Home » Intelligent Design » Dinesh D’Souza speaks out against ID

Dinesh D’Souza speaks out against ID

In reading Dinesh D’Souza’s WHAT’S SO GREAT ABOUT CHRISTIANITY, I was surprised at how uncritical and historically uninformed is his view of evolution. For instance, he lumped C. S. Lewis with other notable 20th century Christian intellectuals as accepting evolutionary theory, but in fact toward the end of his life, Lewis regretted his earlier support for evolution (go here).

With even less apparent knowledge of his subject, D’Souza is now weighing in against intelligent design:

The Failure of “Intelligent Design”
Posted Mar 31st 2008 9:38AM by Dinesh D’Souza
Filed under: Science, Christianity, Atheism

. . . Today some Christians may be heading down the same path with their embrace of “intelligent design” or ID. This movement is based on the idea that Darwinian evolution is not only flawed but basically fraudulent. ID should not, however, be confused with bible-thumping six-day creationism. It does not regard the earth as 6,000 years old. Its leading advocates are legal scholar Phillip Johnson, biochemist Michael Behe, mathematician David Berlinski, and science journalist Jonathan Wells. Berlinski has a new book out The Devil’s Advocate that makes the remarkable claim that “Darwin’s theory of evolution has little to contribute to the content of the sciences.” Ben Stein’s movie “Expelled” provides horror stories to show that the case for ID as well as critiques of evolution from an ID perspective are routinely excluded or censored in the halls of academe.

ID advocates have sought to convince courts to require that their work be taught alongside Darwinian evolution, yet such efforts have been resoundingly defeated. Why has the ID legal strategy proven to be such a failure, even at the hands of conservative judges? Imagine that a group of advocates challenged Einstein’s theories of general and special relativity. Let’s say that this group, made up of a law professor, a couple of physicists, several journalists, as well as some divinity school graduates, flatly denies Einstein’s proposition that e=mc2.

How would a judge, who is not a physicist, resolve the group’s demand for inclusion in the physics classroom? He would summon a wide cross-section of leading physicists. They would inform him that despite unresolved debates about relativity–for example, its unexplained relationship to quantum theory–Einstein’s theories are supported by a wide body of data. They enjoy near-unanimous support in the physics community worldwide. There is no alternative scientific theory that comes close to explaining the facts at hand. In such a situation any judge would promptly show the dissenters the door and deny their demand for equal time in the classroom. This is precisely the predicament of the ID movement. . . .

MORE

What an incredible comparison. D’Souza here gives no evidence of knowing even the rudiments of the debate over ID — he merely repeats the worst propaganda against ID. I encourage anyone who has personal contact with him to provide him with better information. A point of leverage is that D’Souza presumably wants Christians, many of whom support ID, to buy his book.

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172 Responses to Dinesh D’Souza speaks out against ID

  1. As I just said on another thread, the Darwinian paradigm explains most of the life on the planet. Untill ID formally recognizes this possibiity, it will be continually marginalized. Until ID deals with all the evidence, it must suffer these types of attacks from those who should be friendly as well as those who are enemies.

    The Darwinian paradigm does not explain OOL or the origin of many orders and some particular species but it does explain how most species or variants got here. As unpleasant as may be for many who come to this blog, RV + NS (genetics) works in an extremely large number of cases.

  2. Jerry, I strongly disagree with you that the Darwinian paradigm explains the history of life on this planet.

    Besides who is Dinesh D’Souza?
    Other than someone who has sucummed to the Devil’s Delusion?

  3. Dr. Dembski,

    Why don’t you and Michael Behe meet with D’Souza and explain what ID is all about. It should be a meeting that could be set up. Since both he and Behe are Catholics, it should not be hard to arrange.

  4. DeepDesign,

    You are certainly entitled to your opinions but I am not sure everyone holds your opinions of D’Souza or of life on the planet.

  5. Jerry,

    I take it you have not read the Design of Life. You would probability be better off reading this book, than by telling the Design Community how to conduct it’s business and research.

  6. DeepDesign,

    I read the Design of Life several months ago and it supports my position.

  7. I’m glad to see this posted.

    I do wonder if D’Souza is aware about the extent and intricacies of the ID view. I can respect him disagreeing with it – and frankly, I have quite a lot of respect for the man. But I worry about the reasons for the disagreement, as ID is much maligned and tends to be explained in the worst possible manner.

  8. I watched most of the D’Souza/Hitchens debate on youtube, so I decided to buy his book a few months ago.

    When I got to the part about his understanding of ID, I was shocked. He’s been taken in by the Darwinian rhetoric and the media. I set the book down at that point and still haven’t picked it back up and finished it.

  9. nullasalus,

    If you survey here on this site the opinions about how evolution works, you can quickly understand the opinions of those outside these narrow confines. It becomes not exactly like questioning e=mc^2 but sometimes close.

  10. This section of his book is by far his weakest, as opposed to his analysis of Hume and Kant, which seemed well reasoned, at least in my view. After reading it, his rather cavalier dismissal of ID was unseemly in an otherwise well written book covering the vast amount of subject matter.

    I posted a site yesterday,

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-191915

    linking Dallas Willard’s critique of Dawkins’ THE BLIND WATCHMAKER. In it, he attempts to side step the traditional teleological arguement and in doing so nails Dawkins on philosophical grounds, something Willard appears to use well.

    From what I have been able to ascertain from Dr.s Dembski, Behe, Wells, and The Discovery Institute fellows, is that ID is a propositionally scientific question, not an apologetic method.

    D’Souza does acknowledge the cell in all its complexity, but there is very little to go on prior to its comeuppance.

    While I respect D’Souza and applaud his work, particularly in the apologetic area in this case, he certainly leaves himself open to his own criticism, as does Francis Collins.

  11. I’ve listened to D’Souza in debates and interviews on the Internet, and on local KKLA Christian radio in the Los Angeles area, and his ignorance and misrepresentations concerning ID are utterly and spectacularly stunning. He doesn’t have a clue, even about ID 101, and doesn’t appear to have any interest in becoming better informed. I’ve lost a lot of respect for the man.

    Jerry:

    As I just said on another thread, the Darwinian paradigm explains most of the life on the planet.

    Of course it doesn’t. The Darwinian paradigm explains how existing genetic information can be mixed and matched and selected for within the limitations of that existing information, and it explains minor stuff like bacterial antibiotic resistance. It doesn’t explain the origin of species as Darwin claimed, and it most certainly doesn’t explain the origin of new biological information and most of the life on the planet.

  12. It becomes not exactly like questioning e=mc^2 but sometimes close.

    If the two types of knowledge are roughly equivalent then when has the theory of natural selection been encoded in the language of mathematics and repeatedly verified empirically? What trajectory of adaptation has been predicted based on Darwinian theory and repeatedly verified empirically?

    Biologists seem to be trained to treat their own imaginations as the equivalent of empirical evidence, so they allow themselves to simply imagine things for natural selection to filter. For example:

    What might a non-locomotor benefit [for bipedality] look like? A stimulating suggestion is the sexual selection theory of Maxine Sheets-Johnstone, of the University of Oregon. She thinks we rose on our hind legs as a means of showing off our penises. Those of us that have penises, that is. Females, in her view, were doing it for the opposite reason: concealing their genitals which, in primates, are more prominently displayed on all fours. This is an appealing idea but I don’t carry a torch for it. I mention it only as an example of the kind of thing I mean by a non-locomotor theory. As with so many of these theories, we are left wondering why it would apply to our lineage and not to other apes or monkeys.
    (The Ancestor’s Tale: A Pilgrimage to the Dawn of Evolution
    By Richard Dawkins :91)

    Darwinian “reasoning” often contains explanations for all possible forms of life and biological specification and its proponents can’t seem to grasp the fact that if you explain a result and the exact opposite result then your “explanation” isn’t falsifiable.

    e=mc^2 is falsifiable but often the reasoning being used to explain the origins of and history of all biological specification, form and species is not. It’s one thing to engage in systematic thought based on facts, logic and evidence and then make some uniformitarian assumptions to make statements about the past. Even there one should realize that uniformitarian assumptions may be wrong, Nature may not be totally closed and regularities may not always be uniform and so statements about knowledge of the past should be approached with humility. Actual science aside, it’s another thing entirely to build a case based on sifting through biological forms in Nature in order to find similarities in form/imagery which may fit whatever a biologist might imagine about the past. It seems to me that imagining things is not almost “exactly like” the first form of knowledge, it’s not even close.

  13. Still, these narrow-minded Christians opposed Copernicus and Galileo until they were forced to admit that they were wrong.

    Dinesh D’Souza is wrong. Copernicus was wrong. Circular orbits and uniform speeds theorized by Copernicus was incorrect, and his detailed model required epicycles to match the geocentric models.

    Tycho Brae opposed the Copernican model because it was more complicated than the prevailing and preferred geocentric models, and did not produce more accurate predictions. The simplest explanation (geocentricism) was best, according to Tycho Brae.

    Galilo was a supporter of circular orbits, and so he was wrong too.

    Kepler worked with Tycho Brae, and ultimately generated the ellipitcal orbit with non-uniform speeds using the data he stole from Tycho’s estate.

    It sounds like Dinesh D’Souza is getting his information from a high school text book or wikipedia.

  14. D’Souza:
    “Why has the ID legal strategy proven to be such a failure, even at the hands of conservative judges?”

    Conservatism has nothing to do with it since there are Atheists that are conservative. Dinesh should know better.

  15. jerry,

    I’m not sure even Dr Dembski would argue that this site represents the full range of ID opinion. But I’ve seen past links to John A. Davison’s work, MikeGene’s work over at Telic Thoughts, and more. Not everyone is hostile to evolution in the ID movement, or at least so I’ve thought.

    I wonder, can you believe both in evolution and in ID? What if you believe in evolution, but reject “Darwinism” and the popular, competitive model of natural selection (as some non-IDers do, such as some of the proponents of Gaia theory)? What if you believe in “Darwinian” evolution of species, but consider ‘Darwinian’ evolution to have abruptly ended at the introduction of humanity and human consciousness (as Freeman Dyson and others expressed belief in, based on a past brainstorming session posted on this site)?

    I guess what I’m really asking is, just how big is the Big Tent of ID? I’d like to think that it’s big enough to accommodate a number of people who currently consider themselves outside ID, because they mistakenly believe the tent is smaller than it is. But hey, I could be wrong about this – I’m just an outsider, after all.

  16. Gil,

    You are arguing from emotion and not logic. Suppose there are 10,000,000 species on the planet, what proportion came into being by the Darwinian paradigm and what proportion didn’t.

    Information content or CSI has no relevance for nearly all species. Ask yourself what percentage of the species that Darwin saw on the Beagle trip arose from Darwinian processes or from some other mechanism? The answer is nearly all if not all. Depends on what he saw.

    This no threat to ID, in fact it strengthens the ID position. To deny this is to throw yourself in with those who see creation everywhere as opposed to where it really counts. When you do so, you weaken the ID position and leads to the comments by D’Souza.

  17. nullasalus,

    One of my post just went into moderation so I will have to see what was wrong with it. But I will respond to your comments as soon as I see this post.

  18. D’Souza:
    “Imagine that a group of advocates challenged Einstein’s theories of general and special relativity.”

    Awful analogy. Darwin’s theory cuts deeper than any other imaginable scientific conjecture since it is dealing (supposedly) with origins, which has quite an extensive religious undercurrent that slices through many philosophical issues like (a) where do I come from (b) why am I here, and (c ) where am I going.

    Questions such as these will always engender hotly debated discussions and will be contested on a platform of widely divergent ideologies.

    Not so with Einstein’s theories of relativity.

  19. D’Souza:

    ID advocates have sought to convince courts to require that their work be taught alongside Darwinian evolution.

    Is this based on any real court case? When? Where? Anyone? Anyone?

  20. nullasalus:
    “I wonder, can you believe both in evolution and in ID?…I guess what I’m really asking is, just how big is the Big Tent of ID?”

    Big enough to allow evidence that empirically demonstrates or proves that complex, organized and goal-specific systems could have exclusively risen through chance and accident alone.

  21. I’ve read a number of Dinesh D’Souza books but will know not to bother with this one. I like Jerry’s idea of y’all meeting with the man and, if possible, setting him straight. It’s always disheartening to see a good man make a fool of himself. Earlier in the decade I read a number of Gregory Boyd’s books on open theism—I know, I’m a heretic!—and then recently came across this. How disappointing!

    I guess we glean a bit of understanding here and a bit of it there—but the most important intellectual movement in the world today is Intelligent Design. When we miss out on that we’ve really missed it.

  22. Rude, thanks for the link.

    According to Boyd’s article (whose works and contribution to some of theology’s greatest apologetical problems I cannot underestimate):

    This is an important point, because Miller’s battle isn’t against people who believe the world was designed by a Creator. He himself believes this.

    I am aghast! Am I reading this right? If the world was designed, wouldn’t there be some forensic-type residual evidence for other intelligent agents to discover? What’s up with these people? The delusion is far greater than I had imagined.

    At least Boyd believes in the Gap Theory, which is a subset of Creationism, which is a subset of ID. So that was close. Phew!

  23. Dinesh started of with:

    As a Christian, I believe that the universe and its living creatures are the products of intelligent design. This belief is not merely derived from theology but is also supported by rational considerations. There is enormous intelligence embedded in the laws of nature. The greatest scientists over the past few centuries have worked to decode the intelligence mysteriously imprinted in the workings of nature. Scientific laws, as spelled out by Keppler, Newton, Einstein and others, reveal nature as exquisitely orderly. So who encoded this intelligence in nature?

    Since the universe had a beginning, how did it get here? There is no natural explanation, since the universe includes all of nature. It is more than absurd to posit that the universe caused itself. The most reasonable explanation is that our rational universe is the product of some super-rational or omniscient intelligence. An intelligent designer is not the only explanation, but it certainly is the best explanation.

    At least Dinesh recognizes the basic reasons for an Intelligent Designer — even if he has very little understanding of ID.

  24. jerry: “As unpleasant as may be for many who come to this blog, RV + NS (genetics) works in an extremely large number of cases.”

    What kind of mutations/variations occured , and in what order, does it take to get a human brain from a “common ancestor of apes and humans?”

  25. nullasalus: I wonder, can you believe both in evolution and in ID?

    Of course. I do.

  26. jerry:

    “It becomes not exactly like questioning e=mc^2 but sometimes close.”

    You’ve got to be kidding! As was stated by mynym, just when has Darwinism been described by exact mathematic equations with precise constants? There are no equations and no precise constants. (population genetics doesn’t count – its all statistics)

    Your statement resembles the common Darwinist folderol of saying Darwinism is as proven as gravity.

    You really ought to understand your subject before you make faulty comments like that.

    Unless of course you can present us with the math that demonstrates the truth of Darwinian evol.?

  27. Here’s a modest proposal: Let’s write Dinesh. I suggest we proceed as follows: [A] compliment him for what is good in his book, [B] make your case for ID in as words as possible, [C] end on a positive note. Use the sandwich technique; it works every time. Do not begin the correspondence with an insult! this man can be reached by e-mail. Let’s contact him and report back.

  28. Why can’t I edit myself. I meant [B] make your case in as few words as possible.

  29. mike1962,

    See, so do I. I waffle on whether it can be proved in a lab – I don’t think design of that level can be demonstrated on the same level as other scientific work. But I see value in the research and exploration of it anyway.

    If that’s truly the case, it needs to be presented more clearly. I’m sure some ID proponents do deny evolution – and I’m not objecting to that. But that someone can accept both ID and evolution is a concept that really need to be communicated better.

  30. nullasalus,

    The more I consider biological systems from every angle and from every level, I can’t help thinking “designed to evolve” along certain lines. And I agree, proving it a lab may be impossible. Maybe the designers intended it that way, who knows.

  31. Its leading advocates are legal scholar Phillip Johnson, biochemist Michael Behe, mathematician David Berlinski, and science journalist Jonathan Wells.

    Dr. D, you’ve been dissed by a guy named Dinesh.

    OK, I could probably do a better job with the beat if I went to Oxford like Dawk the Dick.

    Berlinski has a new book out The Devil’s Advocate that makes the remarkable claim that “Darwin’s theory of evolution has little to contribute to the content of the sciences.”

    Well you could say it’s remarkable and have the mind-numbed robotic crowd nod their heads in trained obedience.

    Or you could cite the fields which require fidelity to the dogma that all life descended from a common ancestor, much less that all life descended from a common ancestor solely via the know means of random genetic change plus natural selection.

    Of course doing so presents the danger of unnumbing the robots.

    This movement is based on the idea that Darwinian evolution is not only flawed but basically fraudulent.

    Does this statistically establish that those whose first and last initials are “D” are clueless?

  32. Your statement: “toward the end of his life, Lewis regretted his earlier support for evolution” is a bit exaggerated and is not supported by the Acworth letters which you cite. For more information on this your readers might be interested in reading my book “Mere Theology: A Guide to the Thought of C. S. Lewis” and the chapter on Creation. As the web site you cited points out, Lewis never recanted his theistic evolutionary stance.

  33. 33
    sagebrush gardener

    …not exactly like questioning e=mc^2 but sometimes close.

    I will believe that when I start to hear physicists boasting that their theories are “as well-proven as evolution.”

  34. D’souza is a smart guy and usually is in the business of defending belief in religion especially Christianity.

    He shows his ignorance by excluding you Bill from his short list of ID advocates- even in the face of that the fact that you wrote “The Design Inference” and “No Free Lunch” which to this day are the main works that form the scientific inference of ID.

    I have always and still do take D’souza as a bright guy. Its good to have him on our side for what good he does contribute. However where all of this ignorance comes from I cannot say. Perhaps he sees you and Wells and Berlinski as getting into his Kool-aid, that is as his competition. I hope he isn’t in this business simply for money.

    Either way D’souza is a good speaker on issues of faith and atheism but he has it way wrong on ID. He needs to sit down with an open honest mind and actually read your books Bill “TDI and NFL”– then maybe he will actually know what he is talking about.

  35. Jerry, you’re not “on moderation”. The akismet filter is automatically stopping your comments. If it continues I’ll contact Akismet.

  36. Jerry wrote:

    “. . . the Darwinian paradigm explains most of the life on the planet.”

    An April Fool’s joke, presumably?

  37. Mynym quoting Dick the Dawk:

    A stimulating suggestion is the sexual selection theory of Maxine Sheets-Johnstone, of the University of Oregon. She thinks we rose on our hind legs as a means of showing off our penises. Those of us that have penises, that is.

    Well, that’s certainly why I stand er, erect. Do you mean to say that I’m the only one? ;)

  38. Patrick,

    I find it curious that in the middle of a controversial set of statements that my comments all of a sudden disappear. Thank you for looking into it.

  39. Jerry

    You know I hold you in high esteem here. I had to fish your #38 out of the Akismet spam filter. At the moment we’re being bombarded with spam comments at a rate of several per minute (orders of magnitude higher than normal). Akismet is a dynamic spam filter that self-modifies and is also modified on-the-fly by the makers. Every so often it hiccups and tags non-spam comments as spam. Something, probably some pattern in your email address, is causing it. You’re not the first and probably won’t be the last but in all cases (so far) it eventually gets fixed.

  40. GilDodgen (11)

    What is ‘ID 101′, please?

  41. Duncan in #40

    I can’t speak for Gil, but one aspect of “ID 101″ might be the limited demands of the movement, at least at this stage in the debate:

    ID advocates have sought to convince courts to require that their work be taught alongside Darwinian evolution, yet such efforts have been resoundingly defeated. Why has the ID legal strategy proven to be such a failure, even at the hands of conservative judges?

    As far as I know, no one of any standing in the ID debate has promoted “teaching ID in schools”. This is a Darwinist/media misrepresentation that is used to scare parents and educators and thwart further consideration of ID.

  42. Frost,

    I tried to send you and e-mail just now. Is your UD e-mail current?

    Nice seeing you at Dr. Berlinski’s Discovery Institute party yesterday afternoon.

    I tried to find you after my book was signed, but you were already gone.

    Hope to see you at the next DI party.

    Salvador

  43. —-Jerry: “the Darwinian paradigm explains most of the life on the planet.”

