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UD’s Immodest Proposal mentioned in Worldnet Daily

Congratulations to Roddy Bullock for having his first column, Judge says creationism for the birds, published in Worldnet Daily. Roddy is head of the Intelligent Design Network in Ohio.

Roddy references Bill Dembski’s Immodest Proposal

But there is another option, a brilliant solution if evolution’s defenders have any integrity. Put forth by author William Dembski, “Teaching the Non-Controversy – An Immodest Proposal” sets out an ACLU-proof way to teach evolution honestly. Because the AAAS, the NCSE and other champions of Darwin-only education claim there is no scientific controversy (evolution, they claim, is as well established as gravity!), why not let students simply explain why evolutionary theory is one of the few areas in science where no controversy exists? To further help students gain total understanding of the non-controversy, Dembski recommends further science standards like the following:

Explain in detail how evolutionary theory explains the Cambrian Explosion.

Describe in detail how evolution made complex biological structures such as the human eye.

Explain how evolutionary theory solves the problem that DNA cannot exist without protein and protein cannot exist without DNA.

Teach the Non-Controversy!

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31 Responses to UD’s Immodest Proposal mentioned in Worldnet Daily

  1. Roddy is one of UD’s commercial sponsors and author of Cave Painting. Cave Painting is considered by Caroline Crocker as one of the best introductory texts for learning about intelligent design.

    I had the honor of being invited to Roddy’s home last night, and it was a wonderful coincidence to find out Roddy’s column would appear today, and even more wonderful to see UD’s weblog indirectly referenced in the column.

    I hope to work with Roddy and the Intelligent Design Network over various projects in the near future.

  2. To add the non-controversial status of unguided evolutionism, why not have a punk-eek-er and a gradualist explain the fossil record?

    After that, put a proponent of the cursorial theory face to face with one who defends the arborial version of bird evolution.

    Then put a “RNA-first” darwinist against a “DNA-first” darwinist.

    By the end of the class students will surelly see the reason why the theory of evolution is not Controversial Among Scientist(TM).

  3. This is hilarious!

    If enough folks read pieces like this and begin see the lunacy of the Darwinist ideologues—maybe there’s hope for us yet.

    There weren’t ten righteous in Sodom, but we may have a minyan in America.

  4. Teach the non-controversy by listing all the directly observed examples of speciation by natural selection in the wild.

    I point UD readers to a thread at PandasThumb where I querry them for examples of natural selection creating new species.

    Notice the abundance of evidence (cough) they put forward. See: One Hundred Fifty Years Later, Comment #96,97.

  5. “Notice the abundance of evidence (cough) they put forward.”

    Are you bragging about the lack of responses to a post you made a few minutes ago?

  6. 6
    PannenbergOmega

    Interesting

  7. 7

    Explain how to reconcile general relativity and quantum mechanics.

    Give a quantum mechanical account of an apple falling to the ground from a tree.

    Etc., etc., etc.

    If quantum theorists were like ID theorists, they would be insisting that “relativity is just a theory” and cataloging everything relativity does not explain, as though every deficiency of relativity is evidence that quantum mechanics is superior. And they would be spending much more time carping than researching.

    Furthermore, if quantum theorists were like ID theorists, they would believe that quantum mechanics is the be-all and end-all of theories, rather than one that will ultimately be supplanted by a better theory. Show me the ID fan who will acknowledge that science almost certainly will someday come up with a theory that is better than both modern evolutionary theory and ID theory.

    Step forward, ID scientists, and acknowledge that ID is just a theory, and like all theories may be supplanted one day by something as unlike it as quantum mechanics is unlike Newtonian mechanics. Anyone who cannot acknowledge this is vesting faith in the ultimate truth of ID as an explanation of nature, and is functioning as something fundamentally other than a scientist.

  8. 8

    Explain how evolutionary theory solves the problem that DNA cannot exist without protein and protein cannot exist without DNA.

    Dr. Dembski is obviously very intelligent and very well informed, and thus must know that this is no more in the purview of evolutionary theory than identifying the designer is in the purview of ID theory. If he insists on making evolution theorists responsible for explaining origins, then he had best get busy addressing whether little green men engineered life on earth.

    So why did he pose this “challenge” to evolutionary theory? Is all fair in love and cultural war?

  9. Petrushka:

    Are you bragging about the lack of responses to a post you made a few minutes ago?

    No. I asked them the questions last week, still no responses adequate responses.

    If I’m not mistaken you sound like you’re a Darwinist. Am I right?

