Christian faith they’ll be seen as some sort of uneducated knuckle dragging dolts leading their flocks back into the dark ages of unenlightenment. Someone needs to slap these clergy upside the head and tell them they don’t have to compromise their faith in God to accommodate some godless story of evolution foisted upon us by the likes of Richard Dawkins or the National Academy of Atheist Sciences.

Indeed, why don’t these clergymen just go ahead and send Professor Dawkins an engraved invitati0n to be a keynote speaker on Evolution Sunday where Richard can tell them things like “It is absolutely safe to say that if you meet somebody who claims not to believe in evolution, that person is ignorant, stupid or insane (or wicked, but I’d rather not consider that)”.

The bottom line is that while the math and science in support of guided non-Darwinian evolution is extraordinary, compelling, and interesting to a fault – the battleground is almost entirely political at this point.

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26 Responses to On a Level Playing Field – We Win

  1. Having read Barbara Forrest’s rant against ID politics (Creationism’s Trojan Horse), it’s quite refreshing to be reminded that ID proponents aren’t the only ones taking a political approach. “Leveling the playing field” is a very appropriate description of the need and the situation.

  2. Good observations Dave.

    We Americans do not realize just how much of our First Amendment guarantees we’ve lost.

    URL: US celebrates its most misread freedom
    http://titusonenine.classicalanglican.net/?p=10948

    A teacher in public school is allowed to preach that life forms were created not by God but by the majestic and creative power of blind accident operating over billions of years. In biology and geology, kids are taught to worship blind accident; kids are taught that Mother Nature, the “blind watchmaker” is the Creator of the Universe!

    But another teacher is not allowed to share her view that the complexity and efficiency of a bird’s wing is evidence of supremely intelligent aeronautical design, that if a painting of an eagle in flight can be identified as intelligently designed, then so can the actual eagle in flight.

    No, she will be fired, perhaps sued.

    The anti-theist is free to exercise his faith, but the theist is not free to express her intelligent observation.

    It is obvious to every fair minded person that if one view is religious, then both are religious; if one view is scientific, then both are scientific.

    But now the courts allow only the anti-theistic view; the theistic view is absolutely prohibited by the power and force of the Federal Government….in absolute convolution of the First Amendment.

  3. Wow! The percentages on that poll are surprising.

    I wonder what the stats would be like if KM Darwinists – who believe in a designer, but won’t admit to holding an ID viewpoint – weren’t afraid to fess up to their true inclinations.

  4. What’s a “KM Darwinist”?

  5. Russ: Funny you should ask that when the Vise document was just linked to in the next blog post. Click the link for the Vise strategy and read the second page of the document.

  6. KM = Ken Miller

  7. Qualiatative

    The polls are presumably anonymous so there shouldn’t be any hiding of true feelings.

  8. DaveScot,

    The polls are presumably anonymous so there shouldn’t be any hiding of true feelings.

    KM Darwinists want nothing more than to portray blind evolution in a positive light. However, I grant you that it is hard to decipher what their “true feelings” are because their philosophy is internally inconsistent.

  9. The secret to winning this battle is not to get ID into the science curriculum but to get all forms of Darwinism out of it except for where it is relevant. If this were accomplished then the publicity would be devastating for the Darwinists. To do this, frame the question of evolution differently. First, admit that evolution has taken place over the last 3.5 billion years of the earth but the mechanism is unknown. Second, divide evolutionary issues into four parts, 1) origin of life; 2) development of multi-cellular life forms including the developments of complex systems such as the eye, appendages, nervous system, or other appropriate sub systems; 3) macro-evolution of the various taxons including novel morphologies and capabilities and 4) micro-evolution which covers everything that Darwin witnessed on his voyage on the Beagle and just about everything in the current journals on evolution that is science.

