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Creationism’s Reluctance to Enter ID’s Big Tent

Critics of ID are quick to label it creationism. It is therefore ironic that creationists are increasingly reluctant to identify themselves as design theorists. Creationists, both of the young-earth and the old-earth variety, tend to think ID doesn’t go far enough and hesitate to embrace ID’s widening circle of allies, a circle that now includes Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, New Agers, and non-dogmatic agnostics. Indeed, creationists are increasingly distancing themselves from ID’s big tent.

By creationism, I don’t mean merely the belief that God created the world. All theists believe that. Rather, creationism denotes the view that the Bible, and Genesis in particular, guarantees the truth of certain scientific models. Thus, for instance, the young-earth creationist model of flood geology (and, in particular, the use of this model to explain the fossil record) finds its ultimate support in the Genesis account of Noah’s flood. Rather than simply following the evidence wherever it goes and letting the science speak for itself (which is the stated aim of ID), creationism is self-consciously involved in a Bible-science controversy. Because creationists have, in their view, an inside track on scientific truth through the Bible, they already know more (or think they do) than any ID theorist can ever know. For them, ID is too thin a soup on which to nourish a robust creationism. Hence their increasing refusal to place themselves under ID’s big tent.

As evidence, I cite the following three items:

(1) The Institute for Creation Research‘s (ICR’s) 2005-2006 Resource Catalog includes no books published by ID proponents after 2000 — and the bulk of our books have been published since then. In particular, none of my work appears in their catalog. More telling still is where ICR is placing its bets, namely, on showing that the earth is thousands rather than billions of years old. Thus, the very first item, prominently displayed, in that Resource Catalog is a book and video titled Thousands . . . Not Billions. If the earth is indeed thousands rather than billions of years old and this young age can be settled definitiely, then not only will young-earth creationism be vindicated but evolution will be disproven immediately as a straightforward corollary (there simply wouldn’t be any time for evolution to have taken place). Thus, rather than cast their lot with ID, which admits an old earth (if only for the sake of argument, though most ID proponents I know do indeed hold to an old earth) and requires a case-by-case analysis of biological systems to determine their design characteristics and the obstacles these present to evolvability, ICR appears to want a quick and decisive solution. Good luck to them in pulling it off.

(2) Reasons to Believe (RTB) is the ministry of old-earth creationist Hugh Ross. Their online store (go here) serves the same role for RTB as ICR’s Resource Catalog. It too is very sparse in ID offerings. As with ICR, RTB has no books by ID proponents on the biological aspects of ID subsequent to 2000 (with regard to the cosmological aspects of ID, there is one exception, namely, The Privileged Planet by Guillermo Gonzalez and Jay Richards, which is not surprising given that Gonzalez is a long-time associate of RTB). Again, none of my work is in that catalog, with one exception: Mere Creation. This book is the procedings of a conference from 1996 at which Hugh Ross spoke, so he has an essay in the book. Nonetheless, the RTB Store lists Mere Creation as a clearance item, indicating that RTB will soon no longer carry it.

(3) RTB’s official press release in August 2005 claimed that ID is not science (even the young-earth creationists don’t go this far). Note that Fazale Rana is the number-two man at RTB and Hugh Ross’s collaborator on a number of projects:

From: [email protected]
Sent: Friday, August 05,his 2005 3:30 PM
To: [email protected]
Subject: PR: Creation Scientist says Intelligent Design Has No Place in
Public School Science Curriculum

“As currently formulated, Intelligent Design is not science,” says Dr.
Fazale Rana, internationally respected biochemist and one of the world’s
leading experts in origin of life research.

To: National Desk

Contact: Kathleen Campbell, Campbell Public Relations, 877-540-6022,
[email protected]

NEWS ADVISORY, Aug. 5 /Christian Wire Service
/ — Internationally respected
biochemist and one of the world’s leading experts in origin of life
research, Fazale “Fuz” Rana, PhD, is available for comment on the validity
of teaching “Intelligent Design” in public schools. Dr. Rana states:

“As currently formulated, Intelligent Design is not science. It is not
falsifiable and makes no predictions about future scientific discoveries.

“As a biochemist I am opposed to introducing any idea into the educational
process that is scientifically ludicrous. Proponents of Intelligent Design
lose credibility, for instance, when they say that the Earth is thousands of
years old when the scientific evidence and the fossil record clearly prove
our Earth is at least 4.5 billion years.

“At Reasons To Believe , our team of scientists
has developed a theory for creation that embraces the latest scientific
advances. It is fully testable, falsifiable, and successfully predicts the
current discoveries in origin of life research.

“With the creation model approach every perspective is encouraged to
participate in the scientific process to see which theory best fits the
emerging data. With this cutting edge program no philosophical or religious
perspective is denied access. It holds the possibility of bringing to
resolution the creation /evolution controversy once and for all.”

Fazale Rana, Ph.D. is the vice president for science apologetics at Reasons
To Believe. Dr. Rana earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Biology
and Biochemistry at West Virginia State College and his Ph.D. in Chemistry
at Ohio University. He was twice winner of the Clippinger Research Award at
Ohio University. Dr. Rana worked for seven years as a senior scientist in
product development for Procter & Gamble before joining Reasons To Believe.
He has published more than fifteen articles in peer-reviewed scientific
journals and delivered more than twenty presentations at international
scientific conferences. Dr. Rana is the co-author of the chapter on Anti
Microbial Peptides for Biological and Synthetic Membranes in addition to
contributing numerous feature articles to Facts for Faith magazine. Origins
of Life:Biblical and Evolutionary Models Face Off is Dr. Rana’s first book.
His newest title, Who Was Adam?: A Creation Model Approach to the Origin of
Man is due to release in September ’05.

For more information visit the Reasons To Believe website at www.reasons.org
.

To schedule an interview contact Kathleen Campbell; Campbell Public
Relations, LLC; 877-540-6022; [email protected]

This press release is remarkable in a number of respects. On the one hand, Rana calls ID to task for not taking a stand on the age of the earth when the fact is that every ID theorist develops ID arguments consistent with standard geological and cosmological dating (i.e., billions, not thousands). Thus, if there are young-earth creationists in our midst, they put their young-earth creationism aside when focusing on ID. This is not to say that they stop believing creationism or lay it aside when considering other scientific questions, like the age of the Earth. The point is that for ID, neither thousands nor billions of years make the problem of design in nature go away. The age question is irrelevant to ID.

On the other hand, Rana dismisses our efforts to develop ID as a scientific program and advertises RTB’s own approach to biological origins as the science of the future. In response to this press release, I wrote Drs. Rana and Ross the following:

I’ve been meaning to ask you about the press release. I’m curious about Fuz’s appeal to Popper’s falsifiability criterion as a defining condition for science. String theory, for instance, isn’t falsifiable at present; maybe it isn’t science, but lots of people in physics departments do it. And yet it seems that RTB is not about to issue a press release against discussing string theory in science classrooms.

But isn’t the real issue not falsifiability but confirmation/disconfirmation. A scientific theory should be disconfirmable by evidence. Whereas falsifiability is supposed to be dramatic and fatal to a theory, disconfirmation merely renders it less plausible. ID is certainly disconfirmable: if someone takes an allegedly irreducibly complex system and finds a good neo-Darwinist story to explain it, then ID is disconfirmed. If you don’t agree, please let me know why.

[[Note that in writing this letter, I drew from a private email by a colleague on Rana's press release -- I would name this colleague, but because his academic position is at this time not secure, I need to preserve confidentiality.]]

Neither Fazale Rana nor Hugh Ross ever responded to this email.

As for their theory of creation, known as the RTB model, which Rana’s press release promises will bring “to resolution the creation/evolution controversy once and for all,” I encourage readers to look at it closely. This theory, known as “the RTB Biblical Creation Model,” appears in a book by Rana and Ross titled Origins of Life: Biblical and Evolutionary Models Face Off. Their model, which states that God created life as recounted in the Bible, is supposed to establish its scientific bona fides through eight predictions on pages 43 and 44 of that book. Here are these eight predictions (note that boldface and italics are as they appear in the text):

The RTB Model’s Predictions

The RTB biblical creation model for the origin of life sets forth the following central ideas and predictions:

1. Life appeared early in Earth’s history, while the planet was still in its primodial state. The backdrop for the origin of life in Genesis 1:2 was an early Earth enveloped entirely in water and as yet untransformed by tectonic and volcanic activity. This tenet anticipates the discovery of life’s remains in the part of the geological column that corresponds to earth Earth.

2. Life originated in and persisted through the hostile conditions of early Earth. Genesis 1:2 describes early Earth as tohu wabohu, an empty wasteland. This model maintains that God nurtured the seeds of Earth’s first life, perhaps re-creating these seeds each time they were destroyed. This model predicts that science will discover life’s first emergence under the hellish conditions of early Earth.

3. Life Orignated abruptly. If God created the first life on Earth through direct intervention, one can reasonably assume that life appeared suddenly, seemingly out of nowhere. This model predicts that the planetary and geological record will demonstrate life’s emergence in a narrow, if not instantaneous, time window.

4. Earth’s first life displays complexity. If a Creator brought life into existence, first life should display significant complexity. Therefore, the RTB Model predicts that fossil and geochemical remains will indicate that Earth’s earliest life forms display complexity.

5. Life is complex in its mininal form. Life in its simplest form should also display considerable complexity. An inherent minimal complexity reasonably indicates that life has been intelligently crafted.

6. Life’s chemistry displays hallmark characteristics of design. Systems and structures produced by intelligent agents typically possess characteristics that distinguish them from those produced by natural processes. These properties serve as indicators of design. They will be apparent in biochemical systems of the cell if the biblical Creator is responsible for life. . . .

7. First life was qualitatively different from life that came into existence on creation days three, five, and six. The third creation day describes the creation of plants. . . . The fifth creation day discusses the creation of marine invertebrates and fish, marine mammals, and birds. The sixth creation day includes the creation of specialized land mammals. These multicellular advanced plants and animals are qualitatively different from the first life forms created on primordial Earth.

8. A purpose can be postulated for life’s early appearance on Earth. The RTB Model bears the burden of explaining why God would create life so early in Earth’s history and why (as well as when) He would create the specific types of life that appeared on primordial Earth. While God would be free to create life for nonutilitarian purposes, discernible reasons should exist for God’s bringing life into existence under the violent conditions of early Earth — conditions under which life could not persist and would presumably need to be re-created.

After reading and re-reading these predictions, I’m frankly scratching my head. These predictions, according to Rana and Ross, are supposed to render their model science whereas ID is not science? Take point 8: How is it a scientific prediction that “a purpose can be postulated for life’s early appearance on Earth”? This is so vague that it can’t count as a prediction. As for points 4 to 6, in drawing attention to the complexity of life and design detection, these points touch on central ID concerns (but note, neither Behe nor I receive any mention in the book’s index). But why should the complexity of life and design detection in living forms follow from Genesis? Presumably God could have made a world in which life forms were materially simple.

Bottom line: Creationists want more than ID is willing to deliver and are now distancing themselves from it.

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168 Responses to Creationism’s Reluctance to Enter ID’s Big Tent

  1. I am a YEC and I see no contradiction between YEC and ID. I think it is unfortunate that many in the ID community seek to distance themselves from YEC.

    http://bevets.com/evolutionlinks.htm

    [My point was exactly the opposite, namely, that creationists of either stripe (young-earth or old-earth) are distancing themselves from ID. --WmAD]

  2. I am a YEC, and I am therefore familiar with the creation-evolution debate in all of its glory. The debate is waged on multiple battlefronts – biology, cosmology, geology, geochronology, philosophy, etc. It is this pervasive struggle in almost all fields of historical science that makes it somewhat difficult to focus on one topic in particular.

    ID, on the other hand, concedes to cosmological history, geological history, dating methods, scientific naturalism (although NOT scientific materialism), etc. – and instead focuses all of its firepower on one issue and one issue alone: the inference of design in biology (and perhaps physics).

    I simply do not understand why YECs distance themselves from ID. ID is the perfect argumento ad absurdum against evolution when used within the context of Young Earth Creation. Think about it. When reading ID literature, I say to myself: “Okay. I’ll concede virtually every point to the evolutionist and still demonstrate the lunacity of their theory.”

    To be frank, it is the closed-mindedness of YECs in general that prevents them from making compelling arguments in most cases. I, on the other hand, have made a point to read the literature of other critics of orthodox theory, which includes Indian scholars (Cremo), IDists, naturalists (Arp), and even atheists (Mitchell). Just because they may align themselves with a religion/philosophy contrary to that held by most YECs does not mean that useful evidence is completely absent from their literature.

    On the contrary, some of the best critiques I have read have come from non-YECs. However, I have used their arguments within the context of Young Earth Creation. After all, the enemy of my enemy is my friend.

  3. I am a Creationist!
    There Ive said it!
    i belive I am here intentionally not as a accident of blind chance so in that sense I have been created, as already stated all IDers are Creationists -dare we speak that name?
    I think what is at issue is a literal interpretation of the Bible -loosing that places everything up for grabs -that is one reason why YEC’s distance themselves from ID.
    Francis Schaeffer “It is essential for the truth of Christianity that the Bilble relates truth about history and the cosmos,as well as about spiritual matters”.
    If the Bible is false in one area then it can be false elsewhere.
    I think the best approach is the one demonstrated by morpheusfaith.

  4. I am a YEC, and as such, I have made a presupposition that the Bible’s account of creation is correct. I don’t believe that we are all closed minded, and our arguments are very defendable. If someone doesn’t wish to agree with them, that is their choice. If we’re honest, all sides bring to the table their assumptions about the unobservable past. It’s not about science, which is observable and repeatable, but it’s about the assumptions about how we got here that separates us.

