Home » 'Junk DNA', Darwinism » Hello, World: Toronto’s evolution stalwart and textbook writer Larry Moran is NOT a Darwinist

Hello, World: Toronto’s evolution stalwart and textbook writer Larry Moran is NOT a Darwinist

Here, University of Toronto’s Larry Moran, blogger at Sandwalk (named after Darwin’s garden path) and famed (okay, okay, reputable) textbook author, commented at UncommonDescent on this story about Jonathan Wells’ new book on the junk DNA myth, complaining,

Denyse, you’ve promised in the past to stop using the term “Darwinism” to refer to all of evolution. What happened to that promise?In evolutionary biology, “Darwinism” refers to those who focus on adaptation as the almost exclusive mechanism of change. They are also called adapationists.

Moran calls himself a pluralist.

For the record, he said,

I’m a pluralist who promotes the importance of random genetic drift and accidental evolution. That’s perfectly consistent with junk DNA. I am not a Darwinist.

Yes, as Moran says, Darwinism means that natural selection, acting on random mutation, explains all (or most) of evolution. It is the ultimate free lunch. But I have found, by observation, strengthened by reading Suzan Mazur’s The Altenberg 16: An Expose of the Evolution Industry, that most of the science press thinks that all evolution really is Darwinism, to judge by the innumerable quoted explanations of research findings in strictly Darwinian terms. Some of it is plausible; others range from the ridiculous to the ridiculous . Some is merely “Come, let us worship the Beard.”

If Dr. Moran knows something the science writers don’t, I wish he would tell them, so they can start taking out the trash.

The trouble is that, nowadays, anyone  can be a Darwinist. You need to know something to be anything else.

Now, I have lots of respect for pluralism, but must in fairness note that the critical information is: Which approaches to evolution does the pluralist plan to tolerate?

Is it possible that, in the recesses of his study in the dark of the dawn, our Larry is working on a new theory of evolution that dismisses Darwinism?

Hey, I bet that’s it! Or anyway, I hope so.

I want an advance review copy.

I recommend the interesting exchanges between Moran and others in the combox, noting only that many of Darwin’s true believers, including genome mapper Francis Collins, did market junk DNA as support for their theories in the recent past. They must be allowed to withdraw from the business, if they choose – but not to efface all knowledge that they were ever in it.

If Dr. Moran ends up needing a can of Trolls Begone!, I could spare him one. So could a lot of people here.

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49 Responses to Hello, World: Toronto’s evolution stalwart and textbook writer Larry Moran is NOT a Darwinist

  1. I prefer the term evolutionism.

  2. Is Mr. Moran anybody of more scientific import than just a guy who can’t seem to grow out of immature name calling? Really, why should we care what a guy who still refers to some others as “IDiots” has to say anyway?

    http://sandwalk.blogspot.com/2.....s-not.html

    And of course he will deny he’s a Darwinist. He’s not the first and he won’t be the last. Darwinism is fast becoming an embarrassment, a very recent (and short-lived) blight that is racing into obscurity.

  3. Sorry Larry I’m sticking with my definition of you, you are neo-Darwinist, one who believes that purely material processes generated all the stunning diversity and complexity of life around us, though having no actual evidence for the ability of material processes to generate even ‘simple’ life (there is no such thing as ‘simple’ life), much less the ability to generate even a trivial amount of the further staggering levels of information we find embedded in more complex life on earth;

  4. Bantay, to be fair, Dr. Moran is a significant scientist with a long list of accomplishments, as a search of Google Scholar or a look at his academic home page will show.

    I agree that he’s trying to have it both ways. He should not demand civility while being uncivil. But his “scientific import” is real.

  5. Web of Science lists 42 publications by “L.A. Moran” and 156 by “L. Moran.” Probably some of the latter are other L Morans, but some are surely him. It’s beneath us to scoff at him as a scientist when he has serious accomplishments.

    Bottom line: Dr. Moran shouldn’t demand civility while being uncivil — and neither should we.

  6. QuiteID

    You said

    “It’s beneath us to scoff at him as a scientist when he has serious accomplishments.”

