Home » Intelligent Design » Frustrating “Evolution” Polls

Frustrating “Evolution” Polls

The article, Darwin’s Birthday Poll: Fewer Than 4 in 10 Believe in Evolution, just up at foxnews.com, references this Gallup poll, in which this question is asked, “Do you, personally, believe in the theory of evolution, do you not believe in evolution, or don’t you have an opinion either way?”

Why don’t they ever ask about the specifics of the theory? For example: 1) Do you believe that all living things came from a universal single-celled common ancestor? 2) Do you believe that random mutation or random variation and natural selection explain the origin of all life and its complexity? 3) Do you believe that humans evolved from a primitive ape-like ancestor in the last several million years, and if so, does the Darwinian mechanism in question 2) explain how it happened?

The Gallup poll then goes on to discuss educational level and church attendance, and how this correlates with belief in “evolution.” As expected, those with more “education” are more likely to be true believers, and those who attend church weekly are less likely to be true believers. The conclusion is obviously that educated people can see the truth and wisdom of evolution, and those who attend church regularly are blinded by religion.

But perhaps a major factor is that those with more education who never attend church have never been exposed to anything but pro-Darwin indoctrination in public schools and universities, as well as the mainstream media, and have never heard about any of the weaknesses of the theory. That was the case in my situation.

During all my education, up through three college degrees, I never heard a word that challenged Darwinian orthodoxy, and you can bet that I was a true Darwinian believer. It wasn’t until a Christian friend suggested that I read Michael Denton’s Evolution: A Theory in Crisis that I slapped myself on the forehead and realized that I’d been conned. Perhaps church is one of the few places where people are likely to be exposed to the scientific problems with Darwinism.

The news story mentioned above is followed by the article, ‘Missing Links’ Reveal Truth About Evolution, in which we read, “As key evidence for evolution and species’ gradual change over time, transitional creatures should resemble intermediate species, having skeletal and other body features in common with two distinct groups of animals, such as reptiles and mammals, or fish and amphibians. These animals sound wild, but the fossil record — which is far from complete — is full of them…”

This is a perfect example of the one-sided indoctrination to which people are exposed in public education and the mainstream media. To be honest and fair, they should also quote Niles Eldredge, who said:

No wonder paleontologists shied away from evolution for so long. It never seems to happen. Assiduous collecting up cliff faces yields zigzags, minor oscillations, and the very occasional slight accumulation of change–over millions of years, at a rate too slow to account for all the prodigious change that has occurred in evolutionary history. When we do see the introduction of evolutionary novelty, it usually shows up with a bang, and often with no firm evidence that the fossils did not evolve elsewhere! Evolution cannot forever be going on somewhere else. Yet that’s how the fossil record has struck many a forlorn paleontologist looking to learn something about evolution.

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52 Responses to Frustrating “Evolution” Polls

  1. Exactly. I’ve seen the same argument in a dozen other articles with the Darwin Day festivities now upon us. Most of the people writing these articles are smart people. They probably know what they are writing about is a strawman. But 90% of the audience probably does not. It is not true knowledge they are trying to spread, but just their personal belief. The question is, do they know that their personal belief is not the truth?

  2. The quote at the end is from Niles Eldredge not SJG.

    This quote does not say that evolution and natural selection does not exist, only that it doesn’t produce a nice gradual pattern. These observations are what led him to the punctuated equilibrium idea.

    From http://www.vqronline.org/artic.....darwinist/
    I take being called anti-Darwinian very personally. It has always hurt, for I have always thought of myself as more or less a knee-jerk neo-Darwinian, someone who thinks the basic mechanism underlying evolutionary change, including the origin, modification, and maintenance of adaptations, resides squarely in the domain of natural selection. And I have always felt that, with one or two major exceptions, my version of how the evolutionary process works lines up very well with Darwin’s. Take natural selection, for example: I see natural selection just as Darwin originally did—as the statistical effect that relative success in the economic sphere (obtaining energy resources, warding off predators and disease, etc.) has on an organism’s success in reproducing. This conservative view contrasts strongly with the modern tendency to see natural selection as a matter of competition among genes to leave copies of themselves to the next generation—a position I take to be hopelessly teleological, obfuscating the real interactive dynamics of economic and reproductive organismic behavior driving the evolutionary process.

  3. Ssshhhh, don’t tell anybody, but today is Lincoln’s 200th birthday.

  4. This survey confirms a suspicion I’ve had for a while: going to church regularly makes you smarter than taking an advanced degree.

    I wonder what the breakdown was for those who attend church regularly and have an advance degree. I must not have been good for the evolutionists or it would have been emphasized in the article.

  5. I often tried to tell Darwinists that the reason so many well educated people believe in NDE is because that’s simply what they were taught and for more years than the less educated and thus don’t know any better. As Gil states.

