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They said it: contrasted introductions to (and definitions of) Intelligent Design at Wikipedia and New World Encyclopedia

News has just put up a post with the Meyer lecture on intelligent design (with a close focus on the pivotal case, origin of life, the root of Darwin’s tree of life analogy).  I responded here, in light of the history of ideas issues raised by the lecture as well as the question of why origin of life  is so pivotal tot he whole question at stake, but in so doing I had occasion to visit the Wikipedia article on Intelligent Design.

I saw that it had further mutated and evolved under intelligent direction into an even more strident tone than the last time I bothered to look or comment, and so I think it instructive to contrast two introductions to ID in online encyclopedias, Wiki and New World Encyclopedia (NWE) which has the inputs of Dr Jonathan Wells:

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Wiki: >> This article is about the form of creationism promulgated by the Discovery Institute. For the philosophical “argument from design”, see Teleological argument. For other uses of the phrase, see Intelligent design (disambiguation).
Intelligent design (ID) is a form of creationism promulgated by the Discovery Institute, a politically conservative think tank. The Institute defines it as the proposition that “certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection.”[1][2] It is a contemporary adaptation of the traditional teleological argument for the existence of God, presented by its advocates as “an evidence-based scientific theory about life’s origins” rather than “a religious-based idea”.[3] All the leading proponents of intelligent design are associated with the Discovery Institute [n 1][4] and believe the designer to be the Christian deity.[n 2]

Scientific acceptance of Intelligent Design would require redefining science to allow supernatural explanations of observed phenomena, an approach its proponents describe as theistic realism or theistic science. It puts forth a number of arguments in support of the existence of a designer, the most prominent of which are irreducible complexity and specified complexity.[5] The scientific community rejects the extension of science to include supernatural explanations in favor of continued acceptance of methodological naturalism,[n 3][n 4][6][7] and has rejected both irreducible complexity and specified complexity for a wide range of conceptual and factual flaws.[8][9][10][11] Intelligent design is viewed as a pseudoscience by the scientific community, because it lacks empirical support, offers no tenable hypotheses, and aims to describe natural history in terms of scientifically untestable supernatural causes.

Intelligent design was developed by a group of American creationists who revised their argument in the creation–evolution controversy to circumvent court rulings such as the United States Supreme Court’s Edwards v. Aguillard decision, which barred the teaching of “Creation Science” in public schools on the grounds of breaching the separation of church and state.[12][n 5][13] The first publication of the phrase “intelligent design” in its present use as an alternative term for creationism was in Of Pandas and People, a 1989 textbook intended for high-school biology classes.[14][15] From the mid-1990s, intelligent design proponents were supported by the Discovery Institute, which, together with its Center for Science and Culture, planned and funded the “intelligent design movement”.[16][n 1] They advocated inclusion of intelligent design in public school biology curricula, leading to the 2005 Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District trial, where U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III ruled that intelligent design is not science, that it “cannot uncouple itself from its creationist, and thus religious, antecedents”, and that the school district’s promotion of it therefore violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.[17]>>

NWE: >> Intelligent design (ID) is the view that it is possible to infer from empirical evidence that “certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection[1] Intelligent design cannot be inferred from complexity alone, since complex patterns often happen by chance. ID focuses on just those sorts of complex patterns that in human experience are produced by a mind that conceives and executes a plan. According to adherents, intelligent design can be detected in the natural laws and structure of the cosmos; it also can be detected in at least some features of living things.

Greater clarity on the topic may be gained from a discussion of what ID is not considered to be by its leading theorists. Intelligent design generally is not defined the same as creationism, with proponents maintaining that ID relies on scientific evidence rather than on Scripture or religious doctrines. ID makes no claims about biblical chronology, and technically a person does not have to believe in God to infer intelligent design in nature. As a theory, ID also does not specify the identity or nature of the designer, so it is not the same as natural theology, which reasons from nature to the existence and attributes of God. ID does not claim that all species of living things were created in their present forms, and it does not claim to provide a complete account of the history of the universe or of living things.

ID also is not considered by its theorists to be an “argument from ignorance”; that is, intelligent design is not to be inferred simply on the basis that the cause of something is unknown (any more than a person accused of willful intent can be convicted without evidence). According to various adherents, ID does not claim that design must be optimal; something may be intelligently designed even if it is flawed (as are many objects made by humans).

ID may be considered to consist only of the minimal assertion that it is possible to infer from empirical evidence that some features of the natural world are best explained by an intelligent agent. It conflicts with views claiming that there is no real design in the cosmos (e.g., materialistic philosophy) or in living things (e.g., Darwinian evolution) or that design, though real, is undetectable (e.g., some forms of theistic evolution). Because of such conflicts, ID has generated considerable controversy.>>

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This is an obvious case of whose report do you believe, why?

I would like to hear our thoughts on these two introductions, noting that in its current appeals for funding and support Wikipedia says it is the no. 5 most popularly visited web site in the world.

As a starter, I think the Wiki article is an obvious case of ideologically charged well-poisoning, as Nizkor summarises:

Poisoning the Well

This sort of “reasoning” involves trying to discredit what a person might later claim by presenting unfavorable information (be it true or false) about the person. This “argument” has the following form:

  1. Unfavorable information (be it true or false) about person A is presented.
  2. Therefore any claims person A makes will be false.

This sort of “reasoning” is obviously fallacious. The person making such an attack is hoping that the unfavorable information will bias listeners against the person in question and hence that they will reject any claims he might make. However, merely presenting unfavorable information about a person (even if it is true) hardly counts as evidence against the claims he/she might make. This is especially clear when Poisoning the Well is looked at as a form of ad Homimem in which the attack is made prior to the person even making the claim or claims.

. . . and that it so taints Wikipedia that something as loaded, unfair and biased as their article [just look at the drive-by ideologically loaded a priori materialism driven, question-begging redefinition of science in the teeth of easily accessible history and philosophy, compounded by the twisted-about propaganda tactic accusation that it is those who would appeal to more traditional and well accepted views who are trying to redefine science, cf.  my remarks on that problem here , here and here on as well as Johnson's rebuke here] passes their vaunted “NPOV” — neutral point of view — mechanisms that I must view all Wikipedia articles with considerable caution.

So also, on topics where the known biases of the obviously dominant a priori evolutionary materialist secular humanist views are liable to distort what is presented and how it is presented, this popular online encyclopedia has essentially zero credibility.

I also think that should inform our decisions regarding support to that site in any way, shape or form.

Now, what do you think? Why? END

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76 Responses to They said it: contrasted introductions to (and definitions of) Intelligent Design at Wikipedia and New World Encyclopedia

  1. I contribute to your website and to wikipedia. Typically $50 and $5 repectively. My main reason in contributing to the latter is that they solicit comments from the contributors, and every time I will remind them that extremely politically and culturally charged articles regarding definitions of intellectual movements such as ours should be frozen after the definition is proffered by those who actually define the movement, not the bomb throwers. And I point to my meager contribution as possibly increasing in future after a favorable policy change.

  2. Hi Groov: I hear you, and that may be a way to go to get a bit of leverage, if they show any sign of willingness. KF

  3. F/N: Why bother concern ourselves with Wikipedia’s article on ID?

    Let us start with Wikipedia’s claim that it is the no 5 site in the world.

    EbizMBA agrees with that (after: Google, Facebook, Yahoo, Youtube], and Alexa gives it a no 6 (after: Google, Facebook, Youtube, Yahoo, Baidu). Netcraft puts it down at 36.

    In any case, Wikipedia is very popular, and it seems that a lot of people go there to find out information.

    I suspect, this includes a lot of journalists, students and teachers. So, there is a likely multiplier effect.

    That means it is influential and that it has a major duty of care to truth, warrant and fairness.

    Manifestly, it is failing through obvious ideological domination, certainly on issues connected to things that the a priori materialist, secular humanists care about.

    So, a definite pause to examine and correct is important, not least to not allow drowning out or silencing, and to inform them that there is a problem that is being put up before the public as needing correction.

    We can start here with “This article is about the form of creationism promulgated by the Discovery Institute.”

    It is not hard to see that the major Creationist organisations would disagree with that, rejecting design theory and the wider movement as not being Creationism. That should be a first flag that something is wrong.

    Similarly, we can see that the context of saying that ID is promulgated by the Discovery Institute, is to label it as being politically motivated by conservativism; which is a clear case of intended poisonous labelling to dismiss.

    To this, the first problem is, DI is an openly acknowledged LIBERTARIAN thinktank, which is not the same thing as conservativism, and indeed does not tend to be particularly closely aligned with Bible-believing Christian faith. Indeed many of the key figures associated with it are Jews, some are agnostic, some are even Moonies.

    It seems the label is a distorted mirror of something else we should pick up: the ideological view of those who dominate Wikipedia is plainly by and large left of centre, statist-leaning secularism.

    (Which is reflected in turn in the accusation that DI et al are trying to inject the supernatural into science, where an examination back to Plato, would show that he context of the inference to design on signs, is that there is a reasonable contrast subject to empirical investigation between “nature” (understood as causal factors tracing to chance and necessity such as are often studied in scientific contexts) and those tracing to intelligence acting by purpose, skill and art, i.e. design (which are studied in some scientific contexts, where such is relevant).)

    So, we can see some first level issues, just from the opening words and their context.

    KF

  4. So Wiki’s authorities on scientific matters believe, on the basis of empirical evidence, that nothing must have turned itself into everything…. at some point in eternity before it turned itself into space-time.

    I see. Very cogent, if I may say so. Well done Wikipedia!

  5. That’ll larn they Christians!

  6. Give up IDers. You don’t have a prayer against such awesome intellects.

  7. KF, Wikipedia entries do not ‘evolve.’ This post shows how puzzled you are about what evolves and what doesn’t evolve or how unwilling you are to clarify yourself about it. That’s a typical problem I’ve discovered with IDists that no-one in the IDM has satisfactorily addressed.

    What ‘evolves’ and what doesn’t?

    KF wrote about a Wikipedia entry: “it had further mutated and evolved under intelligent direction into an even more strident tone than the last time I bothered to look or comment”

    First, Wikipedia entries are not ‘organic’ entities and therefore do not ‘naturally’ mutate.

    Second, ‘evolved under intelligent direction’ is an oxymoron. It’s closer to ‘theistic evolution’ or ‘evolutionary creation’ than it is to Big-ID.

    But your confusion is understandable given that Dembski unwisely accepts the idea of ‘technological evolution.’ Does anyone at UD have information that Dembski has retracted his support for technological evolution? I have found nothing recently to suggest that Dembski is not a technological evolutionist. Please correct me if this is wrong.

    My view is that Dembksi is deluded on this topic and following him is KF. This goes further to show how silly the idea of ‘intelligent design/Intelligent Design’ that cannot and will not study designers/Designer(s) actually is. Using the term ‘evolution’ when we can actually involve the so-called ‘evolvers’ as human beings (forget ‘design’ for the moment) in creating, building, making, etc. is completely unnecessary.

    Not that I expect you or anyone at UD to humbly concede a single reasonable and well-researched point to an anti-Big-IDist! Nevertheless, in support of your more specific claim in this thread, KF, have you looked at the characteristics (not ‘nature’) of people who contribute to Wikipedia by religion?

    From my recent research: What are the religious beliefs of Wikipedians? 2670 Atheist, 1802 Christian, 789 Agnostic, 472 Jewish, 252 Buddhist, 3 Scientologist. (Wikipedians by religion) (Note: My research was made about 90 days ago; since then only 3 atheists and 5 agnostics have joined, but more than 80 Christians have become new contributors. If that isn’t a message to inspire some of ID’s mainly Protestant evangelical folks to get off their couches and to become ‘intelligent designers’ [of Wikipedia entries!!], then I don’t know what is). That’s an obvious deviance from cultural norms in USA and worldwide, where atheism stands at roughly 13%, rather than standing at 142% of Christians, as it currently does at Wiki.

    NWE is of course a different story, as is its founder, Rev. Moon, a mentor of Jonathan Wells. Yes, KF, Wells is an IDist and a ‘Moonie’ as you know.

  8. It’s important that wikipedia maintain the ID = Creationism mantra just in case some federal judge should stop by whilst preparing an opinion.

  9. Gregory:

    It should have been obvious that I used the term metaphorically, and ironically. “Evolve” is quite often used in the sense I have used it, in general discourse.

    To head off a silly side-track on what does a word mean — as happened recently with “arbitrary” — here is AmHD:

    e·volve (-vlv)
    v. e·volved, e·volv·ing, e·volves
    v.tr.
    1.
    a. To develop or achieve gradually: evolve a style of one’s own.
    b. To work (something) out; devise: “the schemes he evolved to line his purse” (S.J. Perelman).

    2. Biology To develop (a characteristic) by evolutionary processes.
    3. To give off; emit.
    v.intr.
    1. To undergo gradual change; develop: an amateur acting group that evolved into a theatrical company.
    2. Biology To develop or arise through evolutionary processes.
    [Latin volvere, to unroll : -, ex-, ex- + volvere, to roll; see wel-2 in Indo-European roots.]
    e·volva·ble adj.
    e·volvement n.

    The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Updated in 2009. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

    I am quite aware of the range of biological usages, from minor population variation (Finch beaks at Galapagos) to modest changes: Red deer and american elk or circumpolar gulls, to the grand speculative reconstruction of the origin of the cosmos [cosmological evo] to that of life [chem evo] to that of major body plans [Macro evo] and onward to socio-cultural, technological and so forth. Indeed, political systems, philosophies, and product markets are all said to evolve. That includes the view that many business practices have become standardised in industries because for whatever reason, such business survive so the pattern of markets and economies also are said to evolve.

    Further, given that range of usages, it is reasonable to note that Wallace, co-founder of evo believed in intelligently directed evo, that many who support common descent, limited or universal believe in intelligent direction thereof, that even some who do not believe in intelligent supervision and choice.

    In short, idiosyncratic preferences on your part do not properly constrain how people use the term and I see no good reason to be bound by your sensibilities or be unduly impressed by your suggestion that my usage is somehow confused. Which comes very close to well poisoning tactics on a strawman distortion.

    So, speaking as thread owner: could you kindly take such side tracks elsewhere and focus your further commentary in this thread on the contrasted introductions.

    KF

    PS: wiki articles such as this, are dominated by a subculture that is reflected in the disproportion seen, especially those with moderation privileges. Corrective edits will almost instantly be “disappeared” and replaced by even worse statements, and this will continue with escalation until the person who tried to set the record straight can be worn down or manipulated into a condition where s/he can be deemed in violation of sufficiently serious rules. Meamwhile, while straining at a gnat, the camel of duties of care to truth, warrant and fairness will be studiously side-stepped. There have been cases of outright slander that was only removed under legal threat. On ideologised matters, Wikipedia has as toxic a culture as the major media houses across our civilisation. (Here is a case in point I remarked on yesterday with Mr Morgan of CNN, who evidently did not care that he was outright proposing the exact “censorship” that such elites are ever so quick to accuse others of.)

  10. Mung: Where of course the circle closes, with Judge Copycat Jones — 90% of the relevant rulings being taken wholesale from the ACLU/NCSE, gross errors/misrepresentations of fact and all — being cited as though he is an authority on what is/is not to be properly deemed science. Round and round we go . . . KF

  11. Onlookers:

    It is vital to correct the misrepresentations of design theory at Wikipedia, for record; both because of the influence of Wikipedia, and because these are the same mischaracterisations that are ever so common.

    So, let us continue.

    For today, let us move on down just a bit:

    The Institute defines it [ID] as the proposition that “certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection.”[1][2] It is a contemporary adaptation of the traditional teleological argument for the existence of God, presented by its advocates as “an evidence-based scientific theory about life’s origins” rather than “a religious-based idea”.[3] All the leading proponents of intelligent design are associated with the Discovery Institute [n 1][4] and believe the designer to be the Christian deity.[n 2]

    1 –> Wiki correctly cites the basic assertion of design theory, but fails to give the empirically grounded warrant for that claim and then substitutes a loaded and well-poisoning context.

    2 –> This is an unfortunately familiar rhetorical tactic in our day, making a red herring side-track attention, leading us away to a convenient strawman soaked in ad hominems and ignited to cloud, confuse, polarise and poison the atmosphere.

    3 –> Such is certainly not the vaunted NPOV and should be corrected.

    4 –> However, the material issue at stake is, how can it be warranted scientifically to infer from “certain features of the universe and of living things” that they are “best explained” as designed by an intelligent cause, and not the credible product of blind chance and/or mechanical necessity?

    5 –> As Stephen Meyer of the DI CSC has — again (this is not exactly news) — outlined in a recent lecture (cf here at UD and here at KF), the pivotal question is that on matters of origins, science is seeking to provide a good explanation for the remote and unobserved past on its traces, in light of causes that are known to characteristically produce similar effects in the here and now.

    6 –> That is we have a key feature from the past, F, and a cluster of potential candidates C1, C2, C3, . . . Cn, and we have evidence in hand that are such that of these, per empirical investigation in the here and now where we can observe reliably, only Ci is such that it produces the same feature F as an effect. In such a case, F is a sign that points to the action of Ci, as its best explanation.

    7 –> For example, we have not and probably will never visit remote stars. However, stars emit light and we can observe the spectra of that light. From such spectral observations, we can make a comparison to known and onwards calculated phenomena that give rise to similar effects in our own laboratories here on earth. So, we can draw conclusions about the chemistry of stars, their temperature, the underlying physical conditions that give rise to such, and so forth. Indeed, this is a major part of astrophysics.

    8 –> That is, the general issue is a case of explaining on reliable, tested signs. So, the sort of reasoning Newton advanced in his four rules presented in Principia obtains:

    Rule II [[--> uniformity of causes: "like forces cause like effects"]

    Therefore to the same natural effects we must, as far as possible, assign the same causes.

    As to respiration in a man and in a beast; the descent of stones in Europe and in America; the light of our culinary fire and of the sun; the reflection of light in the earth, and in the planets.

    Rule III [[--> confident universality]

    The qualities of bodies, which admit neither intensification nor remission of degrees, and which are found to belong to all bodies within the reach of our experiments, are to be esteemed the universal qualities of all bodies whatsoever.

    For since the qualities of bodies are only known to us by experiments, we are to hold for universal all such as universally agree with experiments; and such as are not liable to diminution can never be quite taken away. We are certainly not to relinquish the evidence of experiments for the sake of dreams and vain fictions of our own devising; nor are we to recede from the analogy of Nature, which is wont to be simple, and always consonant to [398/399] itself . . . .

    9 –> Such reasoning is of course always provisional, but that is a general feature of science. A great many conclusions based on experience are highly reliable, through not beyond correction in principle. That is why Newton continued:

    Rule IV [[--> provisionality and primacy of induction]

    In experimental philosophy we are to look upon propositions inferred by general induction from phenomena as accurately or very nearly true, notwithstanding any contrary hypotheses that may be imagined, till such time as other phenomena occur, by which they may either be made more accurate, or liable to exceptions.

    This rule we must follow, that the arguments of induction may not be evaded by [[speculative] hypotheses.

    10 –> So, as was outlined in the very first ID Foundations post in this long-running UD blog series:

    A key aspect of inference to cause is the significance of observed characteristic signs of causal factors, where we may summarise such observation and inference on sign as:

    I observe one or more signs [in a pattern], and infer the signified object, on a warrant:

    I: [si] –> O, on W

    a –> Here, the connexion is a more or less causal or natural one, e.g. a pattern of deer tracks on the ground is an index, pointing to a deer.

    b –> If the sign is not a sufficient condition of the signified, the inference is not certain and is defeatable; though it may be inductively strong. (E.g. someone may imitate deer tracks.)

    c –> The warrant for an inference may in key cases require considerable background knowledge or cues from the context.

    d –> The act of inference may also be implicit or even intuitive, and I may not be able to articulate but may still be quite well-warranted to trust the inference. Especially, if it traces to senses I have good reason to accept are working well, and are acting in situations that I have no reason to believe will materially distort the inference.

    4 –> Fig. A [--> cf the linked, a flowchart of the design inference as an empirical investigation pattern] highlights the significance of contingency in assigning cause. If a given aspect of a phenomenon or object is such that under similar circumstances, substantially the same outcome occurs, the best explanation of the outcome is a natural regularity tracing to mechanical necessity. The heavy object in 2 above, reliably and observably falls at 9.8 m/s^2 near the earth’s surface. [Thence, via observations and measurements of the shape and size of the earth, and the distance to the moon, the theory of gravitation.]

    5 –> When however, under sufficiently similar circumstances, the outcomes vary considerably on different trials or cases, the phenomenon is highly contingent. If that contingency follows a statistical distribution and is not credibly directed, we assign it to chance. For instance, given eight corners and twelve edges plus a highly non-linear behaviour, a standard, fair die that falls and tumbles, exhibits sensitive dependency to initial and intervening conditions, and so settles to a reading pretty much by chance. Things that are similar to that — notice the use of “family resemblance” [i.e. analogy] — may confidently be seen as chance outcomes.)

    6 –> However, under some circumstances [e.g. a suspicious die], the highly contingent outcomes are credibly intentionally, intelligently and purposefully directed. Indeed:

    a: When I type the text of this post by moving fingers and pressing successive keys on my PC’s keyboard,

    b: I [a self, and arguably: a self-moved designing, intentional, initiating agent and initial cause] successively

    c: choose alphanumeric characters (according to the symbols and rules of a linguistic code) towards the goal [a purpose, telos or "final" cause] of writing this post, giving effect to that choice by

    d: using a keyboard etc, as organised mechanisms, ways and means to give a desired and particular functional form to the text string, through

    e: a process that uses certain materials, energy sources, resources, facilities and forces of nature and technology to achieve my goal.

    . . . The result is complex, functional towards a goal, specific, information-rich, and beyond the credible reach of chance [the other source of high contingency] on the gamut of our observed cosmos across its credible lifespan. In such cases, when we observe the result, on common sense, or on statistical hypothesis-testing, or other means, we habitually and reliably assign outcomes to design.

    11 –> This pattern of reasoning is glorified common sense in the end, a commonplace of being a reasonable and prudent thinker about our world. So, why is it that suddenly, such a pattern becomes extremely controversial to the point of being suggested to be motivated by nefarious religious bias and political agendas, on matters of origins?

    12 –> There is no good answer to that, as it is highly evident that origins science has become dominated by the sort of ideological evolutionary materialist a priorism that led the US National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) to formally issue through its Board the following assertions regarding science education, in 2000:

    The principal product of science is knowledge in the form of naturalistic concepts and the laws and theories related to those concepts . . . . Although no single universal step-by-step scientific method captures the complexity of doing science, a number of shared values and perspectives characterize a scientific approach to understanding nature. Among these are a demand for naturalistic explanations supported by empirical evidence that are, at least in principle, testable against the natural world. Other shared elements include observations, rational argument, inference, skepticism, peer review and replicability of work . . . .

    Science, by definition, is limited to naturalistic methods and explanations and, as such, is precluded from using supernatural elements in the production of scientific knowledge. [[NSTA, Board of Directors, July 2000.]

    13 –> The obvious problem here, is that ever since at least Plato, we have known that causal factors embrace not only blind chance and mechanical necessity working through deterministic laws similar to F = m*a or E = m*c^2, but also ART-ificial causes that leave reliable traces of their action, which may be empirically studied and distinguished.

    14 –> That is, it is simply not true tha the alternative to “natural” causes and forces is “supernatural” ones. A different and quite familiar factor comes easily to hand — indeed the members of NSTA’s Board used this cause when they composed the above statement, and this statement is full of a particular and pivotal sign of such intelligent cause acting by ART.

    15 –> Namely, functionally specific, complex organisation and associated information (FSCO/I), especially in the form here of digitally coded, functionally specific, complex information, dFSCI. For the statement is a string data structure with digitally coded elements, expressive of a long (so, complex) statement in English, in accordance with the rules and specifications of meaningful English statements, which are independent of the particular strings.

    16 –> Such FSCO/I and in particular dFSCI, is habitually and reliably associated with intelligent action tot he point that it is reasonable to take it as a sign of such intelligent cause.

    17 –> Indeed, this can be reduced to an equation, which gives a threshold beyond which it is reasonable to conclude (per the atomic and temporal resources of the solar system or observable cosmos at either end of the range 500 – 1,000 bits) that he reasonable explanation on observation and analysis of the sampling space needle in haystack challenge implied, is design. Namely, at the solar system level:

    Chi_500 = Ip*S – 500, bits beyond the solar system threshold

    18 –> Where, the related needle in haystack analysis indicates that the blind search challenge is equivalent to taking a blind one straw sized sample of a cubical haystack 1,000 light years thick [about as thick as our galaxy), which is overwhelmingly likely to pick up straw, even if we were to impose sch a haystack on our galactic neighbourhood.

    19 --> Where also, it is evident form a wide body of experience, that when function of a complex entity depends on correct arrangement, integration and synchornisation of a cluster of well-matched components, functionality is easy to disrupt by displacing or dis-ordering of parts, or breaking parts, or absence etc. That is, FSCO/I by its inherent nature, comes in isolated islands of function in the space of possible configs for a given cluster of parts. (And since such is empirically abundantly vindicated by a world of technology, those who wish to claim exceptions for the world of life are under obligations to empirically demonstrate such. Just as, those who would dismiss the laws of thermodynamics and erect perpetual motion machines are under obligation to show that their contraptions work as advertised.)

    20 --> The problem of course, is that FSCO/I (and especially dFSCI) is a pervasive and commonly encountered feature of the natural world. So, if the design inference is a reasonable inductive inference, FSCO/I provides a candidate sign that points to design of life, from the first reasonable cell based life on up.

    21 --> But this is unacceptable to a dominant school of thought on origins, that for instance has been summarised by Richard Lewontin in a notorious NYRB article in 1997:

    . . to put a correct view of the universe into people's heads we must first get an incorrect view out . . . the problem is to get them to reject irrational and supernatural explanations of the world, the demons that exist only in their imaginations, and to accept a social and intellectual apparatus, Science, as the only begetter of truth [[--> NB: this is a knowledge claim about knowledge and its possible sources, i.e. it is a claim in philosophy not science; it is thus self-refuting]. . . . To Sagan, as to all but a few other scientists, it is self-evident [[--> actually, science and its knowledge claims are plainly not immediately and necessarily true on pain of absurdity, to one who understands them; this is another logical error, begging the question , confused for real self-evidence; whereby a claim shows itself not just true but true on pain of patent absurdity if one tries to deny it . . ] that the practices of science provide the surest method of putting us in contact with physical reality, and that, in contrast, the demon-haunted world rests on a set of beliefs and behaviors that fail every reasonable test [[--> i.e. an assertion that tellingly reveals a hostile mindset, not a warranted claim] . . . .

    It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes [[--> another major begging of the question . . . ] to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute [[--> i.e. here we see the fallacious, indoctrinated, ideological, closed mind . . . ], for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door . . .

    [Of course, it is often suggested that this is somehow a case of "quote-mining" and some would suggest that onward remarks in which he sought to justify such censorship by reference to the alleged chaotic nature of a worldview that appeals to the possibility of the miraculous, justify such an attitude. But as can be seen here on in context (as in kindly read before trying certain well-known side-tracks), that is a poor excuse.]