    I wasn’t scoffing at him because of his scientific accomplishments, but because his derision of ID proponents (to lowly name-calling) is so beneath a standard of objective science and it reflects very poorly on him.

  7. Dr. Moran, as to the point you did not address yesterday of quantum entanglement being found in molecular biology;

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-374664

    particularly this;

    ‘The effect of quantum entanglement/information in molecular biology needs to be explained by a cause that is itself not constrained by time and space, yet neo-Darwinism purports to explain all the wonder and diversity we see in life on earth by Random Variations/Mutations of material particles which are constrained by time and space.,, Thus Larry, how can the quantum entanglement effect in biology possibly be explained by a material cause when the quantum effect falsified material particles as its own causation in the first place? (A. Aspect) Appealing to the probability of various configurations of material particles simply will not help since a timeless/spaceless cause must be supplied which is beyond the material particles themselves to supply! Do you see the problem Larry? Yet Larry as foreign as the quantum entanglement finding in molecular biology is to your base materialistic philosophy, finding quantum entanglement at such a foundational level in molecular biology is actually very conducive to the Theistic postulation that man has a ‘higher dimensional soul’ to the makeup of his being that is not constrained by time and space and that lives beyond death. Moreover Dr. Moran, this ‘soul’ postulation can actually be further bore out by special relativity;

    It is very interesting to point out that the ‘light at the end of the tunnel’, reported in very many Near Death Experiences(NDEs), finds corroboration in Special Relativity when considering the optical effects for traveling at the speed of light…. Please compare the similarity of the optical effect, noted at the 3:22 minute mark of the following video, when the 3-Dimensional world ‘folds and collapses’ into a tunnel shape around the direction of travel as an observer moves towards the ‘higher dimension’ of the speed of light, with the ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ reported in very many Near Death Experiences:

    Traveling At The Speed Of Light – Optical Effects – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/5733303/

    The NDE and the Tunnel – Kevin Williams’ research conclusions
    Excerpt: I started to move toward the light. The way I moved, the physics, was completely different than it is here on Earth. It was something I had never felt before and never felt since. It was a whole different sensation of motion. I obviously wasn’t walking or skipping or crawling. I was not floating. I was flowing. I was flowing toward the light. I was accelerating and I knew I was accelerating, but then again, I didn’t really feel the acceleration. I just knew I was accelerating toward the light. Again, the physics was different – the physics of motion of time, space, travel. It was completely different in that tunnel, than it is here on Earth. I came out into the light and when I came out into the light, I realized that I was in heaven.(Barbara Springer

    Near Death Experience – The Tunnel, The Light, The Life Review – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4200200/

    It is also very interesting to note that special relativity also confirms the ‘eternality’ of time noted in very many Near Death Experiences:

    “I’ve just developed a new theory of eternity.”
    Albert Einstein – The Einstein Factor – Reader’s Digest
    http://www.readersdigest.co.za.....26pageno=3

    “The laws of relativity have changed timeless existence from a theological claim to a physical reality. Light, you see, is outside of time, a fact of nature proven in thousands of experiments at hundreds of universities. I don’t pretend to know how tomorrow can exist simultaneously with today and yesterday. But at the speed of light they actually and rigorously do. Time does not pass.”
    Richard Swenson – More Than Meets The Eye, Chpt. 12

    Light and Quantum Entanglement Reflect Some Characteristics Of God – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4102182

    ‘In the ‘spirit world,,, instantly, there was no sense of time. See, everything on earth is related to time. You got up this morning, you are going to go to bed tonight. Something is new, it will get old. Something is born, it’s going to die. Everything on the physical plane is relative to time, but everything in the spiritual plane is relative to eternity. Instantly I was in total consciousness and awareness of eternity, and you and I as we live in this earth cannot even comprehend it, because everything that we have here is filled within the veil of the temporal life. In the spirit life that is more real than anything else and it is awesome. Eternity as a concept is awesome. There is no such thing as time. I knew that whatever happened was going to go on and on.’
    Mickey Robinson – Near Death Experience testimony

    In The Presence Of Almighty God – The NDE of Mickey Robinson – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4045544