    Jerry, your position is compatible with ID, but it doesn’t define ID. I am reading “The Design Inference” at the moment, and I have found nothing in it that would confirm your extravagant claims. I know you are well versed on the subject, and I respect that. Still, there are those who are equally knowledgeable about the facts who interpret them differently.

    ID’s varying attitudes about evolution’s power to produce new life, if expressed in mathematical terms, would likely fall under a normal curve distribution. You and Dave Scot are probably at one end of the curve (spectrum), while Paul Nelson, Born again77 (whatever happened to him), and Scordova are probably at the other end. I suspect that mainstream ID, the statistical middle, would claim thinkers like Dembski, Meyer, and, to a lesser extent, Behe.

    So, what is ID’s official position on the matter? On page 106 of DOL, we read this measured response: “New species have originated many times in the history of life.” That is the mainstream position, and I think it is the one that most of us can live with. It’s a little too much for Gerry and not quite enough for Jerry. That is exactly why we should use it.

    The one thing we should not do is go beyond that to accommodate the Darwinists. You can’t split the difference with this bunch, because they have already invested themselves in a “no concession policy.” Do you know what happens when you negotiate with tyrants? I’ll tell you. When you move to the middle as a sign of good faith, they seize it, claim it as gained ground, and use it as their new starting point. These people want ID out of commission, period. This is a battle; someone is going to win and someone is going to lose. To win we must do three things: Do good science, tell the truth, and wait.

  44. Sagebrush:

    I will believe that when I start to hear physicists boasting that their theories are “as well-proven as evolution.”

    Excellente réplique!

  45. William Wallace @ 13

    What a breath of fresh air. This is the first and only time I have seen a correct account of the various ancient astronomical theories appear on the Net. I first encountered the right stuff in a volume of the Minnesota Studies in the Philosophy of Science, I forget which one. The amusing thing was that Galileo was actually a reactionary! He ignored Kepler’s findings and proceeded to sell his own snake oil; even to the point of trying to stuff a bogus theory of the tides down everyone’s throat on his own personal “authority.” And Kepler was right, insofar as he could have been right. And guess who’s horse our scientific prefects decided to ride; not Kepler’s! As Bugs Bunny says, what a bunch of maroons!

  46. Incidentally, Dinesh has another article up arguing that (from his point of view) the correct method for dealing with the Dawkins sort of crowd is to oppose atheistic accounts/promotions of evolution, rather than promote ID.

    I’d disagree with him, only because I (even as someone who doesn’t really think design can be scientifically proven on that level) think that ID has considerable value as an investigation into nature, and a philosophical tool in general. The only question is whether the discerning of design in nature that Dinesh himself advocates fits under ‘ID’, or if it’s something else.

  47. 47

    And another thing, D’souza seems to conflate ID’s failure in the court as one and the same with it as a theory. Since when do courts possess the virtue of unbiased, informed and clear minded truth?

    Can anybody say OJ?

    It has been well established that this kind of subject matter is not really one that some miscellaneous judge is capable of sorting out. All the Dover trail proved to me was that some misinformed biased and inadequate judge showed his desire to evoke his ruleing despite his obvious inadequacies.

    IMOP, Dover said more about the nature and state of the judicial system than it did about the nature and sate of origins science.

  48. This a test since all my posts have been going into the spam filter

  49. This is the third time I have posted this. Nearly all my posts have not appeared for over a day.

    I was prevented from answering questions and challenges to my assertion that most of the species on the planet arrived via the Darwinian paradigm because of a glitch in the software of the site. I will try to do so now because the understanding of ID on this site by many is very different from mine and I believe it is anti science.

    No Eric Anderson, it was no April Fool’s comment.

    The current estimate for the number of species on the planet varies but an estimate of 10 million is usually given. Here is one estimate

    “So far scientists have named and classified more than 1½ million animals. Over half of these are types of insects and other species are discovered each year. Scientists believe there may be from 2 million to as many as 50 million kinds of animals alive today.”

    It is from http://hypertextbook.com/facts.....imov.shtml

    If we use the 10 million as an estimate or just the 1.5 million, how many arrived on the planet as a design event and how many arrived via a naturalistic process. Pick one of the following that is closest to what you believe.

    A. 100% arrived via naturalistic processes

    B. 95%+ arrived via naturalistic processes but not all

    C. 75%+ arrived via naturalistic processes

    D. 50%+ arrived via naturalistic processes

    E. 25%+ arrived via naturalistic processes

    F. 10%+ arrived via naturalistic processes

    G. 0%+ arrived via naturalistic processes

    I believe B best describes the empirical evidence. Actually I would make the number closer to 99.5%. (Remember there are 300,000 beetle species and tens of thousands of fish species.) But believing that this is true does not deny ID in one iota. In fact I believe it makes ID stronger and disbelief makes ID weaker and anti science.

    From the reactions that were posted here and the lack of a defense in what I have said, then it is my belief that ID as understood on this site by most is not in sync with the empirical evidence. And if this is true of what most who support ID believe then ID is generating an anti-science belief system and that D’Souza’s observations may be the result of the same observations I have made despite what the formal statements about ID that are posted here.

  50. Jerry wrote:

    This a test since all my posts have been going into the spam filter

    One sure way to end up in the filter is by including multiple hyperlinks. WordPress has a feature where it will hold up posts with multiple links; so it may not even be an Akismet issue. (WordPress Admin->Options->Discussion). I ended up raising the limit on my site so it wouldn’t trip these up.

    I’m not sure if this is what’s happening Jerry, but if you’re pasting more than 1 or 2 hyperlinks in a single post, it’s quite possible.

  51. Apollos,

    At Dave’s suggestion I changed the email address in my profile. My next attempt worked. So like Pavlov’s dog, I associate the two.

  52. jerry,

    I won’t speak for most of those who support ID – I’m just one guy. But as a guess, I think that ‘most’ (as in, not on this particular site, but generally out in the public) have at best a belief that there’s something more to life-as-it-is than simple chance and darwinian evolution, but haven’t followed through with what that may or may not mean. As with most topics, many people are happy being passively familiar with the data at best.

    However, you can count me (and even on this site, a few others) as believing more or less what you do – I believe in common descent, that life likely evolved from the simple to the more complex over time, etc. I do think the darwinian paradigm ended as the best explanation for life when humans arrived on the scene, that alternative models may offer better understandings of even so-called ‘naturalistic processes’ (Gaia theory, for example, has more of an accent on equilibriums being maintained than ‘winners’ triumphing over ‘losers’ in the natural world), and certainly that evolution has been twisted to support an atheistic agenda – frankly, I’m on board with Dinesh with a lot of what he says, though I still think he has much to learn about the scope of ID theory.

    I suppose what I’m saying is, you’re not alone in your views. I respect that others disagree, of course – and so long as ID truly remains Big Tent (Where the operational views of people like Dinesh, Michel Heller, MikeGene, or even Ken Miller are respected and welcomed), I don’t have any problem.

    For the record, one thing to keep in mind about Dinesh is that, even if he is misinformed about ID as a school of thought, he’s clearly very well informed about the particular abuses of science made when it comes to Dawkins, Dennett, and the rest on darwinism and evolution. He clearly sees neither of these things as a threat to faith, certainly not proof against it, and I believe does a good job of articulating his reasons why. Even if someone is utterly skeptical of what evolution can accomplish, I think it’s important to realize that even if evolution can accomplish all that the orthodoxy claims – it STILL is no threat to theism, and that the primary problem is with how the data is abused to promote a favored worldview.

  53. nullasalus,

    you said,

    “I wonder, can you believe both in evolution and in ID”

    If by evolution you mean a naturalistic mechanism for the origin of new species, yes I do and I think it is great design. Now before everyone gets in an uproar, I believe in micro evolution as the source for most of the species on the planet and as such is great design because it enables adaptation to take place from resources completely within the species or with a minor mutation. When a species meets a new environment either in the same place where it is or because of some migration it may not have the best combination of genetic elements to thrive but with a reshuffling over time of these genetic elements a new variant will arise that is similar and better suited to the new environment.

    Nobody in ID denies this and it is just a case of how many of the species arose this way. Since most species within a family are very similar it seems likely they formed from some original gene pool and represent refinements of that gene pool. This is how micro evolution works and is essentially a evolution downward or what some call devolution.

    It does not explain where the original gene pool came from or how complex novelty arose. Behe’s Edge of Evolution indicates that complex novelty cannot arise through naturalistic mechanisms. But this does not mean that naturalistic mechanisms are not operating to refine these gene pools and producing a lot of the new plant and animal species and variations. This process does not require the formation of complex novelty and actually probably represents a contraction of the gene pool, not an expansion.

    So yes ID can live very happily with much of the Darwinian paradigm which now includes a lot more than variation and natural selection. But because it can live with a lot of it does not mean it accepts all of it. But the important point is because ID rejects part of the Darwinian paradigm, it does mean it rejects all of it.

  54. 54

    Ok I want to go in a very strange direction here.

    I think that maybe people like D’souza are concerned about ID for subliminal of even subconscious reasons. I am going to now go down a dark road of speculation and thought that I think is VERY important. Don’t confuse it with my belief but as something that I felt for a while now that needs to be looked into. And I also I think that D’souza just maybe has similar concerns.

    I think that Intelligent Design has a dark side to it that is not yet exploited but may concern both people of faith and people who consider themselves moral but not divinely inspired or faithful.

    ID is in its simplest and purest form an inference from nature to design. But ID does not proclaim ANY moral standards or any connection to any particular faith. Bill has of several occasions said that the designer for him is the Christian God of benevolence but as we all intuitively know not every one is as convinced as he is. Yet, while Bills belief in his religious convictions is left to each person’s opinion to decide form him or her self, ID is on the other hand a scientifically sound inference- that is everyone who is object should accept it as not simply a possibility but as a reasonable conclusion that is connected and extrapolated from science.

    It could be proven if the cell for example had a written easily understood signature and it could be disproved if life could arise without any help in say a test tube. It also has plenty of scientific evidence to support its assertion.

    But.

    What if ID was used by atheists as a wedge not between science and atheism but between science and religion.

    What good is ID if it has not moral foundation or extrapolations to ground itself in?

    It can strengthen one’s faith in God or the divine. No doubt about that. It serves as a nice back drop to how we can know and support of belief in a God or Deity.

    But what if people use it as a religion substitute. That is what if it is considered scientific but by this virtue all other true faiths such as Christianity, Judaism, Islam etc are to be forgotten about because they do not cross the threshold of scientific scrutiny.

    What if ID is used as the wedge between science and religion? Then the atheists could use it to support their own political agendas by saying that anything they want is consistent with the undefined Designer.

    I see ID ultimately as a form of philosophical nuclear power. From it flows great power and understanding but within it could lie the capability of mass destruction.

    Take cloning for example. It is scientifically fine to clone. It scientifically works! And if that is ok then why not engineer (that is intelligently design) a super human race? This scientific applicability that seems to frame and support ID is not moral substitute. Anything can be scientific. Bt not everything is right.

    A one world religion about nothing is not be a religion at all. Therefore we must remember that ID is not a religion. This is its blessing and its curse.

    ID is a good theory that needs to be taught, respected, forwarded and understood, but with great power comes great responsibility. Lets focus on the good but be aware of the possibly bad.

  55. nullasalus,

    My post to you was being written the same time as you wrote your recent one and was in response to what you wrote yesterday. One thing to keep in mind to use your the phrase is that the average person understands survival of the fittest quite well and along comes ID with so many trashing the Darwinian paradigm that a natural reaction is to write these people off without taking in the entire message.

    There is no discernment between what works and what doesn’t work for many. So every time I see someone trashing the Darwinian paradigm of RM + NS as nonsense, I cringe because it is undermining ID. They think they are supporting ID but what they are doing is denying the obvious and when they do that they make ID look silly, A more sophisticated approach would be to embrace elements of the Darwinian paradigm as obviously working and really good design but it can only explain so much before it runs into real trouble.

  56. 56

    Also, what I am getting at above is the simple insight that I think that some people (maybe D’souza included) see ID as sort of anti-religious in a sense because they have high faith in their own religious convictions and to them religion must transcend science. In this sense ID is sort of blasphemous. I think that they also feel that whenever ID is put down or rejected by those who don’t understand it or want to straw man it,- that each battle lost chalks one up for the atheists and puts another nail in religion’s coffin.

    The problem here however, is not the theory of ID but the ignorance and ambitions of those who are hell bent of destroying it.

    People like D’souza have a point and right to be concerned about ID’s sociological impacts but they need to realize that ID is ultimately on their side. Instead of trashing the efforts of the good men who work on it they need to realize that their time would be better served if they focused on helping and supporting ID in its battles than arm chair quaterbacking after the fact.

  57. Stephenb,

    you said

    “I am reading “The Design Inference” at the moment, and I have found nothing in it that would confirm your extravagant claims.”

    I gave up on this book. If you understand it, let me know. I was a mathematics major many years ago but it didn’t help since I forgot it all. You are right; it has nothing to do with what I am claiming.

    Are you confusing the Design Inference with the Design of Life? Because it was after reading this book that my position hardened.

    I am not interested in debating with the Darwinists but with the average person who does not have any personal worth invested in a position. Dinesh D’Souza is typical of this type of person. He is not a scientist but a journalist and social policy activist. My three children are typical targets as they are teacher, web designer and computer consultant respectively. We should ignore Panda’s Thumb. We are not in competition with them. We should concentrate on getting the right message and it should be a true message based on science and not subject to ridicule even if it means a smaller tent.

  58. Frost122585,

    There is a lot of theological objections to ID because it presupposes a God who has to constantly change things as opposed to One who got it right from the start. This is a very simple explanation for the Theistic Evolution position among many religious people and has been discussed here many, many times.

  59. jerry,

    I think they understand ‘survival of the fittest’ well enough, sure. That’s pretty easy to grasp on its own. And you’re probably right that some people write off ID when they think it’s entirely disregarding that. Do they understand evolution in a broader sense? I personally don’t think so. Heck, I think many atheists have an atrocious understanding of evolution – just because they like it in concept doesn’t mean they have a better understanding of it.

    The thing is, ID is billed as ‘big tent’ – and that’s meant that neither YECs are cast out, nor are the Michael Behes who accept common descent, or (I believe) people who accept a fairly orthodox view of evolution but believe design can still be detected in nature. And frankly, I have no problem with the YEC view in ID, so long as it’s understood that ID comprises a wide range of views. ID should not be equated with YEC – and, in my meager few, should not be equated with denying evolution either. Anyone who believes that design can be discerned in nature, or even philosophically argued for, should have a place in the discussion.

    Hence, I think people should take seriously what’s happening with D’Souza. This is not a man who is kissing up to an intellectual elite – he’s the one who’s actually being, pardon my language, knocking guys like Dennett and Hitchens on their asses, to the point where even evangelical atheists cringe at the results. If he, of all people, has a misunderstanding about ID, then maybe it’s time to question what ID is communicating to people, and where the breakdown in message is coming from.

    Theists who denounce ID are not necessarily betraying their faith to buddy up with the Dawkins crowd – it may either be a miscommunication (thinking ID really IS YEC in a cloak – remember, half the reason many people repeat the line is in the hopes that it’s believed), or an honest difference of opinion (I cite myself – I am not certain design can be demonstrated in a lab, though I think someone can make an extremely strong (stronger than the alternative) argument for design based on the evidence. And for me, ‘the evidence’ can include micro to macro evolution, and other such data.)

    Not that I denounce ID, mind you. I support it, I want to see it thrive and develop. I think we’re still in the early stages of the ‘project’, and the variety of views and possibilities are still being realized.

  60. The average person understands very little of evolution. My children know almost zilch about evolution except for survival of the fittest and some basics like mutations and natural selection and they are well educated. I have read a ton on the topic and what I understand today was quite different from two years ago when I thought I knew a lot. I owe a lot of it to reading comments from others on this site. But those of us here are an unusual group and most of the educated people in the world know very little besides the obvious.

  61. —-Jerry: “Are you confusing the Design Inference with the Design of Life? Because it was after reading this book that my position hardened.”

    Yes, indeed. I have read both books, and I got the titles confused. I was referring to “The Design Of Life.” I hope I didn’t hopelessly muddy the waters.

  62. —–nullasalus: “I suppose what I’m saying is, you’re not alone in your views. I respect that others disagree, of course – and so long as ID truly remains Big Tent (Where the operational views of people like Dinesh, Michel Heller, MikeGene, or even Ken Miller are respected and welcomed), I don’t have any problem.”

    I am not sure what you mean. Do you consider theistic evolution as being in the ID tent?

  63. 63

    Nulassulas said,

    “If he, of all people, has a misunderstanding about ID, then maybe it’s time to question what ID is communicating to people, and where the breakdown in message is coming from.”

    I agreed with your points about “big tent”. Well put. I think that is where Jerry had it wrong. Jerry said that people view ID as proposing that God had to keep changing things. That is nonsense ID is “perfectly” compatible with front loading. ALL THAT ID SAYS IS THAT THE DESIGN OF THE WORLD IS DETECTIBLE. Period. Almost any religion can use it as support for there metaphysical understanding of the world- thank God.

    As for your rhetorical question above, the answer is THE MEDIA. Look at the various interviews that have aired on IMOP the “communist stations” like MSNBC and CNN and the “tabloid trash at best” FOXNEWS. They are always about one thing and one thing only…

    A DUH… HOW IS ID DIFFERNT FROM CREATIONISM…. A DUH.

    And the whole glorious 2 and a half minutes consists of one Darwinist saying “well, it is creationism in disguise” and the Design theorist saying “No, it has nothing to do with creationism.”

    Of course the ID advocate is actually the only one telling the truth but the implication is already made in the topic of discussion and then if the Darwinist out debates the ID advocate using tricky rhetoric then everyone watching who is ignorant of the facts thinks “Boy, that ID is nothing but creationism! I don’t waaant myyyy kids learning that religious biblical indoctrination propaganda!”

    And the sad fact is that because of the even worse press like what I like to call “The Dover incident” people dismiss the theory even more. D’souza has a point being concerned about where ID is taking religion… but I think Ben Stein is the one who is right when he says at the end of his monologue in the Expelled preview-

    If no one is going to speak up then who will be left to fight this fight?– Especially once the whole world is brainwashed with this Darwinist political garbage.

    D’souza, there is much more to lose if we say and do nothing.

  64. 64

    Jerry said,

    “But those of us here are an unusual group and most of the educated people in the world know very little besides the obvious.”

    Lets change that.

  65. Jerry wrote:

    As I just said on another thread, the Darwinian paradigm explains most of the life on the planet. Untill ID formally recognizes this possibiity, it will be continually marginalized.

    I’d rather be right and marginalized than wrong and accepted.

    I think Michael Denton pretty much trashed the Darwinian paradigm. Research building upon Walter Remine and John Sanford’s work will probably seal the deal of refuting Darwin once and for all from a population genetics standpoint.

    There could be fruitful research in using Fisher’s fundamental theorem of Natural Selection to destroy the vestiges of natural selection theory. Salthe outlined the idea in one of his essays, but it needs refinement.

    Nei’s critique (Nei is an NAS member) critique last year is an indication Kimura’s math will soon be applied to adaptation theory. Kimura successfully excorcised Darwinism from molecular evolution, adpatation is next.

    D’Souza is terribly mis-informed believing that mainstream science is to be trusted with respect to Darwinian evolution. He ought to watch expelled.

  66. Jerry, correct me if I’m wrong here…

    Jerry’s frustration is understandable. Here’s the deal. Most of the general public have no idea what intelligent design is about and if they have any idea at all it’s that intelligent design is the same as scientific creationism except that God is replaced by an unnamed supernatural being. The fact that a vast majority of intelligent design proponents believe this and clearly are interested not in the science of design detection but in promoting and extending their own religious beliefs is, unfortunately, absolutely true.

    So what’s a guy like Jerry or me to do?

    I’ve reconciled myself to the fact that without those religious believers ID is a dead duck because the other religious believers, the positive atheists, have a stranglehold in the science establishment and educational system. The only way to break the stranglehold and get a level playing field is to expose the situation to the public and use their vast numbers to legislate a level playing field.

