Home » Intelligent Design » Canadian vendor of Darwin’s certainties strikes back against O’Leary

Canadian vendor of Darwin’s certainties strikes back against O’Leary

Yes, Calgary Herald columnist Rob Breakenridge has felt the need to respond to my response to his abuse of anyone who does not worship Darwin.

Could anyone here help Breakenridge’s readers understand better why the world in general does not worship Darwin?

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110 Responses to Canadian vendor of Darwin’s certainties strikes back against O’Leary

  1. Because it is a never ending “long argument”…

  2. Breakenridge’s “ability” to argue by quoting:

    He quotes this from you:

    The eye spots on butterflies’ wings did not evolve to scare birds by resembling the eyes of their predators

    Which he “refutes” by quoting:

    By comparing among species the molecular machinery that controls wing development, the researchers are revealing how the regulation of two key genes has evolved in association with specific color patterns. The color patterns they studied vary among species, existing in a continuum including simple lines, teardrops and rounded spots.

    Apparently that only refutes the “The butterflies do not have colored markings” part of your statement–which is unfortunate…because that’s not what you said. But of course, you said it “did not evolve”, which is equivalent to saying it is not there.

    Besides the markings exist “in a continuum” then there is hardly much to be said for the distinct advantage of “eye spots”.

    I always love it when you’re debating with somebody and they refute a point you didn’t make by reference ot something totally irrelevant to what you said or slightly helpful to your point.

  3. “Why does he have a problem teaching [microevolution as it relates to peppered moths]?”

    Because it’s fraudulent, just like Haeckel’s embryos and Piltdown Man. If scientists already have incontrovertible evidence of evolution, as they claim, why on earth do they damage their credibility by resorting to outright fraud in order to prove their theory?

    From the comments: “Her abusive tone and irritating prose seem to indicate that she is suffering from kind of persecution complex combined with delusions of grandeur.”

    Really? I think the same thing of Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris.

  4. jjcssidy, Breakenridge’s research assistant probably did not read the material I was referencing – and linked here (as well as at the Post-D): Experiments showed that birds did not care whether the spots, however created, looked like eyes or not.

    Thus there is not likely any “evolution” of the spots toward looking like eyes.

    The whole Darwinian construct in this area, in my view, springs from the notion that birds are feathered people. Therefore, what we think is an evolutionary selection advantage must be one. Fast forward to the deluxe leatherbound edition Darwinian Fairy Tales, of which Breakenridge appears to have collected the entire gold-bricked set.

    As I said in the first of my dialogues with Steve Fuller, an ID-friendly science course would take pains to make clear that birds are NOT feathered people. They do not have brains organized like people’s brains. We cannot begin any study of bird adaptations by assuming that we understand how birds think – let alone by offering to do their avian thinking for them.

    That is precisely what the Darwinians have so disastrously done with the peacock tale, the peppered moth tale, the Monarch-Viceroy tale, the eye spots tale, and so forth.

  5. The guy goes on an elephant hurling post citing pharyngula all the way over just to convince already convinced pharyngula worshippers.

  6. 6

    Aha; further proof, if any were needed, that Darwinism is bird-brained in every sense of the word…

  7. Nice work, Denyse, and others on this one – a very clear rebuttal and some excellent responses (to the latest response) beneath Breakenridge’s tirade. I’ve been equally impressed of late just how some pro-Darwinians and others (agnostics) have spoken up to say either ID DOES have something to say or Dawkins & Co are comprehensively wrong in their critique of other (i.e. religious) world views. Could it be that the tide is turning?
    It most certainly needs to.

  8. My favorite line from Breakenridge’s article is the following where he quotes Dr. Magerus:

    “If the rise and fall of the peppered moth is one of the most visually impacting and easily understood examples of Darwinian evolution in action, it should be taught. It provides after all the proof of evolution”

    (emphasis mine)

    What a statement, “it provides … the proof of evolution”!

    I have always puzzled over the peppered moth. Though I recognize that the photos in the text books were fabricated, unfabricated photos showing the phenomenon would not be surprising, nor in any way disconcerting to the ID perspective, or the YEC perspective for that matter.

    Though we recognize that the photographs were doctored, does that prove that the peppered moth story is a myth? No, but it doesn’t give us confidence in the science. Does the peppered moth story illustrate natural selection at work? Yes.

    Consider that the story is fully true. What has been proven? Has it been proven that natural selection can play a critical role in nature’s novelty? No. Has it been proven that natural selection acts as a DNA preservative. No, even though I expect that natural selection does play that role, it isn’t demonstrated in this study. Does it show natural selection as a tool for population balancing? Yes. Yes, that’s all it shows. Does it establish that natural selection is the only tool for population balancing. No!

    If science proves that natural selection is a tool used by nature for population balancing, in light of all of the gifts that have been attributed to natural selection, is it reasonable to respond to this story by saying, “it provides … the proof of evolution”

    DON’T BE REDICULOUS!

  9. It is all they have. So they cling to it, as a drowning person would (wisely) cling to two inverted styrofoam cups.

    Quite another matter is when the drowning person insists that we regard his two styrofoam cups as the Queen Mary.

    The main problem is – you realize – these people have control of the education system, and thousands rise to praise Darwin’s name who have no idea what nonsense they are being asked to underwrite.

  10. Does anyone else find it strange that the original Darwinist letter is published by the Herald online but then Denyse’s response is not? And then two Darwinist responses to Denyse are published online. Is there a publishing ban on anything critical of Darwin?

    Two more  Darwinist letters in the Herald.

  11. My sense is that our cultural elites have not only been indoctrinated, they live in a world apart. Their colleagues and friends are all about their own age—there is no community, not even such as Church going folks experience. They likely don’t even know anyone who thinks differently—they experience no controversy until we come along. They seldom or never go to funerals, and they seldom or never give the big questions of life any thought. They’re just too busy. They have careers, and they must spend time keeping in shape physically. They feel knowledgeable in their own narrow fields and they assume such is true of others—such as in biology. Though they have nothing but fear and loathing for “the religious right” and the US President, they really do believe in “the system”—that is, the radical elitism that conquered the academy and the culture in the Sixties.

    I’m reminded of the BBC TV series, Yes, Prime Minister. The last thing the politico wants to hear is, “That would be very courageous, sir.” Protected and coddled in our democracies, courage—especially intellectual courage—is just about the furthest thing from our elitists.

    And therefore I take my hat off to the likes of O’Leary and Dembski and all the others who, having the ability and education to be given a place at the table, they have chosen courage. But maybe there is some wisdom here too, for who really knows about the average run-of-the-mill elitist, and from the long view of history those who laid the ground work for the overthrow of materialism will certainly be remembered.

  12. I think there are some inaccurate and unfair stereotypes here. The one that stands out the most is “they seldom or never give the big questions of life any thought.”

    I think many of the people you are ostensibly talking about give plenty of thought to the “big questions.” Some of them come up with different answers then you do, but that’s not because they aren’t moved by the big questions.

  13. bfast: You make an extremely important point:

    —–”If science proves that natural selection is a tool used by nature for population balancing, in light of all of the gifts that have been attributed to natural selection, is it reasonable to respond to this story by saying, “it provides … the proof of evolution”

    That natural selection “occurs” is beyond doubt; that is can drive the engine of evolution is well within the range of reasonable doubt. Indeed, some are beginning to say that natural selecction can do almost nothing—that it is simply an “effect,” or a “description,” or dare I say it, a tautology.

  14. O’Leary,

    I find it interesting that someone who readily attributes patterns in nature to one or more entities with goals and intelligence should complain about anthropomorphism.

    Personally, I’m more worried about those who make God into people (three in one) than those who make birds into people. Making too little of God is a much worse error than making too much of birds.

  15. StephenB,

    That natural selection “occurs” is beyond doubt; that is can drive the engine of evolution is well within the range of reasonable doubt. Indeed, some are beginning to say that natural selecction can do almost nothing—that it is simply an “effect,” or a “description,” or dare I say it, a tautology.

    You seem to allude to comments by Allen MacNeill. He explained that Darwin identified natural selection as an effect. ‘Tis new to thee.

    The concept of natural selection is not tautological. Darwin needed a way to say that there is selection of “preferred” forms in nature as in breeding, but without a breeder expressing preference. Tautology may rear its ugly head when one tries to explain that some forms are more likely to survive than others because they are more fit.

  16. CECO9:

    Allen MacNeill is not alone. There are others who think NS is an effect, including some of the heavy hitters like Provine. I did not say that natural selection is a tautology, (though that’s not a bad guess) I said that is it one of four explanations being offered, which is good reason to suspect that three of them are wrong. That is another way of saying that we don’t know nearly as much about natural selection as we think we do.

  17. Jack Krebs,

    The ones I’m talking about are the materialists that dominate the academy. Not only have they nothing to contribute in regard to purpose, they will fight anyone who dares doubt Darwin and thus opens the door to purpose and design.

  18. Why do you think materialists “seldom or never go to funerals, and they seldom or never give the big questions of life any thought.”

    Just because one doesn’t believe in God or some other non-material aspect to the universe doesn’t mean that one isn’t going to feel the wonder of birth and of the opportunity to be alive as well as the sorrow of death. Given that materialists grow up in culture suffused with non-materialism, I’m sure many of them feel that they have pondered the big questions and found the answers given by the mainstream religious culture inadequate.

    On a related note, in an earlier post, CEC09 wrote to Denyse,

    I find it interesting that someone who readily attributes patterns in nature to one or more entities with goals and intelligence should complain about anthropomorphism.

    Personally, I’m more worried about those who make God into people (three in one) than those who make birds into people. Making too little of God is a much worse error than making too much of birds.

    I like the last line. One of the theological objections to ID has been that it makes too little of God – God as a tinkerer rather than God as a grand overarching spiritual presence for whom all the natural world (evolution included) is a manifestation of his presence. And yet most of the people here think as about as little of the theistic evolutionists as they do the materialists, and in both cases, I think, the positions of these folks (theistic evolutionists and materialists) are trivialized, stereotyped, and dismissed. I think this does a disservice to countless people who have thought as deeply and intelligently as IDists have, but have reached different conclusions about “the big questions.”

  19. Jack,

    You seem to want a conversation—which is good. But you sound like someone who hasn’t hung out here at UD very long.

    I would suggest you go back and read up on why ID does not propound a theory of everything, of God and theology and Bible and Christology and angelology, of why it is that no one dictates positions on the age of the Cosmos, common descent, the validity of the Big Bang.

    Also you seem not to know or understand the criticisms leveled at atheism. Read up on it and then maybe we won’t have to have the same, tired old conversations we’ve all heard a zillion times.

    There’re some pretty sharp cookies here—you want we should bore them?

  20. Hmmm. I am interested in conversation. I also think there’s a pretty good chance that I’ve hung out at UD and its precursors (ISCID and ARN) at least as long as you and most of the posters here have.

    Also, I don’t think you probably know much about whether I “know or understand the criticisms leveled at atheism.” I have no interest in boring anyone, but you made some claims that, as I have stated, I think are inaccurate about materialists – whether you or anyone else wants to have an interesting conversation about that is up to whoever wants to post.

