Home » Intelligent Design » Finally all the big shots weigh in against ID

Finally all the big shots weigh in against ID

John Brockman, the literary agent par excellence for materialist scientists intent on making their materialism available to the wider public, has finally put together the anti-ID collection to best all anti-ID collections.

Intelligent Thought: Science Versus the Intelligent Design Movement
Edited by John Brockman

http://www.edge.org/3rd_culture/it06/it06_index.html.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Introduction —John Brockman
Publisher & Editor, Edge; Editor, What We Believe but Cannot Prove

In some ways, the media chatter provoked by the intelligent-design movement has made collective fools of large segments of the American public. Educated Americans are dumbstruck by the attempt of the state of Kansas to officially redefine science to include the supernatural. Europeans cannot believe that such an argument should be raging in the twenty-first century—and in the United States, of all places, the seat of our most advanced technology and a leader in so many areas of scientific research.

Intelligent Design: The Faith the Dare Not Speak Its Name —Jerry Coyne
Evolutionary Biologist; Professor, Department of Ecology and Evolution, University of Chicago; Author (with H. Allen Orr), Speciation

Not only is ID markedly inferior to Darwinism at explaining and understanding nature but in many ways it does not even fulfill the requirements of a scientific theory.

The Good Fight — Leonard Susskind
Physicist, Stanford University; Author, The Cosmic Landscape

I suspect there is more at stake than biology textbooks in Kansas. As a longtime observer of the science-government-politics triangle, it looks to me as if there is another hidden agenda: to discredit the legitimate scientific community. A well-respected scientific community can be a major inconvenience if one is trying to ignore global warming, or build unworkable missile-defense systems, or construct multibillion-dollar lasers in the unlikely hope of initiating practicable nuclear fusion.

The Hoax of Intelligent Design and How it Was Perpetrated — Daniel C. Dennett
Philosopher; University Professor, Co-Director, Center for Cognitive Studies, Tufts University; Author, Breaking the Spell

Evolutionary biology certainly hasn’t explained everything that perplexes biologists, but intelligent design hasn’t yet tried to explain anything at all.

Consciousness: The Achilles Heel of Darwinism? Thank God, Not Quite — Nicholas Humphrey
Psychologist, London School of Economics; Author, Seeing Red

So, here’s the irony. Belief in special creation will very likely encourage believers to lead biologically fitter lives. Thus one of the particular ways in which consciousness could have won out in evolution by natural selection could have been precisely by encouraging us to believe that we have not evolved by natural selection….Anyone for “natural creationism”?

Human Evolution: The Evidence — Tim D. White
Paleontologist, and U.C. Berkeley Professor; Co-director, the Middle Awash project, the world’s largest and most successful scientific research effort into human origins and evolution.

A denial of evolution — however motivated — is a denial of evidence, a retreat from reason to ignorance.

The “Great” Transition — Neil H. Shubin
Evolutionary Biologist, University of Chicago; Specialist in the evolutionary synthesis of expeditionary paleontology, developmental genetics, and genomics

When we look back after 370 million years of evolution, the invasion of land by fish appears special. However, if we could transport ourselves by time machine to this early period, it isn’t clear whether we would notice anything extraordinary. We would see a lot of fish, some of them big and some of them small, all of them struggling to survive and reproduce. Only now, 370 million years later, do we see that one of those fish sat at the base of a huge branch of the tree of life — a branch that includes everything from salamanders to humans. (see excerpt below)

Intelligent Aliens — Richard Dawkins
Evolutionary Biologist, Charles Simonyi Professor For The Understanding Of Science, Oxford University; Author, The Ancestor’s Tale

Natural selection is not some desperate last resort of a theory. It is an idea whose plausibility and power hits you between the eyes with a stunning force, once you understand it in all its elegant simplicity.

