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John Lynch: “I Admit It… I Teach Intelligent Design”

Arizona State University Professor of Evolutionary Biology John Lynch admits he teaches something on the topic of intelligent design. I shudder to think what it is he teaches about it but that’s neither here nor there for the point I’m about to make.

Biology profs all tell us (or it seems like all of them) that teaching evolution at the high school level is done in some measure to prepare students for what they’ll encounter at the college level.

Okay. College preparation. I’ll buy that. A very reasonable position statement. However, if they’re also teaching ID at the college level, what justification is there for banning the mere mention of ID at the high school level? Shouldn’t we be preparing high school students for what they’ll encounter in college with regard to ID in the same way we prepare them for evolution?

I’d like John to explain the schism here. Why is it justifiable to teach whole chapters about evolution in the name of prepping high school children for college but the mere mention of ID to them is verboten?

On an aside, my daughter’s teacher in Biology 101 assigned the class a writing project to compare and contrast the modern synthesis with intelligent design so I already knew that it was being taught on college campuses by biology teachers. It seems John’s not at all unusual in that regard. The unusual thing, if any, might be admitting he teaches it.

Update: In Cobb County, the sticker didn’t mention ID or religion. It just said evolution is a theory, not a fact, and should be carefully studed and critically considered. Even that was too much for Darwinists. Maybe in college they teach that evolution is a fact that can’t be criticised and that’s what high schoolers are being prepped for, eh? Yes, I think that must be it. -ds

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42 Responses to John Lynch: “I Admit It… I Teach Intelligent Design”

  1. A past evolution (reproductive continuity with creative change) is undeniable and is probably no longer going on. As yet there is no suitable working hypothesis available to explain how it occurred. Chance had nothing to do with it however. That much has now been firmly established.

    The above statement should be included in every high school and college textbbook as an introductory mandate. Whatever follows matters very little as it will all be conjecture anyway.

  2. Professor Davison, YOU are unusual. And I mean that in a good way. :-)

  3. John Davison wrote:
    “A past evolution (reproductive continuity with creative change) is undeniable….”

    The data can be also explained in terms of ID theory:
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....chives/687

    “Designer Reuse – One of the positive cases for Intelligent Design is the observation of the ways designers act when designing. Intelligent agents often ‘re-use’ functional components that work over and over in different systems.” William Dembski.

    Jonathan Rosenblum wrote about the problem of extrapolation of observations:
    “The mechanism by which nature is alleged to have fashioned a single ancestor into both whales and man has never been observed. Indeed, its existence is based on a wild extrapolation from the commonplace observation that within a single species different traits provide a survival advantage in certain circumstances – e.g., black moths fare better vis-a-vis predators against a sooty backdrop and light moths do better in a clean environment. That’s a long way from creating new species.”
    http://www.jpost.com/servlet/S.....%2FPrinter

  4. There are really only two options, as I see it, either novel species were set to unfold at certain intervals, based on quantum level programming – something like what Dr. Davison is saying, or the creative intelligence directly intervened and produced them. Both of these explanations fit very well with a fossil record which shows the abrupt appearance of unique body plans.

    Darwinian Gradualism, on the other hand, is not reflected in the fossil record.

  5. Bombadill

    “There are really only two options, as I see it”

    I see those plus a number of others. One of my favorites is that intelligent agency is in a computational system (a neural network capable of learning) embedded in the DNA molecule with known and possibly some unknown mobile elements and retroviruses acting as logic gates, random access memory, and communication pipelines (within the scope of science). Quantum computing elements, moreover, in just a small number of hardware elements, theoretically have the computing horsepower to accomplish the holy grail of genetic engineering – predicting how strings of amino acids will fold into functionally dimensioned proteins.

    Of course that begs the question of how the computational engine self-organized (but we’d first have to find it and reverse engineer it before we could begin to ponder how it came about) but it would certainly explain a lot of the appearance of irreducibly complex systems in living things after its appearance. Maybe it was in the first cell? If a ribosome and DNA could self-organize it seems like less of a stretch of the imagination that a simple computer could self-organize as computers are a lot (a very very very lot) LESS complex than DNA and ribosomes.

  6. Self-organization is a real property of all living systems, but I seriously doubt if it came about automatically as a basic property of matter. That’s where my dead Gods come into the picture. There had to be two as I see it. They both did themselves in setting things up I’m afraid. It was a monumental effort don’t you know.