    Think about it, the average student thinks the prof is going to tell him the truth, the facts.
    So no matter what they are told, unless they have some other source of info telling them otherwise, it’s normal for them to believe the teacher. The higher you go in academia these days the more it is controlled by secular humanists Darwinists who ridicule and discriminate against any “conscientious objecters” – so add peer pressure, prof pressure and coercion to the list of reasons why students come away staunchly believing NDE.

    Of course the Darwinists don’t often swallow these simple and salient facts about their schooling in general but it’s as obvious as the fact that when about Galileo’s day when teaches taught that the earth was flat the students believed it til Gal proved it wrong.

    But then they didn’t believe him….at first!

    Now we have lots of info that confounds, confuses and negates neo-Darwinism completely – but the kids are still being taught it as the absolute truth!

    So it has nothing to do with ‘smarter’ but rather educational environment and the nature of schooling.

  6. It would probably be better to say the level of indoctrination vs. level of education.

  7. Just up over at YouTube a creationist tribute to Mr. Darwin on his Birthday!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v.....annel_page

    Dr. Steve Austin shows that Darwin started off on the wrong foot by getting his geology all wrong.

  8. But perhaps a major factor is that those with more education who never attend church have never been exposed to anything but pro-Darwin indoctrination in public schools and universities, as well as the mainstream media, and have never heard about any of the weaknesses of the theory.

    This has been my speculation, and this is a big part of the reason why I’m not at all impressed by “scientific consensus.” I believe it was in Unlocking the Mystery of Life that Mike Behe recounted his experience of reading Denton’s book, AFTER having gone through a Ph.D. program. He said he wondered why he had never heard about this stuff during his education and that he felt a bit as though he’d been led down the primrose path.

  9. Here’s what I’d like to read in one of those “Missing Links Reveal Truth About Evolution” articles (that is, an honest presentation): “After digging up fossils for 150 years, with the explicit goal of confirming a conclusion that was reached in advance (i.e., that all life evolved in a Darwinian step-by-tiny-step fashion), paleontologists have found some creatures that could be interpreted as transitional intermediates. However, the overall, persistent, and overwhelming testimony of the fossil record is that new kinds of living things appear suddenly with no evidence of having evolved gradually, and then stick around unchanged until they disappear. Despite this, the consensus among most scientists is that Darwin got it right.”

  10. Gil, congratulations on another splendid post.

    I submit that there are three classes of people: the uneducated, the well educated, and the badly educated. Here is the way the game is played:

    On the one hand, the badly educated pursue power for the sake of power because, for them, nothing else is worth pursuing. On the other hand, the well educated busy themselves trying to pursue wisdom and self-actualization, which includes the development of character, virtue, and self-control.

    Meanwhile, knowing that human nature resists discipline, the badly educated exploit the gullibility of the uneducated by telling them that true virtue consists in withholding judgment about absolute morality and elevating “niceness” over character. They seal the deal by explaining that the only reason that the well-educated proposed a moral code in the first place was to prevent them from having a good time. Further, they go on to explain that discipline and self control are not necessary components of a well-ordered society. As the story goes, making sacrifices or delaying gratification for any reason, even for a greater good, constitutes cruel and unusual punishment.
    This, of course, is just what the uneducated wanted to hear. What could be more inviting—they can amuse themselves with fun and freedom without subjecting themselves to the rigors of virtue and discipline. It doesn’t end there, of course, because the uneducated soon come to resent the well-educated for proposing such a cruel message in the first place. So they punish the well educated by putting the badly educated in power. Meanwhile, In order to maintain their power, install public schools to render the uneducated uneducable and immunize them forever from the influence of the well educated.

  11. Oops, last sentence–Meanwhile, in order to maintain their power, the badly educated install public schools to render the uneducated uneducable and immunize them forever from the influence of the well educated.

  12. Stephen B -

    Your three classes of people is a start, but I thought of a fourth class, that being those that refuse to get educated, because they don’t want to hear anything that goes against what they already believe, or that contradicts what they were taught through their initial socialization process.

  13. Sorry! I didn’t put the link in properly, it’s here

  14. I think all 4 theoretical classes thus far would have more coherence, tolerance, cooperation with one another, and a more honest learning experience over all if education were structured behind a “think for yourself” environment. This is why the academic movement is so important. The whole “unquestionable teacher/professor” mentality must dissipate if we want to continue to move forward with increasing momentum in theoretical science.

    People holding to certain beliefs would feel less threatened by what may be now considered a hostile environment to them. The uneducated would have no choice but to think for themselves, and the line between the well educated and badly educated would diminish, seeing as the politics(including appeals to authority)of the matter would be minimized while critical thinking takes the front line.

  15. Gil,

    Isn’t that quote from Niles Eldridge?

  16. It is obvious that people are still in love with that strawman!

    The debate was NEVER “evolution vs no evolution”.

    However that is exactly what the NCSE wants everyone to belive.

    Apparently their propaganda is still working.

    So this year, the 200th birthday of Abraham Lincoln, we have to work to tear down that strawman and get the public and our opponents to acknowledge what is being debated.

