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Academic freedom for creation explanation

Reuben Kendall, freshman at UT-Martin, has written a thoughtful view point regarding Evolution vs Intelligent Design. He raises important points on metaphysical presumptions vs data. He raises the question of Academic Freedom which incorporates the foundational unalienable freedoms of speech and religion. May I encourage readers to write editorials and viewpoints raising such issues and standing up for our inalienable rights.
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Academic freedom for creation explanation
Reuben Kendall, Issue date: 3/17/09 Section: Viewpoints

As a freshman, I haven’t been at UT-Martin for very long. But some problems are so obvious that they don’t take very long to notice.

In my studies I quickly realized that when it comes to the theory of evolution, Darwin is the only one who gets to answer questions-or ask them.

I want to question this theory-to test it; check its credentials. And I want honest, thoughtful answers to my questions, not pre-formulated quips and deflections.
But I have learned that if I’m not an evolutionist, my questions don’t get credited, or even heard.

When I ask why theories such as intelligent design are discredited so off-handedly, I typically hear, “Because intelligent design involves metaphysics, but evolution is based only on facts.” Well, I am not so sure.

Obviously, Darwin observed mutation and selection processes within the finch species of the Galapagos. But was he really seeing the extreme mutation and selection that would be required to make a bird out of a dinosaur?
. . .
Never mind that textbooks must be rewritten every time a greater understanding of genetics tells us that birds are actually reptilians; that humans are closer kin to sand dollars than ants or bees.

Never mind the leap of faith required to explain how incredibly complex single-celled life could have possibly developed from a floating mass of random proteins and minerals.

The scientific community assures me that evolution will undoubtedly produce answers to all these problems. But in the meantime, nobody else is allowed to say anything. If you ask me, this isn’t academic freedom.
True academic freedom would look like a variety of scientists, with differing opinions, having open and respectful debates about their ideas.

It would look like evolutionists actually being willing to learn what intelligent design advocates think, instead of dismissing them off-hand as religious fanatics or Creationists. . . .

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58 Responses to Academic freedom for creation explanation

  1. HughJass
    Please provide constructive comments or desist. Inflammatory foolishness helps no one.

  2. 2

    As a freshmen, Mr. Kendall has to learn not to say “creation” when talking about intelligent design.

  3. Creationism has produced 0 models and does not have any explanatory power regarding trends we see in biology. Intelligent design/creationism is not a theory–it is an untestable hypothesis and therefore cannot be science. IF academic freedom is the issue should astrology (Zodiac) be taught in physics courses as well?
    Finally, science is self correcting and that is what it makes it powerful.

  4. David Kellogg:

    As a freshman, Mr. Kendall has a right to be spontaneous, and not to care too much regarding superficially politically correct language. It’s the substance which counts, and the substance is clear enough in his message.

    eligoodwin:

    “Creationism has produced 0 models and does not have any explanatory power regarding trends we see in biology. Intelligent design/creationism is not a theory–it is an untestable hypothesis and therefore cannot be science.”

    You are a good example of what Kendall is speaking about. Out of simple politeness, I will not comment on your tone or you “arguments”. But, with them, you do confirm our points better than any discussion.

  5. If creationism/ID is not scientifically testable, why should it presented as science in a science classroom?

  6. eligoodwin, if you cannot understand the difference between creationism and ID why should your posts not be filtered out?

  7. eligoodwin
    You allegation that “creationism/ID is not scientifically testable” exposes your naivete and ignorance of the literature in both creation science and intelligent design.

    Start by learning the definition of: Intelligent Design.

    For creation science, see
    Institute for Creation Research etc.

    Then try to understand the basis for forensic science, archeology, cryptology etc. Come back when you understand the scientific principles and presuppositions in those fields etc.

  8. 8

    eligoodwin seems completely clueless.

    Give him a break though, general analysis may not be his specialty.

  9. eligoodwin:

    If creationism/ID is not scientifically testable, why should it presented as science in a science classroom?

    You are so right!

    If creationism is not scientifically testable, scientifically falsifiable, it should not be taught in the science classroom. The classic creationist model says that the earth is about 6,000 years old. Unfortunately there is no way of falsifying such a hypothesis. In fact there has been no contrary hypothesis suggested!?

    Oh yea, there is another hypothesis, that the earth is about 4.5 billion years old, that the universe is about 16 billion years old, and that the universe started as a pinpoint, expanding, well explosively. I hear there’s quite a bit of evidenciary support for these positions.

    eligoodwin, which is is, creationism can’t be tested, or your statement begins with a false premise? It can only be one or the other.