    I also understand that “ID does not propound a theory of everything, of God and theology and Bible and Christology and angelology” – I don’t believe I implied it did. What I did say is that there are people, theistic evolutionists as well as people with other types of religious beliefs, who are derided here and yet who believe that it is ID that is wrong theologically. This is also a potential topic of conversation.

    Even though it was your comment that prompted part of my post, if you believe that you wouldn’t want to subject others to a boring conversation with someone who is not up to speed, and hasn’t been around long enough or is not well read enough, to be part of an interesting conversation, then simply don’t engage in one. That’s your choice.

  21. StephenB,

    There seems to be a propensity for people here to quote William Provine about natural selection. So I did a search and here is one thing I found by Provine in a debate with Phillip Johnson. It is from 1994.

    “Phil also argues that we cannot conceive of a natural process that can produce both diversity and adaptations. It seems to be clear that, indeed, natural selection can account for adaptations because Phil believes the Hawaiian Drosophila evolved through naturalistic processes. In those seven-hundred some odd species of Drosophila there are some of the most exquisite adaptations you would ever lay your eyes upon or understand. Indeed, they are jammed with adaptations. And so Phil obviously believes that natural selection can produce exquisite adaptations. The question is only whether it can do so over long periods of time. It seems to me that it’s a leap of faith to believe that natural selection can, but it’s a little bitty leap.

    I even have faith that it’s going to get light tomorrow morning. That is nothing but pure faith, but it’s a little, bitty leap of faith. We have to keep in mind the sizes of leaps of faith.

    Phil says that the evolutionists are uncritical. But Phil’s view leads, I suppose — he doesn’t talk about it very much — to the argument that God created the major adaptations in animals and plants. Now, how uncritical is that? A God comes down here to earth every once in a while, makes a few species of this and a few species of that — and makes humans independently of any shared common ancestor with chimpanzees. Notice that he doesn’t talk about that in his rebuttal. Maybe some of you would like to ask him that question.

    As far as artificial selection is concerned, the point is that artificial selection is effective, not that it’s purposeless. Over long periods of time, natural selection is sure to be more powerful than artificial selection, because it can “see” more of the organism that we ever could.”

    The link is http://www.arn.org/docs/orpages/or161/161main.htm

    Read it to make sure I am not quote mining and if you have links to other opinions, let me know them.

    If this isn’t Phillip Johnson taking the same point of view I did on the other thread yesterday let me know the differences. Provine shares my view of natural selection in this debate but makes the false claim using only rhetoric that it can explain anything. Notice his use of “little bitty leap of faith.”

    If Provine changed his mind since this debate 14 years ago, let me know and to what extent did he change his mind?

  22. —–Jack Krebs: “One of the theological objections to ID has been that it makes too little of God – God as a tinkerer rather than God as a grand overarching spiritual presence for whom all the natural world (evolution included) is a manifestation of his presence.”

    Yes, and it is a thoughtless objection, because is presumes to know the mind of God better than God does. Inasmuch as the same objectors have no trouble believing that God intervened in salvation history, why should they rule out the possibility that he intervened in his creation. Only the ideology of a closed mind would impeach God for being “involved” in his handiwork

    Of course, the objection misses the point anyway because ID is equally at home with a God who doesn’t “tinker.” It’s just fine if God programmed the whole thing to unfold such that evolution “manifests” his presence. Just ask Michael Behe and other ID scientists who allow for a designed evolution. The difference between ID and its critics is the respective difference science and ideology. ID follows the evidence where it leads and concludes that design is real; its adversaries ignore the evidence and rules out design in principle.

    —–“I think, the positions of these folks (theistic evolutionists and materialists) are trivialized, stereotyped, and dismissed.”

    It is not we who will not invite theistic evolutionists into our big tent, it is they who wouldn’t be caught dead here. So, your implication that it is we who have the closed minds strains credulity. I encourage you to cultivate a greater sense of proportionality. Yes, we criticize our opponents because we are the underdog, but they slander us, tyrannize us, chill our speech, and ruin our careers. May our side be more magnanimous than they are if we ever get any power.

  23. Jack Krebs,

    Jesus said, “Those who seek should not stop seeking until they find. When they find, they will be disturbed. When they are disturbed, they will marvel, and will rule over all.”

    Gospel of Thomas, tr. S. Patterson and M. Meyer

    I let go creationism and acknowledged that evolutionary theory made good sense as science in my freshman year at a Christian institution. In a two-semester survey of the Bible, I learned about alternative perspectives on divine inspiration of scripture, and came to see that my literalism was founded on ignorance of what is actually in the book.

    In an experimental psychology course, I got an outstanding introduction to the philosophy of science. My impression of science was, and is to this day, that it speaks to nothing of ultimate importance. Anyone whose religious beliefs are challenged by the current scientific consensus on some matter either does not understand science or has built his house on sinking sand.

    I agree with Denyse O’Leary that there’s a huge problem in education — but I say it’s in religious education, not science education. Churches should teach not that science is drawing the wrong conclusions, but that science is an inferior way of knowing. As for public education, if Christians were not pig-headed in resisting exposure of their children to “false religions,” public schools would offer a course in philosophy and comparative religion. This is the quickest way to get ID into the schools, and it has the added virtue that it requires no subversion of the Establishment Clause (or whatever applies in Canada, Ms. O’Leary). Personally, I think American schoolchildren should learn about one another’s religions. Isn’t that a terribly un-American notion?

  24. Jerry, you have your quote, and I have mine. I will let the onlooker decide which one is unclear, hard to follow, and calculated to chide a debate opponent and which one is clear, concise, and impossible to misinterpret.

    Here’s mine:

    The Origin of Theoretical Population Genetics (University of Chicago Press, 1971), reissued in 2001 by William Provine:

    “Natural selection does not act on anything, nor does it select (for or against), force, maximize, create, modify, shape, operate, drive, favor, maintain, push, or adjust. Natural selection does nothing….Having natural selection select is nifty because it excuses the necessity of talking about the actual causation of natural selection. Such talk was excusable for Charles Darwin, but inexcusable for evolutionists now. Creationists have discovered our empty “natural selection” language, and the “actions” of natural selection make huge, vulnerable targets. (pp. 199-200)”

    We report, you decide.

  25. A few quick replies to Stephen before I go to work:

    Stephen replies to my statement that ““One of the theological objections to ID has been that it makes too little of God”

    Yes, and it is a thoughtless objection, because is presumes to know the mind of God better than God does. Inasmuch as the same objectors have no trouble believing that God intervened in salvation history, why should they rule out the possibility that he intervened in his creation. Only the ideology of a closed mind would impeach God for being “involved” in his handiwork

    First, I think many pronouncement about what God does or doesn’t do are presumptuous. I would hope that anyone talking about the nature of God would have the humility to understand that we as humans can’t possible know what the world looks like to an omni-everything divine entity. I don’t think stating the God is “a grand overarching spiritual presence for whom all the natural world (evolution included) is a manifestation of his presence” is anymore presumptuous and thoughtless than other, differing pronouncements about God.

    Also, it is not a matter of ruling out that God has “intervened in his creation” in respect to the billions of years of life on earth as it is finding reason to believe that he has. A Christian can believe that in the special case of the spiritual nature of humankind God has intervened without thinking that similar interventions were necessary, or in fact happened, in the physical world in areas and times not related to that.

    Stephen says,

    It is not we who will not invite theistic evolutionists into our big tent, it is they who wouldn’t be caught dead here.

    Johnson has said that TE’s are “worse than atheists because they hide their naturalism behind a veneer of religion,” and Dembski has written “TE’s are no friend of ID.” These are just a sample of the many statements that show, I think, that what you write is false. In general, the ID movement considers TE’s sell-outs to materialism.

    Now of course, the flip side is that, yes, TE’s believe that ID is wrong on several grounds, so they in general are not interested in entering the big tent. But it is wrong to think that they are welcome – they are welcome only if they in fact change their beliefs, and they have clearly been told that their current beliefs are unacceptable.

  26. CEC09, whoever you are:

    Fact is never an inferior way of knowing, and the reasons for doubting Darwin rest on fact.

    Also, “(or whatever applies in Canada, Ms. O’Leary). ”

    If you want to know what is happening in Canada, go here and follow the link. Briefly, the Canadian government has an agency to abet the persecution of Christians.

    Does your government have that yet?

  27. StephenB,

    Look at your quote. It contains the following

    “Having natural selection select is nifty because it excuses the necessity of talking about the actual causation of natural selection”

    So natural selection happens according to Provine. I will have to go to the book to read the context of the quote to see just what is meant. As I said I doubt that Provine thinks natural selection does not happen or whatever you want to describe it as. He does seem to believe that evolution is a result of whatever natural selection is.

    You pick the right terminology to describe natural selection and how to use it properly in a sentence.

    No one is saying that it is an active agency or force or that is actually selects such that it produces something directly as in artificial selection. That seems to be all that Provine is saying. It is the result of several processes. So pick the correct description.

    Nothing in your quote contradicts anything in my quote so I will still go with it as to what Provine believes and use your quote to just clarify what it is.

    This whole attempt to undermine just what natural selection is seems to me to be another one of the fools errands that ID people set out on. Natural selection in no way undermines ID, yet we look foolish when we nit pick something that is obvious. Why not look sharp and outclass the Darwinists who pursue their fools errands in different ways. For example, Provine’s rhetoric in trying to justify natural selection as all powerful is an example of faulty logic and a childish argument.

  28. Jack,

    It’s a tired old contention that because we say—along with many materialists—that materialism cannot account for qualia (such as, say, “awe”), that we are claiming that materialists cannot experience the same. You see the fallacy?

    Here’s a question. Would you be in favor legislation that defined ID as nonscience?

    And as for TE materialism—do you think the ID Big Tent should welcome those who deny the legitimacy of ID?

  29. —–Jack Krebs writes, “First, I think many pronouncement about what God does or doesn’t do are presumptuous. I would hope that anyone talking about the nature of God would have the humility to understand that we as humans can’t possible know what the world looks like to an omni-everything divine entity. I don’t think stating the God is “a grand overarching spiritual presence for whom all the natural world (evolution included) is a manifestation of his presence” is anymore presumptuous and thoughtless than other, differing pronouncements about God.

    ID doesn’t make “pronouncements,” nor do I. TEs make the pronouncement by insisting that that God could not have intervened because an omnipotent God could not and must not create that way. TEs bring this presumption to the table, and that is their primary reason for dismissing ID evidence. “Humility,” in this case would seem to be on the side of ID, which doesn’t presume to know the answer, rather than on the side of the TE who has already made up his mind. Granted, it is not presumptuous for TEs to believe that “that the world (evolution included) is a manifestation of God’s presence,” but it is presumptuous for them to believe that it “must” be that way, or that ID isn’t science because it doesn’t slavishly accept that proposition.

    —–“Also, it is not a matter of ruling out that God has “intervened in his creation” in respect to the billions of years of life on earth as it is finding reason to believe that he has. A Christian can believe that in the special case of the spiritual nature of humankind God has intervened without thinking that similar interventions were necessary, or in fact happened, in the physical world in areas and times not related to that.”