    Make no mistake, the positive atheists who fanatically cling to neo-Darwinism are every bit as guilty of wanting their religious philosophy promoted as anyone other evangelical. All Jerry and I are interested in is truth and justice. Neither of us particularly cares which is true, neo-Darwinism or intelligent design or both, we just want a level playing field in the marketplace of ideas free of bias and dirty tactics by both the religionists AND anti-religionists.

    Jerry, I understand your frustration but you have to understand that we have to fight fire with fire. The anti-religion faction owns the academy, the peer reviewed literature, and the courts and will do any underhanded immoral rotten thing they need to do to keep it that way. We can’t get a fair hearing under those circumstances. The only way to get this situation fixed is by getting enough people together under one tent to force a political solution.

    So here’s what I suggest. So you can remain true to yourself and still do what needs to be done to get this fixed just concentrate on the really, really tough problems for neo-Darwinism to explain and avoid talking about the rest. Who cares if birds evolved from dinosaurs by chance & necessity or whales from hippos. That’s the equivalent of arguing about how many angels can fit on the head of a pin. Once we have a level playing field then will be the time to look at the fine points. In the meantime concentrate on a big problem – like the evolution of the flagellum, or ribosome, or ATP synthase, or the genetic code and avoid the creationist hot buttons like the differences between humans and chimps and whether Darwinian processes can account for those. Ask instead how Darwinian processes account for what we observed in P.Falciparum.

    I hope this helps.

  67. Salvador,

    “I’d rather be right and marginalized than wrong and accepted.”

    But I believe ID is marginalized because it is associated with things that are wrong. And I think the examples that you have brought up may be a symptom of its marginalization. Could you point out how Denton challenges my claim because I believe he substantiates what I have been saying. Here is a quote from “Evolution: A Theory in Crisis p 85.”

    “It is clear, then, that Darwin’s special theory was largely correct. Natural Selection has been directly observed and there can be no question now that new species do originate in nature; furthermore, it is now possible to explain in great detail the exact sequences of events that lead to species formation.”

    By special theory he meant micro evolution. You are confusing micro evolution with macro evolution. Denton is a believer in natural selection shaping species.

    Why don’t you layout what you mean by the research of Remine and Sanford. These are Young Earth Creationists and it is best to be specific on what they say and if what they have shown disputes anything I have said. Someone brought up recently that Sanford says the genome is deteriorating when others have said this is nonsense. The genomes of species do not indicate deterioration nor are we seeing this playing out in our world. The species of the world seem quite healthy except where man interferes.

    Here is a statement by Salthe

    “Oh sure natural selection’s been demonstrated. . . the interesting point, however, is that it has rarely if ever been demonstrated to have anything to do with evolution in the sense of long-term changes in populations. . . . Summing up we can see that the import of the Darwinian theory of evolution is just unexplainable caprice from top to bottom. What evolves is just what happened to happen.”

    His main objections to natural selection is that he is a socialist and the Darwinian paradigm is a capitalist paradigm. He doesn’t like the implications especially the competitive nature of natural selection that Darwin provided. The current version of the modern synthesis contains a lot more that what Darwin originally proposed and what was considered in the 1930′s and 1940′s. Read Jablonka and Lamb’s book for some possible interesting additions to the modern synthesis. (nothing in this book threatens ID)

    It is always nice to cite some people but for everyone you cite, one could cite 20 others and on Denton you were wrong. It seems that most of the objections to Darwinian processes is the extrapolation over time to large scale changes. Nothing I have said disputes these objections or that most of the life on the planet does not need macro evolution for its existence.

    The real issue is the origin of the gene pools for which no one has an answer and seems beyond the capabilities of any naturalistic process.

    I am sure D’Souza will watch Expelled and may have seen it already. It is covered in detail on his website. For that to have happened he must have seen it.

    I am not sure he should pay any attention to Remine, Sanford or Salthe. Maybe you could explain in laymen’s terms what Nei and Kimura have said so we can assess their relevance. What little I saw of Kimura is that all his work is consistent with what I have said. Maybe you can point out how his work contradicts it since it all points to naturalistic causes for changes in species and the narrowing of the gene pool. His ideas are part of the current evolutionary paradigm.

  68. jerry

    You should read Sanford’s book. Genetic entropy is quite real, just not on the short timeframe Sanford tries to box it into. He’s trying to make a case for genetic entropy killing species in thousands of years to support his young earth creation beliefs. If you take his theory and stretch the time frame out to millions of years instead of thousands of years it fits the facts perfectly. Most of the complex animals species (large genomed) that lived on the earth are extinct. Their tenure is roughly 10 million years. Genetic entropy explains this. The only mystery to me is how some tiny fraction of all species managed to keep their cell line alive and why they didn’t succumb to genetic entropy like the vast majority of their peers.

  69. Jerry said,

    “I am sure D’Souza will watch Expelled and may have seen it already.”

    That’s lovely. Hopefully he will bother to read some of Bill’s books and acknowledge him as one of- if not “the”- father of modern ID.

    And no, I don’t think that D’souza has read them. If he has then he is obviously neglecting them for some suspicious reason. Perhaps because they strongly support ID and refute his position.

    I think that a lot of people just don’t like ID because it seems at first glance to imply that somehow you have to be smart or well versed in scientific and philosophical literature to know, have and justify a relationship God or religion. This is a total misconception. ID is there for those people who have expierenced or choose to use science and philosophy to trash faith and religion. It serves the purpose of an antidote among other things. No one has to know ID except for people who should know better then to chalk up life and reality to nothing except perfectly predictable purposeless material processes.

    You seem to have a big problem with people who believe in the possibility of divine intervention (like myself). Can you prove that it never happened or cant happen? No you cant. You sound like you also have a problem with people who reject the theory of common descent. Well the fossil record is skimp and while it is a strong theory from what I gather, ID in no way demands anyone to profess or take the position of disbelief against it. If however you take the position of skepticism ID can coexist with that as well as if you accept common descent as fact.

    Until more good evidence for evolutionary processes and common descent comes in, I think that people like yourself should be a little more tolerant and accepting of other people’s beliefs. Afterall, we all been wrong at times when we were convinced that we were right.

  70. frost

    You seem to have a big problem with people who believe in the possibility of divine intervention (like myself). Can you prove that it never happened or cant happen? No you cant.

    I can’t prove that invisible slime fairies from pluto don’t intervene either. You need some kind of positive evidence to get the ball rolling in science. What is your positive evidence of divine intervention and what is your evidence for the form this interventionist might take – i.e. what evidence is there that it’s a bearded thunderer as described in the bible rather than the invisible Plutonian slime creatures I described?

    As far as I can determine there is a strong scientific case to be made that an intelligent agency in some form was a inescapable causal factor of the appearance and evolution of life on our planet. Also as far as I can determine there is not a single shred of evidence to support a case that the intelligence was either “divine” or took some particular form in preference to any other possible form.

  71. Dave,

    I appreciate what you are saying but I have a different take on this. I know I am ruffling some feathers here but I do not think I am using anything bogus to do so. Look at my response to Sal just above. Sal is the first person to challenge my claims and I don’t think he did a good job at it. I welcome challenges because if they cannot be answered I have learned and maybe some others will learn also and it may point to an alternative argument. But few here want to even consider it.

    I think there is another potential addition to the tent that could make it bigger than it is now but before that addition will come aboard all of the big tent has to accept the obvious. I see the anti science part of many proponents of ID as an impediment for others to come aboard. That is what I am trying to get across. Maybe D’Souza could be influenced but suppose he asked about micro evolution and species formation. What will we say? If we hemmed and hawed and said that is not part of ID, he might bolt and rightfully so. In order to get at what is designed one has to allocate all the possibilities into design and non design. Why can’t we apply the explanatory filter to all evolution and not to what we chose in order to ameliorate some members of the tent. It is the only honest thing to do. I believe if we applied the EF to the origin of 300,000 beetles we would get 300,000 instances of failure of design once the gene pool exists. Now I certainly could be wrong on a few cases but I bet not too many (I am not talking about the over all genetic make up of the beetle but the origin of the differences between them.).

    So I believe before you can get these additional people’s attention you have to argue from truth, not just some truth. Before you can get to the flagellum, ATP synthase or the genetic code with them, you have to make sure the small stuff is not a problem and makes sense and doesn’t contradict the obvious.

    So I am arguing that parts of the tenets of evolutionary biology make sense and we should adopt them because the empirical evidence supports it. It actually makes a good design argument. Why shouldn’t we accept the evidence since it is relevant to ID?

    (As an aside – even in these non controversial aspects of evolutionary biology for ID there is plenty of debate. But none of the things they are arguing over usually has any effect on ID. For example, people have frequently pointed to scientists disputing natural selection when all these scientists are doing is saying natural selection is not everything. I have never seen an evolutionary biologist say natural selection never happens. This has nothing to do with contradicting ID and ID should not be concerned with it.)

    So why ignore certain aspects of evolution when the evidence supports law and chance for its origin. That’s not very honest. It only makes it harder to get to the much larger group out there that is unapproachable now. I believe if we accept the obvious, it will be easier to make the distinction between ID and the current paradigm and get at the things that are really important. Right now it is hard to make that distinction because it appears ID challenges everything.

    Apply the EF to all of evolution not just cherry pick what is comfortable for some.

    Dave,

    Just read your last comment. I have Sanford’s book and will read it. I do not deny that this is a possibility but not in the short term because there is no current evidence for it. But even so there shoul? be some species that are now presently on the edge of extinction from this process. Where are they?

    Another explanation for extinction is genetic drift which fixes the gene pool to a narrow range and then when environmental changes come along the species can no longer cope because of the narrow gene pool. But the same question arises. Where are they?

  72. jerry

    Lots of species have gone extinct in historic times. Seen any dodo birds or wooly mammoths around recently?

    What happens is that selection has to work on the entire genone. It has to take the good with the bad. Since most mutations range from nearly neutral to fatal there’s a lot of nearly neutrals that accumulate in the genome. Nearly neutral (very slightly bad) mutations are invisible to natural selection. The effect is that these nearly neutrals weaken the species so that it becomes less and less able to deal with environmental insults and competition. Eventually one of those insults or competitors just wipes it off the map into extinction. The external form of the species never changes, or changes very little, while this is happening. This is in perfect accord with what we see in the fossil record. Haldane’s Dilemma was never solved. It was swept under the rug. Evolution, don’t you know, is as well proven as gravity, so Haldane simply had to be wrong. No need to investigate it, we just know Haldane must be somehow wrong because evolution is sa true as true can be, right? Wrong.

  73. Jerry,

    The quote you provided was about the “special theory” but not the general theory.

    The problem of speciation is not the same problem as the creation of large scale biological complexity. That geographic isolation will cause speciation (as in individuals from the separated population have no desire to mate anylonger) is not the same problem as explaining biological complexity. Trying to use speciation (the problem supposedly addressed by Darwin) as an explanation for biological complexity is another matter altogether!!! Where Darwinism fails is trying to connect the idea of speciation with the origin of biological complexity.

    It would only be fair to balance that quote with Denton’s other comments, not to mention he wrote a chapter in Bill Dembski’s book, Uncomon Dissent entitled “An Anti-Darwinian Intellectual Journey”.

    For example, look at this interview from ARN. It has many hints of front loading ideas:

    http://www.arn.org/docs/orpages/or152/dent.htm

    Q: What was your motivation for writing Evolution: A Theory in Crisis?

    A: Very simply, I think the current Darwinian picture is insufficient. I don’t think it gives a credible and comprehensive explanation of how the pattern of life on earth emerged.

    Q: Does Darwinian theory adequately explain the pervasive patterns of natural history?

    A: Well, the basic pattern it fails to explain is the apparent uniqueness and isolation of major types of organisms. My fundamental problem with the theory is that there are so many highly complicated organs, systems and structures, from the nature of the lung of a bird, to the eye of the rock lobster, for which I cannot conceive of how these things have come about in terms of a gradual accumulation of random changes.

    It strikes me as being a flagrant denial of common sense to swallow that all these things were built up by accumulative small random changes. This is simply a nonsensical claim, especially for the great majority of cases, where nobody can think of any credible explanation of how it came about. And this is a very profound question which everybody skirts, everybody brushes over, everybody tries to sweep under the carpet.

    The fact is that the majority of these complex adaptations in nature cannot be adequately explained by a series of intermediate forms. And this is a fundamental problem. Common sense tells me there must be something wrong.

    Q: What in your judgment are the most serious objections to Darwinian theory?

    A: The most serious objection I have is with the nature of mutation. Darwinism is based on the idea that all the mutations which have been selected during the course of evolution were, when they initially occurred, entirely random. Mutations are random, and when an organism has a mutation which in fact is advantageous to it, that’s purely fortuitous. This is the essential bedrock of Darwinism. The mutational input into living things is, as it were, at random.

    ….
    Darwinism is claiming that all the adaptive structures in nature, all the organisms which have existed throughout history were generated by the accumulation of entirely undirected mutations. That is an entirely unsubstantiated belief for which there is not the slightest evidence whatsoever.

    Denton is apparently sympathetic to some form of directed evolution.

    I described my own long and complex anti-Darwinian intellectual journey. I started my journey with the special creationism of my youth…to my view today, which is that much of life’s order is an intrinsic and necessary feature of nature, largely determined by physical law.

    I believe that many of the unique forms and properties of living systems arise like the double helix naturally from the intrinsic properties of matter…such a biology would be profoundly anti-Darwinian…

    Uncommon Dissent

    [I'll respond to Jerry's other questions later]

  74. jerry

    What data can you give me obtained from the explanatory filter that either confirms or disputes common descent and the age of the earth?

    If you can’t show me how the ID hypothesis either supports or denies common descent and the age of the earth then how the hell do we scientifically justify making a position statement on it?

  75. Dave, I don’t know why you picked this squabble with me. My point is that if people think that it has happened in their own life- like this woman who had throat cancer that i knew and prayed at a catholic church and it immediately went into remission leaving the doctors baffled and left without explanation. And this is not the only time I have heard such stories from reliable and confirmable sources.

    then ID supports this kind of designer. Lets take the bacterial flagellum for example. If Darwinian evolutionary processes cant get at this thing – the so called irreducible complex- and you accept that nature is full of intelligence and improbability as I do- then one thinks that God or the designer at some point “after the original creation or the first cause or big bang” moved the pieces.

    I don’t see a big deal of difference between the front loading and intervention myself for several reasons. If life is improbable both ways (and it is) then either the improbable assemblage is factored in at he beginning or it is happening all the time or through out history.

    In one construct that supports a sort of Deistic appreciation – you have God or the designer just sitting back and watching it all go by admiring his divine creation. In the second the designer or God in moving the pieces form time to time (or all the time). The second permits miracles the first does not.

    But the all powerful designer and or God certainly cant be limited to Deism because we have no real evidence for this except peoples perceptions.

    I’m not even sure either theory is right. He could be sitting back and watching a creation that he preprogrammed the occasional divine interference within.

    This is all a matter of construct and probability. Nothing the worlds construct limits either perception and nothing in quantum theory prevents miracles.

    Dave, I don’t know why you picked this squabble with me. My point is that if people think that it has happened in their own life- like this woman who had throat cancer that i knew and prayed at a catholic church and it immediately went into remission leaving the doctors baffled and left without explanation. And this is not the only time I have heard such stories from reliable and confirmable sources-

    then ID supports this kind of designer and belief about the nature of reality. Lets take the bacterial flagellum for example. If Darwinian evolutionary processes cant get at this thing – the so called irreducibly complex- and you accept that nature is full of intelligence and improbability as do I- then one thinks that God or the designer at some point “after the original creation or the first cause or big bang” moved or moves the pieces.

    I don’t see a big deal of difference between the front loading and intervention model’s myself for several reasons. If life is improbable both ways (and it is) then either the improbable assemblage is factored in at he beginning or it is happening all the time or through out history.

    In one construct that supports a sort of Deistic appreciation you have God or the designer just sitting back and watching it all go by admiring his divine creation. In the second the designer or God is moving the pieces form time to time (or all the time). The second permits miracles the first does not.

    But the all powerful designer and or God certainly can’t be scientifically limited to Deism because we have no real evidence for this except people’s perceptions- you couldn’t even prove it if it was true.

    I’m not even sure either theory is right. He could be sitting back and watching a creation that he preprogrammed the occasional divine interference within.

    Another good reason for discounting Deistic Design is that there is real chance and probability in the world that prevents total predictability. This was proven in Heisenberg’s uncertainty principal. If this is part of the nature of the actual world then the designer (assuming he had a hand in its design/creation) created or designed a system that eludes predictability and hence how could we know when he is intervening and when he is not or moreover if he ever has or hasn’t? The unpredictable nature of the world contradicts a non-interfering designer in a certain sense because we don’t even know what a non-interfering designer would be like. Things are too fluid for total predictability and therefore we have no model to mach deism up against.

    My point is that anyone on any side can accept ID because it is scientific. I personally believe in the POSSIBLITY of miracles. I have never had one in my life and I hope I never need one but who am I to say that they never happened?

    This is all a matter of construct and probability. Nothing in this world’s construct limits either perception and nothing in quantum theory prevents miracles.

    Nobody is claiming the designer can be discovered to be a man in the clouds with a staff and a long white beard or whatever. But if you want to believe that ID is a tool that can support that image as long as you some how give that image the powers and ability to account for all the specified complexity found in the world.

    As for your invisible slime creature- I’m sorry I don’t think either theory -ID or DE can bring that conception into scientific fruition- after all its just an invisible slime creature and I could never accept the possibility that such a character could possibly account for all the beauty found in the world given its lack of sense for personal hygiene- and that’s even if it is invisible! :)

  76. frost122585,

    you said

    “You seem to have a big problem with people who believe in the possibility of divine intervention (like myself). Can you prove that it never happened or cant happen? No you cant.”

    If you read carefully what I say, I consider large parts of the history of life a mystery and attribute it to an intelligent input. Just not most of life. The less the intervention, the more powerful the Intelligent Designer. That is why I say the micro evolutionary part of the Darwinian paradigm is fantastic design.

    Just who that intelligent input is, I have no empirical evidence for. But I have personal beliefs based on more that just the science. If you want to know, I am a Christian who believes in the triune God and that He has intervened in much of our lives on earth and continues to do so every day and He has personally created each one of us in His image. But that is not based on science.

    I personally believe that Darwin is a major reason for non belief in this world. But before that can be counteracted I also believe that fire must fight fire and that fire is good science not an ideology based on untruths. Good science is not the only way but it is one effective way and I believe ID is not there yet.

  77. Sorry the first part of my post got repeated- i copied it from word and then edited it and then pasted it again but forgot to erase the original draft part.

  78. Salvador,

    We are talking about two separate things. I am talking about micro evolution and you are talking about macro evolution so it is not relevant to the point I am making. Everything I have said has been about micro evolution.

  79. frost

    I picked the squabble because while there’s scientific evidence of intelligent intervention in the origination and diversification of life there’s no scientific evidence that the intervention was 1) divine or 2) the interventionist took any specific form.

    I’m all about the scientific concept of ID and when you wander off that reservation I’m likely (time and circumstance permitting) to call you to the carpet for it. ID doesn’t validate your religion and neither does it dispute it. Atheism can be accommodated under the ID tent for Pete’s sake because it doesn’t require a divine intelligence.

  80. Frost122585,

    I have no problem with prayer and that it may be answered. I pray all the time. Mostly, for forgiveness.

    However, I do not think this has anything to do with the origin of species.

  81. The genomes of species do not indicate deterioration nor are we seeing this playing out in our world. The species of the world seem quite healthy except where man interferes.

    It is hard to see the deterioration if one eyes are closed to it. Geneticist Bryan Sykes of Oxford (as in Dawkins School)is not so sure there isn’t deterioration. See: Adam’s Curse.

    Sanford’s book goes into far more detail.

    Maybe you could explain in laymen’s terms what Nei and Kimura have said so we can assess their relevance. What little I saw of Kimura is that all his work is consistent with what I have said. Maybe you can point out how his work contradicts it since it all points to naturalistic causes for changes in species and the narrowing of the gene pool. His ideas are part of the current evolutionary paradigm.