    ‘When you die, you enter eternity. It feels like you were always there, and you will always be there. You realize that existence on Earth is only just a brief instant.’
    Dr. Ken Ring – has extensively studied Near Death Experiences

    As well, I find it extremely interesting, and strange, that quantum mechanics tells us that instantaneous quantum wave collapse to its ‘uncertain’ 3-D state is centered on each individual observer in the universe, whereas, 4-D space-time cosmology (General Relativity) tells us each 3-D point in the universe is central to the expansion of the universe. These findings of modern science are pretty much exactly what we would expect to see if this universe were indeed created from a higher dimension by a omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, eternal Being who knows everything that is happening everywhere in the universe at the same time. These findings certainly seem to go to the very heart of the age old question asked of many parents by their children, “How can God hear everybody’s prayers at the same time?”,,, i.e. Why should the expansion of the universe, or the quantum wave collapse of the entire universe, even care that you or I, or anyone else, should exist? Only Theism offers a rational explanation as to why you or I, or anyone else, should have such undeserved significance in such a vast universe:
    http://lettherebelight-77.blog.....is_19.html

    Miracle Testimony – One Easter Sunday Morning
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/3995314/

  8. QuiteID says,

    I agree that he’s trying to have it both ways. He should not demand civility while being uncivil.

    Just for the record, I do not demand civility. I very much enjoy the rough-and-tumble of real debates on the internet. I have no intention of hiding my disgust at most Intelligent Design Creationists and I do not demand that they cease and desist in their attacks on me and my fellow scientists. That includes everything uncivil that Denyse said in her posting above.

    I don’t demand civility, but I do demand accuracy. When Denyse and her friends say that Darwinists promoted junk DNA I have to draw the line.

  9. Dr. Moran,

    So do you not believe that natural selection, variation and common descent combine to have a major impact on evolution?

  10. Re Larry Moran at 9 “I have no intention of hiding my disgust at most Intelligent Design Creationists”:

    Would Dr. Moran like to say: Which “Intelligent Design Creationists” does he not despise?

    I mean, among people who actually think there is something to be said for design in nature, who does he not despise?

  11. Would Dr. Moran like to say: Which “Intelligent Design Creationists” does he not despise?

    “Despise is not a word that I used.

    I have much more respect for Michael Behe and Michael Denton than many of my colleagues. I also admire Phillip Johnson because he’s so honest about his beliefs and why they should change the way we do science.

    I don’t have any respect for hypocrites, liars, and people who don’t take the time to learn about the subject they’re attacking. Stupidity doesn’t impress me much, either.

    There are plenty of other Intelligent Design Creationists who fall into those categories. Some of them are posting comments on your blog.

  12. Collin asks,

    So do you not believe that natural selection, variation and common descent combine to have a major impact on evolution?

    What’s the point of asking a question like that? Are you trying to make your side look like IDiots?

  13. Dr. Moran,

    Just answer the question. I’m asking that because if you do believe in those things, then you are clearly a Darwinist.

  14. You say you are not a Darwinist, yet Darwin clear has had a gigantic influence on your view of evolution. I think it is not unfair to put you in the broad term “darwinist.” But I will consider not calling you a darwinist if you agree to not call ID-ers creationists or IDiots.

    By the way, what is wrong with the word Darwinist? Do you dislike it because some IDiots use it perjoratively? Why do you care what IDiots think?

  15. Larry Moran at 11:

    You wrote: “Despise is not a word that I used.”

    Fair enough, you said “I have no intention of hiding my disgust at most Intelligent Design Creationists”, so trying to rework that into a simpler sentence, I assumed that you meant you despise them.

    You also wrote, “I have much more respect for Michael Behe and Michael Denton than many of my colleagues.”

    For clarification, do you mean “than many of my colleagues do” or “than I have for many of my colleagues”? I think you must mean the former.

    Why, in particular, do you respect Michael Behe?

    Michael Denton interests me in this context, because I doubt he thinks he’s an ID guy. Why do you respect him?

  16. Matteo says,

    I’m sorry, but what a d****bag.

    I’m not sure what a d****bag is. Is it worse than being called a Darwinist or a creationist?

  17. Larry Moran at 16 (and anyone interested), the offensive post has been removed.

    I am not the troll monitor, but I spotted it, and will ask the monitor to put the poster in moderation.