    22 –> To this, ID thinker Philip Johnson aptly said:

    For scientific materialists the materialism comes first; the science comes thereafter. [[Emphasis original] We might more accurately term them “materialists employing science.” And if materialism is true, then some materialistic theory of evolution has to be true simply as a matter of logical deduction, regardless of the evidence. That theory will necessarily be at least roughly like neo-Darwinism, in that it will have to involve some combination of random changes and law-like processes capable of producing complicated organisms that (in Dawkins’ words) “give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose.”

    . . . . The debate about creation and evolution is not deadlocked . . . Biblical literalism is not the issue. The issue is whether materialism and rationality are the same thing. Darwinism is based on an a priori commitment to materialism, not on a philosophically neutral assessment of the evidence. Separate the philosophy from the science, and the proud tower collapses. [[Emphasis added.] [[The Unraveling of Scientific Materialism, First Things, 77 (Nov. 1997), pp. 22 – 25.]

    23 –> So, the distractive red herrings, strawman caricatures and poisonous motive mongering above stand exposed as fallacious by simply contrasting the context of warrant for the design inference.

    ___________

    In short, for all its vaunted assertion of prizing a neutral point of view, Wikipedia here patently fails in its duty of care to truth, warrant and fairness.

    That this should occur is sad.

    That this should be sustained for years on end by entrenched moderators and editors, in the teeth of correction is a scandal, and a warning of want of credibility.

    To the point where this constitutes a plain case of willfully sustained intellectual misconduct.

    Truly sad, and sadly revealing of the temper of our times.

    KF

  12. You have to love how wikipedia places ID on one locus, the Discovery Institute. As if they are the only people on the planet who accept ID.

  13. Mung: THEY HAVE TO, TO PROMOTE THEIR TALKING POINT STREAM. KF

  14. Gregory:

    Second, ‘evolved under intelligent direction’ is an oxymoron.

    No, it isn’t. Evolution is just change and change can be directed. IOW organisms were designed to evolve and evolved by design- an example would be Dawkins’ “weasel” program and all genetic/ evolutionary algorithms.

    BTW Gregory, if you just opened up a little bit you would see that evolutionists throw around the word “evolution” regarding the universe, galaxies, solar systems and planets.

    So perhaps you just need to get out more often.

    Just sayin’…

  15. This suggests an opportunity to educate IDists about ‘evolution’ – what it means and doesn’t mean. What hasn’t been demonstrated thus far is a willingness to learn outside of American conceputalisation. Most IDists seem to think they know more about evolution than anyone else on the planet!

    [GREGORY: You are hereby warned on snarky tone trending to atmosphere poisoning. You are also warned on tengentiality, here in the face of a definition already given that should have answered all you really needed if the above and below were meant as a serious contribution. As in the word evolution has a wide cluster of related meanings, which allows significant discussion in that light. And so, you are notified that insistent diversions or games with definitions similar to the diversion on the definition of "arbitrary" will not be tolerated. I allow the below to stand in documentation of why I am giving fair warning. KF]

    John G. West knows this very well because he likewise couldn’t come up with an answer regarding “Things that don’t evolve” (other than the Creator), even as I reminded him of Dembski’s strange support for ‘technological evolution’ theories (e.g. TRIZ). I’ve asked this question to hundreds of people from many different countries and have published and presented on it for the past 5 years. KF is toting an unnecessary party-line, which should actually be seen as anti-ID, rather than pro-ID!

    @KF#9 – yes, I’m quite aware of various dictionary definitions. I even checked out the definition of ‘evolution’ in the Big Soviet Encyclopedia (???). Could you imagine what it might say, given your Cold War acknowledgements here at UD?

    “It should have been obvious that I used the term [evolution] metaphorically, and ironically.” – KF

    Irony is difficult to detect in blog posts. What makes you think you demonstrated irony in using the term ‘evolution’ as you did? What makes you think it is ironic to say Wikipedia ‘evolves’? You have not made yourself clear on this in the past, but we can hope for improvement in the present.

    “Indeed, political systems, philosophies, and product markets are all said to evolve.” – KF

    Yes, and don’t you find that problematic?! This doesn’t mean they do, just that they are ‘said to.’ Aren’t you folks supposed to be opposing grand theories of evolution, instead of embracing them with your mixed language?

    Joe is simply being foolish and crude in his view that “evolution is just change.” No, evolution is a particular type of change. But ‘change’ is the master category.

    Since Big-ID is so keen on terms like ‘guided’ and ‘directed,’ doesn’t it make you think that alternatives to ‘evolution’ could be a welcome improvement to your ‘theory’?

    The Wikipedia entry is ‘changing,’ but not ‘evolving.’ That said, go ahead and send some more insults at me for pointing this out, Joe, as if you think they are valuable. And KF can go ahead and carry on with telling us how unfair the world is to Big-ID theory and the IDM, based on Wikipedians’ views of them.

    The point that Wikipedia is a changing, but non-evolving entity should be conceded.

  16. NOTICE:

    Gregory has been notified on snarkiness trending to poisonous distraction and word games, in light of the response and warning in 9 above, two days ago.

    Unless someone who is a third party specifically requests a response on points made in the just above, I will by and large ignore the above as having already been adequately answered by simply consulting the AmHD as a sampler of the range of meanings for the term, “evolution” as already given in 9 above. To wit:

    e·volve (-vlv)
    v. e·volved, e·volv·ing, e·volves
    v.tr.
    1.
    a. To develop or achieve gradually: evolve a style of one’s own.
    b. To work (something) out; devise: “the schemes he evolved to line his purse” (S.J. Perelman).

    2. Biology To develop (a characteristic) by evolutionary processes.
    3. To give off; emit.
    v.intr.
    1. To undergo gradual change; develop: an amateur acting group that evolved into a theatrical company.
    2. Biology To develop or arise through evolutionary processes.
    [Latin volvere, to unroll : -, ex-, ex- + volvere, to roll; see wel-2 in Indo-European roots.]
    e·volva·ble adj.
    e·volvement n.

    The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Updated in 2009. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

    My usage in the OP is obviously well within the significance of meanings 1 a and b. Therefore, Gregory has no serious cause on the merits for complaint.

    And, yes, for good reason unrelated to ID, I see TRIZ as a useful perspective on technological change with progress through variations and adaptations that are intelligently directed by inventors and innovators who trigger adoption waves and even revolutions that lead to reducing formerly dominant products to niches, such as mainframes and desktops have already experienced and as clam-shell laptops are about to go through at the hands of tablets.

    The same obtains for product markets more generally, the result of adoption waves and waves of switching away to successor products.

    The usage in the OP stands.

    KF

  17. My apology for being the kind of guy who rewrites dictionaries, KF.

    Instead of regurgitating the American Heritage Dictionary, I choose to question the logic of their narrow definition. There should be much that you could find congenial to your general position in my move. And the last 1/3 of my #7 is obviously dead-on wrt the OP and its purpose. But your thanks for this contribution is not needed.

    You won’t hear from me again in this thread.

  18. Gregory:

    Joe is simply being foolish and crude in his view that “evolution is just change.”

    Stuff it, Gregory as THAT is how evolutionists use it.

    No, evolution is a particular type of change.

    Reference please.

    To support my claim:

    evolving universe

    evolution of galaxies

    evolution of the solar system

    IOW Gregory is the fool and everyone sees that…

  19. F/N: I have continued the markup of the Wiki article on ID, here, this morning focussing on corrupting he definition of science and its methods, with significant discussion of CSI and IC, highlighted by Wiki as pseudoscience.

    In parts:

    ++++++++++

    Wiki’s F – – on ID, 2: Wiki’s ideologically driven corruption of the definitions of science and its methods

    As we continue to mark up the Wiki article on ID, the next thing to notice is how the anonymous contributors have projected unto ID, an accusation of trying to redefine science and its methods in service to supernaturalistic creationism:

    >>Intelligent design (ID) is a form of creationism promulgated by the Discovery Institute . . . .

    Scientific acceptance of Intelligent Design would require redefining science to allow supernatural explanations of observed phenomena, an approach its proponents describe as theistic realism or theistic science. It puts forth a number of arguments in support of the existence of a designer, the most prominent of which are irreducible complexity and specified complexity.[5] The scientific community rejects the extension of science to include supernatural explanations in favor of continued acceptance of methodological naturalism,[n 3][n 4][6][7] and has rejected both irreducible complexity and specified complexity for a wide range of conceptual and factual flaws.[8][9][10][11] Intelligent design is viewed as a pseudoscience by the scientific community, because it lacks empirical support, offers no tenable hypotheses, and aims to describe natural history in terms of scientifically untestable supernatural causes.>>

    This is a target-rich environment (and things are so polarised that too many will be disinclined to listen until real damage has been done), so, we are going to have to take some time to look at this in steps of thought.

    Perhaps the best place to begin is probably to point out that this set of assertions are a part of a much broader cultural agenda of imposing a priori materialistic scientism and secularism, dressed up in the prestigious — one could even say, holy — lab coat. For instance, we can very clearly see this in the well-known cat-out-of-the-bag 1997 Lewontin NYRB review of Sagan’s The Demon-Haunted World:

    >>. . . the problem is to get [the general public] to reject irrational and supernatural explanations of the world, the demons that exist only in their imaginations, and to accept a social and intellectual apparatus, Science, as the only begetter of truth . . . .

    To Sagan, as to all but a few other scientists, it is self-evident that the practices of science provide the surest method of putting us in contact with physical reality . . . .

    It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes [[--> another major begging of the question . . . ] to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute [[--> i.e. here we see the fallacious, indoctrinated, ideological, closed mind . . . ], for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.>>

    In attempting to defend this a priori ideological imposition, Lewontin then cites the eminent philosopher Lewis White Beck — oops, we thought that “science [is to be seen as] the only begetter of truth” — to the effect that:

    >>. . . anyone who could believe in God could believe in anything. To appeal to an omnipotent deity is to allow that at any moment the regularities of nature may be ruptured, that miracles may happen>>

    Of course, C S Lewis, in his famous essay, Miracles (and in several other places), long ago pointed out why this is patent nonsense. A world in which miracles are possible is not a chaotic world, but one ruled by an observable and intelligible general order. For, if all were chaos, something that is extraordinary — classically and pivotally, the resurrection of Jesus in fulfillment of prophecies and as witnessed by 500 who could not be shaken by dungeon, fire or sword (and which was recorded as history in multiple sources within their lifetime) — could not stand out as a sign pointing beyond the usual order to the intervention of a higher order of reality, UNLESS there is precisely that: “a usual order.”

    That is why, as Dan Petersen recorded in his well-known article on ID (What’s the big deal about Intelligent Design?) from several years ago:

    >>The attempt to equate science with materialism is a quite recent development, coming chiefly to the fore in the 20th century. Contrary to widespread propaganda, science is not something that arose after the dark, obscurantist forces of religion were defeated by an “enlightened” nontheistic worldview. The facts of history show otherwise.

    IN HIS RECENT BOOK For the Glory of God, Rodney Stark argues “not only that there is no inherent conflict between religion and science, but that Christian theology was essential for the rise of science.” (His italics.) While researching this thesis, Stark found to his surprise that “some of my central arguments have already become the conventional wisdom among historians of science.” He is nevertheless “painfully aware” that most of the arguments about the close connection between Christian belief and the rise of science are “unknown outside narrow scholarly circles,” and that many people believe that it could not possibly be true.

    Sometimes the most obvious facts are the easiest to overlook. Here is one that ought to be stunningly obvious: science as an organized, sustained enterprise arose only once in the history of Earth. Where was that? Although other civilizations have contributed technical achievements or isolated innovations, the invention of science as a cumulative, rigorous, systematic, and ongoing investigation into the laws of nature occurred only in Europe; that is, in the civilization then known as Christendom. Science arose and flourished in a civilization that, at the time, was profoundly and nearly exclusively Christian in its mental outlook.>>

    That little bit of history is a big hint. He continues:

    >>Recent scholarship in the history of science reveals that this commitment to rational, empirical investigation of God’s creation is not simply a product of the “scientific revolution” of the 16th and 17th centuries, but has profound roots going back at least to the High Middle Ages. The development of the university system in medieval times was, of course, almost entirely a product of the Church. Serious students of the period know that this was neither a time of stagnation, nor of repression of inquiry in favor of dogma. Rather, it was a time of great intellectual ferment and discovery, and the universities fostered rational, empirical, systematic inquiry . . . .

    WHEN THE DISCOVERIES of science exploded in number and importance in the 1500s and 1600s, the connection with Christian belief was again profound. Many of the trailblazing scientists of that period when science came into full bloom were devout Christian believers, and declared that their work was inspired by a desire to explore God’s creation and discover its glories. Perhaps the greatest scientist in history, Sir Isaac Newton, was a fervent Christian who wrote over a million words on theological subjects. Other giants of science and mathematics were similarly devout: Boyle, Descartes, Kepler, Leibniz, Pascal. To avoid relying on what might be isolated examples, Stark analyzed the religious views of the 52 leading scientists from the time of Copernicus until the end of the 17th century. Using a methodology that probably downplayed religious belief, he found that 32 were “devout”; 18 were at least “conventional” in their religious belief; and only two were “skeptics.” More than a quarter were themselves ecclesiastics: “priests, ministers, monks, canons, and the like.”

    Down through the 19th century, many of the leading figures in science were thoroughgoing Christians. A partial list includes Babbage, Dalton, Faraday, Herschel, Joule, Lyell, Maxwell, Mendel, and Thompson (Lord Kelvin). A survey of the most eminent British scientists near the end of the 19th century found that nearly all were members of the established church or affiliated with some other church.

    In short, scientists who were committed Christians include men often considered to be fathers of the fields of astronomy, atomic theory, calculus, chemistry, computers, electricity, genetics, geology, mathematics, and physics. In the late 1990s, a survey found that about 40 percent of American scientists believe in a personal God and an afterlife — a percentage that is basically unchanged since the early 20th century. A listing of eminent 20th-century scientists who were religious believers would be far too voluminous to include here — so let’s not bring coals to Newcastle, but simply note that the list would be large indeed, including Nobel Prize winners.

    Far from being inimical to science, then, the Judeo-Christian worldview is the only belief system that actually produced it.>>

    In short, the notion that “supernaturalism” is inimical to science is simply false, false on grounds of sheer raw historical fact and related worldview trends. But, those who have been indoctrinated in the name of education in today’s schools probably will not know that, so the well-poisoning tactic Wiki and Lewontin indulged will not ring false to the already indoctrinated.

    But it is not just a matter of Wikipedia or Richard Lewontin. The debates over the definition of science to be taught in Schools in Kansas brought to bear a joint letter from the US national Academy of Sciences (NAS) and National Science Teachers Association (NSTA). In key excerpts:

    >>“. . . the members of the Kansas State Board of Education who produced Draft 2-d of the KSES [[Kansas Science Education Standards] have deleted text defining science as a search for natural explanations of observable phenomena, blurring the line between scientific and other ways of understanding. Emphasizing controversy in the theory of evolution — when in fact all modern theories of science are continually tested and verified — and distorting the definition of science are inconsistent with our Standards and a disservice to the students of Kansas. Regretfully, many of the statements made in the KSES related to the nature of science and evolution also violate the document’s mission and vision. Kansas students will not be well-prepared for the rigors of higher education or the demands of an increasingly complex and technologically-driven world if their science education is based on these standards. Instead, they will put the students of Kansas at a competitive disadvantage as they take their place in the world.” [[Source: excerpt of retort. Emphases and explanatory parentheses added.]>>

    Boiled down, parents and politicians in Kansas were being told their children were being held hostage to a secularist, a priori materialist definition of science, and were also expected — under threat of blacklisting their children, notice — to pretend that the obvious, that evolutionism has been controversial as a theory for many reasons for 150 years, is not so. No, no, no, science has proved — when, where, how, by the way? — that the world is matter and energy moving by forces of chance and necessity ins pace and time, and so the very definition of science must reflect that, and while we are at it, you will not be ready for higher education or good paying jobs unless you toe this party-line.

    What was it that elicited such a harsh, threat-laced retort?

    The 2005 corrective definition of science that sought to restore a more traditional, historically balanced and less ideologically loaded view than the one that had been imposed in 2001:

    >>2001 novel definition then in force: “Science is the human activity of seeking natural explanations of the world around us.”

    2005, proposed corrective: “Science is a systematic method of continuing investigation, that uses observation, hypothesis testing, measurement, experimentation, logical argument and theory building, to lead to more adequate explanations of natural phenomena.”>>

    So, we see here institutions at the highest level in science and science education trying not only to impose a priori materialism on the definition of science [cf here also], but to pretend that an attempt to restore a more balanced definition would so cripple children that they could not function in jobs or in College.

    To put this in balance, let us examine typical definitions of science from high quality dictionaries (yes, yes, science is broader and deeper than such definitions can convey, but that is a challenge faced by all basic science education, so I will provide a sample of what an informed summary looks like . . . ) in the years before the design controversy:

    >> science: a branch of knowledge conducted on objective principles involving the systematized observation of and experiment with phenomena, esp. concerned with the material and functions of the physical universe. [Concise Oxford Dictionary, 1990 -- and yes, they used the "z" Virginia!]

    scientific method: principles and procedures for the systematic pursuit of knowledge [”the body of truth, information and principles acquired by mankind”] involving the recognition and formulation of a problem, the collection of data through observation and experiment, and the formulation and testing of hypotheses. [Webster's 7th Collegiate Dictionary, 1965]>>

    These in turn trace back to the sort of thoughts Newton famously put on record in his 1704 Query 31 to his Opticks:

    >>As in Mathematicks, so in Natural Philosophy, the Investigation of difficult Things by the Method of Analysis, ought ever to precede the Method of Composition. This Analysis consists in making Experiments and Observations, and in drawing general Conclusions from them by Induction, and admitting of no Objections against the Conclusions, but such as are taken from Experiments, or other certain Truths. For Hypotheses are not to be regarded in experimental Philosophy. And although the arguing from Experiments and Observations by Induction be no Demonstration of general Conclusions; yet it is the best way of arguing which the Nature of Things admits of, and may be looked upon as so much the stronger, by how much the Induction is more general. And if no Exception occur from Phaenomena, the Conclusion may be pronounced generally. But if at any time afterwards any Exception shall occur from Experiments, it may then begin to be pronounced with such Exceptions as occur. By this way of Analysis we may proceed from Compounds to Ingredients, and from Motions to the Forces producing them; and in general, from Effects to their Causes, and from particular Causes to more general ones, till the Argument end in the most general. This is the Method of Analysis: And the Synthesis consists in assuming the Causes discover’d, and establish’d as Principles, and by them explaining the Phaenomena proceeding from them, and proving the Explanations. [[Emphases added.]>>

    The language is more complex (and points to deep underlying issues) but the pattern reflected in the 2005 KSES definition and the high quality dictionaries is obvious. Science seeks to describe our world and its phenomena of interest accurately and systematically, understand/explain reliably, predict correctly, and guide sound technology and policy. To do so, we use “O, HI PET” — observe, hypothesise, infer & predict, make empirical tests. The resulting provisional but tested and found reliable body of knowledge has, for over 350 years now, made increasing contributions to development and prosperity.

    Obviously, successful science simply does not need to make question-begging a priori ideological commitments to doctrinaire materialism.

    [Cont'd]
    +++++++++

  20. ++++++

    What, then, lies behind what Wiki is doing, and what Lewontin, the NAS and the NSTA did?

    Let us look in steps:

    1 –> The attempt to tag Intelligent Design as a form of Creationism promoted by the Discovery Institute, is a case of Saul Alinsky Rules for Radicals name-calling and polarisation by selecting, framing, freezing and polarising a target; including by misleading labelling.

    2 –> Indeed, the very Creationists reject the idea that ID is Creationism — and they think it SHOULD become creationism. Not exactly the vaunted NPOV.

    ( . . . See how it pinches when the polarisation tactic is on the other foot? And, never mind, my observation is patently accurate, as I will go on to show.)

    3 –> What the naive reader would not know is what I just had reason to highlight in a UD comment response to the “ID is Creationism in a cheap tuxedo” type accusation so often promoted by Ms Barbara Forrest of the NCSE and the Lousiana Humanists, and co. (Yes, motive mongering also pinches tightly when it is on the other foot.) Namely, the actual roots of design thought in developments in astrophysics, cosmology, molecular biology and origin of life research since the 1940?s and 50?s; pardon my details:

    >>Thaxton . . . working with Bradley and Olsen, in 1984 — three years before the relevant US Supreme Court decision that is usually cited in “Creationism in a cheap tuxedo” narratives — developed the first technical design theory work . . . .

    As in The Mystery of Life’s Origin, in which argumentation on thermodynamics, Geology, and related chemistry, polymer science, information issues and atmosphere science etc in the context of a prelife earth led them to conclude based on the unfavourable equilibria, that formation of relevant information-rich protein or RNA polymers in such a pre-life matrix was maximally implausible? Then, who went on to discuss the various protocell theories at the time critically and concluded that none of them were plausible?

    Thence, concluded that the best explanation of formation of life was design, refusing to infer whether there was a ‘Creator” of such life within or beyond the cosmos, on grounds that the empirical evidence did not warrant such?

    So, we are left to infer from Forrest’s graph [where, BTW, the relevant publishers of TMLO were not allowed to speak for themselves in the courtroom . . . ], that the only plausible explanation is an attempt to avoid the implications of a court ruling? . . . .

    But if one is committed to the notion championed in the Wikipedia article I am currently marking up, that there is no technical merit to design arguments, there only remains sociological-psychological and political ones to account for its rise . . . .

    I guess I should start at the level that Thaxton et al did not address as beyond the scope of their investigations, which is the level [of design theory] that does [appropriately] point beyond the cosmos [i.e. cosmological design theory].

    For this, let me cite here a certain scientific hero of mine, the lifelong agnostic, Sir Fred Hoyle:

    From 1953 onward, Willy Fowler and I have always been intrigued by the remarkable relation of the 7.65 MeV energy level in the nucleus of 12 C to the 7.12 MeV level in 16 O. If you wanted to produce carbon and oxygen in roughly equal quantities by stellar nucleosynthesis, these are the two levels you would have to fix, and your fixing would have to be just where these levels are actually found to be. Another put-up job? . . . I am inclined to think so. A common sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a super intellect [--> as in, a Cosmos-building super intellect] has “monkeyed” with the physics as well as the chemistry and biology, and there are no blind forces worth speaking about in nature. [F. Hoyle, Annual Review of Astronomy and Astrophysics, 20 (1982): 16.]

    This seems to have been part of the conclusion of a talk he gave at Caltech in 1981. Let’s clip a little earlier:

    The big problem in biology, as I see it, is to understand the origin of the information carried by the explicit structures of biomolecules. The issue isn’t so much the rather crude fact that a protein consists of a chain of amino acids linked together in a certain way, but that the explicit ordering of the amino acids endows the chain with remarkable properties, which other orderings wouldn’t give. The case of the enzymes is well known . . . If amino acids were linked at random, there would be a vast number of arrange-ments that would be useless in serving the pur-poses of a living cell. When you consider that a typical enzyme has a chain of perhaps 200 links and that there are 20 possibilities for each link,it’s easy to see that the number of useless arrangements is enormous, more than the number of atoms in all the galaxies visible in the largest telescopes. This is for one enzyme, and there are upwards of 2000 of them, mainly serving very different purposes. So how did the situation get to where we find it to be? This is, as I see it, the biological problem – the information problem . . . .

    I was constantly plagued by the thought that the number of ways in which even a single enzyme could be wrongly constructed was greater than the number of all the atoms in the universe. So try as I would, I couldn’t convince myself that even the whole universe would be sufficient to find life by random processes – by what are called the blind forces of nature . . . . By far the simplest way to arrive at the correct sequences of amino acids in the enzymes would be by thought, not by random processes . . . .

    Now imagine yourself as a superintellect working through possibilities in polymer chemistry. Would you not be astonished that polymers based on the carbon atom turned out in your calculations to have the remarkable properties of the enzymes and other biomolecules? Would you not be bowled over in surprise to find that a living cell was a feasible construct? Would you not say to yourself, in whatever language supercalculating intellects use: Some supercalculating intellect must have designed the properties of the carbon atom, otherwise the chance of my finding such an atom through the blind forces of nature would be utterly minuscule. Of course you would, and if you were a sensible superintellect you would conclude that the carbon atom is a fix.

    OF COURSE, IT IS WORSE THAN THIS.

    It turns out that on many dimensions of fine tuning, our cosmos spits out the following first four atoms: H, He, C, O. with N nearly 5th overall, and 5th for our galaxy. That gets us to stars, the rest of the periodic table, organic chemistry, water, terrestrial rocks [oxides or oxygen rich ceramics] and proteins.

    That I find is a big clue.

    Where, we must then see what Hoyle also said:

    I do not believe that any physicist who examined the evidence could fail to draw the inference that the laws of nuclear physics have been deliberately designed with regard to the consequences they produce within stars. [["The Universe: Past and Present Reflections." Engineering and Science, November, 1981. pp. 8–12]

    In short, the numbers do not add up as Ms Forrest would have us believe, and the personality who is actually pivotal — evidently including for Thaxton et al — is not by any means a Christian, but a lifelong agnostic.

    And remember, the cosmological ID thinking emerged first, from the 1950?s to 70?s. It ties naturally into the issues being run into by OOL researchers who had by the 1970?s realised they had to account for functionally specific complex information in biology.

    Here we need to remember Orgel and Wicken (it’s all there in the IOSE, folks):

    ORGEL, 1973: . . . In brief, living organisms are distinguished by their specified complexity. Crystals are usually taken as the prototypes of simple well-specified structures, because they consist of a very large number of identical molecules packed together in a uniform way. Lumps of granite or random mixtures of polymers are examples of structures that are complex but not specified. The crystals fail to qualify as living because they lack complexity; the mixtures of polymers fail to qualify because they lack specificity. [[The Origins of Life (John Wiley, 1973), p. 189.]

    WICKEN, 1979: ‘Organized’ systems are to be carefully distinguished from ‘ordered’ systems. Neither kind of system is ‘random,’ but whereas ordered systems are generated according to simple algorithms [[i.e. “simple” force laws acting on objects starting from arbitrary and common- place initial conditions] and therefore lack complexity, organized systems must be assembled element by element according to an [[originally . . . ] external ‘wiring diagram’ with a high information content . . . Organization, then, is functional complexity and carries information. It is non-random by design or by selection, rather than by the a priori necessity of crystallographic ‘order.’ [[“The Generation of Complexity in Evolution: A Thermodynamic and Information-Theoretical Discussion,” Journal of Theoretical Biology, 77 (April 1979): p. 353, of pp. 349-65. (Emphases and notes added. Nb: “originally” is added to highlight that for self-replicating systems, the blue print can be built-in.)]

    The source of my descriptive term, functionally specific complex information [and related organisation], per the conduit of TMLO, should be obvious.

    In short, [the] whole complex collapses, collapses on the grounds that its timeline is wrong and the forebears of intelligent design thought as a scientific research programme are not as [Wiki and others of like ilk] imagine.>>

    4 –> So, clearly, we are seeing the willfully negligent — at the level of Ms Forrest (or even Wiki, given how influential it is as a reference web site) there are pretty serious duties of care to truth and fairness — substitution of a false history for an actual one, in order to enable rules for radicals polarisation, framing and smearing tactics.