    To assume apriori that something cannot be is to “rule it out.” Typically, the TE insists that [A] A good God would never have intervened in the creative process, because his design seems imperfect and allows human suffering and [B] A competent God must use secondary causes to show that he need not tinker. TEs routinely dismiss intelligent design for theological reasons and almost never for scientific reasons. That becomes evident when they visit here and prove that they are not even on speaking terms with ID arguments and definitions.

    —– “Johnson has said that TE’s are “worse than atheists because they hide their naturalism behind a veneer of religion,” and Dembski has written “TE’s are no friend of ID.” These are just a sample of the many statements that show, I think, that what you write is false. In general, the ID movement considers TE’s sell-outs to materialism.”

    I didn’t say that ID never criticizes TEs, so I could hardly have made a false statement. Indeed, I often do criticize them, because they ignore the science, cling to their ideology, and join Darwinists to persecute ID scientists. Who most deserves the criticism—the persecutor or the one complaining about the persecution? It is a bit much to suggest that the victims of oppression and exclusion should learn to be more inclusive and magnanimous.

    —–“Now of course, the flip side is that, yes, TE’s believe that ID is wrong on several grounds, so they in general are not interested in entering the big tent. But it is wrong to think that they are welcome – they are welcome only if they in fact change their beliefs, and they have clearly been told that their current beliefs are unacceptable.”

    Well, not exactly. If they arbitrarily reject ID as science, then obviously they don’t belong in the big tent. In that sense, they disqualify themselves because part of their belief system consists in excluding ID from the larger tent of the scientific community. So, in a sense, they automatically become welcome in our small tent when they allow us in their big tent. It has always been their call. Their exclusivity is primary; ours is secondary.

  30. Rude:

    And as for TE materialism—do you think the ID Big Tent should welcome those who deny the legitimacy of ID?

    I’m totally with Jack Krebs on this one. I think that we IDers should be much more accepting of the TE crowd. If you read my posts over the years, you will see that I view TE as an ID position. If there was only one event that was designed, if the designer created a system that produces what we know all by itself, we are still intelligently designed. Now that one event needn’t have even been the big bang, it could have been a set of laws alone which act in a multiverse fashion to “search out” the optimal parameters with a miriad of big bangs.

    Yes, the tent should be big enough to welcome the TEers in. As long as the TEers are spittin’ at the agencyers, they surely won’t walk through the welcoming doors, but the doors should be open.

    Consider Michal Denton. In “Nature’s Destiny” he does a fine job of presenting himself as a TEer. Yet Denton considers himself to be an IDer as he discusses in “Uncommon Dissent”. If Denton’s TE is ID, then Miller’s TE should be also.

    Just because some TEers, like Miller, make every effort to deny the lagitimacy of ID, that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t take the high road, pointing out that TE is a variant of ID.

  31. Rude says,

    Jack, It’s a tired old contention that because we say—along with many materialists—that materialism cannot account for qualia (such as, say, “awe”), that we are claiming that materialists cannot experience the same. You see the fallacy?

    I understand the distinction, but I don’t see a fallacy. Non-materialists believe in the existence of non-material things, such as qualia, while materialists believe that the things that non-materialists identify as qualia are in fact products of the material world. Obviously materialists will never try, or even feel the need to try, to account for non-material things.

    So there is no fallacy here – just a difference of opinion about a basic philosophical position.

    Rude:

    Here’s a question. Would you be in favor legislation that defined ID as nonscience?

    A total non-sequitor of a question, but my answer is “no”.

    Rude:

    And as for TE materialism—do you think the ID Big Tent should welcome those who deny the legitimacy of ID?</blockquote

    “TE materialist” – that’s an interesting phrase, confirming some of the points I made to Stephen in another post.

    But it’s not that TE’s “deny the legitimacy of ID.” They just think it’s wrong. This is an important distinction.

  32. Jack,

    You say, “I understand the distinction, but I don’t see a fallacy.”

    You mean you understand that to claim that materialism cannot account for qualia is not to say that materialists don’t experience qualia? OK, then why do materialists so often respond with, “Well, I expericnce love and awe and all those good things too!” Who’s denying this?

    And who is denying that materialists—at least those who actually think that consciousness and qualia are real—explain these things as “emergent” properties of material processes?

    But you’re right—we have here “a difference of opinion about a basic philosophical position”—a materialism that accepts only chance and necessity over against the traditional view that sees purpose as elemental.

    So why can’t we all just get along?

    Anyway, Rodney King aside, did you notice the holy horror over Paul Davies when he intimated that science too is philosophy-based. Those guys cannot see that their enterprise rests on a philosophical foundation—rather they insist that SCIENCE = ATHEISM = REALITY.

    Is their hysteria based on proof?

  33. Rude writes,

    You mean you understand that to claim that materialism cannot account for qualia is not to say that materialists don’t experience qualia? OK, then why do materialists so often respond with, “Well, I expericnce love and awe and all those good things too!” Who’s denying this?

    Well, it seems to me that one person denying this was you when you wrote,

    They [materialists] seldom or never go to funerals, and they seldom or never give the big questions of life any thought.

    This is wrong, and it is what got me posting in his thread. Your stereotyped misconception about materialists seemed to be that they don’t care about death, have no sorrow or grief when people die (“seldom or never go to funerals”), and that they don’t have any wonder or awe about the nature of the universe (“never give the big questions of life any thought.”)

    So it seems contradictory to me for you to say “Who’s denying this” when in fact you are somebody doing the denying.

  34. bfast: “I think that we IDers should be much more accepting of the TE crowd.”

    We don’t have to agree with TEs on their world views to find them acceptable. In fact, we will accept any TE that will accept us as scientists. Would you have us accept those that do not. How would we begin that dialogue? —- “Although you discredit our scientists and deny the legitimacy of our research, we welcome you into our community.” Please! Their exclusion is primary; ours is secondary. The great disqualifier is “methodological naturalism,” because it creates an unbridgeable gap that is solely of their making.

  35. StephenB:

    The great disqualifier is “methodological naturalism,” because it creates an unbridgeable gap that is solely of their making.

    Here again I would choose to disagree. Though I don’t believe that science must restrain itself to the methodological naturalism paradyme, I would be much happier with the state of science if it at least actively avoided philosophical naturalism — which it has not done.

    As far as I can see, the dividing line between methodological naturalism and philosophical naturalism is bound up in the word “yet”. When we hear the scientific community state that there is no first-life theory. This is methodological naturalism. What we usually hear, however, is “there is no first life theory yet.” The yet is philosophical naturalism. While methodological naturalism would continue the search for a naturalistic explanation for first life, it wouldn’t be so cocky as to conclude that it will find one.

    The same goes for the many other puzzles of biology, such as the cambrian explosion. If the biological community was honest to say that the complexity that arose in the cambrian explosion is an unsolved puzzle, great. If the scientific community says that the puzzle of the cambrian explosion hasn’t been fully worked out yet, it has stepped into philosophical naturalism.

    Lets get honest, most of the ID hypothesees, such as irrediceable complexity, are primarily falsifications of neo-Darwinism, rather than primarily confirmations of ID. As long as neo-Darwinism is presented as a swiss cheese theory, a swiss cheese theory that might never loose its biggest holes, ID becomes a sensible explanation, even if it is not seen as part of the methodological naturalistic framework that scientists are limiting themselves to.

  36. My, oh, my! Why is communication is so difficult? I’m afraid my broad brush—not meant to characterize doctrinaire materialists so much as the secular elites (materialist and otherwise) who truly do not give the big questions much thought. I was thinking more of David Brooks’ Bobos in Paradise and not hard core materialist apologists. I didn’t intend to say, as you thought, that materialists do not go to funerals because they do not care. I’m sorry. If you wonder what I meant you might have a look at Brooks’ book—otherwise why not let’s just drop this? It really is a bit tedious and—I confess—due to my lack of clarity.

  37. —–bfast: “As far as I can see, the dividing line between methodological naturalism and philosophical naturalism is bound up in the word “yet”. When we hear the scientific community state that there is no first-life theory. This is methodological naturalism. What we usually hear, however, is “there is no first life theory yet.” The yet is philosophical naturalism. While methodological naturalism would continue the search for a naturalistic explanation for first life, it wouldn’t be so cocky as to conclude that it will find one.”

    I think that you have framed the issue well, so let’s look at it. If only the operative word was “yet,” there might be some room for negotiation. Unfortunately, MN insists that the scientist must NEVER search for anything other than natural causes, meaning that intelligent causes are off the table. Not just for now, but for all time. So, the ID scientist, who is in the business of detecting the “effects of intelligent innovation,” is told that he may NEVER do any such thing under the aegis of scientific research. This leads to your second major point.

    —–“Lets get honest, most of the ID hypothesees, such as irrediceable complexity, are primarily falsifications of neo-Darwinism, rather than primarily confirmations of ID. As long as neo-Darwinism is presented as a swiss cheese theory, a swiss cheese theory that might never loose its biggest holes, ID becomes a sensible explanation, even if it is not seen as part of the methodological naturalistic framework that scientists are limiting themselves to.”

    Again, you write with clarity so we can investigate the matter intelligently. First of all, every affirmation is also a negation of something else, and vice versa. If natural selection creates all, then design creates nothing. If design creates something, natural selection doesn’t create everything. Put another way, you cannot not negate. You may not do it explicitly but you cannot avoid doing it implicitly.

    But let’s discuss one ID affirmation of that does not express itself as a negation. Many do not realize that ID theory intersects with communication theory. From that perspective, the ID process involves a messenger, an encoded message, a medium, an encoded message, and a receiver. (Noise is also a factor). The presence of “specified complexity” indicates that a message has been sent and received. When “specified complexity” is expressed more fully as “functionally specified complex information,” the message also indicates purpose or function. So, the messenger has really sent two messages: “I was here” and “Here is why.” Further, the DNA molecule, while reflecting this reality, also sends its own message to the organism: “Here is what I want you to do and here is how I want you do do it.”

    The ID scientist finds these messages in the information bits right at the heart of the organism, which is its molecular structure. If there is a message, he concludes, there must have been a messenger. This is a straightforward way of looking at a molecule; there is nothing negative about it, nor is there anything religious about it. It has absolutely nothing to do with the Bible. We can detect design in an ancient hunter’s spear or on a caveman’s wall. A message may come from an animal, a human, a superhuman, or if you like, God. A design inference can detect the existence of messenger, but it cannot indentify the messenger.

    It has always been the case where intelligence is present, its FSCI indicator is also present, meaning that the inference is empirically anchored. Further still, the message is real; it is not an analogy. It only carries a negative connotation when the materialist declares that the message must be an “illusion,” insisting that natural forces can explain everything. Of course, it seems negative to the Darwinist or the TE because it challenges his paradigm, but that is simply a phenomenological reaction to perceived bad news. Remember, no matter what the TEs tell you, ID has always been the default position throughout history. It is only in the last century or so, that Darwinists tried to make it appear otherwise. In fact, they are the ones who pursue negativity, and, with many of their TE brothers, presume to forbid design inferences and brand all such initiatives as pseudo-science. That will not do. Further, they discredit the ID scientist and try to characterize him as a religious fanatic. That will not do either.

  38. Denyse O’Leary, whoever you are:

    CEC09, whoever you are:

    Fact is never an inferior way of knowing, and the reasons for doubting Darwin rest on fact.

