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Expelled Professor and Microscopist Mark Armitage Responds to his Critics

Mark Armitage has been recently noted here on UD for having possibly been fired from his job for reporting facts that others don’t like. In a recent podcast, PZ Myers takes Armitage’s findings to task:

The creationists are all on fire about this, and it’s been a big thing in the last couple of yearsI’ve been to a number of creation museums in Missouri and the one in Kentucky and so forth, and they all have big exhibits on this all throughout the world because there was something gooey find inside of a dinosaur bone.

It’s kind of nonsensical though, because Schweitzer’s observation was that when you dug deep into a bone, into the sheltered deep recesses of a fossilized bone, you could find these unusual structures, which when demineralized–I think that’s a very important point, is these were covered with all kinds of mineral deposits–when demineralized you’ve got something left that’s got kind of a spongy texture, and you look at it in the microscope, it looks vaguely like messotheial cells, cells that line blood vessels. Okay. Other people have said, well yeah, but they look more like bacterial biofilms anyway.

So it’s definitely biological material. It’s definitely soft. It’s buried in the bone. Now I don’t why they (creationists) think this is a big deal cause there’s nothing about taphonomy that says every single thing inside of a fossilized bone has to be replaced, it has to be completely replaced with some other mineral. And what these are are isolated bits that are very deep that… They’re carbon. What do you think happens to carbon over 70 million years? It doesn’t turn into lead or it doesn’t turn into calcium carbonate. It stays carbon.

So they found carbonaceous material that has a spongy texture. There’s nothing in that to contradict evolutionary theory. It’s an interesting phenomenon in fossil taphonomy. It says something interesting about preservation of tissues, but it’s not a strike against evolution.

Here is Mark’s response to PZ:

If you knew anything Dr. Meyers, about the microscopy of osteocytes – living osteocytes – (and we are not talking about epithelial cells) you would know that delicate ultrastructure – and I am talking fine filipodia approaching 500nm in width, decay WITHIN DAYS of the death of an organism. We microscopists have to use quick acting preservatives and process bone tissues immediately ON ICE to preserve the kinds of structures you can see on the Triceratops osteocytes in my paper:

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0065128113000020

The reason we creationists are very excited about this work – the reason you and Jack Horner and Mary Schweitzer are backpedalling FAST on this issue now is because EVERYBODY knows this kind of ultrastructural preservation is MIRACULOUS. Osteocytes do not sit around with these kinds of structures for 10,000 years – let alone 68 million years.

Secondly – you should resist the temptation to comment about things you have not done your homework on. Seriously, you are embarrassing yourself because Mary Schweitzer showed in her 2013 paper that these osteocytes contain HISTONES inside their nucleoli. This is direct evidence that there is MIRACULOUS preservation of autogenous molecules inside these bones – and in my case, inside a highly vascular, mud embedded Triceratops horn (not a deeply buried heavily encased limb bone).

Thirdly, (and once again) Schweitzer has completely blown away the biofilm argument….Seriously – STOP TALKING PZ – you are showing folks how little you know about the work that has been done by Schweitzer.

Fourthly PZ – this is not something small and isolated found in one or two bones here or there – this is EVERYWHERE – soft autogenous tissues are EVERYWHERE in the fossil record – it is THE NORM and we at the Creation Research Society are going to PROVE it. We are going to test fossils from as many sites as possible and we are going to document what you are trying to cover up – the fossil graveyard left all over the earth as a result of the Flood of Noah happened very recently. Just sit back and watch the show.

By the way, I loved you in Ray Comfort’s new film, “Evolution vs God.”

The point of this post is not to endorse Armitage’s opinion over others – I really know very little of the issue myself. However, PZ has a very large megaphone. Armitage does not, I thought it would be appropriate to post his responses to his critics here, especially since PZ is always a fun topic at UD.

(P.S. – the transcription of the podcast is Mark’s and not my own – I have better things to do with my time than listen to atheist podcasts – please let me know if I need to make any corrections)

UPDATE: The original title of the article said “expelled professor“. A commenter noted that Armitage is not a professor. From a comment in Sal’s original post, it said that Armitage “served as the Manager for the Electron and Confocal Microscopy Suite in the Biology Department at California State University Northridge.” I updated the title to say “microscopist” in hopes that this is a more correct term.

UPDATE 2: Mark Armitage confirmed that he was in fact a professor, so the title of the post is updated (yet again) to reflect this. Here is what Armitage said of his own position:

Some clarification…I was a professor at CSUN, as I was the sole instructor to dozens of MS candidates and professors on the biology faculty on scanning electron microscopy, transmission electron microscopy, confocal microscopy and tissue processing and sectioning. I did not just “manage” the facility, although I did that and with many accolades from the dept. chair and other faculty members.

Also, Armitage continues to instruct students through the video series he made to introduce students to microscopy, which students are required to watch before using the microscopes. These videos are viewable here

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54 Responses to Expelled Professor and Microscopist Mark Armitage Responds to his Critics

  1. Salvador Cardoza responds to his critics by deleting their posts, even if they are written in response to someone else and don’t even mention anything he has written.

    Why is that allowed at UD?

  2. To bad for PZ et all that they weren’t so prescient as to predict beforehand, the preservation they now dismiss as no big deal or ‘evidence’ that biological molecules CAN last for millions of years.

  3. There have been anti-body tests, with a provoked response. And attendant attempted explaining away.

  4. I don’t think Mark Armitage is a professor. As I understand it he was Manager for the Electron and Confocal Microscopy Suite. According to creation.com his highest academic qualification is a masters (although is he is a postdoc student).

  5. “Salvador Cardoza [sic] responds to his critics by deleting their posts, even if they are written in response to someone else and don’t even mention anything he has written.

    Why is that allowed at UD?”

    That’s ‘Salvadorian Freedom’ in the light of Expelled Syndrome.

    He even deletes posts of people when they are agreeing with him (!), as he just did to me in his ‘no positive argument for Design’ thread.

  6. Mark Armitage, M.S., Ed.S does not hold a professorship. Is that an error in the title, Sal, or are you using more poetic licence?

  7. He even deletes posts of people when they are agreeing with him (!), as he just did to me in his ‘no positive argument for Design’ thread.

    That’s nothing. He even deleted a comment of mine at TSZ in one of his guest posts! J’étais carrément scandalisé ;)

  8. Oops @ Mark. Didn’t spot your comment.

  9. Alan – no problem – twice the chance of someone correcting it. I don’t think Sal wrote the OP. It is johnnyb – who will presumably correct the error.

  10. Didn’t spot that either! Apologies to Sal for implying he might have been inflating Armitage’s credentials deliberately and apologies to johnnyb for calling him Sal!

  11. Didn’t spot that either! Apologies to Sal for implying he might have been inflating Armitage’s credentials deliberately and apologies to johnnyb for calling him Sal!

  12. And apologies for double post. Mods might want to take a look at why “duplicate post spotted” didn’t kick in.

  13. This is another example of the power of the evolutionary paradigm. It can make evolutionists believe in miracles.

    What would have been laughed at as preposterous just 10 years ago is now being roundly accepted. The paradigm must never be questioned. If there is evidence that throws it into question, always question the evidence OR just accept that evolution can do more than you realized.

    Similar examples abound:

    Scientists from 10 universities and institutions have verified that the collagen protein in dinosaur bone is primordial – i.e., from the dinosaur, not from later contamination. By first studying the molecular packing of collagen in living animals, and using X-ray diffraction modeling, they matched the surviving collagen molecules to those that would most likely survive degradation. They feel this establishes the authenticity of the protein fragments against claims of contamination and simultaneously offers a mechanism for its resistance to degradation.