    5 –> That would already be enough to indict the article as irresponsible and in need of severe correction and permanent acknowledgement by a prominent notice of apology that they have had to be corrected. (Not that I am holding my breath in expectation of acting in light of basic broughtupcy.)

    6 –> What about “theistic realism” or “theistic science”? In another article, Wiki informs:

    >>Theistic science, also referred to as theistic realism[1], is the viewpoint that methodological naturalism should be replaced by a philosophy of science that is informed by supernatural revelation[2], which would allow occasional supernatural explanations particularly in topics that impact theology; as for example evolution.[3] Supporters of this viewpoint include intelligent design creationism proponents J. P. Moreland, Alvin Plantinga, Stephen C. Meyer[4][5] and Phillip E. Johnson.[1][6]>>

    7 –> Notice, first, the label and dismiss tactics, where there are no movements that would accept the label “intelligent design creationists” as an accurate or fair or “neutral point of view” characterisation. That is, we see just how far and wide the rules for radicals polarisation and well poisoning tactics are spread in Wiki.

    8 –> But when we see a red herring distractor led away to a strawman caricautre soaked in ad hominems and set alight, clouding, choking, poisoning and polarising the atmosphere, we need to go looking for the inconvenient truth that must be distracted from by any means deemed “necessary.”

    9 –> And, it is not too hard to find: methodological naturalism — the backdoor a priori imposition of Lewontiniana priori materialism through the seemingly innocuous suggestion that this is the long term, successful method of science — has to be guarded at all costs.

    10 –> But obviously, if you a priori rule that science can only operate in an evolutionary materialist circle of naturalistic explanations, you are begging big questions. The very word “science” gives a warning, as it is a slightly modified form of the Latin for knowledge: warranted, credibly true beliefs.

    11 –> That is, what is being sacrificed here is the key concept that science should as far as possible be an open-minded, fair investigation of the truth about our world, in light of empirical evidence from observation, experiment, logically (and wherever possible, mathematically) driven analysis and open, uncensored but respectful discussion among the informed, etc.

    12 –> That is, science is being taken captive to a priori, question-begging materialist ideology.

    13 –> So, it is unsurprising to see that eminent philosophers of the ilk of a Plantinga (or even a Moreland etc), would point that out. To tag and dismiss them with a pejorative label is thus inexcusable.

    14 –> The obsession with projecting the “Intelligent Design Creationism” smear by mis-labelling, then leads on to a strawman caricature of the purpose of empirically based, design detection methods. Not, to “support . . . the existence of a designer,” but instead to identify whether and how reliably, we may detect from observable characteristics of objects and phenomena, to what extent they were produced by processes traceable to the default — chance and/or mechanical necessity — on the one hand, or design on the other. That is, as the contrasted NWE online encyclopedia article begins:

    >>Intelligent design (ID) is the view that it is possible to infer from empirical evidence that “certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection” . . .>>

    15 –> In short, the issue here is, whether there are features of objects and phenomena in nature that may be empirically investigated and which will — per inductive testing (with potential for falsification) — reliably indicate that they are caused by design. These signs, of course, include specified complexity and irreducible complexity, among others.

    16 –> Which immediately puts them in Wiki’s cross-hairs:

    >>The scientific community rejects the extension of science to include supernatural explanations in favor of continued acceptance of methodological naturalism,[n 3][n 4][6][7] and has rejected both irreducible complexity and specified complexity for a wide range of conceptual and factual flaws . . .>>

    17 –> “No true Scotsman [Scientist . . . ].” Of course, the evolutionary materialism dominated school of thought rejects CSI and IC as credible indicators of design, but in a context where the methods used to make that determination are tainted by a priori materialism, such an appeal to consensus is immediately tainted.

    18 –> On a more objective view, it should be clear that especially functionally specific complex organisation and associated information is a well-known, reliable and strong indicator of design as causal process.

    19 –> For simple instance, consider the text of this post — it is complex, specific and functional as script in the English Language. No-one in his or her right mind would dream of assigning it by definition to chance and necessity spewing forth lucky noise that then propagated across the Internet and voila, on pain of deeming those who dare suggest such “pseudoscientific.”

    20 –> So, why is it that, once the question of origins is on the table, to say look at the functionally specific digital code in the genome of the living cell and notice that it is a linguistic and algorithmic fact, which cries out for proper explanation on causes known to be adequate to write code to execute algorithms, leads to such accusations? (Where algorithms are step by step finite procedures that work to practically attain specific targetted end states. That is, they are purposeful. Goal-targetted behaviour being a well-known characteristic of mind.)

    21 –> Do we have credible cases where from scratch and without intelligent design and direction (even, coded in a genetic algorithm or the like), purely by blind chance and mechanical necessity, cods, algorithms and data structures have organised themselves out of the chaos of odds and ends that are just lying around and have in so doing exceeded 500 – 1,000 bits of complexity?

    22 –> Despite a lot of huffing and puffing, puffs of smoke and flashing mirrors with abracadabra hand waving to the contrary, NO.

    23 –> What we do have is a growing global industry where skilled and knowledgeable designers are paid very well thank you, to create such coded algorithms and data structures to carry out algorithms.

    24 –> In addition, we have a world full of libraries and a whole Internet full of billions of further cases on the point. Namely, such FSCO/I — especially digitally coded functionally specific, complex information (dFSCI) as we have focussed on is indeed a reliable sign of design. (And one that can be tested and in principle overturned by contrary observations, though the related needle in the haystack analysis shows why that is going to be quite hard to do.)

    25 –>The FSCI in or implied by an object matter can be quantified and measured as well, e.g the simplified Chi metric that has often been discussed here at UD:

    >> Chi = Ip*S – 500, in bits beyond a “complex enough” threshold

    NB: If S = 0 [--> the default, it is only where there is positive and observable reason to infer that something is functionally specific that S = 1], this locks us at Chi = – 500; and, if Ip is less than 500 bits, Chi will be negative even if S is positive.

    E.g.: a string of 501 coins tossed at random will have S = 0, but if the coins are arranged to spell out a message in English using the ASCII code [[notice independent specification of a narrow zone of possible configurations, T], Chi will — unsurprisingly — be positive.

    Following the logic of the per aspect necessity vs chance vs design causal factor explanatory filter, the default value of S is 0, i.e. it is assumed that blind chance and/or mechanical necessity are adequate to explain a phenomenon of interest.

    S goes to 1 when we have objective grounds — to be explained case by case — to assign that value.

    That is, we need to justify why we think the observed cases E come from a narrow zone of interest, T, that is independently describable, not just a list of members E1, E2, E3 . . . ; in short, we must have a reasonable criterion that allows us to build or recognise cases Ei from T, without resorting to an arbitrary list.

    A string at random is a list with one member, but if we pick it as a password, it is now a zone with one member. (Where also, a lottery, is a sort of inverse password game where we pay for the privilege; and where the complexity has to be carefully managed to make it winnable. )

    An obvious example of such a zone T, is code symbol strings of a given length that work in a programme or communicate meaningful statements in a language based on its grammar, vocabulary etc. This paragraph is a case in point, which can be contrasted with typical random strings ( . . . 68gsdesnmyw . . . ) or repetitive ones ( . . . ftftftft . . . ); where we can also see by this case how such a case can enfold random and repetitive sub-strings.

    Arguably — and of course this is hotly disputed — DNA protein and regulatory codes are another. Design theorists argue that the only observed adequate cause for such is a process of intelligently directed configuration, i.e. of design, so we are justified in taking such a case as a reliable sign of such a cause having been at work. (Thus, the sign then counts as evidence pointing to a perhaps otherwise unknown designer having been at work.)

    So also, to overthrow the design inference, a valid counter example would be needed, a case where blind mechanical necessity and/or blind chance produces such functionally specific, complex information. (Points xiv – xvi above outline why that will be hard indeed to come up with. There are literally billions of cases where FSCI is observed to come from design.)

    xxii: So, we have some reason to suggest that if something, E, is based on specific information describable in a way that does not just quote E and requires at least 500 specific bits to store the specific information, then the most reasonable explanation for the cause of E is that it was designed. The metric may be directly applied to biological cases:

    Using Durston’s Fits values — functionally specific bits — from his Table 1, to quantify I, so also accepting functionality on specific sequences as showing specificity giving S = 1, we may apply the simplified Chi_500 metric of bits beyond the threshold:

    RecA: 242 AA, 832 fits, Chi: 332 bits beyond
    SecY: 342 AA, 688 fits, Chi: 188 bits beyond
    Corona S2: 445 AA, 1285 fits, Chi: 785 bits beyond

    xxiii: And, this raises the controversial question that biological examples such as DNA — which in a living cell is much more complex than 500 bits — may be designed to carry out particular functions in the cell and the wider organism.>>

    26 –> We are entitled to take such results seriously in scientific investigations, and accordingly it is reasonable to view the process of inferring to best, empirically grounded scientific explanation in that light, e.g.:

    [Explanatory Filer flowchart]

    [Caption] The per aspect explanatory filter that shows how design may be inferred scientifically on empirically tested, reliable sign (NB: such inferences are in fact routine in many applied science fields, e.g. forensics such as arson investigations and in statistics. In telecommunications, the concept of distinguishable signal and noise, enshrined in the key metrics signal:noise ratio, noise figure/factor, and noise temperature, depend on making just such an inference.)

    27 –> What is happening on matters of origins, especially of cell based life and of body plans, is that there is an a priori imposition of materialism, so the materialists are committed to the idea that here CANNOT be a designer present. So, they see no harm in locking in that idea through imposing the methodological constraint that science must explain naturalistically, seeing only the despised, suspect possibility, “the supernatural.”

    28 –> But obviously, this sort of question-begging only leads them to lock out the evidence before it can speak. And in particular, they need to ask themselves whether they have listened to the point made ever since Plato in The Laws, Bk X, 2350 years ago, that there is another alternative to “natural” (= blind chance plus mechanical necessity acting on matter and energy in space and time) in causal explanations, i.e. the ARTificial. That is, design.

    29 –> Design is obviously and empirical phenomenon, and it often leaves characteristic traces, such as FSCO/I. So, why not allow the evidence to speak for itself, through its characteristic signs? Surely, if science were concerned to discover the truth about our world in light of observable, factual evidence evaluated fairly and logically — which is a big part of the reason why the public respects it — that would be a no-brainer.

    30 –> Sadly, and obviously on what we have already seen, that is not the case today.

    31 –> Which is another way of saying, science has been taken ideological captive, and is being corrupted by that captivity. In turn, that implies that what is at stake in the design theory debates, is the restoration of the integrity of science.

    32 –> But, what about irreducible complexity?

    33 –> This concept is closely connected to the idea — easily confirmed by anyone who has had to put together a complex circuit board or troubleshoot a car with a mysterious fault – that when we have multiple part-based function that is strongly dependent on how the parts are arranged and coupled together, it means that for a complicated object, not just any and any old way of dashing bits and pieces or sub-assemblies together will work. That is, complex, specific, multipart function dependent on well-matched and properly arranged parts naturally comes in deeply isolated islands of function within broader spaces of possible configurations.

    34 –> That poses a serious challenge for proposed mechanisms of evolution that depend on creating novel function based on such configurations, for the intervening seas of non-function between relevant islands could well make it all but impossible to practically bridge from one working island to another.

    35 –> And, the sort of incremental changes within such islands of function as we find in body plans, do not answer to this problem. That is, an explanatory mechanism that plausibly accounts for varying proportions of white and black moths in an area or the size of finch beaks or the loss of eyes in blind cave fish, does not easily account for the origin of the body plans for moths, birds and fish by simple extrapolation of gradually branching incremental changes tracing back to some remote unicellular organism. (And the complex arrangements of molecules to make such a living cell with metabolic and replication facilities also needs to be accounted for.)

    36 –> Why that is so, can be seen from Menuge’s criteria C1 – 5, which highlight the iconic case of the bacterial flagellum but are broadly applicable:

    >> C1: Availability. Among the parts available for recruitment to form the flagellum, there would need to be ones capable of performing the highly specialized tasks of paddle, rotor, and motor, even though all of these items serve some other function or no function.

    C2: Synchronization. The availability of these parts would have to be synchronized so that at some point, either individually or in combination, they are all available at the same time.

    C3: Localization. The selected parts must all be made available at the same ‘construction site,’ perhaps not simultaneously but certainly at the time they are needed.

    C4: Coordination. The parts must be coordinated in just the right way: even if all of the parts of a flagellum are available at the right time, it is clear that the majority of ways of assembling them will be non-functional or irrelevant.

    C5: Interface compatibility. The parts must be mutually compatible, that is, ‘well-matched’ and capable of properly ‘interacting’: even if a paddle, rotor, and motor are put together in the right order, they also need to interface correctly.

    ( Agents Under Fire: Materialism and the Rationality of Science, pgs. 104-105 (Rowman & Littlefield, 2004). HT: ENV.)>>

    37 –> That is, the irreducible complexity issue challenges darwinists to provide empirical warrant for the detailed pattern of rooting — OOL — and major branches — origin of body plans — for the tree of life promoted ever since Darwin as the best explanation for the origin and diversity of life forms:

    [Tree of life figure]

    [caption] The Smithsonian’s tree of life model, note the root in OOL

    38 –> On fair comment, this classic icon of evolution — it is in fact the ONLY illustration in Darwin’s Origin of Species — presents as through it were established fact the incremental pattern of rooting and branching that would be necessary to actually empirically ground the macroevolutionary picture, but fails to provide actual empirical warrant. It makes plausible what is not — after 150 years — actually shown as so. And, particularly, it fails to show that blind chance variations and differential success in ecological niches accounts for the body plan level diversity of life.

    39 –>To overturn IC, of course, all that would be needed is to actually provide observational evidence of the incremental origin of such body plans. But ever since the days when Darwin puzzled over the Cambrian life revolution, that evidence has been conspicuously missing. Never mind the 150 years of scouring the relevant fossil beds, which have simply underscored the pattern that was already evident in Darwin’s day. and which has been aptly summarised by Gould in a classic citation:

    >>“The extreme rarity of transitional forms in the fossil record persists as the trade secret of paleontology. The evolutionary trees that adorn our textbooks have data only at the tips and nodes of their branches; the rest is inference, however reasonable, not the evidence of fossils. Yet Darwin was so wedded to gradualism that he wagered his entire theory on a denial of this literal record:

    The geological record is extremely imperfect and this fact will to a large extent explain why we do not find intermediate varieties, connecting together all the extinct and existing forms of life by the finest graduated steps [[ . . . . ] He who rejects these views on the nature of the geological record will rightly reject my whole theory.[[Cf. Origin, Ch 10, "Summary of the preceding and present Chapters," also see similar remarks in Chs 6 and 9.]

    Darwin’s argument still persists as the favored escape of most paleontologists from the embarrassment of a record that seems to show so little of evolution. In exposing its cultural and methodological roots, I wish in no way to impugn the potential validity of gradualism (for all general views have similar roots). I wish only to point out that it was never “seen” in the rocks.

    Paleontologists have paid an exorbitant price for Darwin’s argument. We fancy ourselves as the only true students of life’s history, yet to preserve our favored account of evolution by natural selection we view our data as so bad that we never see the very process we profess to study.” [[Stephen Jay Gould 'Evolution's erratic pace'. Natural History, vol. LXXXVI95), May 1977, p.14. (Kindly note, that while Gould does put forward claimed cases of transitions elsewhere, that cannot erase the facts that he published in the peer reviewed literature in 1977 and was still underscoring in 2002, 25 years later, as well as what the theory he helped co-found, set out to do. Sadly, this needs to be explicitly noted, as some would use such remarks to cover over the points just highlighted. Also, note that this is in addition to the problem of divergent molecular trees and the top-down nature of the Cambrian explosion.)] [[HT: Answers.com]>>

    ___________________

    So, we can easily see that the concluding dismissal of design theory in the wiki article is quite misleading and tendentious:

    >>Intelligent design is viewed as a pseudoscience by the scientific community, because it lacks empirical support, offers no tenable hypotheses, and aims to describe natural history in terms of scientifically untestable supernatural causes.>>

    These claims are simply not true, are lacking in proper warrant, and run counter to the evident facts as summarised at introductory level above. They should be withdrawn, apologised for and a permanent notice of that need to retract and apologies should be affixed at the head of the article.

    ++++++

    DV, more will follow over the next few days, point by point.

    KF

  21. 21

    A few scattered observations

    I don’t think it matters much if it is allowed that science is defined as the search for natural explanations to phenomena , as long as it is acknowledged and kept in historical context.
    Even the Christian and other God worshipping scientists acknowledged this as a matter of practical benefit. When doing science we purposely decide to become operational atheists when seeking answers. Newton as a prime example sought immediate practical and material explanations and causes. Acknowledging this is no way hurts the case of ID and in no way proves anything that atheistic scientists wish.
    This fact also does not offer us and was never intended to offer a definition of all of reality and the meaning of life. That was and still is a further step than was decided and agreed upon. It is also unwarranted and is exactly the point where materialism has taken a quasi religious leap of faith.
    To the thoughtful, intelligent and historically informed person none of the above can be understood as an argument against ID or Creation belief.
    ID, regardless of its implications or affinities seeks to discover natural signs of intelligence through empirical process which is in line with the above definitions of science as practiced by Newton or Einstein or any scientist, by laying aside personal beliefs and proceeding as a matter of consensus ‘atheistically’ as a matter of design and purpose which is to discover immediate and natural causes and data. What some don’t like is the thing that ID, as they understand it is trying to prove, but that is not a right concern of scientists, namely what a scientist chooses to investigate, as long
    they follow the rules agreed upon by consensus. Atheistic scientists can’t seem to separate these two.
    I agree with KF that this is based on blindness and historical ignorance which amounts to prejudice and a gross and blatant bias that materialist are blissfully unaware of due to one sided education. That is by the way the charitable view.

  22. 22

    I would like to add that operating as atheist and seeking natural explanations as a matter of design in no way proves or suggests that there is no God nor does it invalidate long standing reasons for believing in God and Creator. The way science operates is a decision to focus on nature it is not a statement of belief or unbelief or the result of unbelief or atheism or proof or evidence of anything it is simply a practical decision to focus on immediate material questions in order to get immediate material answers and leave higher and less immediate questions answers alone. Again the purposely decided methodology of the natural sciences in no way invalidates reasons for believing in God nor is it the result of some discovery that there is no God or supernatural, it was something decided within the context of belief in God and so is not in anyway the special province of atheism. Perhaps it is the idea that since we decided to investigate in a sort of objective material manner in order to discover natural causes,some thereby erroneously draw the conclusion that decision was based on some real atheism as contrasted with the operational sort of atheism in science. Yet only someone who is ignorant of the history of thought and adopts a popular near vulgar view of science separated from its historical context could think such a thing.

  23. What the artificial imposition of methodological naturalism onto origins science really means:

    Treasure Island
    http://bevets.com/ti.htm

    Methodological Naturalism in a nutshell: – cartoon
    http://ow.ly/i/15DCL/original

    If one restricts science to the natural, and assumes that science can in principle get to all truth, then one has implicitly assumed philosophical naturalism.
    - Del Ratsch, philosopher

    “The presence of a creative deity in the universe is clearly a scientific hypothesis. Indeed, it is hard to imagine a more momentous hypothesis in all of science.” Richard Dawkins
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....e-crocker/

    If you exclude the supernatural from science, then if the world or some phenomena within it are supernaturally caused — as most of the world’s people believe — you won’t be able to reach that truth scientifically. Observing methodological naturalism thus hamstrings science by precluding science from reaching what would be an enormously important truth about the world. It might be that, just as a result of this constraint, even the best science in the long run will wind up with false conclusions.— Alvin Plantinga, philosopher

    More on How We Can Know Intelligent Design Is Science – Casey Luskin – November, 2012
    Excerpt: ID Doesn’t Offend the Spirit of MN (Methodological Naturalism): Proponents of MN often justify this rule by arguing that it ensures that science uses only testable, predictable, and reliable explanations.11 However, as we have seen, intelligent design generates testable hypotheses based upon our knowledge of how the world works, and can be reliably inferred through the scientific method. In this way, intelligent design does not violate any mandates of predictability, testability, or reliability laid down for science by MN. In fact, ID and neo-Darwinian evolution are methodologically equivalent.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....66841.html

  24. 24

    Born Again,
    I hope you do not find my comments and understanding in disagreement with your’s because I don’t. I think the key to understanding this issue is the remembrance and acknowledgement by scientists that the naturalism in science is not absolute and shouldn’t be dogmatic but rather is as they love to say about science in general, provisional and in a sense artificial. There just is no basis or need warrant or excuse for atheistic hostility. Science is not and never was the provenance or province of atheism only a provisional operational method that some mistook for such. Atheists are the ones that need to separate their beliefs from science.

  25. Michael Servetus you state:

    I hope you do not find my comments and understanding in disagreement with your’s because I don’t.

    Michael Servetus a few notes:

    Recently quantum entanglement/information has been found in molecular biology on a massive scale:

    Quantum Information/Entanglement In DNA – Elisabeth Rieper – short video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/5936605/

    DNA Can Discern Between Two Quantum States, Research Shows – June 2011
    Excerpt: — DNA — can discern between quantum states known as spin. – The researchers fabricated self-assembling, single layers of DNA attached to a gold substrate. They then exposed the DNA to mixed groups of electrons with both directions of spin. Indeed, the team’s results surpassed expectations: The biological molecules reacted strongly with the electrons carrying one of those spins, and hardly at all with the others. The longer the molecule, the more efficient it was at choosing electrons with the desired spin, while single strands and damaged bits of DNA did not exhibit this property.
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....104014.htm

    Does DNA Have Telepathic Properties?-A Galaxy Insight – 2009
    Excerpt: DNA has been found to have a bizarre ability to put itself together, even at a distance, when according to known science it shouldn’t be able to.,,, The recognition of similar sequences in DNA’s chemical subunits, occurs in a way unrecognized by science. There is no known reason why the DNA is able to combine the way it does, and from a current theoretical standpoint this feat should be chemically impossible.
    http://www.dailygalaxy.com/my_.....ave-t.html

    Coherent Intrachain energy migration at room temperature – Elisabetta Collini & Gregory Scholes – University of Toronto – Science, 323, (2009), pp. 369-73
    Excerpt: The authors conducted an experiment to observe quantum coherence dynamics in relation to energy transfer. The experiment, conducted at room temperature, examined chain conformations, such as those found in the proteins of living cells. Neighbouring molecules along the backbone of a protein chain were seen to have coherent energy transfer. Where this happens quantum decoherence (the underlying tendency to loss of coherence due to interaction with the environment) is able to be resisted, and the evolution of the system remains entangled as a single quantum state.
    http://www.scimednet.org/quant.....d-protein/

    Testing quantum entanglement in protein – November 2011
    Excerpt: The authors remark that this reverses the previous orthodoxy, which held that quantum effects could not exist in biological systems because of the amount of noise in these systems.,,, Environmental noise here drives a persistent and cyclic generation of new entanglement.,,, In summary, the authors say that they have demonstrated that entanglement can recur even in a hot noisy environment. In biological systems this can be related to changes in the conformation of macromolecules.
    http://www.quantum-mind.co.uk/.....-c288.html

    Life Uses Quantum Mechanics – September 25, 2012
    Excerpt: it looks as if nature has worked out how to preserve (quantum) entanglement at body temperature over time scales that physicists can only dream about.
    http://crev.info/2012/09/life-.....mechanics/

    Physicists Discover Quantum Law of Protein Folding – February 22, 2011
    Quantum mechanics finally explains why protein folding depends on temperature in such a strange way.
    Excerpt: First, a little background on protein folding. Proteins are long chains of amino acids that become biologically active only when they fold into specific, highly complex shapes. The puzzle is how proteins do this so quickly when they have so many possible configurations to choose from.
    To put this in perspective, a relatively small protein of only 100 amino acids can take some 10^100 different configurations. If it tried these shapes at the rate of 100 billion a second, it would take longer than the age of the universe to find the correct one. Just how these molecules do the job in nanoseconds, nobody knows.,,,
    Their astonishing result is that this quantum transition model fits the folding curves of 15 different proteins and even explains the difference in folding and unfolding rates of the same proteins.
    That’s a significant breakthrough. Luo and Lo’s equations amount to the first universal laws of protein folding. That’s the equivalent in biology to something like the thermodynamic laws in physics.
    http://www.technologyreview.co.....f-protein/

    The trouble that quantum entanglement/information presents for methodological naturalism, Michael Servetus, is that there simply is no ‘naturalistic’, within space and time, explanation for quantum entanglement:

    Looking Beyond Space and Time to Cope With Quantum Theory – (Oct. 28, 2012)
    Excerpt: To derive their inequality, which sets up a measurement of entanglement between four particles, the researchers considered what behaviours are possible for four particles that are connected by influences that stay hidden and that travel at some arbitrary finite speed.
    Mathematically (and mind-bogglingly), these constraints define an 80-dimensional object. The testable hidden influence inequality is the boundary of the shadow this 80-dimensional shape casts in 44 dimensions. The researchers showed that quantum predictions can lie outside this boundary, which means they are going against one of the assumptions. Outside the boundary, either the influences can’t stay hidden, or they must have infinite speed.,,,
    The remaining option is to accept that (quantum) influences must be infinitely fast,,,
    “Our result gives weight to the idea that quantum correlations somehow arise from outside spacetime, in the sense that no story in space and time can describe them,” says Nicolas Gisin, Professor at the University of Geneva, Switzerland,,,
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....142217.htm

    Thus Michael Servetus, though I appreciate you diplomatic efforts to make MN more palatable to Christian Theists, it simply is ‘not even wrong’ to presuppose a naturalistic solution to the question of, ‘What is the ‘non-local’ beyond space and time cause for the non-local quantum entanglement within molecular biology?’

    Verse:

    John 1:3
    Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.

  26. MS:

    Hi, hope your new year will be great.

    I will comment on points:

    1] I don’t think it matters much if it is allowed that science is defined as the search for natural explanations to phenomena , as long as it is acknowledged and kept in historical context.

    On the contrary — as has been shown — Lewontin’s a priori materialism (which is deeply entrenched) begs the question and warps science away from being a disinterested, objective, evidence led search for the truth about our world. It marks the ideological captivity of science.

    2] Christian and other God worshipping scientists acknowledged this as a matter of practical benefit. When doing science we purposely decide to become operational atheists when seeking answers. Newton as a prime example sought immediate practical and material explanations and causes.

    Not so.

    As the explanatory filter aptly summarises, when we look at low contingency regularities, we explain by — hopefully quantitative — law and underlying consistent forces of nature. When we see stochastically distributed contingencies we identify and seek to explain the factors behind distributions. But, when we see things that are only known — per large bases of observation — to be caused by design by art (and design is an observed process in our world) do we then shut our eyes and say, no, it must be chance and/or necessity?