    About ID, well, ID itself is a meta-theory, encompassing a bunch of sub-theories. The best known of these theories is the theory of irreduceable complexity. Behe has suggested that the bacterial flagellum is one such irreduceably complex system. His theory has been published for some years. So far there have been a few attempts to refute his theory which have been published in the literature.

    Oops, that’s not right. I thought that IC was not scientifically testable. Wrong again. All that the scientific community needs to show is a mutation event by mutation event pattern from a bacteria without a flagellum to a bacteria with a flagellum, experimentally establishing in each case that the bacteria shows advantage.

    Again, eligoodwin, which is is, ID can’t be tested, or your statement begins with a false premise? It can only be one or the other.

    C’mon eligoodwin, fess up — can’t be tested right? Surely you wouldn’t begin with a false premise.

  10. 10

    gpuccio [4], no doubt Mr. Kendall will soon learn that creationism has nothing in common with ID. Nothing. At least not in public.

    It is interesting that when UD was more of a William Dembski project, the separation of creationism and ID was absolute. Indeed, “ID is not creationism” might have been seen as a central claim of the movement. More recently, creationist sources are cited willy-nilly alongside ID and regular science sources, DLH [7] refers to “creation science” as though creationism were science, and DLH and bFast defends the falsifiability of both ID and creationism [9]. These are just examples from this thread.

    Have the posters at UD become comfortable with the idea that ID is a kind of creationism, or is it something else: that ID and creationism are “fellow travelers,” to use the old Marxist language, in a common fight, and are allied together against standard evolutionary biology?

  11. David,

    Creationism is faith. Basically, it says the Bible is authoritative about how the Earth and life came about so how it says the the Earth and life came about are how they came about. Because it is faith, it can’t be falsified.

    ID is science. It says applying methodologies of design detection to life indicates life to be designed. It says nothing about the age of the Earth. It says nothing about common descent. It says nothing about who the designer is. It is science and it can be falsified.

  12. 12

    tribune7 [11], for a science, ID says nothing about a whole lot of things. It would be good for ID’s credibility if ID wasn’t just agnostic on such things as the age of the earth but if ID accepted on principle all of these things — including common descent. But Dembski doesn’t believe in common descent, Kenyon is s young-earther, etc. etc.

    If it can’t do that, it should stop citing creationist arguments — if, as you say, creationism is faith not science (other ID supporters on this very thread would disagree).

  13. David:

    Indeed, it’s very simple. The separation of creationism and ID “is” absolute. There is no doubt about that. Creationism is a way of thinking, and ID is another way. They are not necessarily incompatible, but they are completely different.

    Creation science is a well defined movement of thought. That’s the way it is usually known with. Calling it with its usual name does not mean one agrees that it is science. I don’t. But if I had to speak about it, I would still call it “creation science”, because that’s how they call themselves.

    I have been posting on this blog for some good time, and I have never, never used a religious argument in an ID discussion. I have sometimes discussed some very general religious issues when the discussion was about religious issues and not about ID, but personally I never discuss faith issues here. I am a religious person, but my faith does not need ID. And I am a scientific person and a scientific ID supporter, but my science does not need my faith.

    So, as you can see, for me ID and creationism “are” absolutely separate. May be there are others in the ID field, whose positions I certainly respect,who would not support such an absolute separation, but I do. And, like me, most of ID supporters here.

    I am really surprised that there are still anti ID people who, like you, prefer to cast doubts about ID motivations, rather than address its arguments. But, again, I can respect the positions of all, while not agreeing with them.

  14. for a science, ID says nothing about a whole lot of things.

    Neither does Newton’s first law. You’ll agree that that’s a science, right?

    But Dembski doesn’t believe in common descent,

    Behe does. What difference doest it make? If life is designed, life is designed regardless of what one things about common descent.

    If it can’t do that, it should stop citing creationist arguments

    What specific creationist argument is being cited and who is citing it?

  15. David:

    common descent and earth age are important issues, but they are not relevant to ID proper. I don’t understand why you say that

    “It would be good for ID’s credibility if ID wasn’t just agnostic on such things as the age of the earth but if ID accepted on principle all of these things — including common descent”

    It is as if you requested from a good medical doctor an act of faith about the age of earth before allowing him to discuss medical issues. Why? Are you a priest, or what?

    A medical doctor can have a personal faith which brings him to believe in a young eart, and still be a good medical doctor. Personally, I am absolutely convinced that the earcth is billion years old, but a couple of the best ID supporters I know are YEC, and I respect their faith, and above all the fact that their faith does not interfere with their ID reasoning.