    “You are lost and gone forever,
    Oh my darling Clementine.”

  7. You’re starting to sound like a Cult leader, Dr. Davison.

    *hides under desk.

  8. You mean like Richard Dawkins? No way Jose or whatever your real name is.

  9. Can we please keep the comments ON TOPIC from here on?

    No one but Davison has addressed the subject matter of the article – namely if we can teach evolution to high schoolers to prep them for college level instruction in evolution why can’t we even whisper the phrase “intelligent design” when that’s also something taught at the college level?

    Don’t make me start ripping out everything but relevant comments.

  10. namely if we can teach evolution to high schoolers to prep them for college level instruction in evolution why can’t we even whisper the phrase “intelligent design” when that’s also something taught at the college level?

    Because in order to understand a controversial criticism of a well-established theory, one has to have a solid basis for understanding said theory. In short, high school students aren’t ready for intelligent design. There are many things taught in college that aren’t appropriate for high school, and for many different reasons. Just because ID is discussed in college classrooms doesn’t mean it is ready for high school.

    Oh my. What horrible thing do you suppose will happen, Aldo? Can a physics teacher say the words black hole, big bang, quantum mechanics, or string theory? High school kids aren’t equipped to understand those either. -ds

  11. ON TOPIC:
    Here is the comment I posted on John Lynch’s blogsite:
    ….
    Dr. Lynch wrote:
    “For example, my BIO/HPS: Origins, Evolution and Creation course has been dealing with ID since its inception….”

    The title of your course suggests that while you may be dealing with Creationism, you may not be aware of the distinction between Creationism and Intelligent Design. I’m not being critical: knowledge of ID and it’s distinction is growing, but there remains quite a lot of confusion.

    I am aware that Evolutionists in general assert there is no difference and Judge Jones in the Dover case ruled there is no difference. I try to attribute the confusion to honest misunderstanding rather than deliberate misrepresentation.

    Nevertheless, there is a difference between ID theory and creationism. As with any theory, it would seem only fair to ask those who are involved in the theory’s development what THEY mean, what their definition is.

    As an analogy, if I want to know what Democrats stand for, it’s only fair to ask a Democrat: a Republican may give me a version of Democrat policy proposals somewhat unflattering to the proposals. If I understand the Democrat, I still may not agree, but at least I will have been fair.

    The most recent article addressing this very subject by an active ID theorist is an article written by Dr. Stephen Meyer published Jan. 28, 2006 in the Daily Telegraph of London titled: “Intelligent design is not creationism”. Here is the link:
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/opi.....do2803.xml

    Stephen C. Meyer earned his Ph.D. in the History and Philosophy of Science from Cambridge University for a dissertation on the history of origin of life biology and the methodology of the historical sciences. He is also director and Senior Fellow of the Center for Science and Culture at the Discovery Institute, in Seattle.

    G. Jennings
    Houston, TX
    ….

  12. Red Reader said:
    “I am aware that Evolutionists in general assert there is no difference and Judge Jones in the Dover case ruled there is no difference. I try to attribute the confusion to honest misunderstanding rather than deliberate misrepresentation.”

    Judge Jones based his understanding of Intelligent Design on the testimony of Behe, Minnich and Fuller. Dembski, Meyer and others were asked to provide testimony and rebuttal also, but they chose not to (for personal and legal reasons.)
    As an ID supporter, I don’t think it’s fair to keep saying that opponents of ID argue against a straw man or that they misunderstand ID. Multiple times on the stand, Behe and Minnich were asked for positive scientific evidence for design and neither of them presented any; they just presented evidence against evolution (irreducible complexity, Dembski’s theorems).
    I know that some people on here (Davescot included) believe that by proving unguided evolution incorrect it will admittedly bolster the case for design (IE:guided evolution), but while that’s correct, I feel we would be better served by not talking about evolution at all, and just focusing on the detection and mechanisms of design.

  13. In pure ID theory, does the designer just draw up a design and leave the actual creation of a new plant or animal to someone else? Or is the designer also the creator?

  14. MJ wrote:
    “Judge Jones based his understanding of Intelligent Design on the testimony of Behe, Minnich and Fuller. Dembski, Meyer….”