  10. 10

    First

    Because the AAAS, the NCSE and other champions of Darwin-only education claim there is no scientific controversy (evolution, they claim, is as well established as gravity!), why not let students simply explain why evolutionary theory is one of the few areas in science where no controversy exists?

    and now

    If I’m not mistaken you sound like you’re a Darwinist. Am I right?

    Like Dr. Dembski, Mr. Cordova is obviously very intelligent and well informed. Why does he make so much of Bullock’s ignorant equation of modern evolutionary theory and Darwinism? The notion of “Darwin-only education” is bizarre, and seems to me designed to inflame those who hate Darwin for religious reasons. Show me a high-school biology curriculum that does not emphasize the findings of a certain Catholic monk who grew pea plants in Brno.

  11. Roddy is one of my all-time absolute favorite ID essayists. Be sure to check out more of his work here:

    http://www.arn.org/blogs/index.php/2?author=10

    Describe in detail how evolution made complex biological structures such as the human eye.

    The key here is the “in detail” part. I can’t count the number of times I’ve read the claim from Darwinists that the evolution of the eye is thoroughly understood. First you start with a light-sensitive spot. (Never mind that a light-sensitive spot is of no use without a mechanism for converting light into a neurological signal, nerves to transmit the signal, a mechanism for converting the signal into muscular contractions, etc.). Then you get a concave cup around the light-sensitive spot that offers better directional sensitivity. Then you get… As Paul Harvey might say, you know the rest of the story.

    The key is to demand the critical details. What specific mutations or random genetic changes would be required to produce the concave cup? What is the likelihood of this happening? Would there be enough individuals in the population and enough reproductive events for the concave cup to become fixed in the population? The only honest answer to such questions is, “Nobody knows.” If they say they know, they know because they know that evolution had to have happened this way because there is no other possible way it could have happened.

    This line of reasoning is called “science.”

  12. 12

    Explain in detail how evolutionary theory explains the Cambrian Explosion.

    Describe in detail how evolution made complex biological structures such as the human eye.

    Explain how evolutionary theory solves the problem that DNA cannot exist without protein and protein cannot exist without DNA.

    This is perfectly fair.

    Any theory, be it evolutionary theory or intelligent design theory should be able to explain each of these things in detail…eventually.

  13. 13

    Mr. Dodgen,

    You’re ignoring a great deal of what it means to say that “evolution is as well established as gravity.”

    Dr. Dembski denies neither gravity nor evolution. Ms. O’Leary has made it clear in the following article that she denies neither. This is despite the fact that nobody can give the detailed account of gravity you demand of evolution.

    We have gross models of gravity that permit us to predict trajectories of projectiles with considerable accuracy. Similarly, we have gross models of evoluton. You may make much of our poor understanding of gravity, but it has gotten us to the moon and back. And you may make much of our poor understanding of evolution, but it figuratively has gotten us to the moon and back. It’s just that there was no sensational blastoff and splashdown that a layperson like you could easily appreciate.

    Something I’ve learned from UD articles is that leading evolutionary theorists are acutely aware of shortcomings in their present paradigm, and are actively seeking a better one. It amazes me to see how UDers collectively shift from citing dissent among evolutionists to show that evolutionary theory is in disarray to claiming that the establishment is monolithic in its support of “Darwinism” (a total red herring — there are no Darwinists in 2008). You can’t have it both ways.

    There are many young scientists striving to make their reputations by taking the next big step in biological theory. (If you are not aware of this, there must be a little green man inside of you operating the controle.) But none is going to deny evolution any more than you are going to deny gravity.

    Scientists who specialize in the study of life are virtually unanimous in the belief that new species have emerged from preexisting species — without special creation of anything, including information. As best I can tell, the debate within the scientific establishment as to how evolution works has not been so intense since the 1930′s.

    You cannot make a case that evolutionists reject ID because they are closed to new ideas. Your “they’re all motivated by atheism” accusations are more credible.

  14. “If I’m not mistaken you sound like you’re a Darwinist. Am I right?”

    I’ll ask hard questions anywhere of of anyone, but since you ask, I think common descent is well established and meets all the ordinary criteria for being called a fact. As for the mechanisms, they aren’t perfectly known.

    I think the big three questions posed here are intrinsically fair, unless you argue that every unanswered forensic question implies a supernatural cause. Sometimes historical evidence just gets erased.

    Do you doubt that additional “intermediate” fossils leading up to whales will be found?

  15. austin_english

    We have gross models of gravity that permit us to predict trajectories of projectiles with considerable accuracy. Similarly, we have gross models of evoluton.