  18. Collin says,

    I think it is not unfair to put you in the broad term “darwinist.” But I will consider not calling you a darwinist if you agree to not call ID-ers creationists or IDiots.

    Starting right now, if you agree to stop referring to all evolutionary biologists as “Darwinists” I will agree not to call you a creationist (even though you probably are one).

    Deal?

  19. I think we shouldn’t make deals with those who call others derogatory names (and then expect others to fawn at their scientific accomplishments). Let’s let the facts reflect truth here, rather than who can negotiate a cease-fire on name-calling.

    The truth Mr. Moran, is not up for negotiatoin. The truth is that not all ID proponents are Christians or creationists, while one of the world’s leading proponents of Darwinism (Richard Dawkins), has historically referred to himself as a Darwinist.

    From Wiki
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darwinism#Other_uses

    “In the United Kingdom the term retains its positive sense as a reference to natural selection, and for example Richard Dawkins wrote in his collection of essays A Devil’s Chaplain, published in 2003, that as a scientist he is a Darwinist”

    Mr. Moran, what is your explanation for this?

  20. Bantay asks,

    Mr. Moran, what is your explanation for this?

    My explanation is that Richard Dawkins is, in fact, a Darwinist, just as he claims.

    Here’s the money quote from the Wikipedia article you apparently read.

    However, Darwinism is also used neutrally within the scientific community to distinguish modern evolutionary theories from those first proposed by Darwin, as well as by historians to differentiate it from other evolutionary theories from around the same period. For example, Darwinism may be used to refer to Darwin’s proposed mechanism of natural selection, in comparison to more recent mechanisms such as genetic drift and gene flow. It may also refer specifically to the role of Charles Darwin as opposed to others in the history of evolutionary thought — particularly contrasting Darwin’s results with those of earlier theories such as Lamarckism or later ones such as the modern synthesis.

    I’m very interested in the parts of evolution that Darwin knew nothing about. In that sense I’m closer to those who emphasize random genetic drift and other, more modern, forms of evolutionary theory.

    I never said that there was no such thing as a Darwinist (Darwinian). I said that many evolutionary biologists would not refer to themselves as Darwinist. This is especially true to those who support the concept of lots of junk DNA in our genome. Darwinians tend to oppose that concept.

    Let’s not be naive about this discussion. Here’s another quotation from that Wikipedia article.

    Creationists use the term Darwinism, often pejoratively, to imply that the theory has been held as true only by Darwin and a core group of his followers, whom they cast as dogmatic and inflexible in their belief.[22] Casting evolution as a doctrine or belief, as well as a pseudo-religious ideology like Marxism,[23] bolsters religiously motivated political arguments to mandate equal time for the teaching of creationism in public schools.

  21. Dr. Moran,

    Sorry, I can’t take that deal because I am a creationist. But David Berlinski and Michael Behe are not.

    I guess I don’t care as much about the “creationist” label as I do about the “IDiot” label.

    I do not see the problem with calling you a Darwinist when you believe that Darwin’s mechanisms played a major role in evolution. BUT I will try to call you a “genetic drifter” from now on instead. :)

  22. EvoTard is a pejorative word use to describe those who think life is an accidental emergence from some primordial ooze and accidental genetic changes account for the observed diversity.

    That said a Darwinist is someone like Dawkins (natural selection is a designer mimic) and you, Larry, would be more like and neo-darwinist/ modern synthesist (perhaps with a personal twist).

  23. Joseph,

    Yes, let’s use EvoTard unless we stop hearing IDiot from Moran.

    Otherwise, let’s use my term “genetic drifter.”

  24. Dr Moran:

    Pardon a late intervention.

    I have not been part of this thread, but I am sorry, too much of the above smacks of an attempt at the rhetoric of immoral equivalency on your part.

    When, in fact the blatant abusive and slanderous namecalling is largely on the part of your party; as may be abundantly shown all over the Internet.

    Ever since c 1930′s, Darwinism has routinely been used to refer to adherence to the Neo-Darwinian synthesis and related ideas; without any necessary aura of pejoration.