    Not to deride, but it is somewhat humorous to see two demonstrations of epistemological naïveté in two sentences. “Denyse O’Leary” is nothing but a category of observed English text. For text in that category to include a complaint about the label of another category of text is knee-slapping funny. (Of course, the reader should wonder if the the CEC09 text generator has knees.) Even the notion that a “real you” generates all “Denyse O’Leary” text is humorous, considering that the text includes claims that people pay the text generator to generate text for them.

    There is no copyright protection for an author’s name. Has some entity registered “Denyse O’Leary” as a trademark? If not, my predictions of future text in the “Denyse O’Leary” category may be in gross error. There is little constraint on the generators of “Denyse O’Leary” text. One or more ID adversaries may create a “Denyse O’Leary” blog farm at any time.

    Where are the facts of Denyse O’Leary? I have nothing but observations of “Denyse O’Leary.”

    In scientific practice, all records of empirical observations are expressed in languages. Descriptions of how those observations were obtained are expressed in languages. What we reason about in science is text, not fact. Scientific explanation is generation of text in response to text. The explanatory text typically describes inductive inference of relations among texts describing observations and methods of observation.

    What I’m suggesting is that the process of science is very much like trying to account for “Denyse O’Leary” text. The process begins with observations, not facts. It’s not a foregone conclusion that an identified category of observations has a single good explanation. It is possible that observations we categorize as “intelligence” come from “blogs” generating text quite differently from one another.

    Any invocation of “facts” in science bespeaks misunderstanding of science. I infer that the “Denyse O’Leary” text generator does not understand what Bayesian epistemology has to do with science. The text generator might want to read about identity in cyberspace before going “You’re anonymous and I’m not, neeny-neeny, nyah-nyah” again.

  39. Thanks, Rude.

    All of us have subjects of interest, and one of mine is that people of varying religious and philosophical persuasions be portrayed accurately and humanely by those of other persuasions to a reasonable extent. There are bigger issues than came up in our conversation that might be worth talking more about, but I appreciate the clarification you’ve offered and am quite willing to let the whole matter rest.

  40. 40

    The fact that Jack Krebs is still blogging on Uncommon Descent is a true testament to the fairness and good naturedness of the people who run this site.

    If I were running this place, Krebs would be outta here so quick, your head would spin!

  41. 41

    As to what I was saying about alternatives to Common Ancestry..

    If you go to this article at Colliding Universe, entitled “Multiverse incompatible with naturalism”, you will find something rather interesting.

    “if our universe is but one member of a multiverse, then we ought to be observing highly extraordinary events, like horses’ popping into and out of existence by random collisions, or perpetual motion machines, since these are vastly more probable than all of nature’s constants and quantities’ falling by chance into the virtually infinitesimal life-permitting range.”

    So perhaps the different types of organisms did just pop into existence. Like in the Book of Genesis. Any thoughts??

    http://collidinguniverses.blog.....alism.html

  42. To PO – why would I be outta here? Just because I offer a perspective different than the main one here?

  43. PBO:

    If I were running this place, Krebs would be outta here so quick, your head would spin!

    Maaannn! This site is already far to quick at kicking people off in my opinion. I recognize that some need to go, but those whose conversation is civil and thoughtful, even when they have a dissenting opinon, need to be welcomed.

    Let the Amish unite to keep the world out.

  44. Jack Krebs: For my part, you are welcome here. I don’t agree with the practice of “expelling” those whose views differ from mine.

    Back to business:

    —–You write, “All of us have subjects of interest, and one of mine is that people of varying religious and philosophical persuasions be portrayed accurately and humanely by those of other persuasions to a reasonable extent.

    This is wonderful news. Can I interpret that as your pledge that you will finally stop misrepresenting intelligent design? Does it mean that you will provide an honest appraisal of its methods and stop characterizing it as a religious-based enterprise? Will this, at long last, be the end of the motive mongering?

  45. I imagine we will probably disagree about what the nature of the ID movement, but I try to back up my characterizations with facts. I think there is a lot of evidence to support the contention that for many people – the majority of supporters – ID is a religious-based enterprise. I know the minimalistic, non-religious definition of ID that is offered, but I don’t think it accurately portrays what most ID supporters think ID is about.

  46. Back to some points made by Stephen at #29:

    ID doesn’t make “pronouncements,” nor do I. TEs make the pronouncement by insisting that that God could not have intervened because an omnipotent God could not and must not create that way. TEs bring this presumption to the table, and that is their primary reason for dismissing ID evidence. … Granted, it is not presumptuous for TEs to believe that “that the world (evolution included) is a manifestation of God’s presence,” but it is presumptuous for them to believe that it “must” be that way, or that ID isn’t science because it doesn’t slavishly accept that proposition.

    I don’t believe this true: I don’t know of any TE who insists that “God could not have intervened because an omnipotent God could not and must not create that way.” Rather it is the case that TE’s accept the evidence for the validity of evolutionary theory within the limits of science, and find no conflict between this and their beliefs about the nature of God and his relationship to the nature of nature. There is no insistence here about how God must have acted, but rather a conclusion based on evidence as to how God has acted.

    ID is not rejected because of a slavish dedication to a presumptuous belief about how God must have acted. ID is rejected because it rejects what the TE sees as solid science. An old earth, common descent, the various genetic mechanisms that produce variation, and the processes that we collectively label as natural selection are accepted as a solid description of and explanation for the history of life on earth – and the TE finds nothing in this that conflicts with his view of God’s role in the everyday affairs of the physical world.

    Stephen writes,

    Typically, the TE insists that [A] A good God would never have intervened in the creative process, because his design seems imperfect and allows human suffering and [B] A competent God must use secondary causes to show that he need not tinker. TEs routinely dismiss intelligent design for theological reasons and almost never for scientific reasons.

    I don’t know any TE who makes argument [A] above. I don’t know any TE that argues, as per [B], that God must do anything, or that God has to try to show something. TE’s do argue that God has made a natural world that is such that God’s will can be manifested through natural causes, not because those causes operate independently from God but rather because God operates within them.

    And again, most TE’s reject ID for both scientific and theological reasons: as I said above, they don’t find the putative scientific arguments against evolutionary theory nor the arguments for ID compelling. They reject ID because they think it is wrong about the science.

    Stephen writes,

    Well, not exactly. If they arbitrarily reject ID as science, then obviously they don’t belong in the big tent.

    I know I’m being redundant here, but TE’s don’t arbitrarily reject ID as science. They reject it as science for what they consider good reasons. You may think they are wrong, but at least, I think, it would be good to accurately acknowledge and address their objections rather than saddling them with the kinds of inaccurate characterizations that I have tried to point out here.

  47. Jack:

    I think there is a lot of evidence to support the contention that for many people – the majority of supporters – ID is a religious-based enterprise.

    I would agree with you that the majority of ID supporters are supporters for religious reasons. Whether they didn’t get the “religion free” memo, or whether they believe that the leaders of the ID movement are just being, well, sneeky is another question. In truth, I think that many arms-length adherants to ID do fall into the latter category.

    However, I would dare to suggest that most arms-length fans of the darwinian theory also are such for very religious reasons also — as darwinism “makes it possible to be a scientificly fulfilled athiest” many find it easy to be areligious because of darwinian science.

    One must also consider the motives of the TE community. Let me suggest that there is clear alterior motives in that community as well. Let me suggest that the TE community is attempting to remove the threat that darwinism is percieved to be by declaring that “within darwinism it is still possible to be a scientifically fulfilled theist”. This I see as a defensive position — even if we loose we win.

    So the adherants of all three metaphysical positions being discussed in this thread have clear alterior motives. So what! What are the real motives of the shakers and movers of the theories.

    Behe’s motives are very clear. He was TE, he was a darwinan Catholic. His religion did not motivate him to change his mind. Denton, the one who opened Behe’s eyes, is clearly a searching agnostic.

    I have looked at my on motivation, recognizing that I am an active Christian. I personally would be much more comfortable with a science that validated the YEC perspective. However, the science doesn’t go there. I would be very comfortable with a Hugh Ross style OEC. But the science doesn’t go there. My religious perspective, my “word of God inerant” upbringing has been seriously challenged by science. However, it is no more challenged by TE than it is by the UCD form of ID that I adhere to.

    Theologically, I find there to be something quite elegant in TE. If God chose to hide himself, why would I think that man would ever find him. Why not suggest a God so great that he could set the universe on a course, and define a set of laws, such that he need not interfere along the way. Though it creates challenges to a tight literal interpretation of scriptures, it offers no less challenge than a UCD form of ID does.

    So what is my underlying motivation for being ID? Its simple. I develop computer software for a living. I look at DNA, and I see software. I find it inconceivable that the thing that I use my best intellect to do can actually be done better by a few simple laws, some jiggling, and a bunch of zeros in the years column.

    I may be religious, but it is my areligious persuits that drag me away from TE and towards ID — that and the evidence.

  48. As I am sure you know, and as I am sure you don’t care, the motives of ID followers have absolutely nothing to do with the methods of its scientists. As I am sure that you know, and as I am sure you don’t care, Christian theology has absolutely nothing to do with the “explanatory filter,” or information theory. Even so, I have no doubt that you will continue to blur the distinctions and promote your ID caricature for as long as you possibly can.

  49. I really appreciate your openness and candor, bfast, and hope to reply, although I think I am out of discretionary time for the evening. :-(

  50. Jack Krebs,

    you said

    “ID is rejected because it rejects what the TE sees as solid science. An old earth, common descent, the various genetic mechanisms that produce variation, and the processes that we collectively label as natural selection are accepted as a solid description of and explanation for the history of life on earth”

    Whoa, not so.

    1. ID does not reject an old earth despite what a lot of its adherents believe. So that is bogus.

    2. ID does not reject common descent, just that no mechanism has ever been shown to cause common descent. This has been discussed here more than a few times just in the last couple weeks. Ted Davis made the same claim and when challenged on it, he went back to lurking.

    3. ID does not reject any genetic mechanisms that produce variation. Take all of MacNeill’s 47 varieties and ID will recognize them all. ID just claims that none have been shown to produce anything of consequence. Show us wrong on this.

    4. Natural selection is accepted by all the major proponents of ID. It probably can be shown that much of life on earth is attributed to natural selection but no one has shown that all has. There is no evidence for it being the source of anything new, complicated, functional and Jack life is complicated.

    So your whole statement is nonsense and you should go back to the Kansas science standards people and say so. That is what an honest person would do and you seem like an honest guy.

  51. Jack:

    I know I’m being redundant here, but TE’s don’t arbitrarily reject ID as science. They reject it as science for what they consider good reasons.

    I’m confused by this statement. Whats with the “its not science” bit. This seems a very different statement than “its in error”. Behe presented a very simple, testable hypothesis. He chose as his feature example the bacterial flagellum. He simply challenged that this device is “irreduceably complex” and therefore is not likely to be evolved. This is an hypothesis, it is clearly falsifiable. It is science! To say that it is not science seems ludicrous to me.

