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Darwin and School Shootings

A friend has alerted me to this book and article in The Times online.

Charles Darwin and the children of the evolution

The headline makes the statement “The naturalist outraged the church, prompting a bitter debate that still sets creationists against evolutionists. Now a sinister link has emerged between his work and the recent spate of high-school killings by crazed, nihilistic teenagers.”

Read the article here

The book is available “The Political Gene: How Darwin’s Ideas Changed Politics” (Picador, £18.99) by Dennis Sewell is available at the BooksFirst        or at amazon.co.uk

http://science-and-values.blogspot.com/

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73 Responses to Darwin and School Shootings

  1. What impact should the ravings of lunatics have on evolutionary biology? These are not rational people. This seems no different than the numerous criminals who claim God told them to do it. And again, so what? Even if there was a causal connection, this would not constitute a proof against evolution.

    http://www.tylerpaper.com/arti...../986513661

  2. Wow. That was in the Times of London?

    They even quote Barry.

  3. Andrew,

    If the theory of evolution had never been proposed do you believe these individuals would have had normal lives, or would they have adopted another idea or personality to help justify their nihilism?

    From the article:

    The Chicago spree-killers Leopold and Loeb (the models for Hitchcock’s 1948 film, Rope) claimed Friedrich Nietzsche as their muse, as did the Moors murderer Ian Brady. Other deranged misfits have nominated Albert Camus, Jean Genet and André Gide. But it may take a keener intellect than was possessed by Harris, Klebold or Auvinen to negotiate such a reading list. The basics of evolution are much more accessible and are taught in every high school, so it should not be surprising that Darwin seems to be emerging as the inspiration for the more dim-witted schoolboy sociopath.

    Of course the article seems to miss the point that the modern evolutionary theory is descriptive – it describes processes observed in nature. It is not prescriptive and it does not, unlike religion, prescribe how people ought to behave. Unfortunately this is lost on some people.

  4. Chilling Article:

    Here is a music video commemorating Cassie Bernall of the Columbine Massacre:

    Do You Believe In God? – Tribute To Cassie Bernall – She Said Yes
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dl3-CdeU3fo

    Do You Believe In God?
    She Said Yes: The Unlikely Martyrdom of Cassie Bernall
    http://www.cassiebernall.com/

    “Cassie” Lyrics

    The question asked in order
    To save her life or take it
    The answer no to avoid death
    The answer yes would make it
    Make it

    Do you believe in God
    Written on the bullet
    Say yes to pull the trigger
    Do you believe in God
    Written on the bullet
    And Cassie pulled the trigger

    All heads are bowed in silence
    To remember her last sentence
    She answered him knowing what would happen
    Her last words still hanging in the air
    In the air

    Do you believe in God
    Written on the bullet
    Say yes to pull the trigger
    Do you believe in God
    Written on the bullet
    And Cassie/Rachel pulled the trigger

    How many will die
    I will die
    I, I will say yes

    Do you believe in God
    Written on the bullet
    Say yes to pull the trigger
    Do you believe in God
    Written on the bullet
    And Cassie pulled the trigger

    (Do you believe)
    Do you believe in God (Do you believe)
    Do you believe in God (Do you believe)
    Do you believe in God
    And I will pull the trigger

  5. 5

    You can bet your bottom dollar that had the assailants claimed they were killing in the name of Christ, that would be all over the news.

    In fact, it wasn’t long ago a mother in Texas said she killed her children to save them from the devil, and that was all over the news, including discussion about whether or not religious beliefs led to increased levels of psychopathic behavior.

    Hmm. I wonder where all the commentary is in the mainstream media about whether or not Darwinism leads believers to increased psychopathic behavior?

  6. I’m not sure what the purpose of this article is. Is the writer saying that a modern scientific theory, evolution, is the cause of death and destruction perpetrated by angsty teenagers around the globe?

    Would it be fair to say that intelligent design as a theory is invalid simply because of the moral behavior of some of its proponents? Or, conversely, because one adherent drew unnecessary conclusions from the intelligent design mindset and was set off on a killing rampage?

    I would hope not. A theory, whether it be intelligent design, evolution, young-earth creationism, etc. should rest on its own merits, not on the moral behavior of those who do not properly understand it.

  7. bornagain77,

    The martyrdom of Cassie Bernall is a myth. The official Columbine report reveals that there was no exchange at all between Bernall and her killer:

    Harris walked over to table 19 where he bent down and saw two frightened girls. He slapped the table top twice, said, Peek-a-boo, and fired, killing Cassie Bernall. After shooting Cassie, Harris made a comment about hitting himself in the face. Investigators believe Harris broke his nose as a result of the kick from the shotgun when he bent to fire under the table.

  8. 8

    scrofulous, I have personally proven parts of the “official” report to be not only wrong but wildly inaccurate. Thus, a statement in the report does not settle the matter as you seem to imply.

  9. Look, school shootings are mostly an American phenomenon, although some European copycats are trying to catch up. Since America is a very Christian nation, should we blame Christianity? Of course not. Somehow, the crazy ideas of these kids went undetected by their parents and their social surroundings. There is the root of the problem I believe. Of course, the easy availability of guns is also a factor.

  10. I personally think that Darwinism almost always leads to this kind of insanity. First of all you have to believe that God is not necessary to act in the world- and hence that there is no evidence that God acts at all at least on the development of life. Hence you think God does not exist and there is no after life repercussions for your behavior to worry about. Darwinists are atheists – and atheism is responsible for more deaths than virtually any other psychological belief. I personally think that the socialist health care bill and the morality behind it is Dariwnistic. It leads towards a situation where they can deny certain people medical care for the good of the greater whole of society. This is completely impersonal and evil- and it fallows from a Darwinistic approach- which views the progress of society as the only good and hence seeks to sacrifice people involuntarily- that is against their will only because they think they can get more milage out of someone else. I heard a guy defending the death care bill who also said his next hope is to eliminate inheritances by making it mandatory that all inheritance goes to the state for the greater good of the whole people. When I aksed him how steeling someone’s savings that they are passing on to their kids was moral- he said because their kids did not earn the money.

    We have already seen where atheistic Darwinism leads in Nazi Germany which their race purification for the greater good- and in soviet Russia where Karl Max’s crack pot economic doctrines were forced on the people. Carl Max of course in case you all did not know dedicated one of his books to Charles Darwin- and his great quote on religion was that it was the opiate of the masses.

    Actually atheism is the opiate of the masses because with it you can behave any way you want without fear of objective immorality. Like with drugs you can dilute yourself out of reality. You can have all of the sexual and physical desires you can think of with out any reason to pause. You make make as much money as you want regardless of how dishonestly you do it or how many people your hurt in the process.

    Basically Dostoevsky had it right. “If God does not exist, everything is permitted.”

    Darwinism is just the first necessary step to accepting this as one’s reality.

  11. Frost,

    You’re making some very strong statements that deserve some clarification.

    Darwinists are atheists – and atheism is responsible for more deaths than virtually any other psychological belief.

    Plenty of Darwinists are not atheists and religious belief has led to plenty of deaths, if not more than atheism.