    I applaud the ID movement, whether they hold to a creationist view or not. In my view, ID is another blow to the evolutionary theory. I also applaud ID for striving to look for design from an independent perspective. In my view, the ID movement is a steping stone towards a creationist worldview.

    I would also agree that RTB is very inconsistent in their views. I’m not convinced that you can hold to a Biblical view of creation, and then embrace most of evolution to support it. Where do you draw the line? If you hold to RTB’s views, why not include macro evolution as well? You can always continue to twist the Bible to fit your views anyway.

  5. What’s amusing is the recurring theme on Panda’s Thumb that the Darwinian apologists need to muzzle the hard core atheists who are the most visible part of their movement. It’s a classic case of the pot calling the kettle black with them. Positive atheism is non-science and arguably a religion. I think it should be treated as a religion in all respects – tax exemptions, protected by the freedom clause, AND equally stifled by the establishment clause. Fair is fair. When atheists get stifled like other religions I think we might see a bit looser interpretation of the establishment clause championed by the ACLU. :-)

    It’s really the chortling by atheists claiming science as their domain and that undirected evolution is fact that is to blame for the furor. Clearly, any objective person must acknowledge that goo to zoo evolution has not been demonstrated in a laboratory. It has resisted and continues to resist all efforts to experimentally duplicate. No sign that life evolved independently anywhere else in the universe has been discovered. This situation is NOT like the theory of gravity where experimental verification is as routine and easily accomplished as falling off a log. :-) To even suggest that chance evolution and gravity are equally well proven is an insult to any intelligent listener.

  6. WormHerder,

    Not all IDers are Creationists. Dr. Dembski clearly distinguished between the two in his post.

    Furthermore, as I’ve stated earlier on this blog, the idea of a young earth is not the only literal interpretation of Genesis. Be open minded, study the text under differing hermeneutics, and pick the most coherent worldview.

    Imagine back in the early AD when the Pharisees rejected Jesus on the basis of their so-called “religious authority”. Now picture Ken Ham dogmatically preaching nonsense as if it were empirical science. If you believe in the truth of your God, why be afraid to follow the evidence where it leads?

  7. At a superficial glance, it looks as though certain members of the YEC and old-earth seven-day creationist communities may have grown impatient with ID theory’s punctilious allowance for other design scenarios than those which they respectively favor. In addition, they may simply be tired of having to share the spotlight with the vast numbers of people who favor other cosmogonic and biogenic scenarios.

    In addition, one must consider the possibility that each of these camps may believe that the other played a fundamental if unspoken role in the formulation of ID theory, or even that the other silently exercises control over the ID movement…in other words, that in the political and ideological senses, ID is a front for some particular strain of Biblical creationism with which they personally disagree. This, of course, would carry a certain amount of irony. Specifically, it would suggest that some Biblical creationists have swallowed certain longstanding (and false-ringing) accusations regarding a hidden relationship between ID and Biblical creationism, despite the fact that IDT provides no special support for any particular “model” of creation (such as it may be).

    But this is all just speculation. The thing that really strikes me about Rana’s “predictions” is he uses the phrase “inherent minimal complexity” instead of irreducible or specified complexity as the indicator of design, following up with references to unnamed “characteristics” and “properties” not explicitly related to irreducibility or specificity. From this, one might almost surmise that what we have here is a rejection of the entire basis of ID theory as currently formulated, and possibly an intent to supplant it with something else.

    It’s an interesting if somewhat troubling question.

  8. I really enjoy Dr. Rana and Dr. Ross and like their analysis on many issues. Bill, you are right about the RTB creation model though. Look at #6. Isn’t that ID in a nutshell? If Dr. Rana says ID isn’t science, then the RTB model isn’t science either.

    Anyway, I still like what RTB is doing. Let’s not get into a battle with each other though. Let’s focus on the task at hand.

  9. I think what frightens both the atheists and theists is that ID, properly defined as a scientific theory, is not just demonstrable, it’s demonstrated.

    Unguided evolution vs. guided evolution.

    Has unguided evolution been demonstrated via repeatable laboratory experiment? Nope, not even close. Any objective person familiar with the issues will probably concede that no one will ever be able to duplicate any non-trivial step in phylogenetic evolution in a laboratory.

    On the other hand, scientists and engineers now routinely modify the genomes of living organisms through directed effort. In so doing they are in fact guiding evolution where they want it to go. Thus evolution guided by intelligent agency is proven possible in a most repeatable scientific manner.

    This frightens both atheists and theists. It frightens atheists because intelligently guided evolution is proven possible while unguided evolution remains outside the reach of experimental science. This frightens theists because it takes a power granted solely to an omnipotent, immortal God and places it squarely in the hands of mortal humans.

    Theists, however, have a fallback position. No humans have duplicated the creation of the universe in a laboratory and there isn’t any live theory of how it could be accomplished. So there’s still plenty of room for a, if not ominpotent at least unimaginably powerful, God. Atheists, as well, are pushed back to the same fallback position. They will always have theoretical physical multiverse models and such to explain the unguided creation of the universe. However, they’ll forever be limited theoretical physics and will have lost their footing in biology. Thus both theism and atheism are placed outside the bounds of experimental science. That’s just as it should be if you ask me.

  10. The ancient Hebrew of Genesis is wide open for interpretation. One can find any version to fit one’s faith. The Masoretic Text of my Bible differs from the KJV, and all differ from the version in “In the Beginning Of” by Judah Landa, 2004. When we are dealing with a story expressed in shorthand, consonents only and accent marks, cosmology and the appearance of life can be contructed in almost any fashion in an interpretation. YEC is faith looking for a science to fit it. Old Earth Creationism of Hugh Ross is really a twisted approach trying to fit in some form of science and yet sneaking in a pre-conceived faith. All Creationism is a faith based on poor interpretation of the Hebrew. On the other hand ID is really an attempt at interpretation of scientific findings, which study an historic process. If the science of Archeology can look for design in artifacts, why can’t ID look for design in the science about evolution?

  11. It’s wierd that creationists would distance themselves from ID, since ID is simply a superset of all theories of creationism, OEC and YEC. Some may be jealous of ID’s success.

    Creationism => ID, but ID ~=> Creationism.

    However, don’t be quick to write off creationists. There are more creationists supporting ID than non-creationists supporting ID. ID is a big tent; kind of like the Republican party and fiscal vs. social conservatives.

  12. Qualiatative,

    I’m not sure that the comments section of Mr. Dembski’s blog is the appropriate place to try to bash YEC.

    Despite that, I felt your comment deserved a single response from me (and none further).

    You claim that YEC is an “interpretation of Genesis”, and that it is not the only literal one. Actually, if you want to take things literally, YEC is precisely what you would get from reading Genesis, unless you’ve gone and changed the meaning of the word literal on us.

    Further, you then speak of being “open minded” and then begin to rail against Ken Ham (and YEC’s by association) as being Pharisaical and nonsensical cowards who do not believe in truth. How are you being open minded by doing this? Have you not just categorically denied any legitimacy to YEC while having just stated a sentence beforehand that it was in fact a literal interpretation of Genesis?

    YEC believe that all evidence, when properly examined, will ultimately point to the true and plain words of the Bible being true. This is born not out of fear of God being falsified by “evidence”, but rather out of an absolute certainty that God is in fact True and is the source of ALL Truth, and that God spoke to us through the Bible quite clearly and revealed quite plainly that the earth was made in six literal days (among many other wonderful things).

  13. “Thus both theism and atheism are placed outside the bounds of experimental science. That’s just as it should be if you ask me.”

    Excellent, this ‘bigot’ agrees.

  14. “…theism and atheism are placed outside the bounds of experimental science. That’s just as it should be if you ask me.”

    I’d merely add that “how it should be” is one question; how it actually is, another. It is impossible to cleanly separate experimental from theoretical science; theory plays too great a role in experimental design and technique. Therefore, if theory turns out to say, on a combination of logical and empirical grounds, that theism and atheism are within the bounds of science – or equivalently, that God or the absence of God is a necessary ingredient of “nature” (consisting of the logical and empirical content of science) – then “experimental science”, which does not exist in any independent sense, will have no say on the matter. Again, science and nature are entangled in a definitional recursion which can be adapted to expanded concepts of science and nature, and it is a bit early to be passing judgment on what the extent of these concepts “should be”.

    Otherwise, I’d say that DaveScot makes some very good points.

  15. Bill wrote: “Creationists want more than ID is willing to deliver and are now distancing themselves from it.”

    The big name institutional creationists like ICR, AiG are distancing themselves from ID. That is correct.

    However, the younger generation of creationists, particularly those in secular academia (versus creationists in clergy) are endorsing ID.

    When AiG held it’s 2005 YEC Mega Conference, a large segment of the attendees were clergy or evangelists of some sort, not secular scientists or engineers or physicians.

    The finer more scholarly small name institutional YECs are friendly to ID. The YECs at Loma Linda University (including Timothy Standish) strike me as a first rate creationist institution that is also an excellent secular institution (a medical school with a large medical staff, and a team of geo-scientists so well respected they made the cover of Geology, February 2004).

    David Coppage and Walter Brown (PhD,MIT) and Tom DeRosa are the best YEC scholars, are very supportive of intelligent design, but are obscure.

    Thankfully as well, Campus Crusade for Christ which is generally creationist friendly, strongly backs intelligent design.

    It should be of note Campus Crusade for Christ and InterVarsity Christian Fellowship (the major college missionary organizations) promote ID. They apparently have little to do with AiG or ICR.

    I view the big name institutional creationists (ICR, AiG etc.) distancing themselves from ID a healthy thing, as their dogmatism is unhealthy to the very cause they are trying to promote.

    As far as Rana and Ross’s book, well…Nobel Laureate Richard Smalley apparently thought it was a devastating critique of naturalistic evolution. I’m thus especially sorry that RTB is distancing itself from ID.

    Salvador Cordova

  16. I have enjoyed and continue to enjoy articles, books and the weekly radio show by RTB, but I have found it disheartening recently to hear them critizice ID because it doesn’t go far enough in pointing a finger at the God of the Bible. ID doesn’t do that (though I happen to currently think it is a pointer in that general direction) nor does it claim to, nor, I think, that it ever will. If ID has a place in the Bible, it is playing some role in Romans 1:18-21, not Genesis 1 and certianly not Heb 4:14-16 or John 14:6. I hope your post here will stir up interest in the email you sent them and get the response it deserves.

  17. I have wondered why YECs insist on interpreting Genesis as 24-hour days of creation. Wasn’t the sun and moon created on the third or 4th day? Doesn’t the Bible say that a thousand years is as a day for God? Isn’t the word ‘day’ quite commonly used to mean a time period, for example, “In my grandfather’s day, people had good manners.”

    Why not see how the rabbi’s interpret it? It is their Bible. My understanding is that rabbinical ideas include that passsages should be read on 3 to 4 different levels, including the most outward and obvious. Why suppose that God does not communicate on a more intricate level when people often do, and it is a mark of intelligence? Didn’t the parables of Jesus contain at least 2 levels each?

  18. arcturus,

    I’m not sure that the comments section of Mr. Dembski’s blog is the appropriate place to try to bash YEC.

    I think an ID blog is a great place to recite the mantra “follow the evidence where it leads.”

    (Also, it is Dr. Dembski; but this is a minor point.)

    Actually, if you want to take things literally, YEC is precisely what you would get from reading Genesis, unless you’ve gone and changed the meaning of the word literal on us.

    As per YEC, most get stuck on the word translated into English as “day”. The Hebrew word is yom. This word has three literal contexts:
    1.) It can be used to indicate the time between daylight and nighttime
    2.) It can describe a 24 hour period or
    3.) It can be used to express a period of unspecified duration

    To me, it is obvious that the 3rd context was used because other biblical passages strongly imply we are still in the seventh “day” of creation.

    In order to believe that the Earth is young, you must:
    a.) begin with a particular, dogmatic (and in my opinion, incorrect) interpretation of Genesis
    b.) center your entire worldview on this interpretation
    c.) a priori reject geology, cosmology (the theist’s strongest argument), anthropology, etc.
    d.) preach dogmatically without considering any further evidence

    On a correlated side note, a major reason the Pharisees rejected Jesus was because of their misunderstanding of the Isaiah’s prophecy concerning John the Baptist. Perhaps, initial and unstudied interpretations are not for the best.

    Further, you then speak of being “open minded” and then begin to rail against Ken Ham…How are you being open minded by doing this?

    Ken Ham is not a scientist, nor does he understand science. I do not consider it unreasonable to reject his unfounded assertions.

    Have you not just categorically denied any legitimacy to YEC while having just stated a sentence beforehand that it was in fact a literal interpretation of Genesis?

    If there are multiple and conflicting interpretations of the same text, they both cannot be true. I believe you are literally wrong. :)

  19. I am a YEC and I see no contradiction between YEC and ID. I think it is unfortunate that many in the ID community seek to distance themselves from YEC.

    http://bevets.com/evolutionlinks.htm

    [My point was exactly the opposite, namely, that creationists of either stripe (young-earth or old-earth) are distancing themselves from ID. –WmAD]

    I should have been more clear. YECs may not be excited about ID but they would not disagree. OTOH Many (You have been an exception) in the ID community seem to go out of their way to point out that they have NOTHING to do with those hick YECs.

  20. It is only logical that, as a complete working model, ID is limited.

    In other words, as someone has said previously, religious inferences will be made from the quest of origins. Dawkins does that (it made him a “fullfilled atheist”), so no one can criticize YECers for doing it.

    Let’s assume (as IDers defend) that things on this realm show the clear evidence of Inteligence at work. Now what? Where do we go from here?

    I know that people will say “but ID is only science”. Sure. But now what?