    The claim of original dinosaur protein was met with skepticism, an article on PhysOrg began: “Although the team had previously presented multiple lines of evidence supporting the veracity of the find, the fact that the age of the peptides far exceeds any previous predictions of how long a protein could resist degradation has generated controversy.”
    ….
    The researchers in this article only offered the meagerest suggestions that “might” explain the survivability of the protein. Worse, they only looked at the collagen, ignoring the blood vessels, blood cells, tendons and medullary bone reported by Schweitzer and others.

    http://tinyurl.com/ljk53gk

    Also this: “Intact Protein Remnants Found in Dinosaur Eggs”

    A new record for soft tissue in a dinosaur fossil was reported in Nature: collagen in dinosaur eggs from the early Jurassic.

    The Nature paper is all over the news, but not all the science reporters are mentioning the most damaging admission to long ages: the preservation of organic material in fossil sauropod eggs from China, said to be 190–197 million years old from the early Jurassic – 100 million years older than the previous record.

    http://crev.info/2013/04/prote.....saur-eggs/

    And … “Dinosaur Bones Crack Open Surprises: Original Tissue”

    Nature is kind. That’s nice to know; but what was the context of the statement in New Scientist? “Occasionally, though, nature is kind and fossilisation preserves details of an animal’s soft tissue.” But has nature been kind for tens of millions of years? In an article called “Soft-centred fossils reveal dinosaurs’ true colours,” Jeff Hecht spilled the beans that more researchers are finding soft tissue and original material in dinosaur bones said to be over 65 million years old and older – even more than twice as old.

    And how about this? “Intact Dinosaur Skin Found”

    Some material that flaked off a fossil in Alberta was not stone; it was dinosaur skin. Discoverers were excited and puzzled: how could it last so long?

    Here’s how Mauricio Barbi of the University of Regina described their discovery, according to PhysOrg:

    “As we excavated the fossil, I thought that we were looking at a skin impression. Then I noticed a piece came off and I realized this is not ordinary – this is real skin. Everyone involved with the excavation was incredibly excited and we started discussing research projects right away.”

    http://crev.info/2013/05/intac.....kin-found/

  14. Thanks to Alan Fox for alerting me to check into Armitage’s proper job description.

  15. That was a perfect response by Armitage.

    PZ might be the biggest clown/court jester of the entire church of evolution.

  16. Is there a link to Armitage’s posts?

  17. Kudos to johnnyb for correcting an error when pointed out.

  18. The reason we creationists are very excited about this work – the reason you and Jack Horner and Mary Schweitzer are backpedalling FAST on this issue now is because EVERYBODY knows this kind of ultrastructural preservation is MIRACULOUS. The reason we creationists are very excited about this work – the reason you and Jack Horner and Mary Schweitzer are backpedalling FAST on this issue now is because EVERYBODY knows this kind of ultrastructural preservation is MIRACULOUS.

    Jack Horner was put on the ropes publicly as reported here:

    ICC 2013: Creationist Bob Enyart attempts to bribe Darwinist Jack Horner

    What does Horner’s reaction tell you vs. PZ’s essay? :-)

    Thanks to PZ for helping advertise the controversy.

  19. The accepted geological ages for the Phanerzoic (about 500 million years back) are actually at variance with what is known in other mainstream disciplines. One does not have to raise issues about a Creator or revise mainstream physics and chemistry.

    The question Armitage raises is comparable to problems in Forensic Crime investigation, we are merely trying to establish the time of death for the fossils in question.

    In some respects attacking the accepted geological ages for the Phanerzoic is easier than promoting ID because Darwinists will often refuse to consider ID without seeing the Designer in action.

    With geological ages, its a question of how long biological material will persist, how long the geological column will endure erosion, and why C-14 is are in these fossils, in fact, not just dino fossils, but maybe the majority of fossils and even entire geoglogical layers like the Carboniferous layer (about 300 million years ago) are recent.

    At ICC 2013, I asked Mark Armitage about the numerous reports of soft tissues of insects in Amber. Indeed there are lots of soft tissue issues, not just in dinos.

  20. lifespy -

    Armitage posted that to Facebook. I met Armitage about 8 years ago, but haven’t really kept up with him (it would be an exaggeration to say that I knew him, and I’m fairly certain he wouldn’t remember me). I don’t know if there is a more official blog or source. I asked him if he would give me permission to post his response to a wider audience and he said yes.

  21. NOTE – I posted another update. Armitage was in fact a professor at CSUN.

  22. We microscopists have to use quick acting preservatives and process bone tissues immediately ON ICE to preserve the kinds of structures you can see on the Triceratops osteocytes in my paper

    Armitage seems to be saying that his fossils must have been, oh, hours old at most.

    Color me very skeptical.

  23. #21 johnnyb

    Are you sure? If I Google “Professor Mark Hollis Armitage” I draw a blank. If look for him on Google scholar there is just the one paper. A number of creationist sites talk about him – none of them give him a doctorate much less a professorship.

    Where did you learn about the professorship?

  24. When I saw Mark at ICC 2013 he seemed to indicate he wasn’t a professor, but people in the department referred to him as a professor because he taught microscopy to all the students that worked in the lab and that he was clearly skillful in his discipline.

    The paper he published was fast-tracked in a matter of weeks because the head of the journal really felt Armitage should be publishing his research.

    It would be also important to mention the co-author of the paper with Armitage is a professor, namely Kevin Anderson (at a different secular University).

  25. I tracked him down http://creationwiki.org/Mark_Armitage

    Apparently he was an adjunct professor at two Christian colleges (not CSUN). I suppose that sort of justifies the title but it is grossly misleading to compare it to a professor at full university.

  26. “I was a professor at CSUN, as I was the sole instructor”

    Being an ‘instructor’ doesn’t automatically qualify one as a ‘professor.’ Lecturer, instructor, assistant, teacher, these are all official job description alternatives. Likewise, ‘continuing to instruct’ students doesn’t make one a ‘professor.’ So what was Armitage officially titled when dismissed?

    Is this going to turn into something like Kent Hovind aka ‘Dr.’ Dino’s ‘degrees’? You’ve gotta teach/be indoctrinated by YECism in biology classes at Liberty University?

    Perhaps its similar to why Durston didn’t publish his supposedly (‘unbiased’!) ‘scientific case for ID’ somewhere other than first on an evangelical Christian apologetics site?

    Honestly, what are these people thinking?! Don’t they realise a bigger world around them than insular creationist conferences and ICR? World class theist-scientists are available if you’d just open your eyes and hearts.

    Universities are usually called ‘public’ or ‘private.’ Labelling a public university as a ‘secular University’ simply caters to the culture war ideology in the USA.

    johnnyb I can respect. Salvador and his creationist ‘comrades’ are indeed a ‘flock of dodos’. The sooner they go extinct the better for global civilisation.

  27. Who cares if he was a professor? It seems so tangential. Let’s talk about the facts and arguments.

  28. Gregory

    Is this going to turn into something like Kent Hovind aka ‘Dr.’ Dino’s ‘degrees’? You’ve gotta teach/be indoctrinated by YECism in biology classes at Liberty University?

    You mean turn into something where evolutionists obsess over a person’s credentials and character while persistently avoiding addressing the data and arguments? Of course.

  29. Hi johnnyb,

    Interesting article. Just a quick question. I wonder if Professor Mark Armitage would care to comment on the statements made in the Wikipedia article about ancient DNA? Specifically, does he believe that ancient DNA should be found in the bones of dinosaurs and other fossils? Why or why not?