    More than this, the Newton you appeal to saw the order of the world as reflecting its design by the cosmic architect. Let’s clip his General Scholium to Principia:

    . . . This most beautiful system of the sun, planets, and comets, could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent and powerful Being. And if the fixed stars are the centres of other like systems, these, being formed by the like wise counsel, must be all subject to the dominion of One; especially since the light of the fixed stars is of the same nature with the light of the sun, and from every system light passes into all the other systems: and lest the systems of the fixed stars should, by their gravity, fall on each other mutually, he hath placed those systems at immense distances one from another.

    This Being governs all things, not as the soul of the world, but as Lord over all; and on account of his dominion he is wont to be called Lord God pantokrator , or Universal Ruler . . . .

    And from his true dominion it follows that the true God is a living, intelligent, and powerful Being; and, from his other perfections, that he is supreme, or most perfect. He is eternal and infinite, omnipotent and omniscient; that is, his duration reaches from eternity to eternity; his presence from infinity to infinity; he governs all things, and knows all things that are or can be done . . . .

    In him are all things contained and moved [i.e. cites Ac 17, where Paul evidently cites Cleanthes]; yet neither affects the other: God suffers nothing from the motion of bodies; bodies find no resistance from the omnipresence of God. It is allowed by all that the Supreme God exists necessarily; and by the same necessity he exists always, and every where . . . .

    We know him only by his most wise and excellent contrivances of things, and final cause [i.e from his designs]: we admire him for his perfections; but we reverence and adore him on account of his dominion: for we adore him as his servants; and a god without dominion, providence, and final causes, is nothing else but Fate and Nature. Blind metaphysical necessity, which is certainly the same always and every where, could produce no variety of things. [i.e necessity does not produce contingency] All that diversity of natural things which we find suited to different times and places could arise from nothing but the ideas and will of a Being necessarily existing.

    3] This fact also does not offer us and was never intended to offer a definition of all of reality and the meaning of life.

    The problem here is that “science” is held captive to scientism, which in effect sees it as “the only begetter of truth.”

    That may be nonsense to those who know better, but that is the problem, there has been a sustained dumbing down that robs people, including many “educated” and “intelligent” people, of the base to see the fallacy. And if such can then be poisoned against those who will point it out, they will not listen.

    Until it is too late.

    That is why NSTA’s crime is in some ways worse than NAS’ and it is why Wikipedia’s crime is just as bad as NSTA’s.

    And, this is quite pervasive in adherence or influence, so that people do not even understand that what is knowledge and what grounds knowledge are philosophical not scientific questions. (Lewontin didn’t even realise that he had made a philosophical claim that philosophical claims are invalid. Oops.)

    And that traces to a negligent or in some cases quite willful dumbing down of education across generations.

    4] this is based on blindness and historical ignorance which amounts to prejudice and a gross and blatant bias that materialist are blissfully unaware of due to one sided education. That is by the way the charitable view.

    Yup. Sadly.

    KF

  27. 27

    I am a prime example of the “dumbed down” masses when it comes to understanding what has been wrought by decades of media and academia promoted materialism/scientism. I had been provided no fundamental concepts about sufficient warrant, necessary premises, etc.

    However, this is not only the fault of the materialist agenda (which I correlate with the modern progressive/marxist agenda), but also of a complicit religious base that allowed these social forces to marginalize them and move them out of the realm of the physical world. After all, I went to church when I was young, but nobody there taught introduced me to Aquinas, CS Lewis, first principles, or the rational arguments for god.

    When I was a young adult leaving home I was utterly unequipped to handle what I encountered in the real world. I’m sorry, but reading Bible stories and sermons about hellfire doesn’t cut it for many people like me; we need sufficient grounds, rational arguments, principles that hold up to scrutiny other than a generic “it’s in the Bible.” (Had I a pastor like BA77 or KF or others here, my story would be quite different, I’m sure.)

    It was only when I stumbled across the ID movement (and I came across it as a many-years hardcore atheist) that I realized how unsupportable my position was and how profoundly inadequate my reasoning skills were.

    I’m just lucky that I was still open to reasonable argument.

  28. William J Murray as to

    “Had I a pastor like BA77 or KF,,”

    While I’m flattered to be in the same breath as KF, I simply can’t hold a candle to his, nor many other contributors on UD, command of the knowledge. (even your ability to communicate knowledge effectively greatly surpasses mine).,,, I’m sure that I will probably make some simple gaff on the basic facts in the near future, be corrected on it, and you will have a much more realistic, restrained, view as to put me in the same breath as KF.

  29. Lewontin asserts science as the only begetter of truth about the material world:

    to put a correct view of the universe into people’s heads we must first get an incorrect view out. People believe a lot of nonsense about the world of phenomena, nonsense that is a consequence of a wrong way of thinking. The primary problem is not to provide the public with the knowledge of how far it is to the nearest star and what genes are made of, for that vast project is, in its entirety, hopeless. Rather, the problem is to get them to reject irrational and supernatural explanations of the world, the demons that exist only in their imaginations, and to accept a social and intellectual apparatuof nature is not that they are ignorant of this or that fact about the material world, but that they look to the wrong sources in their attempt to understand. [Emphasis added]

    Lewontin does not seem to claim that science is the one and only begetter of all truth: the boldface items in the quote above should show why. He’s not talking about truth relative to psychological or social phenomena, for example. Now, Lewontin sure seems to privilege the material (phenomenal) world, but I read him as being very deliberate about which domain of truth he’s speaking about.

    See, for another example, his summary of Sagan’s argument in The Demon-Haunted Word:

    Sagan’s argument is straightforward. We exist as material beings in a material world, all of whose phenomena are the consequences of physical relations among material entities. The vast majority of us do not have control of the intellectual apparatus needed to explain manifest reality in material terms, so in place of scientific (i.e., correct material) explanations, we substitute demons. [Emphasis added]

    And one more quote from Lewontin for good measure:

    Most of the chapters of The Demon-Haunted World are taken up with exhortations to the reader to cease whoring after false gods and to accept the scientific method as the unique pathway to a correct understanding of the natural world. To Sagan, as to all but a few other scientists, it is self-evident that the practices of science provide the surest method of putting us in contact with physical reality, and that, in contrast, the demon-haunted world rests on a set of beliefs and behaviors that fail every reasonable test. [Emphasis added]

    Now, I don’t think there a claim being made here that there are “begetters of truth” about physical reality in addition to science. I think it warrants clarification to see the domain that Lewontin quite deliberately marks out in his review essay.

    Or perhaps I’ve asked the question wrong

  30. kairosfocus:

    As the explanatory filter aptly summarises, when we look at low contingency regularities, we explain by — hopefully quantitative — law and underlying consistent forces of nature. When we see stochastically distributed contingencies we identify and seek to explain the factors behind distributions.

    Thanks for this fresh insight into the Explanatory Filter.

    It’s not that all regularity can be explained by natural law, but when we see a regular pattern in nature we do attempt to find an explanation for it in terms of natural laws.

    And when there is no discernable pattern at all, we look for explanation in terms of certain distributions, which are themselves a sort of pattern. (This might be worthy of additional comment.)

    But there are things out in the world that need a different explanation. Where is the science that covers them?

  31. I had been provided no fundamental concepts about sufficient warrant, necessary premises, etc.

    The time we spend on philosophy here at UD is time well spent.

  32. Ah, WJM (and BA):

    I am here back in the local library, but from the angle of asking whether we need to think seriously about different building technologies than the ones fat cat contractors are used to (steel reinforced concrete beams & columns with block & mortar curtain walls), as one of my former students built it with H beams with a 25-year corrosion warranty out of the factory.

    I am pausing for the moment.

    Y’know, back in my day, too, I did not have the sort of exposure you assume, either in schools (with scant exceptions) or in church including Sunday schools. As to what was commonly available in the bookshops I then knew about, let’s not even bother. The media — print, radio, TV, even shortwave — we had were a joke, a worse joke.

    But what happened was, we ran into an era of radical socialist political messianism that brought the radical socialist solutions you all are beginning to foolishly experiment with in the US (if you don’t know the lessons of history . . . ) to the fore. I also had had an interest in the history of the 2nd World War and its precursors. And, my mom had had courses in media including logic [the books by and large were inaccessible, a lot of stuff on non sequiturs poorly presented from my perspective now).

    Then, after my folks moved to Barbados, we had some bits and pieces in a leading high school there, especially from an old anglican canon.

    Back in Jamaica for university, I walked into a revival, connected to the rising Charismatic renewal of those days, and with a section of people who had hit on a Name: Francis Schaeffer, and another: C S Lewis. Eventually, I would — especially in early grad student days — haunt the Uni Library history, general studies and logic sections. (At that time, I was often reading five books in parallel, in addition to my academics.)

    Then, there was a bookshop that I did not know it, but was maybe the best serious Christian bookshop for maybe 400 miles in the nearest direction ( I am assuming Miami has something to match, somewhere . . . ) and for 1,000 miles or more in just about any other direction in English. Plus when I visited at home in Barbados, there were some second hand bookshops that had some books that I was not seeing anywhere else.

    Along he way, I began to ask serious questions and restructure my thinking for myself. Not least, to understand the idolatry of political messianism in its fascist, socialist, neopagan and old fashioned crony patronage forms. Including, working out why the economics fails. I t helped to have one of the best economists in the Caribbean for a dad. (As a result of which, I am a sort of heretical austrian in economics. Eventually, I picked up an MBA along the way to be able to use the studies and extensions, as well as reinforcing strategic analysis and planning ability.)

    Hitting the relativity-quantum wall in physics helped. here we saw a revolution, and I had to come to see how something radically different from the Newtonian paradigm I had been taught from 4th form on, could become superior.

    At some point I also was a de facto hanger on around the uni philosophy department. (Tiny.)

    Then, I became a tertiary level sci-tech educator and also taught in secondary school (including being asked to teach general studies to 6th formers, roughly comparable to college freshmen), and eventually a curriculum developer/architect and sustainable development consultant.

    All of this brings us back to the engagement we are now in.

    Notice, almost none of this was from formal studies or from what was accessible in churches or the like.

    All of this brings us to what we are up against.

    Our civilisation is mortally wounded and bleeding out.

    From within, we have had a radical secularist revolution led in key part by scientism, skepticism, atheism and the like, which by capturing science especially origins studies, has gradually eaten out the heart of the worldview that built out civilisation. What is left is a facade, like furniture that has been eaten out by termites. It may look as it always did, but just poke it and see how it breaks, crumbles and sawdust etc pour out.

    Those who are doing this, don’t even know they are setting up the REAL threat, fascism.

    The ideology of the desperate, who see unprecedented bewildering crisis and collapse, maybe including collapse of financial systems and life savings. Hyperinflation driven by out of control government can easily do that in a few years, and there is little left to resist.

    Now, look at identity groups who see themselves as threatened by unprecedented crises in waves. They want safety and order in the face of crisis after crisis. here comes political messiah, the media golden boy, smart, hip, articulate, different. He is above lesser mortals and their tawdry, decrepit notions of right and wrong.

    Too many don’t know enough to spot a nietzschean superman political messiah when they see it, and what that means, and how fast the collapse into a dark night of totalitarian dictatorship can come. Go poke around and ask the few who knew someone who went through Germany, post WW I.

    No prizes for guessing why that is not in our history books.

    Then, there is the other major threat we deliberately have been kept from understanding aright. The neo-marxist post colonialist narrative is so seductive, that people — eleven and more years after the 9/11 attacks, don’t know about the Jihads that took Mohammed and successors from one town, Yathrib, to knocking on the doors of Paris, Rome and the Indus valley in a tad more than 100 years. We don’t understand Islamist genocidal, global conquest mahdism, we haven ot got a clue what the “black flag army from Khorasan” is about, we don’t know about the gharqad tree hadith that is embedded in the Hamas covenant article 7. And so forth. Terms such as Jihad have been twisted into pretzels, dawah we don’t know what that is, and mahdi is meaningless to us. We don’t know why Ahmadinejad sees Iran as vanguard of mahdi’s army, and why Afghanistan-Pakistan are so important. As in that is the zone of Khorasan from which the all conquering black flag army comes.

    As a matter of fact, when we saw the black flags in play over the past few months in Egypt etc, we did not see what that meant. Not even the one that is specifically al qaeda’s version.

    We have been dumbed down.

    Willfully.

    Then, we look at the game being played by Wikipedia with the ID article.

    If I have ever seen a live piece of Goebbels big-lie propaganda, that is it.

    Look, to lie is to speak with disregard to the truth and to do so in hopes of profiting by what we know or should know is false, being taken as truth.

    Never forget, Hitler’s game was, that ordinary people know about little lies, and will smell them out. but they cannot get their minds around the idea that presumably trustworthy and honourable leaders or persons of influence would brazenly, barefacedly, without ducking a head or hesitating, lie through their teeth, in the sweetest tones of seeming sincerity.

    That is why warrant is so crucial, and it is why we need to learn the simple point that arguments persuade by (a) emotions, (b) the credit of apparent authorities, (c) the apparent weight of facts and reasoning.

    And that is the backdrop for my NCSTS unit on worldviews and grounding of worldviews, here on. Notice, the part on grounding worldviews here on. Note how I move on to the reason why I am a Nicene creed orthodox Christian, here on (also, cf here).

    But note too, the build-on to what I have distilled from Schaeffer on reformation here on. (BTW, I just got the DVD set for How should we then live, it is in Youtube in bits and pieces, some I link, but I want the vids.)

    KF

  33. LT:

    Pardon, I don’t have a lot of time just now.

    Lewontin is in the same context establishing a priori materialism, and we know the context of that. The scientism in that context is saying the cosmos is matter, energy, space and time — the physicalist frame — and the only gateway to truth about ti is science. he is also dismissing anything else beyond that world as superstitious “demons” to be exorcised by science.

    Please go back and read again.

    More later, gotta run.

    KF

  34. KF,

    I don’t have much time either. Lewontin does indeed establish a priori materialism with respect to that which interests him–”matter, energy, space and time.” Although he might agree it’s possible the cosmos is not encompassed by these four categories, he’s not interested in professionally studying anything beyond the material cosmos.

    It’s a separate question as to whether there are gateways to truth about the material world in addition to science.

    Here’s one of the famous paragraphs of Lewontin’s review:

    Our willingness to accept scientific claims that are against common sense is the key to an understanding of the real struggle between science and the supernatural. We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism. It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door. The eminent Kant scholar Lewis Beck used to say that anyone who could believe in God could believe in anything. To appeal to an omnipotent deity is to allow that at any moment the regularities of nature may be ruptured, that miracles may happen.

    The first two sentences don’t make science or scientists sound too great. Lewontin talks about “patent absurdity,” “failure,” and scientific laziness.

    That third sentence is key: science does not, Lewontin says, compel materialistic explanations. Materialistic explanations have to be constructed; they have to be willed. One has to have the discipline in materialism “to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations.” On the flip side, one has to resist the urge to “allow a Divine Foot in the door,” which is to say to cease the pursuit of a material explanation. The final sentences explain why this local resistance is so important: to cease the pursuit of a materialist explanation is tantamount to admitting that the universe is essentially unknowable, that “the regularities of nature may be ruptured” at any moment.

    Through all of this, Lewontin never closes the door to the possibility there’s more to the cosmos beyond what you call a “physicalist frame.” On the other hand, he slams the door on extra-materialist explanations of the material world.

    If there are such viable extra-materialist explanations of the material world, well…never mind.

  35. LT: Pardon but this is too serious for word games as usual. We all know the context of the dominance of evolutionary materialism and scientism from hydrogen to humans, and — grab a bite of lunch — and the issues this puts when a priorism is inserted. From that view, from Lucretius to today, the physical world defines reality and science since the days of the positivists has been pushed as THE path to knowledge. It is time to bring that ideological imposition — as can especially be seen in the wiki hit piece on ID that is being vivisected here — to account. KF

  36. Very well. Lucretius, by the way, is excellent. I recommend Stephen Greenblatt’s book The Swerve on the remarkable re-discovery of Lucretius, although Greenblatt needs to brush up on his views of medieval Europe.

  37. Information is neither matter nor energy. How do materialists deal with information?

  38. F/N: Lucretius, in The Nature of Things, C1 BC:

    [[Bk I, Ch 4:] . . . All nature, then, as self-sustained, consists
    Of twain of things: of bodies and of void
    In which they’re set, and where they’re moved around.
    For common instinct of our race declares
    That body of itself exists: unless
    This primal faith, deep-founded, fail us not,
    Naught will there be whereunto to appeal
    On things occult when seeking aught to prove
    By reasonings of mind . . . .
    Again, whate’er exists, as of itself,
    Must either act or suffer action on it,
    Or else be that wherein things move and be:
    Naught, saving body, acts, is acted on;
    Naught but the inane [[i.e. void] can furnish room.
    And thus,
    Beside the inane and bodies, is no third
    Nature amid the number of all things . . .

    [[Ch 5:] Bodies, again,
    Are partly primal germs of things, and partly
    Unions deriving from the primal germs.
    And those which are the primal germs of things
    No power can quench; for in the end they conquer
    By their own solidness . . . .

    This first goes to underscore that materialism is primarily a philosophical worldview, not a product of science.(This is of course what is driving ever so much of the evolutionary materialism and scientism above. Ideology, not truly science.)

    Next, it highlights the astonishing blind spot in such materialist thinking. On one hand we see the world envisioned as matter under blind forces of chance and necessity, leading to a sort of chance affected determinism on such blind forces.

    But on the other hand, lo and behold by poof magic, the knowing, reasoning observer. But, if we are looking at matter-energy in space-time under forces tracing to blind chance and/or mechanical necessity, whence the credibility of knowing, reasoning minds?

    Or, as Haldane put the issue:

    “It seems to me immensely unlikely that mind is a mere by-product of matter. For if my mental processes are determined wholly by the motions of atoms in my brain I have no reason to suppose that my beliefs are true. They may be sound chemically, but that does not make them sound logically. And hence I have no reason for supposing my brain to be composed of atoms.” [["When I am dead," in Possible Worlds: And Other Essays [1927], Chatto and Windus: London, 1932, reprint, p.209. ]

    (Cf discussion of the challenge of grounding reason on evolutionary materialist premises, here.)

    KF

  39. F/N 2: Plato, of course, long ago saw through evolutionary materialism and e particularly highlighted the consequences of its amorality and radical relativism that tend to foster the rise of ruthless, nihilistic power-grabbing factions. The Laws, Bk X, speaking in the voice of the Athenian Stranger:

    Ath. . . . [[The avant garde philosophers and poets, c. 360 BC] say that fire and water, and earth and air [[i.e the classical "material" elements of the cosmos], all exist by nature and chance, and none of them by art, and that as to the bodies which come next in order-earth, and sun, and moon, and stars-they have been created by means of these absolutely inanimate existences. The elements are severally moved by chance and some inherent force according to certain affinities among them-of hot with cold, or of dry with moist, or of soft with hard, and according to all the other accidental admixtures of opposites which have been formed by necessity. After this fashion and in this manner the whole heaven has been created, and all that is in the heaven, as well as animals and all plants, and all the seasons come from these elements, not by the action of mind, as they say, or of any God, or from art, but as I was saying, by nature and chance only. [[In short, evolutionary materialism premised on chance plus necessity acting without intelligent guidance on primordial matter is hardly a new or a primarily "scientific" view! Notice also, the trichotomy of causal factors: (a) chance/accident, (b) mechanical necessity of nature, (c) art or intelligent design and direction.] . . . .

    [[Thus, they hold that t]he Gods exist not by nature, but by art, and by the laws of states, which are different in different places, according to the agreement of those who make them; and that the honourable is one thing by nature and another thing by law, and that the principles of justice have no existence at all in nature, but that mankind are always disputing about them and altering them; and that the alterations which are made by art and by law have no basis in nature, but are of authority for the moment and at the time at which they are made.- [[Relativism, too, is not new; complete with its radical amorality rooted in a worldview that has no foundational IS that can ground OUGHT.] These, my friends, are the sayings of wise men, poets and prose writers, which find a way into the minds of youth. They are told by them that the highest right is might [[ Evolutionary materialism leads to the promotion of amorality], and in this way the young fall into impieties, under the idea that the Gods are not such as the law bids them imagine; and hence arise factions [[Evolutionary materialism-motivated amorality "naturally" leads to continual contentions and power struggles; cf. dramatisation here], these philosophers inviting them to lead a true life according to nature, that is, to live in real dominion over others [[such amoral factions, if they gain power, "naturally" tend towards ruthless tyranny], and not in legal subjection to them.

    We are reprising again a very old play, with very predictable consequences.

    Why do we so often insist on ignoring the grim lessons of history?

    KF

  40. F/N: The markup continues here:

    _____________

    >>Wiki’s F – – on ID, 3: The pseudoscience false accusation vs the demarcation challenge for origins sciences

    As we continue to mark up the Wikipedia introductory remarks on ID in its dismissive article, the next focal issue on failure to achieve the vaunted NPOV or carry out responsibilities of truthfulness, warrant and fairness, is:

    Intelligent design is viewed as a pseudoscience by the scientific community, because it lacks empirical support, offers no tenable hypotheses, and aims to describe natural history in terms of scientifically untestable supernatural causes.

    I will contend — as can be seen from last time — that:

    a: on the contrary, the design inference on tested and reliable empirical signs such as FSCO/I is empirically credible and well supported, thus

    b: it is itself a tenable hypothesis (all laws of science or metrics or criteria are in principle hypotheses under test that could be overturned by a solid counter-instance), and

    c: it should by now be patent that the contrast between natural vs ART-ificial is so longstanding (dating to Plato) that it is inexcusable to substitute the loaded strawman caricature, natural vs supernatural.

    But first, we need to pause to deal with the issue of the demarcation challenge and the dismissive notion and epithet that Wiki’s anonymous ideologists tried to use as a skewer to spit ID on like a piglet to be roasted, “pseudoscience.”

    What is science and what is pseudoscience or simply non-science? Is methodological naturalism (which Wiki’s ideologues tried to impose as a defining criterion) a legitimate rule of what is or is not scientific, especially on matters of origins?

    At this level, what is lurking here is the Judge Jones Dover ruling on what marks the border between science and pseudoscience, on p. 139. Bradley Monton’s remarks in his dissection of the Dover ruling just one month after it was issued, are very appropriate:

    Jones’s ruling holds that that intelligent design (ID) counts as religion, not science, and hence the teaching of ID in public school is unconstitutional. In Jones’s 139 page decision, he gives an answer to the contentious demarcation question – what criteria can we use to demarcate science from non-science? . . . .

    For example, as I will show, a consequence of Jones’s criteria is that the aim of science is not truth. While this may be the case, one would expect this to be established by philosophical argumentation about the aim of science (along the lines of e.g. van Fraassen 1980), not by a specification of demarcation criteria to distinguish science from pseudoscience. My position is that scientists should be free to pursue hypotheses as they see fit, without being constrained by a particular philosophical account of what science is . . . . Larry Laudan got the answer right:

    If we would stand up and be counted on the side of reason, we ought to drop terms like “pseudo-science” and “unscientific” from our vocabulary; they are just hollow phrases which do only emotive work for us. (Laudan 1983, 349)

    If our goal is to believe truth and avoid falsehood, and if we are rational people who take into account evidence in deciding what to believe, then we need to focus on the question of what evidence there is for and against ID. I recognize that, if we can’t declare ID unscientific, this makes it harder to exclude ID from pubic school. But we first need to figure out the right thing to think about the scientific status of and the empirical evidence for ID; only then can we take up the very different question of what should be included in public school curricula. [IS INTELLIGENT DESIGN SCIENCE? DISSECTING THE DOVER DECISION, Jan 18, 2006 ]

    In short, the game being played here by Wiki’s ideologues intent on a hatchet job — see how the shoe pinches on the other foot, and worse, I have shown all of this to be true already — is little more than definitional gerrymandering, multiplied by name-calling. In a context where the demarcation of science from non-science (much less pseudoscience) is widely known to be extremely problematic.

    Feyerabend is acidly apt:

    The idea that science can, and should, be run according to fixed and universal rules, is both unrealistic and pernicious. It is unrealistic, for it takes too simple a view of the talents of man and of the circumstances which encourage, or cause, their development. And it is pernicious, for the attempt to enforce the rules is bound to increase our professional qualifications at the expense of our humanity. In addition, the idea is detrimental to science, for it neglects the complex physical and historical conditions which influence scientific change. It makes our science less adaptable and more dogmatic: every methodological rule is associated with cosmological assumptions, so that using the rule we take it for granted that the assumptions are correct. Naive falsificationism takes it for granted that the laws of nature are manifest and not hidden beneath disturbances of considerable magnitude. Empiricism takes it for -ranted that sense experience is a better mirror of the world than pure thought. Praise of argument takes it for granted that the artifices of Reason give better results than the unchecked play of our emotions. Such assumptions may be perfectly plausible and even true. Still, one should occasionally put them to a test. Putting them to a test means that we stop using the methodology associated with them, start doing science in a different way and see what happens. Case studies such as those reported in the preceding chapters show that such tests occur all the time, and that they speak against the universal validity of any rule. All methodologies have their limitations and the only ‘rule’ that survives is ‘anything goes’. [Opening words, Against Method, 1975]

    In short, and on a serious study of the actual history of scientific breakthroughs, methodological gerrymandering by imposition of the sort of question-begging rules we have seen that demand materialism as an a priori or insist that science must explain by naturalistic mechanisms of chance and necessity to the exclusion of ART, is not a promising approach. At least, if we are actually concerned to find out the truth about our world by empirically grounded investigations, insofar as that is achievable.

    Nowhere is this more the case than on matters of origins, where we simply cannot directly observe the remote past. So, we are forced to infer on best current explanation, in light of comparing reasonable alternative hypotheses. So also, imposing a priori materialism by the back door of a claimed longstanding methodological constraint on what science is about, is actually censorship that turns science into a handmaiden of materialist ideology, exploiting its prestige as a vehicle of discovery to advance a cause that seems to be in serious difficulty advancing openly on its own merits as a philosophy.

    As Haldane aptly summarised, we are looking at a case of sawing off the branch on which we must all sit, here:

    “It seems to me immensely unlikely that mind is a mere by-product of matter. For if my mental processes are determined wholly by the motions of atoms in my brain I have no reason to suppose that my beliefs are true. They may be sound chemically, but that does not make them sound logically. And hence I have no reason for supposing my brain to be composed of atoms.” [["When I am dead," in Possible Worlds: And Other Essays [1927], Chatto and Windus: London, 1932, reprint, p.209.]

    So, now, let us examine in steps of thought:

    1 –> “[T]he scientific community” that views the design inference as pseudoscience, of course is being constrained by a “no true Scotsman [scientist]” rule.

    2 –> That is, as can be directly seen, those qualified and practicing scientists who accept that empirical investigations on reliable, tested signs can and do lead to the ability to detect design as causal factor, are being artificially excluded from the community of “true” — a priori materialism adhering — scientists by imposing a pejorative label: pseudoscientists.

    3 –> this is also a case of censorship and improper appeal to authority. In science, the only thing that should be decisive is empirical evidence and associated reasoning.