    Even if the scientifical comunity stablishes that Inteligent Design is the only scientifical theory in agreement with the evidence, the next step will be “Who is the Designer?”.

    What YECers say is that they not only know that things are designed (based on evidence and Revelation), but they know WHO is the Designer (The Lord Jesus Christ).

    Ok. So perhaps ID theorists will say “we leave the identity of the Designer to churches”. For this I ask “Why?” You may say “we are only interested in science”. Sure, but you leave out the most important part of the model: the Source for the Design.

    I understand that with the “Creationist” tag hanging over ID theorists’ head, most prefer not to make religious conclusions from their work. That is their problem.

    YECers are not bound by those “political correct” chains.

  21. “he ID community seem to go out of their way to point out that they have NOTHING to do with those hick YECs”

    There’s a mad dash to the center for therein lies political victory. Guilt by association is unfair but it’s naive to pretend it doesn’t matter.

    IDists trying dissociate themselves from YECers is a reasonable response given the prevailing legal environment. Darwinists trying to dissociate themselves from strong atheists is a reasonable response given the prevailing cultural environment.

    Unfortunately for the Darwinists, strong atheists compose probably half their number, and in the upper echelons such as the Academy it’s over 70% of their number. There’s strength in numbers and strength in credentials so this is a difficult choice for them to make (a lose-lose situation). On the other hand, YECers are probably less than 20% of all ID supporters and probably less than 10% when it comes to credentials so it’s not such a hard choice (a lose-win situation). Just guessing about the percentages except for % of Academy atheists which is scientific poll data.

  22. First of all, I do not understand your definition of creationism. I appreciate that you gave one; PT never gives one—they just use it as a pejorative—but I do not understand the one you gave. Just speaking for myself as a Christian, a believer in an inerrant bible, and a cosmological IDer, I wouldn’t claim “the Bible, and Genesis in particular, guarantees the truth of certain scientific models” but rather: I fully expect that science is compatible with the bible.

    I also disagree with your statement “The age question is irrelevant to ID.” That is certainly not true for cosmological ID. Cosmological ID makes no sense whatsoever in a young universe. There is nothing awesome about the fine tuning behind stellar evolution if, in fact, no star has ever actually had time to reach the super nova stage. For a YEC, the fine tuning of the universe would, in my opinion, be an unwelcome embarrassment. It would be much better for the YEC view if astrophysics stated “we have no clue how stars work.”

    That, I think, is at the heart of the matter. I’m just speculating, but my guess is that RTB is separating itself from ID because ID generally means biological ID, and biological ID generally welcomes YECers into the fold—while the YEC view is incompatible with cosmological ID. Ross is not so much distancing himself from ID as is distancing himself from young earth creationism—which is intimately connected with (biological) ID.

  23. “On the other hand, YECers are probably less than 20% of all ID supporters and probably less than 10% when it comes to credentials so it’s not such a hard choice (a lose-win situation)”

    The commenters on this thread can be an experiment (a microcosm) of who supports ID. Of course, the sample size on this blog is small, so it is an unreliable metric. On this thread, there is about 40% support for YECism. Just a first order approximation…

  24. BTW, I seem to get the feeling that OECs at RTB are more resistant to ID than YECs.

  25. This whole argument over ‘literal interpretation’ is exhausting for me. ‘Literal’ seems to always involve context, I don’t see how you can get around it. The phrase “A fork in the road” is not talking about a literal eating utensil in the road – unless the context of the converstation forces it to mean that.

    When I ask you to define “fork” without any context given then the eating utensil and the diverging road are EQUALLY literal.

  26. Yes, “literal” does often depend on context. Consider: “In my great-grandfather’s day, it took three days to travel to the next nearest town, given the necessity of traveling only during the day and stopping for the night.”

    Three different meanings for the word “day”–each of them arguably a “literal” meaning. Yet would anyone read the sentence and wonder how long it actually took to make the stated journey, assuming the sentence to be true?

  27. Lurker,

    If you ask people on the street what a “fork” is (without giving any conditional background info), 90% would probably say an “eating utensil,” so that may not be a good analogy.

  28. I am doing some research for a local, televised debate about intelligent design. One of the claims that I am pretty sure the anti-ID side will make is that the ID movement is just a bunch of evangelical Christians trying to push there religion down the ignorant public’s throat. I just read in this blog posting that the ID movement includes “Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, New Agers, and non-dogmatic agnostics.”

    I was wondering if you might be able to forward me some names of some ID scientists (maybe 5 or 6) who are not evangelical Christians along with their religious viewpoint and where they teach. I don’t know if that would be appropriate or not, but it sure would help if we were able to produce that kind of data for the debate.

  29. Tell that to people who have never seen a fork. You are using the common definition which is contexualized by culture. That is why I said literal interpretations are contextual. Take the context out of it and ‘fork’ can be literally interpreted either way. Am I wrong? Maybe….

  30. As an ex-darwinite who has gone younger earthing strictly on evidence, the real opponent is unscientific dogmatists.
    That does not include most “creationists.”

  31. I too am a YEC but even a cursory glance at ID informs me that their programme is to critique methadological naturalism and ‘follow the evidence where it leads’ this is completely consistent with a YEC worldview and I applaud their efforts. I suspect that Ken Ham and co. don’t share the same enthusiasm because the success of ID is taking the lime light away from them and perhaps seeing their supporter base eaten away.

  32. Dr. Dembski:

    I think the problem is that they are coming at it from different angles, and not seeing that other angles can be correct and valid. It’s like having a Christian Heavy Metal Band vs being a Christian in a Heavy Metal Band. In the former, the entire work is dedicated towards serving Christ. In the latter, it is the effect of Christ in the secular position. We can all be Christians in what we do, and some are called to explicit Christian witness as a profession. ID is the former, and Creationism is the latter.

    The problem is that AiG and similar organizations want everyone to be in the latter field. I love AiG, ICR, CRS, and the rest, but I think they don’t understand that not everyone is called to make the same arguments that they are.

    What I personally love about ID is that it’s so obvious that noone can argue against it without looking like a moron. It shows the obviousness of secularism as a religion.

    But getting back to my original point, ID is not the in-depth study of origins. If it were, then AiG might be right about ID. ID is simply a research program on how intelligent action influences the physical world. I know you are not a creationist of any sort, but even if you were, you’re failure to speak on the topic wouldn’t matter because, quite simply, that isn’t even the topic being discussed!

    The difference is that ID is really a _different topic_ than origins. It _affects_ the origins debate, but is not equivalent to it.

    As a creationist, I love ID, because it allows me to talk about a topic that is really easy to win. Age of the earth? It’s a win, but there’s a lot of road to dig through. Independent creation of baramins? Again, there’s a lot to discuss. But ID? That’s a no-brainer, and those arguing against intelligent action are simply arguing against the validity of their own arguments.

  33. I’m a creationist in the sense, that, I believe in a creator. Although I believe in an old earth, I wouldn’t say a sympathetic to the OEC. I am by far not sympathetic to the YEC. This, of course, is not meant to be taken offensively. We’re all christians with different view points. I think humility is the only true factor in this quest.

  34. Anteater

    “The commenters on this thread can be an experiment (a microcosm) of who supports ID. Of course, the sample size on this blog is small, so it is an unreliable metric. On this thread, there is about 40% support for YECism. Just a first order approximation”

    I looked at some recent polling data to see if I was far off the mark. It appears I was and your estimate is pretty darn good. This poll says 44%. Of course that’s assuming that nearly all YECers are ID supporters. If only half of them are then my estimate would be correct. It seems like most of them are ID supporters.

    http://pollingreport.com/science.htm#Evolution

    NBC News Poll conducted by the polling organizations of Peter Hart (D) and Bill McInturff (R). March 8-10, 2005. N=800 adults nationwide. MoE ± 3.5.

    “Which do you think is more likely to actually be the explanation for the origin of human life on Earth: evolution or the biblical account of creation?” Asked of those who answered “Biblical account”: “And by this do you mean that God created the world in six days and rested on the seventh as described in the Book of Genesis, or that God was a divine presence in the formation of the universe?”
    %
    Evolution 33%
    Biblical account 57
    Created in six days 44
    Divine presence 13
    None of the above 3
    Unsure 7

    ——————————————————————————–

  35. Some fantastic insights in this thread. I’m a creationist, but the jury is out for me on the earth’s age. That being said, I’m leaning heavily toward old earth.

    I sometimes wonder if God allowed ambiguity in the Genesis account so that we wouldn’t get so focused on the “when” but instead we would revel in the majesty of the creation and it’s creator. But then, one must consider the fact that the literary style of Genesis is historical narrative.

  36. I’ve come to prefer a more literary/theological reading of Genesis 1:1-2:3 and just count on simple reading comprehension to see what the text says.

    In the beginning, when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was formless and empty. Over the next 6 days, God created form and replaced the emptiness. If you think of creating a database — designing its structure and then populating its tables with objects — you have a good modern metaphor for the story told in the ancient text.

    On day 1, he created the forms light and darkness, on day 4 he created the objects that populated those forms — the sun, moon and stars.

    On day 2, he created the forms sea and atmosphere (and perhaps some sort of watery canopy high above), and on day 5 he populated those forms — the sea with fish and great creatures and the sky with “every winged bird.”

    On day 3, he created the form dryland by separating it from the seas and covering it with plants, and on day 6 he populated the form called land with livestock, creatures that move along the ground, wild animals and man.

    Further, this same literary structure reappears in the flood story, but in reverse. The land that God separated from the seas are swallowed when the atmosphere and its great canopy of waters above collapse. Every living thing that moved on the earth including man or flew through the air — unless it was aboard the ark — is wiped out. The world is de-created and de-populated in much the same language used when it was initially formed and filled with objects. And when God is done destroying, we are left in Genesis 8:1 with God remembering his creation and sending a wind over the face of the earth in much the same language of Genesis 1:2 where the Spirit of God was hovering, or brooding, over the primieval waters. The flood and creation are like bookends.

    Genesis 1-8 has it’s own story to tell and it’s not Darwin’s nor, it seem to me, a force-the-Bible-to-fit-the-science story.

    Pesonally, I find the evidence strong that the earth has been here a long time. I also find the evidence for ‘day’ in Genesis 1 being anything other than a 24-hour period to be unconvincing. If we weren’t trying to accomodate the long time frame modern science postulates, I doubt that we would be trying to stretch meanings of words in Genesis 1 beyond their common and straightforward usage. Further, given Genesis’ sequence of creation, turning days into eons doesn’t make peace with evolution. I think I’m probably an old-earth creationist who believes it happened in 6 days some number of billions of years ago — and someone who finds all the science and ID’s contribution gloriously interesting.

  37. “one must consider the fact that the literary style of Genesis is historical narrative”.

    C’mon Bombadill as a Christian you know that at the end of the day you must be guided first by the inspired text rather than mankind’s efforts to interpret the distant past. A serious considerstion of the literary genre is what finally swayed me to a YEC position and I think its time you too joined the dark side!

  38. Bill, To be fair I don’t see ID promoting any creationist books. Also it seems ID has different goals than those in creationist groups.

  39. Just a thought about what is at the heart of RTB’s disdain for ID as science. In his press release Dr. Rana says: “Proponents of Intelligent Design
    lose credibility, for instance, when they say that the Earth is thousands of
    years old when the scientific evidence and the fossil record clearly prove
    our Earth is at least 4.5 billion years”. It seems to me like Dr. Rana is saying that ID can’t be science because its adherents believe in young-earth creationism. His statement seems to indicate, at the very least, his failure to recognize the diversity within ID ranks. It is surprising that he misrepresents ID in much the same way as the Darwinists do.

    As an aside I wonder if RTBers feel the same disdain toward YEC in general (i.e., it is not science) as they do toward ID?

  40. I’m another Christian whose understanding of the Bible includes a creation week of six 24-hour days, roughly 6,000 years ago.

    There’s a statement that goes, “If an omnipotent Creator exists He might have created things instantaneously in a single week or through gradual evolution over billions of years.”

    True; however, if one believes the omnipotent Creator to be the God of the Bible, then one has to deal with the fact that this God has given an account of Creation. To me, the choices appear to be 1) accept that what he’s on record as saying is true, and seek to explain any contrary evidence; or 2) recognize that what he’s on record as saying doesn’t tally with other evidence and that the record of his testimony is therefore suspect–either because the record is at fault, or because the testimony is at fault.

    For instance, God is on record as claiming that, “in six days the Lord made the heavens, the earth, the sea, and everything in them” (Exodus 20:11). The genealogical records in Genesis 5 and 11 purport to represent an unbroken lineage from Adam to Abraham. If our world is billions of years old, or if life evolved over billions of years, then the biblical records would appear to be untrue.

    As for ID: I admire and respect what these guys are doing. I think of them as being on the front line of an important issue.

  41. The textual form of Genesis is very much like that of Cuneiform records. See:

    http://www.trueorigin.org/tablet.asp

  42. Well, i cant say from [ my understanding ] of the bible it really supports the YEC, or gives supports the other [old earth creation]. The bible isn’t really clear if the universe , the earth etc. is 6 – 10 thousand years old or 10 billion years old. Thats really the big problem with those who support either the young earth model or the old earth. They cant come to an agreement on the matter when they try to base their world view in this case on the age of the earth with the bible. If the bible did then we wouldn’t have this separation from within the parties ?.

    I think the beauty of ID is it doesn’t state the designer. With ID, you don’t have to be a particular religion or even belive in one to be included in its realm or scope of science. So if you are a or happen to be a Christian you could affiliate the designer with the God of the Bible, Same thing with Muslims they can affiliate the designer with Allah, Hindus with their millions of Gods [lol], etc.

    Also if you don’t belive in a “God” perse with ID you are free to belive that the designer could be an Alien for zeta something or other that i remember Eugeine referring to that somewhere. Even a time traveler from the distant future or past planting the miracle life seed and boom you could be in ID.