  30. Gregory @ 25: I lost count of the ad hominem arguments you made. Do you have anything to say about the actual evidence at hand?

  31. Gregory wrote:

    “Universities are usually called ‘public’ or ‘private.’ Labelling a public university as a ‘secular University’ simply caters to the culture war ideology in the USA.”

    I agree that the distinction between “public” and “private” is a different distinction than the distinction between “secular” and “religious.” That is a *philological* fact.

    On the other hand, the *sociological* fact is that in the USA, “public” universities are overwhelmingly secular in ethos, with atheism/agnosticism represented among the faculty in a far greater proportion than among the general population (and, incidentally, with left-wing social and political views dominant — in the range of 80 to 90 per cent of the faculty members — in all subjects outside of business, economics, and engineering). If an American sends his/her son or daughter to a public university, the American can be virtually sure that the son or daughter will be schooled (at least indirectly, and often enough directly) in secular humanism and a left-wing social-political perspective. The son or daughter may of course seek out countervailing influences — attending InterVarsity Christian Fellowship meetings outside of class, for example, or trying to find the few professors who aren’t inhibited (by fear of not receiving tenure or not receiving research grants) from expressing religious or non-left-wing views — but the question is why the student should have to do that.

    In a “public” university — one paid for by all taxpayers, religious as well as secular, conservative as well as liberal — all students — religious as well as non-religious, politically conservative as well as politically liberal, should feel equally treated, equally free to express themselves and their beliefs. But that is often not the case. This unfortunate situation leads many parents to send their sons and daughters to conservative religious institutions, a solution which is unsatisfactory, as many of those conservative religious institutions have low academic standards and are intellectually narrow in their outlook. Were the public universities *culturally neutral* rather than de facto atheist/agnostic and left-wing, parents and students would not be faced with such unappetizing choices.

    The difficulty, of course, is that the university ethos is set largely by the faculty, and the university faculty is self-recruiting, i.e., new faculty are hired by the already existing faculty. By about the mid-1970s the existing faculty in most American public universities (and a good number of private universities) was predominantly leftist and secularist, and therefore could ensure the continuation of its dominance by the simple expedient of hiring young faculty whose views (social, political, pedagogical, methodological, and regarding the contents of the various studies) were in agreement with their own. Thus, the percentage of left-wing secular humanists on faculties steadily rose, to the point where deeply religious or deeply conservative professors are hard to find in public universities or even private universities such as Ivy League places. This is the reality which American youth faces: when it looks for a form of higher education in which conservative and religious beliefs are treated with equal respect as liberal and secular beliefs, it does not know where to turn, other than to fundamentalism — but for thoughtful, critical young people, fundamentalism is not an option. So there is a horrible polarization between fundamentalism and secular humanism, with no “middle way”; and precisely what American society needs is a “middle way.” But where are the institutions of higher education which can provide it? This is a serious social and cultural problem.

    Gregory also wrote:

    “Salvador and his creationist ‘comrades’ are indeed a ‘flock of dodos’. The sooner they go extinct the better for global civilisation.”

    I do not agree with this. While I reject YEC and the literalism-inerrantism that underlies and motivates it, and while I lament the anti-intellectualism of the rank and file of “creationist” churchgoers, I don’t think all creationists or even all YECs are “dodos” — some of them are extremely intelligent people. Paul Nelson is a highly intelligent YEC, and I believe that Kirk Durston is some sort of creationist, whose recent column here shows that he certainly knows the most technical literature in his scientific field and can defend his scientific conclusions without reference to Biblical revelation. And of course, Salvador himself is no intellectual slouch! Further, even aside from the intellectual achievements of some creationists, I salute YECs and creationists generally for having the courage to endure the scorn of the world for what they believe to be right, even though I think they take too narrow a line on what the Bible teaches and what Christianity is. Their courage has in the long run contributed to the exposure of many scientific weaknesses in the neo-Darwinian and “molecules to man” narratives, and to the critique of secular humanism in general. Liberal Christians, on the other hand, simply fold up like a tent before the claims of secular humanism, and liberal Christianity is just secular humanism with a pious veneer. And most TEs retain anything genuinely Christian only by compartmentalizing: faith over here, science over there. What the world needs is an integration of faith and science, and in various ways fundamentalism, liberal religion, and TE have failed to provide such an integration. The “third way” between Biblicism and secular humanism has yet to be articulated in 21st-century terms. ID is not in itself such a “third way” because it limits its goals to detecting design in nature; but its findings, if valid, surely have a contribution to make to the articulation of a “third way.”

  32. I am talking fine filipodia approaching 500nm in width, decay WITHIN DAYS of the death of an organism.

    WITHIN DAYS? In that case, the material shouldn’t have even survived the time it took from the time the fossil was discovered to the time it took to get to Schweitzer’s lab (several months).

    And does anyone think that if we did further tests on the fossil, that we wouldn’t find more such material in the same state of preservation as material found earlier, after 12 years?

    This is direct evidence that there is MIRACULOUS preservation of autogenous molecules inside these bones

    He mentions “MIRACULOUS” several times, but I can’t tell if he means it literally or not.
    A miracle – if they indeed occur – has no bearing on the validity of a theory. If a miracle occurs and a rock floats upwards, what effect does that have on the theory of gravitation?

  33. My guess, to answer several questions here, is that, since Armitage is trying to show the Noachian flood, he thinks that the preservation is due to the unique deposition environment which occurred at that time.

    In other words, rapid burial + interesting chemical environment + lots of pressure = preservation you wouldn’t get any other way.

    By the way, those who are nitpicking about the use of the term “professor” are truly wasting their time (and ours), discussing a total non-issue. Does it matter if he is an expelled microscopist or expelled professor? No, it doesn’t. He taught, did research, and managed a lab, and now he is expelled because they didn’t like what he was finding. Note that he was a well-known creationist for a long, long, long time. It wasn’t until he started publishing his evidence that he got fired.

  34. By the way, those who are nitpicking about the use of the term “professor” are truly wasting their time (and ours), discussing a total non-issue. Does it matter if he is an expelled microscopist or expelled professor? No, it doesn’t. He taught, did research, and managed a lab, and now he is expelled because they didn’t like what he was finding. Note that he was a well-known creationist for a long, long, long time. It wasn’t until he started publishing his evidence that he got fired.

    When one cannot attack the topic, one must attack those that put it forth.

  35. Young Earth Creationists (YECists) wanting to speak about facts, data and arguments?! :P But only if it first fits into their sanitized local evangelical religious worldview, right? Even Cordova acknowledges that the evidence is strongly and convincingly against a ‘young earth.’ He seems to call himself a ‘creationist’ still only out of habit and ideologically felt religious obligation.

    How can a thinking person take young-earthers seriously about their ‘pseudo-science’ any more than taking flat-earthers seriously? It’s just not worth the time or effort.

    “The data and arguments” are well-addressed and daily represented by many credible and hard-working scientists and scholars around the world, including Christians, Muslims, Jews, and Baha’is who have no problem accepting the reality of an ‘old’ earth. One would think American evangelicals YECs could eventually swallow their isolationist pride and realise they’ve missed the bus. But for whatever reasons, that just doesn’t seem characteristic of them.

    This is the parasitic price that the DI pays for not making a clear and direct statement re: IDism and the age of the Earth as a ‘scientific’ and not ‘theological’ topic.