    Unfortunately, your understanding is incorrect.
    All indications are that Judge Jones ignored the testimoney of the witnesses you listed.

    See the following:
    “Judge Jones Follows ACLU, Ignores Contrary Facts” at http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....ignor.html

    “Did Judge Jones read the evidence submitted to him in the Dover trial?”
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....chives/738

    “The Missing Legal Basis in Kitzmiller”
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....ience.html

    “DISSECTING THE DOVER DECISION”
    URL: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/archive/00002592/

  15. Red Reader:
    Are you kidding? Go back and read the judgement again, pages 79-82 (the only pages where the positive evidence for design is discussed.) The judge bases all of his logic on what Minnich and Behe said.

  16. Red Reader:
    Also, not one of those articles you posted deal with Judge Jones ruling on the positive evidence for design. They all deal with whether Judge Jones had the legal basis to rule on whether ID was science or not.

  17. Red Reader states

    Unfortunately, your understanding is incorrect.
    All indications are that Judge Jones ignored the testimoney of the witnesses you listed.

    The judgement itself seems to indicate that Judge Jones considered the evidence of Behe, Minnich and Fuller. He was not in a position to consider what Dr’s Demsbki and Meyer might have said, as they withdrew from the case.

  18. Red Reader:

    I’ll help you out with it:

    We will now consider the purportedly “positive argument” for design
    encompassed in the phrase used numerous times by Professors Behe and Minnich throughout their expert testimony, which is the “purposeful arrangement of parts.” Professor Behe summarized the argument as follows: We infer design when we see parts that appear to be arranged for a purpose. The strength of the inference is quantitative; the more parts that are arranged, the more intricately they interact, the stronger is our confidence in design. The appearance of design in aspects of biology is overwhelming. Since nothing other than an intelligent cause has been demonstrated to be able to yield such a strong appearance of design, Darwinian claims notwithstanding, the conclusion that the design seen in life is real design is rationally justified. (18:90-91, 18:109-10 (Behe); 37:50 (Minnich)). As previously indicated, this argument is merely a restatement of the Reverend William Paley’s argument applied at the cell level. Minnich, Behe, and Paley reach the same conclusion, that complex organisms must have been designed using the same reasoning, except that Professors Behe and Minnich refuse to identify the
    designer, whereas Paley inferred from the presence of design that it was God. (1:6-7 (Miller); 38:44, 57 (Minnich)). Expert testimony revealed that this inductive argument is not scientific and as admitted by Professor Behe, can never be ruled out. (2:40 (Miller); 22:101 (Behe); 3:99 (Miller)).

    Indeed, the assertion that design of biological systems can be inferred from the “purposeful arrangement of parts” is based upon an analogy to human design. Because we are able to recognize design of artifacts and objects, according to Professor Behe, that same reasoning can be employed to determine biological design. (18:116-17, 23:50 (Behe)). Professor Behe testified that the strength of
    the analogy depends upon the degree of similarity entailed in the two propositions; however, if this is the test, ID completely fails.
    Unlike biological systems, human artifacts do not live and reproduce over time. They are non-replicable, they do not undergo genetic recombination, and they are not driven by natural selection. (1:131-33 (Miller); 23:57-59 (Behe)). For human artifacts, we know the designer’s identity, human, and the mechanism of design, as we have experience based upon empirical evidence that humans can
    make such things, as well as many other attributes including the designer’s abilities, needs, and desires. (D-251 at 176; 1:131-33 (Miller); 23:63 (Behe); 5:55-58 (Pennock)). With ID, proponents assert that they refuse to propose hypotheses on the designer’s identity, do not propose a mechanism, and the designer,
    he/she/it/they, has never been seen. In that vein, defense expert Professor Minnich agreed that in the case of human artifacts and objects, we know the identity and capacities of the human designer, but we do not know any of those attributes for the designer of biological life. (38:44-47 (Minnich)). In addition, Professor Behe
    agreed that for the design of human artifacts, we know the designer and its attributes and we have a baseline for human design that does not exist for design of biological systems. (23:61-73 (Behe)). Professor Behe’s only response to these seemingly insurmountable points of disanalogy was that the inference still works in
    science fiction movies. (23:73 (Behe)).