    Where as the young /old earth creationism model you would be limited or limit a believer in that model to the “God” of the Judeo-Christian bible [Fact is 4 non Christian religious people, a tough sell ]. Although in my point of view there’s nothing wrong with that but with ID you can reach virtually every single persons who has a belief or faith in a designer with no limit on what faith or non faith, denomination, religious sect/belief that person belong to. All this to combat the crippling effect that naturalism / materialism has/d on our country but limited to [our country] from the time of the mighty Darwin.

    So instead of arguing over the minor things we should, remember what joins us together is the eventual termination [yes that should be a capital "T" ] of the “grip” the secular world has on the world / world of science. With good science and hard work and a helping hand from our mutual beneficial partners in the related but separate fields when the secular has pinned us into a corner we can combat and loosen that grip. Using that kind of powerful force is the best way we can take down Darwin and his mighty religious princes in power.

    P-s what would you do if you had a time machine [ relating to the realm of science only ]
    if i had a time machine i know exactly what i would do, pay our dear friend Darwin a visit.

    & no its not what you think, i would give him some first class ID books.
    probably would also modify the trix rabbits line abit and say….

    “Stupid Darwin, atheistic secular humanism masked as SCIENCE is NOT good for kids ”
    & also make sure that old rabbit finally get some well deserved trix cereal :)

    Charlie

  43. Mark Perakh’s reluctance to become respected…

    http://www.pandasthumb.org/arc.....the_n.html

  44. Johnnyb wrote:

    What I personally love about ID is that it’s so obvious that noone can argue against it without looking like a moron. It shows the obviousness of secularism as a religion.

    This is simply not true, and a very bad attitude to have. One can certainly construct cogent and well thought out arguments for or against ID. To dismiss the other side as morons is to make the same mistake that they do. And I don’t see how is helpful to press the point that secularism is a religion (Then what is not a religion?) on the one hand and argue that ID has nothing to do with religion on the other. There is an aphorism concerning having your cake and eating it too.

  45. [...] From “Creationism’s Reluctance to Enter ID’s Big Tent“: Critics of ID are quick to label it creationism. It is therefore ironic that creationists are increasingly reluctant to identify themselves as design theorists. Creationists, both of the young-earth and the old-earth variety, tend to think ID doesn’t goes far enough and hesitate to embrace ID’s widening circle of allies, a circle that now includes Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, New Agers, and non-dogmatic agnostics. Indeed, creationists are increasingly distancing themselves from ID’s big tent. [...]

  46. Well, humor me, Mr. Heddle – what is a cogent counter-argument to “from signs of intelligence, intelligence may be inferred?”

  47. “What I personally love about ID is that it’s so obvious that noone can argue against it without looking like a moron.”

    This is arguably a form of the criticism that ID can never be proved wrong, therefore ID is not science. Weird how that works out.

    jaredl: Intelligence may NOT be inferred because we have no evidence of an intelligence. Whenever Michael Behe makes a comparison to Mount Rushmore and how we can see design there and therefore we can infer design, he is being laughed at by every non-IDer on the face of the planet. We know Mount Rushmore is designed because we have documented evidence that plans were drawn up, rock was blown up, and Teddy’s monocle was tweaked.

  48. I guess a watch that is found on the road cannot be designed because we don’t know the identity of the designer.

  49. jaredl,

    There are counter arguments to cosmological ID, such as multiverses, and to biological ID, such as evolution. Just because we don’t agree with them doesn’t make their arguments “moronic.” And it just makes our side look foolish if the best we can come up with is “whoever disagrees is a moron.” That is the argument of someone who is not willing to do their homework.

  50. higgity

    The Mt. Rushmore analogy is premised by the observer having no prior knowledge of its origin.

    Every time Darwinian narrative apologists distort what ID theorists say it makes their side look too weak to take on undistorted ID theory. The whole world laughs at their weakness. :-) :-) :-)

  51. David Heddle

    Multiverse theories don’t pass the giggle test. Standard goo to zoo evolution barely does.

    Statements like those from the 38 Nobel laureates, given with such intellectual brio it makes their peers gasp in wonder while making everyone else roll their eyes, about evolution being understood to be an unguided, unplanned process supported by overwhelming evidence, is just silly. Morons say silly things. Or in this case idiot savantes. Or maybe bald faced liars. There is not a shred of direct evidence that any single bit of evolution was unplanned. To make such a conclusion with conviction requires a metaphysical faith that the universe is non-deterministic. You of all people should know that.

  52. Dr. Heddle

    “it just makes our side look foolish if the best we can come up with is “whoever disagrees is a moron.””

    What on earth justifies your implication that the best johhnyb can come up with is “whoever disagrees is a moron”? I’ve seen him make wonderful arguments opposing various bits of specious crap offered up by Darwinian narrative apologists. The “moron” statement you have such a problem with is a small conclusive capstone, far from the best johhnyb (or “we”) can come up with. Your statement demonstrates either a civility so profound it would spell your own extinction should you venture out into the jungle that is the real world or just a case of you not doing your homework. Possibly both.

  53. Dave Scott,

    How is it that multiverse theories do not pass the giggle test? They are possible in the most current inflationary big bang models and quantum gravity. That doesn’t mean they exist, but it gives a gravitas to the idea that must be addressed. In fact, looking at all the evidence for fine tuning, I would argue that one is forced to chose between design or multiverses. I choose design, but I can easily understand why others choose multiverses. They are certainly not morons.

    What exactly do you hope to accomplish by dismissing the opposition as morons? At best, that only plays well when preaching to the choir.

  54. 54

    Jaredl: “There are counter arguments to cosmological ID, such as multiverses, and to biological ID, such as evolution. Just because we don’t agree with them doesn’t make their arguments “moronic.””

    Reply: There are no “counter arguments” to cosmological ID that hold any weight. Multiple universes can only mitigate the calibration of natural laws if a near infinite number of them exist. And, as I have pointed out elsewhere, the invokation of an infinite (or excessively large) number of universes is a science stopper.
    http://www.arn.org/ubb/ultimat.....tml#000000

  55. “How is it that multiverse theories do not pass the giggle test?”

    Are you asking me or one of the the other DaveScots standing in an infinitely long line behind me? [giggle]

    “They are possible in the most current inflationary big bang models and quantum gravity.”

    It’s also possible that we’re living in “The Matrix” and everything we perceive is immaterial computer fabricated inputs to illusory material human sense organs. A good example of infinity is the number of hare brained “possibilities” out there.

    “one is forced to chose between design or multiverses”

    That’s what the machines who create the illusory material universe we perceive want you to believe. Their nefarious plan works only too well!

    “What exactly do you hope to accomplish by dismissing the opposition as morons?”

    Nothing. Experience has shown you can’t change a moron’s mind because they really don’t have a mind to change.

    P.S. There’s only 1 ‘t’ in Scot. I don’t misspell my own name.

  56. Benji: Once you pick up the watch, a simple visit to the library is all it takes to see how watches are designed.

    “The Mt. Rushmore analogy is premised by the observer having no prior knowledge of its origin.”

    If that is how the analogy is presented, then what it is saying is “Here’s Mt. Rushmore. Let’s assume there’s no evidence sitting on my desk that indicates that it was planned, blueprinted, and dynamited. Let’s just assume that it was designed.” What you should be doing is the same thing you did for the watch. You walk down to the library and read a book on the plans for Mt. Rushmore. You can look at newspaper clippings from the time period for day-by-day coverage of the project.

    The comparison is absurd on its face. People watched and documented Mt. Rushmore. I have yet to see a newspaper clipping with a headline saying “Intelligent Designer Lays Out Plans For New Species: ‘Cheetorilla’ To Be Athletically Designed Powerhouse Treeswinger.”

  57. If there’s an infinite number of universes it then follows there’s an infinite number of them where God created man. There must also be universes where God created Eve not from a rib but from a finger, an eyelash, and really any body part you care to mention. That’s the nature of infinity.

    The multiverse argument employed against fine-tuning is pure logical rubbish. Only the feeble minded and/or secular zealouts (do I repeat myself there?) entertain it.

    Dr. Heddle, what do these physicists postulate composes the 95% of the “stuff” in the universe that theory doesn’t predict? Seems to me a theory that only predicts 5% of what’s observed has a rather long way to go before it’s right.

    You know what I think about that missing 95%? It’s proof the programmers of the computer simulation we exist within are not perfect.

  58. Higgity

    I’m laughing at your weak attempt to equivocate your way out of this.

    Say we take an aborigine that cannot read and has no prior knowledge of Mt. Rushmore, bring him by Mt. Rushmore, and ask him it if he thinks it was sculpted by design or accident.

    When you’re at the hypothetical library teaching the aborigine to read so he can study the history of Mt. Rushmore I suggest you pick up an introductory tome on formal logic and study the “straw man” argument.

  59. Design theory makes a claim based on circumstantial inferences. Of course there is no plan or layed out blue print, because it happened so long ago. If you ask an evolutionist how RM+NS can create novel body parts and species, he or she just says,”Well, I don’t know, however, an inference from the data, by far, warrants an evolutionary process.” So Design is an inference, not something that can be implemented. To me, that’s perfect legitimate science at work.

  60. Heddle and Higgity:

    My point about ID and “noone can argue against it without looking like a moron” was not about the origins side of ID, but rather as ID as the philosophy that material explanations are not sufficient to explain what happens every day. If you want a good example of what I’m talking about, see this conversation I had over on FR. I eventually stopped responding when it was apparent that the person I was discussing the topic had to resort to logical contradictions and contortions within a single post to defend himself:

    http://www.freerepublic.com/fo.....page=96#96

    It’s the thread from post 96 through 101.

    The foundation of ID is that intelligent processes are separate from material processes and should be considered separately. Might Dembski’s work be shown false? Possibly, but I doubt it. Might other parts of origins be shown false? I think they will be shown to not be radical enough. But the part that is simply not defendable on the basis of everyday experience is the foundation of ID — that intelligent action is a separate causitive force from natural law and chance.

  61. Morpheus faith,

    You must have misread what I wrote, because your respose only makes sense if I had said “multiverses are on firmer scientific footing than design.” What I said was, I can understand how a person would choose multiverses over design as an explanation for fine tuning, especially given that modern theory suggests multiverses. Such a person is not to be dismissed as a “moron.”

    Dave Scot,

    The multiverse argument employed against fine-tuning is pure logical rubbish. Only the feeble minded and/or secular zealouts (do I repeat myself there?) entertain it.

    Are you joking, or do you actually consider that this argument is worth making?

    Dave Scot,

    Dr. Heddle, what do these physicists postulate composes the 95% of the “stuff” in the universe that theory doesn’t predict? Seems to me a theory that only predicts 5% of what’s observed has a rather long way to go before it’s right.

    Are you talking about dark matter?

    Let me understand your position on fine tuning and your confidence in modern physics. Because the two are related. And on the one hand you seem to rally behing fine tuning, but on the other you cast aspersions at modern physics.

    This is, in my opinion, an inconsistent position. The reason we have a good fine-tuning design argument is because of the tremendous success of modern physics. To then say that, in effect, cosmology stinks is more of the “lets have our cake and eat it too.” If cosmology is really bad, then the fine tuning it uncovered is suspect.

  62. Dr. Heddle

    I notice you did not attempt to dispute my point that in an infinite number of universes there must be one each where God created Eve out of an infinite number of permutations of body parts.

    Obviously you ignored it because 1) you know that it is a logical necessity following from an infinity of universes and 2) it’s so silly it makes anyone who confirms it look like a moron. Multiverse theory doesn’t pass the giggle test and your refusal to carry it through to inescapable logical consequences for fear of being laughed at is compelling evidence of its absurdity.

    “Are you talking about dark matter?”

    Eh? I can hardly imagine a physicist who claims to be up to date on cosmology and multiverse models would need to ask that question. I’m referring to dark matter and dark energy. That you’d recognize dark matter and fail to mention dark energy indicates you haven’t been keeping up with cosmology very well in the past few years.

    Fine tuning is made obvious from knowledge acquired via *experimental* physics. In fact the fine tuning argument is what turned me from atheist to agnostic 15 years ago. It’s multiverse models of *theoretical* physics that earn my derision. I’d focus more on the fine tuning argument if there were reasonable alternatives to it or if there were any question of the supportive data being wrong. Multiverse arguments are just plain silly when one begins to consider the logical consequences of it. The physical constants (or enough of them) are well characterized and supported by repeatable experiment that a case cannot be made they’re sufficiently wrong to significantly undermine the fine tuning argument.

  63. Dr. Heddle

    Is it possible you assign such credence to your multiverse adversaries because without them there would be no debate? In other words, you want the controversy. If your opponents didn’t exist you’d have to invent them!

    That is a big motivating factor for me but I prefer more of a challenge. There’s no challenge in arguing for Cosmological ID. It’s just too easy to point out it’s theoretical nature and the absurd consequences that follow from it. Biological ID on the other hand is a tougher row to how as it passes the giggle test and has some basis in experimental science (microevolution to support RM+MS and molecular homology in support of common ancestry). The Darwinian narrative only falls apart when unjustifiable extrapolations are made from microevolutionary adaptation and molecular homology to a comprehensive story about mud to man evolution.

  64. Davescot, your statement is about as inflammatory as this one by PZ Myers:

    “A religion that declares the bible inerrant is not compatible with science, because its followers would have to be idiots.”

    Does that lead to a productive discussion? No. All it does is put the other side on the defensive and puts up an emotional barrier that prevents the other from thinking about your arguments coherently. I may disagree with Dr. Heddle on specific aspects of Calvinism and that supporting ALL fine-tuning arguments requires the support of a particular cosmological model but I’m not about to go and call him a moron for it (though, honestly, the thought does flash through my mind… *beats those bad thoughts back with a stick* ;) ).