    You really lost the plot there. NDE predicts nothing. Look at poor Dr. Lenski and his 20 years and 40,000 generations of E.coli. He couldn’t predict jack diddly squat about what or when (if anything) was going to happen to them in the way of evolving. All he could do was watch, wait, then when and if something did happen he could explain it after the fact.

    You had better a get a clue pretty quick or you’re history here.

    On second thought, get lost. That was just too stupid to tolerate.

  16. “You really lost the plot there. NDE predicts nothing. Look at poor Dr. Lenski and his 20 years and 40,000 generations of E.coli. He couldn’t predict jack diddly squat about what or when (if anything) was going to happen to them in the way of evolving. All he could do was watch, wait, then when and if something did happen he could explain it after the fact.”

    You can’t predict the roll of fair dice either, but casinos consistently make money. Now if mutations are the result of a front loaded algorithm, it would seem to be the job of ID to figure out what kind of algorithm foresees the need to digest Nylon. Or, having foreseen the need to utilize citrate, dithers around for tens of thousands of generations before spitting out the answer.

  17. Sal wrote:
    “I point UD readers to a thread at PandasThumb where I querry them for examples of natural selection creating new species.

    Notice the abundance of evidence (cough) they put forward. See: One Hundred Fifty Years Later, Comment #96,97.”

    This is why I wonder why anyone would consider common descent beyond question. I’ve had this conversation with Darwinists more times than I can count, and they simply can’t provide any decent empirical evidence of speciation actually occuring in nature. To be honest, I don’t understand why so many IDists hold to this concept… Behe, et. al. Why?

    Davescot, you seem to believe that common descent is factual. Why? What has convinced you of that?

    How on earth would vital organs evolve from one morphological body type to another without killing the organism?

    To claim that something like bacteria evolved into birds and humans, you must consider that the hypothetical series of steps had to traverse hundreds of vital organs. After a new vital organ evolved, you have to wonder how the organism survived before it had that vital organ, because without the newly evolved vital organ, it’s dead, isn’t it?

    Macroevolution must produce greater complexity which requires large increases in information. New vital organs and irreducible complexity would be examples of greater complexity. Where is the empirical evidence that this has actually occurred? Can anyone show me any natural process that produces large, nontrivial amounts of information? Natural processes tend to destroy information. All living things contain gigantic amounts of information! How did all of that complexity evolve from the first simple primitive molecule lucky enough to form in the primordial soup (and, where in the hell did the soup come from)?

    Here’s another question for those who adhere to common descent: What are some of the most beneficial mutations to organisms in their natural environments that scientists have observed through the years?

  18. “As for the mechanisms, they aren’t perfectly known.”

    The truth is that there are no mechanisms either vaguely, slightly or not quite perfectly known that can account for macro evolution.

    Evolution is a fact in the sense that new species appear over time and many are more complicated morphologically than what proceeded. There are physical resemblances between the new and the old and there are similarities in genome structure among the current array of species but that is all that is known.

    Maybe I missed something but not much that is critical. Or if I did let me know and I will be corrected but I doubt any corrections will make any real difference.

  19. “To be honest, I don’t understand why so many IDists hold to this concept”

    Because the genomes of similar but different species exhibit remarkably similar genomic elements. These genomic elements could not have arisen by chance so how did they happen? A likely explanation is that the species with similar genomic elements had a common ancestor.

    Such an explanation does not say that every form of life on the planet descended from the same type of single celled organism nor does it say that all multi cellular life is descended from some common ancestor nor does it say anything about the mechanism for how the common ancestor first got the genomic sequence is question or how the descendant species developed apart.

    One could speculate on how such a process could have happened and still be 100% committed to the ID proposition.

  20. Long time reader here, but I’ve only posted once or twice. I’ll be upfront of my position before I post: I’m what you would call a materialist “Darwinist”.

    With all due respect to DaveScot et al, I think austin_english brings up a fair point when he suggests that demanding a detailed account of the molecular evolution of the eye is like demanding a detailed “quantum mechanical” account of an apple falling from a tree. The failure to provide a detailed account of any historical mechanistic process — be it evolution, astroids, or apples — is not indicative of any controversy or failure of the theories they are based on. It is simply a reflection of insufficient resources and/or data at hand — book-keeping, if you will. We may not know the entire history of various astroids in space — and indeed given current technology and available data it may very well be impossible to calculate. Yet no one would claim that this represents a failure of Newton’s explanations (or Einstein’s for the picky) or a controversy within the field. We simply accept that there is indeed an explanation found somewhere in the framework of gravitational theory.

    Indeed it the responsibility of the so-called “Darwinists” to provide adequate support for the notion that their ideas can appropriately be applied to all biological systems.