    As for common descent, I accept it as the best explanation at present, but I have some reservations, whose nature is purely scientific, and has nothing to do with my faith: my faith has no problem with the concept of common descent.

  16. 16

    gpuccio [13], you seem like a good bloke (I’m assuming you’re a male). I don’t want to use motivations to cast doubt on ID. Frankly, I don’t think ID’s arguments hold up for a moment on their own terms.

    I do think the motivations of major figures on both sides are interesting, historically and culturally. That was my reason for raising the conflation of ID and creationism. I would say the same thing about anybody who conflated — as some do — a belief in the findings of evolutionary biology and atheism.

    I would support that kind of equal treatment, though not equal treatment of ID as science, because it hasn’t established any scientific legitimacy.

    As an aside, it would be nice if others didn’t keep casting doubt on my motivations, including my religious beliefs, which they really know nothing about.

  17. 17

    gpuccio [15], I think the age of the earth and common descent are relevant, because they are both related to the question ID keeps answering with “designed!” — that is, how did we get here?

    In that respect, your medical analogy is misleading. The situation is more like discovering that your doctor believes in homeopathy, “healing touch,” and the healing power of crystals. Even if the doctor doesn’t use these things on me, I’m not going to trust him on issues related to the body. I’m going to think he’s a quack. And I would be right.

  18. David:

    The question ID is trying to answer is not “how did we get here”. That is indeed a philosophical, or religious, problem. The question in ID is “how did the functionally specified complex information we observe in biological beings originate?”

    Now, I am not denying that the age of earth or common descent are relevant to that problem. They are, but only indirectly. And you must understand that beliefe in a young earth is based on some very specific form of faith. I respect faith in any individual, because it is based on factors which I can not judge. But you are right that it must not interfere with a person’s job.

    So, let’s say that an YEC believes in ID science and argues against darwinism. We have two possibilities here. If he argues on the basis of his faith, then he is doing creation science. I would respect his position, but I would never agree with him. In that case, his argument could sound like that: “As the earth is 4000 years old, darwinist mechanisms cannot generate biological information”.

    But if he never refers to his private religious faith, and argues that: “even if we accept the usual estimate for the age of earth, darwinian mechanisms cannot generate biological information”, them why should we hold his personal faith against him? Are you really arguing that we can never accept a scientist, or any other professional, if we know that he has some conviction which we find bizarre?

    Well, I can. Indeed, I do that every day. I will confess to you, as we are in a very private context, that I usually find the convictions of many good people “bizarre”, at least for me. Indeed, I find the convictions of practically all darwinists (including you) very bizarre, but still I am very happy to discuss with them scientific matters.

  19. 19

    gpuccio [18],

    The question ID is trying to answer is not “how did we get here”. That is indeed a philosophical, or religious, problem. The question in ID is “how did the functionally specified complex information we observe in biological beings originate?”

    Your ID question is just “how did we get here” at a greater level of abstraction. Also, it uses FSCI, a particular — and, I have argued elsewhere, mightily idiosyncratic — term.

    Actually, we’re both wrong, because ID knows the answer. A better way of putting my version would be

    How did we not get here without design?

    A better way of asking your question would be

    How does the functionally specified complex information we observe in biological beings require design?

    As far as I can tell, in ID, the answer “design” is already provided. The point is to show it.

  20. David:

    you are shifting from the point at issue, and asking me a detailed discussion of ID. Why do you do that? Your points were very specific, and I have answered them specifically. Please, don’t just evade into new points at each post.

    Obviously ID shows why the answer “design” is the most reasonable. The answer is in no way “already provided”. Have you ever read ID sources? Have you ever read this blog? You can agree with our points or not, but just stating that in ID the answer “design” is already provided is absolutely unfair.

  21. 21

    gpuccio, sorry if I seemed to be evading. I thought we’d come to some understanding on the creationism issue, though I still think it’s very bad on every level for ID not to cut loose from those completely.