    That is very different from routinely used terms of your party: “IDiot,” “Dumbsky,” “Intelligent Design Creationism,” “Fundamentalist” and the like.

    These have not only been ROUTINELY used abusively and/or slanderously, but they have been used to unjustifiably bust careers, to bias discussion away from addressing the merits of matters to polarising red herrings led away to strawman caricatures laced with ad homninems and set alight through incendiary remarks, and worse. They have even been used to try to justify the question-begging attempted redefintion of science as applied evolutionary materialism, playing mind-bending games with a generation of children in school.

    In fact, on fair comment: too much of the above (and earlier) smacks of enabling behaviour for that abuse and slander.

    Please, stop it.

    Good day, sir.

    GEM of TKI

    PS: If you still do not know the difference between design thought and creationist thought, I suggest the first several remarks in the UD weak argument correctives, top right this and every UD page.

  25. Dr. Moran,

    I’m surprised that you could quote that wikipedia passage and not notice the bias dripping from it.I don’t see how anyone can maintain the objectivity of wikipedia after that.

  26. Mr Moran

    I applaud your response. You’ve stepped up to the plate, and quoted a Wiki article that in a very biased way misrepresents the term “Darwinist” as a pejorative used only by religious people, when in fact it is the most accurate way to describe some people who in a religious fervor, hold dogmatically to principles of Darwinist evolution, especially when it has also led some of them to atheism. If you have seen the documentary “Expelled”, and I think you have, then you know of whom I am referring.

    Whether or not you consider yourself a Darwinist I think is not as important as understanding why it is so important to you to distance yourself from the term.

    I think it’s like this. When Darwinism was all the rage, then being called a “Darwinist” was chic. Now that Darwinism is in its death throes in both higher academia and increasingly in the popular media, now all of a sudden it’s not so cool to be a Darwinist.

    In fact, you’d be better to join those who have been so successful in introducing a compelling design-theoretic into mainstream science and popular culture than keeping up unproductive vitriol.

    In the best interest of future discourse, don’t you think it is worthwhile to stop throwing labels around where they aren’t appropriate? I mean, calling all IDers “creationists” is like calling an atheist like Bradley Monton an ID defender. Wait! He is an ID defender! Or perhaps like calling secular Jew and agnostic D. Berlinski…But wait! He is a secular Jew and agnostic, and also an ID proponent. I can think of a few more non-Christian and non-creationist ID proponents but I think I’ve made my point.

    You seem to welcome stirring the pot more than having a civil dialogue, perhaps counting on your professional accomplishments as a weight to throw around…kinda like being a bully?. In my opinion, your professional resume is worthless if you don’t communicate your ideas civilly.

    Or we can keep the pot stirred and it will just get more public attention to the issues pertaining to the controversy over evolution and ID. It’s up to you. Thank you for your consideration.

  27. acting as mod: I just had to remove another comment. Let’s keep it civil, shall we?

  28. Bantay says,

    You’ve stepped up to the plate, and quoted a Wiki article that in a very biased way misrepresents the term “Darwinist” as a pejorative used only by religious people, when in fact it is the most accurate way to describe some people who in a religious fervor, hold dogmatically to principles of Darwinist evolution, especially when it has also led some of them to atheism. If you have seen the documentary “Expelled”, and I think you have, then you know of whom I am referring.

    Thanks for clearing that up. I’m glad to hear that you don’t use the word “Darwinist” in a pejorative, insulting way! :-)

    Do you have any idea how silly you look when you say things like that?

    I forgot who it was who first quoted from the Wikipedia article. Was it one of those Darwinists in some religious atheist fervor?

  29. Denyse says,

    acting as mod: I just had to remove another comment. Let’s keep it civil, shall we?

    Oh dear. Was it another one of those evil Darwinists?

  30. Mr Moran

    I did not use the term “Darwinist” in the pejorative sense to describe all highly educated bullies, only “some” (of which you are in their number). However, you seem to use the term “creationist” in a sweeping, generalized way to describe all ID supporters, which is simply false.

    I have already provided a couple named examples demonstrating that some ID supporters are non-Christian, non-creationist, agnostic and even atheist.