    4 –> But one cannot beg the question too blatantly, so one has to trot out some “evidence” of failure to dismiss those who disagree. Thus, the cluster of assertions:

    [ID] lacks empirical support, offers no tenable hypotheses, and aims to describe natural history in terms of scientifically untestable supernatural causes

    5 –> Let us remind ourselves of just what the design inference on reliable sign does as we look at aspects of an object:

    [Image is at the linked article]

    [Caption] The per aspect explanatory filter that shows how design may be inferred on empirically tested, reliable sign

    6 –> Observe, the default is that phenomena or objects are first shaped by natural regularities tracing to forces acting in accordance with in principle discoverable natural law3s such as F = m*a or E = m*c^2, etc. On seeing a low contingent, consistent pattern under similar circumstances, we go hunting for descriptive then dynamical laws and seek to embed in theoretical frameworks and go on to further aspects of the object or phenomenon that are of interest. That has been a major feature of science since Galileo, as a student, timed a church candelabra viewed as a pendulum with his pulses, on seeing that within a certain range, faster wider swings and slower shorter ones both seemed to have the same period.

    7 –> Now, there are other cases that under similar initial circumstances, show considerable diversity of outcomes; such as the dropping of a die. For such cases, the default is chance acting by some known or unknown distribution and showing itself in a pattern that may be sampled through observations. In short, high contingency leads us to suspect chance as first likely explanation. This too is a longstanding scientific approach, and is the root of say the field of statistical thermodynamics.

    8 –> But now, suppose we cane upon a long linear tray of about 200 dice [6 ^200 ~ 4.268*10^155 possible arrangements], all of which showed 1, or 1, 2, 3,4,5,6 in succession then repeat. Would we infer to chance as best explanation? Would we be justified to infer that we can only explain scientifically by blind chance and blind mechanical necessity so to infer that such dice were probably intelligently arranged, is “pseudoscientific”? Patently, not.

    9 –> Now, suppose we had a code by which the six die states in string arrangements, could express English sentences etc. Now, suppose we came across a pattern that has no simple orderly repetition, but then saw that it is in fact was organised in accordance with the code, to spell out say the opening sentences of this post.

    10 –> I think that any reasonable person would conclude that the organised pattern was contrived, on the principle that the possible arrangements that fit such a tight criterion of functional specificity are deeply isolated in the field of possibilities, so much so that intelligently directed configuration is the only reasonable, empirically warranted explanation.

    11 –> Now, suppose, we had another similar string, and found out that it was arranged in the object code for a computer program that carried out a definite procedure on a specific machine. I am sure the reasonable person would conclude the same, and would continue to do so unless and until it could be shown per observations that blind chance and mechanical necessity writes computer code.

    12 –> This is of course the exact case we have with protein-coding DNA.

    13 –> I would therefore say, that the world of digitally coded strings in books, blog posts, the Internet, the IT industry, the related world of CAD drawings for functional objects, computer generated imagery etc etc all stand in empirical support of the empirically grounded inductive generalisation that functionally specific, complex information and related organisation are reliable signs of design as cause.

    14 –> I would go on to say that there are no credible exceptions to the observation that such FSCO/I is an empirically tested, reliable sign of design as cause. (That includes Genetic Algorithms and the like, which are not only intelligently designed and organised on intelligently devised algorithms, but work within strictly limited islands of function in the space of possibilities for items of that much complexity.)

    15 –> Q: Why then is there such a bold assertion that “Intelligent design . . . lacks empirical support”? ANS: Selective hyperskepticism that refuses to acknowledge the force of the chain of reasoning above, and is multiplied by the sort of Lewontinian hostility and a priori materialism seen already, that refuses to accept that something could count as evidence of design in an origins context. Ideological censorship, in one short phrase.

    16 –> Similarly, it is obvious that the design inference can be tested on the reliability of such observable signs: if we were to see an object with 500 – 1,000 or more bits of functionally specific complex information in it that was known — per observation, not a priori assumptions — to have come about by blind chance and mechanical necessity, FSCI would at once collapse and with it the whole intelligent design inference on complex specified information.

    17 –> So, given that design is a feasible and empirically grounded– directly observed –process for the creation of objects exhibiting FSCI, it is a false assertion that ID is not subject to tests, has no empirical warrant and so “offers no tenable hypotheses.”

    18 –> Now, finally, look at the steps of thought above. Do you see any inference to “the supernatural” as an explanatory category or cause? Not one.

    19 –> What you will see is plenty of inferences to something we routinely observe and exhibit: intelligence acting by ART and skill to effect complex, functionally specific entities, which then often show signs that point to design as most credible causal explanation.

    20 –> So, the accusation “Intelligent design . . . aims to describe natural history in terms of scientifically untestable supernatural causes” is willfully false (as for twenty five and more years leading design thinkers have repeatedly taken public pains to point out that inference to intelligent design as causal factor is not the same as inference to any particular designer much less a supernatural one), erecting a conveniently polarised strawman to be pummelled.

    21 –> What is really going on instead is little more than appeal to -prejudice and a priori materialism imposed by the back door through a questionable — and patently question-begging — methodological constraint. Just as Feyerabend warned against.

    22 –> To wit, inference to intelligence on sign that is empirically testable, falsifiable on counter-example and the like are not at all the same as appealing to some untestable supernatural entity.

    23 –> And, indeed, if such a supernatural entity is intelligent and would manifests signs of such in its work, then there is no good reason why such action of intelligent design by a suggested supernatural entity would be inherently and inescapably untestable on signs that are known to be reliable per empirical testing! (Such would be problematic only if we KNOW otherwise that supernatural entities are impossible, which plainly is not the case.)

    24 –> What comes out in the end, is that what is really going on is a thinly disguised appeal to prejudice against God, embedded in a priori materialism that then assumes that the supernatural is impossible in any case and suggests ignorantly that a world in which a supernatural God has acted as creator and sustainer would be a chaos not a cosmos, making science impossible.

    25 –> Which is directly contradicted by the sheer fact that modern science was birthed in a world that operated under just such a worldview.

    26 –> Let one of those founders of modern science, therefore speak, in light of his discoveries of mechanics and universal gravitation as well as optics, i.e. Newton in his General Scholium to Principia:

    . . . This most beautiful system of the sun, planets, and comets, could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent and powerful Being. And if the fixed stars are the centres of other like systems, these, being formed by the like wise counsel, must be all subject to the dominion of One; especially since the light of the fixed stars is of the same nature with the light of the sun, and from every system light passes into all the other systems: and lest the systems of the fixed stars should, by their gravity, fall on each other mutually, he hath placed those systems at immense distances one from another.

    This Being governs all things, not as the soul of the world, but as Lord over all; and on account of his dominion he is wont to be called Lord God pantokrator , or Universal Ruler . . . . We know him only by his most wise and excellent contrivances of things, and final cause [i.e from his designs]: we admire him for his perfections; but we reverence and adore him on account of his dominion: for we adore him as his servants; and a god without dominion, providence, and final causes, is nothing else but Fate and Nature. Blind metaphysical necessity, which is certainly the same always and every where, could produce no variety of things. [i.e necessity does not produce contingency] All that diversity of natural things which we find suited to different times and places could arise from nothing but the ideas and will of a Being necessarily existing. [That is, implicitly rejects chance, Plato's third alternative and explicitly infers to the Designer of the Cosmos.]

    ____________

    So, clearly, something is very, very wrong with the Wikipedia article on Intelligent Design. It should be severely corrected and a permanent notice of apology should be affixed, given what has been done in the teeth of easily accessible corrective information, and what has been sustained in the teeth of repeated attempts to correct the record. >>
    _____________

    It is time that Wiki fixed its editorial and moderation policies, as this shows abject failure and worse than mere failure, indoctrination in the false name of education.

    Indeed,t he “pseudoscience” taunt can be turned back on these ideologues. For, if they have locked up science in a materialist circle by gerrymandering rules, they are preventing any possibility of acknowledged falsification.

    As in, they are trying to secure immunity to empirical test.

    Oops.

    KF

  41. KF,

    Not being coy–or playing games–but what specific historical occurrences do you lay at the feet of “evolutionary materialism”?

    The flip-side question: Historically, have “ruthless…power-grabbing factions” been fostered by worldviews or philosophies other than evolutionary materialism? If so, how do you account for this?

    Please feel free not to answer if you find my question to be driving away from the subject of the OP and ensuing discussion. I certainly don’t intend to sidestep important question; but of course, I think some of the points I’ve made here have themselves been sidestepped.

    As you’ll recall, I first posted to look at the actual language used by Lewontin and to assert that his materialism is deliberately constructed as an a priori limit on what science studies and what mechanisms it uses to create explanations. While I agree that Lewontin’s approach is open to criticism, even the charge of dogmatism, I challenge the notion that Lewontin–in his famous review–advocates an all-encompassing materialism that extends beyond the scientific enterprise.

    The flip side of my looking at Lewontin’s actual words and usage was to wonder aloud what other begetters of truth there might be for explaining the material world. The source of my wondering is a specific criticism made here, but not fleshed out: the criticism that Lewontin considers science to be “the only begetter of truth” [i.e., truth about the material world].

    Where some charge I’m playing word games, I rather think that language matters and that it’s important to consider language use and context. The leap from texts to capital-w worldviews and grand historical narratives is mildly interesting, but it always seems to lead to the old disagreement between pessimists and optimists:

    Pessimist: Things cannot get any worse than they are right now.
    Optimist: Yes, they can.

    In short, before we get to wringing our hands over the state of the world–and, you’ll admit, such wringing and even apocalyptic fervor has been around just as long as Plato–let’s settle the matter of how one actually learns anything about the material world, since that specific question emerged from reviewing Lewontin’s words.

  42. LT: You know the history of the past 100 years well enough to know the answers to your questions, and if you don’t listen to the ghosts of over 100 million ghosts of victims of radical secularist and Haeckel-influenced, neopagan- aryan man superman cum “scientific” racist myth, cats have no empathy for mice and foxes none for geese regimes. Notice along the way Heinie’s prophetic warning. The issue is that as Plato pointed out, evolutionary materialism multiplies the problems of power tending to corrupt by undermining principles and assent to morality and decency as restraints on public action. As in might makes right. Apart from that there is a substantive issue on the table that needs to be addressed, Wiki’s hatchet job. KF

  43. KF:

    You know the history of the past 100 years well enough to know the answers to your questions.

    I do, and that’s why I ask the question. I want to know what specific events you see as directly attributable to evolutionary materialism. It seems from your response that you believe the rise of fascism and the National Socialists in Germany is one occurrence for which evolutionary materialism is to blame. You may also see Italian fascism in the same way but I can’t tell. I’m not sure that you link Communism in its Marxist, Leninist, or Stalinist guises as byproducts of evolutionary materialism.

    So, I may know some of the history, but I don’t know how you are linking evolutionary materialism to specific occurrences.

    And then there’s that flip-side question: Historically, have “ruthless…power-grabbing factions” been fostered by worldviews or philosophies other than evolutionary materialism? If so, how do you account for this?

    Now, you have charged that evolutionary materialism is a view that undercuts principles of traditional public morality and decency. This is my reconstruction of your view.

    Let’s say that this is true, for the sake of argument. (I disagree, of course, and I notice we always seem to slide away from Lewontin’s materialism as a view restricted to physical phenomena.) Can evolutionary materialism be both correct on facts and detrimental to social stability?

  44. LT, re:

    let’s settle the matter of how one actually learns anything about the material world, since that specific question emerged from reviewing Lewontin’s words.

    You have already had your answer, and again this morning, which addresses the investigation of empirical phenomena in light of the per aspect causal inference filter as a part of dealing with the demarcation issue Wiki raised.

    It seems you want to pretend that a serious answer is not there, so you can beat away at an assertion that is based on a willful word game that refuses to acknowledge the significance of the known worldviews context Lewontin alludes to and the well known wider context of evolutionary materialism in the civilisation.

    Sorry, not chasing that red herring today, enough having been said for a reasonable person.

    The real issue on the table is Wiki’s ID article, and what it implies. I would suggest you address yourself to this if you wish to continue to participate in this thread as a serious part of a discussion in front of the onlookers — now and later.

    So far it sounds a lot like, nothing can be said in serious exculpation of Wiki, and distraction games are being played instead.

    KF

  45. Wait one minute, KF:

    You have already had your answer, and again this morning, which addresses the investigation of empirical phenomena in light of the per aspect causal inference filter as a part of dealing with the demarcation issue Wiki raised.

    It seems you want to pretend that a serious answer is not there, so you can beat away at an assertion that is based on a willful word game that refuses to acknowledge the significance of the known worldviews context Lewontin alludes to and the well known wider context of evolutionary materialism in the civilisation.

    Isn’t “the investigation of empirical phenomena in light of the per aspect causal inference filter” an application of science?

    Your stated problem is the view that science is the only begetter of truth about the material world, as if there were other, non-scientific ways to ascertain facts about physical reality.

    So now it seems you are conceding Lewontin’s point on the matter.

    You’ll object to my tone, no doubt, but I must laugh when I’m accused of word games in the same sentence that gives this: “the significance of the known worldviews context Lewontin alludes to and the well known wider context of evolutionary materialism in the civilisation.”

    In any case, I don’t think you have a leg to stand on regarding worldviews and consequences. The larger part of actual historical events is against you. Please, proceed again to tilt at the Wiki windmill.

  46. LT:

    I will pause to note, since you are ever so insistent, and in the context where you must know enough philosophy to be aware that you are pushing talking points that have no merit.

    (And BTW, Wikipedia happens to be by their own admission the no 5 web site in the world [other sources vary but concur that it is an extremely influential site], i.e by far and away the most influential popular reference and education site. So, it is entirely in order to take time to examine what they are doing and to correct them when they have gone as far wrong as this ID article is. A wrong that has been perpetuated for years in the teeth of correction. If you are unable or unwilling to acknowledge the need to correct blatant untruth and slanderous accusation, that speaks volumes, volumes, volumes and none of it to your benefit.)

    We routinely acquire knowledge of physical reality through common sense reflection on day to day experience, through our senses and perceptions — as in you don’t cross a road if you see an onrushing vehicle, through history, through finance and management, through economics, through psychology and sociology, through any number of disciplines.

    Just to pick one phil example, it is a philosophical analysis that leads us to understand that anything with a colour is necessarily extended in space, a patently physical matter. And there are many more like this.

    You cannot be ignorant of such, and this underscores the red herring and strawman character of your remarks, evidently intended to derail discussion of serious malfeasance of the world’s leading education and reference site by Wikipedia’s own admission. (As in # 5 most popular site in the world.)

    In short, by your persistent misbehaviour, you have merited being seen in light of the old saying: the dogs bark, but the caravan moves on.

    Noting on the subject of Lewontin et al, the pivotal problem is the ideological imposition of a priori materialism (as noted by Lewontin and as is documented from multiple sources here on which you know or should know about for a long time now . . . ), and the associated rise of scientism that denigrates or dismisses anything but science as an access to truth or knowledge.

    Indeed, Lewontin almost humourously asserted a philosophical claim that undermines the possibility of such philosophical claims. That science is the only begetter of truth as an accepted concept is a PHILOSOPHICAL view, not a scientific one.

    Well did Johnson retort to Lewontin and though him to all too many others, as I again clip for record so onlookers can see for themselves:

    For scientific materialists the materialism comes first; the science comes thereafter. [[Emphasis original] We might more accurately term them “materialists employing science.” And if materialism is true, then some materialistic theory of evolution has to be true simply as a matter of logical deduction, regardless of the evidence. That theory will necessarily be at least roughly like neo-Darwinism, in that it will have to involve some combination of random changes and law-like processes capable of producing complicated organisms that (in Dawkins’ words) “give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose.”

    . . . . The debate about creation and evolution is not deadlocked . . . Biblical literalism is not the issue. The issue is whether materialism and rationality are the same thing. Darwinism is based on an a priori commitment to materialism, not on a philosophically neutral assessment of the evidence. Separate the philosophy from the science, and the proud tower collapses. [[Emphasis added.] [[The Unraveling of Scientific Materialism, First Things, 77 (Nov. 1997), pp. 22 – 25.]

    That is the issue, and I have good reason to be confident that you know it, that is I have good reason on long interaction to know that you know a lot better than you speak, so it is coming across clearly to me that you are making manipulative talking points designed to take in the unwary or ill-informed.

    As in, precisely the sort of might and manipulation makes ‘right’ amorality and ruthless, nihilistic factionism that Plato warned against in The Laws, Bk X, 2350 years ago. So, in the end, it is not unexpected that someone would pop up in a voice like yours, to try to play the red herring drawn away to the strawman caricature soaked in denigratory ad hominems to be set alight by snide suggestions or insinuations or else by flame war rhetoric.

    Of course, you know or should know that the ghosts of over 100 million victims warn about the rise in the past 100 years of evolutionary materialism dominated regimes of various types and the sort of nihilistic totalitarianism they have imposed. You know or should know that a favourite tactic of those who back the same ideologies was to try to distract and to twist about focus by projecting blame for what they were about to do, unto others. You know or should know of how Hitler in 1939, warned and asked concerning his intentions to the peoples of Europe, attacked Roosevelt and the French and British as hypocrites. Six years and 60 million dead later, we should have learned. We need not go on at length on the classic tactic of the marxist revolutionaries that would blame Capitalists and “Reactionaries” for the world’s ills, only to inflict regimes of unprecedented terror and mass murder that exceeded even Hitler’s holocaust and war combined. Ah, it is so easy to scapegoat the imagined right wing theocratic creationist conspiracy that intends to re-impose the inquisition, the index of forbidden books and the rack. Indeed, that is exactly what Wikipedia is doing.

    I should add a note on your foolish dismissal of the possibility of apocalypse.

    Apocalypse can come.

    It came to Germany in 1933. It came to Russia in 1917. It came to China in 1949. It came to Cambodia in the 1970′s. It came to the world in 1939, it nearly came in 1962 [over Cuba] and again in 1973 [over Israel], it nearly came in 2001, and it is again knocking at our door as Iran moves ever closer to nuclear weapons and as the Islamist winter spreads across the globally pivotal middle east.

    WAKE UP, MAN!

    You know or should know that I am a descendant of slaves and that I bear the name of a relative who as one who out of Christian conscience and his own memory of having been a slave, spoke up in the Jamaican colonial assembly on the plight of the freed peasantry. Only to be seized, taken to where martial law was in force, be kangaroo courted in a rush that would not even grant enough time for the physician to come who could testify as to why GWG was missing from a key meeting that was the star bit of the “proof” of his alleged guilt [he was gravely, perhaps mortally ill], then hanged unjustly when the explosion he warned against came. You know or should know that personal history and how your invidious insinuations and hints therefore come across as a monstrous and willfully false characterisation that grates against a very serious bit of personal history literally written into my name.

    In that light, your persistent misbehaviour is an outright personal insult.

    Worse, you know of or full well should know that I have addressed at length the challenges of power and the sins of Christendom, which you have allowed yourself to so obsess over that you have failed to attend tot he sins of the secularists over the past 100 years and apparently those4 of the Islamists over the past 1400 years. You know or full well should know, that I have pointed out that the pivotal issue with abuse and oppression is unaccountable power, and so I hold that sunlight is the key antidote to corruption. Hence, in part, the reason for my expose of the sustained slander at Wikipedia.

    I would therefore draw your attention to the context in which I cited the great professor of the orient, Bernard Lewis in his 1990 article on The roots of Muslim rage, thusly:

    . . . The accusations are familiar. We of the West are accused of sexism, racism, and imperialism, institutionalized in patriarchy and slavery, tyranny and exploitation. To these charges, and to others as heinous, we have no option but to plead guilty — not as Americans, nor yet as Westerners, but simply as human beings, as members of the human race. In none of these sins are we the only sinners, and in some of them we are very far from being the worst. The treatment of women in the Western world, and more generally in Christendom, has always been unequal and often oppressive, but even at its worst it was rather better than the rule of polygamy and concubinage that has otherwise been the almost universal lot of womankind on this planet . . . .

    In having practiced sexism, racism, and imperialism, the West was merely following the common practice of mankind through the millennia of recorded history. Where it is distinct from all other civilizations is in having recognized, named, and tried, not entirely without success, to remedy these historic diseases. And that is surely a matter for congratulation, not condemnation. We do not hold Western medical science in general, or Dr. Parkinson and Dr. Alzheimer in particular, responsible for the diseases they diagnosed and to which they gave their names.

    I think, sir — speaking out of the context of your insistent personal insult as noted above [and yes, when you stubbornly speak in ways like you have done in the teeth of correction and opportunities to do better, it becomes personal insult after a time, personal in ways that speak volumes about your character and raises the issue that Caribbean people speak of under the label, broughtupcy] — that you would do well to heed the tone of this man.

    I am deeply disappointed — but now not surprised, this is plainly a re-emerging habit — that it is you.

    I had hoped for better, but have reason to be disappointed.

    If you want to play the barking dog, then the caravan will just have to keep rolling, as what Wiki is doing seriously needs to be publicly corrected.

    Cho man, do betta dan dat!

    A lot better than that.

    Good day, sir.

    GEM of TKI

  47. Next installment on Wiki’s F – - on ID, here:

    ________

    Clipping (onward links and figure are in the just linked)

    >>Wiki’s F – – on ID, 4: Correcting a widely circulated propagandistic false history of the origins of intelligent design as a scientific school of thought

    Just now, I see where an objector to ID was saying that I a am tilting at windmills to take time to take apart the introduction to Wikipedia’s anti-ID hit piece presented as a NPOV review of ID from significant and credible sources.

    It bears remembering, then, that by Wiki’s admission in a promotional and fund raising appeal, they are the number 5 most popular site in the world. Other evaluations vary, but it is quite plain that Wiki is arguably the most commonly resorted to popular reference and education site in the world. That is a lot of reach and influence, so they have an even more intense duty of care to truth, accuracy, credibility and fairness than we all do.

    That is why – and I now continue the markup begun here and which was last looked at here — it is necessary for us to put the following next increment under the microscope:

    Intelligent design was developed by a group of American creationists who revised their argument in the creation–evolution controversy to circumvent court rulings such as the United States Supreme Court’s [--> 1987 -- notice how the date is not given . . . ] Edwards v. Aguillard decision, which barred the teaching of “Creation Science” in public schools on the grounds of breaching the separation of church and state.[12][n 5][13] The first publication of the phrase “intelligent design” in its present use as an alternative term for creationism was in Of Pandas and People, a 1989 textbook intended for high-school biology classes.[14][15]

    Given the sad track record so far, it should come as no surprise to see that this is so opposite to the truth that it begins to verge on the infamous Big Lie propaganda technique. I note, that most of those involved at Wikipedia doubtless believe they are speaking the truth as much as they know it, in light of apparently credible sources.

    Unfortunately, that is actually a part of the problem and of the way that such techniques of brazen deception work: by leading people to sincerely believe themselves right and even righteously indignant, when they are in fact — on the rest of the story they have either never heard of or have been led to dismiss out of hand — manifestly in the wrong.

    For others, however, the matter is far more serious, as they are in a position where they have a stringent duty of care to truth and fairness before speaking in such strong terms as we see above. To fail or willfully neglect such duties of care on a serious matter, is a sobering matter indeed.

    These are strong things to have to say, but I believe such are unfortunately well warranted, and intend to show why I do so believe (having investigated the facts over about a decade), below.

    Now, too, this — sadly — is one time that Hitler is a genuine and highly relevant expert, so courtesy the Jewish Virtual Library, here is his summary on the Big Lie (and notice, in context he cleverly twists about the matter and throws it on the to-be-scapegoated Jews when in fact it is he who is about to embark on a campaign of lies so big that ordinary uninformed people cannot believe they are false):

    . . . in the big lie there is always a certain force of credibility; because the broad masses of a nation are always more easily corrupted in the deeper strata of their emotional nature than consciously or voluntarily; and thus in the primitive simplicity of their minds they more readily fall victims to the big lie than the small lie, since they themselves often tell small lies in little matters but would be ashamed to resort to large-scale falsehoods. It would never come into their heads to fabricate colossal untruths, and they would not believe that others could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously. Even though the facts which prove this to be so may be brought clearly to their minds, they will still doubt and waver and will continue to think that there may be some other explanation. For the grossly impudent lie always leaves traces behind it, even after it has been nailed down, a fact which is known to all expert liars in this world and to all who conspire together in the art of lying. [Mein Kampf, cf here]

    Thus has spoken one of the most “successful” liars of all time — one who by lies brought his adoptive state to ruin and caused the death of sixty millions and the devastation of a continent.

    Mass delusion is unfortunately possible, and there is horrific track record on its effects.

    Sadly, it is my duty to report that in the clip above, I have grounds to believe that Wikipedia verges on just such a resort to spreading of colossal lies by an apparently credible — and certainly highly influential [# 5 most popular web site by their own statement] source citing other apparently credible sources (while targetting a designated scapegoat group), and thus poisoning the whole context of discussion.

    As I have taken pains to highlight above, I suspect that most of those involved are simply parrotting what they have found in or been taught by sources they trust, but at this level that is not good enough. For, no source is better than his or her facts, reasoning and associated assumptions, which should be audited. Especially, in contexts that are obviously apt to be controversial.

    I trust the onlooker will pardon a bit of a break in transmission to point the onlooker to some tutorial level sources on basic critical thinking and de-spinning the media, education and similar places or means of influence:

    Despinning the media, etc
    Critical Thinking 101 (in 15 minutes)
    A reference site on rhetoric
    The problem of Selective Hyperskepticism
    Building a well-founded worldview 101
    A basic introduction to Design Theory (the context for the problems)

    Now, let us turn to some corrective steps of thought for the clip above:

    1 –> We must first distinguish the concept of the design inference from the terminology that is used to express that pivotal inference and the implications of it.The issue is ideas and evidence that evaluates or even warrants such, not terminology.

    2 –> So, whether or not the first modern usage of the term Intelligent Design is in the popular level work, Pandas and People, it is highly material to note that the technical foundation of design theory (which is only popularly discussed in P & P) traces first to the emerging pattern of cosmological research since the 1950?s that led to the recognition of evident fine tuning of the cosmos, and the emergence across that same period of recognition of the facts of molecular biology that show us a world of astonishing nanotechnology and the discovery of digital information storage and algorithmic processing to make proteins.

    3–> Illustrating protein assembly using mRNA codes and tRNA carriers for successive coded for AA’s, in the ribosome, from a diagram found elsewhere in Wikipedia (and also used at IOSE and here at UD):

    [Figure at the linked post]

    Step by step protein synthesis in action, in the ribosome, based on the sequence of codes in the mRNA control tape (Courtesy, Wikipedia and LadyofHats)

    4 –> Those sorts of facts led to the following remarks — and yes, I am deliberately pointing to the longstanding clips in the IOSE, which ultimately come from the pioneer ID technical work of 1984, The Mystery of Life’s Origin [TMLO . . . the link is to a whole book download], by Thaxton et al — that were made by noted origin of life researchers, Orgel and Wicken across the 1970?s:

    ORGEL, 1973: . . . In brief, living organisms are distinguished by their specified complexity. Crystals are usually taken as the prototypes of simple well-specified structures, because they consist of a very large number of identical molecules packed together in a uniform way. Lumps of granite or random mixtures of polymers are examples of structures that are complex but not specified. The crystals fail to qualify as living because they lack complexity; the mixtures of polymers fail to qualify because they lack specificity. [[The Origins of Life (John Wiley, 1973), p. 189.]