    So, as to the issue of whether the answer is provided, I was just thinking out loud, as I tend to do. On that issue we will have to disagree. I do think the answer is assumed. I don’t think there’s a chance in the world that an IDer would respond to the question — the way you framed ID —

    how did the functionally specified complex information we observe in biological beings originate?

    with the answer “by [these specific] natural mechanisms.” In fact, I don’t think the IDer would or even, in a sense, could answer with anything other than “design.” Anything less would be insufficiently ID, and anything more specific would start to sound like creationism.
    As to what I’ve read, I’ve read this blog for a couple of years. Of Dembski, I’ve rad TDI, ID, and NFL; of Behe, I’ve read Darwin’s Black Box and The Edge of Evolution; I’ve also read Wells’s Icons, the textbook Of Pandas and People, most of Philip Johnson’s books, the anthology on Darwin Design and Education, and a bunch of essays here and there. The ID classics, as it were. I’ve also read a fair amount of the “primary literature” in ID, including the Mayer article on taxonomic categories. I think in virtually all that material, the answer begins and ends with “design.”

  22. ID is dressed up creationism and still rests upon an unverifiable premise. Instead of a god being responsible for things we cannot yet explain, an “intelligence” is responsible. Can IDists demonstrate this intelligence they speak of? What is the difference? The Dover trial pointed out the silliness of trying to separate them–an “intelligent design” text (Pandas and People) simply using ctrl+F to replace creationism/creator with intelligent design/intelligence.

  23. David and eligoodwin:

    Again, I am not trying to discuss here the whole ID theory. My point is only that ID does not “begin” with the answer “design”, it “arrives” to the answer “design” through a well defined theory. I understand that you don’t like and accept that theory, and that’s fine for me. I would like to discuss with you the details of our different points of view, but again this thread does not look like the appropriate place.

    But I am often here at UD, and I will be happy to understand better why David thinks that ID “begins” with its answer, or that FSCI is a “mightily idiosyncratic term”, or why eligoodwin seems to ignore all our points, often repeated, about the connection between conscious intelligence and design, and the very explicit differences between creationism and ID, and still rely on the supposed scientific or philosophical “authority” of the Dover trial.

  24. Creationism has produced 0 models and does not have any explanatory power regarding trends we see in biology. Intelligent design/creationism is not a theory–it is an untestable hypothesis and therefore cannot be science.

    Russell Humphreys made some predictions back in the 1980s and they have been borne out by the evidence…

    As I mentioned on the CMI website earlier,3,4 I have been eagerly awaiting the results, because in 1984 I made scientific predictions—based on Scripture—about the magnetic fields of a number of planets, including that of Mercury.5 Spacecraft measurements6,7 have validated three of the predictions, highlighted in red in the web version of the 1984 article. The remaining prediction was:

    Mercury’s decay rate is so rapid that some future probe could detect it fairly soon. In 1990 the planet’s magnetic moment should be 1.8 percent smaller than its 1975 value [measured by the Mariner 10 spacecraft].

    link

  25. David Kellogg,

    The point is to study the design in the hope of being able to answer questions about it.

    However FIRST one has to determine whether or not design is present.

    And as you have already been told it is a design INFERENCE- meaning we do NOT start with the answer of design, we infer it via observations and experience.

  26. eligoodwin,

    Can YOU demonstrate the power of an acumulation of genetic accidents?

    Ya see all YOU have to do is to actually suppoprt YOUR position with real, not imagined, scientific data/ observations.

    And until you do so ID will be around.

  27. ID has become the love that dare not speak its name.

  28. I’ve always found this young earth creation study interesting:

    http://www.icr.org/article/114/

    along with a follow up assessment which bolsters the previous material:

    http://www.creationresearch.or.....Helium.htm

    There’s also the research paper by the researchers themselves found here for those who like technical details:

    http://static.icr.org/i/pdf/te.....-Decay.pdf

    Dare I say that there are consistent empirical scientific studies by creation science organizations?

    I’ll admit, I’m hesitant to post something like this on an ID website because the idea that creation science and ID supporters going hand in hand has been quite turbulent (First noticed when I saw the link for the young cosmos blog removed along with the sudden absence of Scordova). It seems that just as many IDers are willing to write off creation science as evolutionists but in this case moreso to avoid being dismissed by the Darwinist lobby.

    I’m all for academic freedom, and while I have no problem with people differentiating the goals between ID and creation science, it seems to me that “creationism” is actually being alienated from the “free marketplace of ideas” even by IDers regardless of how scientific some creationist ideas and follow-up research are.

    However this post alone is refreshing in such light mentioned before. For that I give my thanks DLH. You da man!

  29. David Kellogg:

    DLH and bFast defends the falsifiability of both ID and creationism [9]. These are just examples from this thread.

    The difference between ID and Creationism is in the nature of falsification.

    Creationism is falsified when its 6000 year premise is falsified. To most, including myself, the falsification is unequivical. Therefore creationism is a refuted hypothesis.