    I personally think that the socialist health care bill and the morality behind it is Dariwnistic. It leads towards a situation where they can deny certain people medical care for the good of the greater whole of society.

    What do you think is happening now? Greedy health insurance companies are denying people medical care for the good of their profit. Every year, 45,000 people die in the US due to lack of health insurance. You might want to read this.

  12. Leviathan at #6,

    This issue has been brought up before. It isn’t just a theory; it has significant ontological implications. The moral reactions DO matter, for if Darwinism were true, these extreme interpretations cannot be justified as immoral, or extreme, for that matter. If Darwinism dictates survival-of-the-fittest, why, in the interest of humanity, should the weak live? Thankfully, we don’t feel this way. And the fact that we don’t indicates there’s something fundamentally broken in the theory.

  13. “…religious belief has led to plenty of deaths, if not more than atheism.”

    No.

  14. Jit- you go and look at how many deaths we are tkaing about from Nazi Germany, Communist Russia, and Vietnamand Cambdia- and lets throw in other countries like North Korea and Cuba with their soviet style revolutions and governmets.

    You will see that the toll is bigger than with all the supposed huge deaths of the Crusades- which have been over blown- or the revolutionary and civil wars which were not about religion but political and economic issues- in fact both wars resulted in a more Christian and free society.- the revolutionary war for freedom and the civil war for spiritual dignity.

    And let me be clear. ALL Darwinists are atheists. There is no room for a God who creates a world that produces life by pure chance and natural selection. It would be Diesm, or pantheism at best but even these view would ask for more than natural selection as a mechnaism- even these views require a lagislator playing a role in the system which brings forth species. Darwinism does not include this because it goes against the theme of the theory- which is that life is the result of simple stupid (non-teleological) material actions. Remember Darwinian evolution does not say that that natural selection is a designed system anywhere in the theory. Darwin said we evolved from lowliness – that is bottom up evolution- and not from a supreme intellect (top down).

    So how anyone can hold both Darwinism and theism at once is illogical and irrational to me. And I am not interested in considering an irrational theist- one who holds contradictory position- both a theist and non theist at the same time.

  15. Barry,

    I submitted a comment backing up my claim that the Cassie Bernall martyrdom story is a myth.

    Why has it been deleted?

  16. To Frost122585:

    ALL Darwinists are atheists

    Sigh.

  17. “religious belief has led to plenty of deaths, if not more than atheism.”

    Nonsense. Atheistic communism set some records during the 20th century. Atheism has not been widely accepted for most of history as most groups had some gods they adhered to. So in its initial trip to the plate it did quite well for itself. I think the argument by the authors of the Black Book was whether it was 95 million or 100 million. One set of authors was accused of inflating the numbers so it passed the 100 million mark while the conservative group would not go for any more than 95 million. Isn’t socialism great!

    We have discussed deaths in wars before and the real winners are the various Asian conquerers who have left hundreds of million dead in their conquest. Up till the two World Wars deaths in Europe has been far behind those in Asia. Though the 30 Year War left a lot dead. And there is some evidence that Darwinism affected Germany military thinking in WW I.

  18. Mr Leviathan,

    To answer your first question, the article was written to publicise the book written by the author, and referenced at the end of the article. Sewell is a relatively conservative British journalist. A review of the book is also available from the Times. From that review:

    Sewell is no proponent of intelligent design. He has “no quarrel whatsoever with the orthodox account of evolution as taught in English schools”, he says. But he does have an agenda.

  19. 19

    And atheism and darwinism continue to under-write abortion and euthanasia. The “culture of death” is part and parcel of Godless philosophies

  20. If God does not exist, everything is permitted

    Is this what Uncommon Descent has become ? A religious rant ? Im regularly censored for mentioning it, while Frostxxx, Bornagain etc continue their preaching. Do you ever wonder why the outside world associates ID with religion ?

  21. jerry in #15:

    We have discussed deaths in wars before and the real winners are the various Asian conquerers who have left hundreds of million dead in their conquest.

    An interesting (and accurate) point. What religion was professed by those various Asian conquerors (such as Ghengis Khan), perchance? Or were they all Darwinist atheists?

    And what does this any of this have to do with the veracity (or lack thereof) of either the Darwinian or ID theories of evolution?

    Let us not forget that both “Darwinism” and ID are theories of evolution (as asserted by Drs. Behe, Dembski, Denton, et al). They do not differ in their underlying acceptance of descent with modification from common ancestors, nor in their acceptance of natural selection as an important evolutionary mechanism. Rather, they differ only about the source of the variation upon which natural selection (and the other mechanisms of microevolution and macroevolution) operate.

  22. In #18, Graham1 asked:

    “Is this what Uncommon Descent has become ? A religious rant?”

    An interesting conjecture. One could test this hypothesis by counting up the various posts and comments, and then determining the frequency of the total number of posts and comments that depend upon religious concepts (e.g. biblical quotations, allusions to religious doctrine, etc.) for their justification. Anyone want to do this (empirical) study? I, for one, do not have time to do so, but I would be very interested in the outcome.

    And, if the moderators do not allow the results of such a study to be posted, you can post them as a comment on my blog:

    http://evolutionlist.blogspot.com

    (assuming, of course, that this comment is allowed through moderation)

  23. To Allen_M: I did a ‘view source’ and got 22 occurences of ‘god’.

    But seriously, ID is desperate to portray itself as science, yet (especially lately), just about every thread has (or acquires) a strong religious flavour.

    And the moderators dont seem too worried.

  24. ALL Darwinists are atheists

    no, No NO!

    You see, it is only all TRUE Darwinists who are atheists.

    The way to true Darwinism is narrow, and the gate is small, and few find it.

  25. Mung,

    ….

  26. Allen MacNeill @ 21:

    Rather, they differ only about the source of the variation upon which natural selection (and the other mechanisms of microevolution and macroevolution) operate.

    Allen, this cannot be correct.

    It is the mechanism that they discpute, as much as anything, and if natural selection is not the Darwinian mechanism that explains “irreducibly complex” system, what is?

    Behe is quite clear in DBB that he is launching a direct attack on the efficacy of selection to create these systems.

  27. Graham1 And the moderators dont seem too worried.

    I’ve found that, in general, I.D. proponents tend to be far more upfront and honest about their beliefs than do design-deniers. Your comment seems to reflect this.

    Remember, it’s the designophobics who resort to censorship, debate dodging, and strawman arguments. All I.D. proponents want is clarity, honesty, and a willingness to follow the modern-day evidence, as opposed to clinging to silly steamboat-era ideas.

  28. Jerry says,

    “We have discussed deaths in wars before and the real winners are the various Asian conquerers”

    Yeah let us talk about Mao Tse-Tung, he rejected all forms of religion for the atheistic socialism of Marxism-Leninism, which sees religion as not only an opiate of the masses, but a destructive force which must be rooted out to usher in the glories of world communism.

    He had a pretty good outing for this world view didn’t he? He sure showed that you atheist commies know how to clean house. 14 to 20 million deaths from starvation during the ‘Great Leap Forward- millions outright killed- millions of lives ruined during the ‘Cultural Revolution’. All from the enlightened mind of a man who said “religion is poison.”