    Darwin’s ideas must be kept to the fourth area only because it does have relevance there but demand it be taken out of other three areas because there is no evidence for it working there. This distinction would hammer home that Darwin is not a comprehensive explanation for most of the issues that concern the origin of life and its subsequent escalation of life forms but rather a good explanation of some important issues in cellular metabolism but unimportant for the major diversity of life issues. Darwinism would be left as nothing more than a hypothesis for areas 2 and 3 and would have no relevance at all to area 1.

    Everytime I talk with someone about evolution, they conflate the issues but when it is pointed out the differences they see the debate in an entirely different light. Right now a high percentage of the ID efforts are directed at origin of life and development of complex life systems while the Darwinists trot out the obvious finding of micro evolution to back up their point of view. It is like they are talking pass each other but one side is presenting some very persuasive but shallow arguments. Let’s face it folks, natural selection probably explains a high percentage of the variety of fish species, types of lizards such as iguanas and many of the bird diversity seen in nature and lots of other trivial species differences that we find. Give them area 4 but push to get them out of the other areas where their appeals to faith seem more like a religion than ID.

  10. Jerry wrote “First, admit that evolution has taken place over the last 3.5 billion years of the earth”

    I agree.

  11. Darwinism is mysticism.

  12. Jerry

    re fish, lizards, birds, etc…

    I agree. It’s tough to delimit where RM+NS falls short. Some say the species level and some the genus level. But those are arbitrary cutoff points and might be true in some cases and untrue in others. The tree of life is a moving target in any case because taxonomy isn’t an exact science.

    I drove the authors at Panda’s Thumb crazy and got myself banned there by repeating

    The bottom line remains that no one has observed RM+NS creating a novel cell type, tissue type, organ, or body plan.

    They couldn’t stand being reminded of the reality of the situation.

  13. Jerry, you wrote “First, admit that evolution has taken place over the last 3.5 billion years of the earth but the mechanism is unknown.”

    Just curious, but do you propose that ID as one of these “unknown mechanism”?

  14. Thunar,

    I read a lot like most people here and have a background in science and math. The probabilities of some events that must have happened to get to where we are today are so low that there isn’t enough zeros in the universe to put after the decimal place to describe the likelihood that these joint events happened by chance. So yes, to me it seems obvious that somehwere along the line someone with intelligence had an input, probably more than once and I have no idea of the mechanism.

    I personally believe that this sort of reasoning should be taught in schools but in today’s climate, it would be better to attack Darwinism on where it is most vulnurable, that is a lack of evidence for areas 1-3 of evolution (see my post above) than to try to promote ID directly. If Darwin is found wanting and I believe it is “big time” then get it out of the schools and the text books and make a big deal of it. We should make the Darwinist the defendants instead of the ID people. They should be the ones that have to defend their approach as science.

    I read the Orson Scott Card article after I wrote my post above and essentially agree with everything he wrote except I think the evidence against Darwinism is greater than he implied. But then again, I don’t write a newspaper column. Even when I discuss this topic with others it has to be undersold or it will turn off people who will look at you as a kook if you are too outspoken.

  15. KM Darwinists want nothing more than to portray blind evolution in a positive light. However, I grant you that it is hard to decipher what their “true feelings” are because their philosophy is internally inconsistent.

    How so, Qualiatative? Miller is a Catholic and the last time I checked the Vatican came down pretty hard on ID.

    I read a lot like most people here and have a background in science and math. The probabilities of some events that must have happened to get to where we are today are so low that there isn’t enough zeros in the universe to put after the decimal place to describe the likelihood that these joint events happened by chance. So yes, to me it seems obvious that somehwere along the line someone with intelligence had an input, probably more than once and I have no idea of the mechanism.

    But Jerry, don’t you have to know how an event happened before you can calculate the probability that it occured? And isn’t there a cooperativity to these probabilities that are often neglected? The probability of my visiting every country in the world is very low. Probably lower than my chances of winning the lottery. Independently the probability of both is astronomically low. But the probability that I visit every country in the world increases significantly given that I won the lottery.