    WICKEN, 1979: ‘Organized’ systems are to be carefully distinguished from ‘ordered’ systems. Neither kind of system is ‘random,’ but whereas ordered systems are generated according to simple algorithms [[i.e. “simple” force laws acting on objects starting from arbitrary and common- place initial conditions] and therefore lack complexity, organized systems must be assembled element by element according to an [[originally . . . ] external ‘wiring diagram’ with a high information content . . . Organization, then, is functional complexity and carries information. It is non-random by design or by selection, rather than by the a priori necessity of crystallographic ‘order.’ [[“The Generation of Complexity in Evolution: A Thermodynamic and Information-Theoretical Discussion,” Journal of Theoretical Biology, 77 (April 1979): p. 353, of pp. 349-65. (Emphases and notes added. Nb: “originally” is added to highlight that for self-replicating systems, the blue print can be built-in.)]

    5 –> Already, we see here the issue that information-rich complex organisation for functional specificity as is pervasive in the world of life, especially at cellular level, is very different from either order or randomness, and cries out for adequate and distinct empirically grounded causal explanation. This, from major voices in the world of origin of life research utterly unconnected to the about to emerge design theory movement.

    6 –> This is multiplied by remarks we have already had occasion to cite from the well known Astrophysicist (and life-long agnostic), the late Sir Fred Hoyle, holder of a Nobel equivalent prize for his Astronomy:

    The big problem in biology, as I see it, is to understand the origin of the information carried by the explicit structures of biomolecules. The issue isn’t so much the rather crude fact that a protein consists of a chain of amino acids linked together in a certain way, but that the explicit ordering of the amino acids endows the chain with remarkable properties, which other orderings wouldn’t give. The case of the enzymes is well known . . . If amino acids were linked at random, there would be a vast number of arrange-ments that would be useless in serving the pur-poses of a living cell. When you consider that a typical enzyme has a chain of perhaps 200 links and that there are 20 possibilities for each link,it’s easy to see that the number of useless arrangements is enormous, more than the number of atoms in all the galaxies visible in the largest telescopes. This is for one enzyme, and there are upwards of 2000 of them, mainly serving very different purposes. So how did the situation get to where we find it to be? This is, as I see it, the biological problem – the information problem . . . .

    I was constantly plagued by the thought that the number of ways in which even a single enzyme could be wrongly constructed was greater than the number of all the atoms in the universe. So try as I would, I couldn’t convince myself that even the whole universe would be sufficient to find life by random processes – by what are called the blind forces of nature . . . . By far the simplest way to arrive at the correct sequences of amino acids in the enzymes would be by thought, not by random processes . . . .

    Now imagine yourself as a superintellect working through possibilities in polymer chemistry. Would you not be astonished that polymers based on the carbon atom turned out in your calculations to have the remarkable properties of the enzymes and other biomolecules? Would you not be bowled over in surprise to find that a living cell was a feasible construct? Would you not say to yourself, in whatever language supercalculating intellects use: Some supercalculating intellect must have designed the properties of the carbon atom, otherwise the chance of my finding such an atom through the blind forces of nature would be utterly minuscule. Of course you would, and if you were a sensible superintellect you would conclude that the carbon atom is a fix . . . .

    From 1953 onward, Willy Fowler and I have always been intrigued by the remarkable relation of the 7.65 MeV energy level in the nucleus of 12 C to the 7.12 MeV level in 16 O. If you wanted to produce carbon and oxygen in roughly equal quantities by stellar nucleosynthesis, these are the two levels you would have to fix, and your fixing would have to be just where these levels are actually found to be. Another put-up job? . . . I am inclined to think so. A common sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a super intellect [--> as in, a Cosmos-building super intellect] has “monkeyed” with the physics as well as the chemistry and biology, and there are no blind forces worth speaking about in nature. [F. Hoyle, Annual Review of Astronomy and Astrophysics, 20 (1982): 16.]

    7 –> We already see a cosmologically linked design inference that is tied to the issue of origin of life, by 1981 – 82, coming from a Nobel Equivalent prize holder who is speaking at Caltech, and is publishing his remarks. He also said that physics itself is contrived towards fostering key materials that are of course at the heart of Carbon Chemistry, aqueous medium cell based life on terrestrial planets such as Sol III, aka Earth:

    I do not believe that any physicist who examined the evidence could fail to draw the inference that the laws of nuclear physics have been deliberately designed with regard to the consequences they produce within stars. [["The Universe: Past and Present Reflections." Engineering and Science, November, 1981. pp. 8–12]

    8 –> TMLO, published in 1984, was shaped by those influences and trends, and so we can first read in the conclusion to Chapter 7 (note discussion here):

    While the maintenance of living systems is easily rationalized in terms of thermodynamics, the origin of such living systems is quite another matter. Though the earth is open to energy flow from the sun, the means of converting this energy into the necessary work to build up living systems from simple precursors remains at present unspecified (see equation 7-17). The “evolution” from biomonomers of to fully functioning cells is the issue. Can one make the incredible jump in energy and organization from raw material and raw energy, apart from some means of directing the energy flow through the system? In Chapters 8 and 9 we will consider this question, limiting our discussion to two small but crucial steps in the proposed evolutionary scheme namely, the formation of protein and DNA from their precursors.

    It is widely agreed that both protein and DNA are essential for living systems and indispensable components of every living cell today.11 Yet they are only produced by living cells. Both types of molecules are much more energy and information rich than the biomonomers from which they form. Can one reasonably predict their occurrence given the necessary biomonomers and an energy source? Has this been verified experimentally? These questions will be considered . . . [Bold emphasis added. Cf summary in the peer-reviewed journal of the American Scientific Affiliation, "Thermodynamics and the Origin of Life," in Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith 40 (June 1988): 72-83, pardon the poor quality of the scan. NB:as the journal's online issues will show, this is not necessarily a "friendly audience."]

    9 –> In Ch 8, Thaxton et al continue — and recall this is about 1982 – 84:

    We can give a thermodynamic account of how life’s metabolic motor works. The origin of the metabolic motor (DNA, enzymes, etc.) itself, however, is more difficult to explain thermodynamically, since a mechanism of coupling the energy flow to the organizing work is unknown for prebiological systems. Nicolis and Prigogine summarize the problem in this way:

    Needless to say, these simple remarks cannot suffice to solve the problem of biological order. One would like not only to establish that the second law (dSi 0) is compatible with a decrease in overall entropy (dS < 0), but also to indicate the mechanisms responsible for the emergence and maintenance of coherent states.2

    Without a doubt, the atoms and molecules which comprise living cells individually obey the laws of chemistry and physics, including the laws of thermodynamics. The enigma is the origin of so unlikely an organization of these atoms and molecules. The electronic computer provides a striking analogy to the living cell. Each component in a computer obeys the laws of electronics and mechanics. The key to the computer’s marvel lies, however, in the highly unlikely organization of the parts which harness the laws of electronics and mechanics. In the computer, this organization was specially arranged by the designers and builders and continues to operate (with occasional frustrating lapses) through the periodic maintenance of service engineers.

    Living systems have even greater organization. The problem then, that molecular biologists and theoretical physicists are addressing, is how the organization of living systems could have arisen spontaneously. Prigogine et al.,have noted:

    All these features bring the scientist a wealth of new problems. In the first place, one has systems that have evolved spontaneously to extremely organized and complex forms. Coherent behavior is really the characteristic feature of biological systems.3

    In this chapter we will consider only the problem of the origin of living systems . . . .

    Only recently has it been appreciated that the distinguishing feature of living systems is complexity rather than order.4 This distinction has come from the observation that the essential ingredients for a replicating system—enzymes and nucleic acids—are all information-bearing molecules. In contrast, consider crystals. They are very orderly, spatially periodic arrangements of atoms (or molecules) but they carry very little information. Nylon is another example of an orderly, periodic polymer (a polyamide) which carries little information. Nucleic acids and protein are aperiodic polymers, and this aperiodicity is what makes them able to carry much more information. By definition then, a periodic structure has order. An aperiodic structure has complexity. In terms of information, periodic polymers (like nylon) and crystals are analogous to a book in which the same sentence is repeated throughout. The arrangement of “letters” in the book is highly ordered, but the book contains little information since the information presented—the single word or sentence—is highly redundant.

    It should be noted that aperiodic polypeptides or polynucleotides do not necessarily represent meaningful information or biologically useful functions. A random arrangement of letters in a book is aperiodic but contains little if any useful information since it is devoid of meaning. Three sets of letter arrangements show nicely the difference between order and complexity in relation to information:

    1. An ordered (periodic) and therefore specified arrangement:
    THE END THE END THE END THE END

    Example: Nylon, or a crystal.

    [NOTE: Here we use "THE END" even though there is no reason to suspect that nylon or a crystal would carry even this much information. Our point, of course, is that even if they did, the bit of information would be drowned in a sea of redundancy].

    2. A complex (aperiodic) unspecified arrangement:
    AGDCBFE GBCAFED ACEDFBG

    Example: Random polymers (polypeptides).

    3. A complex (aperiodic) specified arrangement:

    THIS SEQUENCE OF LETTERS CONTAINS A MESSAGE!

    Example: DNA, protein.

    Yockey7 and Wickens5 develop the same distinction, that “order” is a statistical concept referring to regularity such as could might characterize a series of digits in a number, or the ions of an inorganic crystal. On the other hand, “organization” refers to physical systems and the specific set of spatio-temporal and functional relationships among their parts. Yockey and Wickens note that informational macromolecules have a low degree of order but a high degree of specified complexity. In short, the redundant order of crystals cannot give rise to specified complexity of the kind or magnitude found in biological organization; attempts to relate the two have little future.

    9 –> Later on, these pioneers go on to examine DNA and the various scenarios for proto- life, and then appended a philosophical epilogue in which they look at the issues that the OOL question poses, raising the question of explanation on an intelligent creator within or beyond the cosmos in light of remarks by Hoyle and Wickramasinghe. They refuse to draw a conclusion on that issue of within/beyond the cosmos beyond the point that such a creator is plausible, as the evidence does not lead them to be able to do so on a scientific footing.

    10 –> Ever since, that has in fact been the basic view of scientific thinkers in the design paradigm: empirical evidence of reliable signs that point to design as causal process for origin of life or of major body plan features of interest is not equal to evidence that leads to the identity of any given designer, much less that identifies such a designer as “supernatural.” (Of course, we would note that the cosmological design issue is of a different magnitude and operates on different evidence, where of necessity the cause of our cosmos — which, since it is credibly contingent as it seems to have had a beginning some 13.7 BYA, needs to be causally explained – must be beyond it.)

    11 –> Subsequent to that, we have had a second major wave of scientific design thinkers who joined the early wave of Thaxton, Bradley Olsen and the like, such as Dembski, Minnich and Behe, in the early to mid 1990?s. These brought a sharper focus on quantification of complex specified information and the inferential filter, and they also brought o bear the concept of irreducible complexity (already discussed in this series of responses). By 2007, Durston et al had a published metric for actual biological cases of functionally specific complex information, bearing on fifteen protein families.

    12 –> However, that carries us beyond the critical window of time, 1973 – 1984, by which time the foundational work TMLO was published.

    13 –> At about that time too Denton published (in 1986) his Evolution, a Theory in Crisis, which contains the following key extract:

    To grasp the reality of life as it has been revealed by molecular biology, we must magnify a cell a thousand million times until it is twenty kilometers in diameter [[so each atom in it would be “the size of a tennis ball”] and resembles a giant airship large enough to cover a great city like London or New York. What we would then see would be an object of unparalleled complexity and adaptive design. On the surface of the cell we would see millions of openings, like the port holes of a vast space ship, opening and closing to allow a continual stream of materials to flow in and out. If we were to enter one of these openings we would find ourselves in a world of supreme technology and bewildering complexity. We would see endless highly organized corridors and conduits branching in every direction away from the perimeter of the cell, some leading to the central memory bank in the nucleus and others to assembly plants and processing units. The nucleus itself would be a vast spherical chamber more than a kilometer in diameter, resembling a geodesic dome inside of which we would see, all neatly stacked together in ordered arrays, the miles of coiled chains of the DNA molecules. A huge range of products and raw materials would shuttle along all the manifold conduits in a highly ordered fashion to and from all the various assembly plants in the outer regions of the cell.

    We would wonder at the level of control implicit in the movement of so many objects down so many seemingly endless conduits, all in perfect unison. We would see all around us, in every direction we looked, all sorts of robot-like machines . . . . We would see that nearly every feature of our own advanced machines had its analogue in the cell: artificial languages and their decoding systems, memory banks for information storage and retrieval, elegant control systems regulating the automated assembly of components, error fail-safe and proof-reading devices used for quality control, assembly processes involving the principle of prefabrication and modular construction . . . . However, it would be a factory which would have one capacity not equaled in any of our own most advanced machines, for it would be capable of replicating its entire structure within a matter of a few hours . . . .

    Unlike our own pseudo-automated assembly plants, where external controls are being continually applied, the cell’s manufacturing capability is entirely self-regulated . . . .[[Denton, Michael, Evolution: A Theory in Crisis, Adler, 1986, pp. 327 – 331. This work is a classic that is still well worth reading. Emphases added. (NB: The 2009 work by Stephen Meyer of Discovery Institute, Signature in the Cell, brings this classic argument up to date. The main thesis of the book is that: "The universe is comprised of matter, energy, and the information that gives order [[better: functional organisation] to matter and energy, thereby bringing life into being. In the cell, information is carried by DNA, which functions like a software program. The signature in the cell is that of the master programmer of life.” Given the sharp response that has provoked, the onward e-book responses to attempted rebuttals, Signature of Controversy, would also be excellent, but sobering and sometimes saddening, reading.) ]

    14 –> You will notice, I am emphasising names and dates, which may reek uncomfortably of the notorious emphasis of history on names, dates and places. But there is method to the madness. Causes must be present at least as soon as the effects they are associated with, so you do not have a cause AFTER the effect.

    15 –> So, let us notice, we have the emergence of the pioneering phase of design theory across the 1970?s into the 1980?s, building on emerging results in various fields since the 1950?s.

    16 –> That basic, easily discoverable cluster of historical facts immediately overturns the notion presented by Wikipedia’s anonymous contributors, that the cause of the Intelligent Design school of thought in science was an attempt to rename “Creationism” in order to somehow evade 1987 US Supreme Court rulings that excluded teaching of Creationism in schools in the USA.

    17 –> The timing is simply wrong, and the trends in basic scientific research leading to conundrums linked to cosmological origins and origin of life studies are far too plain for that to be so.

    18 –> And, given that we are dealing with events that date to 1973 – 1984 – 6 as pivotal to the emergence of ID as a scientific view, I have to find that the omission of the 1987 date of the US Supreme Court decision is highly misleading and mischievous in effect, especially as the Wikipedia introduction nowhere lays out the timeline from 1973 – 1986 and the sort of key markers as I have just done.

    19 –> Also, given the terms and concepts already in play from 1973 – 1986, the identification of the term Intelligent Design as being first used in 1989 in P& P is further highly misleading in that context. Indeed, it becomes a half truth that is enabling of a wider, willfully misleading falsehood.

    20 –> In that context it is appropriate to cite DI’s John West in a 2002 article, Intelligent Design and Creationism just aren’t the Same, on the attempt to equate design theory and Creationism:

    University of Wisconsin historian of science Ronald Numbers is critical of intelligent design, yet according to the Associated Press, he “agrees the creationist label is inaccurate when it comes to the ID movement.” Why, then, do some Darwinists keep trying to identify ID with creationism? According to Numbers, it is because they think such claims are “the easiest way to discredit intelligent design.” (2) In other words, the charge that intelligent design is “creationism” is a rhetorical strategy on the part of those who wish to delegitimize design theory without actually addressing the merits of its case.

    In reality, there are a variety of reasons why ID should not be confused with creationism:

    1. “Intelligent Design Creationism” is a pejorative term coined by some Darwinists to attack intelligent design; it is not a neutral label of the intelligent design movement.

    Scientists and scholars supportive of intelligent design do not describe themselves as “intelligent design creationists.” Indeed, intelligent design scholars do not regard intelligent design theory as a form of creationism. Therefore to employ the term “intelligent design creationism” is inaccurate, inappropriate, and tendentious, especially on the part of scholars and journalists who are striving to be fair. “Intelligent design creationism” is not a neutral description of intelligent design theory. It is a polemical label created for rhetorical purposes. “Intelligent design” is the proper neutral description of the theory.

    2. Unlike creationism, intelligent design is based on science, not sacred texts.

    Creationism is focused on defending a literal reading of the Genesis account, usually including the creation of the earth by the Biblical God a few thousand years ago. Unlike creationism, the scientific theory of intelligent design is agnostic regarding the source of design and has no commitment to defending Genesis, the Bible or any other sacred text. Instead, intelligent design theory is an effort to empirically detect whether the “apparent design” in nature observed by biologists is genuine design (the product of an organizing intelligence) or is simply the product of chance and mechanical natural laws. This effort to detect design in nature is being adopted by a growing number of biologists, biochemists, physicists, mathematicians, and philosophers of science at American colleges and universities. Scholars who adopt a design approach include biochemist Michael Behe of Lehigh University, microbiologist Scott Minnich at the University of Idaho, and mathematician William Dembski at Baylor University. (3)

    3. Creationists know that intelligent design theory is not creationism.

    The two most prominent creationist groups, Answers in Genesis Ministries (AIG) and Institute for Creation Research (ICR) have criticized the intelligent design movement (IDM) because design theory, unlike creationism, does not seek to defend the Biblical account of creation. AIG specifically complained about IDM’s “refusal to identify the Designer with the Biblical God” and noted that “philosophically and theologically the leading lights of the ID movement form an eclectic group.” Indeed, according to AIG, “many prominent figures in the IDM reject or are hostile to Biblical creation, especially the notion of recent creation….” (4) Likewise, ICR has criticized ID for not employing “the Biblical method,” concluding that “Design is not enough!” (5) Creationist groups like AIG and ICR clearly understand that intelligent design is not the same thing as creationism.

    4. Like Darwinism, design theory may have implications for religion, but these implications are distinct from its scientific program.

    Intelligent design theory may hold implications for fields outside of science such as theology, ethics, and philosophy. But such implications are distinct from intelligent design as a scientific research program. In this matter intelligent design theory is no different than the theory of evolution. Leading Darwinists routinely try to draw out theological and cultural implications from the theory of evolution. Oxford’s Richard Dawkins, for example, claims that Darwin “made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist.” (6) Harvard’s E.O. Wilson employs Darwinian biology to deconstruct religion and the arts. (7) Other Darwinists try to elicit positive implications for religion from Darwin’s theory. The pro-evolution National Center for Science Education (NCSE) has organized a “Faith Network” to promote the study of evolution in churches. Eugenie Scott, executive director of the NCSE, acknowledges that the purpose of the group’s “clergy outreach program” is “to try to encourage members of the practicing clergy to address the issue of Evolution in Sunday schools and adult Bible classes” and to get church members to talk about “the theological implications of evolution.” (8) The NCSE’s “Faith Network Director” even claims that “Darwin’s theory of evolution…has, for those open to the possibilities, expanded our notions of God.” (9) If Darwinists have the right to explore the cultural and theological implications of Darwin’s theory without disqualifying Darwinism as science, then ID-inspired discussions in the social sciences and the humanities clearly do not disqualify design as a scientific theory.

    5. Fair-minded critics recognize the difference between intelligent design and creationism.

    Scholars and science writers who are willing to explore the evidence for themselves are coming to the conclusion that intelligent design is different from creationism. As mentioned earlier, historian of science Ronald Numbers has acknowledged the distinction between ID and creationism. So has science writer Robert Wright, writing in Time magazine: “Critics of ID, which has been billed in the press as new and sophisticated, say it’s just creationism in disguise. If so it’s a good disguise. Creationists believe that God made current life-forms from scratch. The ID movement takes no position on how life got here, and many adherents believe in evolution. Some even grant a role to the evolutionary engine posited by Darwin: natural selection. They just deny that natural selection alone could have driven life all the way from pond scum to us.” (10)

    21 –> Given such a longstanding reply posted by DI on its site, in all fairness, Wikipedia has a duty to provide solid warrant for rejecting such and for justifying that to use the equation of Intelligent Design and Creationism in its introduction as a prime premise of the point its article makes, is very well warranted indeed. For Wiki is making an accusation — not of error — but one of outright, widespread large scale intellectual fraud.

    _________

    On fair comment, Wiki has nowhere managed to substantiate such a claim to the point where it could be so freely used in its introduction to its ID article. Where also, the evidence just presented is sufficient to show that such a claim is utterly unlikely to be true.

    So, Wikipedia’s contributors collectively, moderators and leadership, here, have been involved in something that indeed verges on outright propaganda tactics.

    A very serious correction, retraction and permanently, prominently posted apology are well warranted. >>
    __________

    At this point, sadly, Wikipedia has now descended into making up/ irresponsibly transmitting a false and tendentious history as though it were the well-warranted truth.

    Sad.

    KF

  48. BREAKING; Wiki caught in a hoax, takes down article. But we won’t hold our breaths that the more serious hoax of hatchet job articles on ID will be taken down any time soon. BA 77 clips Klinghoffer on Wiki’s problem with ID:

    Wikipedia’s articles on anything to do with intelligent design are replete with errors and lies, which the online encyclopedia’s volunteer editors are vigilant about maintaining against all efforts to set the record straight.

    You simply can never outlast these folks. They have nothing better to do with their time and will always erase your attempted correction and reinstate the bogus claim, with lightning speed over and over again.

    ,,, on Wikipedia, “fact” is established by the party with the free time that’s required to wear down everyone else and exhaust them into submission. The search for truth (on wikipedia) yields to a tyranny of the unemployed.

    HT: BA, BA77.

    (Actually, I suspect we are looking at more than that, some of this stuff reeks of astroturfing to create the impression of a mass base crowd source, when we are looking at ideological agendas. Coordinators of such campaigns do mobilise the otherwise unemployed and probably give out stipends to at least the main activists. Where also college students and high schoolers while subsidised can hardly be deemed unemployed. So, I suspect that it is naive to think it is just mere happenstance at work. This is a post Alinsky neo-marxist “community organiser,” “occupy-X” world. )

    KF

  49. OT:

    A Temperature Below Absolute Zero: Jan. 4, 2013
    Excerpt: In their experiment, the scientists first cool around a hundred thousand atoms in a vacuum chamber to a positive temperature of a few billionths of a Kelvin and capture them in optical traps made of laser beams. The surrounding ultrahigh vacuum guarantees that the atoms are perfectly thermally insulated from the environment. The laser beams create a so-called optical lattice, in which the atoms are arranged regularly at lattice sites. In this lattice, the atoms can still move from site to site via the tunnel effect, yet their kinetic energy has an upper limit and therefore possesses the required upper energy limit. Temperature, however, relates not only to kinetic energy, but to the total energy of the particles, which in this case includes interaction and potential energy. The system of the Munich and Garching researchers also sets a limit to both of these. The physicists then take the atoms to this upper boundary of the total energy – thus realising a negative temperature, at minus a few billionths of a kelvin.
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....143516.htm

  50. BA,

    actually negative temperatures are “above” infinite conventional temperature!

    That is, the negativity depends on a population inversion, as with a laser. Where, per the Boltzmann type distribution, temperature depends on having fewer atoms in higher energy levels, thence, negative temperatures.

    Here — as there is no progressivist, secularist evolutionary materialist politics involved — Wiki does a good job:

    In physics, certain systems can achieve negative temperature; that is, their thermodynamic temperature can be expressed as a negative quantity on the Kelvin scale . . . .

    That a system at negative temperature is hotter than any system at positive temperature is paradoxical if absolute temperature is interpreted as an average internal energy of the system. The paradox is resolved by understanding temperature through its more rigorous definition as the tradeoff between energy and entropy, with the reciprocal of the temperature, thermodynamic beta, as the more fundamental quantity. Systems with a positive temperature will increase in entropy as one adds energy to the system. Systems with a negative temperature will decrease in entropy as one adds energy to the system.

    Most familiar systems cannot achieve negative temperatures, because adding energy always increases their entropy. The possibility of decreasing in entropy with increasing energy requires the system to “saturate” in entropy, with the number of high energy states being small. These kinds of systems, bounded by a maximum amount of energy, are generally forbidden classically. Thus, negative temperature is a strictly quantum phenomenon . . . .

    This phenomenon can also be observed in many lasing systems, wherein a large fraction of the system’s atoms (for chemical and gas lasers) or electrons (in semiconductor lasers) are in excited states. This is referred to as a population inversion . . . For the system to have a ground state, the trace to converge, and the density operator to be generally meaningful, beta H must be positive semidefinite. So if h nu [LessThan] mu, and H is negative semidefinite, then beta [~ 1/T] must itself be negative, implying a negative temperature.

    KF

    PS: The preview shows the Gk letters but they go to q-signs on posting and the letters are lost. Oh well!

  51. kf, and as Paul Harvey would have said,,,

    “I now you know the rest of the story, Good Day!”

    PAUL HARVEY PROPHECY: “If I Were the Devil” – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S_zF7tuWMns

  52. F/N: It is worth clipping this from Sir Fred Hoyle, as an early and relevant use of the term, Intelligent design, in a context that raises the pivotal suggestion of information expressed in specified, functional, complex ways as a signature of design. He uses order, but would perhaps have been well advised to use Wicken’s 1979 term, organization. Notice his plausibility based inference to best explanation:

    ____________

    >> “Once we see that life is cosmic it is sensible to suppose that intelligence is cosmic. Now problems of order, such as the sequences of amino acids in the chains which constitute the enzymes and other proteins, are precisely the problems that become easy once a directed intelligence enters the picture, as was recognised long ago by James Clerk Maxwell in his invention of what is known in physics as the Maxwell demon. The difference between an intelligent ordering, whether of words, fruit boxes, amino acids, or the Rubik cube, and merely random shufflings can be fantastically large, even as large as a number that would fill the whole volume of Shakespeare’s plays with its zeros. So if one proceeds directly and straightforwardly in this matter, without being deflected by a fear of incurring the wrath of scientific opinion, one arrives at the conclusion that biomaterials with their amazing measure or order must be the outcome of intelligent design. No other possibility I have been able to think of in pondering this issue over quite a long time seems to me to have anything like as high a possibility of being true.” (Evolution from Space (The Omni Lecture[, Jan 12th 1982]), pg. 28, Fred Hoyle, Enslow Publishers, 1982). >>
    ____________

    HT Bilbo, Telic Thoughts.

  53. NOTE: I further continue the markup of the Wiki article on ID, here.

    Clipping (onward links are at the above just linked):

    ______________

    Wiki’s F – – on ID, 5: Subtly distorting the truth on Discovery Institute’s policy on Education in public schools, multiplied by a failure of due disclosure on judge Jones’ Kitzmiller/ Dover ruling

    >> Last time, we showed how Wikipedia’s article on Intelligent Design flagrantly distorts the history of the origins of ID as a modern movement. Today, our focus is on a subtler distortion:

    From the mid-1990s, intelligent design proponents were supported by the Discovery Institute, which, together with its Center for Science and Culture, planned and funded the “intelligent design movement”.[16][n 1] They advocated inclusion of intelligent design in public school biology curricula, leading to the 2005 Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District trial, where U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III ruled that intelligent design is not science, that it “cannot uncouple itself from its creationist, and thus religious, antecedents”, and that the school district’s promotion of it therefore violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.[17]

    This is cleverly and artfully worded, especially through the “They” I have highlighted.