Why Darwin Rejected Intelligent Design — Frank Sulloway
Evolutionary theorist; Author, Born to Rebel: Birth Order, Family Dynamics, and Creative Lives

Inspired by the striking evidence from the Galápagos Islands, and armed with his novel theory of natural selection, Darwin began to reexamine the basic assumptions of creationism and to compare the predictions one would make based on these two radically different theories. The more extensive his reexamination became, the more he realized that the theory of intelligent design, which gave creationism its scientific legitimacy, was overwhelmingly contradicted by the available evidence.

Unintelligent Design — Scott Atran
Anthropologist, University of Michigan; Author, In God’s We Trust

Nothing indicates that people who believe that life arose by chance also believe that morality is haphazard.

Evolution and Ethics — Steven Pinker
Psychologist, Harvard University; Author, The Blank Slate

An evolutionary understanding of the human condition, far from being incompatible with a moral sense, can explain why we have one.

Darwinism All the Way Down — Lee Smolin
Physicist, Perimeter Institute; Author, Three Roads to Quantum Gravity

It should not, after all, be surprising if people who believe that all truth comes from an ancient text disagree with Darwin, whose ideas are in no ancient text. Rather than bemoaning the fact that fundamentalists disagree with Darwin, let’s ask a much more interesting and disturbing question: Why do so many non-fundamentalist theologians and religious leaders have no trouble incorporating Darwin into their worldview?

Intelligent Design, Science or Not? — Stuart A. Kauffman
Theoretical Biologist; Emeritus Professor of Biochemistry, University of Pennsylvania; Author, At Home in the Universe: The Search for the Laws of Self-Organization

To state that a given organ is so improbable that it requires design is just ill founded. The argument uses standard probability, which does not apply to the evolution of the biosphere.

How Smart Is the Universe? — Seth Lloyd
Quantum Mechanical Engineer, MIT; author The Programmable Universe

Scientific knowledge is by definition resilient. In societies where government or religion has tried to replace it with ideologically inspired fictions, scientists and nonscientists alike have resisted. Scientific lies can fool some of the people some of the time (even to the extent of being published in reputable journals), but exactly because scientific ideas are designed to be tested, in the end scientific lies fool no one. The universe is scientific.

Designing Words — Lisa Randall
Physicist, Harvard University; Author, Warped Passages

We don’t have an intelligent designer (ID), we have a bungling consistent evolver (BCE). Or maybe an adaptive changer (AC). In fact, what we have in the most economical interpretation is, of course, evolution.

Parental Guidance Required —Marc D. Hauser
Psychologist and Biologist, Harvard University; Author, Wild Minds

What counts as a controversy must be delineated with care, as we want students to distinguish between scientific challenges and sociopolitical ones.

Evoliteracy —Scott D. Sampson
Chief Curator, Utah Museum of Natural History; Associate Professor Department of Geology and Geophysics, University of Utah; Host, Dinosaur Planet TV series

Rather than removing meaning from life, an evolutionary perspective can and should fill us with a sense of wonder at the rich sequence of natural systems that gave us birth and continues to sustain us.

  • Delicious
  • Facebook
  • Reddit
  • StumbleUpon
  • Twitter
  • RSS Feed

25 Responses to Finally all the big shots weigh in against ID

  1. “To state that a given organ is so improbable that it requires design is just ill founded. The argument uses standard probability, which does not apply to the evolution of the biosphere.”

    … and likewise it is probably a mistake and hopeless task to try to apply standard chemistry, or standard experimental biology in order to understand the evolution of the biosphere. Maybe alchemy might be more useful. Those chemicals must just need the right “push” to start self-assembling into wonderous new and complex life forms.

    This volume should provide a few good chuckles in 25 years or so. Our gratitude must be directed to the editor for having collected all these gems together.

  2. Seth Lloyd: “Scientific lies can fool some of the people some of the time (even to the extent of being published in reputable journals), but exactly because scientific ideas are designed to be tested, in the end scientific lies fool no one. The universe is scientific.” Why doesn’t he believe it? Why doesn’t he believe that scientific ideas are designed to be tested? I agree with him that the universe is scientific — that doesn’t necessarily mean that it is Darwinistic.