  29. —Graham: 1: “Is this what Uncommon Descent has become ? A religious rant?”

    Is that what Darwinisn has become? Anti-religious sour grapes.

    —Allen MacNeill: “One could test this hypothesis [religious rant] by counting up the various posts and comments, and then determining the frequency of the total number of posts and comments that depend upon religious concepts (e.g. biblical quotations, allusions to religious doctrine, etc.) for their justification. Anyone want to do this (empirical) study? I, for one, do not have time to do so, but I would be very interested in the outcome.”

    Yes, I am sure you would. Your proclivity to describe ID science in terms of the perceived motives of its advocates is becoming legendary.

    —”And, if the moderators do not allow the results of such a study [ID religious rants] to be posted, you can post them as a comment on my blog:”

    I, on the other hand, would like to do a study on the number of posts you have devoted to the proposition that ID=religion.

  30. Speaking of Asian conquerors, and in the interest of balance in the numbers game, let us not overlook the Christian Chinese Hong Xiuquan, who established in 1851 the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom, leading to the deaths of 20-30 million people, a massacre only rivaled by WWII.

  31. Jitsak,

    Chinese Hong Xiuquan was not a truw Christian- he was a revolutionary struggling against the TOTALLY corrupt Qing Dynasty- and he claimed to be “Christ’s bother” which he discovered in a dream- hardly a claim a true Christian would make- just to give him authoritative power.

    But the point is that the Qing “dynasty” was ruling with a central government with extreme power- and of course absolute power corrupts absolutely- and it did. So he laboring classes fallowed Xiuquan as their only hope.

    Nowhere in the Bible did Christ ever say to revolt against a government. But of course revolution is exactly what Marxism Stalinism is all about- and without God.. all is permissible.

    You should do a little studying of history before you start making claims- because you look like a fool when you get all of the facts wrong.

  32. Allen you wrote,

    “One could test this hypothesis [religious rant] by counting up the various posts and comments, and then determining the frequency of the total number of posts and comments that depend upon religious concepts (e.g. biblical quotations, allusions to religious doctrine, etc.) for their justification. Anyone want to do this (empirical) study? I, for one, do not have time to do so, but I would be very interested in the outcome.”

    Well when we have all of these people coming to the site here challenging ID from an anti-religious point of view we are not just going to let them post their false opinions as facts. For example I am responding to your rant here about UD becoming too religious. Why? Because YOU are raising the issue.

    Congrats.

    Perhaps we need the site moderator to get rid of some of these people who show up here all of a sudden to continually post anti-religious posts over and over again- conflating religion with the secular scientific theory of ID.

    That would solve your problem :)

  33. 33

    Frost,

    “Chinese Hong Xiuquan was not a truw Christian.”

    You’re setting yourself up for accusations of being an illegitimate judge of who is and who is not a Christian. However, such accusations break down when you consider absurdities such as:

    “If I want to call myself the president of the USA, that’s my perogative. Who are you to judge?”

    There are certain criteria for legitimacy in calling oneself a Christian, just as there are definite criteria for legitimately calling oneself the Commander in Cheif.

    What’s interesting about this is that such accusations are merely a tool for a higher rhetorical purpose – that of determining guilt by association.

    Christian morality does not call for the slaughter of millions under any conditions as far as I can tell from reading scripture myself. Therefore, if someone calling themself a Christian should commit such acts, one is entitled to use scripture as a measure of their true Christian commitment or lack thereof.

  34. Cann, you write,

    “You’re setting yourself up for accusations of being an illegitimate judge of who is and who is not a Christian. However, such accusations break down when you consider absurdities such as:

    “If I want to call myself the president of the USA, that’s my prerogative. Who are you to judge?”

    What nonsense. Wo am I to judge? Who are you to tell me I cannot? ANd who are you to ask me the question? I am me and you are you. Period.

    What you are arguing for is a RELATIVISTIC reality- results in no objective truth and hence no reason for us to argue. Philosophers have known this is a non sequitur for millennia. While relativity is true as far as what people believe, and frams of reference in physics- it does not get us anywhere when discussing the specifics of reality- because true reality is “objective.”

    At some point there is an absolute reality- which involves one either being a Christan or not. I myself have every human right to determine whether one is or is not a Christian by observing the facts and scripture as template.

    You have no argument- and Hong Xiuquan claimed to have a revelation of being Christ’s brother- which he used to help start a revolution which was the result of a totally non Christian dynasty form of government. And of course there are no scriptural revelations predicting any sort of a thing- that is a coming of Christ’s brother. And since he lead a violent revolution (not exactly Christ like) under the auspices of an absurd declaration- from a scriptural point of view I see no reason to consider him a Christian. But, I am sure if I dug a bit deeper I could come up with a lot more reasons to doubt the authenticity of his faith though.

    It is a total fallacy to think someone is a Christian just because they say they are one. And when Jit uses this guy as an example of “a Christian example of the faith being used to lead the murder of 20 million people”- I will disagree for the obvious reason I noted and set the facts right.

  35. The Christian faith would by it’s very nature not lead to a mass war unless it’s adherence were being attacked- at which points those deaths would be the result of the aggressors and not the defenders- who fought because they were left with no other choice. But what you have in atheistic Marxism is the advocacy of a class war revolution which is not based on self defense of aggressive violence- but of class inequities. In other words it is not about life and death but about equality in regards to money and power and “human rights” (defined as however the people LEADING the revolution at that time choose) – and of course it never pans out that way- Fidel Castro does not share the same quality of life as the majority of peasants in his dictatorship do.

  36. StephenB,

    I, on the other hand, would like to do a study on the number of posts you have devoted to the proposition that ID=religion.

    I can do that study, I have access as a moderator using the WordPress search engine to pull up all of Allen’s comments. I might just do that soon.

  37. #35

    The Christian faith would by it’s very nature not lead to a mass war unless it’s adherence were being attacked

    What counts as a mass war? The 30 years war certainly started as a Catholic vs Protestant war (although, just like the Russian revolution, it got more complicated). Relative to population size it was just as destructive as any of the other examples above. Between one quarter and a third of the German population died.

  38. Frost,

    Chinese Hong Xiuquan was not a truw Christian

    Somehow I knew you would say that. I might as well claim that Mao et al. were not true atheists but secretly worshiping Apollo. I could go on and say that atheists value this life because they think that’s all there is, while a believer doesn’t have to feel too bad about killing because the ‘victims’ will go to a better place anyway. But I won’t do that.

  39. Frost at 34:

    I myself have every human right to determine whether one is or is not a Christian by observing the facts and scripture as template.

    I’m curious whether Matthew 7:1 is one of the scriptures you evaluate putative Christians against?

  40. jitsak, Actually the standard for Christianity is a quite a bit higher than you try to portray:

    Mark 5
    21″You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ 22 But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. ,,,,

    27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ 28 But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

    So have you murdered jistak? Have you committed adultery jistak? Or should I more properly ask, Have you murdered today jistak?

    As well Jistak, would a man willingly die a horrendous death defending what he knew was really a lie? No of course not! A man would only subject himself to such a horrid death for something he “knew”, not something he “believed in” mind you, but something he absolutely KNEW to be true!