    If the misleading statement above is challenged, it can always be pointed out by the ever so clever defenders of radical secularism that the reference to trying to insert ID into schools does not specifically specify the Discovery Institute — where, remember, the article begins by saying “Intelligent design (ID) is a form of creationism promulgated by the Discovery Institute, a politically conservative think tank.”

    At this stage, on fair and merited comment, our context for parsing the above must be that — on evidence already laid out — the anonymous authors, editors and moderators of the wiki article have lost all credibility as fair minded people speaking from a neutral, objective point of view. So we can rest assured that he above words are quite intentional and calculated for manipulative impact.

    They are not merely a poor piece of writing, an accident by people meaning to be fair.

    This, folks, is also part of how false narrative propaganda — there is another and more familiar term, but it is a little brusque — works.

    Okay, time to get to our usual point by point steps of thought:

    1 –> Basically, one who reads the above without knowing credible facts from elsewhere would not know that the Discovery Institute’s longstanding stated and emphatic policy on education runs essentially as follows:

    As a matter of public policy, Discovery Institute opposes any effort to require the teaching of intelligent design by school districts or state boards of education. Attempts to mandate teaching about intelligent design only politicize the theory and will hinder fair and open discussion of the merits of the theory among scholars and within the scientific community. Furthermore, most teachers at the present time do not know enough about intelligent design to teach about it accurately and objectively.

    Instead of mandating intelligent design, Discovery Institute seeks to increase the coverage of evolution in textbooks. It believes that evolution should be fully and completely presented to students, and they should learn more about evolutionary theory, including its unresolved issues. In other words, evolution should be taught as a scientific theory that is open to critical scrutiny, not as a sacred dogma that can’t be questioned.

    Discovery Institute believes that a curriculum that aims to provide students with an understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of neo-Darwinian and chemical evolutionary theories (rather than teaching an alternative theory, such as intelligent design) represents a common ground approach that all reasonable citizens can agree on.

    2 –> And, such a naive reader (this is ostensibly an Encyclopedia!) would not know that it has run more or less like this — to my personal observation — since the time of Seth Cooper, the time when the Dover Trial hit headlines seven years ago.

    3 –> Nor, would one know that the DI specifically counselled the Dover School Board not to embark on the path of putting forth a statement to be read to students as a caution on origins science studies.

    4 –> There is a second piece of speaking with willful disregard to the truth in hopes of profiting by what is said being accepted as essentially true. Namely, the citation of judge John E Jones III, from his ruling, as though what he said about ID were a neutral, objective, well-reasoned, factually accurate characterisation.

    5 –> Of course, we have already seen reason to know that Judge Jones’ ruling is wrong about ID being essentially an evolved species of Creationism. As was already pointed out last time:

    20 –> . . . it is appropriate to cite DI’s John West in a 2002 article, Intelligent Design and Creationism just aren’t the Same, on the attempt to equate design theory and Creationism:

    University of Wisconsin historian of science Ronald Numbers is critical of intelligent design, yet according to the Associated Press, he “agrees the creationist label is inaccurate when it comes to the ID movement.” Why, then, do some Darwinists keep trying to identify ID with creationism? According to Numbers, it is because they think such claims are “the easiest way to discredit intelligent design.” (2) In other words, the charge that intelligent design is “creationism” is a rhetorical strategy on the part of those who wish to delegitimize design theory without actually addressing the merits of its case.

    In reality, there are a variety of reasons why ID should not be confused with creationism:

    1. “Intelligent Design Creationism” is a pejorative term coined by some Darwinists to attack intelligent design; it is not a neutral label of the intelligent design movement.

    Scientists and scholars supportive of intelligent design do not describe themselves as “intelligent design creationists.” Indeed, intelligent design scholars do not regard intelligent design theory as a form of creationism. Therefore to employ the term “intelligent design creationism” is inaccurate, inappropriate, and tendentious, especially on the part of scholars and journalists who are striving to be fair. “Intelligent design creationism” is not a neutral description of intelligent design theory. It is a polemical label created for rhetorical purposes. “Intelligent design” is the proper neutral description of the theory.

    2. Unlike creationism, intelligent design is based on science, not sacred texts.

    Creationism is focused on defending a literal reading of the Genesis account, usually including the creation of the earth by the Biblical God a few thousand years ago. Unlike creationism, the scientific theory of intelligent design is agnostic regarding the source of design and has no commitment to defending Genesis, the Bible or any other sacred text. Instead, intelligent design theory is an effort to empirically detect whether the “apparent design” in nature observed by biologists is genuine design (the product of an organizing intelligence) or is simply the product of chance and mechanical natural laws. This effort to detect design in nature is being adopted by a growing number of biologists, biochemists, physicists, mathematicians, and philosophers of science at American colleges and universities. Scholars who adopt a design approach include biochemist Michael Behe of Lehigh University, microbiologist Scott Minnich at the University of Idaho, and mathematician William Dembski at Baylor University. (3)

    3. Creationists know that intelligent design theory is not creationism.

    The two most prominent creationist groups, Answers in Genesis Ministries (AIG) and Institute for Creation Research (ICR) have criticized the intelligent design movement (IDM) because design theory, unlike creationism, does not seek to defend the Biblical account of creation. AIG specifically complained about IDM’s “refusal to identify the Designer with the Biblical God” and noted that “philosophically and theologically the leading lights of the ID movement form an eclectic group.” Indeed, according to AIG, “many prominent figures in the IDM reject or are hostile to Biblical creation, especially the notion of recent creation….” (4) Likewise, ICR has criticized ID for not employing “the Biblical method,” concluding that “Design is not enough!” (5) Creationist groups like AIG and ICR clearly understand that intelligent design is not the same thing as creationism.

    4. Like Darwinism, design theory may have implications for religion, but these implications are distinct from its scientific program.

    Intelligent design theory may hold implications for fields outside of science such as theology, ethics, and philosophy. But such implications are distinct from intelligent design as a scientific research program. In this matter intelligent design theory is no different than the theory of evolution. Leading Darwinists routinely try to draw out theological and cultural implications from the theory of evolution. Oxford’s Richard Dawkins, for example, claims that Darwin “made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist.” (6) Harvard’s E.O. Wilson employs Darwinian biology to deconstruct religion and the arts. (7) Other Darwinists try to elicit positive implications for religion from Darwin’s theory. The pro-evolution National Center for Science Education (NCSE) has organized a “Faith Network” to promote the study of evolution in churches. Eugenie Scott, executive director of the NCSE, acknowledges that the purpose of the group’s “clergy outreach program” is “to try to encourage members of the practicing clergy to address the issue of Evolution in Sunday schools and adult Bible classes” and to get church members to talk about “the theological implications of evolution.” (8) The NCSE’s “Faith Network Director” even claims that “Darwin’s theory of evolution…has, for those open to the possibilities, expanded our notions of God.” (9) If Darwinists have the right to explore the cultural and theological implications of Darwin’s theory without disqualifying Darwinism as science, then ID-inspired discussions in the social sciences and the humanities clearly do not disqualify design as a scientific theory.

    5. Fair-minded critics recognize the difference between intelligent design and creationism.

    Scholars and science writers who are willing to explore the evidence for themselves are coming to the conclusion that intelligent design is different from creationism. As mentioned earlier, historian of science Ronald Numbers has acknowledged the distinction between ID and creationism. So has science writer Robert Wright, writing in Time magazine: “Critics of ID, which has been billed in the press as new and sophisticated, say it’s just creationism in disguise. If so it’s a good disguise. Creationists believe that God made current life-forms from scratch. The ID movement takes no position on how life got here, and many adherents believe in evolution. Some even grant a role to the evolutionary engine posited by Darwin: natural selection. They just deny that natural selection alone could have driven life all the way from pond scum to us.” (10)

    21 –> Given such a longstanding reply posted by DI on its site, in all fairness, Wikipedia has a duty to provide solid warrant for rejecting such and for justifying that to use the equation of Intelligent Design and Creationism in its introduction as a prime premise of the point its article makes, is very well warranted indeed. For Wiki is making an accusation — not of error — but one of outright, widespread large scale intellectual fraud.

    6 –> But this is not the only or even the main problem with Judge Jones’ ruling and the section of the Wikipedia introduction to its ID article that cites it as though it were objective and authoritative. For, the naive Encyclopedia reader (think, smart 12 year old kid looking for basic, accurate info on a topic, here . . . ) would not have learned from the above, that the following was found to be the case about Judge Jones’ ruling after the fact, on analysis. As I reported in 2006:

    A year after the Kitzmiller Decision in Dover, Pennsylvania, the Discovery Institute [DI] has just published a 34 p. article in which it shows, in devastating parallel columns, that Judge Jones’ discussion of the alleged unscientific status of the empirically based inference to design, was largely copied from an ACLU submission, factual errors, misrepresentations and all.

    DI summarises its findings thusly:

    In December of 2005, critics of the theory of intelligent design (ID) hailed federal judge John E. Jones’ ruling in Kitzmiller v. Dover, which declared unconstitutional the reading of a statement about intelligent design in public school science classrooms in Dover, Pennsylvania. Since the decision was issued, Jones’ 139-page judicial opinion has been lavished with praise as a “masterful decision” based on careful and independent analysis of the evidence. However, a new analysis of the text of the Kitzmiller decision reveals that nearly all of Judge Jones’ lengthy examination of “whether ID is science” came not from his own efforts or analysis but from wording supplied by ACLU attorneys. In fact, 90.9% (or 5,458 words) of Judge Jones’ 6,004- word section on intelligent design as science was taken virtually verbatim from the ACLU’s proposed “Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law” submitted to Judge Jones nearly a month before his ruling. Judge Jones even copied several clearly erroneous factual claims made by the ACLU. The finding that most of Judge Jones’ analysis of intelligent design was apparently not the product of his own original deliberative activity seriously undercuts the credibility of Judge Jones’ examination of the scientific validity of intelligent design.

    Now, a year ago, Judge Jones of Pennsylvania issued his “landmark” decision on the Dover School Board case, which was indeed hailed in much of the major international media as a death-blow to the Intelligent Design movement (which has of course not gone away!). In effect, he ruled unconstitutional the reading out to students in 9th Grade [roughly, 3rd form] Biology the following statement:

    The Pennsylvania Academic Standards require students to learn about Darwin’s Theory of Evolution and eventually to take a standardized test of which evolution is a part.

    Because Darwin’s Theory is a theory, it continues to be tested as new evidence is discovered. The Theory is not a fact. Gaps in the Theory exist for which there is no evidence. A theory is defined as a well-tested explanation that unifies a broad range of observations.

    Intelligent Design is an explanation of the origin of life that differs from Darwin’s view. The reference book, Of Pandas and People, is available for students who might be interested in gaining an understanding of what Intelligent Design actually involves.

    With respect to any theory, students are encouraged to keep an open mind. The school leaves the discussion of the Origins of Life to individual students and their families. As a Standards-driven district, class instruction focuses upon preparing students to achieve proficiency on Standards-based assessments.

    That such a statement — in a time in which Darwinian Biology and the broader ideas of evolutionary materialism plainly continue to be scientifically, philosophically and culturally controversial — would be widely seen as an attempt to impose “religion” in the name of “science,” is itself a clue that something has gone very wrong indeed.

    7 –> Notice, first: “Judge Jones’ discussion of the alleged unscientific status of the empirically based inference to design, was largely copied from an ACLU submission, factual errors, misrepresentations and all.” So, the proper source for the assertion is not Judge Jones, but the ACLU and most probably Ms Barbara Forrest’s assertions. Not exactly NPOV, and not exactly accurate citation of actual source.

    8 –> It is worth going on, to note what I had to say — as one who has taught in the science classroom in a context where the sort of vapours that seem to seize control of thinking when such issues come up in the USA are not an issue — on the sort of situation where such a disclaimer would be thought needed by concerned parents and the like sitting on a district school board, and how it . . . the actual statement, whatever the underlying motives and attitudes of the School board as may be parsed and blown up in attempts to distract and dismiss . . . has been reacted to as an alleged improper imposition of religion on science education:

    . . . it is immediately obvious on examining basic, easily accessible facts, that:

    a] The Neo-Darwinian Theory of Evolution [NDT] is just that: theory, not fact. This means that insofar as it is science, it is an open-ended explanatory exercise, one that is subject to correction or replacement in light of further evidence and/or analysis, and one that seeks to summarise and make sense of a vast body of empirical data — in which effort there are indeed key, persistent explanatory gaps.

    b] Design Theory, in that light, is a re-emerging challenger as a scientific explanation, one that arguably better explains certain key features of, say the fossil record. (And, let us observe here, that ID should not be confused with, say Young Earth, specifically Biblically-oriented Creationism [YEC], which seeks to scientifically explain origins in a context that often — but not always — makes explicit reference to the Bible, regarded as an accurate record of origins. Nor, is it merely a critique of darwinian thought, but rather a working out of addressing the full range of root-explanations for phenomena: chance, necessity and agency, in light of the only actually known, empirically observed source of FSCI: intelligent agency. For example, design thought, as a movement, does not deny that significant macro-level evolution may well have happened across geological time [NB: YEC thinkers accept that micro-evolution can and does occur], but it is raising and addressing the really central, empirically based, scientific issue: how may we best explain where the functionally specific, complex information in life and in the biodiversity in the fossil record and current came from, given what we know about the observed source of such FSCI?)

    c] For instance, as Loennig points out in a recent peer-reviewed paper — a paper submitted to Judge Jones, BTW — on the well-known problem for the NDT that the fossil record is marked by sudden appearances and disappearances, starting from the Cambrian life explosion, and a resulting multitude of “missing links”:

    [On the hypothesis that] there are indeed many systems and/or correlated subsystems in biology, which have to be classified as irreducibly complex and that such systems are essentially involved in the formation of morphological characters of organisms, this would explain both, the regular abrupt appearance of new forms in the fossil record as well as their constancy over enormous periods of time . . . For, if “several well-matched, interacting parts that contribute to the basic function” are necessary for biochemical and/or anatomical systems to exist as functioning systems at all (because “the removal of any one of the parts causes the system to effectively cease functioning”) such systems have to (1) originate in a non-gradual manner and (2) must remain constant as long as they are reproduced and exist [and also] (3) the equally abrupt disappearance of so many life forms in earth history . . . The reason why irreducibly complex systems would also behave in accord with point (3) is also nearly self-evident: if environmental conditions deteriorate so much for certain life forms (defined and specified by systems and/or subsystems of irreducible complexity), so that their very existence be in question, they could only adapt by integrating further correspondingly specified and useful parts into their overall organization, which prima facie could be an improbable process — or perish . . . .

    d] The call to an OPEN [but critically aware] mind in light of knowing the dominant theory and its gaps and that alternatives exist [note that ID was not to be expounded in the classroom!] is not a closing off of options but an opening of minds. (Notice how actual censorship is being praised when it serves the agenda of the secularist elites here.)

    e] Given the persistent absence of a credible, robust account of the origin of the functionally specific, complex information [FSCI] and associated tightly integrated information systems at the heart of the molecular technology of life, the origin of life is the first gap in the broader — and, BTW, arguably self-refuting — evolutionary materialist account of origins. Further to this, we must observe the force of the issue Loennig raises in his peer reviewed article on the challenge of viable macro-level spontaneous ["chance"] changes in DNA that express themselves embryologically early bring this gap issue not only to chemical evolution, but to the macro-evolution that NDT is supposed to explain, but does not. And such major explanatory gaps in the account of macro-evolution start with the Cambrian life explosion as Meyer noted in another peer-reviewed article. [Both of these were of course brought to Judge Jones' attention, and both were obviously ignored, even at he cost of putting out falsehoods and misrepresentations authored by the ACLU in his opinion. No prizes for guessing why.]

    f] So, while — as DI argues — ID is too pioneering to be a part of the High School level classroom exposition (as opposed to an issue that legitimately arises incidentally in debates and discussions), the cluster of persistent issues that NDT and wider evolutionary materialism cannot account for, definitely should be; on pain of turning the science classroom into an exercise in manipulative indoctrination. The ongoing censorship of this scientific, philosophical, and cultural controversy is therefore utterly telling.

    9 –> Likewise, we need to ask some pretty pointed questions about the wider ruling:

    A glance at major features of the ruling itself amply confirms the problem. For instance, observe how the Judge addresses a major concern in the case, revealing that he is indulging in improper activism in his attempt to decide by judicial fiat a matter that properly belongs to the philosophy of science:

    . . . the Court is confident that no other tribunal in the United States is in a better position than are we to traipse into this controversial area. Finally, we will offer our conclusion on whether ID is science not just because it is essential to our holding that an Establishment Clause violation has occurred in this case, but also in the hope that it may prevent the obvious waste of judicial and other resources which would be occasioned by a subsequent trial involving the precise question which is before us. [p. 63] (emphasis added)

    It is unsurprising to see that, in the 139 page ruling, Judge Jones held — among other things — that the inference to design was an inherently illegitimate attempt to impose the supernatural on science, and so falls afoul of the US Constitution’s First Amendment’s principle of separation of Church and state. He also held, as a key plank in his decision — even though an actual list of such papers was presented to him in a submission by the Discovery Institute [cf Appendix A4, p. 17, here] — that there was no peer-reviewed ID supporting scientific literature.

    Further to this, he refused to allow FTE, the publishers of the key book referenced in the case, Of Pandas and People, to intervene in the case to defend itself by participating in the trial, even though their work was being materially misrepresented — which clearly affected the ruling.

    Misrepresented? Yes, this book, in the actually published version [the one that is relevant to determining what the authors and publishers intended and what the impact of the book being in school libraries would likely be] explicitly states:

    This book has a single goal: to present data from six areas of science that bear on the central question of biological origins. We don’t propose to give final answers, nor to unveil The Truth. Our purpose, rather, is to help readers understand origins better, and to see why the data may be viewed in more than one way. (Of Pandas and People, 2nd ed. 1993, pg. viii) . . . .

    Today we recognize that appeals to intelligent design may be considered in science, as illustrated by current NASA search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI). Archaeology has pioneered the development of methods for distinguishing the effects of natural and intelligent causes. We should recognize, however, that if we go further, and conclude that the intelligence responsible for biological origins is outside the universe (supernatural) or within it, we do so without the help of science. (pg. 126-127, emphasis added)

    In short — and exactly as the 1984 technical level book, The Mystery of Life’s Origins, the publication of which (claims to the contrary notwithstanding) is the actual historical beginning of the modern design movement [apart from in cosmology!] also argues — we may properly and scientifically infer to intelligence as a cause from its empirically observable traces that are not credibly the product of chance or natural regularities.

    But, of course, such an inference — just as its opposite, the philosophically based premise that science “must” only infer to chance and natural regularities on questions of origins — soon raises worldview issues. For, just as darwinian evolution is often used as a support for evolutionary materialism, a credible, empirically anchored scientific inference to design on the cases of: the origin of the molecular nanotechnology of life, that of the macro-level diversity of life and the origin of a finitely old, elegantly fine-tuned cosmos, plainly opens the philosophical and cultural doors to taking seriously what is “unacceptable” to many among the West’s intensely secularised intellectual elites: God as the likely/credible intelligent designer, thence credibly the foundation of morality, law, and justice.

    (So, let us pause: why is it that evolutionary materialist worldviews that go far beyond what is empirically and logically well-warranted are allowed to pass themselves off as “science,” thus can freely go into the classroom, but empirically and logically/ mathematically based serious challenges and alternatives to the claims of these worldviews that in fact appear in the peer-reviewed scientific and associated literature are excluded as “religion” [even when this is not at all objectively true]? Is this not blatant secularist indoctrination and censorship? Is not secular humanism, at minimum, a quasi-religion — one that now is effectively established by court fiat under the pretence that we are “separating church and state”? Should we not instead teach key critical thinking skills and expose students to the range of live options, allowing them to draw their own, objectively defensible conclusions for themselves in the context of honest classroom dialogue based on comparative difficulties? [NB: Here are my thoughts on science education, from a science teaching primer that I was once asked to develop. Perhaps, this lays out a few ideas on a positive way forward.])

    10 –> On fair comment, something obviously went very wrong in judge Jones’ courtroom and in his study afterwards. (That he is said to have claimed that he would or did watch Inherit The Wind — which severely distorts the actual history of 1925 – 6 [cf. here on] — as apart of his preparation for the trial, is an indicator, but not a very encouraging one, on what this is.)

    11 –> Plainly, Judge Jones is not a credible authority, and was not the primary source of the substance of his ruling. Wiki should never have allowed judge Jones’ ruling to cover up the underlying ACLU/NCSE materials that plainly served as the basis for his ruling.

    _____________

    We have now come to the end of the section, and we find in it further but subtler false or misleading narratives of the situation and opinions that clearly trace to one side of a controversy being stated as though they were the last word.

    This is not good enough for an Encyclopedia, and it is not good enough for those who parrot much the same misinformation from this and other sources.

    Let us hope that Wiki’s contributors, editors, and moderators will have a serious rethink and will clean up the article.

    Failing such, they can only work to the discredit of Wikipedia as — despite public correction — harbouring misleading propagandistic misinformation and agenda driven talking points rather than genuinely balanced educational materials, and so being untrustworthy; leading to the linked betrayal of the many honest and diligent contributors to other articles elsewhere. >>
    _______________

    Wikipedia needs to correct itself, pronto.

    KF

  54. Kairosfocus posted this:

    “As a matter of public policy, Discovery Institute opposes any effort to require the teaching of intelligent design by school districts or state boards of education.”

    This is bordering on untrue: see Point 6 under “Five Year Objectives” in the Wedge Document at:

    http://ncse.com/creationism/general/wedge-document

    _______

    This of course borders on accusing me of lying. Not surprising from this objector, given his attempt to accuse me concerning HPV vaccinations that address 2/3 of the problem of a virus that seems responsible for triggering cervical cancer as though they solve the problem. I have addressed legitimate concerns that those who have been misled by the spin put on the Wedge document may have, below. By the time TA put this up, he should have realised that any evaluation of the DI policy on public education needs to reckon seriously with the context of a priori imposition of evolutionary materialism on science education and the formally declared policy that specifically rules out exposition of design theory in class rooms and gives reasons that appear both valid and sincere, proposing an alternative that would rebalance such education and allow room for freedom of thought in the classrooms if issues come up. Surely, the point should be education on and about science including equipping pupils for responsible and genuinely informed citizenship, not indoctrination in materialism wearing a lab coat. KF

  55. Kairosfocus posted this:

    “As a matter of public policy, Discovery Institute opposes any effort to require the teaching of intelligent design by school districts or state boards of education.”

    This is bordering on untrue: see Point 6 under “Five Year Objectives” in the Wedge Document.

    That is or course bordering on accusing me of lying, not surprising given the problem on Gardasil already addressed. I have now taken time to respond to reasonable concerns those misled by talking points about the Wedge document may have, cf below. KF

  56. Can’t you read a url?

    ncse.com/creationism/

    That’s the “creationist” version, not the ID version.

  57. Mung posted this:

    ” That’s the “creationist” version, not the ID version.”

    The Discovery Institute wrote the Wedge Document. Do they still stand by the objective? If so, then Kairosfocus is misleading his readers.

    I have now responded to any reasonable concerns below. The accusation of being “misleading” is not substantiated. KF

  58. Well said, kairosfocus, on both essays, including your Jan. 10 sequel. I have written on this subject myself here, http://dennisdjones.wordpress......id-theory/. Please also visit our pro Intelligent Design discussion board on Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/groups/140995135944096/?ref=ts&fref=ts. Thanks

  59. Concluding (and TA, we will get back to your usual misrepresentations in a moment):

    _______________

    Wiki’s F – – on ID, 6: Is all of this focus on the Wiki ID article mere tilting at a windmill that is pointless and so should be ignored?

    >> One of the objections to the markup of the Wiki ID article is that this is tilting at a windmill.

    I disagree.

    It should already be plain that the Wiki article is representative of a standard set of talking points used to polarise the unwary against design theory, and to lead them to think there is nothing serious to see here, move along. But, as has been shown step by step over the past several days, this is based on a willfully constructed false narrative.

    One, that brings Wikipedia’s vaunted commitment to a neutral point of view and to objectivity into serious question.

    However, there is a second good reason to putting on record a markup of the article, as taking time to examine and correct it publicly provides a point of reference on what is wrong with the Wikipedia article, and with the on-the-ground (as opposed to on paper) policies of Wikipedia that allow such a hatchet job to stand for years. Also, it speaks to the wider issue of what is going wrong with our intellectual and media culture that allows such misrepresentations to stand, to spread and even seeks to build on them.

    A third issue needs to be borne in mind: influence.

    Let us look at some usage statistics I just collected from Wikipedia:

    Page views for the Wikipedia article on ID in the three months leading up to January 11, 2013

    As you can see in the past 90 days almost 130,000 people went to Wikipedia to read about ID, many of them, doubtless, being unduly influenced or even seriously misled by that hatchet job.

    That’s an average of over 1,400 views per day.

    Just for record sake, it is important to provide an alternative for those 1,400 people.

    Per day.

    Of course, I have long recommended the New World Encyclopedia ID article, which is far better balanced and is not a hatchet job.

    (Of course, the mocking dismissal is that that article could just as well have been written by Discovery Institute. Guess what, if that is so, and the difference on accuracy and balance is so much in favour of NWE/DI, then that tells us a lot about who is really credible. Surprise — NOT — it is not: Wikipedia and its anonymous contributors, moderators and editors or policy administrators, Judge John E Jones, ACLU, NCSE, Ms Barbara Forrest and the Louisiana Humanists, etc.)

    So, now, where do we go from here?

    Can we successfully change Wikipedia at this time?

    I doubt it, the testimonies of the overwhelming wave of ideologues and biased moderation are too consistent.

    But, we can hold their feet to the fire, and over time bring home the point that this is not good enough not by a long shot.

    Let us remind them, from their own declared policy:

    Editing from a neutral point of view (NPOV) means representing fairly, proportionately, and as far as possible without bias, all significant views that have been published by reliable sources. All Wikipedia articles and other encyclopedic content must be written from a neutral point of view. NPOV is a fundamental principle of Wikipedia and of other Wikimedia projects. This policy is nonnegotiable and all editors and articles must follow it . . . .

    Achieving what the Wikipedia community understands as neutrality means carefully and critically analyzing a variety of reliable sources and then attempting to convey to the reader the information contained in them fairly, proportionately, and as far as possible without bias. Wikipedia aims to describe disputes, but not engage in them. Editors, while naturally having their own points of view, should strive in good faith to provide complete information, and not to promote one particular point of view over another. As such, the neutral point of view does not mean exclusion of certain points of view, but including all notable and verifiable points of view . . .

    Q: Wikipedia’s contributors, moderators and editors of the ID article, can you in good conscience in the face of evident facts, say that you have even come close to this standard in your ID article?

    A: On fair and well-merited comment, not by a long, long, looooong shot.