    ID theories, such as IC would be falsified if pathways to irreduceably complex things could be proven to exist. I have not seen a compelling case refuting the IC of the flagellum. If I see such a case, my faith in IC will be severly challenged.

    Notice that I use the term faith. This is not a religious term, or at least not a term that is exclusively owned by religion. I also believe that the big bang theory is correct — dispite Hawking’s latest musing that the universe may have contracted to become the size of a basketball, rather than being a singularity at some point.

    eligoodwin:

    Instead of a god being responsible for things we cannot yet explain, an “intelligence” is responsible.

    Now you are implying the following premise: “god = unfalsifiability”. What if all of the science showed a 6,000 year old earth and universe? Would the god hypothesis be unfounded?

    Your faith seems to be in “yet”. You seem to think that the answer to every “gap” is “yet” — as in we don’t understand abiogenesis “yet”. Behe presents a case, very similar to Heizenberg’s case for “uncertainty” that you can’t get there from here by road, that logic dictates that there is no path up mount improbable. The challenge, “We can determine that there can be no path up mount improbable” is a very different case than, “we haven’t yet found a path up mount improbable.” His hypthesis is of the kind, “falsfiable”. If a path up mount improable can be found, his hypothesis is falsified. God need not be part of the equation. Intelligence need not be part of the equation. Behe has not said “we don’t know how to get there from here”, he has said, “we can logically prove that one can’t get there from here via the Darwinian method.” He further demonstrates a method of getting there from here, a well trod path. That path is the influence of an intelligent agent. This is simple logic, this is simple science. You can’t get past it with weak philosophy.

  30. 30
    SaintMartinoftheFields

    Brave student. I hope the Darwinists who show up for the screening of Expelled are respectfull.

  31. Hi PaulN,
    This is a little off-topic, but since you know the man perhaps you could answer.
    I keep hearing form anti-IDers that Dean Kenyon is a YEC as if they are all reading from the same pamphlet (Matzke recently made the claim).
    This seems odd to me since Kenyon wrote the book on abiogenesis which, I presume, takes as its staring point an “old” earth.
    And then their is the Johnson article online entitled “Dean Kenyon, Old Earth Creationist”.

    So, do I need to pick up the latest pamphlet?
    Is he, in fact, a YEC?

  32. Creationism/ID rests upon some “intelligent agency” being responsible for life–creationists call it a god IDists call it “intelligence.” I ask what is the difference?

    Creationism/ID has no descriptive power, because it cannot answer how. How was it designed? It was designed. By what? Intelligence. Where is it?

  33. Creationism/ID has no descriptive power, because it cannot answer how. How was it designed?

    can you explain how molecules became self-replicating and then became alive? so how does evolution have any descriptive power? evolution cannot tell us what the next ‘evolution’ of bacterial anti-biotics resistance will be..what good is it?

    all evolution can say is ‘it happened’ no matter what happens…’it evolves’ ‘it happened’

  34. Creationism is falsified when its 6000 year premise is falsified. To most, including myself, the falsification is unequivical. Therefore creationism is a refuted hypothesis.

    you do know that there are old earth creationists like Hugh Ross?

  35. eligoodwin,

    Atheists like yourself have to make absurd statements to back up your worldview. For example,

    “How was it designed?”

    There is something called synthetic biology so the question of how is not a big issue. They expect to have their own cell in 5-10 years.

  36. 36
    SaintMartinoftheFields

    Hi Charlie,

    I’m not sure if I can be of any help but let me try. Opponents of ID say all kinds of things about people doing design research.

    From what I remember reading in Lee Strobel’s THE CASE FOR A CREATOR, Prof. Kenyon is not a YEC.

    On the Evolutionary News and Views website it mentioned that Dr. Kenyon was Roman Catholic, so I doubt that he is a proponent of a young earth/universe.

  37. Thanks SaintMartin,
    Unfortunately the age of the earth is not raised in the sections mentioning Kenyon.
    Most of the references are to his repudiation of his earlier work on the biochemical evolution.

  38. PaulN,

    The answer is simple:

    In the USA there exists an irony- the (alleged?) separation between church and State vs. academic freedom.

    And seeing that Creation is overtly religious it runs into that issue, which is so arbitrary some people don’t want to deal with it.

    It is that issue which is the cause for all alleged alienation.

  39. eligoodwin at 32

    You apparently have not done your homework yet.

    “How was it designed? It was designed. By what? Intelligence. Where is it?”