    Americans and Turks are bottom of the barrel on the world stage. This is what ‘laughing stock’ means, even if YECists don’t care a lick about how they are perceived. The irony, of course, is that the Ken Ham’s and Kent Hovind’s of the world, the Mark Armitage’s and the Paul Nelson’s actually have the bald arrogance (which is exactly what Armitage’s message to Myers quoted above displays!) to think *they* are the most highly developed thinkers, the only really enlightened ones, the honest and innocent martyrs in their culture war, the unjust victims who really see the truth staring them in the face.

    What they’re seeing, sadly, is merely idolatry, their own faces with a local fundamentalist pastor-driven ‘YEC label’ = righteous few for personal identity and yet nothing more staring back at them than a dirty mirror of close-mindedness, which is what Hovind sees right now in prison for his holier-than-thou creationist attitude. When, possibly, could YECists ever stop to ask: “does it actually make sense, is it worth it, why do most of the world’s Christians think I’m ignorant and anti-science?”

    Credit to johnnyb for his intial careful attention and correction to try to get the title of the thread right; if Armitage wasn’t actually a ‘professor’ by job description at CSUN when he was fired, then another update might still be forthcoming.

  36. johnnyb wrote: “Mark Armitage confirmed that he was in fact a professor”

    It seems that his language confirms he was an ‘instructor,’ not a professor at CSUN, the institution in question for dismissing him. It’s a simple ‘job title’ question; if you want to be accurate or don’t want to ask him specifically, johnnyb, that’s up to you. He’s answered you unclearly already. And no doubt you know that YECs have both a history of distortion and attempts to undeservedly elevate themselves in the academic world, like Kent Hovind’s ‘degrees’.

    Besides, have we heard CSUN’s side of the story yet before passing judgement?

    Vincent J. Torley, for example, holds a PhD (a higher degree of qualification than Armitage), but he is a ‘teacher’ of English, not a ‘professor.’ And he said he has never published a peer-reviewed paper in an academic journal.

    “It wasn’t until he started publishing his evidence that he got fired.”

    There’s usually more to it than that. Likewise, it wasn’t until Dembski started triumphantly trumpeting ‘Waterloo’ that they closed the Polanyi center. The self-declared innocent YEC that tries to look intelligent, scholarly and ‘revolutionary’ (having already proven a huge amount of what we know/have learned about the age of the earth, natural history and the universe is wrong, but is just being unfairly treated!) is usually unmasked before too long.

    Giving leash to YECism by even writing about it with dignity at UD simply serves to display the already obvious connection between IDism and YECism. So, I guess it serves a useful purpose.

    To the ‘evidence’ from Armitage’s words: “EVERYBODY knows this kind of ultrastructural preservation is MIRACULOUS.”

    Wait, does ‘EVERYBODY’ even believe in miracles? Exaggeration: one of the common faults of YECist quackery.

    Most of the world laughs at the ‘American ideology’ of YECism. Why should IDists take it seriously?

    Usually you’re an even-handed guy, johnnyb. With due respect, I guess I just don’t understand why you feed into YECism.

  37. In response to Timaeus’ #31 speech about ‘public universities’ = “overwhelmingly secular,” well, let me just begin by speaking reflexively. I’m a product of 2 public universities in Canada, a private Dutch university and a public Russian university. Surely I didn’t face the same problems re: late- and post-modernity (our current era) as those young Americans on this list or reading it are facing.

    I’m not sure where you’re from Timaeus, but if you’re American (and you write with American English, so that’s a ‘philological’ clue), unfortunately you seem to be part of the backward-looking problem and not part of the forward-looking solution with your individualist IDism. I say ‘individualist’ because you don’t openly accept the IDM’s requirement for IDT’s ‘strict scientificity.’ And I know you’d like to be forward-looking, which was the intention behind your ‘things are bad in the USA at universities’ speech.

    A word to the wise: the meaning of ‘secular’ has changed in recent years (for the better imo), due in part to the work of David Martin, Charles Taylor and others (cf. C. Calhoun’s SSRC’s ‘The Immanent Frame’ blog for some excellent global discussions). The vast majority of American citizens, and even the majority of Christians, Muslims, Jews and Baha’is, accept and promote the USA as a ‘secular country.’ They want it that way!! So, arguing that public universities should be ‘secular’ simply makes sense, unless one is promoting a theocracy or using Philip Johnson’s background ideology of ‘convert America from Darwinism.’

    And besides, the term ‘postsecular’ is being discussed by some major thinkers nowadays. But it’s not like that is of any interest to the crusaders at the Discovery Institute, who don’t pay enough attention to much of anything but ‘(neo-)Darwinism’ and ‘new atheism,’ their intentionally chosen dancing partners.

    (cont’d)

  38. As for ‘humanism,’ IDism is impotent. It’s one of the most misanthropic ideologies one will ever see! As Timaeus openly admits, IDT properly understood as currently framed has *nothing* to do with human creativity, innovation, imagination, (lowercase ‘d’) ‘design’ or manufature, building, making, etc.

    The ideology of IDism can’t even promote ‘religious humanism’ or ‘spiritual humanism’ to counter any kind of perceived ‘secular humanism’ because it pretends to be ‘strictly [natural] scientific,’ which obviously means it has *nothing* officially to say about humanism, secularism or any other ideology or worldview. It’s just a ‘[natural] scientific theory,’ that’s all, right, wink? :P

    You walked right into the clear, coherent and succinct interpretation that fatally undercuts IDism’s credibility, Timaeus; it is surely *not* a ‘strictly [natural] scientific’ theory, but is properly understood as a topic for science, philosophy and theology/worldview discourse. But admitting that would end the DI and the IDM as it has been known/constructed up until now, so even folks like Meyer (theodicy) and Wells (bring in theology to IDism) won’t speak publically about this. Is it a fear of American secularism or just sensible protection of their jobs?

    The left-wing dominance in higher education in the USA is of course partly a reaction to right-wing fundamentalism in that country. I’m not suggesting the balance is currently a good one between left-wing and right-wing (or beyond left and right!) in the Academy. Surely it’s highly imbalanced. But whining conservatism, like one is the kid at the bottom of the dog-pile, Timaeus, is not flattering either.

    ‘Old Earth’ believing IDists act cowardly by not speaking out against YECism because they don’t want to upset the DI’s predominantly conservative, right-wing audience. You hint at this, Timaeus, but don’t do the sociological work you should do nor demonstrate the political courage you could but haven’t yet. As a result, your ‘intellectual’ advocacy for IDism here and elsewhere is tainted by the very thing you say you don’t want to be and aren’t a part of: the IDM.

    You admit that “many of those conservative religious institutions have low academic standards and are intellectually narrow in their outlook.” O.k. we’re agreed about that, with a few exceptions as usual.

    Indeed, those are also the home territory of YECism in the USA – conservative religious institutions. Do you acknowledge this obvious truth publically or would you rather simply bite your tongue out of political convenience?

    Both you and the IDM turn soft toward your conservative and ‘bad science’ (your words) YECist brothers and sisters, who you nevertheless happily use for ‘wedge’ purposes to promote IDism as a ‘scientific revolution,’ even if it keeps that very same ‘bad YECist science’ in ‘the little tent’ for financial reasons.

    You claim, Timaeus, that perhaps the most famous living scientist (other than Craig Venter) in the USA, Francis Collins, is theologically childish. Well, that’s just what Michael Behe is when it comes to philosophy, Timaeus. His ‘astrology’ comments at the Dover trial are just one example of this, as are his claim that IDism would/does have “implications for all humane studies” (1999). The guy is simply out of his league nonsense-talking in such cases, yet you don’t acknowledge this!