    Now, somebody has suggested that the type 3 secretory system or whatever it is is built up of a subset of the flagellum’s proteins. The statement is then made, by Miller at least, that the ICness of the flagellum has been falsified. I fail to follow this. Just because bicycles use wheels, does that prove that the car is not irreduceably complex? The ID community has countered that there is good reason to believe that the secretory system came into existance after the flagellum did. This should undo the “falsification” of the flagellum in the first place.

    Jack, I can understand that you would suggest that ID is poor science, that it is eroneous, but you said that it “is not science”. Please explain.

    ps: I know right well that Dr. Dembski, the owner of this site, is quite prepared to zap anyone who considers ID to be “not science”. He finds the position to be anathema. Though I would make different decisions than he makes, I well understand him in that.

  52. 1. The majority of ID supporters reject at least one of the above four propositions. Almost all of the group who worked on and voted for the Kansas Science standards were YEC’s. Fourteen out of the 17 ID supporters at the Kansas Science hearings denied accepting common descent, and quite a few denied an old earth. I don’t think I have mischaracterized a substantial majority of ID supporters, and the facts I just mentioned surely show that my whole statement is not nonsense.

    2. As I said above, TE’s accept all of the above as a “solid description of and explanation for the history of life on earth.” They don’t accept the ID disclaimer that some extra input is needed for something “new, complicated, functional” to arise through evolution.

  53. To bfast: I see your point. I was following Stephen’s language when he used phrases such as “arbitrarily reject ID as science.”

    My point is that they are not arbitrarily rejecting ID a priori, but because they think it is wrong. Now some of the ways they think it is wrong may be because they think it is making untestable philosophical arguments and they may also think it is wrong in that where it does make potentially testable statements it is wrong. I think one would have to look at particular statements to decide where along this spectrum any one particular statement lies.

  54. bFast,

    So what is my underlying motivation for being ID? Its simple. I develop computer software for a living. I look at DNA, and I see software. I find it inconceivable that the thing that I use my best intellect to do can actually be done better by a few simple laws, some jiggling, and a bunch of zeros in the years column.

    Your comment 47 strikes me as tremendously honest, and I truly appreciate that. I have no problem with ID per se, but I do with people who dissimilate in hope of circumventing federal case law regarding separation of church and state. See my next note, a response to StephenB@48.

    Let’s leave out the jiggling for a moment. Did you know that Marcus Hutter gave an algorithm for solving all well defined problems, and proved that its running time for a problem is no more than five times that of the fastest algorithm for solving that problem (plus an additive constant)? The additive constant may be large in some cases, but in many important cases it is close to zero. The general algorithm is highly parallel, so you can essentially get around the expense of human programming by running the general algorithm on a network of computers. Computer time is cheap relative to human time. The upshot is that the importance of human programming is not always what you and I, as programmers, intuitively sense it to be.

    I think you might feel differently about the capacity of undirected processes to latch in information about orderly environments if you actually worked hands-on with programs implementing them. Consider predicting what your next observation of a natural process will be. Loosely speaking, if processes are more likely to be simple than complex, all you have to do to gain an advantage over random (uniform) search of model space is to prefer simple models to complex ones in a randomized search. The theoretical basis for this is in an area known as universal learning.

    We don’t know that apparently complex processes generally have good models that are simple. But as a practical matter, we can’t do science if it is not so. We assume it is so, and we seem to succeed in modeling natural processes. So we keep doing what we’ve been doing.

  55. —-Jack: I think there is a lot of evidence to support the contention that for many people – the majority of supporters – ID is a religious-based enterprise.

    Now this is precisely what I was referring to earlier when I pointed out that you misrepresent ID and you have been doing so for a long time. On the one hand, you seem to know nothing at all about the science, since each time I raise the issue you simply ignore the point. On the other hand, you may know enough about the science to know that it really is science. So, rather than discuss issues like “specified complexity,” or “irreducible complexity,” or “cosmological fine tuning,” you immediately change the subject and start discussing possible ID motives. Instinctively, you seem to know that any discussion about ID methodology will immediately refute you entire thesis about ID being religion based.

    So, you begin the motive mongering. The idea is to take away IDs privilege of defining itself and to redefine it as something else. Can you catch an ID scientist talking about God in public? Great. Impute fundamentalist motives to him and define ID science on those terms. Can you dig up an old copy of the “wedge” document? Excellent. Focus on ID as a social movement and raise the prospect of a theocracy. Can you find a quote from Dembski about his religious faith? Perfect. Portray him as a religious ideologue and tell everyone you know that he intrudes his religion on his science. Whatever the perceived failing, make sure that you describe is as the norm and keep pushing the theme of guilt by association. Do whatever it takes to keep the discussion away from the only reality that counts— the empirically- anchored design inference that makes ID what it is.

  56. StephenB (49):

    … the motives of ID followers have absolutely nothing to do with the methods of its scientists.

    Show me a scientist who says, “ID has these strengths, but these weaknesses, and may one day be replaced by a better theory.” Then I will accept that there is such a thing as an ID scientist, rather than an ID believer.

    I have not encountered a single ID advocate who considers ID a tenuous explanation of observations. In other words, I have not encountered a single advocate of ID as a scientific theory, rather than as a reality science must be made to acknowledge. There is disagreement among ID advocates as to what was designed when. The “your hypothesis is OK, my hypothesis is OK” state of affairs is embarrassing. What scientists do in such situations is to devise tests of vying hypotheses. They’re not worried about anyone leaving the little tent of science.

    I have bent over backwards to make sense of ID without reference to religion. I would not say that ID is intrinsically religious, but I find its intellectual content unexplainable without reference to religion. The observation of complex material entities of apparently low probability does not force on us explanation in terms of non-material intelligence and purpose. ID makes plenty of sense if one regards it as constructed to square with the belief that humans, created in the image of God, are not merely material entities, but spiritual entities purposefully and intelligently altering the course of events in the material world by acts of free will (creation of information). And God of course created the universe and humankind with purpose.

    In and of itself, ID is intellectually legitimate. What is illegitimate is to deny the origin of ID, which is clearly documented. It is also illegitimate to claim that ID scientists are engaged in legitimate research when it’s under wraps. The mathematical work of Dembski is not science. Behe’s interpretation of selected research results of other scientists is designed only to support ID theory, not to test it.

  57. StephenB:

    So, rather than discuss issues like “specified complexity,” or “irreducible complexity,” or “cosmological fine tuning,” you immediately change the subject and start discussing possible ID motives.

    H. J. Muller identified interlocking complexity and treated it as a common phenomenon in evolution long before Behe called it irreducible complexity. But let’s forget that. How, precisely, does the empirical observation of irreducible complexity put the notion of intelligence and purpose in your head? Is it just the universal tendency of humans to anthropomorphize natural phenomena that astound and mystify them? Or could prior belief that some entity that is like humans because it made humans like itself play just a teeny-tiny role in your interpretation of what you see? How would you ever set up a (false) dichotomy of intelligent, purposive design and unguided evolution unless you had some prior hunch that a purposeful intelligence had been at work in nature? Ideas like that do not come out of thin air.

    I hate to tell you this, but… As best I can tell, Dr. Dembski last wrote about specified complexity in early 2005. I’m not sure, but I think he may not have mentioned the explanatory filter in writing since then, either. He seems to have moved on to the “no free lunch” regress and active information, but not to have told his acolytes that they should do the same. If I have missed something, do please tell me.

    In its latest (final?) form, CSI was founded on a radical extension of Fisherian hypothesis testing. I have my doubts that the statistics would have gotten through peer review, had Dembski written up just that part of his work and submitted it to some journals. What I’m saying is that CSI is not dead because of the ID, but because of a faulty statistical foundation.

    CECO09 – Accolytes? You can go act like an asshat elsewhere. Obviously you hold an unshakable faith that nothing but religion is behind ID and now your frustration in no one here accepting that is causing you to become frustrated and insulting. Since you can no longer contain your disdain you are no longer welcome. Goodbye. -ds

  58. Jack Krebs: Basically your argument is this: Many YECs on the board supported ID, therefore ID supports YEC/

    Obviously, that is a monumentally naïve logical error. In fact, it constitutes two logical errors.

    First, it doesn’t follow that IF A, then B therefore, IF B, then A.

    Second, you are comparing a demographic with a thought system.
    So, you commit two logical errors in one proposition. That is no small trick.

    Of course, I understand your mission. The idea is to stretch logic and the truth to peddle the idea that ID is not science. Naturally, if we get into the science, it will become obvious that it has nothing to do with religion. Which is, of course, the reason why you avoid it.

  59. CECO9 &56 you write four irrelevant paragraphs challenging my proposition that ID motives have nothing to do with ID science. Inasmuch as not one word in those four paragraphs addresses that proposition, would you care to try again.

  60. CEC09,

    Let me point out something to you that your are obviously aware of but fail to mention.

    Since the beginning of time people have wondered about the cause of reality and all the phenomena they witnessed. The natural tendency was to attribute it to something with great power and in the process formed all sorts of scenarios for the world and what happens in it. Then along comes people like Gailileo, Newton, LaPlace and others who develop theories that explain a lot of the order in terms of what are called natural laws. It has reached its culmination today with the current theories of physics and it is still striving to explain even more.

    These natural laws are extended in many directions and the phenomena which they explain seem to encompass everything. However, there is one major area for which natural laws can not seem to penetrate and that is life. Many people assume that life will succumb to the explanation of these natural laws. We have a myriad of different hypotheses that are devised to account for life’s properties and we assume it is just a matter of time before life too will succumb to logical extensions of these laws.

    Along the way there are hypotheses generated and tested and then discarded to explain some of the major questions of life. Two of these major questions are how did life get started and then once it got started how did it expand in complexity over time. Now herein lies the problem. While physics and its offshoot chemistry seem to keep expanding their field of explanation, the hypotheses for the explanations about life are at a stand still. However, this is not admitted in the academy. Instead the general public is told and also the members of the academy are told that great strides are taking place in each of these two questions and have essentially been solved. The main tool to do this is to use a bait and switch approach with something called Darwinian evolution.

    The original hypothesis proposed by Darwin has been expanded and modified many times but the essential underlying hypothesis is still there. This modified theory does explain a lot of small stuff but neither of the two main questions has been answered. The multitude of small things which this theory can explain is presented and then before we know it, we are told that the major things have also been explained. But they are not. We are presented with either the false proposition that the second of the major questions has been solved or that it has essentially been solved and the answer to the first question is just around the corner. But that is false. Current science is no closer to solving these two questions today then they were in Darwin’s time. Oh we understand a lot more about a minor sub question of how life changes over time but we are not closer to the questions that puzzled people since the beginning of time.

    This is an interesting phenomena. With all this knowledge, why are we no nearer the solution then before. Maybe there is an explanation that is not being considered. Some people recognized this and say that some of the science used in our schools is false and we should admit it. Some form different approaches to counter the false science. One set uses a very religious basis for their approach and this runs into legal challenges because of its religious connotations. Others say that there is no need to bring religion into this because the basic disagreement is over science. Let’s use science to counter these false scientific claims. And so you have ID. Maybe not quite science the way it has traditionally been practiced but it uses the tools of science to expose the shortcomings of the current science. Along the way it tries to develop hypotheses about alternative explanations and possible way of falsifying them.