  16. As far as I know the Vatican claims there is design and purpose in nature and life. I suggest you read what Cardinal Schoenborn had to say recently cause I certainly don’t feel qualified to speak for him. Both he and Pope Benedict talk freely about the design in life so it is hard to see how they have come down hard on ID. I am sure Schoenborn is trying to walk a fine line and not cause too much of a stir. He praises Darwin for some of his work which if you confine it to micro evolution, Darwin definitely deserves a lot of credit. Schoenborn may be Ratzinger’s Ratzinger so he is speaking with some authority. He has definitely not ruled out intelligence behind what we see in nature and life. The occasional stories billed to a Vatican source are hardly official Vatican positions. Don’t take my word for it, google it and see if you can find his own words rather than a press story or my imperfect interpretation.

    The following may be inappropriate for this forum but aldo30127 has offered a simplistic example of probability. Yes, I would agree that wealth increases the likelihood of someone visiting all the countries in the world. I am not sure how it applies to the three areas of evolution I mentioned. In each of the areas of evolution that I say are problems for Darwinism there are many extremely low probability events that would have had to happen for life to reach today’s complexity. These are not just one or two low probability events but a series of millions of separate low probability events that must have happened in order to witness the world we see around us. Now if you quarrel with my method of calculating probabilities then the onus is on you to provide a reason why the probability is mitigated by some circumstance or set of circumstances or why your method of calculating probability is better. You can not allude to some “just so” condition such as winning the lottery that might have happened. You must show how the cooperative events you referred to increased the probability of something happening and how likely were these cooperative events.

    As an example, in the origin of life there is a minimal number of proteins that are necessary for a cell to survive and replicate. Each one of these proteins has a infinitesimal small probability of arising by chance. What is the joint probability of all of them arising separately, simultaneously and in proximity or even a small subset arising separately? The numbers start to stagger the mind when you consider there are 39 possible amino acid possibilities and only one specific subset of 20 is allowed. Then do this a 100 times or 400 times for the necessary proteins and you do indeed run out of zeros in the universe to describe the likelihood of it occuring. And this does not include assembly instructions for the cell. All this happened almost immediately after water started to appear on the planet. The first cell didn’t take forever to form. It did so right out of the box in geological time and then probably this event never happened again. Again troubling probabilities.

    Rather than take forever, similar probabilities could be calculated for the appearance of 30+ phyla during the short time of the Cambrian explosion. Each phyla with distinct body structures and no apparent predecessors. Did they all arise from one unknown life form as James Valentine proposes and if so how did this life form with the information for all the body structures arise. Only one of these phyla would be a very low probability event but 30+ again breaks the decimal place meter.

    For macro-evolution what is the probability of each new fossil find not filling in the gaps between life forms that suddenly appeared and without predecessors? From what I understand new fossils finds tend to reinforce the claim that there are no intermediaries between life forms. Each new fossil discovery is a new sampling from the urn of possible fossil sites. I never saw anyone work out probabilities for this but I recognize an extremely low probability event when I see it.

    There are many other low probability events but these are a few. You may quarrel with each one of these and I hope you do have some good answers but this spot on this forum in not the place to discuss the specifics of origin of life or other evolution issues since the original post is about political strategy for getting ID accepted. Actually a different web site would probably be more appropriate since this site tends to focus on current news as opposed to evolutionary science in general. Also someone much more knowledgable than I should be doing the commenting but probably not here. However, these issues are some that should be discussed in the science programs, especially at the college level but I cannot imagine the Darwinists allowing that to happen.

  17. For some reason one of my posts keep being deleted. I don’t think I am rude or something in the post, so I will try again. If the post is not acceptable, could the person deleting it please state his reasons? Thank you.