    Would you be willing to admit now that not all ID proponents are creationists?

  31. Some of you might be interested in hearing what David Berlinski has to say about insults and name calling.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wnjnIwDkN0o

  32. 32

    He once told me he thought the Insult was a bit of lost art. That would be an indication that he thinks most people don’t do it very well.

    Larry, you ain’t no Berlinski.

  33. Larry:

    Do you call IDers “IDiots” and then complain about insults?

    No one wants to insult you. However, why is it that you got to be in charge of what words are to be used and why?

    You want to tell us how you want to be called, and then you want to call us whatever you like. This kind of hypocrisy is usually the tried and true currency of liberals. Have I hit the nail on the head? Or have I only insulted you by calling you a liberal?

  34. PaV says,

    Do you call IDers “IDiots” and then complain about insults?

    I’m not complaining about insults. I like the banter.

    I sometimes like to point out hypocrisy but that’s not the same thing.

    It’s also a lot of fun to yank your chains from time to time but after a while it gets boring because the result is so predictable.

  35. Larry Moran [31]:

    Some of you might be interested in hearing what David Berlinski has to say about insults and name calling.

    Larry Moran [34]:

    I’m not complaining about insults. I like the banter.

    Yeah, Larry, I like to point out the hypocrisy, too.

  36. Bantay asks,

    Would you be willing to admit now that not all ID proponents are creationists?

    I recognize at least one non-creationist (David Berlinski) who allies himself with Intelligent Design Creationism. Berlinksi is a fierce—and irrational— critic of evolution but I’ve never heard him talk about an intelligent designer, have you?

  37. 37

    Larry at 36.

    Actually, yes. Read his book.

    He talks about the tremendous possibility of an omnipotent force plopping down It’s magesty right at the point where the two domains of science (the large and the small) do not connect.

    Of course, he also talks about smug biologists ideologues, like you, groping each other in the dark as they pretend to know more than they do.

    ;)

  38. As I explained to Dr. Moran on another thread, we define Darwinists or Neo-Darwinists as those who posit an unguided or undirected evolutionary process in order to distinguish them from those who posit a directed or guided evolutionary process. As such, Darwinists do not cease to be Darwinists simply because they are having an intramural squabble about junk DNA any more that ID proponents cease to be ID proponents because they are having an intramural squabble about CSI. So Dr. Moran’s objection is irrelevant.

    ID = directed macro evolution or no macro evolution at all

    Darwinism = undirected macro evolution

    Christian Darwinism = directed evolution that wasn’t really directed. (Insane? Yes. But that’s their gig. )

    Now why are these definitions important? Well, we must remember that Darwinists survive largely by confusing the public with the lie that ID advocates are “anti-evolution.” Similarly, Christian Darwinists, who often make the same charge, survive largely by promoting the lie that Darwinism (undirected evolution) is compatible with the Christian Bible. Since ID disputes the unwarranted and extravagant claims of Darwinism, we are told, it follows that ID also disdains evolution and science. Naturally, the only rational response to such a lie is to tell the truth: ID is not anti-evolution; ID is anti-Darwinism. ID is not against science; ID is against materialistic metaphysics posing as science. Take away the word “Darwinist” or “Darwinism” and we cannot defend ourselves against those lies.

    On the other hand, Darwinists use the word ID Creationist not to clarify but to obfuscate. In keeping with that point, they make the anti-historical claim popularized by the dim-witted Barbara Forrest, namely, that ID “comes out” of Creationism. Dr. Moran tried to make that dog hunt on another thread. Anyone who believes this nonsense should consult our FAQ to discover the parallel history of both movements. I have never known a Darwinist who visited this site that bothered to do his or her homework on this matter. Indeed, I have never met a Darwinst who would respond to my correctives even after I provided the relevant historical references.

    Dr. Moran has offered us a deal. He will stop making false claims about ID if we will stop telling the truth about Darwinists. I think I will pass on that one.

  39. Mr. Moran says

    “I recognize at least one non-creationist (David Berlinski) who allies himself with Intelligent Design Creationism.”.

    With statements like this, obviously he is just being frivolous. And did you think we would not notice your evasion of the mention of atheist Bradley Monton being an ID defender?