    It is readily apparent to the Court that the only attribute of design that biological systems appear to share with human artifacts is their complex appearance, i.e. if it looks complex or designed, it must have been designed.(23:73 (Behe)). This inference to design based upon the appearance of a “purposeful arrangement of parts” is a completely subjective proposition, determined in the eye of each beholder and his/her viewpoint concerning the complexity of a system. Although both Professors Behe and Minnich assert that
    there is a quantitative aspect to the inference, on cross examination they admitted that there is no quantitative criteria for determining the degree of complexity or
    number of parts that bespeak design, rather than a natural process. (23:50 (Behe);38:59 (Minnich)). As Plaintiffs aptly submit to the Court, throughout the entire trial only one piece of evidence generated by Defendants addressed the strength of the ID inference: the argument is less plausible to those for whom God’s existence
    is in question, and is much less plausible for those who deny God’s existence. (P-718 at 705).
    Accordingly, the purported positive argument for ID does not satisfy the ground rules of science which require testable hypotheses based upon natural explanations. (3:101-03 (Miller)). ID is reliant upon forces acting outside of the natural world, forces that we cannot see, replicate, control or test, which have produced changes in this world. While we take no position on whether such forces
    exist, they are simply not testable by scientific means and therefore cannot qualify as part of the scientific process or as a scientific theory. (3:101-02 (Miller)).

  19. Karen wrote:
    “In pure ID theory, does the designer just draw up a design and leave the actual creation of a new plant or animal to someone else? Or is the designer also the creator?”

    Karen, I do not presume to speak for anyone else here; neither am I the moderator of the blog. However, that’s never stopped me before.

    ID doesn’t identify the designer nor does ID attempt to explain HOW the design was implemented.

    ID first and foremost an observation of physical characteristics of things in nature–from biological systems to the mathematical constants of the universe.

    There’s a good article on the website of the Discovery Institute titled “What Intelligent Design Is—and Isn’t”. The article can be found at http://www.discovery.org/scrip.....38;id=2571

    Here is more or less the formal definition of ID as described in that article.
    ….
    ID is not a deduction from religious dogma or scripture. It’s simply the argument that certain features of the natural world—from miniature machines and digital information found in living cells, to the fine-tuning of physical constants—are best explained as the result of an intelligent cause.
    ….

    Intelligent Design theory does not rule out the possibility that God is the designer. That’s all it does. There are other possibilities that ID does not rule out.

    The only idea that ID DOES rule out is the idea expressed in Darwinian evolution that the universe and all of life are the result of freak accident coupled with blind chance, “the Blind Watchmaker” as some evolutionists refer to the (imaginary) process.

    Glenn J.

  20. MJ, looks like I touched a nerve.

    May I say rants in general aren’t all that pretty.

    Have a nice day.

  21. 21

    “Why is it justifiable to teach whole chapters about evolution in the name of prepping high school children for college but the mere mention of ID to them is verboten?”

    It’s not “the mere mention of ID” that’s forbidden. What’s forbidden is for a public school teacher to advocate a particular religious dogma, such as Biblical literalism. Unfortunatly some Biblical literalists are trying to hijack the *name* “Intelligent Design” in order to sneak their religion into the public schools…of course this has nothing to do with the *real* Intelligent Design being discussed here. As far as I know, no one has even tried to get it into the public schools. (And I do think that we need a lot more ID research before we try.)

    Also high school students are minors, which makes a difference. The courts have ruled that minors don’t necessarily have the critical thinking skills to tell whether a teacher is endorsing religion as official school policy, or as a personal statement of belief. So endorsement-of-religion issues get looked at a lot more stringently when minors are involved.

    Finally, the rules for colleges and high schools are different. High school students are required to take science classes, and they aren’t allowed to walk out even if the teacher starts evangelizing them. But a college student who doesn’t want to take a particular Biology class or a particular Religion class is free to opt-out. (Depending on what degree they’re studying for.)