    Trite argument re; evolution doesn’t include abiogenesis. Propose to any Darwinian evolutionist that the last universal common ancestor (LUCA), the first cell from which all else descended, was preprogrammed to unfold into the full diversity of life we see today. Much like a single fertilized egg cell blossoms into a complex human being with hundreds of kinds of specialized cells in 9 months, the LUCA blossomed from a single cell into hundreds of kinds of life in 3 billion years. Every last one of them will all of a sudden have a strong opinion that life on earth didn’t begin that way. So much for “evolution” not being concerned with abiogenesis. I tire of putting down that trite old argument that evolution doesn’t speak to origins. Maybe evolution doesn’t speak to origins but every Darwinian evolutionist I’ve encountered certainly does. Trite arguments are subject to moderation per William Dembski’s policy which I’m carrying on as best I can. This isn’t a forum to repeat, ad nauseum, the same old stuff we’ve been hearing from Darwin apologists for years. If you have something new it gets a hearing. If it’s something old it’s subject to deletion. Repeat it elsewhere. Also, nobody here needs to have the scientific method repeated to them like they’re morons who never heard it before. As I recall the scientific method is introduced in the sixth grade. If that’s the best you have to offer you should probably move along to Panda’s Thumb where they never tire of hearing 6th grade science lectures. -ds

  18. The occasional stories billed to a Vatican source are hardly official Vatican positions. Don’t take my word for it, google it and see if you can find his own words rather than a press story or my imperfect interpretation.

    I’ve read the Cardinal’s articles, as well as his clarification that he was not talking about evolutionary science but philosophical materialism. But I was referring to this recent development:

    http://www.catholicnews.com/da.....600273.htm

    Now, L’Osservatore Romano doesn’t necessarily print official church positions, but if I remember correctly each article is given either an imprimatur (official approval) or a nihil obstat (free from doctrinal error); this was probably given the latter. In recent history, however, what is printed in the Osservatore mirrors very closely the official Vatican opinion.

    the original post is about political strategy for getting ID accepted.

    Which is a silly way to get a scientific idea accepted if you ask me. But keeping in the spirit, when has what is taught as correct been a matter of popular opinions, as the post suggests it should be?

    I never saw anyone work out probabilities for this but I recognize an extremely low probability event when I see it.

    I will refrain from commenting on the probabilities of life arising except to say that until you have a direct, hypothetical mechanism for a cell arising, you cannot calculate the probability of the event happening. And saying things like, “I recognize an extremely low probability event” is like saying “there’s still not enough evidence to convince me“. It’s not a substantial argument.

  19. aldo

    “Which is a silly way to get a scientific idea accepted if you ask me. But keeping in the spirit, when has what is taught as correct been a matter of popular opinions, as the post suggests it should be?”

    Is it as silly as suing a school board to get criticism of a scientific idea rejected? I don’t think so. We aren’t the ones dragging this into court.

  20. In response to aldo30127

    I will leave the interpretation of Vatican policy up to those who know more than I but I will stand on my conclusion that push come to shove the Vatican will side on the position that there is an intelligent input to life and nature in general. They have to. Tell me the Catholic Church does not believe in prayer which is a belief that there is an ongoing meddling in this world and I will show you the end of the Catholic Church. No way will they hang their hat on Darwinism that everything is nothing more than random mutations and natural selection. My guess is that they are trying to feel this thing out without having another Galileo moment. When it becomes so obvious to them that Darwinism is such bad science they will not support it carte blanc but give him his due which he should get in the area of micro-evolution. By the way every priest in the Catholic Church asserts a form of intelligent design every day when they profess the Nicene Creed in the Mass and so does every Catholic who recites it with belief.

    By using the phrase “getting ID accepted” I meant that the original post was about getting ID as an accepted topic to be discussed within the science classes in our schools. Currently many science finding are being censored in the schools and bad science promoted as truth. I do not necessarily accept getting ID discusses as an objective because ID seems to have a lot of different connotations. If it was left strictly to the conclusion that there is design in several areas of life but there is no information about the designer then I would accept it going this far. If the statement was made that in the past several things were thought to be designed and have later been shown to be the result of natural causes, then I would accept this too. What I mainly want to accomplish is to get Darwinian ideas out of science discussions in areas where there is no support for it. There is no support for Darwinian ideas in the three areas of evolution that I mentioned. If later there is support for Darwin in these areas then by all means include it.