    Shame on you!

    Please, please, please, do better than that.

    A lot better than that.

    Or, we will have little choice but to see your encyclopedia as fatally compromised and agenda-driven on topics like this.

    With serious onward implications for the whole system’s integrity and trustworthiness, as it plainly cannot or will not police itself properly in light of evident facts and its own declared policy.

    Frankly, the tolerance of something like this speaks volumes on the state of academia, the education profession, our media culture and our wider popular culture.

    Also, in the meanwhile, we can seek out a fairer overview and stand up for it, exposing bias and the sort of saddening intellectual misconduct that we have had to wade through in recent days. We can be confident that in the end the truth will come out, even if it is unpopular and derided today.

    That, too, is a lesson of history. >>
    ________________

    Wikipedia has a lot of work to do!

    KF

  60. TA:

    A couple of days ago, you tried to publicly smear me in another thread here at UD. You refused to correct yourself, and the facts showed that you have not done your homework, but were so eager to smear that you spread dangerous half truths. Yes, there is such a thing as Gardasil, which addresses about 2/3 of the cases of HPV leading to cervical cancer. When cancer is in the stakes, leaving 1/3 of the problem on the board and communicating a dangerous false sense of security is not good enough.

    Now, you have moved to another thread to try to further smear, and in this case you have failed to do reasonable research and treat with fairness the DI policy on education. You have even failed to read the wedge document with any reasonable understanding or in light of the corrective response to the sort of false narrative polarising talking points you are spreading.

    I suggest you read here and here before you have anything else to say. (And of course, I will take up the Wedge document accusatory and false narrative tactic in due course.)

    After that, you owe an apology to those you have smeared. (And no, an attempted side track on Gardasil etc will not be tolerated, the only thing I want to hear from you on that is an apology. For good reason. (Onlookers, read then just keep scrolling down to see what is going on.)

    Failing that, I must ask you to remove yourself from this thread, and any thread I post at UD.

    You have already received a warning from the blog owner, I suggest you would do well to give it heed.

    In brief on the so-called wedge document:

    1 –> THIS IS A LEAKED FUNDRAISING DOCUMENT FROM 1999, WHICH WAS TWISTED BY OBJECTORS INTO PRETZELS AND MANUFACTURED INTO A FALSE ACCUSATORY NARRATIVE — SLANDER — ABOUT THEOCRATIC TAKEOVER OF AMERICAN CULTURE. (For corrections on the theocracy false accusation cf here in context in the UD weak argument correctives. )

    2 –> In that context, DI explains on its CSC that it exists to address the worldview and cultural agenda of evolutionary materialism driven secular humanism, which as we have seen above, is fully capable of big lie propaganda tactics to advance its cause and has succeeded in corrupting court rulings and popular encyclopedias alike.

    3 –> That agenda is entirely consistent with supporting scientific investigations on origins science that correct the imposition of a priori materialism and deliver good empirically warranted results, in this case we can see that there is evidence that there are empirically broadly tested and found reliable signatures of design in the cosmos and the world of life alike, with a particular focus on the origin of life at cosmos level (fine tuning) and the suggested origin of life in a warm little pond or the like.

    4 –> So, whatever sand objectors may want to kick up to blind and confuse the public — such as we saw above with Wiki — there is indeed an emerging scientific base anchored on good research that substantiates the design inference and relates it to cosmological origins and the origin of life.

    5 –> A designed cosmos is most definitely associated with the increased credibility of the worldview that God is and is the ground of reality, though this is not a matter of imposing a priori theism then making deductions. The leading role of lifelong agnostic Sir Fred Hoyle in that, should make that very very patent save to the utterly closed minded.

    6 –> So strong is the design case that the leading philosophical atheist in the world, Antony Flew, became a deist.

    7 –> Now, nothing so far is inconsistent with the policy of DI on education. And indeed, given the analysis on the balance of the academy and issues ans well as the situation in education it is entirely reasonable to say, objectively teach evolution and let students know the strengths and weaknesses including limitations on methods, instead of indoctrinating students.

    8 –> In short, we see yet more reason to see that in absence of a sound answer to the design inference and underlying evidence, we are meeting further snip and snipe, smear and scare tactics.

    TA, do better than this, a lot better!

    Final warning.

    GEM of TKI

    PS: DJ, thanks for the kind words, will look at the links; on the way out the door now . . . later.

  61. kairosfocus @ 60

    2 –> In that context, DI explains on its CSC that it exists to address the worldview and cultural agenda of evolutionary materialism driven secular humanism, which as we have seen above, is fully capable of big lie propaganda tactics to advance its cause and has succeeded in corrupting court rulings and popular encyclopedias alike.

    Which court rulings do you say are corrupt?

    Thanks

  62. C; Kindly read above, here just above. (I am not speaking in any sense of venality and bribes, but of making decisions and rulings on ideology in the teeth of evident facts presented in patently valid documents and in the open courtroom . . . in case you don’t understand, let me make my position clear, e.g. I hold that the infamous Roe v Wade decision of 1973 is a corrupt ruling, unduly influenced by ideological agendas that have cost 53 million unborn children their lives and have forced lower courts, legislatures, law enforcement agencies and the like to go along with this tidal wave of blood guilt that I assure you has not escaped the notice of the Just Judge of All. In short, ideology can corrupt, not just venality. And while the ill-informed ruling at Dover has not had the same magnitude of impact as this other ruling, it too is fatally flawed by ideology). KF

  63. NOTICE: I have already had to instruct TA, due to refusal to act in a reasonable and civil manner, to cease from posting in any blog threads of which I am owner. This is a final notice. I have now also responded to substantial concerns below. KF

    Kairosfocus posted this in relation to the Wedge Document:

    “In brief on the so-called wedge document:1 –> THIS IS A LEAKED FUNDRAISING DOCUMENT FROM 1999, WHICH WAS TWISTED BY OBJECTORS INTO PRETZELS AND MANUFACTURED INTO A FALSE ACCUSATORY NARRATIVE — SLANDER — ABOUT THEOCRATIC TAKEOVER OF AMERICAN CULTURE. (For corrections on the theocracy false accusation cf here in context in the UD weak argument correctives. )”

    Untrue. The Wedge Document is published in its entirety, and unchanged on the NCSE website. It is available to any interested reader to draw their own conclusions about the DI’s motivations and intentions.

    “2 –> In that context, DI explains on its CSC that it exists to address the worldview and cultural agenda of evolutionary materialism driven secular humanism, which as we have seen above, is fully capable of big lie propaganda tactics to advance its cause and has succeeded in corrupting court rulings and popular encyclopedias alike.”

    Irrelevant. Does not address the specific issue of introducing creationism into science classes.

    “3 –> That agenda is entirely consistent with supporting scientific investigations on origins science that correct the imposition of a priori materialism and deliver good empirically warranted results, in this case we can see that there is evidence that there are empirically broadly tested and found reliable signatures of design in the cosmos and the world of life alike, with a particular focus on the origin of life at cosmos level (fine tuning) and the suggested origin of life in a warm little pond or the like.”

    Irrelevant tangential well-poisoning. The question is whether the DI advocated teaching intelligent design.

    “4 –> So, whatever sand objectors may want to kick up to blind and confuse the public — such as we saw above with Wiki — there is indeed an emerging scientific base anchored on good research that substantiates the design inference and relates it to cosmological origins and the origin of life.”

    Irrelevant smoke-blowing unless you are saying that intelligent design is now mature enough to be taught in science classes.

    5 –> A designed cosmos is most definitely associated with the increased credibility of the worldview that God is and is the ground of reality, though this is not a matter of imposing a priori theism then making deductions. The leading role of lifelong agnostic Sir Fred Hoyle in that, should make that very very patent save to the utterly closed minded.”

    Unclear how this relates to the validity of intelligent design in the classroom, given the DI’s repeated assertion that their theory makes no claims about the identity of the designer.

    “6 –> So strong is the design case that the leading philosophical atheist in the world, Antony Flew, became a deist.”

    You know the history of this incident as well as I do.

    “7 –> Now, nothing so far is inconsistent with the policy of DI on education. And indeed, given the analysis on the balance of the academy and issues ans well as the situation in education it is entirely reasonable to say, objectively teach evolution and let students know the strengths and weaknesses including limitations on methods, instead of indoctrinating students.”

    Tendentious unsupported bafflepoop. This amounts to saying that “Any godling should be allowed in science classes if so much as one evolution-denier can be found to claim allegience”.

    “8 –> In short, we see yet more reason to see that in absence of a sound answer to the design inference and underlying evidence, we are meeting further snip and snipe, smear and scare tactics.”

    Scare tactics? You must think that the average person is easily frightened.

    “TA, do better than this, a lot better!

    Final warning.”

    Be still, my beating heart.

  64. F/N: being busy just now, I will come back to this later. Suffice to say for now, that the willful, deliberate and insistent providing of a false narrative, bogeyman context and projection of improper and unwarranted motives by NCSE and others including Wikipedia — regardless of the rest of the material facts — does constitute the twisting into pretzels I remarked on above. Inparticular, it is a false narrative that the DI has pursued a policy of injecting Creationism in the classrom, it is a further atmosphere poisoning smear that design theory is creationism in a cheap tuxedo, and it is demonstrably true that education has been subverted by materialist ideologues in the agenda of indoctrinating students into believing that science and philosophical materialism are inseparable. A particular5ly outrageous aspect of this has been willfully false, loaded, question-begging and censoring ideological redefinitions of science imposed on school systems. This has been shown above but it is quite evident that TA and others of like ilk are enmeshed in a web of the same materialistic indoctrination I have exposed in the case of Wikipedia. Enough is enough and this is the time to stand. KF

  65. I have continued the markup on Wiki’s hatchet job on ID, here, with reference to the so-called wedge document. As usual, I will clip below and note that links (beyond the comment max-out) and image are in the original article.

    This also responds to the underlying issues with points raised by TA above. Given that through uncivil behaviour, he has forfeited the right of civil discussion, this seems a more reasonable strategy:
    ___________

    Wiki’s F – – on ID, 7: The polarising false narrative about “Creationism’s Trojan Horse: The Wedge of Intelligent Design”

    >> The title of this post is taken from a 2004 book by Forrest and Gross, which further intensifies the earlier accusation that Intelligent Design is “Creationism in a cheap tuxedo.”

    Given the agenda-driven hatchet job on Intelligent Design presented as a neutral point of view objective survey of Intelligent Design (as has been critiqued here on at UD in recent days . . . ), it is unsurprising to see this accusation summed up in the lead of the Wikipedia article on the Wedge Strategy:

    The wedge strategy is a political and social action plan authored by the Discovery Institute, the hub of the intelligent design movement. The strategy was put forth in a Discovery Institute manifesto known as the Wedge Document,[1] which describes a broad social, political, and academic agenda whose ultimate goal is to defeat materialism, naturalism, evolution, and “reverse the stifling materialist world view and replace it with a science consonant with Christian and theistic convictions.”[2] The strategy also aims to affirm God’s reality.[3] Its goal is to change American culture by shaping public policy to reflect conservative Christian, namely evangelical Protestant, values.[4] The wedge metaphor is attributed to Phillip E. Johnson and depicts a metal wedge splitting a log to represent an aggressive public relations program to create an opening for the supernatural in the public’s understanding of science.[5]

    Intelligent design is the religious[6] belief that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not a naturalistic process such as natural selection. Implicit in the intelligent design doctrine is a redefining of science and how it is conducted (see theistic science). Wedge strategy proponents are opposed to materialism,[7][8][9] naturalism,[8][10] and evolution,[11][12][13][14] and have made the removal of each from how science is conducted and taught an explicit goal.[15][16] The strategy was originally brought to the public’s attention when the Wedge Document was leaked on the Web. The Wedge strategy forms the governing basis of a wide range of Discovery Institute intelligent design campaigns.

    First, an early fund-raising document for a movement hardly counts as a manifesto. However, that word already tells us that the assumption is that this is to be treated strictly a matter of fear-mongering politics and it hints that we are about to get a highly negative and tendentious review from determined and agenda-driven opponents.

    Sadly, that expectation is amply fulfilled.

    The Wiki article starts from the implicit presumption that science as a matter of established fact or indisputable consensus, is to be understood as confined to an a priori materialist, naturalistic circle. That this immediately censors the ability of science to freely seek an empirical evidence-led, accurate — i.e. truthful — understanding of our world in light of observation, experiment, reasonable inductive hypothesis, empirical testing and logic-driven discussion among the informed, is suppressed.

    Ironically, and highly instructively, a search I just now carried out at Wikipedia under the term “Billions and Billions of Demons” — the title of an infamous 1997 NYRB review article by Harvard biologist Richard Lewontin that presents a classic statement of the imposition of a priori evolutionary materialism on science as just outlined, comes up empty: there is no Wikipedia page under that title, and the only article hit is a highly adverse review of Young Earth Creationism. (A measure of how biased this article is, is the way in which it seems to cite the notorious Talk Origins archive as a trustworthy source.)

    That is telling, absolutely telling on Wikipedia’s agenda-driven hostile coverage of Intelligent Design, as we can directly and simply read in that notorious 1997 article — two years earlier than the Wedge fundraising proposal — as follows:

    . . . to put a correct view of the universe into people’s heads we must first get an incorrect view out . . . the problem is to get them to reject irrational and supernatural explanations of the world, the demons that exist only in their imaginations, and to accept a social and intellectual apparatus, Science, as the only begetter of truth [[--> NB: this is a knowledge claim about knowledge and its possible sources, i.e. it is a claim in philosophy not science; it is thus self-refuting]. . . .

    It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes [[--> another major begging of the question . . . ] to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute [[--> i.e. here we see the fallacious, indoctrinated, ideological, closed mind . . . ], for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door. [NB: For a fuller citation with responses to common objections to this cite, cf here on.]

    Now, in November 1997, Philip Johnson responded to this article in a First Things commentary, and it is thus an obvious context for a genuine understanding of the Wedge fundraising proposal he authored about two years later. But of this, we find nowhere the faintest trace in the wiki introduction as cited.

    Smoking guns, anyone?

    Yup, sadly so.

    Let me cite from the Johnson rebuttal to Lewontin, as a reminder on what is really at stake:

    For scientific materialists the materialism comes first; the science comes thereafter. [[Emphasis original] We might more accurately term them “materialists employing science.” And if materialism is true, then some materialistic theory of evolution has to be true simply as a matter of logical deduction, regardless of the evidence. That theory will necessarily be at least roughly like neo-Darwinism, in that it will have to involve some combination of random changes and law-like processes capable of producing complicated organisms that (in Dawkins’ words) “give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose.”

    . . . . The debate about creation and evolution is not deadlocked . . . Biblical literalism is not the issue. The issue is whether materialism and rationality are the same thing. Darwinism is based on an a priori commitment to materialism, not on a philosophically neutral assessment of the evidence. Separate the philosophy from the science, and the proud tower collapses. [[Emphasis added.] [[The Unraveling of Scientific Materialism, First Things, 77 (Nov. 1997), pp. 22 – 25.]

    In short, the root problem is plainly not the evidence as such, but the a priori imposition of ideological materialism on origins science.Worse, Lewontin and others apparently do not realise that the claim, assumption or inference that “science [[is] the only begetter of truth” is not a claim within science but instead a philosophical claim about how we get warranted, credibly true belief, i.e. knowledge. So, they have contradicted themselves: appealing to non-scientific, philosophical knowledge claims to try to deny the possibility of knowledge beyond science!

    Already, there is enough here to ground fair comment that the Wiki introduction and summary as cited is plainly reflective of a radical, evolutionary materialism driven secularist ideological agenda that, over fairly recent decades, has evidently seized control of institutional science and science education (cf. clips from the US National Academy of Sciences and National Science Teachers Association here).

    That would more than justify a balancing counter-strategy to challenge such an agenda.

    Especially, where the proposed counter-strategy is premised on doing scientific research that soundly grounds the hypothesis that there are empirically reliable, tested observable signs in the world of life and in the cosmos that point to design as a better explanation of cause, than the sort of a priori materialism influenced assumption or assertion that such must only be explained on the premise that they can only be explained scientifically as being caused through blind forces of chance and mechanical necessity.

    (Cf. here, here, here, here and here for relevant details at 101 level.)

    After all, ever since Plato in The Laws Bk X, it has been on record that we may contrast causes tracing to chance and necessity with those tracing to art. And, it is well known that there are techniques that can empirically study and detect signs of ART-ificial cause.

    Such as, we may explore through the causal analysis and design inference explanatory filter (here, adapted from Dembski):

    The per aspect explanatory filter that shows how design may be inferred on empirically tested, reliable sign

    So, the pretended contrast presented by Wiki and many advocates of a priori materialism in origins sciences, natural vs supernatural, is already premised on a strawman caricature of design thought.

    (NB: Wiki’s onward attempt in the article to trace the frame of design thought to John 1:1 on the Logos in action, fails to address the implications of the John’s empirically risky and testable assertion that Reason and Communication is the foundational principle of creation. Had it been seen instead that he world rests on chaos, this would have been held up as overturning the Christian conception of an orderly, reasonable world that is accessible to reasoned empirical study . . . a major contribution to the foundation of modern science. But instead, over the past three to four centuries we have seen that indeed the world is very orderly to the point where there has been talk about the unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics in understanding the cosmos and its phenomena. As in, as Boyle and others would put it: “thinking God’s [rational, orderly creative, providential and sustaining] thoughts after him.” The very term, “laws of nature,” speaks to that view.)

    Sadly, such by now drearily familiar tactics by Wikipedia are unsurprising.

    However, to further understand the situation, we may consult the Discovery Institute’s response to the artificially stirred up scandal:

    Darwinian activists and self-identified “secular humanists” claimed that the “Wedge Document” provided evidence of a great conspiracy by fundamentalists to establish theocracy in America and to impose religious orthodoxy upon the practice of science. One group claimed that the document supplied evidence of a frightening twenty-year master plan “to have religion control not only science, but also everyday life, laws, and education.” Barbara Forrest, a Louisiana professor active with a group called the New Orleans Secular Humanist Association, similarly championed the document as proof positive of a sinister conspiracy to abolish civil liberties and unify church and state. Others have characterized it as an attack on science and an attempt “to replace the scientific method with belief in God.” . . . .

    In 1996 Discovery Institute established the Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture (since named the Center for Science and Culture—CSC). Its main purposes were (1) to support research by scientists and other scholars who were critical of neo-Darwinism and other materialistic theories of origins, and to support those who were developing the emerging scientific theory of intelligent design; (2) to explore the larger philosophical or world-view implications of the scientific debate about design as well other philosophically-charged issues in modern science, and (3) to explore the cultural implications of competing philosophies of science and worldviews. With respect to (2) and (3), it has been a particular interest of the Center to counter the idea that science supports the unscientific philosophy of materialism.

    From the beginning the Center has focused its attention on scientific discoveries and theories that raise larger philosophical, world-view or cultural issues.

    For this reason, Center Fellows examined theories of biological and cosmological origins as well as theories in the social and cognitive sciences that raise questions about human nature.

    More recently, the Center has begun to address bioethical issues arising from developments in bio-medical technology.

    It is in the context of our concern about the world-view implications of certain scientific theories that our wedge strategy must be understood. Far from attacking science (as has been claimed), we are instead challenging scientific materialism—the simplistic philosophy or world-view that claims that all of reality can be reduced to, or derived from, matter and energy alone. We believe that this is a defense of sound science.

    With this in mind, we have supported research that challenges specific theories (such as neo-Darwinism, chemical evolutionary theory and various “many worlds” cosmologies) that provide support for the materialistic vision of a self-existent and self-organizing universe.

    We also have supported research that challenges theories (such as behaviorism, strong AI (artificial intelligence) and other physicalist conceptions of mind) that have portrayed humans as completely determined animals or machines.

    Naturally, many of our scholars and scientists are also working to develop competing hypotheses and theories, including theories of intelligent design and theories that defend the reality and irreducibility of human agency, responsibility and consciousness.

    As it happens, many of these fellows think that new discoveries in science either support, or are consonant with, a “broadly theistic” world-view. The “Wedge Document” makes the philosophical significance of our work—its challenge to scientific materialism and its favorable implications for theism—known to potential supporters. Even so, the case that our scientists have made against neo-Darwinism or for design is based on scientific evidence. Scientists of various (and no) religious persuasions have formulated such arguments (see below). Their work stands on its own.

    In any case, the “Wedge Document” articulates a strategy for influencing science and culture with our ideas through research, reasoned argument and open debate. As our not-so-secret secret document put it, “without solid scholarship, research and argument, the project would be just another attempt to indoctrinate instead of persuade.”

    That puts a very different light on the document, and its context, especially given the wider context of the Lewontin article and the statements by the US NAS and NSTA.

    (Frankly, the above tactics remind me a lot of an old — and widely circulated — propaganda presentation by the USSR, which showed the US Naval, Air Force and Military deployments around the world in the 1980?s as a “proof” of American Imperialism. Smoking gun? Nope, as, when one saw also the deployment of Soviet assets and the pattern of Communist aggression, a very different conclusion was immediately obvious. In short, the Wiki hit piece on the Wedge document, is yet another instance of “he hit back first” rhetoric.)

    But, as design theory objector TimothyA informs us, the Wedge document calls for introducing ID in schools!

    Overblown. Under the list of five-year objectives, p. 16, we may read:

    6. Ten states begin to rectify ideological imbalance in their science curricula & include
    design theory.

    What does that brief reference mean? How is it to be understood?

    A clue lies in the words: “rectify ideological imbalance in their science curricula.”

    As in, are there — and, circa 1999 were there – ideological imbalances in science education curricula in the US and elsewhere, that lead to indoctrination in a priori evolutionary materialism?

    Patently, yes.

    Would it be appropriate to rebalance such, in a way that is based on a more reasonable understanding of the true nature of and a historically informed and philosophically more balanced definition of science, its methods and their strengths and limitations?

    Obviously, yes.

    Similarly, would it be reasonable to hold that:

    As a matter of public policy, Discovery Institute opposes any effort to require the teaching of intelligent design by school districts or state boards of education. Attempts to mandate teaching about intelligent design only politicize the theory and will hinder fair and open discussion of the merits of the theory among scholars and within the scientific community. Furthermore, most teachers at the present time do not know enough about intelligent design to teach about it accurately and objectively.

    Instead of mandating intelligent design, Discovery Institute seeks to increase the coverage of evolution in textbooks. It believes that evolution should be fully and completely presented to students, and they should learn more about evolutionary theory, including its unresolved issues. In other words, evolution should be taught as a scientific theory that is open to critical scrutiny, not as a sacred dogma that can’t be questioned.

    Discovery Institute believes that a curriculum that aims to provide students with an understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of neo-Darwinian and chemical evolutionary theories(rather than teaching an alternative theory, such as intelligent design) represents a common ground approach that all reasonable citizens can agree on.

    Plainly, yes.

    And so, a reasonable and contextually informed reading of the Wedge document’s objective, would be to inform it based on the formal declaration of DI’s policy on science education: teach MORE, not less on evolution (including unanswered gaps and challenges thus a bit on the inherently provisional nature of science and the special issues of trying to find out what plausibly happened in a remote and unobserved actual past faced by origins science . . . ), and teach it in a balanced way informed by its strengths and limitations, also allowing students and teachers academic freedom to engage in reasonable debates on views, concerns and issues. Including, I would add, the “science and society” ethical concerns that have emerged across the past century and more. At worst, then, the reasonable reading would be that at first Mr Johnson may have wanted some inclusion of an exposition of design theory results in school science curricula, but from quite early days, this did not prevail in DI’s thought and policy decisions.

    In short, yet another unsurprising piece of snip, strawmannise and snipe.

    The core challenge, then is that we do evidently face an imposition of a priori materialism that seems to be able to warp not only science but becomes a platform for shaping society in ways that many people find questionable or even potentially dangerous. A fair estimation of the Wedge document should address this context and should engage the other side of the story.

    Wikipedia, again, fails in this duty of care to truth and fairness. Sad, but by now not unexpected.

    Let us hope that Wikipedia will wake up and make amends before it is too late. >>
    __________

    Given the obvious prior imposition of evolutionary materialist secular humanism on the academy and education as well as other centres of power and influence, Wiki’s “he hit back first” rhetoric is its own refutation. And, in a context where Wiki has also refused to fairly present the scientific grounding for design as a scientific paradigm, the problem of bias leading to willful false narrative is multiplied.

    KF

  66. F/N: I have correctively marked up TA at 54, 55, 57 and 63, in light of assertions that border on outright accusing me of lying to or willfully misleading readers. KF

  67. TA: You were asked to leave all threads I own. Your remark is removed to a response below, in the context of your remaining false accusations on the grounds that the remarks are highly likely to be insincere. You have poisoned the atmosphere, you now have to live with the consequences. KF

  68. F/N: Johnson, here, lays the issues out in a 1999 early response to the wedge talking points.

    Let us clip and comment in light of the above. KF

  69. F/N: TA has made a return to the thread in absence of addressing accusations and atmosphere poisoning remarks. I have removed his comment and annotated above.

    I cite what at this point appears to be insincere words here:

    (Oops, now lost.)

    KF

  70. KF:

    There was nothing insincere about my comment that you deleted. I meant every single word exactly as I wrote them.

  71. Here is (approximately) what I wrote:

    KF:

    I think you have done a wonderful job of explaining your views on Intelligent Design. If I am ever asked by an interested observer what Intelligent Design proponents believe, I will recommend that they read all of your posts concerning the Wikipedia article.

  72. TA: I will let the above stand, as there was a deletion accident. However, until you resolve the outstanding matter the situation remains, as you have improperly accused me and have asserted things that are one step removed from calling me a liar (where your remark on “what Intelligent Design proponents believe” — given any number of willfully loaded atmosphere poisoning assertions and accusations about Creationism in cheap tuxedos and attempting to inject “religion” into science, in pursuit of a hidden right wing theocratic fundamentalist agenda etc — just above is far less in context than it may appear to a naive onlooker; kindly cf Johnson here as already linked this morning). Those are very, very serious — and unresolved — matters. Good day. KF

  73. timothya:

    The Discovery Institute wrote the Wedge Document. Do they still stand by the objective?

    About Discovery

  74. Mung: BEFORE TA raised the promotional document, he must have seen the far more detailed, explicitly declared policy of DI, and he had opportunity to see that DI opposed the intent of the School Board in Dover. He cannot be acting innocently, and that is consistent with the exposed false accusations and snide insinuations he has put on the table and has never taken off or expressed regret for, much less set about amending his ways. Even the superficially mollifying words above are patently loaded, given the context. This is all of a piece with the wider agenda of willfully false narratives exemplified by Wiki in the teeth of every opportunity to do better. We are not dealing with dialogue in good faith but ruthless, willfully deceptive, might and manipulation make ‘right’ power games. We need to reckon seriously with that and the public at large should be warned. Indeed, that is why I took up this series. And, of course, ironically, it is a duty of good citizenship and of sound scholarship to identify, expose and warn against agendas that operate like that. KF

  75. We are not dealing with dialogue in good faith but ruthless, willfully deceptive, might and manipulation make ‘right’ power games.

    The New Atheism.

  76. And its penumbra.

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