    I think Mr. Moran knows that ID has no religious premise, does not depend on any religious text. Thus, his use of the term “Intelligent Design Creationism” is only to keep the pot stirred.

    That’s okay Mr. Moran. I have not heard of any new data showing an increase of support for chance, undirected natural causes…at least you have not presented any.

    And there seems to be a marked increase in a design perspective in at least some of the sciences and in pop culture. So if the best you have to offer on the side of the science you supposedly represent is frivolous, inflammatory remarks, then the debate was over a long time ago. Paley won.

  40. The delineation argument is not that convincing. Due to the way Darwinism is frequently defined by ID proponents and considering the ID position that the design could have been implemented by evolution you can not really call people like Ken Miller, Francisco Ayala or Simon Conway Morris Darwinists. Rather you would need to call them to some extend IDists.

    With respect to calling people Creationists or Intelligent Design Creationists one could argue doing this for delineation reasons. ID entails such a broad spectrum of ideas including some aspects of theistic evolution and directed panspermia, that to argue against the ID position would be inaccurate and thus necessitate to narrow down whose argument you address.

  41. Bantay says,

    With statements like this, obviously he is just being frivolous. And did you think we would not notice your evasion of the mention of atheist Bradley Monton being an ID defender?

    I didn’t mention Bradley Monton because I had never heard of him.

    Now I’ve done a bit of seaching and I found his website. Apparently he wrote a book called, Seeking God in Science: An Atheist Defends Intelligent Design.

    Monton proudly displays the quotes from people who have read his book. Check out his website.

    Here’s two of the interesting quotes …

    Monton does not defend ‘intelligent design’ as true — he thinks it is most likely false. Instead, he defends it as a hypothesis worth taking seriously.
    John T. Roberts

    As an atheist, he defends ID not because he thinks it is true. Rather, he shows how it raises important questions and how many critics, in their enthusiasm to kill the baby in the cradle, are short-circuiting a discussion that needs to happen.
    William Dembski

    So, for the time being, the only person I know who could be remotely thought of as a proponent of Intelligent Design who is not a theist is David Berlinski. Can anyone supply me with a quotation where he explicitly identifies himself as a believer in intelligent design? Who does he identify as the designer?

  42. Bantay says,

    think Mr. Moran knows that ID has no religious premise, does not depend on any religious text.

    I don’t know any such thing and neither did the Dover Pennsylvania school board.

    The Discovery Institute and the ID movement are behind all kinds of bills that are being introduced into state legislatures in the USA. Are you honestly trying to tell me that this has nothing to do with religion?

    It’s just an amazing coincidence that the legislators introducing these bills and promoting ID happen to be very religious, right? It’s equally amazing that the ID leadership just happens to be composed almost exclusively of devoutly religious men.

    I bet you’re very puzzled about this coincidence if you think that ID has no religious premise. We would take you a lot more seriously if you stopped playing games and started being as honest as Phillip Johnson. He knows that the battle is between science and religion or, as he puts it, between materialism and creationism.

    And in response to an article by Richard Lewontin, he writes (in Evolution as Dogma: The Establishment of Naturalism),

    I remind the reader that to Lewontin and myself, a “creationist” is not necessarily a biblical literalist, but rather any person who beleives that God creates.

    BTW, Bantay, are you an atheist?

    I didn’t think so.

  43. Bantay says,

    And there seems to be a marked increase in a design perspective in at least some of the sciences and in pop culture.

    Popularity, by itself, is not a good indicator of whether an idea is right or wrong.

    However, if you are going to invoke it you should at least get your facts right. There hasn’t been any significant change in the Muslim world, as far as I know, and I don’t think Hindu or other Asian societies are seeing an increase in creationism.

    What we do know is that in Western industrialized nations the populations are turning away from religion and away from belief in God. In some European countries the number of non-believers is getting close to a majority and in Canada (my country) that percentage is hovering around 20%.

    The trend is less obvious in the USA but it’s till there. Your perception is false. And it’s ridiculously false if you think it applies to the sciences. (Even if you restrict yourself to America.)

    You guys should concentrate on making truthful statements. If you do that we might stop referring to you as IDiots.