    With regards to your comment about NDE predicting “nothing”, I think you may have overstated your case a bit. I think it’s a bit unfair to demand precise molecular predictions from a framework whose very principles say that the molecular changes are, in fact, unpredictable. That would be like demanding quantum mechanics predict which unstable atoms are going to decay when — a notion that would be precisely contrary to the principles of the theory.

    Respectfully,
    John

  21. that demanding a detailed account of the molecular evolution of the eye is like demanding a detailed “quantum mechanical” account of an apple falling from a tree.

    We can watch an apple fall from a tree. Are you saying we can watch an eye evolve?

  22. We might be inclined to believe natural selection might cause macro evolution if we even had a few examples of natural selection causing a little bit of speciation. It does not even do that!!!

    Has PandasThumb mafia in their infinite knowledge given examples of natural selection being directly observed to even cause a speciation, much less a bona fide macro evolutionary event?

    I think John Davison had a point, we haven’t seen much new since about 2 million years ago (assuming the Earth is old). Evolution appears to be finished….

  23. Because the genomes of similar but different species exhibit remarkably similar genomic elements. These genomic elements could not have arisen by chance so how did they happen? A likely explanation is that the species with similar genomic elements had a common ancestor.

    So, it’s a “likely explanation“? Without empirical evidence, how does one adhere to a likely explanation as fact? I have absolutely no problem with the theory of evolution being taught in our schools. It’s a valid “theory” based on the fact that organisms share similarities. But, fact it is not.

    Since all organisms share similarities, the best we’ve come up with is that they must have all evolved from a common ancestor. I can certainly accept evolution as a mechanism for organisms to adapt to various environmental changes, but that’s ALL WE HAVE EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE OF. We don’t have anything remotely close to providing empirical evidence that macroevolutionary changes actually occur. It seems to me that we merely accept that argument due to the similarities of organisms and the lack of a better naturalistic explanation.

    From a design standpoint, it only makes sense that we share similarities with everything else in our environment or we wouldn’t be able to breath the same air, eat the same food, live with and of each other in the same environments, etc.. That seems to me to be the reason why we find that all organisms share similar genetic makeup. So, while the *idea* of common descent is a valid one, IMO, it is no less a metaphysical idea than the other mythical or mystical explanations because the empirical evidence for the concept is just not there.

    “Such an explanation does not say that every form of life on the planet descended from the same type of single celled organism nor does it say that all multi cellular life is descended from some common ancestor nor does it say anything about the mechanism for how the common ancestor first got the genomic sequence is question or how the descendant species developed apart.”

    !! Gosh, that answer is always so irritating…no offense. Something had to start the process…some original lump of life. I’m assuming you aren’t suggesting that there were endless miraculous swamp events that branched out like grass rather than the root of a tree. Odds are already so far fetched that one lucky lump could have emerged and started life from scratch that I can’t imagine it happening continuously. I also have no clue how a lump of life can gather the massive information we see in our world today from virtually nothing but primitive swamp water and whatever was present in the atmosphere.

    ARrrrggghhhh. I honestly don’t see what is so scientific about this explanation. It’s a freaking miraculous event…no less miraculous than any metaphysical explanation.

    [forgive my impatience...1/4 of my body is covered in poison ivy at the moment and I’m irritable as hell. I can’t do anything other than lie here and bitch...my apologies.]

  24. Salvador,

    Denton gives some examples that are highly probable or suggestive that have taken place in the wild with birds and reptiles. But we are talking about small changes here. I believe there are some example of insects getting used to a new form of food supply and not mating with its original population or birds developing different song patterns and not mating with its original population. But again one can argue if this is really a species change but since a separate population has developed it is possible over time there could be more significant changes that would be classified as species change but the results will be trivial. There is the fruit fly differences by islands but they are still basically fruit flies. Stephen Matheson mentioned Allen Orr who is an expert on the genetics of speciation and whose special interest in Drosophila. The Edge of Evolution allows for speciation within genera and maybe family but not any further. When Matheson returns we should ask him to give his opinion on this.

    If you want something that happened in the laboratory or under observation in nature then the answer is probably no. But it probably takes several thousand years for these small changes to settle in and cause a real species change. But again these species changes will probably be genetically very small.

    Also Allen MacNeill’s mice example might also qualify and this took place much less than thousands of years.

    And for those wanting to comment on what I just said, please do not bring up that there isn’t any consistent definition of species. I am well aware of all the problems and issues with using the term. Some people like to pounce on that issue like it means something

  25. FtK,

    You don’t have to agree with my explanation. In fact I didn’t say I agreed with the explanation I gave. You asked how someone could believe in common descent and I explained the most common answer given which is what lot a whole lot of people accept.