    The academy is desperate so what do they do but attack the philosophical implications of this second approach rather than present their own science itself or answer the scientific objections presented or God forbid actually admit the current level of scientific knowledge. Jack Krebs was involved in developing science standards for the state of Kansas. The science used in Kansas to explain the questions of life do not meet these science criteria. ID objects and when it does it is the religion of the objectors that is examined, not the claims about the bogus science.

    So you can go on all you want about the shortcomings of Dembski and Behe’s work but it essentially avoids the real issue. Namely, bad science is being portrayed as good. And why? Do you not think it is for ideological reasons? So I would apply you micro scope some where else.

  61. CECO9 @57 You write three more paragrphs without making a point. Would you mind making it now.

  62. Jerry writes,

    The science used in Kansas to explain the questions of life do not meet these science criteria.

    I’m not sure what Jerry means by the “questions of life,” but the Kansas Science standards don’t contain any statements on the origin of life.

    Jerry also writes,

    However, there is one major area for which natural laws can not seem to penetrate and that is life.

    It seems to me that modern biology is finding out more about life all the time. I understand that there are points of contention about the origin of life and aspects of evolution (although mainstream scientists would say that we are “penetrating” these areas in bits and pieces), but significant progress has been made and is being made on the natural processes that are going on in living things.

  63. Geez, Jack, didn’t this general conversation (ID is not science) already take place?

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-189913

  64. Thanks for the link. I’m sure all of us return to topics that we’ve discussed before, and all of us have topics that we are most interested in. I think I said some of the same things there that I said here, but maybe more specifically there.

  65. P.S. Neither here nor there I have I said categorically that ID is not science – I think if you review my posts you will see that.

  66. Jack Krebs,

    I am well aware of what biology had found out about life but I am talking evolutionary biology here and you know it. I said there was two big things about life that we know nothing about and you immediately deflect to all the other stuff. Today’s biology books are over a thousand pages long and evolutionary biology is about 15% of that.

    As I said there are two big questions and science is no further on either one than they were in Darwin’s time. You then deflect by saying OOL is not part of the curriculum. But Jack, macro evolution is part of it and the science that is used to explain macro evolution is bogus and does not meet Kansas standards.

    So please don’t deflect again.

  67. I’m sorry Jerry. I did not read thoroughly enough: you did clearly state in a later paragraph that you were talking about the two big issues of the OOL and “macro” evolution. My apologies for responding to just one statement without carefully reading the rest of your post.

  68. Since Jack Krebs is evading the issue, I will frame the issue for him. He has stated that there is plenty of evidence that “ID is faith based>”

    That is a flat out untruth, and I am asking him to back it up.

    First of all, the phrase is a semantic monstrosity. The only formulation that means anything is whether ID SCIENCE is faith based, which it obviously is not.

    Whether the ID movement is faith based is a totally separate question, and that is something that can be discussed separately.

    Also, he presents this false logic that some YECs are ID therefore ID supports YEC

    That is like saying that since most blacks are democrats, it follows that most democrats are black.

    I am asking him to provide his evidence that ID science is faith based and use ID science to back up that ridiculous charge.

  69. StephenB

    Trust me here. There IS plenty of evidence that ID is faith based amongst many adherents. Be that as it may the entire spectrum of adherents are not all faith based.

    ID as defined on the sidebar is the general definition composed by a group of “IDists” of differing religious faiths or no faith at all.

    Any deviation, addition, or subtraction from it, is a departure from the science of ID and an indulgence of personal beliefs held by the individual making the departure. Those personal beliefs may be based on science, or religion, or nothing at all. For instance I believe the earth is the billions of years old that disparate sciences with no religious dogs in the hunt say it is. My belief is based in science. Other ID pundits disbelieve the age of the earth and I can assure you the disbelief stems from a more literal interpretation of biblical revelation rather than from any dispassionate review of the scientific evidence – the bible is the authoritative reference in that case and scientific evidence is interpreted as needed to make it conform to the authoritative source. If those person want to persist in holding the bible out as the ultimate source of scientific truth that’s their business but they shouldn’t be surprised when they continue to be marginalized and alienated by their peers who do not view the bible as an inerrant scientific reference.

    On the other hand there are certainly a lot of scientists who are the polar opposite, positive atheists, who also let their faith in a purposeless universe become the basis for belief and they too interpret the scientific evidence as needed to be congruent with their faith so, as usual, there’s plenty of blame in the way of letting personally held dogma interfere with and corrupt an honest, objective pursuit of science. The political fighting inspired by the dogmatists is enough to drive the rest of us to distraction. It really needs to stop.

  70. Dave, please. I know very well that the ID MOVEMENT, is in part, faith based. That has nothing at all to do with ID science. Jack is conflating the two to obfuscate the point and justify his contention that ID science is faith based. Don’t let him off the hook on this one.

    His point is to suggest that ID motives, (from whatever source) leak into the science and invalidate it. This cannot be allowed to stand.

  71. Jack Krebs (62):

    (although mainstream scientists would say that we are “penetrating” these areas in bits and pieces)

    This is a prime example of the “Yet”, as in we don’t have an explanation for the origin of life yet. This “yet” is philosophical naturalism. In my book, it is every bit as much religion as any other religion is.

    While I do believe that scientists should be pursuing a naturalistic explanation for the origin of life, I also see an incredible exageration of how close science is to answering this question.

    For methodological naturalism to keep itself separate from philosophical naturalism, it must insist that this may be the problem that will never be solved via natural means.

  72. Jack, I am puzzled. I understand your frustration with the Kansas YECers who present ID as an education option. I agree with you when you suggest that they are being decietful. However, I fail to understand why you discount the religious perspective of the evolutionist adherants. If the true motivation of those who want evolution taught is to make them feel more fulfilled as athiests, why would you not see this as a problem? Why would you not see that teaching neo-Darwinan evolution is, in a real way, teaching religion in schools?

  73. For the great majority of people who want evolution taught, making them fulfilled as atheists is not the “true motivation”, or even a motivation at all. Among other things, many such people are Christians or people of other religious perspectives. Evolutionary theory is not atheistic, and teaching it is not teaching religion.

    Also, I do understand your point about “yet”, although I disagree that adding it is equivalent to moving from methodological to philosophical naturalism. We don’t know how to get a tumor to stop growing yet, but having some confidence that we might eventually do so doesn’t mean I’m a philosophical naturalist. The track record for science figuring stuff out has been pretty good the past five centuries or so, so some confidence that we still can figure out things that we haven’t yet is not unwarranted.

  74. —–bfast: “Jack, I am puzzled. I understand your frustration with the Kansas YECers who present ID as an education option. I agree with you when you suggest that they are being decietful. However, I fail to understand why you discount the religious perspective of the evolutionist adherants. If the true motivation of those who want evolution taught is to make them feel more fulfilled as athiests, why would you not see this as a problem? Why would you not see that teaching neo-Darwinan evolution is, in a real way, teaching religion in schools?”

    bfast: Here is how Jack’s game is played. If you are a Darwinist, your motives don’t matter, because Darwinists are scientists and they would never allow their atheism to leak into their science. If you are a theistic evolutionist, (or a Christian Darwinist) your motives don’t matter either, because you can safely distinguish your science from your religious sensibilities. However, if you are ID, your motives are everything and you deserve to be exposed for the ideologue that you are. You may think you are doing science, but your intense desire for the supernatural prevents you from thinking straight about the laws of nature. Your religion soaked mind will contaminate your thinking so severely that you will be unable to consider any hypothesis other than “God did it.” And even if you don’t, the YECs that support you do, so that means that you do as well. What it all adds up to is this: If you are serious about your faith and, unless that faith has been reconciled to Darwinism, it contaminates your mind and invalidates your science. That is what Jack believes and, in effect, that is what he tells the world.

  75. Jack, consider for a moment that DNA based life on earth just popped into existance. Consider for a moment that it didn’t arrive via outer space (panspermia), rather it just went poof, and there it was.

    Now, this sits outside of the framework of philosophical naturalism. It sits outside of the possibility of being discovered via the mechanism of methodological naturalism. Yet, when there is no serious evidence to the contrary, to say that this is not what happened is unjustified. If, without serious evidence to the contrary, we say that the poof hypothesis is in error, we are declaring a committment to philosophical naturalism.

    Methodological naturalism couldn’t find “poof” if it wanted to, but cannot discount “poof”. Philosophical naturalism discounts “poof”. To discount “poof” is to adopt the position of philosophical naturalism. Even though the discovery that there is a naturalistic pathway to DNA-based life would not discount a theistic explanation, to confidently declare that we will discover how life came to be, that we will discover that “poof”is invalid, is to adopt the position of philosophical naturalism.

    Now, as for your challenge that, “We don’t know how to get a tumor to stop growing yet”, somehow this is fundimentally a different question. We know that tumors grow. We know that we can stop tumors from growing (killing the patient works.) We just haven’t found a way of stopping all tumors from growing without killing the patient. (We have found ways of stopping many tumors from growing without killing the patient.)

  76. bfast: Your comments @75 provide several interesting thought stimulators.

  77. Jack Krebs:

    The track record for science figuring stuff out has been pretty good the past five centuries or so, so some confidence that we still can figure out things that we haven’t yet is not unwarranted.

    This is an unbelievably cocky statement.

    Physicists have a long list of bafflers: dark matter, dark energy, the big bang.

    Biologists have been working on this first life thing for centuries. Nearly all they have found is that life occurred a lot sooner in the early earth than they thought, that all known life is way the heck more complicated and more precise than they thought.

    Biologists have a bunch of other sticky questions:
    First information,
    Irreduceable complexity,
    The cambiran explosion,
    Which came first, the protein, or the DNA or RNA code that defines it.
    There’s LOTS more.

    Will science discover a whole bunch of new stuff? Oh, why, yes!

    Why?

    Because there is so darn much to the universe that science hasn’t discovered yet! Will science discover answers to the great questions that I mentioned in this post? One or two of ‘em, maybe. I really expect that the nature of dark matter will be discovered (or that the whole dark matter think will prove to be spurious.)

    Will the OOL equation ever be solved? Well, that depends on what really happened. If primodial soup happened, yup, but I’m not holding my breath. If panspermia happened, possibly. If “poof” happened, well, no.

  78. Jack Krebs,

    “Evolutionary theory is not atheistic, and teaching it is not teaching religion.”

    But if a major part of evolutionary theory has no basis in science and is still taught. One has to ask the question why is it taught. It may not be classified at teaching religion but the teaching of it is most likely ideological. It certainly is not science.

    Jack, you keep on ducking the issue. Why is somethig taught in the science curriculum that fails the Kansas science standards?

  79. Jerry asks,

    Jack, you keep on ducking the issue. Why is something taught in the science curriculum that fails the Kansas science standards?

    I don’t understand this question. How can something “fail” the Kansas science standards? And schools teach lots of stuff that is not in the standards: the standards are a core set of learning outcomes, not a complete curriculum.

    So I really don’t understand this question.

  80. 80

    I think it should be mentioned that Bill Dembski does not believe that the scientific evidence supports common descent or universal common ancestry.

    So if you are going to be intolerant of people who doubt Darwinian descent, I ask why are you not blocked.