    I agree that there is no theory on how a cell could develop. Since there is no theory on how a cell could develop, then make sure that the student not only know this but also understand the immense complexity that would have to be overcome for this to happen. The probabilities I cited was part of the obstacles that have to be overcome.

    I did not want the post to go on and on about probabilities when it is not the place to discuss them but you introduced the absurd example of the lottery and likelihood of visiting every country because I understood that it implied that there was an explanation for why the low probabilities were not relevant. So I made a brief statement about incredibly low probabilities from each of the areas.

    You chose one of the arguments and said it was not a substantial argument. I was using the scientific method that I was taught in graduate school as the basis for my argument. Darwin said that there should exist multitudes of intermediaries between higher levels in the taxon classification scheme. In fact Darwin said if they don’t exist then it would falsify his theory. But they don’t exist. So is his theory falsified? I think so. Every new fossil find does not find any intermediaries. This is the same as doing another experiment on the same hypothesis. Now I don’t know how many new fossil finds there are each year but if every one confirms the opposing hypothesis that there are no intermediaries than I view that as strong confirmation of that hypothesis. Run a similar finding by any scientist on any other topic besides Darwinism and they will laugh at anyone holding the contrary hypothesis and say you must be some yokel who does not believe in science. Well the fossil record supports the hypothesis that there are no intermediaries. But not Darwinism, they say that there still might be proof and maybe there will but only Darwinism gets this pass in science. The living record also supports the hypothesis that there are no intermediaries as the world today does not have any set of intermediaries on display. I am sorry but it a substantial argument based on the methods science uses today to confirm or reject theories even if you did not recognize it as such.

  21. I will leave the interpretation of Vatican policy up to those who know more than I but I will stand on my conclusion that push come to shove the Vatican will side on the position that there is an intelligent input to life and nature in general.

    But that is not what this blog’s creator is arguing for. Of course the Vatican will side with intelligent input to life and nature; what it will not side with is a blatant distortion of the scientific method.

    What I mainly want to accomplish is to get Darwinian ideas out of science discussions in areas where there is no support for it.

    Do you have any evidence that it is in the classroom? I have examined mulitple high school textbooks and in each one of them evolution is treated as the origin of species not of life or the cell. When those are mentioned they state pretty clearly that there is little evidence detailing the mechanisms by which it happened. I have seen your sentiment many time in various fora and I have yet to be shown a textbook, or a workbook, or any documentation whatsoever that the unclear parts of “Darwinism” (your word, not mine) are taught as cold hard fact in American high schools. None.

    In fact Darwin said if they don’t exist then it would falsify his theory. But they don’t exist. So is his theory falsified? I think so. Every new fossil find does not find any intermediaries.

    This is blatantly false. Re: evolution of the whale. Second, fossilization does not occur as frequently as Darwin had originally suspected, at least on land. However, the sea has provided us with many detailed intermediary fossils. Everyone does not confirm that there are no intermediaries; I honestly don’t know where you are getting your knowledge from.

    DaveScot
    Is it as silly as suing a school board to get criticism of a scientific idea rejected? I don’t think so. We aren’t the ones dragging this into court.

    Do you really want to be defending the likes of Bonsell and Buckingham? Seriously?

  22. Jerry (in post #9):

    “…divide evolutionary issues into four parts, 1) origin of life; 2) development of multi-cellular life forms including the developments of complex systems such as the eye, appendages, nervous system, or other appropriate sub systems; 3) macro-evolution of the various taxons including novel morphologies and capabilities and 4) micro-evolution which covers everything that Darwin witnessed on his voyage on the Beagle and just about everything in the current journals on evolution that is science. Darwin’s ideas must be kept to the fourth area only because it does have relevance there but demand it be taken out of other three areas because there is no evidence for it working there.”

    A very insightful breakdown. I’ve been subconsciously thinking along those lines for some time now. This crystallizes it. Thanks.