    The essential problem for Darwinism is that it tries to explain biological diversity through reduction of diversity. This is an inherent mathematically illogical self-contradiction in Darwin’s ideas.

    Jerry wrote:

    His main objections to natural selection is that he is a socialist and the Darwinian paradigm is a capitalist paradigm.

    That is a misrepresentation. Salte pointed out that Fisher’s fundamental theorem of natural selection contradict’s Darwin’s claims. If natural selection is measured mathematically by the reduction of diversity in a population, how does it simultaneously explain diversity in a population? This is insanely illogical.

    Kimura demonstrated this logical contradiction in Darwinian theory for molecular evolution, and thus proved the majority of molecular evoltuion cannot proceed along Darwinian lines.

    What little I saw of Kimura is that all his work is consistent with what I have said. Maybe you can point out how his work contradicts it since it all points to naturalistic causes

    One does not need to abandon naturalism to see Darwinism fails on its own demerits.

    Sanford also points to the problem of interference selection which again is tied to the problems highlighed by Fisher’s fundamental theorem of natural selection. I outline one of Sanford’s arguments here:
    http://www.youngcosmos.com/blog/archives/200

    Maybe you could explain in laymen’s terms what Nei and Kimura have said so we can assess their relevance.

    Maybe you can elevate your understanding beyond a layman before you accuse me of not arguing my case well.

    But in any case, consider:
    What are the speed limits of naturalistic evolution

  82. 82

    No Jerry my point was that to me you want to chalk up everything to science but science ant get at all of the questions.

    Also a designer that moves pieces is no more or less powerful than any other. Maybe there are good transcendental reasons for intervention that you just don’t understand. You have no reason to think that intervention is a sign of weakness. We consider movies with flawed characters and good acting to be entertaining. They are usually called dramas. If God wants a really good drama he might want to throw in an occasional miracle here an there. After all the quantum nature of the world permits it. Little miracles keep man off balance to. They may help keep us honest. They may be good for increasing faith without requiring it of us.

    “All the world may indeed be a stage.”

    -Shakespeare

  83. Dave,

    I am certainly not an expert on extinction but I made a quick comment and usually when I comment on it I make the point that most current extinctions are due to human activity. That seems to be the fate of the mammoths and the Dodo and not genetic breakdown.

    We should be able to witness the potential destruction of a species in their genomes. Has that been verified yet? There are over 4000 genomes that have been sequenced.

    As far as using the EF for the age of the earth and common descent I am not sure how it would work. Why not start a thread on it.

    I would think the EF would eliminate the young earth because of the likelihood of natural processes explaining the old earth. For common descent, I do not have a point of view on universal common descent but personally think it unlikely. I like the arguments by Meyers in his treatise on the Cambrian Explosion. But for limited common descent, I think it is highly likely within many orders.

    Good night.

  84. Salvador,

    You continue to bring up macro evolution when I am talking micro evolution. Do you read what I have said?

  85. 85

    Dave excuse my confusion here. The first of your posts to me quoted this statement of mine…

    “You seem to have a big problem with people who believe in the possibility of divine intervention (like myself). Can you prove that it never happened or cant happen? No you cant.”

    I’m not sure where I wondered off the reservation. I feel like you are painting me into a corner. You have read enough of my posts over the months to know that I know the difference between religion and science. My points are addressed to Jerry’s claims which are best represented in this quote of his…

    “So every time I see someone trashing the Darwinian paradigm of RM + NS as nonsense, I cringe because it is undermining ID. They think they are supporting ID but what they are doing is denying the obvious and when they do that they make ID look silly, A more sophisticated approach would be to embrace elements of the Darwinian paradigm as obviously working and really good design but it can only explain so much before it runs into real trouble.”

    First of all good design is never going away. If its good like having fingers- its always good. At least for the historical time that it was good. This goes right back to probability. Why should good traits come around in the first place? NS does nothing to elucidate this matter. And that in it of itself is casting doubt on the quality of NS in regards to the formation of the complexity of life.

    I just think that Jerry as i said above needs to be a little more accepting of other peoples skepticism and beliefs. Some are hurting ID but calling into doubt NS and RM is practically all that we do here at the site.

    If Jerry is claiming that people are saying that “mutation” doesn’t take place then his point is absurdly moot. I have never heard anyone claim that. This reminds me of when Ali g asked Buzz Aldrin “if the moon really exists” when what he was spoofing was the question many conspiracy theorists ask which is “did we really go to the moon.”

    NS is not IMOP that powerful a mechanism. Behe says in Edge of Evolution that he thinks it only accounts for 2% of evolution and he accepts common descent!!!

    So tell me now who is doing harm to the ID movement again? How do your claims match up against the Penn State biologist’s?

  86. StephenB,

    “I am not sure what you mean. Do you consider theistic evolution as being in the ID tent?”

    I’m actually wondering if it is. If it’s not, I think it should be. Again, I’m just one person.

    However, I do recall a post on this very site where the OP mentioned that Ken Miller himself should be on the side of ID rather than against it, based on the beliefs he outlined in his own books. Now, I know Miller somehow categorizes himself as other than TE – but frankly, if he could make the cut, so could the TEs.

    For the record, the conversation between jerry and scordova hits on a point that always gets to me. From the quoting of Denton:

    “Darwinism is claiming that all the adaptive structures in nature, all the organisms which have existed throughout history were generated by the accumulation of entirely undirected mutations. That is an entirely unsubstantiated belief for which there is not the slightest evidence whatsoever.”

    1) There really IS no evidence whatsoever for “undirected” in that statement, and the word (the problem remains even if it becomes ‘random’ or otherwise) is utterly loaded. If the critics of ID are right, there is no way to scientifically detect for design. If that’s the case, ‘undirected’ fails as a description on the spot. We can still talk about mutations driving change – maybe they’re ultimately random, maybe they’re ultimately directed. But that debates gets outside of science. And that, by the way, is a point that D’Souza essentially makes himself, when it comes to the unjust mixing of atheism with science.

    2) Notice that you can reject this Darwinian interpretation of evolution – but still accept evolution on other grounds. You can accept common descent, you can accept micro to macro, you can accept a whole lot of the orthodoxy – but you can still be rejecting neo-/darwinism, or very critical of it. Look at Lynn Margulis for an example. She’s not an ID advocate, but she rejects the standard stories of evolution, and recognizes the frankly political nature of some of its development. Look at Denis Noble, who again doesn’t (to my knowledge) accept ID, but who has strong criticisms of evolution as commonly touted, and argues that ‘Selfish Gene’ views are inadequate and somewhat shallow.

    3) I’ll say again: I don’t think TEs are somehow an ‘enemy’ to ID, and I don’t think they’re all a bunch of people who have sold out to materialism, and damn certainly not atheism. If anything, they’re making what may be a stronger claim than many ID advocates: That even if darwinian evolution (or something close to it) is true, the atheist paradigm is still utter bunk. Many of them honestly don’t feel evolution to be a threat to their faith, or faith in general – they see that as a canard, an idea popularized wrongly by atheists. I do not think that view should be discounted.

    4) DaveScot rightly points out that even if ID is correct – even if it’s correct in the strongest senses of the word – it doesn’t establish that the Designer is God. It establishes that a strong, maybe even unfathomable, intelligence was behind life and perhaps more. But going from that to God will always require faith. Remember that when he was convinced there was no realistic chance for an Origin of Life event on earth, Crick didn’t entertain the thought of God for one moment – he dove right for the extraterrestrial intelligence. If ID ever establishes ‘intelligent causation’ as a good possibility for life and the development of life, get used to hearing about that. Hell, get used to talking about how our advances in the sciences prove that you don’t need to be God to manipulate genes, brains, or anything else, and that “Ironically, Intelligent Design’s success made the idea of God less likely than before”. It will be a load of bunk, a mischaracterization, a politicization – but it will happen upon the instant.

    Insofar as darwinism and evolution are offered up as inherently atheistic, the subjects are utterly abused. TEs largely point out this abuse, though frankly they’ve had less of a focus on the science and details than ID has offered. I don’t think they should be automatically discounted for holding these views – in fact, I think they should be encouraged. So ideally, I’d love to see far more ID proponents coming from a TE angle – people who accept most of the orthodoxy, and argue design can be seen even there, that it may well be the best explanation for what we’ve seen on earth, and how the popular atheistic views of chance and randomness are base and inaccurate.

  87. 87

    Dave you also said,

    “ID doesn’t validate your religion and neither does it dispute it. Atheism can be accommodated under the ID tent for Pete’s sake because it doesn’t require a divine intelligence.”

    I said “support”– it supports people’s religious views. And it does. It adds a little evidence that their conceptions are possible under the nature of the worlds scientifically observed circumstances. Many if not most people turn to ID for added intellectual support regarding their religious convictions. Not all do but most do.

    Sure atheists can believe in ID but militant atheists cant because you see they view religion as evil and any inference that supports the existence that evil is in their view not worthy of entertaining.

    The evidence of ID has to be taken with an open mind but if one chooses to have devout faith that there will eventually come a glorious day when all questions are answered by materialistic science- like PZ Meyers- then you will not find ID very accommodating.

    Militant atheists cannot be ID supporters and neither can methodological materialists. The point I would like to make is that both views are in the vast majority of cases easily interchangeable to describe one and the same person- but everybody know that this is the case, its obviously true.

  88. Properly understood ID doesn’t support religion. It accomodates biblical creationism whereas Darwin’s theory does not. Darwin’s theory directly disputes biblical creation. ID neither disputes nor confirms biblical creation. It allows it. It also allows Darwinian theory to be mostly (just not entirely) true. ID is a really big tent when limited to what it’s supposed to be – design detection.

  89. 89

    You say “accomodates.”

    I say “supports.”

    Big difference right.

    Definitions-

    Support- hold in position so as to keep from falling, sinking, or slipping.

    Accommodation-
    The act of fitting or adapting, or the state of being fitted or adapted; adaptation; adjustment.

    I don’t think ID adapts to religion if it is to be properly understood but it certainly to a large extent “fits” with it. ID does however clearly hold one’s faith in position from falling do to the constant assault by the Dawkin’s, Meyers, crowed.

    Both words work fine.

    Remember as I wrote above Behe who is clearly one of the main contributors to ID (often called the father of ID) thinks Darwin’s theory accounts not for most of life’s complexity but for only about 2%! Therefore its not mostly true its very minutely true. Natural selection was understood before Darwin and so was genetic variation and of course change was as well. His theory just proposed common descent (if it was even for the first time- I’m not convinced it was)- So I have to disagree with the thrust of your two points.

    Of course I agree that ID is a big tent as I made explicit in post 63.

  90. Jerry wrote:

    the Darwinian paradigm explains most of the life on the planet.

    I disputed the above claim. But Jerry insists:

    You [salvador] continue to bring up macro evolution when I [jerry] am talking micro evolution.

    But the Darwinian paradigms is about macroevolution.

    Micro evolution does not explain most of life on the planet. Even though everything is subject to microevolution, it does not mean microevolution explains life.

    Everything is subject to gravity, but gravity does not explain life.

    I just revisited a few pages of sanford’s work. You would benefit greatly from reading it.

    Why don’t you layout what you mean by the research of Remine and Sanford. These are Young Earth Creationists

    ReMine is not a YEC. Sanford was an atheist Darwinist before changing his mind. He is far more qualified than Dawkins or most people on the planet to be involved in a debate about genetics. His gene gun technology has influenced almost every genetically engineered crop in existence and he became filthy rich from his inventions. In addition to that, he is a tenured professor at Cornell. He is far more qualified than Dawkins or most people on the planet to discuss genetic evoltution.

    But if his newly acquired YEC beliefs somehow prejudice you from even reading his works, then you’ve closed your mind to some of the best critiques of Darwin’s ideas.

    John Sanford wrote:

    Degeneration is the precise antithesis of evolutionary theory. Therefore the reality of Genetic Entropy is positively fatal to Darwinism.

    Sanford’s ideas are subject to empirical testing, if anyone will be bold enough to face the unpleasant implications of genetic entropy.

    One does not have to outrightly reject naturalism to see that Darwinism fails on its own demerits.

    There are alternatives to Darwinism(some naturalistic, some not):

    1. front loading
    2. Denton’s plantonic union of physics and biology
    3. Special Creation
    4. Pan Spermia (I really like Hoyle)
    5. Self-Organization
    etc.

    But I think Denton, Sanford, ReMine, Salthe have pretty much trashed the possibility that Darwin was right, irrespective of whether a viable alternative exists.

    Finally, I might create a separate post on how Fisher’s Fundamental Theorem of Natural Selection has unwittingly disproved Darwinism! Poetic justice indeed.

  91. 91

    In regards to Dembski’s link above to Lewis’ personal letters about evolution i found this line of his particularly funny

    “Have you read this book by the Jesuit [Pierre Teilhard] de Chardin (The Phenomenon of Man) wh. is being praised to the skies? This is evolution run mad. He saves “continuity” by saying that before there was life there was in matter what he calls “pre-life.” Can you see any possible use in such language? Before you switched on the light in the cellar there was (if you like to call it so) “pre-light;”

    I can picture him actually thinking this too- as opposed to simply constructing it for the virtue of good polemical effect.

  92. 92

    Cordova, I share in your frustration.

  93. 93

    Also Cordova, please make that post about Fishe’s theorem. I think it would be grand. You posts above are quite very useful.

  94. —–nullasalus “There really IS no evidence whatsoever for “undirected” in that statement, and the word (the problem remains even if it becomes ‘random’ or otherwise) is utterly loaded. If the critics of ID are right, there is no way to scientifically detect for design. If that’s the case, ‘undirected’ fails as a description on the spot. We can still talk about mutations driving change – maybe they’re ultimately random, maybe they’re ultimately directed. But that debates gets outside of science. And that, by the way, is a point that D’Souza essentially makes himself, when it comes to the unjust mixing of atheism with science.”

    I would say that ID’s big tent is defined by those who believe that design in nature, including biological design, can be “perceived,” not merely “conceived, as the TE’s would have it, or “illusory,” as the Darwinists would have it. Immediately, we discover the critical difference between ID and TE. To perceive is to take into the senses; to conceive is merely to think about. Thus, the ID scientist will say, I am going to formally detect that which I perceive. The TE will say to the IDer, “there is nothing there to perceive, so you can’t detect it.” But then, the TE will go on to say, “Still, I “believe” or I “think” that design is “inherent” in the evolutionary process, but I just don’t think that it can be detected.” In other words, he doesn’t perceive it, he merely conceives it in the sense that he believes that this is the way that God did it. This is a self-contradictory position, but I won’t get into it now. TE’s excommunicates themselves from the ID camp as surely as do the Darwinists. In fact, they are usually ID’s fiercest persecutors.

    —–“Notice that you can reject this Darwinian interpretation of evolution – but still accept evolution on other grounds. You can accept common descent, you can accept micro to macro, you can accept a whole lot of the orthodoxy – but you can still be rejecting neo-/darwinism, or very critical of it. Look at Lynn Margulis for an example. She’s not an ID advocate, but she rejects the standard stories of evolution, and recognizes the frankly political nature of some of its development. Look at Denis Noble, who again doesn’t (to my knowledge) accept ID, but who has strong criticisms of evolution as commonly touted, and argues that ‘Selfish Gene’ views are inadequate and somewhat shallow.”

    ID is open to all theories of evolution or non-evolution, except for a radical version of Darwinism that insists that nothing is designed.

    —–“I’ll say again: I don’t think TEs are somehow an ‘enemy’ to ID, and I don’t think they’re all a bunch of people who have sold out to materialism, and damn certainly not atheism. If anything, they’re making what may be a stronger claim than many ID advocates: That even if darwinian evolution (or something close to it) is true, the atheist paradigm is still utter bunk. Many of them honestly don’t feel evolution to be a threat to their faith, or faith in general – they see that as a canard, an idea popularized wrongly by atheists. I do not think that view should be discounted.”

    We didn’t choose to be enemies; they chose to be our enemies. They are they ones who join forces with Darwinists to persecute ID. In truth, Theistic evolutionists are Christian Darwinists. What is a Christian Darwinist except someone who has integrated Darwinism with Christian Theology? It all sounds so eminently reasonable except for one thing—they don’t believe their own sales pitch. TE’s totally reject the Biblical teaching that design is real, and they totally accept the Darwinist scheme that design is “illusory.” That means of course that their Christianity is not RECONCILED WITH but is rather SUBORDINATED TO their Darwinism. Every theistic evolutionist I have ever met questions the Biblical story of Adam and Eve, insisting that we had thousands of first parents. If pressed, I suspect that many of them would question the doctrine of original sin as well. Translation: They want their God and their Darwin; but they want a quiet God and a loud Darwin

    Further, they try to make their scheme work by saying that God’s idea of randomness is different from our idea of randomness. But all the great scientists have believed that God created a rational universe, meaning, as they put it, they could “think God’s thoughts after him.” That means that, for them, there is enough correspondence between God’s rationality and our rationality that randomness means the same thing for God as it does for us. Why think otherwise? We don’t say that God thinks of “laws” in a radically differently than we do, so why would we talk that way about chance events. It can only serve one purpose—to create the impression that the universe is not rational after all, the very antithesis of natural theology and science.

    —–“Insofar as darwinism and evolution are offered up as inherently atheistic, the subjects are utterly abused. TEs largely point out this abuse, though frankly they’ve had less of a focus on the science and details than ID has offered. I don’t think they should be automatically discounted for holding these views – in fact, I think they should be encouraged. So ideally, I’d love to see far more ID proponents coming from a TE angle – people who accept most of the orthodoxy, and argue design can be seen even there, that it may well be the best explanation for what we’ve seen on earth, and how the popular atheistic views of chance and randomness are base and inaccurate.”

    As I said, TE is Christian Darwinism, which, in my judgment, is a conflict of visions. We have no reason to believe, as they do, that God “designed” contingency. That seems like a contradictory position to me. Contingency just happens. Apparently, God didn’t design snowflakes and moon craters, they just happened as physical laws interacted with chance. He knew how they were going to turn out, just as he knows when the stock market is going to crash. That doesn’t mean he makes these things happen. He simply allowed them to happen, and all of these events could have turned out differently. God designed DNA molecules, which could not have turned out differently.
    Now there is a second possibility. God could have “designed” the universe, its physical laws, and the earth’s ecology to “unfold” according to some internal principle. This is a very real possibility, except that the TE’s will have nothing to do with it. Remember, the TE’s are Darwinists, which means that life doesn’t UNFOLD according to some INTERNAL principle, it ADAPTS to the EXTERNAL environment. The moment you accept the possibility of “unfolding,” you are back in the ID camp because you have returned to teleology, something that TE’s want no part of. Of course, they think “contingency” can “unfold,” but such a formulation is, as I pointed out, a contradiction of terms. If it unfolds, it was designed.

  95. StephenB,

    “In other words, he doesn’t perceive it, he merely conceives it in the sense that he believes that this is the way that God did it. This is a self-contradictory position, but I won’t get into it now. TE’s excommunicates themselves from the ID camp as surely as do the Darwinists. In fact, they are usually ID’s fiercest persecutors.”

    Well, I’m getting mixed signals on that. But I don’t think the characterization of TEs is accurate. A TE could very well -perceive- design, believe it to be true, but stop short of arguing they could prove it in a falsifiable way. That self-identified TEs tend to fight ID doesn’t mean anything to me right away – YECs have fought ID too, but there’s still room for them in the big tent.

    “ID is open to all theories of evolution or non-evolution, except for a radical version of Darwinism that insists that nothing is designed.”

    If that’s true, then the TEs can get in under that Big Tent. And I’d take the tact that they should be there, and should be welcomed. Naturally, I understand if others disagree.

    “We didn’t choose to be enemies; they chose to be our enemies. They are they ones who join forces with Darwinists to persecute ID. In truth, Theistic evolutionists are Christian Darwinists.”

    I think many of them would reject the characterization, or would understand it in a very different way than you’re outlining. I don’t really care who ‘chose to be enemies’; I’m not interested in pride and the intellectual equivalent of blood feuds on this subject. And, Ken Miller aside, I don’t see all that much persecution coming from the TEs. Distancing, skepticism, misunderstandings, disagreements? Yes. And I’d like to see work towards solving the last two.