  81. 81

    Perhaps at the level of phyla or class, the “basic types” popped into existence. Then working through a designed process life was fleshed out.

    There is no evidence for UCA in the fossil record. It does look as if things just popped into existence. If you believe in God (the kind of God described in the Bible) then this shouldn’t be that difficult to accept.

  82. Stephen–

    In your reply to DaveScot (70), you said that the ID movement “has nothing at all to do with ID science.” If I’m not mistaken, you’ve said similar things on other threads.

    In all fairness, Stephen, I think a lot of people can be confused about this, and for good reasons. One reason, as I’ve pointed out before, is the statement on the masthead here, which includes the following words:

    “Hence, ID needs to be vigorously developed as a scientific, intellectual, and cultural project.”

    I didn’t make this up, Stephen, as you know. When I read this sentence in context–seeing its prominent location on a blog owned by the most prominent ID theorist of all (IMO), then what am I supposed to conclude? That a cultural project has nothing at all to do with ID?

    Let me just state, for the record, that Bill can say whatever he wishes about ID and what it all means–he’s earned that right, the hard way. I am not being critical of how he sees this, not in the least. I am being critical of your claim that the ID movement has nothing at all to do with ID science. You are a regular here on UcD, and presumably you like its overall approach and attitude. (Please correct me if this is not a fair assumption.) The attitude and approach here seems quite clear, on this matter: ID *is* a “cultural project,” as well as a scientific and intellectual project.

    I’ve said this often, Stephen, mainly elsewhere but also here. Honestly, Stephen, am I not being completely fair to say this? Isn’t it really, really hard for people to separate the science from the cultural part, the part that constitutes the ID movement? Isn’t your statement falsified by this?

    I for one would be *delighted* to see ID ideas set apart from the ID movement: that’s the main reason I’ve not been able to enter your big tent. But, to do that, IMO, some steps need to be taken that haven’t been taken and don’t appear to be in the offing. I won’t rehash the specifics yet again. Suffice it to say that ID leaders *want* a large amount of grassroots support, and to get that, it’s been necessary to blur the distinction between ID ideas and the ID movement. So much so, apparently, that at least here on UcD they are quite seamlessly of a single piece.

  83. jerry–

    I thought had answered, not ducked, your question about evidence for UCD. The evidence that I find most compelling is genetic, and its reviewed by Behe in his latest book and Collins in his book. They are the people who know the relevant science, not me–esp Collins, since he’s a geneticist and that’s the relevant field. I agree that one can ask whether a mechanism for this has been clearly established–whether it’s more likely to be “random,” or partly “random” (as in Conway Morris), or not “random” (as in ID). But, it seems to me, UCD looks like a “fact,” whether or not the mechanism is clearly established.

    That’s a partial answer, admittedly, but it’s an answer. I think UCD is true, and very well supported empirically. I am more agnostic about the mechanism(s).

    What about you, jerry? Does the evidence presented by Behe and Collins persuade you of UCD?

  84. —–Ted Davis: In all fairness, Stephen, I think a lot of people can be confused about this, and for good reasons. One reason, as I’ve pointed out before, is the statement on the masthead here, which includes the following words:

    —– “Hence, ID needs to be vigorously developed as a scientific, intellectual, and cultural project.”

    Let’s apply the principle of right reason, here, and see where it takes us. ID is a cultural project and it is a scientific project. So, there is a cultural component, and a scientific component. The cultural component is mainly about public relations and influence; the scientific component is about premises and methodologies.

    Let’s take an example of each: The cultural component is all about improving the culture for the common good. Everybody cares about which way the culture goes, and everyone enters into solidarity with those whose views align with their own. There is nothing remarkable about that..

    The scientific component consists of rigorous scientific methods, which incorporate such terms as “specified complexity,” and “irreducible complexity.” Obviously, nothing in Dembksi explanatory filter speaks about the culture or hints of religion, nor does it presuppose the existence of a creator or anything else. It is a way of investigating things, plain and simple

    —–“I’ve said this often, Stephen, mainly elsewhere but also here. Honestly, Stephen, am I not being completely fair to say this? Isn’t it really, really hard for people to separate the science from the cultural part, the part that constitutes the ID movement? Isn’t your statement falsified by this?”

    It’s not hard if they know anything at all about the subject. What does the concept of “irreducible complexity” have to do with changing the culture? Nothing at all. What does the notion of “cosmological fine tuning” have to do with trying to gain freedom of speech in the academy? Nothing. There is a culture war and there is science; both are real, both are different.

    To be sure, both are necessary. Not only must ID do science, it must also protect itself from a hostile academy that seeks to kill it even before it enters the arena. One of our adversaries’ most uncharitable tactics is to publicize the myth that ID motives leak into ID methodology. Thus, popularize the notion that the ID scientist cannot separate his motives from his methods, which is another way of saying that he is not really a scientist at all. Every time someone suggests that the ID cultural movement is inseparable from ID science, he perpetuates that myth.
    —–“Suffice it to say that ID leaders *want* a large amount of grassroots support, and to get
    that, it’s been necessary to blur the distinction between ID ideas and the ID movement. So much so, apparently, that at least here on UcD they are quite seamlessly of a single piece.

    Could you possibly be reading your biases and prejudices into your observations? What are the cultural or religious elements in William Dembski’s explanatory filter? Explain to me how observing 500 bits of functionally specified complex information in a DNA molecule makes a cultural or a religious statement? Better yet, reassure me that you are on speaking terms with the concepts involved.

    Make no mistake, everyone tries to exert influence. The Darwinist community, which you support in an unqualified way, finds much support from the American Secular Humanist Association. Some of the biggest guns on your side have signed and pledged support to the “Humanist Manifesto.” Inasmuch as Darwinistic evolution is built right in to its purpose statement, it seems clear that they are tying use that same principle to change the culture. Barbara Forrest serves on one of its local boards, and Eugenie Scot is open about her “non-belief.” Did you know that both have signed this document and pledged support to its principles? Do you care? Compared to the enormous influence of the “Humanist Manifesto, the “Wedge document,” is little more than an office memo. From the standpoint of reasoned proportionality, you seem to be straining at gnats and swallowing camels.

    Stephen Bussell

  85. Ted Davis,

    I have not seen any evidence by Behe or anyone else that convinces me of UCD. I define UCD as good evidence to support transitions from single cell prokaryotes to all multi-celled organisms. The only link I currently see between life and UCD is the commonality of DNA and a temporal sequence in the fossil record.

    There is strong genetic evidence for common ancestors of several sets of organisms but not for all organisms. This evidence could also support the devolution of several organisms from a common ancestor and have nothing to do with UCD. And if there appears new evidence to support UCD for all organisms, there is no evidence as of now for any mechanism, especially gradualism, to accomplish UCD. In fact the evidence argues against gradualism except for devolution.

    So even to accept UCD does not get anyone closer to gradualism or Darwinian evolution because there is no evidence of a link between the two. So my question to you is what does UCD mean in the evolution debate and why does accepting it have any relevance for or against ID?

  86. Jack Krebs,

    I will try to find the relevant part of the Kansas standards for macro evolution. I am on vacation with a lot of family members so late tonight if our internet connection is still working, I will send you what I was referring to.

    It has to do with science must be replicable.

  87. Ted Davis asks:

    What about you, jerry? Does the evidence presented by Behe and Collins persuade you of UCD?

    And Jerry replies:

    I have not seen any evidence by Behe or anyone else that convinces me of UCD.

    Besides which, convinced though he be of UCD, it is not Behe’s project to convince others or present the evidence that he finds compelling.
    His books are on the evidence for ID, not for UCD.

    StephenB says:

    ID is a cultural project and it is a scientific project. So, there is a cultural component, and a scientific component.

    exactly, the two are distinct without necessarily an absolute and universal separation.

  88. Jack Krebs,

    you said

    “Jerry asks,

    Jack, you keep on ducking the issue. Why is something taught in the science curriculum that fails the Kansas science standards?

    I don’t understand this question. How can something “fail” the Kansas science standards? And schools teach lots of stuff that is not in the standards: the standards are a core set of learning outcomes, not a complete curriculum.

    So I really don’t understand this question.”

    Here is the reference to the Kansas science standards that I made back in March and have repeated since that time.

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-189012

    Tell me if either the quote is wrong or that macro evolution meets this part of the standard.

    “Scientists test explanations against the natural world, logically integrating observations and tested hypotheses with accepted explanations to gradually build more reliable and accurate understandings of nature. Scientific explanations must be testable and repeatable, and findings must be confirmed through additional observation and experimentation.”

    I have never seen anyone, anywhere show that macro evolution is testable and repeatable or ever confirmed through observation and experimentation let alone determine a mechanism for it.

    So because of this there should not be any hint or implication that gradualism leads to macro evolution in the curriculum and text books used in Kansas.

  89. Jerry @88. Good point. Good question. Do not look forward to an answer.

  90. StephenB,

    What are the odds that Jack Krebs ducks the question, or deflects or gives an evasive answer?

    I have asked it several times.

  91. Mainstream scientists believe that evolutionary theory meets these criteria, and the standards reflect that. Repeatable doesn’t mean that we have to be able to reproduce something in the here and now – if it did all theories about the past would be excluded. Repeatable means that if we take additional observations that our original observations will be observed: the fact that trilobite fossils are found in the Devonian era but not the Eocene is a repeatable observation.

    I know you guys don’t believe or accept the conclusions of mainstream science, but as far as the Kansas Science standards are concerned, that is irrelevant. The goal of the science standards is to describe core findings of mainstream science, and the statements about evolutionary science that are in the standards are such.

    Also, I am a bit tired of this accusation that I evade, duck and deflect. I answer the questions I am interested in and have time for, and often do not answer them to your satisfaction. I don’t mind you saying you disagree or saying that you think my answer is inadequate, or just plain wrong, but I think you could stop making accusations about my character. I don’t do that to others, and I would appreciate it if it were to done unto me.

  92. Corrected grammar:

    I don’t mind you saying you disagree or saying that you think my answer is inadequate, or just plain wrong, but I think you could stop making accusations about my character. I don’t do that to others, and I would appreciate it if it were not>/b> done unto me.

  93. Darn – too much of a hurry here at lunch:

    Corrected grammar:

    I don’t mind you saying you disagree or saying that you think my answer is inadequate, or just plain wrong, but I think you could stop making accusations about my character. I don’t do that to others, and I would appreciate it if it were not done unto me

  94. “The goal of the science standards is to describe core findings of mainstream science, and the statements about evolutionary science that are in the standards are such.”

    So that’s why government schools are so boring!

  95. Jack, I, for one, would be willing to start all over again, meaning that I am resolved to take a more respectful tone. Frankly, I don’t like being snippy, because it doesn’t really fit my personality. In fact, it makes me uncomfortable. Yes, it did seem to me that you were evading some fundamental questions. To me, it seemed more of a strategy than a character flaw, so you may be reading a little too much into that. On the other hand, there are a lot more of us here than there are of you. So, I am sure it is hard to keep up.