    Darwin discovered the idea of natural selection and, being swept up in the mechanistic, reductionistic intellectual atmosphere of the 19th century, proudly assumed that it explained all biological life. His idea was the first plausible-sounding materialistic explanation for life’s complexity and diversity. The shock value of this has blinded many of his critics from realizing its inadequacy. And because it’s actually tautological — the survivors survive — it can seem like it explains everything. Over time, atheists have propped it up and promoted it like mad because it provides a materialist creation fable that suits their beliefs; many of them have also been attracted to careers in biology because of it, and now dominate the field. The sad thing is that they believe so firmly in the sufficiency of natural selection that they will not countenance any criticism of the sacred “mechanism” — even by other, odd materialists.

    But finally, after almost 150 years, the world is waking up. Darwin’s theory is gradually (pun intended) being recognized for what it really is — a massive, ego-driven blunder — the most spectacular in the history of the sciences.

    Standing ovation. -ds

  23. It is an interesting question. What is in high school and college biology texts? Since aldo30127 says the unclear parts of Darwin are not there, I will accept his statement for the time being since I do not have any high school biology books in my house. But Ken Miller has a detailed table of contents of his book on line and it includes many topics on macro evolution and I would classify most of them as unclear but I would have to read his book to see what it says. The book also covers the Miller Urey experiments which only have meaning in terms of origin of life but I do not know what caveats are included. Miller’s book includes 4 chapters on evolution but it is hard to know just what is asserted from the annotated table of contents of each chapter. I would bet that Miller does not discuss the problems with fossil record though he does discuss punctuated equilibrium which came about because of the problems with the fossil record having no intermediaries so maybe I am wrong. It would be interesting to see what he says about the Cambrian explosion and the sudden appearance or disparate life forms with no know predecessors and little diversity within each phylum. I will see if my local library has a copy or some other recent text books.

    Which brings me to the next topic which is that aldo30127 says my claim about the fossil record is blatantly false. I will grant that much of my information about the fossil record is from sources 20 years old and from these I can cite several quotes of scientist claiming the fossil record is barren of supporting examples for macro evolution including quotes by Stanley, Gould and Kitts. However, some of the fossil findings in the alleged land to sea transition of a land animal to the whale were since that time. So it is difficult to pin down just what is known here. But there is considerable disagreement whether the recent fossil finds of the Pakicetus and Ambulocetus natans are really cetaceans even though the name given to them says they are cetaceans. Drawings of both these fossils are certainly distorted substantially to give them the impression that they were water animals but the bone structures are entirely consistent with land animals. Why do the supporters of this land to whale sequence feel the need to falsify the drawings of these fossils? Maybe without these false drawings the land to whale sequence is less persuasive. Even with it, the sequence is very tenuous from the brief things I read. Essentially you have these 4 legged land animals and then you have earlier species of whales and only some interesting stories on how one became the other. Maybe there is something to it but I will have to read more. But the scenario fits the pattern that has been commonly used by Darwinists, that is to find something and then make up plausible stories to support it as a intermediary and then it gets to appear in journals. And as we know. if it appears in a journal it is science and a fact and another branch on that famous tree.

    My one observation from reading about the evolution of the whale is: if this is aldo30127′s best shot, and some have said the whale sequence is the best example in the fossil record of a major transition from one type of body structure to another, then I don’t think aldo30127 can say the claim that the fossil record does not support Darwinism is blatantly false. In fact aldo30127 has helped to strengthen the claim as the best example seems to be extremely tenuous.

  24. aldo30127

    “Do you really want to be defending the likes of Bonsell and Buckingham? Seriously?”

    No. I was thinking of the 7 board members that didn’t lie under oath. 7 is a larger number than 2 on the planet where you live, right? By my reckoning most of the school board was innocent of wrongdoing.

    I was also thinking of Cobb County where “parents” (ACLU) sued the school board to have the following sticker removed from biology textbooks:

    “This textbook contains material on evolution. Evolution is a theory, not a fact, regarding the origin of living things. This material should be approached with an open mind, studied carefully and critically considered.”

    Do you really want to hang your hat on a theory so frail that it can’t withstand critical consideration from 9th graders?