    Was the computer you are using designed?
    By what? (sic. – By whom?)
    Where is it? (sic. Where is that designer?)

    Those are each separate questions. Let us know when you can understand the logical chain of causation.
    Then when you recognize that some link can be distinguished from stochastic processes without identifying the entire chain.

    Add that to your homework assign in #7.

    Start using a grammar checker, seeing you have not learned the basics of English grammar.

  40. Charlie,

    Dean Kenyon began heavily indoctrinated in evolutionary theory from what I know of him. He co-authored the book titled “Biochemical Predestination” which founds a lot of the Darwinist opposition we see today. It was only through thorough experimentation and research much of which involved the NASA facility that he deemed his own theory implausible. I believe the central proposals to his theory related to how amino acids could possibly chain together of their own accord or by natural processes in the infamous “pre-biotic soup” not only to form proteins, but functional ones at that.

    He eventually admitted after his exasperating amounts of research and experimentation that his theory reached the “intellectual breaking point” in which he could no longer justify or rationalize the theory’s grounding in reality. He also did this in light of a more intellectually satisfying approach to biology: through the lens of an engineer. In this sense it can be said that biology only makes sense not in light of evolution, but rather bio-mechanical systems engineering/design and information processing =).

    I’m sorry to say however, that I have not had the pleasure of meeting or knowing Dr. Kenyon personally, so I cannot directly answer your question. Unfortunately I cannot speak for his stance on young/old earth creation, but I’d have to agree with SaintMartinoftheFields in that he is most likely an old-earther. Hope this helps!

  41. Crap I just noticed that the links I posted earlier just bring you back to this page. Let me try that again:

    First Link:

    http://www.icr.org/article/114/

    “along with a follow up assessment which bolsters the previous material:”

    http://www.creationresearch.or.....Helium.htm

    “There’s also the research paper by the researchers themselves found here for those who like technical details:”

    http://static.icr.org/i/pdf/te.....-Decay.pdf

    Looks like I need to brush up on my html tags haha.

  42. Joseph,

    Thanks for the sound reasoning on the issue! I just still don’t feel that the creation scientists who do valid studies should be alienated from the ID camp in particular for being overtly religious (This is coming from the mentality that if ID is indeed neutral to varying religious world views, then its supporters should have no problem with complimentary studies that are overtly religious, regardless of the religion).

    I personally see nothing wrong with sound evidence that supports a biblical world view. I agree that many are willing to just write us off simply by association to religious texts, but then again that’s probably more due to the damaging bias that the secular society enforced with said separation of church and state.

    Something semi on-topic: A quote from one of America’s founding fathers =):

    “Every civil government is based upon some religion or philosophy of life. Education in a nation will propagate the religion of that nation. In America, the foundational religion was Christianity. And it was sown in the hearts of Americans through the home and private and public schools for centuries. Our liberty, growth, and prosperity was the result of a Biblical philosophy of life. Our continued freedom and success is dependent on our educating the youth of America in the principles of Christianity.”

    -Noah Webster

  43. Paul,

    The solution is to take away the “creation” part, and just be a scientist.

    Then when if some outcome supports a Biblical PoV, then so be it.

  44. Man, are we silly or what? Endlessly parsing every word a college freshman says in a short blurb that is intended to make a fairly simple point: challenges to the consensus view (undirected, random, chance mutations and natural selection ALONE can do it all) simply are NOT allowed — and that’s not a recipe for good science.

    Creationism has NOTHING to do with ID. Creationism attempts to reconcile “science” with a sacred text and a particular interpretation of that text. ID, on the other hand, operates in the same arena as forensics, cryptography, archaeology, and SETI in that it is focused on detection of design (within biology in the case of ID). Period. End of sentence. While there are clearly metaphysical implications of a design inference within biology, those implications are outside the scope of ID proper — as any fair-minded person will admit. Requiring ID to “predict” things about the identity of the designer is like requiring a medical examiner to predict the precise identity of the person that committed a murderer. That’s not the way the detection sciences work.

  45. Reading this tyhread, I am frustrated by the use of loaded and confusing terms like evolution and creationism. I believe in evolution (micro-evolution) and yet I would be hard pressed to call myself an evolutionist. I believe that living organizms were created millions of years ago and yet I would be unhappy to be called a creationist. I just don’t know the proper label to apply to someone as myself. Somebody help me, please. I am having an identity crisis.

  46. Mapou
    Have you considered being a thoughtful person and exploring Intelligent Design as a scientific meta theory on its own right?
    Does not require belief in creation. Allows for recognizing some variation (“micro-evolution”) has occurred. Focuses on the issue that all observed complexity is better explained on the basis of intelligent causation rather than stochastic processes.