    In Cobb County, the sticker didn’t mention ID or religion. It just said evolution is a theory, not a fact, and should be carefully studed and critically considered. Even that was too much for Darwinists. Maybe in college they teach that evolution is a fact that can’t be criticised and that’s what high schoolers are being prepped for, eh? Yes, I think that must be it. I think I’ll add that to the article. -ds

  22. Evolution is most certainly not a theory. It is an undeniable reality revealed in great detail by the fossil record and supported by everything we know from molecular biology, developmental biology, comparative anatomy, physiology, taxonomy and genetics. To even dream of denying it is unforgivable, inexcusable and in my carefully considered opinion without any merit whatsoever. What has always been lacking is only the MECHANISM by which it was effected. I have offered my hypothesis and all I can say is that after 22 years in the refereed literature it has yet to be even mentioned let alone challenged. Furthermore I can tell you why. It is because the ruling atheist inspired Darwinian evolutionary establishement is afraid to mention either my name or the names of my distinguished sources because they know that if they do, they will unleash a hornets nest that will reduce them to shambles in very short order. As I have said many times before, neither I nor my many sources exist because the Darwinians have decreed that we do not, will not and must not exist. A pox upon them all I say. We most certainly do exist and in the words of Joe Louis the great heavyweight champion:

    They can run but they can’t hide.

    Ask not for whom the bell tolls . It tolls for the biggest hoax in the history of western civilization.

    How do like them woody radishes? They make you burp don’t they. I hope they give Darwinians ulcers or at least an acid stomach for about a month.

    Speaking of stomachs and Darwinian homozygous mystics because that is what they all are:

    “God designed the stomach to vomit up things that were bad for it but He overlooked the human brain.”
    Konrad Adenauer

    Thank you for your wisdom Konrad. You are always there when I need you.

    I think I’ll have another drink.

  23. Red Reader,

    Thanks for your reply, but note that I never mentioned God or religion in my original questions. To my way of thinking design and creation are 2 different things. One can design without being divine, but you do need raw pre-existing raw materials. In the natural world, living things come from ancestors. Does ID theory really tell us where life forms actually come from?

    No it doesn’t. You’re quite right. ID tells us that certain complex patterns in nature are best explained by intelligent agency. That’s the beginning and end of ID. The rest is details quantifying complexity, determining probabilities, and falsifying explanations based on chance. ds

  24. John Davison wrote:
    “Evolution is most certainly not a theory. It is an undeniable reality revealed in great detail by the fossil record and supported by everything we know….”
    ….
    Macro-evolution has never been observed.

    The data we think is evidence of macro-evolution can be explained as Designer Reuse:
    “Designer Reuse – One of the positive cases for Intelligent Design is the observation of the ways designers act when designing. Intelligent agents often ‘re-use’ functional components that work over and over in different systems.” William Dembski.
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....chives/687

    The certainty with which one may repeatedly assert as “undeniable reality” can be EASILY explained as a logical method error called EXTRAPOLATION:
    “The mechanism by which nature is alleged to have fashioned a single ancestor into both whales and man has never been observed. Indeed, its existence is based on a wild extrapolation from the commonplace observation that within a single species different traits provide a survival advantage in certain circumstances – e.g., black moths fare better vis-a-vis predators against a sooty backdrop and light moths do better in a clean environment. That’s a long way from creating new species.” Jonathan Rosenblum.
    http://www.jpost.com/servlet/S.....%2FPrinter

    In every single organism that we’ve observed, where its origin can be determined, it came from another organism almost exactly like it that reproduced. Only never quite exact. Descent with modification is the only thing we’ve ever observed. When things like this happen every single time without fail they’re not deemed just theories but laws of nature. To say that this law of nature, that every organism descends from another quite like it, was broken in the past requires extraordinary evidence to support it. You have no extraordinary evidence do you? What evidence DO you have, Red? -ds

  25. 25

    In Cobb County, the sticker didn’t mention ID or religion. It just said evolution is a theory, not a fact, and should be carefully studed and critically considered.

    Remember that the stickers didn’t get sued. The School Board got sued. (By the parents of some of the students.)

    So don’t focus too much on what the stickers said. Look at what the School Board said, and look at why they said it. A lot of it is a matter of public record.

    Maybe in college they teach that evolution is a fact that can’t be criticised

    I’m pretty sure they don’t teach that in college.

    The school board was sued to remove the stickers. Is there some part of that you don’t understand? -ds

  26. Karen,

    To my knowledge, ID does not tell us where life forms come from.

    Nor can it. ID is based on observation of what exists and unlike other theories does NOT presume to know where anything thing in existence came from: only that some “features of the natural world are best explained as the result of an intelligent cause.”