    The Disciples – Would A Man Die Defending What He Knew Was A Lie? – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tk0My7sKb7s

  41. boreagain77:

    So have you murdered jistak? Have you committed adultery jistak? Or should I more properly ask, Have you murdered today jistak?

    Let’s try to keep it civil. Don’t forget those 12 steps.

    As well Jistak, would a man willingly die a horrendous death defending what he knew was really a lie? No of course not! A man would only subject himself to such a horrid death for something he “knew”, not something he “believed in” mind you, but something he absolutely KNEW to be true!

    You mean like the 9/11 suicide bombers? I’m convinced they absolutely KNEW the 72 virgins were waiting for them.

  42. Now let’s be honest jistak, The deaths of the bombers and the Disciples of Christ are worlds (universes) apart. The bombers only died for what they believed to be true. As well the bombers inflicted their death upon themselves, as well as a few thousand unwilling infidels. Whereas the disciples were dying horrid deaths at the hands of their persecutors merely for their testimony of what they had personally witnessed first hand i.e. the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The bombers on the other hand had no way of knowing if what they believed was accurately true or not, whereas the disciples had direct knowledge if what they believed was in fact a lie or not. Again I ask, would a man die such a horrid, selfless, death defending what he knew for certain was a lie?

  43. Re Clive Hayden in comment #36:

    Please, Clive, do exactly that: search for all the times that I have asserted that ID is or equals religion. And while you’re at it, search for all the times that a contributor or commentator at this site have posted quotations from the Bible (or arguments grounded in religion, especially Christianity) in support of their argument for ID.

    I don’t have to make this argument; the commentators at this website are making it for me.

  44. Let me be very clear: I believe that it is completely irrelevant to the veracity of scientific research what a supporter or opponent of evolution or ID believes vis-a-vis religion. It is clearly the case that some evolutionary biologists that have provided some of the cornerstones of evolutionary theory have simultaneously been devoutly religious (I have listed them in other threads). It is equally the case that some of the most ardent supporters of ID have been atheists and/or agnostics. Ergo, there is no necessary connection between the science of evolutionary biology (or ID) and one’s religious beliefs.

    Indeed, I think most people here (on both sides of the issue) would agree that religious beliefs currently play almost no part in the daily practice of doing scientific research. Furthermore, I also think that many (but not all) people here think that religious beliefs shouldn’t play any part in the daily practice of doing scientific research.

    If you agree with either of these statements, then what do you say to those commentators who support ID using overtly religious arguments (up to and often including quotations from the Bible)?

    If ID has any merit as science, doesn’t that mean that such merit has nothing to do with its religious implications? And if that is the case, why mention them at all?

    I have never asserted that evolutionary theory has implications for the truth or falseness of any religious doctrine. On the contrary, I have repeatedly asserted that there is no logical or necessary connection between the findings of science and the tenets of any religious doctrine whatsoever. To be as clear as possible: nothing in science either supports or undermines either the existence (or non-existence) of God(s) nor any religious or moral/ethical doctrine of any kind.

    The justification for religious beliefs, like the justification for moral/ethical prescriptions and values, cannot legitimately be derived from statements that describe the way nature works. To attempt to do this in any way is to commit a basic logical fallacy and by so doing to fundamentally corrupt the very foundations of science, religion, and ethics.

  45. And yes, this means that I fundamentally disagree with Rev. Paley’s arguments (as propounded in Natural Theology: http://darwin-online.org.uk/co.....;pageseq=1 ), and therefore (by extension) with those ID supporters who could legitimately be described as (or who would willingly don the mantle of) neo-Paleyists.

  46. And yes, I also disagree with some proponents of evolution when they assert that the data of evolutionary biology somehow “proves” or “justifies” atheism. This, of course, does not include Darwin himself, who never made any such assertion.

  47. I posted this comment a couple of days ago. For some reason, it was deleted:

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    Barry,

    It’s been well documented that the story of Cassie Bernall’s martyrdom is a myth. From an article at Salon.com:

    Emily Wyant knew from the beginning: Columbine “martyr” Cassie Bernall never said “Yes.”

    Wyant, who survived the Columbine massacre April 20, told the FBI months ago that the famous “unlikely martyrdom of Cassie Bernall,” immortalized in a best-selling book by Cassie’s mom, Misty, never happened. She told Misty and Brad Bernall, Cassie’s parents, the same account, and she also told the Rocky Mountain News.

    But it wasn’t until Sept. 24, one day after Salon News broke the story that investigators doubted Bernall’s famous gunpoint declaration of faith, that the News printed a long story detailing Wyant’s account…

    The Denver Post didn’t get its new Bernall stories into print until Saturday. It followed up on Tuesday, after the paper was able to interview Valeen Schnurr, the young Columbine student who was asked by one of the killers if she believed in God — after she’d been shot…

    Emily Wyant watched with disbelief as the Bernall myth mushroomed. “Once she started hearing all that, she said, ‘That didn’t happen. Why are they saying that?’” her mother recalls. The girl kept waiting for investigators or news reporters to refute the myth, so she would not have to come forward herself.

    “She never wanted to ever, ever say anything against it,” says her mother, who did not want her first name used because of community sensitivity about the Bernall controversy. “She just was real frustrated with it, and she just kept saying, ‘But that never happened. Why are they saying that?’ That’s the thing that bothered her.”

    Wyant is the only living person who actually witnessed Bernall’s death. She was hiding beneath a table right beside Cassie when it happened. “Emily was right there next to her, and in fact, she was looking right in her eyes, so you’d think she would be able to hear that, being right next to her, if anything was exchanged. And she can’t remember anything being said,” Wyant explained.

    As the Rocky Mountain News reported Sept. 24, Wyant and Bernall were studying alone together in the back of the library. After the gunmen rushed in, the girls crouched beneath a table together, and Cassie began praying aloud: “Dear God. Dear God. Why is this happening? I just want to go home.” Dylan Klebold suddenly slammed his hand on the table, yelled “Peekaboo,” and looked underneath. He shot Cassie without exchanging a word. Wyant’s mother confirmed that the Rocky Mountain News correctly reported the details of her daughter’s account.

    Salon News reported last Thursday that investigators believed the famous exchange actually took place between Klebold and Valeen Schnurr, and was mistakenly attributed to Bernall. Now Schnurr herself has confirmed that story. On Tuesday the Denver Post reported her account, which she also told to Salon News:

    Schnurr was down on her hands and knees bleeding, already hit by 34 shotgun pellets, when one of the killers approached her. She was saying, “Oh, my God, oh, my God, don’t let me die,” and he asked her if she believed in God. She said yes; he asked why. “Because I believe and my parents brought me up that way,” she said. He reloaded, but didn’t shoot again. She crawled away.

    Schnurr’s testimony has been unwavering since the start. After interviewing every person who survived the library to unravel discrepancies, investigators came to believe her story was accurate, and was probably the only such exchange about God with the killers. Investigators have gone public with that belief since the Salon story broke last Thursday…

    Friday, the Rocky Mountain News also cast doubt on the account credited with starting the Cassie myth. Division Chief John Kiekbusch said the entire story-that the exchange about God had been between Bernall and Klebold — began with survivor Craig Scott.