    “What is a Christian Darwinist except someone who has integrated Darwinism with Christian Theology? It all sounds so eminently reasonable except for one thing—they don’t believe their own sales pitch. TE’s totally reject the Biblical teaching that design is real, and they totally accept the Darwinist scheme that design is “illusory.” That means of course that their Christianity is not RECONCILED WITH but is rather SUBORDINATED TO their Darwinism. Every theistic evolutionist I have ever met questions the Biblical story of Adam and Eve, insisting that we had thousands of first parents. If pressed, I suspect that many of them would question the doctrine of original sin as well. Translation: They want their God and their Darwin; but they want a quiet God and a loud Darwin.”

    Again, I question the characterization. Don’t believe their own sales pitch? Hardly. Many of them do believe that design is real, that nature has abundant evidence of it, but that the conclusions reached cannot be proved in a laboratory. Whether they question original sin or whether humanity sprang from one couple or multiple is the stuff of theological dispute – whether they’re “real christians” by someone’s view shouldn’t determine whether TEs could fit in with the ID tent.

    “Further, they try to make their scheme work by saying that God’s idea of randomness is different from our idea of randomness. But all the great scientists have believed that God created a rational universe, meaning, as they put it, they could “think God’s thoughts after him.” That means that, for them, there is enough correspondence between God’s rationality and our rationality that randomness means the same thing for God as it does for us. Why think otherwise? We don’t say that God thinks of “laws” in a radically differently than we do, so why would we talk that way about chance events. It can only serve one purpose—to create the impression that the universe is not rational after all, the very antithesis of natural theology and science.”

    Just because God created a rational universe doesn’t mean we’re privy to every perspective and understanding God is, even given eternity. Some things are clearly beyond us at the moment, and in the case of God, even the most orthodox christians believe that God and God’s mind will never be fully grasped by any individual.

    Not to mention, considering the very subject of miracles, I think God certainly would conceive of “laws” in a different way than we do. For that matter, Paul Davies conceives of “laws” differently than other people do. These things aren’t quite so clear cut.

    “As I said, TE is Christian Darwinism, which, in my judgment, is a conflict of visions. We have no reason to believe, as they do, that God “designed” contingency. That seems like a contradictory position to me. Contingency just happens. Apparently, God didn’t design snowflakes and moon craters, they just happened as physical laws interacted with chance. He knew how they were going to turn out, just as he knows when the stock market is going to crash. That doesn’t mean he makes these things happen. He simply allowed them to happen, and all of these events could have turned out differently.”

    Michael Behe seems to argue for a different perspective than that, but I’ll leave that aside. The distinction between “design” and “allowed to happen, and fully knew it would happen” is back into the realm of philosophy – personally, I think if someone willfully selects the laws and has the foresight to know what will happen with those laws implemented, the difference between “designed” and “knew about and allowed to happen” is blurred tremendously. Back to philosophy.

    “Now there is a second possibility. God could have “designed” the universe, its physical laws, and the earth’s ecology to “unfold” according to some internal principle. This is a very real possibility, except that the TE’s will have nothing to do with it. Remember, the TE’s are Darwinists, which means that life doesn’t UNFOLD according to some INTERNAL principle, it ADAPTS to the EXTERNAL environment. The moment you accept the possibility of “unfolding,” you are back in the ID camp because you have returned to teleology, something that TE’s want no part of. Of course, they think “contingency” can “unfold,” but such a formulation is, as I pointed out, a contradiction of terms. If it unfolds, it was designed.”

    One more time, I disagree with your characterization of TEs. You’re saying that there’s a contradiction, because they think “contingency can unfold, and if it unfolds, it was designed”. Well, that’s exactly the point. Many of them (all of the ones I’ve read about, though I’m suspicious of Miller) seem to really believe that these things “unfolded”, and that the world we’re in is designed. What they disagree about is whether this can be decisively proved through science – or that any supernatural intervention can itself be detected in evolution.

    I believe TEs are largely, vastly sincere in their belief that God both created the world, and designed it in exacting degree – allowed it to unfold, etc. It’s a mistake to consider them “the enemy”, and “they started it” is not a good reason for ID proponents to stay hostile to them. ID, science, and theology in general would be greatly served by a TE defanging of Darwinian views in general, and evolution in particular. Even if they don’t believe intelligent design can be demonstrated in the laboratory, supporting the fight of engaging “orthodox” Darwinism/evolution and showing where the science ends and the philosophy begins would be of tremendous value. It would take the “evangelization tool” men like Dawkins praise off the table.

  96. In my book, DaveScot is absolutely correct on this thread. Notwithstanding whether I believe that Creator described by the Bible is in fact the Intelligent Designer of the universe, why would I expect ID-based science to confirm or deny my faith scientifically? When the Bible I supposedly believe in specifically states that “the world by wisdom knew not God” (I Corinthians 1:21)?

    I go back to the watchmaker analogy. All ID postulates is that the watch had to be designed. But the artifact alone reveals very little about the artificer.

    Christians involved with ID need to get over their penchant for dogmatic orthodoxy. The ID tent ought to be as big as its scientific principles allows. I’m confident that, when “that which may be known of God is manifest” (Romans 1:19) — via whatever ID can reveal scientifically about design in the universe — for many whom God has called, it will be a starting point of their personal journey into faith.

  97. Salvador,

    you said

    “But the Darwinian paradigms is about macroevolution.”

    No it isn’t. The Darwinian paradigm or the current version of the modern synthesis has many elements and to an evolutionary biologist it is mostly about micro evolution. It is certainly used to justify macro evolution but that is not the part I am interested in. Read a text book on evolutionary biology and where is most of the discussion. You are cherry picking one element and saying that is what the entire paradigm is about. You are trying to equate the blind watchmaker thesis with the whole Darwinian paradigm and that is not accurate.

    So I am not talking about macro evolution or the blind process that leads to macro evolution that the blind watchmaker assumes. I am talking about the random variation and genetics aspects of the paradigm. Each year the genetics package includes new things but essentially they are law plus chance whether they be natural selection, genetic drift, gene flow, epigenetic information or other processes that affect phenotypes.

    As an example take the 300,000 beetles. The number may be exaggerated but it is high. How did each one arrive on the planet? Were they design events? Or were they the result of laws and chance once the original gene pool existed?

    I am not interested in the origin of the original gene pool here which I believe is beyond Darwinian processes but what happened once the gene pool was there. I bet few of these beetle species would pass the EF down to a design event.

  98. “But the Darwinian paradigms is about macroevolution.”

    No it isn’t.

    Yes it is. The fact that evolution books may focus on micro evolution is not evidence that Darwinism is about micro evolution, but rather evidence of the failure of natural selection in explaining macro evolution.

    Hence there is a growing area of literuatre that insists that macroevolution must take place in spite of natural selection, not because of it.

    Contrary to popular belief evolution is not driven by natural selection alone….but all populations are influenced by the nonadaptive forces of mutation, recombination, and random genetic drift. These additional forces are not simpple embellishments around a primary axis of selection, but are quite the opposite
    ….
    many genomic features could not have emerged without a a near-complete disengagement of the power of natural selection

    Michael Lynch
    Origins of Genome Architecture

    Thus your claim:

    the Darwinian paradigm explains most of the life on the planet

    is demonstratably incorrect.

    Selection acts through the reduction of diversity. But reduction of diversity cannot simultaneously explain the emergence of diversity. To argue that reducing diversity simultaneosly creates diversity is insanely illogical. Lynch and others have merely elaborated on this simple contradiction which ought to be obvious to everyone.

    Thus, with tremendously sound mathematical arguments, it has been demonstrated over and over again, micro-evolutionary selection cannot be the major explanation for much of the biolgoical diversity in existence, and thus your claim:

    the Darwinian paradigm explains most of the life on the planet

    fails on mathematical grounds alone.

    I’m afraid we’ll just have to agree to disagree on this one jerry. You seem bent on insisting “the Darwinian paradigm explains most of the life on the planet” whereas even the best secular literature out there casts serious doubt on that claim. Modern synethesis is a theory in crisis, and deservedly so…

    PS
    curiously, Lynch even cites Behe and Snoke 2004 in his landmark book.

  99. Jerry:

    “I believe B best describes the empirical evidence.”

    What empirical evidence exactly? The Cambrian explosion? The Avalon explosion? Lining up skulls etc. in a predetermined manner so it looks like the evidence fits the theory?

    Darwinism has no explanation whatsoever for the existence of even one beetle! The bombardier. All it has is speculative just-so stories that are hopelessly simplistic. The evidence for design in that single bug is immense.

    Still waiting for the math for your assertion on the “e=mc^2″ comparison.

    “I am not interested in the origin of the original gene pool here which I believe is beyond Darwinian processes…”

    Of course you’re not interested in that because Darwinism always uses escapist tactics with regards to that even though Darwin himself made the “warm little pond” suggestion.
    There are serious problems with the “not interested” approach. So where exactly does Darwinism actually begin?
    Consider:

    “Although a biologist, I must confess that I do not understand how life came about. Of course, it depends on the definition of life. To me, autoreplication of a macromolecule does not yet represent life. Even a viral particle is not a life organism, it only can participate in life processes when it succeeds in becoming part of a living host cell. Therefore, I consider that life only starts at the level of a functional cell. The most primitive cells may require at least several hundred different specific biological macromolecules. How such already quite complex structures may have come together, remains a mystery to me. The possibility of the existence of a Creator, of God, represents to me a satisfactory solution to this problem.” (Arber, Werner [Professor of Microbiology at the University of Basel, Switzerland, shared Nobel Prize for Physiology/Medicine in 1978], “The Existence of a Creator Represents a Satisfactory Solution,” in Margenau H. & Varghese R.A., eds., “Cosmos, Bios, Theos: Scientists Reflect on Science, God, and the Origins of the Universe Life, and Homo Sapiens,” [1992], Open Court: La Salle IL, 1993, Second Printing, pp.142-143)

    Also consider:

    “The principal problem is morphological stasis. A theory is only as good as its predictions, and conventional neo-Darwinism, which claims to be a comprehensive explanation of evolutionary process, has failed to predict the widespread long-term morphological stasis now recognized as one of the most striking aspects of the fossil record.” (Williamson, Peter G. [Assistant Professor of Geology, Harvard University], “Morphological stasis and developmental constraint: real problems for neo-Darwinism,” Nature, Vol. 294, 19 November 1981, p.214)

    Your use of bare assertions is not a sound approach.
    The empirical evidence only supports micro-evolution, adaptations and the like. The rest is conjecture and speculation caused by trying to shove the evidence into the theory.

    Some of your statements show, imo, a misunderstanding of what Darwinism is. It is “micro leads to macro”. No one contests micro.

    Virtually all the empirical evidence screams against gradualism – else why would Gould have invented punctuated equilibria (to the great dislike of gradualists)?

    I think there are conspicuous holes throughout your assertions here.

  100. “As an example take the 300,000 beetles. The number may be exaggerated but it is high. How did each one arrive on the planet? Were they design events? Or were they the result of laws and chance once the original gene pool existed?”

    I believe these microevolutionary variations have nothing to do with chance but are more like built-in genetic reflexes (for lack of a better word) that express themselves in response to a specific changing environmental stimulus – sort of like a defense mechanism, maybe – and not the other way around. And if teleology were in the mix, I wouldn’t find it hard to accept an aesthetic function for much of the diversity. Like the design principle behind melanin. Look how colorful and lively the world is because of it. Invoking chance is a science-stopper because it shuts the door to exploring such viable possibilities. The recent news that male peacock feathers have nothing to do with selective pressures, for instance, or the “perplexing” re-evolution of wings in stick insects, may lend credence to this mode of thinking as it calls into question on how much of a role chance does in fact play in the creation of such innovations.

  101. —–“Well, I’m getting mixed signals on that. But I don’t think the characterization of TEs is accurate. A TE could very well -perceive- design, believe it to be true, but stop short of arguing they could prove it in a falsifiable way. That self-identified TEs tend to fight ID doesn’t mean anything to me right away – YECs have fought ID too, but there’s still room for them in the big tent.”

    TE’s believe that organisms evolved through a Darwinian process, which, by definition means, NOT DESIGNED. Of course, they contradict themselves by asserting that “design is ‘inherent’ in the evolutionary process.” In other words, God designed a Darwinian “non design” process. Does that sound like a rational universe to you? In any case, anyone who wants to be in the ID tent is welcome. TE’s don’t want to be there. The decision is theirs not ours.

    —-“ I think many of them would reject the characterization, or would understand it in a very different way than you’re outlining. I don’t really care who ‘chose to be enemies’; I’m not interested in pride and the intellectual equivalent of blood feuds on this subject. And, Ken Miller aside, I don’t see all that much persecution coming from the TEs. Distancing, skepticism, misunderstandings, disagreements? Yes. And I’d like to see work towards solving the last two.”

    Yes, I am sure that they would reject my characterization. Who likes to be discovered as having being irrational?

    —–“Again, I question the characterization. Don’t believe their own sales pitch? Hardly. Many of them do believe that design is real, that nature has abundant evidence of it, but that the conclusions reached cannot be proved in a laboratory. Whether they question original sin or whether humanity sprang from one couple or multiple is the stuff of theological dispute – whether they’re “real christians” by someone’s view shouldn’t determine whether TEs could fit in with the ID tent.”

    I didn’t say that abandoning Christian doctrine to make it fit Darwinism disqualified them from the ID tent. Must I say it again? They are welcome here. The decision not to be in the ID tent is theirs, not ours. I said that selling out to Darwin is irrational, which it is. They contradict themselves. On the one hand, they insist that God would not have designed such an imperfect world. It’s called the “bad design, therefore, no design” argument. On the other hand, they say, “wait, the design is ‘inherent’ in the evolutionary process.” It is an intellectual madhouse.

    —–“Just because God created a rational universe doesn’t mean we’re privy to every perspective and understanding God is, even given eternity. Some things are clearly beyond us at the moment, and in the case of God, even the most orthodox christians believe that God and God’s mind will never be fully grasped by any individual”

    If the world was made rational, then it can be analyzed by rational beings. To be rational is to be discernable, detectable, and measurable. That fallible human beings cannot fully grasp it is obvious. That they can grasp some of it should also be obvious.

    —–One more time, I disagree with your characterization of TEs. You’re saying that there’s a contradiction, because they think “contingency can unfold, and if it unfolds, it was designed”. Well, that’s exactly the point. Many of them (all of the ones I’ve read about, though I’m suspicious of Miller) seem to really believe that these things “unfolded”, and that the world we’re in is designed. What they disagree about is whether this can be decisively proved through science – or that any supernatural intervention can itself be detected in evolution.

    Yes, of course it’s a contradiction. A thing either unfolds purposefully according to an internal principle or else it adapts randomly to its external environment. Even a preordained fitness function requires an internal principle. According to TE’s, there is no “internal” or teleological principle at all, because that would negate their Darwinian paradigm that rules out teleology apriori. The point is, “contingency” cannot “unfold.” If it unfolds, it unfolds according to an internal principle. To be contingent is for the final outcome to be left to chance. Either an organism’s fate will be determined by the “unfolding” of an internal principle, which allows for one possible outcome, or its fate will be determined by chance, in which case there are many possible outcomes. Contrary to the fantasies of theistic evolution, contingency cannot “unfold.”

  102. —–”jstanley101:Notwithstanding whether I believe that Creator described by the Bible is in fact the Intelligent Designer of the universe, why would I expect ID-based science to confirm or deny my faith scientifically? When the Bible I supposedly believe in specifically states that “the world by wisdom knew not God” (I Corinthians 1:21)?

    You are confusing what ID teaches with what the Bible teaches. My point is that Christian Darwinists claim to believe in the Bible when they obviously do not.

    There is no doubt that the Bible teaches that design is “manifest” in nature. Here are just four of many examples:

    The Psalmist said, “I will give thanks to God, for I am awesomely and wonderfully made” (Psalms 139:14).

    It is also written, “From my flesh, I will see God” (Job 19:26). That is, God’s handiwork is discernable from the very fact that human flesh can exist.

    It is likewise taught that even inanimate things praise God. Their very existence is a hymn, demonstrating God’s handiwork. It is thus written, “The heavens declare God’s glory, the firmament tells of His handiwork” (Psalms 19:2).

    The Bible declares in Rom. 1:20 “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made.” So much so, that the skeptics are “without excuse.”

    None of this has anything with ID being dogmatic about anything. One need not believe the Bible to embrace ID. On the other hand, theistic evolutionists who deny design in the name of Darwinism are subordinating the Bible to Darwin.

    I am not being dogmatic, I am simply pointing to an irony.

  103. Borne, are you saying that the “fixity” of the species is still on the table?

  104. How do you judge when one is on to something. When the objections to what you claim have no relevance to what you say. If you say you are talking about micro evolution and the reason you are talking about it is because it happens and is easily understandable by the typical person and there is lots of proof that it happens. And then all the objections to what you are claiming are about macro evolution which you say you are not talking about.

    And even after you say you are not talking about it again the objections are still about macro evolution. Then there is the objections based on origin of life and I wonder how that relates to micro evolution. Can people read?

    Please read what I say if you are going to object to it. I have found no one who has made a cogent objection to what I have said. They pick their own strawman to demolish. I would be happy with relevant criticism, not some made up criticism of something I do not believe and am not saying.

    If you are going to object to anything I have said then as a starter explain where the 300,000 beetle species came from and where the 2,000 + species of cichlids came from? Is each one a design events? Somehow I doubt it.

    What I find funny about all of this is that I am pursuing a path that should make the ID argument stronger and all I get is irrelevant flap. Mainly I think that the arguments used are based on time and time is anathema to many here.

  105. Jerry, do you think the “re-evolution” of wings in stick insects (even up to four times) is a chance phenomenon?

  106. 106

    This is interesting, a Michgan fifth grader finds 27 year old mistake at the Smithsonian.

    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,345488,00.html

    Kinda looks like me, at that age.

  107. jerry, I am quite sympathetic to your frustration about straw men and responses that miss your point. Please correct me if I ever misunderstand or misrepresent you. It would not be intentional.

    As I understand it, you are making a couple major claims.

    1) That microevolution “explains most of the life on the planet”, meaning that most of the diversification that has taken place is at the level of microevolution.

    2) That ID propenents have not adequately acknowledged the reality of microevolution. ID is not adequately dealing with this evidence.

    3) That until ID corrects the problem of point #2, it will continue to be marginalized.

    Now, if #2 were true, I would agree that marginalization is the unsurprising consequence. However, I am not aware of any ID proponent, nor even any Young Earth Creationist, who disputes microevolution. I honestly do not understand how you draw the conclusion that microevolution is not being adequately acknowleged.

    As a recent vivid example, have you ever read Dr. Behe’s The Edge of Evolution? If not, I recommend you do so.

    Behe makes it explicitly clear that microevolution is within the reasonable reach of Darwinistic processes. I don’t know how he or anyone else could be more clear than Behe was. Neither does Behe reject common descent. If your points above are true, shouldn’t we expect that Behe will no longer be marginalized by the Darwinistic establishment? Yet does anyone really expect that?

    Personally, I believe the better supported explanation for the cold shoulder given to ID is that ID doesn’t exclude the possibility that the designer of life or of the universe could be God. Notice (in the upcoming movie Expelled) the way Dawkins is fine with the idea that aliens might create biological life, but it certainly couldn’t be God.

    ID breaks the cardinal rule of never letting the “Divine Foot” in the door as a possibility. For some, even the possibility is inherently unpardonable.

  108. —–Jerry: “The less the intervention, the more powerful the Intelligent Designer. That is why I say the micro evolutionary part of the Darwinian paradigm is fantastic design.”

    Jerry, I hate to pile on, but that is the same argument that the TE’s use. Surely, you can appreciate the irony here. TE’s are always telling us that we presume to know the mind and power of God, when the very opposite is true. It is the TE who presumes to know that which cannot possibly be known. No one knows which kind of creation could pose the biggest challenge for God. In fact, if they really believed their Bible they would know that God is omnipotent, meaning that everything is equally easy for him. TE’s keep saying that we anthropomorphize God, but they are the ones who reduce God’s ways to our ways.