    Nor do other theories offer anything more than speculation in this regard (notwithstanding the adamacy of their advocates’ vociferous assertions to the contrary.)

  27. Red Reader,

    Again, thank you. Doesn’t ID teach or at least imply that animals are NOT always procreated naturally from animal ancestors?

    No. -ds

  28. If IDists say that I am no longer one of them. I never was anyway. To deny organic reproductive continuity is unacceptable and anyone who takes that position has become my mortal intellectual enemy. You may write that down Karen whoever that is and I am sure we will never know, Those that make those sorts of comments rarely are willing to divulge their identity.

  29. Karen,

    ID doesn’t “teach” that animals are or are not procreated naturally.

    ID is based on the extant observation that “certain features in the natural world are best explained as the result of an intelligent cause.”

  30. John Davison

    I am prepared to afirm “organic reproductive continuity” with my parents, grandparents, great grandparents and so on back to the first human. We KNOW that people give birth to people. No one has ever observed a whale giving birth to anything but whales, nor birds to any but birds, nor chimpanzees to any but chimpanzees.

    It is a logical method error to extrapolate beyond the genomic bounds that we now KNOW account for the changes we see from generation to generation.

    Based on the observation that certain features in the natural world can best be explained by intelligent causes, there are many possibilities. ONE is your PEH. It’s an excellent hypothesis. But, adhering strictly to the observable data, there are other *reasonable* hypotheses as well.

    The only theory unequivocally ruled inadequate is NDE.

    Do you have a single shred of evidence that there is not an unbroken cell line behind every living thing on the planet today? In every single organism where we know where it came from there is an unbroken cell line. No exceptions. Never once ever has anything been observed appearing from nothing. If you have any evidence to back your assertion that organisms might appear ex nihilo either present it or stop wasting bandwidth with empty claims. It’s claims denying the virtually undeniable that gives ID a bad name. -ds

  31. The problem with the Dover statement and the Cobb County stickers is that they single out evolution for special criticism, for what the judges determined were primarily religious reasons.

    Darwinian evolution is singled out because so many people believe it’s not correct in some important ways while they have no significant doubts about all the other mainstream theories in science. What’s in fact the case is that Christians are being singled out and disenfranchised from political participation due to some chuckleheaded notion that if you think about God when casting your vote, your vote doesn’t count. That”s outrageous. Judge Cooper is an incompetent that ought to be impeached.

    For some humorous variants of the Cobb County sticker, see:

    http://www.swarthmore.edu/NatS.....sclaimers/

  32. Dave,

    In every single organism that we’ve observed, where its origin can be determined, it came from another organism almost exactly like it that reproduced. Only never qui”te exact. Descent with modification is the only thing we’ve ever observed.”

    I’m a bit confused. In another thread you mentioned saltation. So in some circumstances, there are sudden, planned jumps, right?

    I don’t see anything that prohibits large jumps and it fits a lot of evidence. It’s still descent with modification. No one has directly observed saltation in nature so it remains hypothetical. Presumably the possibility can be demonstrated in a laboratory.

    And John Davison-

    Where can I find out more about your PEH? This is the theory you published 22 years ago?

  33. Oh, I am so excited! I have been reading around the site so now I have a better idea where all this is coming from — so much so that I thought maybe I would see if Mr. Davison has heard of this strange paper I found on the net last summer and liked it so much I printed it up as I was about to depart to the insect heaven of West Virginia to read at my leisure — and look at who the author is!

    It’s called, An Evolutionary Manifesto.

    This calls for a gin and tonic.

    Cheers.

  34. avocationist.

    My Manifesto is now somewhat dated so I recommend after you have finished and digested it that you go to “A Prescribed Evolutionary Hypothesis.” which is available on the web without the single figure. The published version in Rivista di Biologia 2005 does have the figure. Thanks for your interest. Skoal

  35. Red Reader,

    If ID theory doesn’t address the question of where animals come from, how can it possibly be an alternative to evolution?

    -Karen

  36. Karen,

    Let me make sure I understand.
    In your view, evolution explains where animals come from?

    I think I may see why you are having difficulty.
    I need a little information to make sure I understand.

    Could you please tell me your understanding of evolution’s explanation for the first animal? Actually, let me move the question a little further back if I may.

    What is evolution’s explanation for the rise of the first collection of atoms that could be characterized as “living”? Also what “survival advantage” did they have and by what mechanism did they reproduce? And, what was their energy source?