    “[Scott] told investigators he heard the “Yes” comment and recognized the voice as Cassie Bernall’s,” the News reported. “He did not actually see the individuals involved … Investigators said Scott was asked to point out where the gunmen were at the time, and he indicated a table where Valeen Schnurr — not Bernall — was hiding.”

    A reporter for the paper said the News was waiting to run a story debunking several Columbine myths, including Bernall’s, until a few weeks before the report was released. It was not until the Salon story broke, he said, that Wyant would allow the paper to use her name. News metro editor Steve Myers confirmed that the paper had much of the information about the myths Salon debunked Sept. 23.

    “The things that you reported were not unknown to me,” Myers said. He abruptly ended the conversation when questioned about the ethics of sitting on the Bernall disclosures when the book was released…

    The Post’s Evan Dreyer admitted to conflicted feelings about tackling the controversy over Bernall’s martyrdom. “For a lot of these stories, it comes down to: We’re the local media,” he said. “We have to weigh lots of questions of sensitivity, caring and concern for the victims’ families, more so than a lot of the national media does. “So, as local media, you think twice and three times and four times about whether that’s a story you want to go with. But maybe we are erring too much on the side of concern and sympathy, and [Salon News] sort of forced the issue.”

  48. Allen McNeill said: Let us not forget that both “Darwinism” and ID are theories of evolution (as asserted by Drs. Behe, Dembski, Denton, et al). They do not differ in their underlying acceptance of descent with modification from common ancestors, nor in their acceptance of natural selection as an important evolutionary mechanism. Rather, they differ only about the source of the variation upon which natural selection (and the other mechanisms of microevolution and macroevolution) operate.

    - This is worth repeating. Since we can exclude young-earth creationism from a scientific discussion, the core of the debate is not if evolution happened, it is whether evolution is guided or unguided. I submit that, in the absence of concrete empirical evidence either way, this is a metaphysical question akin to the question if there is guidance behind someone winning the lottery, falling in love, surviving cancer or a traffic accident. For some people such things are the natural fluctuations of life, for believers these may show the hand of God at work.

    One man’s random event is another man’s Act of God. These are metaphysical, perhaps theological, but not scientific interpretations.

    fG

  49. Let us not forget that both “Darwinism” and ID are theories of evolution

    ID does not address evolution. It is not anti-evolution. It is not pro-evolution.

    It is indifferent to evolution.

  50. In comment #49, tribune7 wrote:

    “ID does not address evolution. It is not anti-evolution. It is not pro-evolution. It is indifferent to evolution.”

    Would you please supply quotations from any of the published writings of Drs. Behe and Dembski supporting this assertion? Thanks!

  51. Allen,

    I looked at Tribune7′s comment a long time and decided I could not object to it nor support it. ID is about design, or that objects or things could not originated through natural processes. As such it could be applied to many domains. Some are so obvious that no one questions the assertion such as the food on your table or the car in your driveway are due to an intelligent input. It just so happens that the one that consumes all our attention is life and its changes over time. It certainly has been applied to cosmology and forensic sciences depend upon the many of the same processes that involve ID as does archaeology and anthropology.

    So ID is something like mathematics or some other analytic procedure that is used to gain knowledge of some domain. And in fact a lot of Dembski’s arguments are in obscure mathematical formulas. But as I said life’s processes is the one area where all the heat is generated. If one uses the techniques of ID and examines life, there is no predisposition that the changes observed in life over some time period is due to any specific cause. So in that way ID is indifferent to what has caused the changes in life forms over time.

    I cannot recall any of Dembski’s or Behe’s writings which would be inconsistent with the above.

    You objected to my comment that you often do not stay here long enough to get a sense of what ID is about. That has been my impression over the last three years. You come and go and often never finish a discussion. Since I have not been here much in the last few months I have read little of the threads that have recently occurred. I just now read one of your comments from “Getting over our love of Darwin” thread and want to know if a comment accurately reflects your thinking or not or whether you left out a negative. It is

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-339357

    And the paragraph in question is

    “To me, belief in the existence of God must necessarily be the result of an act of free will, rather than a necessary conclusion based on observation of the operation of nature. Indeed, I agree with both Darwin and Huxley in asserting that if one grounds one’s belief in the existence of God in the operation of nature, one is forced to agree with the proposition that a benevolent and compassionate God would (of His own free will) create such things as parasitoids and Ewings sarcom”

    Is there a “not” missing in the last sentence, that is “God would not” instead of “God would”

    I tend to follow your reasoning that free will is at the heart of the theodicy issue and this is what you evoked here, I think. That is, if we only observed a “peaches and cream” world, then belief in God would not be an act of free will but automatic. Darwin did not observe such a world as do many theologians and by such observations deny God could be the author of this level of unpleastantness. That is at the heart of much of the theistic evolutionist argument.

  52. —-Allen MacNeil: [ID is indifferent to evolution]. . “Would you please supply quotations from any of the published writings of Drs. Behe and Dembski supporting this assertion?”

    From the Uncommon Descent FAQ:

    Myth #10 The Evidence for Common Descent is Incompatible with Intelligent Design

    “ID is a theory about the cause of complex biological information. Common descent (CD) is a theory about the modalities of implementation of that information. They are two separate theories about two different aspects of the problem, totally independent and totally compatible. In other words, one can affirm CD and ID, CD and Darwinian Evolution, or ID and not CD. However, if one believes in Darwinian Evolution, CD is a necessary implication.

    CD theory exists in two forms, universal CD and partial CD. No one can deny that there are evidences for the theory of CD (such as ERVs, homologies and so on). That’s probably the reason why many IDists do accept CD. Others do not agree that those evidences are really convincing, or suggest that they may reflect in part common design. But ID theory, proper, has nothing to do with all that.
    ID affirms that design is the key cause of complex biological information. The implementation of design can well be realized through common descent, that is through implementation of new information in existing biological beings. That can be done gradually or less gradually. All these are modalities of the implementation of information, and not causes of the information itself. ID theory is about causes.”

  53. tribue7 said: ID does not address evolution. It is not anti-evolution. It is not pro-evolution.

    It is indifferent to evolution.

    - That is great. If all here agree on that statement, the discussions can concentrate on the design detection and leave talk about evolution out of it. I am looking forward to that!

    fG

  54. —faded glory: “That is great. If all here agree on that statement, the discussions can concentrate on the design detection and leave talk about evolution out of it. I am looking forward to that!”

    Design detection, as an exercise in science and open-mindedness, does not rule out evolution, but Darwinian evolution, as an exercise in non-science and close-mindedness, rules out design. Hence, ID must not only make its own case for design, it must also make a case against the ideology that declares, AS FACT, that design is an illusion.

  55. FG–the discussions can concentrate on the design detection and leave talk about evolution out of it.

    OK. Do you see any objective flaws in the claims that life is designed?

    StephenB — excellent points. ID explicitly rebuts the claim that undirected (Darwinian) evolution can explain how all life developed.