    Keep this in mind. We are the underdogs in this conflict, and you are the favorite. It is easy to be congenial and magnanimous when the courts, the state, and the academy see things your way. There is nothing like a little power to give one a sense of equipoise. It is not so easy to exhibit that same generous spirit when you are fighting for your life under unjust circumstances. Still, some things are re-doable, and I think defining one’s internet ethos is one of them. So, I am going to practice more patience.

    There is also the problem of pride, people get competitive, and truth gets lost in the process. Add to that the difficulty of processing life-changing facts that can shake up one’s world view and uncharitable dialogue may be the result. That said, my point and Jerry’s point were pretty straightforward. I will not confuse this thread with my agenda, but Jerry’s question still stands, and I think it is a fair one.

  96. Thanks Stephen.

    Also, I think I answered Jerry’s question in #91, although the sentence “Repeatable means that if we take additional observations that our original observations will be observed” should have said “Repeatable means that if we take additional observations then our original observations will be confirmed.”

    And to Rude: I presume that by “government schools” you mean public education, which happens to be where I work everyday. I don’t doubt that many students are bored with school, but science is not boring just because it teaches mainstream science. Science is fascinating, and many a student has a good teacher that gets that enthusiasm for science across.

  97. StephenB,

    I rest my case with Jack Krebs. Does anyone besides Jack think he has answered my question.

    Has he ever been able to show that gradualism or any other mechanism whether natural or not has anything to do with macro evolution? And if it hasn’t then any such association should be removed from the Kansas curriculum and text books.

    It should be alright to mention that macro evolution took place, or specifically that new species appeared in the fossil record that are distinctly different from any that have appeared before but there is no known mechanism to account for their origin and that the ideas of Charles Darwin as expressed in the Origin of Species for the origin of all species have no basis in fact. No scientific data has been discovered to support Darwin’s thesis except for minor variations in current species.

    Maybe Jack could comment as to why my previous paragraph is not more accurate than what is in the curriculum and the textbooks.

  98. The vast majority of the world’s biologist disagree with you, Jerry, and the science standards reflect what the vast majority believe. It’s that simple. When the majority believe as you do, the science standards will change.

  99. 99

    Can I ask someone to give me a good definition of micro vs macroevolution. My understanding from reading the threads is by macro one means to say a new species is form, but an obvious caveat of that is our definition of species is somewhat vague. Or perhaps I am just reading it wrong.

    Thanks.

  100. Jack Krebs,

    Could just one of that vast majority please provide some empirical data since you/we know that you cannot do so. You obviously know that you are making the fallacious argument from authority. You just admitted that there is no information otherwise you would be all over it. Is that any way to teach science to children and young adults. I would be embarrassed by your answer.

    And Jack you have an educational background in evolutionary biology.

  101. —-Jerry: “I rest my case with Jack Krebs. Does anyone besides Jack think he has answered my question.”

    I don’t think he answered or even approached the question.

  102. Jerry, let me be more specific. I don’t think those KC standards were written to control runaway evolutionary theory but rather to institutionalize anti-ID ideology. The very idea that science can be established through consensus and then codified into law is ludicrous.

  103. StephenB,

    Jack Krebs is a nice guy and has admitted his involvement with this issue due to personal reasons. I have been trying for over a year to get Jack to give an honest answer about the debate and he has used every possible technique to avoid answering a simple question. It would be instructional to see just how Jack has avoided the question.

    The standards were not set up with evolution in mind and as far as I am concerned are good standards. The problem is that something that is proposed as science fails the standards. Jack knows it that if he admits it, he is toast as far as participation in setting standards in Kansas.

    Similarly, Ted Davis will not answer direct questions about evolution. I have a couple out there for him that are also going unanswered. Ted Davis is a great source for information and he has been a great asset for us here but he too fails on the issue of evolution. At ASA there is a whole stable of scientists who range from neutral towards ID to very hostile but I have yet to see anyone of them ever answer the evolution questions except to sneer at anyone who does not accept the conventional wisdom.

  104. Jerry @103:

    I want to disagree with you about one point here, but first I want you to know that my disagreement in no way implies disrespect for your many strong contributions to the discussions here.

    I don’t know whether Jack Krebs is avoiding our arguments or not, but I think it’s unfair to say that Ted Davis won’t answer direct questions. I think he’s answered most of the questions we’ve set for him, even if he hasn’t always given the answer that we want to hear; further, it may well be that he has simply missed some of them (sometimes we fire 20 posts a day at him). Remember that he has a day job (as a professor of the history of science, and I would guess an excellent one).

    I of course would love it if he answered all the questions we posed to him at length, because I’ve found his answers balanced and informative, even when he disagrees with us. I would be interested in his answer to my Martian rock sculpture example, for one thing. (See the 244-post AAAS video thread.) But he may simply not have the time to answer every question.

    I don’t think Ted minds at all that we vigorously disagree with some of his points; he’s a true scholar and is not offended by intellectual criticism as such. But I think we should not impugn his motives. From his point of view, he’s coming into a lion’s den here, and he’s doing it with the calm of a saint. We won’t get many TEs like him to visit so regularly and write such generously long posts, so I think that, while we can and should hit him hard intellectually — he’s a big boy, and very bright, and can take it — we should impute only the highest motives to him. From my knowledge of him, the highest motives are the only ones he’s got.

    T.

  105. Timaeus,

    I was one of the first ones here to welcome Ted Davis and he has my total admiration for what he does at ASA and what he has done here. I would be very interested in what Ted has to say about macro evolution but doubt that we will see any extensive response since the topic is really the “third rail” in this debate and I have yet to find someone who supports Darwin’s ideas for macro evolution either here or anywhere ever defend that belief. So I don’t expect Ted to do so but then he is at a disadvantage since no defense exists or else we would have seen it.

    I have not seen a coherent response from anyone at ASA even though most hold in disdain anyone who does not accept Darwin. In recent months I have noticed a more guarded tendency in comments there by some on this topic.

    Stephen Matheson before he got banned here said he would take on the question when he had time, but that will not happen here. It will be interesting just how any of them will proceed if they ever try since they have been used to using micro evolution to justify macro evolution with out realizing the difference and assuming we deny micro evolution too.

  106. Jerry and Timaeus, in my experience TEs answer only the questions that they want to answer. On many occasions, I have raised a relevant objection or outlined a specific point only to receive a twelve-paragraph response that answers in exquisite detail a question I didn’t ask. If I do finally pin them down, they will engage me just long enough to keep things at the surface level. When the probing starts to uncover the inevitable inconsistencies their position, they find a new interrogator, engage him at a superficial level, and start the process all over again. All the really hard questions are left hanging in mid air.

  107. Oh, what a merry muddle! (“And we are right, and you are right, and everything is quite correct…tra la, la, la.”)

    So it is true that ID has religious significance to many, ourself included. In fact ourself is willing to admit that “religion” is the main reason for our interest in ID. For over a century, the West has been subjected to a militant atheism and subjectivism calling itself (with typical modesty) “Modernism.” The effect of this atheism on culture and the arts has been devastating. ID provides the resistance movement with a “wedge issue,” as a certain lawyer puts it—a self-evident lever against the sheer weight of the Zeitgeist.

    Meanwhile it is also true that NS has religious significance for many, including the sanctimonious trinity of Dawkins, Harris and Dennett. For them, NS means that God is dead and man is free to embrace his purely material nature. Note that neither one of these propositions has anything to do with science. Both are philosophical, and both reflect “postmodernism,” which has abandoned the ruined dream of the superman and now attempts to fill the void created by his demise with either power or “play.”

    Within these very large cultural outlines there are innumerable subcurrents that are neither (a) nor (b). TEs, we are now convinced, can indeed be very sincere Christians and opponents of the oppressive materialism of the age. IDers (including Him Who Shall Not Be Named, for fear of five thousand more posts, and that’s just this afternoon) can indeed be sincere atheists, if there is such a thing, and can have a purely scientific interest in the basic concepts of ID, which appear to be irreducibility, NFL, and fine tuning.

    What happens at the micro level will not matter in the end. All of the confusions and misunderstandings and hurts—real or imagined—on display in the current thread will be washed away by the great tide of time. The big picture is what matters. Will ID succeed in its ambition to become a wedge issue for cultural change? Preliminary results indicate that the answer is “yes.” It has already had a devastating impact on the suzerainty of Modernism and materialism, and for one simple reason: design is self-evident.

  108. I am very, very grateful for the comments of Timaeus in 104 above. A strong ID supporter once put it something like this in private conversation: this ID/TE thing has become like Northern Ireland (or, at least what NI was until recently): there’s just so much history of violence, that it’s impossible to talk civilly about honest differences of opinion.

    jerry–The only answer I can give you myself, with any confidence, concerning common descent is this: as Mike Behe, Francis Collins, and many others have pointed out, the genetic evidence for common ancestry is very, very strong. This is what I would call the “fact” of common ancestry, not a theory of precisely how it happened. If you want to say that no one can show that “chance” mutations + NS can do all that, I’d be sympathetic. If that is what you mean by having no evidence for macroevolution, however, I do not agree. Perhaps I am using the term differently. When I say “macroevolution,” what I mean is the “fact” of common ancestry itself: it surely looks (at least to Behe, Collins, and me) that evolution (ie, common ancestry) is true at both the micro and macro levels.

    I think you have disagreed with my view on that, which is fine. But, if you grant (at least for the sake of argument) that my definition of macroevolution is simply as above, then you must also grant that I have at least pointed at a very solid answer to your question.

    Is this perhaps why you have not seen an answer? Is it perhaps that many think the question has been very adequately answered, b/c they are hearing something different than what you might actually be asking?

  109. Ted Davis,

    I am aware that you cannot respond and believe that is a major loss for this website. So I will not say too much since the conversation can not go on and it is one that should go on here and you and others at ASA should be major contributors. However, that is our loss and I hope it somehow rectified.

    Just one comment for you and others and that is this is the first time I ever saw UCD and macro evolution linked in such a way or as you put it

    When I say “macroevolution,” what I mean is the “fact” of common ancestry itself.

    Whether this is true or not, and I have seen no good evidence that UCD is true, there is nothing in this that says mechanism and that is what the debate is all about.

    The idea of UCD should be flushed out and the evidence for it presented. Common ancestry of part of total range of species is not UCD. Micro evolution is common descent by definition and is prevalent in the world but it is not everything. And for UCD to be a valid concept, it has to be everything.

    And as I said before, but even then UCD says nothing about mechanism and mechanism is the only real part of the debate. You seem to agree when you say

    “If you want to say that no one can show that “chance” mutations + NS can do all that, I’d be sympathetic. “

  110. Ted Davis (#108),

    You vigorously argue for common descent. Yet you say,

    If you want to say that no one can show that “chance” mutations + NS can do all that, I’d be sympathetic.

    It sounds like you have no objection in principle to major changes in living organisms being evidence for ID. Is that reading you correctly?

    If not, what do we not understand?

    If so, it would appear that you would have no objection in principle to a position similar to that of Behe. Would you agree with him on the actual scientific evidence? If so, welcome to the Big Tent. If not, what scientific, as opposed to theological or philosophical, errors did he make in Darwin’s Black Box and The Edge of Evolution, and why? We may actually get somewhere here.

    I agree with you that the Northern Ireland model (at least the previous one) is not a good one for Christians. And I am pleased that you have tried to avoid it.

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