  65. Higgity

    Instead of Mt. Rushmore let’s talk about Stonehenge as there is no documentation of its design or construction.

    Tell me if you think Stonehenge was designed or not. Support your answer.

  66. Dave Scot,

    I notice you did not attempt to dispute my point that in an infinite number of universes there must be one each where God created Eve out of an infinite number of permutations of body parts.

    I didn’t attemt to dispute it, because it wasn’t worth the electrons.

    I’m referring to dark matter and dark energy.

    Your comment “what do these physicists postulate composes the 95% of the “stuff” in the universe that theory doesn’t predict?” was nebulous. We have theories for what dark matter is (non interacting partcles such as nutrinos) and dark energy (the vacuum energy density or cosmological constant) so you’ll have to excuse me for not knowing what the hell you were talking about, since it had no connection to reality.

    Fine tuning is made obvious from knowledge acquired via *experimental* physics.

    Partially true, but wrong in the sense you mean it. The fine tuning in the cosmological constant is related to the fact that theory predicts a large value, while observation puts the upper limit at a very small, non zero number. If we didn’t know the theory, we wouldn’t know the CC was fine tuned. Similarly, if we didn’t know how to calculate the nuclear chemistry inside a star, we wouldn’t know how sensitive it is to the relative strengths of the fundamental forces. Fine tuning only makes sense in light of theory. Yes, you need observations, but without the theory you’d have no appreciation for the fine tuning.

    Multiverse arguments are just plain silly when one begins to consider the logical consequences of it.

    I wish that were true, but your assertion doesn’t make it so.

    The physical constants (or enough of them) are well characterized and supported by repeatable experiment that a case cannot be made they’re sufficiently wrong to significantly undermine the fine tuning argument.

    Once again I have no idea what you are talking about. Nobody is making a case that they are “wrong.” The multiverse theory is that they would have different values in different universes. It, like design, is a perfect though untestable explanation for the fine tuning. Fits all the data. It is a question of which you prefer to believe.

  67. DaveScot: I am laughing at your attempt to prop up a weak analogy for your side. We know Rushmore was designed because we have documented evidence that it happened. As for Stonehenge, we know that it was designed and constructed by humans because we have found evidence consistent with architectural and construction techniques.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stonehenge

    Hypothetically, if there were no evidence for design in either Rushmore or Stonehenge, the scientific mind would be forced to conclude that they were both incredibly amazing phenomena. You can’t just jump to the conclusion that they were designed.

    Ya know, the Greeks and Romans ascribed things like lightning and famine to their gods. Over its entire history, when mankind couldn’t explain something, it would always default to the supernatural. Now we know how lightning strikes happen and why there wasn’t enough rain to make Farmer Jay’s crops grow. The list of things that we explain via the supernatural gets smaller every day.

  68. David Heddle: “The multiverse theory is that they would have different values in different universes. It, like design, is a perfect though untestable explanation for the fine tuning. Fits all the data. It is a question of which you prefer to believe.”

    Multiverse theories have a problem: to avoid explaining the collapse of the qwf, or allowing that the observable cosmos had a special origin, they affirm that all (internally self-consistent) possibilities are realized within some set of physical or metaphysical constraints. However, this merely pushes the problems of origin and collapse back to a wider, prior context in which the origin and collapse problems spring forth anew. To wit, instead of asking how the observable universe originated, multiverse theorists merely widen the focus of the origins question to the multiverse, i.e., the overall system which “keeps the books” for all of the universes undergoing causal divergence within it.

    To put the question another way, how are the constraints on “possibilities” initially defined? Without an account of this process, one cannot adequately characterize an overall ontic potential (“multiverse”); one has no initial source of information from which to begin. In this sense, multiverse hypotheses as currently formulated are physically and cosmologically worthless from not just an empirical standpoint, but a theoretical one as well. From the standpoint of Occam’s razor alone, one is better off seeking to explain the origin of the observable cosmos alone…this, at least, does not involve an exponential explosion of the logical entities called “universes”.

    It follows that multiverse theories offer no real scientific alternative to fine tuning arguments (with all due respect, of course, for the consderable expertise of Dr. Heddle).

  69. Dr. Heddle

    You’re quite the equivocator. Everyone who follows cosmology knows the best current guesses for composition of the universe following from gravitational interaction:

    Visible matter = 5%
    Dark matter = 20%
    Dark energy = 70%

    The cosmological constant was thrown out decades ago. Now it’s back due to observation of accelerating expansion that wasn’t predicted by theory. This is a very recent development. No one has a clue what dark energy is or if it’s even real. It’s more likely, IMO, that the theory of gravity is flawed. In any case, you should have known right away what I was talking about if you’re as knowledgeable as you pretend to be.

    “I didn’t attemt to dispute it, because it wasn’t worth the electrons.”

    Well, you got that right. The logical implications of multiverse theory aren’t worth discussing. They’re ludicrous. Multiverse theory is ludicrous. Connect the dots, doctor. It’s a self-evident truth.

  70. “As an aside I wonder if RTBers feel the same disdain toward YEC in general (i.e., it is not science) as they do toward ID?”

    Yes, they certainly feel more disdain towards YEC than ID. I once heard an RTBer say that evolutionists are 2/3rds wrong and YECers are 2/3rds wrong. They fail to see that the controversy between OEC and YEC is small; only a few orders of magnitude. However, the distinction between design and non-design is an impassable chasm.

    We shouldn’t get hung up about OEC vs. YEC; it is easy to unite behind design. Once design takes down naturalistic Darwinism, then we can sort out our differences.

  71. Multiverse theory, whether or not it has merits, has sort of become an ‘escape hatch’ for naturalists. The probabilities don’t come out right? Just add more resources into our model! A better solution would be to change the model altogether.

  72. Higgity

    “We know Rushmore was designed because we have documented evidence that it happened.”

    YOU know that. Not everyone in the world knows the history of Rushmore. The premise is that someone who has no knowledge of that history would make a design inference upon seeing it. Your continue to argue against a straw man.

    Stonehenge is in an area where glaciers deposited out of context stones in sometimes interesting formations. You are correct that one cannot just jump to the conclusion it was designed as it’s possible that a glacier desposited those stones. The design inference at Stonehenge was made long before anyone had archeological evidence hinting at who made it. The design inference is made because the formation conforms to an independently given pattern and it is complex. The possibility of a glacier depositing stones in an independently given pattern of that complexity is too remote to pass the giggle test.

  73. The multiverse theory seems absurd to me because a few minutes reflection showed that even a small amount of matter would in a short time generate such a profusion of new universes, and that profusion would grow exponentially larger as more and more universes generated more and more particle interactions to produce yet more universes quicker and quicker to the point that the universes would be speeding away from each other faster than light.

  74. Anteater

    “The probabilities don’t come out right? Just add more resources into our model! A better solution would be to change the model altogether.”

    Exactly. Infinity trumps almost impossible odds every time.

  75. Dave: That goes back to what I said earlier. If you don’t educate yourself on Rushmore, you’ll jump to the conclusion that it was designed. You are the one who is creating a straw man by insisting that we look at Mt. Rushmore in a context of “What if we didn’t know it was designed?” when the bottom line is that we do know that it was designed.

    We may have believed design was at work in Stonehenge since it was a geometric formation of huge rocks, but we could only CONCLUDE that after finding old postholes in the area. The key word you are using is “inference.” And it goes right to the heart of the matter: You are willing to conclude design first and prove it later. I am not. Since our debate is going in circles, this is where I leave you.

  76. Dave Scot,

    Visible matter = 5%
    Dark matter = 20%
    Dark energy = 70%

    Your percentages don’t add up to 100.

    No one has a clue what dark energy is or if it’s even real. It’s more likely, IMO, that the theory of gravity is flawed.

    What we know for sure is that the expansion of the universe is accelerating and the universe is flat. There has to be a sizable anti-gravity force present, and at the moment the best theory has it coming from the comological constant. Thus we do have a clue about what dark energy is–we believe it to be the vacuum energy density. It may turn out that we are wrong–that happens a lot in science–but we now have a model that fits the data and makes predictions and, to my delight, exhibits extreme fine-tuning. I have no comment on your “opinion” that it is probably the case that the theory of gravity is flawed.

    neurode:

    There is some truth that the multiverse theories do not completely avoid the problem–especially the origins question. However, some of them, such as Linde’s chaotic inflation essentially take us back to a kind of steady state–a unstable equilibrium that has always existed that is constantly creating new universes. (I am not saying I support this model, in fact I don’t.) The point is these are smart people doing physics with no anti-Christianity agenda–they are not morons simply because they disagree with Dave Scot.

  77. I’m afraid my challenge has been passed unmet: what is a cogent counter-argument to “From signs of intelligence, intelligence may be inferred?” If there is no cogent counterargument, there is no cogent counterargument against ID. If there is, produce it.

  78. “We may have believed design was at work in Stonehenge since it was a geometric formation of huge rocks, but we could only CONCLUDE that after finding old postholes in the area”

    We’re not talking about a logical 100% conclusion; we could theoretically infer from first principles and come up with a high probability that it was designed (but I don’t know enough about Stonehenge to make that justification). Probabilities of 0 or 1 are really strong statements anyways.

  79. Jaredl,

    I’m on your side, but it seems your statement is a tautology. A better question to ask is whether there are true signs of intelligence in nature, how we would detect them, and what empirical metric can we use to evaluate the design.

  80. Jaredl,

    I didn’t answer your challenge because, to me, and perhaps I just don’t understand what you are trying to say, your challenge

    From signs of intelligence, intelligence may be inferred?

    is a tautology. The same people who agree that something is “a sign of intelligence” will be happy to infer an intelligent designer. Those who do not see the same phenomenon, whatever it may be, as a “sign of intelligence” will not infer intelligence. Where does this challenge get you?

    For example, I view the fine-tuning in the universe as a sign of intelligence. Others do not. Hence I infer an intelligent designer, while they do not. Neither case refutes your challenge–as I said it is, as I understand it, trivially true. The validity of ID cannot rest in the arms of a tautology.

    But maybe I misunderstood you.

  81. Guys,

    Is there a way that we can reduce this whole darwin vs. design debate into a simple algorithm? Just specify your ‘priors’ and the model should spit out whether you should be an evolutionist or IDist or creationist given your priors.

    Somebody should make an applet…

  82. Mr. Heddle, your claim was that there were cogent counter arguments to ID. ID is nothing more than application of the principle “from the effects of intelligence, intelligence may be inferred.” Dembski has given us a rigorous information theoretic description of “effects of intelligence,” to which I am unaware of any cogent counter argument (read “counterexample”). So… where are these cogent arguments contra ID? Has specified complexity, or complex specified information, met death by valid counterexample and I’m just not aware of it? Or is it the case, as it appears to me, that the argument – intelligent causes may be reliably distinguished in certain cases from material causes – has as yet met no valid counterargument? Has someone, in fact, proven that for no phenomenon can intelligent causation be distinguished from material causation?

  83. How did this thread’s discussion turn from creationism’s reluctance to accept ID to the multi-verse and Dembski’s method of design detection?

  84. How did this thread’s discussion turn from creationism’s reluctance to accept ID to the multi-verse and Dembski’s method of design detection?

    Comment by Benjii — October 12, 2005 @ 2:52 pm
    —————————————————————————————-

    Random mutation?

  85. A multiverse model would demonstrate that there’s simply more matter/energy to be accounted for. It just pushes the ultimate issue of origins back a step.

  86. Jaredl,

    I guess I should have realized that what you actually meant is “Dembski has a theory, and if you buy his theory then there is a way, mathematically, to detect intelligence, from which one can infer intelligence.”

    Is that about right?

    So, it boils down to “there is no cogent counter argument to Dembski’s theory.”

    Why did you cast your challenge in terms of ID? ID is not a synonym for Dembski’s theories. There are quite a few of us who write and give ID lectures without ever mentioning specified complexity.

    Now, here I must admit that I do not know Dembski’s theory, having never read any of his books. So I cannot comment on whether this or that argument against his theory is cogent. My guess, however, is that there are–and that is not an attack on Dembski–anyone who posits new theories will face cogent attacks. That is how science is done. The big bang model faced fearsome and cogent attacks–over time it won the day. That does not mean that the arguments against the big bang were not cogent, it means they were wrong. An argument against the big bang that was not cogent would be “if you don’t believe in this, you are a moron.”

    Of course, I am sure Dembski’s ideas receive more than their fair share of looney attacks–but are you certain you can dismiss all counter arguments with a wave of your hand? Because what you are really arguing is that Dembski’s theory is so clearly and irrefutably true that nobody could in good faith argue against it. Not knowing his theory I can only comment that I’d be very surprised if that were so.

    Bombadill,

    A multiverse model would demonstrate that there’s simply more matter/energy to be accounted for. It just pushes the ultimate issue of origins back a step.

    It is not so simple. Unlike the standard big bang, which does require an origin, some multiverse models do not. As I said earlier, some have a sort of steady-state character (our universe had a beginning, but universes have been created forever, as it were.) Now you can argue against these models on their merits, but you cannot (or should not) simply dismiss them.

  87. I don’t know, Mr. Heddle… it sure seems like a desperate attempt to avoid the theistic implications of the Big Bang, by those with philosophical bias.

    I just don’t see how one can avoid an infinite regression of causes (effects) with this model. I mean, wouldn’t there still remain the need for an ultimate causal entity outside of space/time? Something to have initiated the matter/energy?

  88. What’s the empirical evidence for multiverse? Thanks.

  89. “Yes, they certainly feel more disdain towards YEC than ID. I once heard an RTBer say that evolutionists are 2/3rds wrong and YECers are 2/3rds wrong. They fail to see that the controversy between OEC and YEC is small; only a few orders of magnitude. However, the distinction between design and non-design is an impassable chasm.”