    Darwinian evolution, of course, well explains some of life development — finch beaks, anti-biotic resistance etc. — and I don’t think there is any dispute about that.

  56. —-Allen MacNeil: “Indeed, I think most people here (on both sides of the issue) would agree that religious beliefs currently play almost no part in the daily practice of doing scientific research. Furthermore, I also think that many (but not all) people here think that religious beliefs shouldn’t play any part in the daily practice of doing scientific research.”
    Better late than never to acknowledge that point.

    —-“If you agree with either of these statements, then what do you say to those commentators who support ID using overtly religious arguments (up to and often including quotations from the Bible)?”

    Insofar as that happens, it reflects the philosophy of theist/scientists such as Hugh Ross, who disown intelligent design for refusing to do the very thing that you accuse it of doing—namely, for failing to take account of the Bible as a resource for evaluating science and therefore, for compromising Christianity in the process. On the other hand, we don’t refuse admission to intelligent commentators who do, in fact, use the Bible to make whatever case they want to make. In some cases, the arguments are quite good, but they often proceed both from the top down and the bottom up. On the other hand, we don’t appreciate anti-ID partisans confusing that practice with the science of intelligent design, which is solely from the bottom up [beginning solely with data and nothing else].

    —-“If ID has any merit as science, doesn’t that mean that such merit has nothing to do with its religious implications? And if that is the case, why mention them at all?”

    No, it doesn’t mean that at all. The science of intelligent design is loaded with religious implications. Indeed, many scientific findings have religious implications, as does the “big bang” theory. On the other hand, it is not scientific to use the Bible or any kind of religious presupposition to make the intellectual case for the existence of a law, as the creationists are wont to do. It does make rational sense, however, to acknowledge that all intellectual pursuits with respect to science begin with an assumption of faith in a rational universe. It is not possible to totally separate intellectual activity from faith. If one doesn’t believe in the law of non contradiction or in the non-negotiability of causality, for example, [without proof, I might add], he cannot reason.

    —-“I have never asserted that evolutionary theory has implications for the truth or falseness of any religious doctrine. On the contrary, I have repeatedly asserted that there is no logical or necessary connection between the findings of science and the tenets of any religious doctrine whatsoever. To be as clear as possible: nothing in science either supports or undermines either the existence (or non-existence) of God(s) nor any religious or moral/ethical doctrine of any kind.”

    Again, you are oversimplifying. Truth is unified or it is not truth. The same truth found in one field of study can be confirmed by truths found in other fields. If something is true in nature, then it will naturally confirm truths found in the Bible. If the Bible says that nature is designed, as it clearly does, and if science shows design in nature, then there is obviously a connection. The key is to abstain from using scientific methods to prove or derive Biblical truths, or to use Biblical methods to prove scientific truths. On the other hand, it is not at all problematic to compare the conclusions arrived at independently from one source to conclusions arrived at from another source and reflect on the fact that they may be saying the same thing in a different way.

  57. In #51 jerry asked:

    “Is there a “not” missing in the last sentence, that is “God would not” instead of “God would”

    Indeed, you are correct, I omitted the word “not” in precisely that location. Thank you for the correction.

  58. Allen,

    I said you often do not remain around to finish up an issue and often unanswered questions posed to you go unanswered. I have criticized you for not understanding ID because of this.

    On the the other thread on Darwin, I summed up what I believe ID believes about Darwinian evolution and its modifications up to the present. So here it is again.

    ID would have no problem with any aspect of Darwin’s theory or as it has been modified over time, and now let’s just call these modifications the evolutionary synthesis, if there was evidence to support the various propositions that are contained in any of the syntheses.

    To take something simple, ID finds no evidence that gradual processes led to macro evolution. There may be the odd exception and it will also depend upon what one defines as macro evolution. But to cut to chase, there are vast areas of changes in life that are unexplained by any naturalistic let alone gradual processes.

    So gradualism is suspect even if the intelligence acted to produce the variation for natural selection to work on. Once the variation appeared there would be a trail of the changes as the variation was increasingly selected for, leading to the new characteristics.

    This then leads one to question the relevancy of natural selection as a driving force. It can not tease out of a gene pool what is not there even if the right environmental circumstances appear. Thus it is not the vaunted force in evolution but only a minor process that operates once the variation appears. And the variation seems to appear en masse and the only explanation for that is intelligent intervention. Variation is the key but how is the variation generated. (And we are well aware of your 47+ engines of variation)

    So gradualism and natural selection are at best minor participants in evolution. A side show.

    The next pillar of Darwin is Malthusian competition for resources. Is there any evidence of this when there are tens of millions of ecologies on the earth today all subject to limited resources and no evidence of Darwinian processes producing anything of consequence relevant to the theory of evolution. So let’s just dismiss Malthus even though it was supposedly the eye opener for Darwin.

    The final pillar of Darwin is common descent and the Cambrian destroys that. Even if life could work its way back naturally it would hit a wall at the Cambrian.

    So anyway you want to define evolutionary theory as a naturalistic theory it has major problems. All of which could be explained by the occasional intervention of an intelligence.

    I do not believe Dembski or Behe would object to any of this. Behe might hold common descent but from what I have read in his books he cannot find any naturalistic way that would account for all of it and definitely not Darwinian processes.

    This is a simplified assessment but provides a basis for understanding ID. ID has no problem with any scientific finding ever made. What it objects to is the conclusions made from those finding. It has no problem with any finding from evolutionary biology, only the conclusions that most in the field make from the findings.

  59. 60

    Frost,

    Re: #34

    If you read my comment in post #33 clearly, you can see that I’m agreeing with you, and in no way am I suggesting relativism.

  60. Ok Cannuckian. It was a little unclear what you were saying since you quoted me and not my detractors, and then said the quote about setting myself up for accusations of being an illegitimate judge.

    But after I reread it on your request I can see you were agreeing.

    My point about relativism is that it’s only result is to undermine the notion and search for absolute truth- or just truth in general- and hence it only goes against the person who is arguing for what is true. Thus there is nothing which can come out of the debate or discussion if it results in relativism- except for relativism which is it’s only point- and this kind of anti-truth anti-objective reality argumentation is pointless except to say that we cannot say anything- or cannot know anything. And there is SOME truth to this when it comes to philosophy and physics- but when the goal is to define reality- that is to question things like what does it mean to be a Christian – or when we are talking about religious doctrines that real definitions that are not relativistic- the relativism argument becomes superfluous.

    And of course I show the absurdity and prove to the other side that being a Christian is not about personal interpretations- because one cannot be an atheist and a Christian, and one cannot reject Christ or worship the Devil and be a Christian regardless of how they interpret Christianity. Obviously.

    But then they argue that “the texts” in the Bible have various interpretations. In other words they now cant refute that the scripture does have real parameters so that want to change the Bible’s parameters because they cannot argue against what you site. But this argument for relative interpretation of scripture is fallacious nonsense- because it is a fallacy to argue that just because “some people” have anther or different interpretation of scripture that therefore “your interpretation is wrong.” That is just another sneaky way of trying to argue for relativism by making it look like a just and objective argument about scripture. But it proves nothing.