  109. EricB,

    Thank you for your analysis. It is essentially correct. But a couple of comments. If micro evolution can be used to explain most of the life on the planet, why so much mockery of what I said. Read some of the comments along the way.

    And little defense of what I said by anyone till you provided yours. Nullasalus was supportive also. DaveScot understands what I am trying to say.

    These ideas have been cooking inside of me for a couple years and were greatly helped by the Edge of Evolution which I read last June when it first came out. But what really goosed my thinking on this was a comment by a guy named Jason Rosenhouse, a typical arrogant jerk at Panda’s Thumb, who did not understand the implication of Behe’s book.

    Behe was on a TV show promoting his book and was asked about research supporting ID. Rosenhouse mocked Behe’s answer and in the process showed how stupid he was. Behe said that research being carried out in Lenski’s labs at Michigan State on bacteria evolution was an example of the type of research that would be useful for ID.

    What Rowenhouse doesn’t realize is that the research by Lenski was also following changes after massive numbers of reproduction events and this was the type of research which would show the limits of evolution or as Behe said the edge of evolution.

    Now Behe’s book only looked at unicellular organisms. To make a real impact suppose that multi-cellular organisms were on the table. In the last 10-20 million years many of the mammal and aves species have changed or evolved. Or did they and if they did evolve how much. And could the various species be examined to see the extent of these changes. This would include a very large number of reproductive events.

    Many of these genomes are available and my proposition is that the multitude of species are really quite similar and no complexity will separate nearly all of them. Which leads to my claim that 99.5% (to be over the top with a large number) of the species are only different because of basic micro evolutionary processes.

    This claim has not been well received on UD. I was told how stupid I was on another thread by some others and on this thread others have irrationally attacked my claims. Witness the insistence of turning the argument into one of macro evolution.

    I expect to find exceptions to my claims but not many and in the process support the edge of evolution. Right now this is all theoretical but there are 4500 genomes that have been sequenced and are available for anyone to analyze if they have the time and grant money. Eventually sequencing genomes will be quite inexpensive and what separates all these so called species will be shown I believe to be trivial.

    All this is not my invention but Darwin’s himself and is called his special theory. But Darwin got full of himself and extrapolated to the general theory that had no support and said we all descended from single celled organisms. His special theory is well supported but is general theory is baseless.

    But anything to do with Darwin is verboten here Many stick their heads in the ground and deny the obvious or that any of his ideas have merit. Any way I am rambling.

  110. StephenB,

    I only try to follow the evidence. As I said micro-evolution is fantastic design. It populates the planet with a richness of life, adjusting the populations of the various species to the particular environment.

    Don’t you agree it is great design?

    It does have its downside, the creating of genetic diseases.

  111. JPCollado,

    I think all flight events were design events. The mechanisms for flight seem too complicated to just happen by gradual processes or any other means except planning by an intelligence. But once flight is in the gene pool, the modifications of many of the flying species could have happened by micro evolution or naturalistic means.

    This is just my opinion but seems to me the most reasonable choice given today’s evidence.

    Anyone who thinks I am a Darwinist is not reading what I write. There is nothing I ever wrote that is consistent with Darwinism or inconsistent with ID. So I find it amusing to be lectured on things I already agree with. I consider Darwinism and the Darwinian paradigm as separate concepts. The latter is a combination of various naturalistic mechanisms for change in biological life and the former is a philosophy. The naturalistic mechanisms for change are limited but not completely impotent as some would have you believe.

  112. —–Jerry: “I only try to follow the evidence. As I said micro-evolution is fantastic design. It populates the planet with a richness of life, adjusting the populations of the various species to the particular environment.

    Don’t you agree it is great design?”

    It’s just a personal thing, I guess. For me, design is beautiful when you can perceive it as a finished product, as in, a DNA molecule or our solar system. I am not that moved by processes. I might change my mind though, if I could observe the evolutionary process in action, but, of course, that is not possible.

  113. Jerry,

    I think you have a point. The 300,000 or so species of beetles might very well have come from an original, say, 100 different kinds of beetles, by random variations and natural selection. The exact number of original kinds would make a good research project for an ID proponent trying to find the edge of evolution, as Behe would call it. Assuming that what one is to explain is each species as we know it, the explanation of species of beetles would be, given the above numbers, over 99.96% due to Darwinian evolution (random variations and natural selection.

    You have another half point. It is quite common for those who consider ID to somehow get the notion that ID assumes that all events are specifically planned and immediately executed by the intelligent designer (assumed to be God), who has no use for randomness in His design (in contrast to human designers, who sometimes deliberately spray a ceiling with “popcorn” to create a random effect!). It is important that we deny that caricature of intelligent design.

    But IMHO that only gets a half a point, as many ID advocates have been very clear that randomness does play a role in biology. The most obvious example is Behe, who titled his latest book The Edge of Evolution, implying in the title, and stating in the book, that some changes are within reach of random variations and natural selection, and some changes are not (and some are hard to tell). It will be interesting to take a poll, but I strongly suspect that no-one on this blog thread believes that all speciation is beyond the edge of RV&NS. Creationists before ID was a formal discipline believed the same way, going back at least to the later Linnaeus.

    And yet, starting with Darwin, DE’s have (deliberately?) assumed that creationists, then ID advocates, argue for the fixity of the species. Thus the title of Darwin’s The Origin of Species, as if somehow if Darwin could show that some species had a common ancestor and originated by naturalistic processes, that creationist theory (pure ID theory didn’t exist then) would collapse. Darwin’s followers have continued to use that argument, in spite of the fact that at least some of them have to know that it is false, and therefore their use of it is dishonest spin.

    So while I agree with you that we should continue to make the point, and make it more plain, the fault does not entirely rest on the ID community. Some Darwinists are deliberately perpetuating the false argument, and ID advocates have not simply fallen down on the job. Although we might do better, we will not be able to completely correct the record until those Darwinists are discredited, which is not totally within our power.

    However, there is another question that others have raised, and that is, is most of the information in the nuclei of higher organisms obtained by RV&NS, or by ID? It is entirely possible that the vast majority of the genome of, to take our example, beetles, is in fact intelligently designed, and a relatively small proportion of that information, say 2%, or even less, is actually the product of RV&NS, even if speciation is entirely driven by RV&NS. It may take very little change in the genome to go from a dung beetle to a rhinoceros beetle. More than that, the original beetle may have had the genetic information for both types of beetles, and there may not be any new information in the various species of beetles at all. The only function of RV&NS may be to sort through pre-existing information (this would be a kind of front-loading). So it may depend on how you define the endpoint whether RV&NS is responsible for 99.96%, or 0.0001%, of the life around us. The discussion may be clearer if we are clear on our definitions and concepts, and try to understand the other person’s definitions and concepts, and try to have them contact each other as well as possible.

  114. StephenB @ 102

    Pt. 1
    The dogmatic comment (@ 96) was meant as a general observation. I didn’t have you in mind at all. Reading your posts on this thread in detail, you’re anything but. Your observation of the TEs as irrational is spot-on.

    They’re like the police in Vichy France during WW II. Their arm patch may display the tricolor, but the laws they enforce belong to “The Hun.”

  115. Paul Giem (113): “More than that, the original beetle may have had the genetic information for both types of beetles, and there may not be any new information in the various species of beetles at all. The only function of RV&NS may be to sort through pre-existing information (this would be a kind of front-loading).”

    In ARN’s Literature Survey, Origins & Design 20:1, Issue 38, please take a look at the section on The Limits of Variation. It summarizes the conclusions made by Japanese biologist Kazuo Kawano based on his study of beetles.

    Kawano observes that there is a reduction in plasticity over time.

    “The facts and logic indicate that the morphological evolution of multicellular animals has not been a spreading process but a process of diminishing dynamics where the magnitude of evolutionary effects on morphology decreased with time. Evolution is not a process of micro variations accumulating to macro effects but of macro effects preceding micro variations (p. 50).”

    Similar to some of jerry’s comments, “Kawano concludes that Neodarwinism is not completely wrong, “but its applicability does not extend to evolution above the species level” (p. 52).”

    Kawano is not advocating front loaded design, but what he sees and describes seems to be quite consistent with what one would expect to see from a front loaded design.

  116. jerry (109): “If micro evolution can be used to explain most of the life on the planet, why so much mockery of what I said. … And little defense of what I said by anyone till you provided yours.”

    While I don’t make any defense for mockery, I think some portion of the difficulty comes down to a problem with communication. I believe you have provided the key clues in your own posts.

    jerry (109): “All this is not my invention but Darwin’s himself and is called his special theory. But Darwin got full of himself and extrapolated to the general theory that had no support and said we all descended from single celled organisms. His special theory is well supported but is general theory is baseless.”

    jerry (111): “Anyone who thinks I am a Darwinist is not reading what I write. There is nothing I ever wrote that is consistent with Darwinism or inconsistent with ID. So I find it amusing to be lectured on things I already agree with. I consider Darwinism and the Darwinian paradigm as separate concepts. The latter is a combination of various naturalistic mechanisms for change in biological life and the former is a philosophy. The naturalistic mechanisms for change are limited but not completely impotent as some would have you believe.”

    You are making some very, very subtle distinctions in your use of terms such as Darwinist, Darwinism, and Darwinian paradigm. These subtle distinctions are not shared by your audience. This predictably results in confusion and misunderstanding, leading to frustration, strong emotions, rash words, etc. etc.

    With my post, I had the benefit of responding after you had made it very clear you were specifically talking about microevolution, not macroevolution. So, in my paraphrase, I could substitute “microevolution” where you had actually written “Darwinian paradigm”.

    Now, you may know in your own mind that you mean something quite distinct from Darwinism, but the audience will not hear that. They will hear you making your claims about Darwinism, i.e. the general theory which you acknowledge as baseless.

    By your own acknowledgement, even Darwin himself held both a reasonable and an unreasonable position. You may have your view about which of these justifiably deserves to be considered the “Darwinian paradigm”. But don’t lose sight of the goal of clear communication.

    I’m afraid that using words that your audience understands differently will only create trouble. If you say “Darwinian paradigm” they will hear “Darwinist” and “Darwinism”, i.e. the general theory. Instead, translate what you have to say into terms your audience will not stumble over.

    Then it will become apparent that there is wide recognition that Darwinian mechanisms are real and that they do have a limited effect — just not the grandiose effect of the general theory. To be considerate and fair to others, just as we would want from others, I don’t believe anyone “would have you believe” that Darwinian mechanisms are “completely impotent”.

    Likewise, trying to measure numerically how much is explained by microevolution is itself an ambiguous exercise open to misunderstanding, and could be interpreted different ways, as Paul Giem (113) pointed out. Clearer communication can avoid many unnecessary troubles.

  117. Hi jstanley01: It appears that I did not jump to conclusions—I pole vaulted!

    By the way, your WWII comment qualifies as the metaphor of the month.

  118. jerry

    How would we be able to witness the potential destruction of a species at the genome level? What would we look for?

    As for modern extinctions, yes most of them (not all however) can be linked to human causes. But that doesn’t change anything. Human activities fall under both environmental insult and competition categories. We just happen to be quite good at changing environements and competition. What you also need to consider is why some species became extinct rather quickly due to human activities and why others weren’t phased by it at all. The passenger pigeon went the way of the dodo but other pigeons still thrive in our midst. Many species of rodents have gone extinct yet others still thrive in our midst.

  119. Jerry

    I tried making the argument that if only ID acknowledged/accepted common descent (not the mechanism of variation but just the age of the earth and common ancestry) that ID wouldn’t be so demonized. Mike Behe replied directly to me that in his experience that is not the case. Behe, if the not the most recognizable name in ID, is in the top three. He accepts evidence for common descent and an old earth at face value. Yet he’s still vilified by the chance worshippers. Why? Because ANY support for ID at any level is roundly rejected. Richard Lewontin explained it quite well:

    “We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism. It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is an absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.”

    Plus I keep coming back to the inescapable fact that design detection has nothing to do with the age of the earth or common descent. The validity of plate tectonics, for example, didn’t require geologists to make a declaration of support for common descent. To do so would be an obvious fallacy. These are red herring fallacies – guilt by association, appeal to motive, poisoning the well, straw man, and others.

  120. StephenB @ 102

    Pt. 2
    “You are confusing what ID teaches with what the Bible teaches.”

    Actually, what I’m attempting to do — however ineptly — is rationalize what ID has scientifically discovered about design in the universe (to the materialists’ vociferous chagrin) with what I know to be true biblically.

    Regarding the scriptures you cite, I agree with your exegesis on all but Job 19:26. In that verse, the words “in my flesh” (KJV) are actually a common idiom for “while I’m alive.” Meanwhile “I will see God” has to be a synecdoche (as it would have to be in your exposition too) describing “things that can only originate with God.”

    Which brings me to the epistemological point that I’m trying to make (and I’m far from being the first along these lines; if I’m not mistaken in my Church history, such observations go back at least as far as Augustine). The Bible shows two sources of knowledge: 1) what could be called “natural knowledge” and, 2) what could be called “revelation knowledge”; the source of the first being the five senses, the source of the second being the Spirit of God.

    Scientific knowledge, by definition, represents natural knowledge. Knowledge which is gathered via the five senses, and which is processed, categorized, debated and established via the rational faculties of the human mind. Meanwhile the vast majority of knowledge about God (since He is Spirit [John 4:24] and hence cannot be seen, heard, tasted, touched or felt) has to come by revelation from God to His spirit in man (a term inclusive of women, of course).

    Again, the watch analogy is apt. The watch itself does show some things about the watchmaker. That he or she has a particular conception of the regularity of time; is familiar with mathematical ratios involved in making gears; has skills in metallurgy and other materials; etc. But looking only at the watch, what are arguably the most important facts about the watchmaker, aside from his or her existence, remain hidden.

    Is the person, in fact, a he or a she? Young or old? Theist, atheist or agnostic? Republican or Democrat? Married or single? A parent or childless? Bohemian or strait-laced? Drive a Ford or a Chevy? Now if the watch happens to be stamped “Made in China,” it’s rational to construe that the watchmaker may be Chinese. But with that kind of evidence, we’re drifting into a different category of knowledge.

    The other verses you cited represent a pretty good canvas of what the scriptures say can be deduced about the Creator from the artifact of creation.

    Romans 1:20 actually specifies what the “invisible attributes” of God consist of, which creation displays, namely His “eternal power and Godhead” (KJV) — in other words, that such an awesome design self-evidently has to have one whale of a Designer behind it.

    The assertion in Psalm 139:14 that, “I am awesomely and wonderfully made,” is one no biologist would dispute. And while a lot of astronomers and physicists might not agree with the “God” part in Psalm 19:2, which says that “The heavens declare God’s glory, the firmament tells of His handiwork,” I doubt they would dispute that the deeper they look the more “glorious” what they discover appears. Especially when, more than likely, that “glory” is in large measure what attracted them to their professions in the first place.

    But there’s a whole lot that creation alone does not show. Most basically, the answer to the question “why creation?” And most importantly, the truth behind “the only name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12) — the One who is the red thread who binds the scriptures together from Genesis 1:1 to Revelation 22:21.

    This is knowledge which cannot be deduced from the artifact, it has to be received or rejected according to what the Bible claims itself to be: revelation from God to mankind. (Check Galatians 1:11-12, “But I guarantee you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.”) Take it or leave it.

    DaveScot’s assertion @ 70 that, “As far as I can determine there is a strong scientific case to be made that an intelligent agency in some form was a inescapable causal factor of the appearance and evolution of life on our planet,” is wholly appropriate for ID as a scientific enterprise. Cross very far outside of those bounds, and due to a category error, we’re no longer practicing science.

    With all the wind, that’s the whole point I wanted to make.

  121. StephenB @ 117
    “By the way, your WWII comment qualifies as the metaphor of the month.”

    No applause, just throw money :)

  122. Jerry,

    Many of these genomes are available and my proposition is that the multitude of species are really quite similar and no complexity will separate nearly all of them. Which leads to my claim that 99.5% (to be over the top with a large number) of the species are only different because of basic micro evolutionary processes.

    This claim has not been well received on UD. I was told how stupid I was on another thread by some others and on this thread others have irrationally attacked my claims. Witness the insistence of turning the argument into one of macro evolution.

    I actually raised what may be the same proposition myself a bit ago. If I my restate your proposition, you’re claiming an ID-compatible scenario where instead of explicit front-loading via an unfolding plan the holistic biological system was “designed to evolve” at OOL and that micro-evolutionary events are enough to produce the variety of life we see today.

    I don’t avidly support that position myself, mainly because the evidence seems to oppose it, but I do think it worth discussing since it seems to be an open question:

    Altenberg Sixteen

    In regards to the modern synthesis I think that ID successfully refutes it. But even if ID is rejected at the outset or is not included in considering the evidence it should now be obvious that the modern synthesis is an inadequate model of biological reality. So now the real question is whether ID holds true in regards to the “evolving holistic synthesis”. I don’t think anyone could say for certain at this point; it’s too early. It’s a different question with a potentially different answer.

    I was trying to say was that BOTH ID and the “evolving holistic synthesis” could turn out to be true. (I’m about to get in trouble with everyone… ;) ) In order to function, the “evolving holistic synthesis” requires OOL, which is its own separate question. Dembski’s recent work shows that in order to find the targets in search space active information is required. Besides “directed front-loading” (what I’m calling Behe’s and Mike Gene’s hypothesis in order to differentiate it from other variants) there is the potential that ID only holds true in regards to the OOL. The front-loaded active information is the design of the system (modular components, plasticity in the language conventions, etc), which allows the “evolving holistic synthesis” to function without there being a directly embedded plan.

    Thoughts? I’ve actually been mulling over this concept for a while but never got around to posting it. Now here is the real question: would the majority of Darwinists find such a hypothetical scenario acceptable? As in, is it even possible to have a middle ground where both ID and Darwinism* hold true? Can’t we just all get along? Even though I’m suggesting this idea I’m not convinced of it myself. I just think it a good starting point where both sides could potentially stop the arguing, the hating, and the career-busting and work toward finding the truth.

    I was hoping it may be possible to cultivate a “middle ground” as a starting point for discussion. But Dave in #119 makes the good point that this may be impossible with some people. Although this particular version of “front-loading” at least allows Darwinists to keep their precious ideas mostly intact, so there may be some appeal.

    I’ve also been meaning to create a front page article about this topic, but have never gotten around to it.

  123. —–Dave Scot: “I tried making the argument that if only ID acknowledged/accepted common descent (not the mechanism of variation but just the age of the earth and common ancestry) that ID wouldn’t be so demonized. Mike Behe replied directly to me that in his experience that is not the case. Behe, if the not the most recognizable name in ID, is in the top three. He accepts evidence for common descent and an old earth at face value. Yet he’s still vilified by the chance worshippers. Why? Because ANY support for ID at any level is roundly rejected.”

    One thing that ignites our passions is our individual perceptions about who is doing most damage the ID movement. To put it in the form of a question: What us our greatest vulnerability? For Jerry, the primary challenge is confronting internal stupidity; for me, the biggest challenge is confronting external treachery. He bristles over whacked out fundamentalists who use religion to make us look stupid; I fume over disingenuous theistic evolutions, who misrepresent us in the name of God. As a Catholic, I have an especially hard time with theologians and scientists, who twist Catholic theology like a pretzel to mischaracterize ID. I guess we all have our hot buttons, but to me those guys are our biggest problem.

  124. Dave,

    You ask two questions.

    Extinction – I am not a micro biologist nor in any way knowledgeable on extinction. I base my arguments on human behavior and logic.

    There is no alarm over genome deterioration of any species amongst the biological community. If there was, we would be hearing alarm bells like we hear with global warming. I am sure there are some indications somewhere that certain species are failing for reasons other than human intervention. But I have not heard of any studies in the fore front of biology. It would be major news and a cause for alarm and more important a money machine for research grants. So that is what I mean by human behavior.

    I look around me and see very complex ecologies that have gone through a lot of disturbance by human intervention and see nearly every species thriving. If they were deteriorating, I would expect some evidence to show up confirming Sanford’s predictions. That is the logic.