    They’re all wrong!!!

    Ha-ha-hah

    Just kidding!

  90. Bombadill,

    I agree–I am only saying it is not so trivial. In other words, with a one universe big bang, even atheistic physicists (of which I don’t think there are very many, but that is just anecdotal) know they have an origins problem. With some of the newer models (which by no means have been accepted), they have a way out. It requires a much more subtle way to argue than saying, “well what came before the big bang?”

  91. anteater

    What’s the empirical evidence for multiverse? Thanks

    None. Only that some models predict them. There is no test, in fact no test (apart from some fanciful speculation) is possible without violating general relativity. The models do well at explaining what we can observe, especially the flatness of the universe, so that gives a certain credibility to their predictions. But predictions must be verified on their own.

  92. Steven Weinberg is a devout atheist. What do you think of him, David Heddle?

  93. Benjii,

    I think he is a great physicist who needs to repent and come to a saving faith in Jesus Christ. My comment about physicists come from my experience as a professor and research scientist. At the university, the least antagonism that I witnessed toward theism, in any department, was physics, with the most coming in the humanities. But as I said, that is just anecdotal.

  94. “They’re all wrong!!!”

    To quote somebody: “All models are wrong, but some are useful”

  95. Hey David, is your faith encouraged the more you delve into biology, physics and so forth? Tell me a bit about yourself?

  96. that study just came out a cpl of months ago that said that more social scientists believed in god than the harder sciences…which is just the opposite of what they expected, and also the opposite of previous polls.

    (on a side note) not that i put much faith into ANY polls. even if you do it all right and the statistician is a genius- there are too many unknowns with polls in general to convince me that they make any sense. which makes sense- as all previous polls showed the opposite of this new poll, but which poll is right? are they both right? is it possible the entire landscape did a 180? i doubt it. probably just what i said- polling, in general, is a weak ‘science’ and all too flawed. heck, the 2004 election proved as much- kerry was projected the winner of the most electoral votes by nearly all the polls on election day, yet it was the opposite result. ill end my rant on polling now. :)

    it seems anecdotal evidence might be just as worthy as “scientific” polling a lot of the time.

  97. “they are not morons simply because they disagree with Dave Scot”

    Maybe not, but a betting man would bet that way. You’ve also created a straw man there. I never claimed they were morons and I didn’t disagree with hypothetical multiverse math. I’m quite sure I’m nowhere near competent enough to argue with their math. I claimed their multiverse theories led to logical absurdities i.e. they don’t pass the giggle test. I am competent enough to employ logic.

    So Dr. Heddle, you’re claiming to be an ID author now? Gee, I guess that makes me one too. I’m not quite arrogant enough to equate myself with Dembski or Behe though. They are acknowleged by almost everyone as the scientific leaders of the movement. Yet you don’t know their theories. Hmmmm… I guess cosmology isn’t the only thing you haven’t kept up with.

  98. Are you making fun of David Heddle? How dare you, if you are!

  99. benji,

    Why don’t we take that discussion offline. Email me.

    Dave Scot,

    Sigh. It is too tiresome to argue with you. I’ll leave you with the last word.

  100. Where can I find your e-mail address?

  101. Dr. Heddle

    I feel slighted. You called PZ Myers an “anti-Christian bigot” on your blog. I was hoping you’d at least call me an anti-multiverse bigot. Where did I go wrong?

    By the way, PZ Myers is an anti-in-your-face-bible-thumper bigot. There’s a difference. Most Christians don’t wear their faith on their sleeve.

  102. Follow the link from my name to my site. On the left, below the two ads for my book and short story, you’ll find an “email me” link.

  103. Why did you call PZ an “anti-Christian bigot”?

  104. All this debate just cements more firmly in my mind that the real argument is between atheists and deists, for lack of a better word–those who postulate that what is observable by the senses is all there is, and those who leave room for the supernatural. After all, a truly Christian evolutionist is ultimately a creationist, because he believes in a Creator. What makes a lot of that type of evolutionist uncomfortable is that he would like to believe that Darwin and the geologists got the mechanism and the time frame right, and that all we have to do is put God as the initiating cause. But the ID people put them in a bind, by pointing out that biological systems don’t appear to have been put together by mutation and response to natural selection–that they bear the marks of precision engineering and “irreducible complexity,” as Mike Behe puts it And if you have to give in on the mechanism, maybe the time frame needs to be questioned as well. It’s all quite interesting.

  105. Actually, Dr. (PZ) Myers is openly bigoted against theists in general, not just “in your face Bible-thumpers”. Last Christmas, for example, he visited a cathedral in NYC just so that he could write in his blog that the mere sight of it had made him sick to his stomach! If it weren’t sad, it would be amusing. (I happen to know this because I was in the course of responding to an attack he’d made against National Geographic for “misleading children” by reporting on an archaeological expedition to investigate possible artifacts noticed in satellite photos of Mount Ararat.)

  106. actually, id have to go further and point out the fact that PZ Myers is a childish, arrogant, nutcase who despises christianity with every bone in his body. Just browse his site and you learn that in a matter of mins.

    Here is a bit of intelligent conversation from the good college professor (a closed-minded atheist bigot on a college campus? no way! you have to laugh when someone claims academia isn’t controlled by the fringe left!):

    #19896: PZ Myers — 03/26 at 01:05 PM
    Paul: Looks like a duck, walks like a duck, quacks like a duck.

    You’re an evolution-denier. An anti-science crank. A pseudo-scientific nutjob. A guy who thinks his misunderstood ‘training’ in 9th grade qualifies him to dismiss the work of real scientists.

    You are an idiot, a moron, a fool, a fraud, a bullshit artist. You are a lying phony.

    So when I lump you in with those other, similar kooks who call themselves creationists, I’m being kind.

    I remind you- this is a comment from a college science professor!!! Funny thing, is he’s a college professor who can’t read or CAN read but has no comprehension skills, since the person he was referring to is NOT a creationist. (http://wizbangblog.com/archives/005492.php)

  107. It’s funny how the smart men are nothing but fools.

  108. It’s paradoxically amusing and sad to observe these atheists who have bought into the notion that rejecting theism makes them intellectual.

    Sadly, they didn’t get the memo detailing how atheism is really pseudo-intellectual.

  109. Interesting parry between higgerty and DaveScot back up the line. Higgerty is right that Rushmore e.t.c provides a design inference that is then proven by further study, but ID strengthens the inference by doing further study and demonstrating specified complexity a hall mark of anything that is designed. I know the designer isn’t revealed but with SC does he/she have to be? At the very least SC makes the design argument much more compelling than simply a Paley like assertion.

  110. Midweek In Blog

    I’ve decided to start a daily review of posts I’ve seen during my reading as well as posts that are pertinent to the day’s Hot Topics that might be of interest to others. I’m going to call it Midweek In Blog–MIB for short. So let’s begin.

  111. I called PZ’s bluff once when he called creationists “liars” for simply pointing out that soft tissue in dinosaur bones strengthens the case for YEC. It was quite amusing that he ranted on and on about creationists being liars, but couldn’t point out a single instance of a lie. I was two weeks out from going to an AiG conference, so I asked PZ for a question I could ask the AiG staff to catch them in a lie. He refused to respond. If you’re interested in the conversation (it was quite amusing), you can check it out here:

    http://pharyngula.org/index/we.....ssue_data/

  112. I’m new here.

    I have read most of the comments, and I see some commonality here with the notion of “Creationist.” Most here apparently are “Creationists” in a particular sense. ID is not “Creation Science,” but it does lend some credence to “Creationism” as opposed to indeterminate natural selection. ID proponents desire to be clear about what science at this juncture in our collective understandings, can and cannot say about what can be known emperically and reasonably, by observation of the cosmos alone. Creation Science, on the other hand, presumes the truthfulness of the Biblical narratives. It’s not unscientific to do so – one has to have a worldview, but it is unscientific to bring that presumption into the debate when we are talking about things that are known and observed in nature. The events of Genesis are not necessarily observed in nature (though some would argue that we see evidence of Genesis events in nature – and I would agree to some extent).

    The point, though, is that as theologians have pointed out for centuries; there is a distinction between “general revelation” and “special revelation.” ID has correctly detected the work of God in nature, without specifically calling it “God’s work.” This is not intended to diminish God’s glory in creating, but is intended to distinguish between what can be known about God through science; because naming the Creator is the work of “Special revelation,” which is additional to natural phenomenon. We don’t come to know who God is through nature, but we can detect His handiwork. I think that this distinction is important, and it is very biblical. In fact, if nature were sufficient for knowing God, then Scripture would be irrelevant.

    Hugh Ross is a brilliant thinker, but I detect some problems with entering Genesis into a debate on the knowledge of creation as opposed to the knowledge of God. While God’s existence can be known through nature, “His ways are past finding out.” This to me implies, that theology (the greatest of the sciences) is on a plane above natural science, and needs to be confronted once our scientific observations imply God’s necessary existence. It is premature to bring God’s knowability into questions involving natural science without taking the next step by reverting to interpretation from philosophy and theology.

    Intelligent Design brings all Creationists closer to defining the distinction between the limits of general revelation, and the implications of God’s special revelation. ID, thus, bridges gaps between naturalism and theology on the one hand, by limiting itself to the dictates of mainstream scientific inquiry; and between the dividing lines of Creationists, (YECs, OECs, and ECs), by providing a basis for communicating God’s necessary existence to those who claim no belief in a Creator, but who may go where the evidence leads (as Antony Flew has done). This is a truly beneficial development for apologists of the Christian faith, in my view.

  113. johnnyb-

    thanks for posting the link (great comedy with myers who refuses to point out the supposed lie).

    ive been looking into this debate (id, creationism, darwinism), and i can say that i rarely see hate-filled IDers or creationists, but i do see a boatload of darwinists who seem to be filled with hate with any idea but their own, and hate for those who dont sign up for their near dogmatic views. i also see a lot of dishonesty from the neodarwinists that i dont see with IDers and others (creationists for example). dishonest abounds all over, but it seems that one side of the debate is just out to get anyone who dissents, and its not the IDers but rather people like myers, scott, forrest, and others who are out to ruin anyone who speaks in dissent of the dogmatic view. ive yet to see any IDer try to ruin the career of a neodarwinist, nor have i yet seen any mainstream IDer attack a darwinist with endless ad hominems. doesnt this say so much about the debate itself?

    this guy is a prime case of this hatred. his hatred for religion, for god, for religious people, for christianity, for anyone who dissent in any way from his views (he makes it fairly clear that hes right and everyone else is a loony anti-science, nutjob, whacko, liar, etc).

    i read his post and he never pointed out a single lie. he lied claiming that AIG was beating up on the scientist who made this find, when AIG did no such thing! they made it obvious they thought that this evidence wouldnt change her view on common descent and such and a billion yrs old universe, but they never attacked her or anything else as myers claims. hilarious comments you made, he couldnt answer a single one. the fact that this guy is teaching young people sickens me. its an amazing example of how far academia has gone over to the leftist fringe and is nearly totally controlled by these people. anti-religious bigotry and dishonest about others seems to be a hallmark of much of US academia- myers proves as much with a single post.

    im STILL trying to figure out what lie AIG told. theyre a christian group- thats enough to merit myers’ hatred. ill repeat it- i cannot believe this guy is in a classroom daily teaching our young people! if he cant be honest on his own website, how can anyone trust hes being honest in the classroom?

  114. btw- what does everyone make of this find anyhow? im no scientist, but how on earth could soft tissue be intact for a million yrs let alone 65 million yrs?!

    from what i read, the find astonished most scientists. the woman, i saw pics of her and of the find itself, was amazed that this could even be possible. i would argue that such amazement should equal a reevaluation of all that we (think) we know, but i wont hold my breath.

    i read an article the other day that talked about how some scientists just discovered that solar systems take very short times to form when it was thought they took very long times, and that it would totally change the way we see solar systems and the birth of them and the time frames involved…yet no reevaluation of what we (think) we know of that issue either?

    seems like too many scientists cant even imagine scrapping any part of an idea when evidence suggests the idea is wrong. its maybe easier to stick with the status quo and leave it at that?

  115. PZ must have an interesting relationship with his Catholic wife and in-laws, huh?

    Even Catholics usually don’t wear their religion on their sleeve. If you keep your bible thumping to yourself and/or at the church or church functions no one else needs to know a damn thing about it. If you feel compelled to tell someone about it that doesn’t want to hear it you’re thumping. Don’t thump. It’s boorish.

  116. his wife is catholic?!

    did he mention to her how much religion makes him sick? you have to wonder what kind of catholic she is, considering christians arent supposed to marry non-christians. why on earth would you? live your life knowing your husband is going to hell according to your faith and all.

    as for “bible thumping”- its what christ called his followers to do. it might be boorish to some, but religion isnt supposed to be a one day a week sort of thing, and biblically-speaking, christ demanded that believers go and share the faith with anyone who will listen.

    “All authority hath been given unto me in heaven and on earth. Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I commanded you: and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world” (Mt. 28:18-20 ASV).

    so, unless a christians wants to disobey a direct order from the risen lord…

  117. i just reread your comment and you said that youd consider if thumping if you try to tell someone who doesnt want to hear it. my apologies for not noticing that stipulation! thats what you get for reading a comment in a flash then replying. :)

    anyhow- id still think, according to what christ said, that you are still called to share even with those who dont want to hear. ive often seen (on tv mainly) those who say they dont want to hear and many who hear anyhow and then totally change their minds- they start out proclaiming they dont want to hear a word of it, but they end the conversation with a new understanding of it all, some coming away with a new path for their lives. tho, i dont think id have the guts to share with someone who refused to hear- in the end, most people who DO refuse to hear wont listen no matter what, so its usually a waste of time.

    so maybe believers are called to proclaim the word even to those who dont want to hear? i couldnt say for sure personally based on my basic understanding of the command. hmm.