    But the same people who argue that there are other interpretations of scripture never actually “begin” the argument with a Hebrew and or Greek quote and then their historically, and linguistically supported reasons for “their own” contrarian interpretations are correct. Because they are just full of it and just want to ignore or change what they don’t like about what the Bible clearly says. They are just arguing that such interpretations CAN or do exist by some- because once they actually do give you their interpretations and they obviously don’t make any sense in the context of the rest of scripture- then they are foiled. Because they Church has interpreted scripture so it makes sense- because if it did not make sense then the Bible would like ridiculous and contradictory and would be long rejected and discredited. So the largely circulated interpretations of the scripture are mostly correct because it was in the Churches interest to take sure the Bible has continuity. So then they have to agree and so then argue that the Bible is just “naturally” contradictory- that is the Church just took out the contradictions that they claimed to honesty interpret – not because they were trying to understand what the writers were really saying but because they saw it better to lie. Which is an absurd argument because their only reason for thinking this is their own chosen belief in the foolish contradictory interpretations to begin with. It is basically conspiracy logic- they start off with a view then arrange unverifiable facts to prove it. When their views then make no sense in light of the rest of scripture they just conclude that the Bible is wrong and not their faulty interpretations are right- or they start redefining the whole Bible- for no other real reason except they want it to be this way.

    This is a type of fallacious argumentation that is used all the time by non-scholarly laymen. Everyone all of a sudden becomes an expert in Greek and Hebrew language and history when they find a line in the Bible they don’t like. But I contend that the issues are clearly discernable from the general context of the Bible if one reads it honestly. That is, one does not need to go over language with a fine tooth comb to realize things as obvious as that you cannot be a Satan worshiper and a Christian at the same time. I argued that one cannot be a Darwinist and a Christian at the same time- because I see a total contradiction in these two world views. One is total darkness and the other is of light. And I gave various reasons why I think this is deducible.

    Natural selection only select for survival benefit- according to the theory- but in reality we know how many species are extinct so one line of reasoning sees that natural selection might not really do this in a general sense. That is, the theory and supposed mechanisms of “totally unguided and random mutations” and the startling revelation of natural selection that,

    “what survives, survives”

    is not exactly what a Christian would accept as the explanation of how the world and living things came to be. I think the Bible says something about God playing a role- but maybe to some, I am just misinterpreting scripture again.

  61. StephenB says: Design detection, as an exercise in science and open-mindedness, does not rule out evolution, but Darwinian evolution, as an exercise in non-science and close-mindedness, rules out design. Hence, ID must not only make its own case for design, it must also make a case against the ideology that declares, AS FACT, that design is an illusion.

    - Where exactly does Darwinian evolution say, AS FACT, that design is an illusion? Note that I am talking here about the scientific literature, not about popular writings like the books by Dawkins. Do you have references in biological journals that make this claim?

    fG

  62. In my view the debate is incorrectly framed. The science of biology makes no pronouncements on the presence or absence of design, in the sense of purpose. It concerns itself with the how, when and where of evolution. This is in stark contrast with ID that does make claims about the presence of design, but does not concern itself with the how, what and where of the design. No wonder these discussions go on and on forever – people are not talking about the same issues!

    There is a heated debate going on a few topics down about bat sonars. There are many pro-ID voices who don’t accept that this could have evolved. If ID doesn’t necessarily lead them to think so, then what does? And if it is not ID that makes them think so, why is the topic even discussed on this ID website?

    If ID is about the design detection, where is the demonstration that bat sonar is designed, using the tools and methodologies of ID? Should that not be the first task at hand, before anyone pronounces that it could not have evolved? And if design was indeed detected, why can’t ID accept that it could have evolved with some kind of intelligent guidance? Why would ID have a beef with the notion that such guidance was hidden in the chance aspects of the evolutionary processes? What is the fuss really all about in that topic?

    Count me confused, and not for the first time in this debate.

    fG

  63. So here is a different way all of this could play out. Consider a team of scientists who study the biological and paleolontological data on bats. The team includes biologists, paleontologists and design scientists (for want of a better term).

    After thorough study of the data, the paleontologists present their conclusions that bats have evolved over time. The biologists then present their findings on how sonar works and how it may have been in the past, when bats were different from what they are now. The design scientists would take all these findings, and do their own analysis using whatever ID tools and methodologies they have at their disposal. They might then conclude that the sonar was designed. The next step could then be to dig back into the bat lineage and try to pinpoint where and when the design manifested itself. Once that becomes clear, perhaps some light could be shed on how the design was implemented in this particular case.

    Doesn’t this sound a heck of a lot better than the current endless bickering about did/did not evolve?

    Is anything like this happening anywhere?

    fG

  64. “If ID is about the design detection, where is the demonstration that bat sonar is designed, using the tools and methodologies of ID? Should that not be the first task at hand, before anyone pronounces that it could not have evolved? And if design was indeed detected, why can’t ID accept that it could have evolved with some kind of intelligent guidance? Why would ID have a beef with the notion that such guidance was hidden in the chance aspects of the evolutionary processes? What is the fuss really all about in that topic?”

    There are several things here which indicate that you do not understand the debate. ID has no problem with the gradual accumulation of changes over time leading from one state to a different state where one of the differences is a new complex capability. Bat flight and bat echolocation are two instances of complex major differences.

    If the differences between state A and state B could amplified by indicating that there are states A1 through An of gradual changes where An+1 was essentially state B, then ID would have no issue even if state B indicated a complex capability that did not exist before. Naturalistic processes would be acclaimed as the probable cause though that would not be final till all the intermediary states could be identified by reachable naturalistic genomic changes.

    But such a transition has never been observed in any frequency or else we would have never heard the end of it here. And one problem with all the transitions which are very broad in actuality is that at each step of the way between A and B there is a viable species that could continue to exist and not change while a sub population has mutated say from Ak-1 to Ak. Ak-1 should be evident and even Ak-1 should be able to go off in a different direction than Ak to form some other lineage. But none of these branchings are ever observed, only postulated, and there should be a zillion of them. All we observe in general is A and then B.

    It is not a simple proposition to declare something naturalistic even if that is the default position with the academy. They assume that micro evolution which has been shown to happen translates into macro evolution without any evidence that it ever did and as Will Provine said, it is based on faith.

    This is why gradualism is ruled out as a process for change in life over time. There is no forensic evidence, only wide gaps between species. I am sure there are occasional exceptions but if gradualism is a viable process for major change then it would have left a multitude of intermediaries and branchings.

    And ID could certainly accept that a guiding intelligence could be making all the little changes that are necessary for one form of gradualism to work. But then where again is the missing intermediaries both in the fossil record and in our suite of organisms on the planet today. So even if an intelligence was operating from another dimension through the use of quantum changes or in any way one could imagine, it would leave a trail. What would not leave a trail is the sudden change in an organism that is major. Because there would not be any long list of intermediaries or branchings. They were never there. And that is what we see.

    ID is very reasonable with evidence when it is presented. But what we get is not evidence by dictums and speculations and each must be kowtowed to.