    As to how to research this, we have 4500 genomes and counting. Somewhere in these genomes we should be able to see the effects of genetic entropy if it exists. It would make a great research project though I am not sure that ID would want to be associated with it.

    How to answer the Darwinists – There was a post about 2 years ago about a heckler who challenged an ID speaker. The heckler said that ID didn’t do any research and look at Darwin and all the great work he did. The answer was to point to the complexity of the cell.

    I thought that there should be a much better answer. The complexity of the cell is certainly an example of design but it is one that is hard for the average college student to comprehend because the conventional wisdom in academia is that it is reachable by Darwinian processes.

    I thought about this for a long while and came to the conclusion that a devastating answer would be to say that ID contains what Darwin found but not everything. This approach is to not denigrate Darwin but recognize his contributions but bring him down to size.

    If instead of saying look at the cell, the answer had been

    “Darwin did some incredible work in collecting and analyzing the flora and fauna of South America, Pacific islands and other geographical areas. And he came to an important conclusion, that the species of the world are not immutable but contain some plasticity and can morph into different forms. But he made one very crucial mistake. He extrapolated the change of phenotype such that he believed that every form of life was possible through naturalistic processes. The data did not support this. What the data did support is that a phenotype such as the finch can morph into slightly different types of finches, a iguana can adapt to the water, a crab can adapt to a particular island environment etc. Birds have been around for around 100 million years and all we have are birds of various shapes and sizes.

    This is a well known phenomena called micro evolution. What Darwin was observing was the gene pool of a population creating slightly different versions of the original gene pool. But these changes have a negative effect. They actual make the species more susceptible to extinction because they narrow gene pool. What Darwin saw and what Darwin concluded were in opposite directions. Darwin witnessed the evolution of species downward into more restricted gene pools but made grandiose conclusions upward that the data actually disproves. Darwin’s own work and others with artificial selection provided some remarkable changes in pigeons but in the end they were all still pigeons and reach a point where no new changes could happen. Similar results have been shown with other species. There is a limit to change and the process actually narrows what each new breed can do, not expand it. And that is the crucial observation. Artificial selection narrows the gene pool. ”

    A better written reply than what I have outlined would be more effective. But it would have won the audience of college students. It is not the biology professors who are the target but the general population. So I don’t care what Richard Lewontin thinks, it is the average student that should be the target.

    If after a more thought out reply than mine is developed, I bet the biology professors might have a problem in class with questions that say what Darwin saw was downward evolution or devolution and not any creating of novelty. They do not have an answer to it that is credible. So we make Darwin part of ID but bring him down to size because of the fundamental mistake he made in extrapolating the wrong way. And by the way always include Lewontin’s quote.

    After reading about Darwin and his constant struggle with the Origin, I believe he would have taken a different tack if the argument we have to day was presented to him. That is just my opinion but it is based on reading a little about him.

  125. StephenB,

    “For Jerry, the primary challenge is confronting internal stupidity; ”

    My real objective is the average person outside this forum but I believe in order to reach them you cannot come from a stance that has problems with science.

    The thread is about Dinesh D’Souza and his ignorance. I hate to try and counteract that while we don’t have an entirely consistent stance.

  126. jstanley01: Yes, I concur with your entire exposition, which was, by the way, well stated. I take your point over the one exception. Some of the relevant passages are theological and some are empirical. I submit that the passage from Romans 1:20 is a clear indication that we need not resort to faith or theology to draw inferences to design. Based on that point alone, the theistic evolutionists, in my judgment, have no case. It’s either God’s design or Darwin’s illusion; they can’t have it both ways.

    You are right, of course. There are many things that we simply cannot learn about nature and there is no reason to overstate the case for what rationality can do. Neither science, nor philosophy, for that matter, can teach us anything about God’s “attributes.” We can, in my judgment, use science and philosophy to affirm, beyond a reasonable doubt, that God “exists.”

    I also agree with you that we cannot deduce the answer to the question, “why creation.” I will say this, though. Nature does leave clues that there IS a “why” to be found. Indeed, I submit to you that Romans 1:20 is saying something like this: From our empirical observations we can infer/conclude that the world was apparently designed for a reason. Given that fact, we are morally obliged to follow up on that clue and find out what that reason is. Does that seem fair?

  127. —–Jerry: “My real objective is the average person outside this forum but I believe in order to reach them you cannot come from a stance that has problems with science.”

    Yes. I understand. I just meant that, insofar as our movement has elements of irrationality, those on the outside can misapprehend what we are all about. I understand you to be rightly concerned about this internal vulnerability for the sake of the outside audience.

  128. DaveScot, (119)

    You hit the nail squarely on the head. That was part of what I was trying to say in (113). The point can be pushed further. Guillermo Gonzalez doesn’t even challenge evolution at all and still is not accepted.

    What is going on is that science is being defined as that which is objective, that is, which all unbiased observers can agree on. Atheists consider themselves unbiased (in spite of the comments of Lewontin), and therefore, if atheistic scientists can’t agree on it, it isn’t science. Since the fundamental point of ID is that certain aspects of the universe exhibit design, and therefore require a designer, and human designers cannot account for the design, then we are talking about space aliens or God. Space aliens do raise the question of “Who designed the designer?”, and one can only push that process back some 15 billion years before the designer has to have his/her/its intelligence not dependent on the organization of matter, and must therefore be supernatural. The Darwinists know that this puts the Divine foot in the door, as Lewontin would put it, and it means that they are wrong. This means that they cannot afford to recognize ID, and so it is not recognized by “objective scientists”, and so it must be “not science”. If it claims to be science, it must be pseudoscience.

    We cannot win against such logic, unless we challenge the premise that atheistic scientists are unbiased, and can exercise a veto over what gets included in science. That is why Expelled is so important. If atheism cannot delegitimize ID before the discussion begins, ID can win hands down. That, jerry, and not the confusion in our camp, is the real problem.

    Expelled is also important because Dawkins is on record (reportedly) as saying that space aliens are OK as long as they are not God. That makes it even clearer that the real problem is not a designer; it is a Divine Designer. We can make all the concessions we want, and the Darwinists will want more and more until we we either adopt atheism, or adopt a theism that makes no testable claims, namely, theistic evolution. I agree with StephenB (123 and elsewhere) that TE is fundamentally incoherent, and that its adherents are too strongly tempted to throw ID to the wolves in the hope that their theism will be permitted by their atheist rulers. There is a parallel with the Vichy government here.

    (Finally, jerry and StephenB, (127) you might be surprised about those supposed elements of irrationality. YEC is theologically more easily understood than multiple episodes of Divine interference, can take the Biblical evidence more straightforwardly, and has some surprising support from scientific evidence, although of course not from the current scientific consensus. But until the current scientific consensus is ready to recognize signs of Divine activity at all, there is no way they will be willing to acknowledge evidence of short age, which will require Divine activity. YEC can thus be expected to have “problems with science”, if science is defined as the current scientific consensus. That does not make it wrong.)

  129. Paul Giem, thanks for giving me an opportunity to clarify. I don’t really have a problem with YEC’s in the same way that Jerry does, because I think that it is possible, though not probable, that “uniformatariasm” could be wrong. I was trying to set up two bloggers’ perceptions about the sources of ID’s biggest problems. I think Jerry attributes it do “Darwin deniers.” I don’t. I attribute it to TE’s in the academy. It’s just two opinions from two people. who knows where are greatest vulnerability lies?

  130. Patrick,

    I don’t have any clue as to how the various gene pools were created or developed/evolved/appeared. To me, like a lot of biological questions, it is a mystery. So I do not think it necessarily came at the OOL but I guess it could have.

    Why don’t you post your ideas and we can comment.

  131. Paul

    My responses to who designed the designer is “I don’t have any direct or indirect evidence to form an opinion on that” and if it’s a philosophical naturalist I ask if they know “who put the material in materialism”.

    Maybe intelligence came before material. Naturalism can’t answer that as we don’t where or how the observable universe originated and anything outside it is outside nature.

    All we can reasonably infer about the designer of life on earth is whatever is responsible had means and opportunity. As far as I can determine there’s nothing about life on earth that requires supernatural capability. Any intelligent agency with sufficiently advanced but quite material abilities in biochemistry and in causal contact with the earth (limited by distance and light speed) is sufficient. No more can be reasonably inferred without more data.

  132. jerry:
    “Anyone who thinks I am a Darwinist is not reading what I write. There is nothing I ever wrote that is consistent with Darwinism or inconsistent with ID.”

    I hear you and I commend you for the enlightment you’ve been providing thus far. But I agree with what ericB @ 116 said about definitions and perceptions and I think it applies here. Your statement @ post #1, viz – “the Darwinian paradigm explains most of the life on the planet” – was probably a little bit too strong or overbearing as it seems to ascribe powers to micro-evolution (and this is what we’ve been talking about, no?) that IDists have consistently said are not there.

  133. Paul Giem wrote:

    Space aliens do raise the question of “Who designed the designer?”, and one can only push that process back some 15 billion years before the designer has to have his/her/its intelligence not dependent on the organization of matter, and must therefore be supernatural.

    This is both part right and part wrong. If we cannot study the designer, we cannot really claim that its structure requires design. Design claims are based on empirical data, and absent of that data, we cannot claim a design inference for an unknown entity. So I’d have to side with DaveScot on that point.

    But if the designer was material, then you are correct, we have to account for its cause, since matter (and the universe itself) came into existence. This becomes a cosmological argument and is indeed empirically sound. Matter did come into existence. Everything that comes into existence requires a cause. Therefore, matter (and any material entities) require a cause.

  134. Atom,

    I agree that if we do not specify the designer, we cannot say much about him/her/it. But the possible nature of the designer can be divided into two broad categories; one where the designer can be explained in materialistic terms (what I referred to above as “space aliens”), and one where the designer cannot be explained in materialistic terms (what i referred to, somewhat imprecisely, as “God).

    Now if the designer cannot be explained in materialistic terms, whether the actual designer is God, an angel, the demiurge, Thor, Zeus, the Devil, a fairy, or some other supernatural agency, materialism immediately fails as an explanation of the universe, and the attempt to exclude God by an appeal to the success of science is automatically illegitimate. One may exclude God by philosophical arguments in this case, but science would actually support the supernatural.

    The other category, intelligences that can be explained in materialistic terms, does require an explanation of its origin, as you noted. And if we say that life here couldn’t have happened without intelligent guidance, the same would presumably be true of the previous intelligence. If one keeps going back, one is eventually forced to jump to the first category, with all the attendant implications.

    So if one concedes the necessity of ID, one is eventually logically forced to concede the existence of the supernatural. That is why OOL research has not been abandoned, in spite of its apparent hopelessness.

  135. JPCollado,

    Thank you for your comment.

    I went over the top in some of my comments because for two years I have been saying something similar and there was not one reaction by anyone here. At the same time there has always been a constant drum beat of anti anything that has to do with Darwin.

    So maybe I should not use the terminology I do but the mechanisms I am recommending come directly from the Darwinian paradigm. This paradigm includes macro evolution which I do not recommend in addition to micro evolution which I do recommend.

    It is Darwin’s special theory I am invoking so maybe this is what I will call it in the future. There is plenty of empirical data supporting it. Everyone should read Michael Denton’s Evolution: A Theory in Crisis which goes over it, My guess is that 99.5% may not be high enough for species that come about through Darwinian micro-evolution processes.

  136. @128: “until the current scientific consensus is ready to recognize signs of Divine activity at all, there is no way they will be willing to acknowledge evidence of short age, which will require Divine activity.”

    This has seemed to me obvious, and it’s one reason I don’t feel compelled to be impressed by the claimed overwhelming scientific evidence for an old earth. I remember reading a line in Shattering the Myths of Darwinism, to the effect that, beyond the obvious fact that the earth is older than mankind, we really can’t be certain of its age.

    @119: “I keep coming back to the inescapable fact that design detection has nothing to do with the age of the earth or common descent.”

    It’s actually difficult to imagine a legitimate confusion on this point. After all, the concept of design detection seems very basic; and if we were aware of an agency to whom the “apparent design” could be attributed without impinging on philosophical comfort zones, I doubt there’d be a controversy. Design would be recognized as obvious.

  137. @131: As far as I can determine there’s nothing about life on earth that requires supernatural capability. Any intelligent agency with sufficiently advanced but quite material abilities in biochemistry and in causal contact with the earth (limited by distance and light speed) is sufficient.

    DaveScot, I generally appreciate your comments and figure you’re prepared to back up what you say here. What is the evidence that an intelligent agency with arbitrarily advanced material abilities could create life? Even if we could engineer a working body, could the mind, personhood, and such be reduced to material components? Unless this is definitely the case, how is it possible to conclude that material agency would suffice?

  138. Rick

    I’m only talking about a minimal form of life like a bacteria. Is it your position that when a bacteria divides to form another bacteria that there is something supernatural going on? As far as I can tell it’s complex, not completely understood at this time in every detail, but there’s no evidence of anything supernatural in the process.

  139. Rick

    The Hawaiian Island chain stretches underwater for thousands of miles. Each island is formed as the continental plate passes over a hotspot in the mantle where a volcano forms. The volcanic cone rises above sea level before the plate moves far enough away from the hotspot so the volcano becomes inactive. As time passes the process of erosion wears the volcanic cone away until it goes back underwater. At the rate the plate moves today it takes, IIRC, about 70 million years for the entire length of the underwater island chain to form.

    We can drill ice cores in Antarctica where we see distinct layers for each year beginning with the most recent year. There are a million distinct layers.

    Sedimentation, deposition, and erosion are well understood processes. Everywhere we look we see consistent evidence that the processes have been going on far longer than 6000 years. What evidence is there to cause reasonable doubt they actually have been going on for far longer than 6000 years?

  140. Paul

    re; who designed the designer

    I think this was definitively answered in an original Star Trek episode but the details escape me.

    As long as we’re asking questions like that I’d like to know who put the material in materialism.

  141. Jerry

    99.9% of species by micro-evolution leaves about the right number for created kinds in baraminology. It also falls within Behe’s tentative range for the edge of evolution (somewhere between and including orders and genera). I don’t see why that should be very contentious here.

    I try to not get into categorization wars over things that are different from one living thing to another by instead focusing on the things that are common to them all – coding genes and ribosomes are my favorite.

    Have you read Mike Gene’s “Design Matrix” yet? I particularly liked his in depth discussion of the subtle optimizations in the genetic code that argue against the frozen accident hypothesis. The ID/evolution controversy is really at the molecular level now. The so-called appearance of design has been a subject of debate for thousands of years. Illusions tend to vanish on closer examination. We’re now getting enormous amounts of detail at the molecular level through high tech lab procedures and tools. At that level of detail the appearance of design is more stark than ever before.

  142. Paul:

    Re, 128:

    What is going on is that science is being defined as that which is objective, that is, which all unbiased observers can agree on. Atheists consider themselves unbiased (in spite of the comments of Lewontin), and therefore, if atheistic scientists can’t agree on it, it isn’t science.

    This is sadly telling, for [pseudo?-] consensus in a [possibly censored and manipulated or simply mistakenly question-begging] social context is not objectivity — as can be seen ever since Plato’s parable of the cave.

    Here is a better definition of objectivity:

    objective adjective 1 (of a person or their judgement) not influenced by personal feelings or opinions in considering and representing facts: historians try to be objective and impartial. Contrasted with subjective.

    not dependent on the mind for existence; actual: a matter of objective fact. [OED, CD ROM edn 2001]

    Inter-subjective “consensus” in a social context — per the challenges raised by Plato long since — is precisely the opposite of objective!

    GEM of TKI

  143. Dave,

    “I don’t see why that should be very contentious here.”

    It shouldn’t be but it is for many. Read a few of the comments on this thread and gpuccio on another thread thought it was a stupid idea. Maybe it is because the spread of new species and variants takes millions of years in most cases. Or maybe it is because it gives credit to Darwin for something.

  144. Dave,

    I have Mike Gene’s book but it is in a pile to read. Instead I am re-reading Denton’s first book which I read years ago and it makes my point in spades. I have to thank Salvador for citing it against my position when it is an excellent source for my position, the best I have found.

    I too agree that the debate will be in the genome though I do not know what Mike Gene’s position is yet. First Denton, then Gene, then Sanford.

  145. kairosfocus, (143)

    I agree completely. To quote Michael Crichton, “If it’s consensus, it isn’t science. If it’s science, it isn’t consensus. Period.”

    DaveScot, (140),

    Your point on where material came from adds further weight to the argument that materialism is incomplete, and dogmatic materialism is wrong.

    On (1139), your example of the Hawaiian Islands assumes uniformitarianism. While that may be a reasonable first assumption, it is far from proof. Ant the theory does not explain, except in an ad hoc way, the elbow in the chain.

    On the antarctic ice cores, AFAICT from the literature, the antarctic does not have distinct layers down to the bottom. The layers are estimated from those near the surface, again using uniformitarian assumptions. One gets far better layers from the Greenland ice cores, but even these peter out after thousands of years. And it is indisputable that more than one layer can form, and possible that at the beginning of the ice sheet multiple layers were formed per year. See here for a good discussion.

    As for erosion, again the argument against short age assumes uniformitarianism. But in this case, the question can be turned around. Why are the mountains still here given the present rates of erosion? For some, like the Rocky Mountains, one can simply keep uplifting them. But for others, like the Alps and Mount Everest, there are difficulties, as they have marine deposits at their peaks. It staggers the imagination how thick the deposits above the current ones must have been in order to erode down to where we are now in the (now) traditional time.

  146. Paul Giem wrote:

    And if we say that life here couldn’t have happened without intelligent guidance, the same would presumably be true of the previous intelligence

    I was with you until this line. We can only say that life here required intelligence because we know empirically what life here looks like and is composed of. We wouldn’t know if an unknown material designer was contingent, complex, or specified, so we could not presume that what is true about earth replicators is also true of unknown material designers.

    Now, I’m as much a Theist as you are; I’m an ID-Creationist, in the true sense of the term. But I want to be careful to not let my beliefs color the data or my conclusions…I want to follow the evidence where it leads, but not further. Even if I think space aliens are only a temporary answer (due to the material considerations pointed out above), DaveScot’s point is still valid.

  147. Paul Giem,

    The elbow in the chain can be explained by the crashing of the India plate into the Asia plate about 45 million years ago. We do not have video tapes of the event but the Himalayas are apparently still rising and plate movements can be measured. Maybe there will be a better explanation some day and that is science.

    If you go to the Hawaiian islands, there is a distinct difference in appearance between them. The Big Island mountains are essentially bare and much higher while Kauai is a jungle.

    Similarly the Society Islands which I have also been to. The further to the northwest you get the older the terrain. Bora Bora is much different than Tahiti.

    Then there is the Atlantic ridge which is still forming and the fit of South America with Africa and the yearly changes can be measured. I am sure there are answers for everything but there is too many things to explain away including the stars.

    We have four thousand years of history and little has changed geologically but they are changing very slowly in that time period and a lot of it can be measured. Everything is consistent with an old earth that forms slowly over a long time period.

    We have very little information here on geology because few consider it an issue. But it is interesting that the discussion of it has appeared on a thread about Dinesh D’Souza having little faith in ID and this is the blog for one of the important members promoting the science of ID. It is a little ironic. So what is D’Souza to think?

  148. jerry said:

    It shouldn’t be but it is for many. Read a few of the comments on this thread and gpuccio on another thread thought it was a stupid idea. Maybe it is because the spread of new species and variants takes millions of years in most cases. Or maybe it is because it gives credit to Darwin for something.

    I don’t want to speak for gpuccio and others, but for me, the terms used make a greate difference. I have absolutely no problem with the following:

    “Microevolution is responsible for 99.5% of speciation.”

    When you introduce the “Darwinian paradigm,” I think it tends to detract from the clarity of the above. I think it is even more problematic to equate “speciation” with “life.” But if the above is basically what you meant despite how it was phrased, I’m resonably certain that there are few if any who have an issue with what you meant. Instead, they were reacting to what you actually said.