    “there is a horrible polarization between fundamentalism and secular humanism [in the USA], with no ‘middle way’” – Timaeus

    And it’s not a multi-party system in government either. Red-state/blue-state is willing polarisation. Fundamentalism and the rising atheism or non-religious are a real feature of the political system in the USA today. But ‘secular humanism’ is not the target it used to be during your study days, Timaeus, and opposing it with ‘fundamentalism’ is, on schedule, a disenchanted voice from the past, not something for the future generation.

    “I don’t think all creationists or even all YECs are “dodos”.” – Timaeus

    No one said you did. Neither do I. I didn’t say they were *all* ‘dodos,’ just a significant majority of them…when it comes to the science.

    One can obviously have training in a specialty field or operate technical equipment (with or without receiving a PhD, as with Armitage) and still ideologically be a YECist, publishing the odd paper in an actually credible journal based on one’s ‘expertise.’ This doesn’t excuse the ‘bad science’ of YECism in general, nor provide any substance that the YECist ideology is an accurate description of natural history on Earth.

    You call it ‘bad science,’ Timaeus, yet nevertheless still flatter YECists simply for the cause of IDism, which I find politically repulsive. The best approach: call it what it is to their faces – it’s ‘bad science.’ Even if not in terms of their local religion, these people are globally-scientifically backwards.

    Nelson is a ‘dodo,’ that is, when it comes to his acceptance of YECism. You agree, don’t you? Sure, he’s a decent guy one could easily have a burger and a beer with. So what?

    Durston, well, if he is a YEC, that’s being a dodo. ‘Bad science’ as you call it, Timaeus. Likewise, you agree.

    “I believe that Kirk Durston is some sort of creationist” – Timaeus

    Young earther or flat earther? Then dodo. Believing in Creation does not make one a ‘creationist’ otherwise every monotheist would be a ‘creationist.’ People who contend this are similar to IDists who expect and even assume that every person who believes in God supports IDism. That’s simply not true. And it explains why the ‘design argument’ vs. ‘Intelligent Design Theory’ is under-highlighted by IDists who want everyone to join their ‘Revolution!’

    (cont’d)

  39. Re: Durston, “whose recent column here shows that he certainly knows the most technical literature in his scientific field and can defend his scientific conclusions without reference to Biblical revelation.”
    Durston’s recent ‘scientific case for ID’ posted on an evangelical apologetics website (ripe for YECs) is a typical example of bait-and-switch. Do you call that ‘good science,’ Timaeus? I don’t.

    Philosophy can help mediate between (post)secularism and scientism, pre-atheism, fundamentalism and YECism and that can overcome the primitive MN vs. MN debacle in American PoS thanks to Wheaton’s ethicist/administrator Paul de Vries. But PoS is impoverished in the USA, partly due to the hyper-analytic tradition and partly because of the dominance of pragmatics and utilitarianism there. Americans want philosophy to be instrumentalist; ‘show me what I can do with it,’ rather than how can it help people to understand, to think properly and interpret and indeed, to appreciate ethics, aesthetics and politics at a deeper/higher level.

    I don’t share your views about TE, Timaeus and find them badly jaded, amazingly narrow-minded and even wishfully unrealistic. You focus on only a small select group of TE/EC’s that suit your typical culture warring strategy for IDism and ignore huge scores of others. I’ll get around to writing about this sometime, but not at UD.

    Why is this? Because you simply can’t bring yourself to admit in public what has been obvious for years: IDism is properly understood as a topic for science, philosophy and theology/worldview conversation and not ‘strictly [natural] scientific.’ If you’ll finally admit this publically, that which you already know to be true, some ground for reconciliation may be possible between us. But I don’t expect anything genuinely reflexive or personable and only more spinning of words and excuses from you, trying to save face for an ideology called IDism that has already been thoughtfully rejected by many (left and right, conservative and liberal) dare say most who theistic scientists, scholars and laypeople who gave it an honest chance.

    “Liberal Christians, on the other hand, simply fold up like a tent before the claims of secular humanism, and liberal Christianity is just secular humanism with a pious veneer.” – Timaeus

    You sound like Denyse now; ardent to pin the tail on the purposely misnomered ‘Christian Darwinist’ donkey. That just means: “Hi, I, Timaeus am a Conservative, right-winger, so of course I’m anti-liberal, anti-left.” And besides, IDism is supposed to have nothing to do with ‘secular humanism’ because it’s just a ‘strictly [natural] scientific’ theory; you’ve said yourself that IDT is *not* about politics, sociology, economics, philology, but *only* about origins of life, biological information, human origins, etc.

    “most TEs retain anything genuinely Christian only by compartmentalizing: faith over here, science over there.” – Timaeus

    Some of the best Christian scholars living today are TE/ECs who are integral thinkers. But you are still blind and deaf to them, Timaeus. Nevertheless, they are out there.

    “What the world needs is an integration of faith and science” – Timaeus

    O.k. we are finally on the same page: science, philosophy and theology/worldview. Have you publically admitted that’s what IDism is really about yet? It’s like pulling teeth to get you to admit realities, Timaeus, in words that anyone other than you speaks.

    Faraday Institute works on this. BioLogos works on this. The Centre for Theology and Natural Science works on this. And of course the Pontifical Academy of Sciences works on this. Yet who doesn’t explicitly work on this: IDists – because IDism is trying to be ‘strictly [natural] scientific’ – not about faith *at all,* right, wink? :)

    Indeed, Timaeus, why don’t you make a change and go work for one of the growing number of science and faith integration organisations and forget all about this IDist scientism? Hmmm, doesn’t that sound like a good way to serve your rhetorical, religious studies talents and interest in natural sciences? It might do you some good and open you up to dialogues you never thought even existed.

    The so-called ‘third-way’ you speak of is for the next generation to decideand embrace. Your generation, Timaeus, is not the one the IDM is targeting. It’s young folks; which is why their ‘summer program’ is deemed important, why they fund it. That’s why I went there; as a sociologist of science doing research on IDism and the IDM.

    Where does that leave things, Timaeus, since you’ll be ‘pulling back’ from UD soon? So, you’ve latched onto IDism and invested your time and book-reading in Behe, Dembski, Meyer, et al. But you probably haven’t watched The Matrix, a film that in many ways reaches the next generation (current youth) and helps define the postmodern period. Those of us who have seen it and live with its message recognise that, as Neo said: “the problem is choice.” As fate turns out, this is is also obviously nowhere part of the ‘strictly [natural] scientific’ ideology of IDism because the Designer is willed not to be studied by dogmatic fiat, whereas choices and actions by human beings are totally ignored by IDT.

    We are not in the ‘age of evolution’ any more, Timaeus, as your IDist fellows seem to still be stuck thinking against Darwin as if he’s really the devil’s chaplain. We are in the ‘age of extension’…and Humanity 2.0. If only backward-looking IDists and YECists defending ‘bad science’ would rise to the occasion and throw off unnecessary ignorances, the social and educational situation (even in America) would improve significantly.

    Gregory

  40. Even Cordova acknowledges that the evidence is strongly and convincingly against a ‘young earth.’ He seems to call himself a ‘creationist’ still only out of habit and ideologically felt religious obligation.

    Fabrications by Gregory, commenting on motivations that he has no way of knowing, and saying that I said evidence is strongly and convincingly against young Earth. I haven’t said that.

    I’m not an inerrantist, for example. I’ve said so publicly. He just makes stuff up. Bases his conclusions on false premises, and worse, even when he has correct premises, consistently shows he lacks the logic to make valid conclusions.

    That’s why I’m banning greg from my threads. He has nothing of substance to add to the discussions. If other UD authors want to tolerate greg’s presence in their threads, that’s up to them, but I won’t.