  47. eligoodwin:

    Creationism/ID has no descriptive power, because it cannot answer how.

    Since when does science “owe you” descriptive power. Since when is not knowing “how” a science stopper. And, prey tell, how the %$#@* did the big bang happen anyway? by your logic, If science doesn’t answer the “how” of the big bang, then the big bang is not science!

  48. 48

    Is descriptive power truly too much to ask of a science?

  49. DLH–your condescension is delightful. Within the the “theory” of intelligent design it is implied an intelligent agency is responsible for things science supposedly cannot explain, hence the “design detection.” The premise of the theory relies on an such an agency existing, but can you demonstrate such an entity?

  50. “Is descriptive power truly too much to ask of a science?”

    Apparently when it comes to macro evolution, it is for the current evolutionary synthesis, the only science where one’s imagination counts as evidence.

  51. If you are going to call genomic and character evidence imaginary…

  52. PaulN (28)

    “I’ve always found this young earth creation study interesting:

    http://www.icr.org/article/114/

    It’s certainly interesting, but the evidence given does not actually support a young earth for the reasons given in the following paper:

    http://www.talkorigins.org/faq.....rcons.html

    The willingness to discard obsolete hypotheses when the evidence disproves them is perhaps the single most important faculty for scientists. If creation science wants to be taken seriously then its adherents must start discarding their theories when the objective evidence is clearly against them.

  53. eligoodwin:

    Within the the “theory” of intelligent design it is implied an intelligent agency is responsible for things science supposedly cannot explain, hence the “design detection.”

    That is false. Science helps us explain things that are designed on a daily basis.

    And it is those things that cannot be explained by reduction to matter, energy, chance and necessity, which also have a specification characteristic, that we then infer were designed.

    The premise of the theory relies on an such an agency existing, but can you demonstrate such an entity?

    So you are NOT interested in science and instead require proof.

    Can YOU demonstrate the power of accumulating genetic accidents?

    Those magical mystery mutations are some powerful stuff.

    Too bad they still remain a mystery. But their magical powers are legendary…

  54. Gaz, the rebuttals to your article are found here:

    http://www.trueorigin.org/helium01.asp

    and here:


    http://www.trueorigin.org/helium02.asp

    The main argument the Talkorigins article proposes is that the temperature and pressure at the given depth of the samples would have thrown the results off by an order of up to 6 magnitudes. The rebuttal to this central claim and made by Henke can be summed up by saying the margin of error of the rate of helium diffusion in zircon crystals has been experimentally verified to be proportionate to the hardness of the material.

    The example Henke uses to dispute Humphrey’s data is the effect of pressure and heat on the diffusion in Mica, which is about a 2 on the Mohs scale, thereby making it very susceptible to heat and pressure as he showed the results being effected by up to 2 orders of magnitude. However Zircon crystals are a 7.5 on the Mohs scale, this is harder than steel and quarts, which thereby leaves a verified margin of error of up to 20%, which is significantly lower than the 6 orders of magnitude that Henke originally cited.

    The rebuttals to the central claim and the rest of the arguments made in the TalkOrigin article can be found in the links I have provided if you’re truly interested. But in a nutshell, basically Henke’s arguments show a lack of thorough review of the research and experimentation done by the RATE team, most likely due to not taking them seriously in the first place. This directly ties into and lives as an example of why Academic Freedom should be supported.

    The willingness to discard obsolete hypotheses when the evidence disproves them is perhaps the single most important faculty for scientists. If creation science wants to be taken seriously then its adherents must start discarding their theories when the objective evidence is clearly against them.

    *sigh* The same could be said about Darwinists…

  55. PaulN (54),

    I suggest you read the Appendices to Henke’s paper. In response to the specific point you make, I draw the following from Appendix C:

    ” Dr. Humphreys needs to explain why he continues to ignore the contents of Dunai and Roselieb (1996) and the consequences this article raises for his agenda. I have repeatedly cited this article in both my original March, 2005 essay and my November, 2005 update. Dunai and Roselieb (1996) deals with the SLOW diffusion of helium through garnet, a HARD silicate like zircon. Dunai and Roselieb (1996, p. 412-413) feared that garnets would be too unstable under a vacuum for their experiments. As an alternative, they exposed their garnets to helium under high pressures (250 bars), subsequently measured the amount of the helium incorporated into the garnets, and then calculated the diffusion of helium in the minerals. Garnets are silicate minerals that retain helium very well over time, even at high temperatures. Dunai and Roselieb (1996) concluded that even at high temperatures (700°C), helium would take TENS to HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF YEARS TO PARTIALLY DIFFUSE out of garnets. They also discuss the possibility of excess helium in garnets, which Dr. Humphreys should think about with his zircons. Because garnets, like zircons, are hard silicates, the proclamations in Humphreys (2006) on mineral hardness are hardly relevant. The question is, once the defects in his zircons begin to close under pressure would the diffusion of helium in Dr. Humphreys’ zircons behave more like these garnets? Again, Dr. Humphreys needs to be responsible and perform these experiments.”

    And further to your statement that “the same could be said about Darwinists”, let me ask you directly:

    (a) what objective evidence disproves Darwinism, and

    (b) explain why.

  56. PaulN (54),

    Just to add to the previous post I made on this – the Appendices C and D to the Henke paper were written after and in response to the Humphreys articles you posted from true origin.

  57. eligoodwin at 49

    You still have not done the homework assigned you in 7 and 39!

    You said:

    “hence the “design detection.” The premise of the theory relies on an such an agency existing, but can you demonstrate such an entity?”

    False logic.
    1) The agency can be presumed without demonstrating such an entity.
    2) The design methodology is to provide evidence for the existence of such an intelligent cause.
    (i.e., In contrast to materialism which presupposes that everything can be explained by excluding such intelligent causation.)

    Try telling an anthropologist that he has to demonstrate the entity that created the flint arrowheads before accepting them as of human origin.

    Newton formulated the inverse squared law.
    Yet has science ever explained “What” gravitation “IS”?

    I repeat your assignment in 39:

    1) Was the computer you are using designed?
    2) By what? (sic. – By whom?)
    3) Where is it? (sic. Where is that designer?)

    If you are not willing to answer those basic questions, how can you expect your superficial questions to be taken seriously?

    Can you demonstrate that you understand the logical chain of causation in engineering and computer science?

    Explain the basis for reverse engineering?

    Show an understanding of software architecture recovery?

    How does science distinguish laws of nature from stochastic processes?

    How does forensic science distinguish between human and natural causation?

    If you have a victim with a bullet to the head, is that;
    A) a stochastic process,
    B) evidence of animal causation, or
    C) evidence of human causation?

    Was the obelisk in Space Odyssey 2001 an artifact or a natural object?
    On what basis do you answer?
    Or do you refrain to avoid self incrimination?

    Can you seriously address issues or are you just a Darwinian parrot, evolving from one sound bite to the next?

    If you want more than condescension, show yourself a scholar and a gentleman, and grapple with real issues.

  58. DLH (57),

    Far be it from me to answer a question to eligoodwin, but I felt you questions weren’t of the same nature as the question put by eligoodwin. For example, your point:

    “Try telling an anthropologist that he has to demonstrate the entity that created the flint arrowheads before accepting them as of human origin”

    is somewhat offbeam. Flint arrowheads are known to be made by humans because they have been found with the remains of humans and other artifacts made or used by humans (and also the stone tools used for making arrowheads).

    There is no such associated evidence for ID.

    Furthermore, an anthropologist is still expected to provide evidence as to the type of human (primarily culturally, but for older tools it could be the species/subspecies of human). In that regard, an anthropologist IS expected to provide evidence of the designer. Why shouldn’t ID be hled to the same standards?

    You then ask about gravitation:

    “Newton formulated the inverse squared law.
    Yet has science ever explained “What” gravitation “IS”?”

    That’s not entirely true – general relativity provides an explanation which gives an excellent fit to the observed evidence (better than Newton provided over two centures before), and scientists are looking for yet more evidence to bolster their understanding (e.g. looking for gravitons). There may be a yet better explanation.

    But both these examples demonstrate the main feature of science that ID kills off by refusing to consider the designer: science is built up by small bits of evidence, with the occasional great leap, painstakingly searched for in mud layers, or rock strata, or particle colliders, or telescopes. Science is like a house built brick by brick – someone puts a brick here, another a tile there. With ID, nothing can be built: all avenues are cut off because no-one is prepared to talk about the designer.

    And ID COULD be used to talk about the designer. For example, design events could be located in time – say, lungs were considered something that had to be designed, therefore there must have been a design event when we find the first lunged creatures (Devonian? Carboniferous?) and therefore there was a designer of some sort at that point in time. It’s by small bricks like that that the science of ID would have to be built up.

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