  118. johnnyb

    I read the original article (at the time) about the dino tissue (as well as PZ’s writeup). I didn’t find anything inaccurate in PZ’s response. Nothing in it claimed there was anything in it suggesting an age anywhere near 6000 years. We can almost thaw out and revive stuff from 6000 years ago. Badly fragmented DNA is reputedly found in amber-preserved insects in million year ages. PZ hisself said he expected the cells to all be just really good fossils with nothing inside the cell ls but meaningless chemical soup. To be quite honest I put 6000 year-old earth in a less credible category than UFOs, Ouija boards, and pyramid hats.

  119. JohnnyB -

    I read the blog you linked. The same hyperbole seems to be occuring in the ID confrontation with Darwinism. Since the ideas can’t be challenged sufficintly, character assassination is the next best argument – yet it is no argument at all. For those who have dared to bring to light new ideas, and new paradigms of thought, there will always be a tendancy among the orthodox, to object on the basis of a person’s character. Yet, it is the detractors of those new ideas, who have the power to define that character. Thus, accusing Creationists of being liars, powerfully diminishes their reasonablenes among the feeble-minded. Yet, people with true humility to desire understanding, do not resort to such tactics. What is going on here is a clear reversal of roles from the Scopes “monkey” trial. The “fundamentalists” in this case, are the Darwinists. They fear new thinking, so they demonize it.

  120. “you have to wonder what kind of catholic she is”

    Probably Catholic like my wife and a number of my friends – a member in spirit but haven’t performed the rituals since they were teenagers and their parents could still force them and you wouldn’t know what religion they are unless you specifically ask. Then you still might not believe it, everything considered. ;-)

    I rather expect the subject doesn’t come up and/or he bites his tongue in real life. I bet he has a Christmas tree in his house every year too. Maybe no angel on the top. LOL

  121. “considering christians arent supposed to marry non-christians”

    Really? According to who?

  122. “that you are still called to share even with those who dont want to hear”

    That’s just obnoxious. Don’t do it.

  123. I realize some believe they are called upon to evangelize but even the Jehovahs don’t try ringing the doorbell again after I’ve told them “not interested”.

  124. Jboze3131 – “btw- what does everyone make of this find anyhow? im no scientist, but how on earth could soft tissue be intact for a million yrs let alone 65 million yrs?!”

    I think there are questions to be asked from all camps. Certainly if the fossil is 65 million years old, how could tissue be intact (although changed)? This is a good question that Evolutionists and Old Earth Creationists should ask, but I can’t help thinking that all camps will be able to find an explanation that will satisfy their worldviews.

    Another question that could be asked is: “can tissue be preserved for even thousands of years?” Since these are dinosaur bones, It is apparent that it can. On the other hand, supposing that there are 65 million years involved here, could something possibly decay at a slower rate under certain conditions, say, from an absense of air or other elements? I’m no scientist either, so I don’t really know if my questions are valid, but I have read a lot of different scientific arguments, and some people seem to think along such lines. If so, then it could be feesible, that under the right conditions, tissue decay could be slowed to such an extent as to allow it to be intact over vast amounts of time – even millions of years.

    I don’t think that enough information has been provided (perhaps a lot more exists), to make a judgment. It’s like discovering a body, but not having done enough research to answer how the body got there, or how it died. Preliminary speculations are bound to occur. Is this discovery in the preliminary speculation stage, while some of the investigators are already making premature conclusions? It seems like that is what happened with Methodological Darwinism. There was good data to show that something interesting was occuring, but people came to conclusions too quickly, and a theory was formed out of a lack of sufficient data. This occured because naturalists were eager to find an alternative to design arguments. Design arguments became blase because they failed (at least in the minds of the naturalists) to deal with the problem of evil. Darwinism, therefore, is not purely scientific, but philosophical – in that the issue of the problem of evil deals with metaphysical questions.

    This discovery is now being interpreted from a Darwinist perspective that is incomplete, and that fails to resolve its own internal metaphysical problems sufficiently, because it denies that metaphysics enters into the problem.

    It’s very complicated how this occurs. I’m of the understanding that part of the Darwinist method for dating artifacts comes from a need to allow sufficient time for evolution to occur naturally. Yet, there seems to be some credence to other more scientific dating methods. Is the combination of scientific dating methods, and the need to allow a hypothesized evolution to occur naturally, skewing the acutal precision of the dating that can be done?

  125. DaveScot -

    The problem was that there wasn’t _any_ lies being told. PZ disagreed, but called it a lie. Claiming a lie for a disagreement is quite an underhanded tactic in my book.

  126. Creationists rejecting ID’s big tent?

    Writing on his blog “Uncommon Descent,” Intelligent Design theorist William Dembski notes a growing irony: While critics of ID are quick to label it creationism, adherents to creation science are increasingly distancing themselves from ID. “Creation…

  127. someone wrote “ive been looking into this debate (id, creationism, darwinism), and i can say that i rarely see hate-filled IDers or creationists, but i do see a boatload of darwinists who seem to be filled with hate with any idea but their own, and hate for those who dont sign up for their near dogmatic views.”

    If you were constantly lied about, your work misrepresented, your discussions misrepresented…you would get pretty angry too.

    If you have *really* looked into the debate then you will have found incredible acts of outright dishonesty, evasion and hypocrisy on the crationist side.

    A great example of this is the claim Intelligent Design is not creationism.

    It is, ID is Special Creation. The book ‘of pandas an people’ was written as a creationist book, with the words ‘intelligent design’ inserted using little more than ‘find and replace’ in word.

    I doubt the veracity of your assertion.

  128. someone wrote “ive been looking into this debate (id, creationism, darwinism), and i can say that i rarely see hate-filled IDers or creationists, but i do see a boatload of darwinists who seem to be filled with hate with any idea but their own, and hate for those who dont sign up for their near dogmatic views.”

    If you were constantly lied about, your work misrepresented, your discussions misrepresented…you would get pretty angry too.

    If you have *really* looked into the debate then you will have found incredible acts of outright dishonesty, evasion and hypocrisy on the crationist side.

    A great example of this is the claim Intelligent Design is not creationism.

    It is, ID is Special Creation. The book ‘of pandas an people’ was written as a creationist book, with the words ‘intelligent design’ inserted using little more than ‘find and replace’ in word.

    I doubt the veracity of your assertion.

  129. well, you just exposed your own lie there by claiming ID is special creation, when looking at any of the writing tells you it isnt. if its special creation, how come behe has no problem with common descent? how come some IDers are agnostic? do you think theyve been lying about their views in order to establish an evil theocracy? its all a conspiracy right?

  130. jboze: I thought that we weren’t supposed to bring ID proponents’ personal beliefs into the discussion. We’re just supposed to go on the strength of the arguments.

    When Dover ordered Of Pandas and People, it came with a textbook catalog. That catalog listed Of Pandas And People under “Creation Science.” Weird.

  131. that doesnt make any sense. im pointing out the fact that claiming ID is merely creationism is a lie. and to prove that point, many IDers accept common descent, and many are agnostic- so you can hardly claim these people are creationists. furthermore, we have over 100 comments discussing how creationists, in large part, arent willing to accept ID and come under the tent of ID.

    are you supporting the conspiracy theory now? the creationist groups are only pretending not to accept ID, and many IDers are lying about their own beliefs in the science? behes common descent belief comes from the science not a belief (not sure of what religious book talks about macroevolution!)

    you can find some of dembskis books on some creationist sites- gasp! why? because many creationists groups accept ID. they think their ideas go much further and assert the truth of the bible, but many of them find ID more mainstream to more people and use their books as well…so, youre going to say that because a handful of creationist groups sell ID books on their site that these ID books are really creationist books in disguise?

  132. 2perfection just has it wrong! Read Dembski’s and Behe’ work, tell me if they ever mention GOD as the designer or God created this. You won’t! Unless, you’re a darwinist who loves to quote-mine, which I don’t doubt.

  133. Benji: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I.....proponents

    Those two paragraph contain some questionable quotes.

  134. Some recent news

    Here’s some things I found interesting in the last few days: This year’s driverless vehicle challenge, run by DARPA, went quite well. Competitors, out for a $2 million purse, had to design a vehicle able to drive an assigned course…

  135. higgity

    Questionable quotes such as… ?

  136. I am YEC. It is disappointing but not really very important to me to learn that Mr. Dembski adopts “billions not thousands”. We both agree the complexity of life (of creation in general) bears evidence of design. strating some level of intellectual honesty, YEC at ICR appear to have pursued original research (the RATE program) without having bent the results to butress their theory. I do not believe a person (scientists also being persons) can approach any subject without beliefs of some kind about the nature and character of God nor about the distance of God (near or far) from the present. Some who claim to be objective are simply more circumspect than honest about their preconcepts. Best to be honest as Mr. Dembski is being.

  137. Which of these four, from the wikipedia rant, does darwinism meet, given materialism?

    The theoretical underpinnings of the methods must yield testable predictions by means of which the theory could be falsified.

    The methods should preferably be published in a peer-reviewed journal.

    There should be a known rate of error that can be used in evaluating the results.

    The methods should be generally accepted within the relevant scientific community.

  138. Davescot: I’ll make no claims as to whether or not they’ve been mined or not because I don’t know, but the burden is on you to explain

    “…the first thing that has to be done is to get the Bible out of the discussion. …This is not to say that the biblical issues are unimportant; the point is rather that the time to address them will be after we have separated materialist prejudice from scientific fact.”

    “Intelligent Design is an intellectual movement, and the Wedge strategy stops working when we are seen as just another way of packaging the Christian evangelical message. … The evangelists do what they do very well, and I hope our work opens up for them some doors that have been closed.”

    Both Philip Johnson. It is likely that neither of us will be satisfied with the other’s answer on this because I will say that “materialist prejudice” is something he made up and that the definition of science does not need expanding.

    “Christ is indispensible to any scientific theory, even if its practitioners don’t have a clue about him. The pragmatics of a scientific theory can, to be sure, be pursued without recourse to Christ. But the conceptual soundness of the theory can in the end only be located in Christ.”

    “ID is part of God’s general revelation…”

    “Not only does Intelligent Design rid us of this ideology (materialism), which suffocates the human spirit, but, in my personal experience, I’ve found that it opens the path for people to come to Christ.”

    All three Dembski. These five quotes are endnotes 15-19 on the Wikipeda article.

    jaredl: http://www.daubertontheweb.com/Chapter_2.htm The five-point checklist at that site is slightly easier to understand. Going on the legal definition of science:

    The theoretical underpinnings of the methods must yield testable predictions by means of which the theory could be falsified.
    Evolution meets it.
    The methods should preferably be published in a peer-reviewed journal.
    Evolution definitely meets it.
    There should be a known rate of error that can be used in evaluating the results.
    Evolution meets it.
    The methods should be generally accepted within the relevant scientific community.
    Evolution meets it.

    Even if one concedes that ID meets the first, it does not meet two, three, or four. In fact, by not meeting definition three, I am fairly certain that it cannot meet definition one.

  139. What is the method of evolution, when applied to, say, the bacterial flagellum?

    Where is this method published?

    What is the margin of error?

    Who has accepted this method?

    In other words… evolution doesn’t meet it either, since ID and darwinism are simply the logical negations of each other.

  140. Dr. Dembski has a wonderful God-given intellect and has contributed much toward raising people’s awareness that life is far too complex to be accounted for by chance. However, his criticism of young-earth creationists is unwarranted and misguided. I don’t want to be harsh, but I believe he tips his hand a bit in his reference to the Institute for Creation Research’s resource catalog with the statement, “In particular none of my work appears in their catalog.” This is the evidence he cites in support of his belief that young earth creationists are increasingly refusing to, “ place themselves under ID’s big tent.” Can a person not embrace the concept of intelligent design without being a proponent of Dr. Dembski’s books? Though he has contributed significantly to the argument for design, the concept is not a new one. Cicero used it in the century before Christ in his book, De Natura Deorum (On the Nature of the Gods). Paul used it in Romans 1, and Paley’s famous watchmaker analogy was published in His book, Natural Theology in 1802. Young earth creationists have used the design argument as a tool in creation evangelism for years; just read some of the writings of Henry Morris and many others. And therein lies the difference. Young earth creationists use their scientific observations and reasoning in an effort to convince people that the Bible is actually true in hopes that all will confess Jesus as Lord. This is not the intent of the ID movement as stated by Dr. Dembski. On page 44 of his book, The Design Revolution, he writes, “Intelligent design is a strictly scientific theory devoid of religious commitments. Whereas the creator underlying scientific creationism conforms to a strict, literalist interpretation of the Bible, the designer underlying intelligent design need not even be a deity.” Big tents are great, but they are not much good if they can’t protect us from the rain.

    [More significant than the absence of my books is the emphasis of the ICR catalog on the age rather than the design question. Increasingly it seems we are pursuing different paths. --WmAD]

  141. jaredl: http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CB/CB200_1.html

    Right there in black and white.

  142. “It is likely that neither of us will be satisfied with the other’s answer on this”

    Ok. If I want to try convincing a brick wall there’s one more convenient than you around my fireplace. Goodbye.

  143. One closing point for you to think about, Higgity.

    A lot of people, including a large fraction of scientiest, believe that standard evolution was how God did it. It’s called theistic evolution. The Catholic Church promotes this position. Evolution is not rendered either non-science or unconstitutional just because a lot of religious people say that’s how God did it.