  25. No. I was thinking of the 7 board members that didn’t lie under oath. 7 is a larger number than 2 on the planet where you live, right? By my reckoning most of the school board was innocent of wrongdoing.

    This is your defense, Dave? Of those seven, four resigned after Pandas was approved. Yingling resigned later after she admitted she had been strongarmed by Bonsell and Buckingham and verbally retracted her wish to include Pandas in the curriculum. Of the board members who voted for Pandas, none could give an accurate description of ID and one couldn’t even get the right words that make up the concept (can anyone say “intelligence design”?). Every member of the board that voted for ID is at fault, either because of deception or negligence. If you want ID to succeed you should really distance yourself from Dover; it was a fiasco.

    Jerry,
    I haven’t looked at Miller’s textbook in a year or so (although I will be visiting a school in two weeks that I know uses it and will have a look) but I believe it had all the appropriate caveats. Although I’ll add my own caveat to that statement which is that it has all the accepted scientific caveats. I remember the discussion of the Miller Urey experiment and abiogenesis in general being acknowledged as highly speculative (but abiogenesis must never be confused with evolution, so your point 1 and half of point 2 is irrelevent to discussions of evolutionary theory). I cannot remember how he discussed the fossil record but your statements that there is considerable disagreement over the fossil record is inaccurate. There is some disagreement and that is generally among those who would like to disbelieve evolution. The fact that intermediate forms were found in the exact location and strata (time) that evolution would predict (which is how scientists found them) is a good indication that the theory is correct. In fact, there are about 8 or 9 independent lines of evidence that point toward whale evolution. Very few would call that evidence “tenuous” as you do. Perhaps you might want to take a moment to explain why you believe each different line of evidence is tenuous, rather than just stating it.

  26. I don’t believe the disagreement about the lack of fossil evidence is trivial. Certainly, only a small number of life instances get fossilized, a small percentage with many zeros after it. But whenever I am directed to a lineage to support the gradual transition there is always only a few hopeful fossils that “may” with a lot of wishful thinking be truly part of a sequence. Some recently offered the dinosaur bird transition which is based on one fossil and neglected to mention that the bird has a unique oxygen transport system unlike any other animal in the world and would have to been part of the dinosaur too and that several prominent paleontologists disagreed with the concept.

    If the whale sequence is based on 8 or 9 different independent lines then I did not find it. What I found was the discovery of a head fossil only which the scientist asserted was an ancestor of the whale based on homology of the bone structure. Later finds found more of the body for this animal which was consistent with normal forest animals but it still was claimed to be the start of the whale. Then there was another finding which was also classified as a land animal but lived near the water. Now this may be true and there may be other information than what I found but it was not readily available from a google search using “whale evolution”. Along with this was the distorted artist drawings to make the animals appear more fish like which is apparently not consistent with the bone structure. I could be very wrong on this since I have no training at all in paleontology so I have to rely on what other say. But it had that wishful thinking tone to it like so many other things in evolution.

    Our library system does not have any biology text books but maybe I can get some titles and see if an interlibrary loan would be available. If as you say there is nothing controversial in the text books, I will be surprised but it should be promulgated on this forum if true. We should all know what we are arguing about.

    I think that saying Origin of Life is not part of evolution is a dodge. It is the most critical part of the ID discussion and I have heard biologist talk of natural selection amongst molecules competing for resources as a possibility for how the cell developed. Go to the Cold Harbor DNA site and they talk about how RNA preceded the cell as if it is only time before it is proven that RNA arose by natural processes. If origin of life is truly not part of the evolution discussion, then every text book should start out the course on biology with the statement that there is no known process that can explain the origin of the first cell or the computer like instructions in it. Nor are there any promising theories on the horizon. If the students were hit with something like this as the first thing in their biology course then a lot of us who read this site would agree that some justice was done.

    But if you suggest this to the Darwinist community, you will be ostracized in a nano second. Darwinism is not about truth. It is as much faith based as any religion which is why it is being defended so fanatically.

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