  41. I’m not the first one to spot the problem, but if this material indeed normally decays within days – can whatever caused it to be preserved for (presumably) 6000 years not also have preserved it for 60 million years?

    Or, as johnnyb suggests, rapid burial + interesting chemical environment + lots of pressure = preservation you wouldn’t get any other way – why does this say anything about the age of the material? What interesting chemical environment are we talking about? Could such an environment have existed in the Cretaceous?

    Just exploring for parsimonious explanations :)

    fG

  42. scordova wrote: “enormous doubt on the viability of the Young Earth Creation model”

    That’s what I meant by saying scordova “acknowledges that the evidence is strongly and convincingly against a ‘young earth.’” It reflects what he said, doesn’t it?

    Acknowledgements differ from motivations. Please don’t lie and behave poorly to cover your own tracks. Admit what you wrote like a man, scordova.

    “Fabrications by Gregory, commenting on motivations” – scordova

    See below, copies of what you actually wrote here at UD. What was ‘fabricated’ by me? Nothing. The truth may hurt when it goes against you, scordova. Why not elevate yourself by coming clean. Giving up IDism doesn’t mean exile from the Presbyterian Church of America, where you claim to belong. There are many old earthers in the PCA, aren’t there scordova?

    Do you wish now to take back what you have previously acknowledged regarding your doubts about YECism here at UD?Do you openly retract your vicious comments to me based on evidence that shows what you’ve actually said against YECism?

    “he has no way of knowing, and saying that I said evidence is strongly and convincingly against young Earth. I haven’t said that.” – scordova

    Do you suffer from amnesia, scordova?

    “I’m not an inerrantist, for example.” – scordova

    Now you’re making accusations up, scordova. I didn’t mention ‘inerrantism.’ Please stop putting words in my mouth. Where did that come from?

    “he lacks the logic to make valid conclusions.” – scordova

    A master’s degree in what or being a ‘holy roller’ qualifies you as judge and jury over another man’s logic, scordova?! Serious personality issues, scordova, and control issues. Banning, deleting, antagonising. Take a deep breath and return to some level of normalcy.

    “He has nothing of substance to add to the discussions.” – scordova

    I’ve added more ‘substance’ to studies of the IDM than any social scientist on the planet. I’ve actually spent time watching IDists and reading their works. Since ‘science’ is a social activity, it might not be a bad idea for IDists to pay attention to how they are actually perceived by the public at large, not only in the USA but around the world.

    E.g. where I am now, the term ‘Intelligent Design’ is translated as “Intelligent Project.” It has been championed by a Biblical Literalist, Baptist organisation. Does it make sense to try to understand why YECists are so fond of IDism and why it is so hard for IDists, even those who thoughtfully reject YECism to actually speak out with rebuke against the ‘bad science’ (Timaeus) of their YECist brothers and sisters in IDism?

    Why waste an hour responding to a ‘bad science’-martyr YECist, other with the hope that one day he or she will be healed from their ideological wounds? Perhaps scordova doesn’t believe in hope; just in deleting other people’s thoughts simply because they are critically informative and better educated than most against the ideology of IDism?

  43. All comments from scordova at UD, other than two from me:

    “I self-identify as YEC (though have many doubts)” http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-461404

    “I came from that little old creationist factory known as George Mason (yes, at least 4 PhD biologists associated with George Mason are creationists or pro-ID).” http://www.uncommondescent.com.....s-of-2013/

    “I’m sympathetic but not convinced of YECs truthfulness. I wouldn’t necessarily wager on it in other words.” http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-460284

    “YECs need experiments, testable hypotheses, proposed observations — they need to waste less on building creation museums that don’t scientifically advance their case. I’ll get flak for saying that. I don’t care anymore.” http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-460729

    So, I wrote this to scordova: http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-460750

    “One may wonder how I can be sympathetic to Young Earth Creation given what I learned in these classes. It would be fair to say what I learned in these classes casts enormous doubt on the viability of the Young Earth Creation model, and at some point one must be willing to accept irresolution or even error in what one believes.” http://www.uncommondescent.com.....s-of-2013/

    I asked: “Do you have a personal opinion about the age of the earth? Do you think it is a few thousand years old, say 6000, 10000 or 50000, or that it is several millions of years old? Or have you reverted to the position: “I don’t know”?“

    scordova answered: “It could be young, it is worth demonstrating, but the facts aren’t yet cooperating. That may change with better telescopes, space probes, experiments. I think YEC could be true, it would desirable for it to be true, but I’m not defending it vigorously because YECs don’t a have very defensible case until they solve distant starlight and radiometric dating. It is worth purusing as a question, because even if wrong, any question that generates empirical research is valuable. I self-identify as YEC, but I have doubts, serious doubts. I suspect its true, I hope it is true, but I’m not convinced it has a defensible case.” http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-455760

    “Some of my YEC friends get upset that I might even question their YEC ideas, and I tell them, “redo Maxwell’s equations to account for distant starlight, redo nuclear physics to account for radiometric dating, etc…then we might have basis for a reasonable discussion” http://www.uncommondescent.com.....s-of-2013/

    “I think YECs have a partial case, but not a slam dunk. / Sorry, you can see I’m resentful of YEC culture. I went to grad school to and suffered to learn hard subjects to help get a better grasp of the issue, and all I saw was a bunch of preaching and museum building, nothing that resembled a serious search in what God has made.” http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-455873

    The YECs don’t have a very believable case, and too many of them go around condemning the doubtful in clear violation of Jude 1:22. / If you and others will pre-empt any contrary piece of data via theological fiat, why would anyone find integrity in that sort of search for truth?http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-455873

    I became a creationist after learning just a little bit that made so much sense from an ICR tract. However, when I heard ICR criticism of the Big Bang, I stopped wanting to hear whatever else they said because it some of it seemed so full of ridicule whereas the Big Bang had individuals like Albert Einstein backing it. I thought to myself if Einstein says there is a Big Bang, there has to be one… / I also have not liked the absence of YEC explanations for distant starlight and radio metric dating.” http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-455919

    “I believe in miracles, but I don’t believe in in-transit created light, appearance of old-age arguments.” http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-456072

    “YEC leaders like Sarfati and Ham do that a lot. I think it’s wrong. The bible makes a distinction between someone making a mistake and those intentionally distorting truth.” http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-456072

    scordova is a human being who is quite clearly caught in ‘intentionally distorting truth.’ In this case, he has impugned me for telling what is now obviously true according to evidence here at UD. Even claiming amnesia doesn’t change the record. Will his conscience allow him to make an apology?

    Graduating from and casting aside his YECism and eventually realising that scientistic IDism is a combination of ‘bad science’ and ‘bad theology,’ as the ISSR says, is a reasonable new goal for scordova.

  44. That’s what I meant by saying scordova “acknowledges that the evidence is strongly and convincingly against a ‘young earth.’” It reflects what he said, doesn’t it?

    No. The situation could be both ideas (old vs. young) have grave difficulties on each side.

    You don’t even have good reading comprehension. You’re a waste of time. Maybe the admin should show you the door…

  45. I’m not the first one to spot the problem, but if this material indeed normally decays within days – can whatever caused it to be preserved for (presumably) 6000 years not also have preserved it for 60 million years?

    Good criticism.

  46. I thank Gregory for his long and generous reply to my comments.

    The puzzling thing about his reply is that one might think from it that my comments were largely to contest his own, when in fact bulk of them (in the first part of my post) were really an exploration of the issue of secularism in the modern university, inspired by his comment but not an attack upon it.