  144. Huge difference: Evolution itself invokes only naturalistic explanations to explain how life was changed. ID says that life could not have gotten to where it is today through natural explanations and invokes a creator who is playing outside of nature. That’s more or less saying that it happened by magic.

  145. umm i think we can reasonably say that mutations working on a mechanism (NS) that many studies have shown does very little in the wild creating every form of life on earth, via trillions of “happy accidents” is more or less saying its happened by magic.

    when someone shows me any accident can have any creative power, that might be a tiny step.

    the article btw did very little to disprove anypart of the IC of the BF.

  146. Sure, we should look for a natural explanation. However, why does it have to be a reductive explanation in which nature does it’s own creation? If we can’t observe that, then, why do we invoke it? Intelligence is a perfectly natural explanation. Archeaologists, SETI scientists and Forensics constantly use these explanations. Unless, it’s unnatural to suppose that a human agent is responsible for an action.

    Know your science?

  147. Know your science!

  148. when you think about it- the origins of the world cannot be natural in the usual sense of the word. nature couldnt possibly give birth to itself. you cant proclaim that nature is responsible for the start of the universe, considering nature had to, by definition, predate the universe.

    i think its an easy out for a lot of scientists who dont want to confront the issue- the fact that nature couldnt have possibly created itself. if a man suddenly appeared in front of us out of thin air (a man CREATED), scientists would never call it a natural phenomenon. yet, before the universe, there was no “nature” nor a “natural” so neither could have given birth to itself. the terms natural and supernatural get distorted a lot too. as others have pointed out in other comment threads- if a creator created, then he is outside and also part of nature. of course, hed be part of nature because ultimately nature would be a part of him…so you can label it supernatural, yet you can also just as easily see it as a natural event.

  149. “umm i think we can reasonably say that mutations working on a mechanism (NS) that many studies have shown does very little in the wild creating every form of life on earth, via trillions of “happy accidents” is more or less saying its happened by magic.”

    What studies are these? Have you shown them to anyone?

    “when someone shows me any accident can have any creative power, that might be a tiny step.”

    There is no need to assume that there is a creative power at work. You’re trying to get me to give you evidence for ID. The point is that evolution does not need to be guided by intelligence.

    “the article btw did very little to disprove anypart of the IC of the BF.”

    Well it looks to me like it falsifies IC of the BF.

    “Intelligence is a perfectly natural explanation.”

    But there is no natural evidence for intelligence. The change of species over time is not a dichotomy of the Theory of Evolution or design. If evolution is wrong, it is not evidence for design.

    As for jboze’s second post, you appear to be stuck on the misconception that evolution explains the origin of the universe.

  150. how is there no need to explain a creative force? how do a trillion happy accidents equal people? the idea is absurd. accidents, in any other part of the universe, never cause anything good, let alone human beings with intelligence, compassion, love, the ability to build skyscrapers and write operas. a trillion accidental chemical reactions? thats what its reduced to?!

    ive read 3 papers that have shown NS does very little in nature. dont have the links no. even the PE gang think that NS is much less a powerful mechanism than neodarwinists.

    that linked item doesnt explain away half the BF. it attempts to get into the mind of a designer, which is always silly, especially from someone who claims there is no designer. (theres no design in nature, but let me explain why A and B are clearly ways a designer wouldnt do things!). the article doesnt mention half the parts of the BF that have no other purpose outside of the BF. a slight problem, id say!

    evolution has to account for the mechanism that has supposedly done all of this work, and a purposeless accident had to have happened to start it all off. of course origins of life is part of evolution. if neodarwinism posits that life is a big cosmic accident, that the mechanism that is responsible for all life is goal-less, purposeless, etc. and that all life came from a theoretical 1 celled life form, that like started somehow at all- it cant claim it says nothing of ultimate origins!

    evolution cant be used by scientists as this grand scheme of life sort of theory, used to try to explain every facet of biology, why species formed, how life itself went from 1 celled to millions of complex species then say- oops, sorry. we dont know how it all got here. we dont know how on earth the mechanism itself arose or why it arose, and if its the result of intelligence or not (the creation of the mechanism would have to have been outside of nature as most scientists label “nature”). you cant speak of a mechanism that might not have any power to change species into different species, create entirely new body types, life forms, etc. then claim you have nothing to say of why, how, what, when, or where of the mechanism itself and its origins.

    if you stop at the origins of species, why does the theory claim first life? evolution cant make all of these grand claims then stay silent on the very basic question. if it doesnt even try to answer the basic question, the theory cant possibly posit purpose at all, or the lack of purpose. nor can it posit common ancestry if its not about lifes origins in general. thats just laziness.

  151. Higgity

    Did Matzke’s article appear in a peer reviewed journal? [wink wink nudge] :-)

  152. Higgity:

    “ID says that life could not have gotten to where it is today through natural explanations and invokes a creator who is playing outside of nature.”

    BZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZT!!!! Wrong.

    That’s a straw man. Try again.

  153. Higgity:

    “Well it looks to me like it falsifies IC of the BF.”

    ROFLMAO!

    You’re joking, right?

    It’s a made up story. A narrative. Science fiction.

  154. Higgity:

    Ever heard of Lynn Margulis? She was the keynote speaker at the 2005 World Conference on Evolution held in the Galapogos Islands this year. She’s also one of the most respected evolutionary microbiologists in the world and she is also super critical of natural selection. In her keynote address at the “Woodstock of Evolution” she declared neoDarwinism dead in the water. Here’s a nice bit of her work:

    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obi.....38;s=books

    You can thank me by performing your own due diligence before parroting the neoDarwinian party line that we’ve all heard before.

  155. More homework for Higgity re; natural selection

    http://www.stephenjgould.org/

    The Stephen Jay Gould Initiative for

    Non-Darwinian Evolution

    Science in America is in the grip of a potentially fatal dilemma. The brilliantly organized forces of Intelligent Design are backed by President George W. Bush, the Pope, the Dalai Lama, and a majority of American voters. Their only policy statement is that they do not support the idea that complex design was caused by a random process. At this point it is probable that most scientists concur.

    While virtually all scientists see no place for God in science, science itself is divided into two camps, making it impossible to effectively present opposing arguments.

    The Discovery Institute, headquarters of Intelligent Design, is run by an impressive panel of bona fide scientists. They have successfully presented convincing arguments to laymen. They are winning. While some of the organizers have a history of belief in divine intervention in the design process, this remains unstated.

    For the last half century science embraced Charles Darwin’s idea that evolution was the result of natural selection, the survival of randomly occurring mutants which by chance possessed features more advantageous for survival than their normal brethren. Sounding good on paper, the theory was adopted uncritically at the time of the discovery in 1953 of the complex structure of DNA, which was assumed to encode the structure of the body, accounting for the first time since antiquity the way the embryo is formed from one cell. Genomics and Darwinism, the so-called Neo-Darwinian Synthesis, became the basis for Biology, which has spent its time and resources to decode the genome.

    This colossal effort has failed. Apparently the code for the body form does not lie in the genes. Evolutionary biologists no longer believe that natural selection is the prime mechanism of evolution. In June 2005, at an evolution symposium held in the Galapagos, eminent biologist Lynn Margulies publicly proclaimed that the Darwinian Synthesis is dead. Next, respected evolutionary biologist William Provine declared that biology needs a new theory of evolution.

    But this implies the unthinkable collapse of the entire billion dollar infrastructure of biology which employs tens of thousands of biologists in the pursuit of a code which does not exist. This weakness is the strength of the forces of Intelligent Design. Organizations dedicated to opposing ID base their argument on Darwinism. But they are reluctant to enter the debate knowing that ID can produce hundreds of disinterested scientists who will testify that natural selection is not the prime cause of evolution. They quote Stephen Jay Gould, who concurred. But there is no case prepared to present an alternative theory, which will be needed in the dozens of court cases which have recently opened all over the US . There will be new Scopes trials. William Jennings Bryan is ready, but there is no Clarence Darrow.

    Hundreds of scientists who have no commitment to genetics, no lifetime belief system to give up, and whose jobs are not at stake, are still reluctant to openly oppose natural selection as the cause of design. At stake for them is opposition from their geneticist colleagues. This is already manifested in the case concerning the well-documented persecution of biologist Dr. Richard Sternberg by the Smithsonian Institution, whose work centers on the theory of evolution by Structural Self-Organization, the general name for non-random accounts or theories of evolution. A premise is that life is organized by the same principle responsible for crystals, rocks, and geological formations.

    Non-Darwinian Science has had no centralized spokes-organization comparable to that of the Discovery Institute. But one is now organized–The Stephen Jay Gould Initiative for Non-Darwinian Evolution—and is endorsed by a growing list of leading scientists at major centers of learning.

  156. DaveScot 1: I don’t think the article did, but it references five separate peer-reviewed articles and a couple of other sources to make its claim.

    DaveScot 2: Fine. The definition I gave sucked. Give me an objective definition of ID.

    DaveScot 3: Honestly, you have to stop saying “Darwinism” and “Neo-darwinism” if for no other reason than I have no idea what it means. As for Lynn Margulis, she’s a great scientist. She’s also definitely not an ID supporter. Natural selection is not the only concept in evolution. Her main criticisms are that evolution is incomplete. There’s nothing wrong with that. It will continue to gain strength.

    DaveScot 4: I saw that website a few weeks ago and could not make heads nor tails of it. I still can’t.

  157. Higgity

    The answer to my question “was Matzke’s article published in a peer reviewed journal” was no. Had you not equivocated you might have gained a modicum of respect.

    Your definition didn’t suck. It was a lie. The Stephen J. Gould website, which I might point out is not sympathetic to ID, has an honest definition:

    Their [DI's] only policy statement is that they do not support the idea that complex design was caused by a random process.

    “you have to stop saying “Darwinism” and “Neo-darwinism” if for no other reason than I have no idea what it means.”

    If you don’t know what Darwinism and NeoDarwinism are then you shouldn’t be commenting here. The following might help but an education would help even more:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neodarwinism

  158. I’m new to these ID theories, I have to admit.

    What I’ve gathered from this thread is that there are a number of creationists who also subscribe to ID, and a number that don’t.

    There are a number of ID supporters who are creationists, and a number who are not.

    (There are also some people who say that ID, creation and evolution can all fit together as well?)

    So – for the ID supporters who are not creationists – did the design process happen once, at the beginning, or is it still ongoing? And is ‘darwinian evolution’ part of the design?

    I’m a bit confused, to be honest!

    [This is well-worn ground. Read the relevant chapters in The Design Revolution. --WmAD]

  159. Higgity

    Natural selection as a creative force is DEAD IN THE WATER. Get used to it.

    When one first ventures outside the bounds of neoDarwinian dogma (I hope you read the wiki article so you know what neodarwinism is now) the first bit of wool to fall one’s eyes illuminates the fiction that is the natural selection canon. One discovers that natural selection is not a creative force in nature and it doesn’t serve to preserve beneficial mutations. Beneficial mutations, don’t you know, happen as all mutations happen, in a single individual. These beneficial mutations in individuals are so very, very slight in the rare cases they’re beneficial at all, that their beneficial effect is swamped (lost in the noise) by the normal factors (luck and environment) that determine how many offspring that individual has. Natural selection is actually a conservative force because when random mutations do happen where it causes a change to a binding site on an enzyme the result is usually disastrous in the short term to the stricken individual’s reproductive success (usually death in the embryonic stage).

    In the interest of furthering your education here are some illuminating facts:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miscarriage

    Pay close attention to prevalence and causes.

  160. Higgity

    It’s rather discouraging that you don’t have sufficient background to understand anything on Stephen J. Gould’s website. I really don’t think you should be commenting here until you do. I’m not formally trained in evolutionary biology and I don’t have any trouble at all understanding Gould’s work. I can only conclude you’re exceedingly wet behind the ears.

  161. Higgity, you are just dead wrong when you define science only to “evolutionary explanations.” Isn’t science the search for the truth? Shouldn’t it be about the best inference to the best explanation?

  162. I’d suggest that you make a distinction between Bible-believing folks who aver that “In the beginning God created,” and the muck-a-mucks who sit at the top to of the heap of the Creationist movement (whether traditional YEC or “new-age” OEC). Most of the former are in the stands (or the pews, I guess), rooting for you all the way.

    In the 1970s I began reading most of the major Creationist books, starting with The Genesis Flood. But I’ve got to tell you, the day I put down Johnson’s Darwin on Trial — must have been ten years ago now — I thanked my God to by alive during the era of history when the Darwinists “got theirs.”

    “Whang their arses, Dembski!”

  163. Oh yeah, check out ID and Elvis. Hope it’s okay that I used your pic. ô¿ô

  164. DaveScot and Dr. Heddle,

    Thought you guys might find this interesting:

    http://www.space.com/scienceas.....atter.html

    http://www.sciencenews.org/art.....8/bob9.asp

  165. More consternation over dark matter? Say it isn’t so. Let’s ask Heddle. Maybe it can all be explained, like dark energy, as a tweak to the cosmological constant fudge factor. Nothing of interest here, Gump. Move along. Modern physics has all the answers.

  166. Dr. Dembski,

    thank you for your response. Unfortunately, as I live and work in Eastern Europe I don’t have a particularly large book budget, and depend a lot on the internet for my learning resources.

    I have read through a number of your articles on the designinference site (instead of buying your book, sorry!), and the answers I have obtained from there are:

    The design process is still ongoing.
    Neo-darwinian evolution is part of the design, but can’t by itself be credited with more complex pieces of design; and can be said to be responsible for micro-evolution and not macro-evolution.

    Does this represent an accurate summary?

  167. I’m afraid that’s a bit too simple. Read the non-mathematical sections of my paper “Searching Large Spaces” on my website: http://www.designinference.com. –WmAD

  168. Fuz and Hugh have it wrong.

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