    Your understanding of Evolution’s answers to these questions will help me understand your difficulty in grasping the theory of Intelligent Design.

    Thanks.

  37. Who said it was an alternative to evolution? It is an alternataive to neoDarwinian evolution, which states that random mutations plus natural selection was sufficient to create all the species.

    ID is an inference, that nature shows evidence of intelligent input.

  38. Avocationist,

    You mean ID is NOT an alternative to evolution? What is the difference between evolution and neoDarwinian evolution?

    -Karen

  39. Hi Karen,

    ID and evolution are quite compatible. ID proponents hold that intelligent causation is a valid (and in some cases necessary) explanatory principle for natural phenomena. In other words, there are things evolution can’t explain, and at least some of these things are best explained as being the result of intelligent agency. Neo-Darwinian evolution (aka modern evolutionary synthesis)is simply Darwin’s theory of evolution which has been modified by the modern understanding of genetics.

  40. Hi Karen,

    Originally, you asked about where animals come from, and I am not sure if you meant species diversification, or the origin of life. Because if you meant origin of life, then Darwinists like to wash their hands of it, while of course assuming it occured. That way they can continue to invest in it, without having to take responsibility for its lack of advancement. I just point this out because Darwinists frequently claim that the initial origin of life is a separate sphere from its subsequent evolution. It isn’t really separate though, because Darwinists claim that purely material forces were sufficient to produce the universe and all life, and that anything outside of that isn’t even science and cannot be entertained. So they are definitely dependent upon spontaneous generation of life. I hope Harvard’s new policy helps them out. I’m not going to hold my breath.

    ID is not really a big theory of life. It is rather a sea change; a thought redirection. As I said, neoDarwinian evolution proposes that random mutations plus survival of the fittest together has produced the genomes of some 100 million species. It also pretty openly supports scientific materialism, or materialstic reductionism, which means that matter is all there is. NeoDarwinism likewise proposes that all species have changed very gradually into one another by the slow accumulation of mutations.

    There are many arguments against that theory, such as that evidence for gradual change of characteristics in animals is not supported by the fossil record. ID uses the same data as neoDarwinism to come to a different conclusion, namely that a material universe could not have spontaneously given rise to life unaided by any directing intelligence. The two strongest arguments in favor of that conclusion is the huge amount of detailed, complex information found in the DNA and the very complex machinery found in cells.

    Most ID people believe that some form of slow unfolding of life forms occurred. A lot of them believe in common descent. Some believe that random mutations do account for some or a lot of life’s progress, but I don’t. So, in a nutshell, the evolution of life appears to be true, but Darwin’s explanation as to how it occured appears not to be true, or adequate.

    I think what ID people see ID as an alternative to, is the dominance, even tyranny, of materialist philosophy in science. Note the word ‘philosophy.’

  41. As I understand it, the science of evolution addresses neither the origin of the universe nor the origin of life. It doesn’t tell us that the material world is all there is, because, as noted, that is a philosophical point, not a scientific one. Science is restricted to the natural world, and has nothing to say, one way or another, about the supernatural. (People like Dawkins who claim otherwise are going out of bounds.) Evolution only addresses the stunning diversity of life– nature produces mutations and then natural selection kicks in. But in ID, the designer is responsible for some of the changes that arise, right?

    -Karen

  42. Karen says,
    “But in ID, the designer is responsible for some of the changes that arise, right?”

    Karen, the “implications” of ID are not “ID”. ID says only this: “certain features of the natural world—from miniature machines and digital information found in living cells, to the fine-tuning of physical constants—are best explained as the result of an intelligent cause.” http://www.discovery.org/scrip.....38;id=2571

    ALL scientists agree there is design in nature. The disagree about whether the design is real or apparant.

    Darwinists say the design is only apparant, that features whether simple or complex are best explained by “unintelligent” causes: random mutation and natural selection.

    ID says design in nature is real because random mutation and natural selection cannot explain some features (discovered only in the last 40 years) that exhibit “irreducible complexity”. A simpler system at best doesn’t work or at worst makes survivability impossible. The possibility that the complete functioning system arose all at once by chance is less than the universal probability bound, meaning it is not possible.

    ID has NOTHING to say about the responsibility of the designer.

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