    After all, I agreed with him that there is no automatic move from “public” to “secular” — in theory. I was merely trying to show the very common movement from one notion to the other in practice, in the American university setting. And of course the American university setting, while not determinative of the situation in other countries, certainly has some effect on other countries. Canadian and even British universities (outside of the older ones such as Oxford and Cambridge) have become more and more American in style and substance since WW II.

    Continental Europe is a different matter; I have much less knowledge about current university systems there. However, all my information suggests that the overwhelming ethos of continental Europe these days (at least Western Europe) is secular and that the universities reflect that ethos. I have not noticed that Swedish physicists, German biologists, French economists, Austrian historians, Italian philosophers, etc., are any less secular than their American or British counterparts. If anything they seem more smugly secular — perhaps a product of the quaint belief of the architects of the EU that the scientific nanny state can solve all problems of human suffering and dignity, without any need of God.

    Regarding YEC and ID, I do not know what Gregory expects me to say. I have already indicated that I think YECs are wrong about the age of the earth, and the age of the human race. I have not said that all of the positions taken by YECs represent good science. What I have said is that many YECs these days are in fact doing good science which ID people can accept with good conscience. I have seen Kirk Durston stand his own against geneticists like Dennis Venema and biochemists like Alan Fox. He knows his business when it comes to his area of molecular biology and information theory.

    Where YEC science is the weakest is where it is based on a literal reading of Genesis. Outside of positions required by a literal reading of Genesis, YECs are theologically free to do science to the same level of quality as everyone else. It is certainly true that for a long time — through most of the 60s and 70s — YEC was represented by poor scientists like Gish and Morris, international nobodies who were respected by no one in the scientific community, and, at least in the case of Gish, were widely accused of outright intellectual dishonesty. But that is no longer universally the case. While the typical churchgoing YEC is still abysmally ignorant of science, the younger leaders of YEC (and of creationism generally) are better and better educated in science as time goes on, and so you see people like Durston who are doing cutting-edge research in highly technical areas of science. Even science profs at places like Liberty University have peer-reviewed articles in secular journals these days.

    I don’t see ID folks as overly engrossed with YEC. There are plenty of ID folks (OECs and evolutionists like Behe) who don’t agree with YEC and have said so publically. But ID people can’t stop YECs from agreeing with ID arguments. Noam Chomsky agrees with some ID criticisms of Darwinism; I can’t stop him from doing that, even though I loathe many of Chomsky’s views on other subjects. What am I supposed to do? Sign a statement that I despise Noam Chomsky’s thought, in order that people don’t take his agreement with me about Darwinian mechanisms as a sign that I’m a closet Chomskyite? I don’t have time to go around repudiating the wrong views on every conceivable topic of people who happen to agree with ID or with the critique of Darwinism. I’m happy that a sometimes-bright person like Chomsky can see the holes in neo-Darwinism, but his support is not very important to me, and I would maintain my view even if he changed his mind; similarly, I’m happy that someone as smart as Paul Nelson agrees with me about ID, but I don’t depend on his support to maintain my own position. I argue for myself, on the basis of evidence.

    On secularism: Charles Taylor and others are free to explore and expand the concept of secularity and secularism, and I have no objection to this. But the term “secular” was being used by someone here in a certain sense, and I was responding in terms of that sense. There is no doubt that American universities (outside of the fundamentalist sector) have become increasingly secular (in the traditional sense of the word), and that this poses problems for parents and students who are looking for a place of higher education.

    I suspect that Gregory is quite happy to live in a world where all institutions are very secular, and religion is a private matter. But most Christians — at least, of the traditional type — are not comfortable in such a world. And in fact, most religious traditions cannot be comfortable in such a world. To take religion out of the public arena, to make it just a private preference, like choices in food or fashion or music, is to denature religion. I am not advocating a compulsory state religion, but merely pointing out that the modern “solution” is not really a solution. The modern solution, to anyone who knows the history of political philosophy, comes to us from Locke; but Locke’s premise — that religion is largely an inner matter and therefore society can be entirely neutral about it — is highly dubious. Religions such as Islam and Hinduism have vital external components that are not merely private, and even traditional Christianity (as opposed to the modern liberal Christianity which was being born in Locke’s time, and to which Locke contributed) cannot easily be separated from the life of the wider society. Nor can an Orthodox Jewish community function if there is not a correspondence between internal faith and external behavior.

    Of course, this has nothing to do with ID per se. I was not commenting on ID. I was commenting on secularism and Christianity in the universities. And I believe my comments are bang-on when it comes to American universities, and not completely off the mark regarding universities in many other countries.

    The remark about Behe and astrology is of course unjust. Behe was grilled by unfriendly attorneys for days, and what one says under such artificial and stressful circumstances and what one says in a book which one has time to rewrite, polish, edit, etc. is another matter. Francis Collins had plenty of time to make his religious thought less shallow before publishing his book; Behe was expected to come up with answers on the witness stand immediately. If he occasionally expressed himself badly, he has some excuse; Collins has none.

    Gregory says that I mischaracterize TE based on only a few select TEs. Not at all. The overwhelming majority of the publically well-known voices of TE — Collins, Falk, Venema, Isaac, Alexander, Giberson, Louis, Ken Miller, etc. — are covered by my critique. There are of course TEs who fall outside of my critique, and I gladly acknowledge that Robert Russell and John Polkinghorne and some others deserve more respect, as their positions are more intellectually sophisticated, and have been tested in the real academic world of religion-science discourse, whereas most Faraday and BioLogos TEs could not survive in a real academic setting and are deemed important only in Christian evangelical circles, not by the academic world at large. By and large, both organizations are run largely by pious scientists who are philosophically and historically challenged, and who make theology dance to the tune of consensus science. (Their training being mostly in science rather than theology, and their prejudice being that theology is “subjective” [read: unreliable] whereas science is “objective” [read: reliable] they are bound to do that.) I thus have very little respect for either organization. They both squawk against “scientism” but they show many of the prejudices of scientism, one of which is that science is the most rigorous and reliable way of knowing things, to the point where other bodies of knowledge (e.g., theology) should reformulate their conclusions when they disagree with science. I have seen countless BioLogos and Faraday figures modify theological conclusions in order to harmonize with neo-Darwinism etc.; I have never seen one of them modify a scientific conclusion to harmonize with orthodox Christian theology. For most TEs, theology is malleable, scientific conclusions much less so, and so it is going to be theologians, not scientists, who usually have to do the changing.

    A much more difficult position arises when one holds that traditional theological conclusions are just as valid, just as certain, as the conclusions of the scientific consensus. Then tension arises, and true intellectual synthesis on a Hegelian scale is required. But most TEs abolish tension by NOMA compartmentalization: science is over here, and theology is over there. You don’t have to live with creative tension. You just do your science Monday to Friday and praise Jesus on Sunday and at scientists’ Christian retreats. Darwinism tells us the mutations are random and there’s not the slightest evidence of any plan or direction in evolution; but Jesus loves us so we know there is somehow a plan, even though logically there can’t possibly be one. So we check our logic at the door and call God’s hidden plan for evolution “mysterious providence” or something of the sort, doing our science as if God doesn’t exist and our theology as if he does. This clumsy, unphilosophical attitude explains why TE — or most forms of it around today — have no standing in the theoretical/academic/university world. Academics don’t like cognitive dissonance, and cognitive dissonance is the main strategy that keeps 90% of modern TE going. So I don’t retract a bit of my contempt for Miller and Collins and Falk etc. It’s nothing to do with culture-warring. It’s to do with shallow and heretical Christian theology, and incompetent history of science and metaphysics and epistemology.