    And the prize winner:

    Stuart A. Kauffman:
    “To state that a given organ is so improbable that it requires design is just ill founded. The argument uses standard probability, which does not apply to the evolution of the biosphere.”

    I wonder if he understands just how rediculous that sounds? What kind of non-standard probability should we use?

  3. Years ago as an undergrad I went to the University library and got a bunch of books pro-and-con on evolution, creationism. Yes, the Uni library had creationist books. The tone of the pro-evolutionists was, to say the least, haughty and condescending and sneering. I wonder how this book will turn out?

  4. http://www.edge.org/3rd_cultur.....index.html

    “Science is the big news. Science is the important story.” … “Moreover, the intelligent-design (ID) movement imperils American global dominance in science and in so doing presents the gravest of threats to the American economy, which is driven by advances in science and in the technology derived therefrom.”

    The gravest of threats to the American economy? It is said, that science is about evidence. What evidence there is for the idea, that ID-movement were “the gravest of threats to the American economy“?

  5. Stuart A. Kauffman:
    “To state that a given organ is so improbable that it requires design is just ill founded. The argument uses standard probability, which does not apply to the evolution of the biosphere.”

    I presume that what he means is that since natural selection throws out bad random changes and keeps good random changes, that highly improbable events become probable. I thought this guy was supposed to be smart.

    Seth Lloyd: “Scientific lies can fool some of the people some of the time (even to the extent of being published in reputable journals)…”

    Is he talking about the blind-watchmaker and selfish genes? Sure sounds like it.

    This collection will be a really good source of humor in another few decades when random mutation and natural selection are universally agreed to be discredited as the source of substantive evolutionary change. Scientists will shake their heads in disbelief that people once accepted this foolishness uncritically. RM+NS will soon go the way of the steady-state universe and phlogiston.

  6. I just love it when these egghead scientists from schools like Harvard and Stanford come out to oppose ID. They’re surrounded by this seemingly impenetrable aura of intellectual superiority…then they open their mouths to speak in favor of a purely materialist universe and against ID and the aura just vanishes. A priesthood, indeed.

  7. The publication of such a book is an excellent development. It is good for the other side to directly address ID as best they can (which, I presume, will not include directly addressing the best ID arguments as stated by their proponents in the ID books that have been published to date). To be able to hand someone such a book along with The Design Revolution, Darwin’s Black Box, and Uncommon Dissent, and say “well, here you go, these are some of the arguments on both sides, what do you think?” is a big step forward. ID has no problem standing for itself on the merits, which is why there is such a bunch of disingenuous smokescreening from the other side to avoid that very thing: a debate on the merits. Let ‘er rip!

  8. people have been saying “some day we will look back at this and laugh” about natural selection since its first public outing almost 150 years ago. Those who understand it still aren’t laughing…

    You imply that ID proponents misunderstand the concept of natural selection…so what exactly are we missing?

  9. A comment by Chris_UK has been deleted from this thread (as has his user name). Chris chides our little community for surmising what this book is likely to contain only to interpret its content for us and then treat us to some chestnuts against ID. He is welcome to ply his wares elsewhere.

  10. I didn’t say that people would laugh at the idea of natural selection or evolution. I specifically referred to the state of affairs “when random mutation and natural selection are universally agreed to be discredited as the source of substantive evolutionary change.”

    When attempting to refute an assertion it is best to actually refute the assertion, and not something else.

  11. [Off Topic] Over at IDthefuture.com (http://www.idthefuture.com/200......html#more) Paul Nelson makes the following comment: “I once heard Dembski play a Chopin étude from memory in a guest house in Corona del Mar.”

    So the rumor is true: Bill is a classical pianist! This is proof that he can’t be all bad.

  12. 12

    let the dead bury their dead.