  149. Paul

    re; Marine sediments on Mt. Everest. The Himalayas are a young range currently uplifting at 5mm per year caused by the collision of the Eurasian and Indo-Australian continental plates. To squeeze 8000 meters of rise into 6000 years requires an uplift of over a meter a year or 300 times faster than the current rate. Of course one can simply claim that the uplift rate was indeed much faster in the past. But that’s contrived. All the arguments against an old earth are similarly contrived.

  150. Jerry

    re; no discussion of geology here

    What does geology have to do with design detection?

    Leo

    If I show you a piece of gold chain do you need to know where, when, and how the gold was obtained before you agree that the chain’s origin is artificial?

    Does the construction of the chain give us any clues about when, where, how, and who first took the gold out of the ground? Does it even tell us if the raw gold came from one source or many?

    We’re happy enough to ask the questions you want answered but the simple fact of the matter is that design detection doesn’t give us the data we need to answer them.

    Example: we examine DNA and ribosomes in living tissue and reach a design inference. Obviously if it comes from living tissue the object itself isn’t very old. Its up to other modes of inquiry and explanation to tell us where and when DNA and ribosomes first appeared.

  151. Phineas,

    I understand your comments about the misunderstanding of terms. Eric B made the same argument. But I am trying to introduce a new way of understanding that will promote a dialogue with those out there who haven’t a clue as to what the issues are. They don’t have a problem with Darwin and they are mostly right. So why be so negative about Darwin. He was wrong on the big issue but right on a lot of relevant things.

    So I believe that those here or anywhere promoting ID should have the same understanding as those they want to convince. Many of Darwin’s ideas work and can account for 99.5% + of the life forms, species, total biological matter. Take your pick. That is why Darwin’s ideas are so acceptable and reasonable and why it represents a big challenge to ID to communicate clearly what is not reasonable and just plain bogus.

    But the worst way to convince someone else is to trash something that is obvious and actually true. If instead you start out with how ID agrees with some of Darwin’s ideas than it will be easier to get to the parts that Darwin just made up and has no proof.

    Anyway that is what I believe and will continue to push it and will probably use Darwin’s special theory from now on even though most have never heard of it. But it is about time everyone did. It is essential the current modern synthesis without the macro-evolution assumptions.

  152. Dave,

    I don’t think geology has anything to do with design detection here on earth but geology gets brought up now and then when we discuss the age of the earth. It could theoretically be part of design if someone could come up with how certain geological events were improbable based on law and chance and could thus slip through the EF. Mount Rushmore comes to mind. n science fiction think Death Star and you see the remains a million years later. Or suppose we went to Mars and found a tunnel that had been sculpted.

  153. —–Jerry: “Microevolution is responsible for 99.5% of speciation.”

    Jerry, could you stretch out on that a little bit more. Most people define microevolution as change within a species and macroevolution as change from one species into another

    What do you say about those who define speciation as microevolution extended into macroevolution. Relate that to your comment that microevolution is “responsible” for 99.5% of the species.

  154. StephenB,

    To clarify, the phrase you quoted above was my construction, not Jerry’s. Jerry originally said way back at #1: “…the Darwinian paradigm explains most of the life on the planet.”

  155. StephenB,

    You should read Denton’s Evolution: A theory in crisis. It must be the source for my thoughts since I read it some time ago and as I re read it, Denton is emphasizing what I am saying. Like a lot of things you read, you pick up things and cannot remember where.

    Species is a tough term to define. The interbreeding definition has problems because there are several examples of A breeding with B and B with C but A cannot breed with C.

    Micro evolution is any change in the genetic elements of a population. If a population gets separated from a parent population, for example a flock of birds end up on a new island, it could change so that it cannot inter breed with the parent population if they ever got together again so we have a new species but with little genetic differences. There are examples of insects on different types of adjacent fruit trees that are identical but won’t breed. These have become two different species. There are birds whose only difference is song patterns but they won’t breed. But there are the examples of so called different species that can inter breed such as tigers and lions, dogs and wolves, cows and buffalo etc.

    So far in rereading Denton the most impressive chapter is on typologies. But I am only on Chapter 6. It is a great book. All the classes (taxonomy) are morphological distinct with no transitions existing between them. Within each class there is the possibility of producing new species but they always remain within the class or most likely the various genera within the class. There does not seem to be one example of the new species creation that generates a new genera or family. It is always downward or within but never up. Up would be macro evolution lite and across classes would be true macro evolution. There is always the odd balls within classes such as lung fish, bats and giraffes which have unique attributes but again there are no transitions to indicate where they came from. Then there is the duckbill platypus which is the true odd ball. These represent a different type of macro evolution and where they came from is a mystery. Of course Darwin and Dawkins had just so stories.

    I am not sure I am answering your question but species generation seems to be always downward or across and contained with the various genera of the class. Where the classes that contain all the orders, families and genera come from or where the odd balls come from is unknown.

    Someone with a better knowledge of taxonomy may be better able to answer your question completely.

  156. Atom, (146)

    Technically, you are right. Perhaps the intelligence could have originated spontaneously. But remember what logical branch we are on. The intelligence we are talking about has to be accounted for in materialistic terms (otherwise materialism is already lost). It has to be able to transport life from another star to earth, which has just recently become (possibly) within our capabilities. That means that its complexity, and presumably its order, is at least of the same order of magnitude as ours. While it is theoretically possible that such an intelligent organism could have arisen by chance, the probability of that happening without guidance seems extremely unlikely, just as it is unlikely that life here on earth arose spontaneously. I realize that this is an “argument from incredulity”, but I see no reason to believe that there is a form of life that is explained by material causes, that is capable of seeding our planet with our kind of life, and that can reasonably be expected to have arisen spontaneously. That just takes faith at present, and it is too much faith for me.

    I am not giving a formal proof, like one has in mathematics. I am just doing what I do with the OOL itself, making an inference to the best explanation. It does seem to me that the OOL is best explained by the action of an intelligent agent, and if one grants that, that nature is best explained as not entirely due to material causes.

  157. jerry, (147)

    You said, “The elbow in the chain can be explained by the crashing of the India plate into the Asia plate about 45 million years ago. I presume you are using the term “crashing” very loosely, as the movements involved, under the standard geological timescale, involve speeds on the order of 1-16 cm per year. (On the other hand, a short-age chronology would imply that the movements were of the order of 10 meters per second, and crashing would be a very appropriate term.) Your statement that “Maybe there will be a better explanation some day and that is science.” suggests that maybe that explanation isn’t a good one after all, and my question would then remain. I don’t expect to convince you right now. I just ask that you avoid dogmatism.

    Your observations on the terrain of the Hawaiian Islands and the Society Islands are reasonably accurate. The only question I have is what effect a flood with its accompanying weather would have on the terrain. I accept the fit between South America and Africa. The question is not so much what as when and how fast.

    It may surprise you, but I accept (at present, subject to revision) that the rest of the universe is old. That requires reinterpretation of two words in one verse. That, to my mind, is much easier than ignoring or reinterpreting the first quarter of Genesis, parts of Exodus including the fourth (third for Catholics) commandment, Jesus’ comments regarding marriage, Romans 5, etc. (That does not mean that I wouldn’t try if I felt it was really necessary. But I just haven’t had the need to do so, especially when I keep running into good reasons to believe a short chronology.)

    Your comments about the slow speed of geologic change at present are accurate. But geologist have to be careful not to shut their minds against the possibility of rapid change. That close-minded attitude led to their being unable to recognize the evidence for massive flooding in the Pacific Northwest (of the U.S.) for several decades after J Harlan Bretz first realized what was happening, evidence that seem obvious to us now.

    Your statement that “Everything is consistent with an old earth that forms slowly over a long time period.” seems overly optimistic. Besides the problem of Mount Everest (see my next comment), there is the matter of carbon-14 in fossil carbon, which does not have a convincing explanation from the point of view of the standard geologic timescale at present. An explanation may be forthcoming, but at present, long-agers must exercise faith here.

    You are right, that few consider geology an issue here. That’s because they believe that it has little (you, 152) or nothing (probably Dave, 150) to do with design detection. It could have something to do with design detection if one could make a concise, readily apparent, and convincing argument for short age, as evolution, and thus materialism, would completely fall apart without long ages. But such arguments as there are for short age are involved, require dealing with a mass of counterarguments, and are not the simplest way to break the back of materialism. That is one reason why, even as they grumble about the incompleteness of ID, most YEC’s are happy to cooperate with you if you will let them.

    Finally we come to the real question. “So what is D’Souza to think?” D’Souza is to think what he wants. Our goal should not be to do his thinking for him. Give him his options, give him the arguments for ID, and let him make up his own mind. If he is not persuaded, well, that can’t be helped. Hopefully someone else will see the persuasiveness of the ID arguments.

    And chasing away YEC’s won’t make ID any more persuasive. If D’Souza wants a long-age ID option, he should already be aware of it, and if he isn’t, it should not take too much to inform him. D’Souza is well aware that there are differing perspectives within both sides of most issues.

  158. —–Paul Giem: “And chasing away YEC’s won’t make ID any more persuasive. If D’Souza wants a long-age ID option, he should already be aware of it, and if he isn’t, it should not take too much to inform him. D’Souza is well aware that there are differing perspectives within both sides of most issues.”

    Paul, I agree with that. I would go one step further and suggest that they should not be regarded as second class citizens. Anyone who can identify with the design inference belongs here. I question the mind set that wants to flirt with TEs and snub YEC’s. YEC’s are not writing anti-ID articles and persecuting ID scientists.

  159. DaveScot (149)

    I understand your disagreement with a greatly accelerated rate of mountain building for Mount Everest in the past. The rates required by a short-age theory are so much faster than current rates that we find it hard to imagine them.

    However, we still have a problem with the standard picture. If the rate of erosion on Mount Everest has been measured correctly at between 2 and 3 mm per year, and has been constant, and Mt. Everest has been there for at lest 35 million years, then approximately 70 to 105 km of material has been eroded from the top. One can keep renewing the material from the bottom, but in that case the peak of Mount Everest should be granite and not Paleozoic limestone as is currently observed. It is not clear why this limestone has not been eroded away given the standard geologic timescale.

    But I do agree with you about one point. The connection between geologic time and ID is either non-existent or convoluted and difficult to prove. I am quite happy to make the case for ID without reference to time, except as a limiting factor. That means that despite our differing views on some subjects, we can unite on the subject of ID.

  160. @138: Is it your position that when a bacteria divides to form another bacteria that there is something supernatural going on? As far as I can tell it’s complex, not completely understood at this time in every detail, but there’s no evidence of anything supernatural in the process.

    I would expect that bacterial reproduction occurs according to natural law, just like anything we commonly observe. I would say that’s the basis of science, and I wouldn’t deny the theoretical possibility of an advanced and highly intelligent, though material, being, having the ability to engineer a bacterium.

    On the other hand, I was thinking more in terms of the human mind and personality. If I had an identical twin, he would nevertheless not share my identity, no matter how great the sympathy between us might be. We would still be distinct people. Do we know enough about personal identity to be able to claim that it can be reduced to merely physical elements? I would highly doubt it. But without that certainty, how can one be confident that any material agent, no matter how advanced, could produce it?

    @139: What evidence is there to cause reasonable doubt they actually have been going on for far longer than 6000 years?

    I’ll leave it to others to deal with the particulars on this; however, my own brief response is this. I suspect we all know that there are scientists who, based on their own research and that of their colleagues, doubt the conventional age of the earth. It would seem, then, that either their doubt is unreasonable or that there is justifiable cause to think the methods by which the conventional age is ascertained are unreliable.

    Because it might not be taken for granted, I should be clear that it seems evident to me that a person can be both reasonable and mistaken. For instance, on the question of universal descent from a common ancestor, Drs. Behe and Wells are not both correct; however, I suspect both would be considered reasonable in the positions they hold: they merely interpret the data in different ways.

  161. —–Jerry: “You should read Denton’s Evolution: A theory in crisis. It must be the source for my thoughts since I read it some time ago and as I re read it, Denton is emphasizing what I am saying. Like a lot of things you read, you pick up things and cannot remember where.”

    Jerry, I am familiar with Denton. I have done the requisite reading on evolution. I will save this issue for another forum. My point has to do with making this subject matter accessible to the uninitiated.

  162. Rick

    re; engineering of life by material means

    I don’t think we know enough about the basis for sentience to make any reasonable conclusions which is why I avoid the subject. I don’t believe the same holds true for simple forms of life that don’t exhibit any hallmarks of mind or free will. It appears to me that with reasonable maturation of biochemistry knowledge and tools that human technology will be capable of producing a functional bacteria from inanimate matter.

    That said, there is an inescapable fact that when the material associated with sentience is absent or dysfunctional (i.e. the brain is sufficiently damaged) there is no longer any detectable sentience. Does that mean the sentience is gone or does it just mean that we are no longer able to detect it? I don’t know the answer to that. In my more philosophical moments I sometimes offer an analogy between the brain and a radio. A radio works by extracting the intelligence from invisible electromagnetic carrier waves and making it audible so that we can hear it. If you destroy the radio you only destroy a tuner – the intelligence remains in the electromagnetic carrier waves but you can no longer detect it. Maybe brains are like radios and they merely serve as tuners for intelligence rather than as sources of intelligence.

    re; reasonable doubt about the methods for dating the age of the earth

    I don’t believe there is any reasonable doubt. There are only highly contrived doubts. Dissimilar methods of dating all come up with relatively consistent approximations of age. When we fold in dating of the universe by yet other dissimilar means the results remain consistent with the age of the earth. There is no consistency in the ways that doubt are brought into all these methods. Each dating method must be individually targeted by some contrived means. While one might cast some doubt on each in a case by case basis it becomes unreasonable to suppose that all disparate methods are wrong. For instance, young earthers have to cast doubt on the speed of light being a constant across time and space. They have to cast doubt on rates of radioactive decay being constants. They have to propose that mountain uplift happened orders of magnitudes faster in the past than is observed in the present. They have to say that continential plate movement was vastly accelerated in the past. Etcetera and etcetera. And there’s no reason to doubt any of these except to make the evidence somehow fit into a young earth theory which no one would propose in the first place except for literal interpretation of one amongst many revealed religious texts. If the old testament claimed that God created the earth over a span of billions of years there is not a shred of doubt in my mind that the same scientists who try to cast doubt on various aging methods would hold those same aging methods out as indisputable evidence of biblical inerrancy.

  163. Paul

    The top of Everest doesn’t erode by weathering. It’s protected from the weather by permanent ice cover. It erodes by crumbling under the force of gravity. If you take two sheets of semi-rigid material and force them together laterally they will relieve the strain by bending and breaking piling the excess material upward. As the pile grows larger it becomes more and more unstable until gravity starts causing it to collapse. The collapse doesn’t necessarily occur from the top down. It occurs from the point where the strain exceeds the strength of the material. The lower portions of the mountain are under the most strain from the weight of the material above it. When the weight exceeds the ability to hold it up the sides will collapse outward and the top will move downward but will still remain on top. Look at how the world trade center collapsed on 9/11. The top of the structure remained at the top of the pile after the collapse. The bottom exploded outward while the top fell straight downward. There’s no mystery at all in there being marine sediments on top of Mt. Everest. It’s shielded from weathering and collapse due to gravity happens in such a way that the topmost material remains the topmost material.

  164. StephenB,

    you said

    “Jerry, I am familiar with Denton.”

    Anyone familiar with Denton’s first book would not question anything I said on this thread or any other thread about Darwinian processes (Darwin’s special theory) and the source of most species.

    I started reading Denton again when Salvador objected to what I was saying and he used it as a backup for his comments. It turns out Denton supported everything I had said. So it is apparent that a lot of people here are not familiar with what Denton has said.

    But I am glad to know that you will support my position that to criticize rv + ns (really variation generation and genetics) in total is nonsense and that most of life is due to these Darwinian special theory processes.

  165. —–Jerry: “Anyone familiar with Denton’s first book would not question anything I said on this thread or any other thread about Darwinian processes (Darwin’s special theory) and the source of most species.”

    That’s quite a statement inasmuch as the book was written twenty years ago.

    —–”I started reading Denton again when Salvador objected to what I was saying and he used it as a backup for his comments. It turns out Denton supported everything I had said. So it is apparent that a lot of people here are not familiar with what Denton has said.”

    Did you follow up with Sanford’s book?

    —–”But I am glad to know that you will support my position that to criticize rv + ns (really variation generation and genetics) in total is nonsense and that most of life is due to these Darwinian special theory processes.”

    Clearly, it is nonsense to criticize your point about rv+ns, but it is perfectly reasonable to question the interpretive comment that follows. With regard to Denton, Johnson, Wells, and everyone that followed, I don’t accept every word from every author that I read. Further, I get both sides of every issue and weight the merits accordingly. Otherwise, I would fall into the danger of judging everything I read in the context of my own pet paradigm. I have fallen into that trap more than once and there is always a danger that I will do it again. It may surprise you that someone as opinionated as me would say that, but I believe it to be true. As Abraham Maslow once said, “If your only tool is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.”

  166. StephenB,

    I have not seen one author that objects to what I have concluded, certainly not Behe, Dembski or Wells. Have you any to suggest?

    I do not think Sanford’s book has anything to do with what I have said. Can you tell me which part of it is relevant”

    “but it is perfectly reasonable to question the interpretive comment that follows.”

    What interpretive comments are you referring to? Has any one shown evidence to question the comments you are referring to? I would be interested.

    “With regard to Denton, Johnson, Wells, and everyone that followed, I don’t accept every word from every author that I read. ”

    Are you implying that I do? I constantly read the literature from those who are anti-ID as well as those who are pro-ID. I often find I learn more when I read the anti-ID people. One could get schizophrenic reading all these contradictory books.

  167. Dave,

    A question and a comment about Lewontin.

    What is the significance of the Lewontin article posted under “Additional Dissent?”

    In the NY Times Book Review of a Sagan book where Lewontin made the comment you mentioned above, he capitalized “Divine.” Maybe that was due to an editor but it is an interesting twist.

  168. —-”Are you implying that I do? I constantly read the literature from those who are anti-ID as well as those who are pro-ID. I often find I learn more when I read the anti-ID people. One could get schizophrenic reading all these contradictory books.”

    No, the comment was solely autobiographical.

  169. DaveScot, (163)

    That’s a fascinating theory of the mechanism of erosion of Mount Everest. Did you come up with that one on your own, or did you find that one in a geology text or article somewhere?

    (162) It sounds like you don’t believe that there is any reason to doubt the standard geologic timescale, and that people like me can only harbor highly contrived doubts. Perhaps we are all just ignorant, stupid, insane, or wicked. In that case the less I say about the subject, the better.

    However, I hope you don’t mind some of us benighted folk commenting about intelligent design, as long as we take care not to sound too stupid or ignorant.

  170. I agree. D’Souza should have stuck to his field of expertise, and not talked a lot of ignorant nonsense. It’s a sad thing about many Christian apologists: they see right through the materialistic bias in their own areas of expertise, but just accept the establishment views in other areas, ignorant of the materialistic views rampant in those areas as well.

    The same is true of many ID apologists, alas. Bill Dembski is great at mathematical evidence against biological evolution, which is right up his alley. But he is not an expert in geology, and he just swallows geological evolution, apparently ignoring the materialistic presuppositions behind the evolutionary geological views. E.g. In 1785, before examining the evidence, the deist James Hutton, ‘the Founder of Modern Geology’, proclaimed:

    ‘the past history of our globe must be explained by what can be seen to be happening now … No powers are to be employed that are not natural to the globe, no action to be admitted except those of which we know the principle’ (emphasis added)

    This is a decree that special creation and the Flood are inadmissible explanations for the geological record.

    And when it comes to biblical exegesis, it is hard to believe that Bill knows better than most the Church Fathers and all Reformers, who all believed that Scripture teaches creation in six normal-length creation days. And even the Fathers who allegorized the days still taught a young earth (see The Early Church & the Age of the Earth).

    I hope this frustration with D’Souza pontificating outside his field to glibly accept materialist biology will make ID proponents less eager to accept materialist geology.

  171. [...] (In his review of Expelled, Dinesh D’Souza appears to be using arguments from Intelligent Design – despite his previous apparent opposition.)—————- [...]

  172. 1.) View Point…

    2.) [...]another viewpoint on this topic…

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