    Should there be three-way discussion between science, philosophy, and theology? Yes, yes, a thousand times yes! I’ve said that many, many times, though Gregory hasn’t heard it yet. But who is neglecting the philosophy part of the triad? The TE people. Why does BioLogos have no “Fellow” for philosophy, as it does for genetics, and as it used to have for Biblical studies (before it sacked Enns in the most cowardly fashion, as the necessary sacrifice to keep the moderate evangelicals appeased)? BioLogos is all theology and science, and no philosophy. The Faraday people are much the same. But look at the ID people who have advanced degrees in philosophy, whether it is logic (Dembski), philosophy of biology (Nelson), philosophy of science (Meyer), philosophy and religion (Richards) — and there are many, others — including Vincent Torley here. And look at the ID “fringe” — people affiliated with ID though not quite ID proponents — people like Berlinski — who has taught philosophy; Antony Flew, a philosopher who became an ID proponent; West, who knows a good deal of political philosophy; philosophers Nagel and Monton, who have said that at least ID deserves a hearing. I can sit down with Richards or Torley or Berlinski and have an intelligent, high-level conversation about what Plato or Aquinas or Kant said; can I do that with Falk, Giberson, Applegate, Alexander, Lamoureux?

    Similarly, not much philosophy is discussed in the YEC or OEC camps. If you want to bring philosophy into the science/theology picture, the ID camp seems to be the only place where you can do it — at least, in North America. (The Thomists do discuss philosophy, but they are a special case, far outside the mainstream of Faraday or BioLogos TE.)
    I bring Platonic and other philosophical conceptions to the table all the time here on UD, and many people appreciate my contributions; when I brought the same conceptions before the ASA gang, there was no interest at all, except from Ted Davis, and maybe very slightly from George Murphy. Mostly I got indignant rebuttals from miffed bench-biologists with no philosophical imagination who were resentful of non-scientists questioning their shaky and uncritical epistemology.

    The few TEs who seem capable of actually holding a philosophical discussion about theology and science — Murphy, Davis, Gingerich, Russell, Polkinghorne, Barr — are all trained in fields outside of biology. And except for Ted Davis, none of them has any regular connection with either BioLogos or Faraday. Basically, as far as I can see, the idea of a science-philosophy-theology discussion around evolution is a non-starter as far as “institutional” TE goes. So, while I’m onside with Gregory’s principle — we need to mediate science and theology with philosophy — I don’t agree with Gregory in practice. I think that TEs — outside of the physicists mentioned — are just about the most unphilosophical bunch of pious scientists imaginable, and I don’t think they have anything to contribute to such a discussion, or ever will. Fideism — which is their brand of Christian faith — is almost intrinsically opposed to deep philosophical reflection. It almost inevitably leads to a science/faith compartmentalization in which philosophy is irrelevant. And I’ve dedicated my whole academic and personal life to a synthetic approach in which philosophy is absolutely central to integrating science with theology. I’m not about to back down on that, and that means I must remain the foe of most TEs. Not because I like culture-warring, but because I think that much of TE, like much of YEC, actually exacerbates the culture war by its unphilosophical stance. You can’t get rid of culture-warring without getting rid of the stupid “warfare” conception regarding science and theology; and to do that you need philosophy (and a good dose of history). BioLogos and Faraday have simply exacerbated the culture wars, even as they have been trying to transcend them. Piety allied with genetics won’t do the job. You need metaphysics. And TE as a movement, despite certain exceptions, is overall metaphysics-poor.

  47. Jack Horner was put on the ropes publicly as reported here…

    Salvador, if I may I’d like to repeat a question I asked in that other thread. How would you characterize Horner’s putative reasons for restating Enyart’s offer? Not what you believe his true reasons were, if you think they’re different, but his public rationale for saying no.

    I don’t mean this as a trick question, I’m simply curious as to whether you’ve stopped to consider his reasoning. I’m also interested in whether this would be a good test of the ideological Turing test.

  48. But that is no longer universally the case. While the typical churchgoing YEC is still abysmally ignorant of science, the younger leaders of YEC (and of creationism generally) are better and better educated in science as time goes on,

    Exactly! And they are of such high caliber that the ID community is welcoming them, most notably John Sanford and Paul Nelson but there are others that are contributing Robert Carter, Jeffrey Tomkins, Jerry Bergman.

    How many scientists have their work featured in the Smithsonian Museum of American History? Not many, but John Sanford’s gene gun is there.

    Sanford, Hartnett, Tomkins have more peer-reviewed science articles than PZ Myers in recent history.

    For that matter, it could might be worth finding out if Armitage has more peer-reviewed articles than PZ Myers and Sam Harris recently…

  49. Salvador, if I may I’d like to repeat a question I asked in that other thread. How would you characterize Horner’s putative reasons for restating Enyart’s offer?

    Thanks for asking the question, and my apologies for not responding earlier. Whether my assessment of Jack Horner is correct or not is not ultimately as important as to the question of the time of death of the fossils.

    But here is my answer to your question: Flimsy. I characterize it as flimsy. A scientist ought to appreciate an opportunity to gather more data points whether favorable or dis-favorable to his ideas.

    He said he didn’t want to turn this into a circus. How is sending things to a lab making things a circus? And even if it made it, a circus it’s funded testing, and $20,000 to boot for your museum. Making it a circus? That actually might help visits to the museum!

    But all this is moot, all dino tissues tested for C14 that I’m aware of have returned positive levels. Contamination? How about the entire carboniferous layers in coal mines around the world. This isn’t an isolated phenomenon. The dino tissue however sensationalizes what is already well known, there is C14 all over supposedly old fossils.

    My guess is Armitage isn’t being punished for some novel discovery, but rather the discovery conveys a picture of the problem of old fossils, and a picture is worth more than a thousand words of discussion about C14.

  50. Salvador:

    That’s why I’m banning greg from my threads. He has nothing of substance to add to the discussions.

    Your problem is that you think that’s your call to make when it isn’t. This isn’t your blog, you don’t own it, and you don’t own the threads you start.

    And this hardly explains why you feel justified in changing the content of my posts, making it seem as if I had written something which I had not written, a totally despicable act nor why you would delete other posts of mine merely because they were in a thread you authored and irrespective of the actual content.

    You’re just a small man who has been given a little power and can’t be trusted with it. We all know how the story ends. Repent. Or are you just too prideful as well?

  51. Thank you for the response. If you’re so inclined, I think it would be extremely interesting to see some ID or YEC authors try the ideological Turing test in one form or another.

  52. And this hardly explains why you feel justified in changing the content of my posts, making it seem as if I had written something which I had not written, a totally despicable act…

    Indeed. Is that just when it was done to you, or are you against the practice in general?

  53. Thank you for the response. If you’re so inclined, I think it would be extremely interesting to see some ID or YEC authors try the ideological Turing test in one form or another.

    Pro Hac Vice,

    Actually I succeed in passing the test inadvertently!

    I wrote this essay:
    Good and bad reasons for rejection ID

    As a result of the essay one ID proponent got after me as if I were some hedonistic atheist:

    Will Sal do a Nick Matzke imitation.

    I probably could do a good Darwinist impersonation on the net if I had no conscience about pretending to be someone I’m not and be willing to resort to some unsavory rhetorical methods.

    What I could do is pretend I’m not Sal and then criticize my self under a different personal on the net.

    All I’d have to do is cut and paste what my critics have said over the years about me and my ideas….

    But some of it won’t be G-rated, so I probably couldn’t do that without watering it down…

  54. FYI – I am closing comments on this thread. Nothing on-topic has been said since #36, and nothing constructive or worthwhile has been posted since #22.