  13. Tina, I couldn’t agree with you more!

    Let the dead bury their dead….Darwinian thought will pass out of history like a corpse…even sooner than we anticipated if the best arguments leading ID opponents can come up with are:

    “To state that a given organ is so improbable that it requires design is just ill founded. The argument uses standard probability, which does not apply to the evolution of the biosphere.”

    and

    “Evolutionary biology certainly hasn’t explained everything that perplexes biologists, but intelligent design hasn’t yet tried to explain anything at all.”

    Rhetoric plain and simple, a facade in an attempt to disguise the odour of the rotting corpse of evolution.

  14. “I agree with him that the universe is scientific — that doesn’t necessarily mean that it is Darwinistic.

    bFast”

    That’s the big deal. To them, if the universe is scientific, and science is Darwinistic, then the universe is Darwinistic. Bingo! Note the title: “Intelligent Thought: Science Versus the Intelligent Design Movement”. “Science” versus ID? Yeah, right…

  15. Why do we allow materialists to utilize immaterial concepts like the laws of logic and universals?

    For a definition of universals: http://www.iep.utm.edu/u/universa.htm

    Show them their wrotten foundation and then debate them on ID.

  16. bFast: “I wonder if he understands just how rediculous that sounds? What kind of non-standard probability should we use?”

    Any kind of non-standard probability that makes Darwinian mechanisms probable.

  17. bFast: “I wonder if he understands just how rediculous that sounds? What kind of non-standard probability should we use?”

    In seriousness, I expect he is referring to Bayesian statistics. Dr. Dembski wrote about this in the following paper:

    http://www.designinference.com....._Bayes.pdf

  18. I think the most risible thing on that list is probably Nicholas Humphrey’s dopey philosophical sophistry. First, almost nobody has argued that Darwinism can’t explain consciousness on the grounds that consciousness has no survival benefit. Rather, the argument is that any attempt to account for consciousness in a materialist framework is incoherent, leaving only the option of denying it’s existence, which is also incoherent and a denial of the blatantly obvious. Humphrey somehow fails to see that distinction (which should be easy and obvious enough for child to grasp), so he ends up debating the wrong topic and arguing that consciousness can be accounted for by Darwinism because it has survival benefit.

    But even more risible than that is his reason why consciousness has survival benefit: that it allows us to disbelieve Darwinism! Of course, consciousness is what allows us to believe anything at all. Now, what makes him think that his belief in Darwinism is rational and objectively true? Is it that the Darwinian mechanism built our conscious minds for the ability to weigh abstract facts, and arrive at objective truth, because knowing objective truth has survival benefit? Well, it can’t be that, because he has already argued that consciousness was selected for causing us to believe a falsehood. Besides, it’s meaningless to say that the material Darwinian mechanism has access to an abstract standard of objective truth. Humphrey’s whole spiele is a morass of post-modernist nonsense.

    And then, throughout the introduction and many of the other entries, even as various pointy heads (particularly Humphrey) contribute to the deconstruction reason and objective truth, they complain that people are rejecting reason and objective truth. If so, who’s fault is that, geniuses? These morons were made for each other.

  19. *stands and applauds Deuce. Bravo, sir. You hit that nail on the head.

  20. Deuce: “Besides, it’s meaningless to say that the material Darwinian mechanism has access to an abstract standard of objective truth. Humphrey’s whole spiele is a morass of post-modernist nonsense.”

    Yes, it is very ridiculuos when materialists talk about objective truth. According to them truth is a subjective term and has no universal reference. They’re using a reference point which does not exist at first place. If consiousness is a product of evolution then how can it be trusted? According to them consiousness is here only because of its selective advantage not because of its perfection. Consequently, the materialistic consiousness and its philosophical inference can never be verified for its truth. A snake that swallows its own tale.