    Not holding my breath ….

  44. So, for the time being, the only person I know who could be remotely thought of as a proponent of Intelligent Design who is not a theist is David Berlinski.

    The other person sometimes mentioned is Jeffrey M. Schwartz a buddhist.

  45. myname at 44: David Berlinski is not a proponent of intelligent design, but he travels with the herd. That’s not unusual these days.

    Jeffrey M. Schwartz is a Christian. No, really, I know the guy and he IS a Christian.

    So far as I know, comments are NOT closed here, but there is a persistent glitch in the system that I must write to the tech about.

    I know how to get around it but I am a mod, and that is not a solution.

    The rule is that we close comments after thirty days.

  46. Mr. Moran

    You say here

    “I don’t know any such thing and neither did the Dover Pennsylvania school board. ”

    Listen, if your best argument against design is an appeal to a low level court decision by a 2nd rate judge who was unqualified to rule on such matters and who basically copied (including the errors) from an ACLU document presented to him before the end of the proceedings, then obviously the scientific case for ID remains, even if a civil case prevailed.

    You say here

    “You guys should concentrate on making truthful statements.”

    The truth is, there is no religious premise to ID itself and you know it very well. If ID did have a religious premise, then it would be based on some religious text or religious doctrine. Creationism for example, depends on and is based on the Bible’s creation narrative. ID has no religious text as its foundation. For somebody who is so concerned about truth, I find it an astonishing double standard in your choice of words to describe ID as “intelligent design creationism”. You should be honest and admit, on record, publicly, that there is no religious premise to ID, and maybe a more relaxed, productive dialogue can take place.

    You say here

    “Popularity, by itself, is not a good indicator of whether an idea is right or wrong.”

    We agree on this. But I did not make an argument from popularity, but merely pointed out a growing trend in evidences for design that cannot reasonably be accounted for by undirected, natural causes, while there has not been any new evidence for undirected, natural causes that could not also be accounted for by design.

    In my opinion, you’re just not in a position to smugly call ID supporters “IDiots”. In fact, you’re better off breaking ranks while you still can.

  47. Mr. Moran, you say here

    “Are you honestly trying to tell me that this has nothing to do with religion?”

    Darwinism has to do with religion to, in that it has religious implications. Is that a reasonable basis to deny Darwinist teachings in taxpayer funded school classrooms?

    You also say here

    “It’s just an amazing coincidence that the legislators introducing these bills and promoting ID happen to be very religious, right? It’s equally amazing that the ID leadership just happens to be composed almost exclusively of devoutly religious men.”

    Completely fallacious. A background or personal belief does not make a person’s claim necessarily true or false. Rather, it should not be a surprise that a scientific methodology of design detection leading to a hypothesis that is at least accommodating to a theist world view would be headed by theists. What you don’t understand, is that there is nothing inherently wrong with that.

    The implications of ID being true may offend your atheist predilections, but under the circumstances of there not being a shred of evidence against the existence of the Judeo-Christian God, you are left with a faith position yourself, called naturalism.

  48. Bantay says,

    You should be honest and admit, on record, publicly, that there is no religious premise to ID, and maybe a more relaxed, productive dialogue can take place.

    This is a battle between science and religion. Stop pretending it isn’t. It makes you look silly.

  49. Mr. Moran

    I respectfully disagree. There are plenty of scientists who, using good scientific principles and methods, end up making a personal decision of God being the best explanation. There is no battle between science and religion there.

    Mr. Moran, evidence is what it is regardless of how man interprets it. What some atheist scientists would prefer, is that it would be totally acceptable for atheists to begin their research under the predication that ‘there is no God whatsoever,’ but its wrong for a scientist who believes in God to say,
    “After viewing the evidence for design along with the evidence for purely natural, unguided processes I have found that there is reason to believe this is a theistic universe or that the evidence for an intelligent designer is equally valid.”

    This kind of double standard is unacceptable.

    And besides, there is no battle between science and religion, since naturalists themselves appeal to a philosophical view that must be accepted on faith.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ime26rNGWDI

    Thank you for your comments, and best regards. The last word is yours, Mr. Moran.

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