    All common descent does not have to be a macro evolutionary process. In fact I know of no evidence that there is much evidence that it was. It could be a micro evolutionary process taking place over tens of millions of years. If one leaps from common descent to some mechanism for common descent then the person is being speculative. When we start getting lots of whole genomes in the future then one may have much harder evidence for micro evolutionary speciation events.

    Most of what people who espouse ID suggest is only speculation too. There is no evidence for any specific ID event to have ever happened. If there is let me know because I have never seen any discussed here. Lots of speculation but no specifics which is the continual knock against ID from those who disagree with it. If Salvador want to say there has never been a speciation event which I disagree with then I could ask him if there ever was a ID event. If he wants to say there has never been any evidence for a macro evolutionary speciation event than I fully agree.

    Also there is nothing in common descent and ID that conflicts as far as I know.

  26. FtK: 1/4 of my body is covered in poison ivy at the moment and I’m irritable as hell

    It is torture. Boat loads of sympathies to you.

  27. Thanks…my face looks like a giant strawberry. They gave me a shot yesterday and a prescription for prednisone, but it doesn’t seem to have kicked in yet.

    Waaaaahhhhhh!!!!

  28. so, is accepting common descent like accepting that NT, XP, server2003, and vista (clearly a mutant) are commonly descendend from dos and 3.1?

    If so, then I’d buy it.

  29. es58,

    Long before there was dos, James Burke developed a TV series that traced the connections between technological events right back into ancient-days. The series was called Connections and was riveting television. If you ever have the chance to look at the first series by all means do it. In one episode he traced computing from long ago to the mills of the monks in the middle ages to the Eniac. It all could be looked at as one continuous chain.

    Dos was just an intermediary step after this. Whether this has any relevance for life, I haven’t a clue.

  30. Petrushka

    Austin English compared gravity to evolution. I told him it was ludicrous as gravity allows us to make exquisite predictions of the future and evolution can’t predict anything.

    You then started to make analogies about evolution and the rolling of dice. Yeah, buddy, but it’s almost infinitely sided dice. No two rolls ever have to come up the same in a finite universe. You can’t make predictions based on statistics from dice like that. That’s why neo-darwinian evolutionary theory can make no predictions.

    For participating in the stupidity of comparing of evolution to gravity you are out of here. Say hi to Austin English wherever he is.

  31. Examples of typical talking points of Darwinists:

    “We’ve made so much progress that Darwinism hardly even exists anymore, so anyone who focuses on Darwinists is probably an ignorant creationist. Ummm, but Darwinism still explains a lot…”

    This talking point can be woven into the myth of Progress and wound back in with Darwinian creation myth.

    For example:
    Like Dr. Dembski, Mr. Cordova is obviously very intelligent and well informed. Why does he make so much of Bullock’s ignorant equation of modern evolutionary theory and Darwinism? The notion of “Darwin-only education” is bizarre….

    Despite this bit of propaganda modern evolutionary theory can be and is still often referred to as “Darwinism” and Darwin is still featured prominently in most highschool texts. Proponents of “Darwinism” have even stated:

    If there are versions of evolutionary theory that deny slow gradualism, and deny the central role of natural selection, they may be true in particular cases. But they cannot be the whole truth, for they deny the very heart of the evolution theory, which gives it the power to dissolve astronomical improbabilities and explain prodigies of apparent miracle. (The Blind Watchmaker: Why the Evidence of Evolution Reveals a Universe Without Design by Richard Dawkins :250)

    Apparently critics of Darwinism have been successful that it might be said that they do not want to believe a theory that is hardly relevant: “There are people in the world who desperately want not to have to believe in Darwinism.” (Ib. :250)

    Another talking point, “There is no such thing as Darwinism because there’s dissent among evolutionists. … but let me be quick to add that this dissent doesn’t mean that we don’t already know the facts of evolution!”

    Example:It amazes me to see how UDers collectively shift from citing dissent among evolutionists to show that evolutionary theory is in disarray to claiming that the establishment is monolithic in its support of “Darwinism” (a total red herring — there are no Darwinists in 2008). You can’t have it both ways.

    But both are true because the same people that may debate evolution among themselves have a history of trying to represent an “overwhelming” type of consensus when it comes to matters of public policy.

    What is happening to Darwinists and biologists is typical to every field of expert in an age of communication and information, more information/knowledge dissolves charlatanism. If there isn’t much charlatanism to Darwinism then you have little to worry about.

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