  21. You guys may want to look at the following:
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/produ.....8;n=283155

    C.S. Lewis’s Dangerous Idea: In Defense of the Argument From Reason

  22. lucID wrote: “Darwinian thought will pass out of history like a corpse.”

    Don’t count on it. Darwinism has a history of reinventing itself to mirror the data. The zealots will simply incorporate the data to fit their dogmatic view, and claim that there must be some naturalistic explanation for ID. (one might say this is already happening…[i.e. Matzke])

  23. I’ll start with Richard Dawkins’ declaration:

    “Natural selection is not some desperate last resort of a theory. It is an idea whose plausibility and power hits you between the eyes with a stunning force, once you understand it in all its elegant simplicity.”

    He sums it up beautifully; … “in all its elegant simplicity” underscores what I think we all know, that NS+RS=UCD is an overly simplistic explanation for biologic complexity. Diversity within the species, yes. Survival under varying conditions, sometimes. But upward complexity? I think you know the answer.

    Stuart A. Kauffman wrote: “To state that a given organ is so improbable that it requires design is just ill founded. The argument uses standard probability, which does not apply to the evolution of the biosphere.”

    That’s pretty much a standard TEO position, that logic and probability don’t apply here, that given a few billion years, anything can (and did) happen. Rather than the time worn phrase oft times attributed to anyone that disagrees with them, ‘goddidit’, we now have ‘evolutiondidit’. See any similarity?

    Linda Randall states: “We don’t have an intelligent designer (ID), we have a bungling consistent evolver (BCE). Or maybe an adaptive changer (AC). In fact, what we have in the most economical interpretation is, of course, evolution.”

    Economical, perhaps, but valid? Simplistic is a better descriptor. If you believe that Occam’s Razor establishes anything as valid, it does fit. The problem is, however, that simplicity does not equate with truth. Genetic variability is a fact. It gives us diversity within species, and some measure of adaptability. But to believe that that mechanism builds functional biologic entities from nothing is an argumentum ad ignorantiam.

    Scott D. Sampson wraps up the page with, “Rather than removing meaning from life, an evolutionary perspective can and should fill us with a sense of wonder at the rich sequence of natural systems that gave us birth and continues to sustain us.”

    I think it’s obvious that evolution is a tool, placed there by our creator as an adjunct, and a clever one at that. Without it we’d probably all look alike (within species), and may not have survived to get to this point. Let’s face it: The embryo is the production line of life, and genetic variability a mechanism with several important functions. Scott is partially right, there is wonder in our universe, but let us not be too quick to rule out that which we cannot define.

  24. Stuart A. Kauffman quoted:

    “It should not, after all, be surprising if people who believe that all truth comes from an ancient text disagree with Darwin, whose ideas are in no ancient text. Rather than bemoaning the fact that fundamentalists disagree with Darwin, let’s ask a much more interesting and disturbing question: Why do so many non-fundamentalist theologians and religious leaders have no trouble incorporating Darwin into their worldview?

    It’s a matter of choice; some merely believe it, but fail to carefully examine design, synergy, order, organization, esthetic manifestations …

    But in many cases, I feel it’s political. Here’s a parallel, at least in the way that I see it.

    Many support the Iraq war, from inception to its present state of affairs, not because they believe in it, but in deference to those responsible for it, and out of a desire not to denigrate those individuals.

    Many support evolution for the same reason. Let us not, therefore, use that as an argument if favor of TOE.

    I have a friend who is a Ph.D. in biology, is Islamic, and supports evolution. He also believes the Genesis account of six literal creation days. When asked how you reconcile the two, he states that evolution is “scientific fact”, but then states that by faith, he believes in the latter. He then smiles and shrugs.

    It can be impirically shown, I believe, that many accept evolution for political reasons, rather than on its merits, or based on a personal belief.

  25. “Darwinism has a history of reinventing itself to mirror the data.”

    How insidious! Why can’t they just pick a dogmatic position and stick to it no matter what the evidence says? Isn’t that what science is about?

Leave a Reply