  65. 66

    Frost:

    “But this argument for relative interpretation of scripture is fallacious nonsense- because it is a fallacy to argue that just because ‘some people’ have anther or different interpretation of scripture that therefore ‘your interpretation is wrong.’”

    When people try to tell me that scripture is up to interpretation, I tell them that I agree, and that most Christian churches interpret the crucial points of scripture the same. Therefore, while it is up to correct interpretation, its truth is not a matter of relative interpretation – there is a correct and an incorrect interpretation of scripture, which is surmised by careful study.

    If you look at the doctrinal positions regarding the identity of Christ, salvation by grace through faith, the sovereignty of God, etc., most churches (with few exceptions), interpret the scriptures related to them in the same way.

    Unfortunately, people who oppose this view do so by legitimizing fringe groups who call themselves Christian, yet whose scriptural interpretation is clearly eisegetical (adding to scripture rather than taking out what is there [exegetical]) – groups whose membership represents a small fraction of all those who call themselves Christians.

  66. The last sentence of my previous post should read

    “But what we get is not evidence but dictums and speculations and each must be kowtowed to.”

  67. jerry said: ID has no problem with the gradual accumulation of changes over time leading from one state to a different state where one of the differences is a new complex capability. Bat flight and bat echolocation are two instances of complex major differences.

    - But this doesn’t fit well with the debate on the other thread (maybe these posts should be moved to that thread to make things easier to follow?). The discussion there is not just about missing evidence, it is claimed by ID proponents that there was no evolutionary transition at all. So, those ID proponents are clearly saying something else than you say here. Can you then blame me for not understanding the debate?

    All this actually reinforces my point. You are again talking about evolution. If ID is indifferent to evolution, as tribune7 said, shouldn’t an ID blog talk about ID instead of evolution? Where can we find the demonstration of ID in the echolocation system using the tools and methodologies of ID?

    fG

  68. “All this actually reinforces my point. You are again talking about evolution. If ID is indifferent to evolution, as tribune7 said, shouldn’t an ID blog talk about ID instead of evolution? Where can we find the demonstration of ID in the echolocation system using the tools and methodologies o”

    You are missing the point again. ID does not say there was no evolution. It is just how it happened that is under debate. ID is a tool for evaluating phenomena such as evolution. Read my reply to Tribune7. Have to run.

  69. jerry,

    What I see when reading UD for some time is that some people, like yourself, don’t say there was no evolution, but that plenty of others do say that there was no evolution. So your version of the debate is about the mechanisms of evolution, but at the same time there are other debates going on here that are about the reality of evolution. The only thing in common between you and the others is that you all conclude ID is a better explanation – but you actually disagree on what it is an explanation for.

    What puzzles me is how ID can be both a better explanation for the scenario where there is no evolution, and for the scenario where there is. What in ID makes it so powerful that it can equally well explain two contradictory positions at the same time?

    fG

  70. Faded Glory,

    I do not know anyone here who denies that evolution took place. Even the YEC believe that after Adam and Eve, there was massive changes to the biosphere that occurred naturally. Just look at the differences in humans across the planet. But few here adhere to YEC beliefs and openly defend them. There are YEC’s here but they keep a low profile on their beliefs and occasional we get into discussions about plate tectonics, the Hawaiian Islands, Mt. Everest, animal speciation but in general there is little of that here. A lot of people also like to talk religion which I personally believe has no place in ID or evolution. But even I get involved some times when religious arguments are used against ID.

    Darwin’s book was called the Origin of Species. How did species arrive. Were they here for all time, 6,000 years or 3.7 billion years or did most of them appear for the first time since 3.7 billions years ago. Nearly everyone takes the later in arguments here and I haven’t seen anyone deny micro evolution and the changes that can occur due to it. If they personally hold to species being immutable, then I haven’t seen that argued here much though some have brought it up. So a presumption is that life first appeared 3.5 billion years ago and along the way a boat load of new species arrived. The question is how did they arrive.

    The Darwinist say all happened naturally. The YEC’s said God created them and then natural process caused some minor changes. ID, if it is true rejects both positions because neither pass the Explanatory Filter. ID also says that numerous species could have arrive through naturalistic causes, part of the Explanatory Filter, but certainly not all and I know of no major change that was accomplished through naturalistic processes. None has ever been presented here that isn’t speculation.

    I know of no one in the ID hierarchy that is arguing that natural causes are not responsible for a lot of changes in life. If they did, they would be laughed out instantly. They argue that natural causes could not have done it all especially for the heavy lifting. Natural causes need help on a lot of changes.

    Now as far as bats go, I haven’t had time to follow much, but from what has been presented so far supports the ID position. No one can say how the bats with the various capabilities arrived on the planet. They speculate but that is all they do, is speculate. Some will quote a study showing a less capable bat or other animal at some time in the past and the answer to that is “So What.” It shows nothing about how the more capable bat arrived. Any explanation is pure speculation. They think a sequence is proof. It is proof of nothing and could support ID just as easily.

  71. fG: to clarify for you my exact position, I hold that all “evolution” that does occur is best described in terms of Genetic Entropy,,i.e. I do not disagree as to variation “evolution” occurring, I just hold that all variation that occurs will come at a cost of information that is already present. i.e. I hold all variation is front loaded in a parent kind. Yet I hold this position from an Old Earth perspective.

  72. 73

    Faded Glory,

    “What I see when reading UD for some time is that some people, like yourself, don’t say there was no evolution, but that plenty of others do say that there was no evolution.”

    Excuse me for jumping in here, but I wanted to address this. I personally have not come across anyone here at UD who denies evolution in the broad sense of the term. I think the term is often used very loosely sometimes to mean ToE and sometimes to mean simply change over time. When you read others’ posts it is perhaps best to understand this perspective, and to understand them within the contexts with which they use the term.

    Most of the pro-ID people here with which I have had the pleasure to interact have a particular disagreement with ToE, but not with evolution. Evolution is not a term that belongs to Darwin, and everyone must understand that. The concept of evolution goes as far back as the classical Greeks, and the term in reference to the biological sciences was first used prior to Darwin.

    There is a diverse group of people who accept ID because ID does not make broad speculations about the nature of biology and human behavior – unlike the Darwinian ToE. Therefore, because it has a much narrower focus, it is perhaps more widely accepted among more diverse groups.

    Think about it. All it is saying is that there are “certain biological features which suggest a designer originated them.” (that’s a brief summation of a larger more concise statement). Now if a YECist looks at such statements, there is not much (if anything) he/she would disagree with. The same is so with an OECist, an agnostic, someone who accepts the concept of frontloading, someone who does not; a particularly religious person, and a particularly irreligious person; a Catholic, a Protestant; a Democrat, a Republican, a person who accepts common descent and a person who does not, etc.. It is because the concept is so narrowly focused that more people can accept it. I was even amazed that there are a few atheists who accept the design argument.

    Now since this is so, you are going to find many disagreements among these various groups as to what ID means to them, because they are understanding the implications from their various POVs. This does not mean that the theory itself is not specific. It is. It is simply an indication of the variety of implications one can glean from the theory. Now some may disagree with me here, but in my view Darwinian ToE does not really allow for any true implications apart from materialism. Materialism is the goal of Darwinian theory.

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