  17. Isn’t that quote from Niles Eldridge?

    You are right, it was Niles Eldredge, Gould’s buddy. I fixed it.

    Thanks.

  18. Luskin:

    Since cellular language implies an author, and microbiological machines imply an engineer, and genetically encoded programs imply a programmer, increasing numbers of scientists feel the solution is intelligent design.

    First, why does language imply an author?

    Second, who are these scientists who are turning to ID? How many can you name who converted in the past year? How about the year before that? Or the year before that?

  19. First, why does language imply an author?

    Do you have an example of language that is not communicated from one being to another?

  20. First, why does language imply an author?

    Experience- as in every time we have heard of or discovered a language it has always had an author.

    Second, who are these scientists who are turning to ID?

    The smart ones, who wish to remain anonymous.

  21. Second, who are these scientists who are turning to ID?

    Here are several hundred who have chosen not to remain anonymous:

    http://www.dissentfromdarwin.org/

  22. I just realized that my comment above was posted in the wrong thread. My apologies.

    Gil, how many of the scientists on that list converted to ID in recent years? Luskin says that the number of scientists who “feel the solution is intelligent design” is increasing.

    In fact, how many of those scientists even “feel the solution is intelligent design”?

  23. Upright BiPed:

    Do you have an example of language that is not communicated from one being to another?

    That’s certainly how human languages are transmitted from generation to generation. But that doesn’t mean that these languages are authored, as I understand the term. As far as I know, most of them are products of evolution, not design.

  24. But that doesn’t mean that these languages are authored, as I understand the term. As far as I know, most of them are products of evolution, not design.

    Language – that is a truly great example I never thought before for whatever reason.

    The meanings of individual words continually morphing and increasing in number, spelling changes, drastic changes in grammar, drastic divergence in dialects as human groups become geographically seperated, languages continally increasing in complexity, and all of the above occurring without the conscious planning or desire of anyone, in fact often diametrically at odds with concerted efforts by authorities to prevent the language from changing.

  25. “Do you have an example of language that is not communicated from one being to another?”

    If one is to make up a code that only he or she could understand – as say a way to rememeber somthing – then that code would be only from one person to ones self.

    Say if I made up symbols to represent where a treasure was burried. It would not matter if another person ever existed- that “language” is used to jog my memory and no one els.

  26. “The meanings of individual words continually morphing and increasing in number, spelling changes, drastic changes in grammar, drastic divergence in dialects as human groups become geographically seperated, languages continally increasing in complexity, and all of the above occurring without the conscious planning or desire of anyone, in fact often diametrically at odds with concerted efforts by authorities to prevent the language from changing.”

    Conclusion: “Language” popped out of thin air. Words, sentences etc… also have “meaning” btw, anything containing abstract and symbolic “meaning” is designed. Language was obviously designed overtime. It increased in complexity and at the same time specific meaning to new terminology was given in different applied contexts. Meaning was defined as being understood by at least two individuals, one that could transmit the message in and one that could receive the message and understand it as intended by the transmitter. Any particular complex specified languages of this magnitude you can find from non-intelligence?
    I’d say languages came to be out of intelligence via complex specified interactive pathways.

    Have fun trying to put a Darwinian stamp on this one!

  27. I saw this poll earlier via conservapedia.

    I’ll have to check out Evolution: A Theory in Crisis. Thanks for the tips.

  28. Also, look at what the Darwin cultists are doing.

    Singing happy birthday?

    Has anybody ever witness other scientists singing happy birthday to a dead scientist?

  29. JT:

    Like many other proponents of evolution, you seem to be comfortable pointing to an example of change and then assuming the mechanism. But I’m a little skeptical, so if you wouldn’t mind supporting your assertions:

    Pick any language family you care to name and show how a modern derivative is “more complex” than its ancient precursor. Maybe Virgil’s Latin and modern Italian, or Cyrus’ Persian and modern Farsi—you get the idea. And orthography doesn’t count; all known writing systems are intelligently designed.

    If not that, take the more simple task of naming one linguistic change at any level (semantic, syntactic, morphological, phonological, phonetic…) in any language, living or dead, which has occurred without intelligent intervention of any kind.

    When you’re able to do either of these, you’ll have a valid analogy to evolution.

  30. ab [27]:

    I started to hunt down some quotes I vaguely remembered from Old English and its Closest Relatives, a book I’ve had for quite a while. But the majority of it is pretty technical and I’m not finding what I’m looking for, so maybe later.

    But think about pronunciation. That’s a huge aspect of language that morphs in bizarre ways over time that has absolutely nothing to do with design. In fact, professional linguists don’t even have coherent theories in most cases to explain pronunciation changes. What about changes in spelling? Nothing to do with design either. As far as vocabulary, you talked about words having “meaning” and about people giving “specific meaning” to new terminology in “applied contexts”. This is not how new word meanings come about generally. Words aren’t carefully designed for some specific use. Someone encounters a novel circumstance by chance and picks the closest word he can think of to apply to this novel context. So people in a different geographical context might not be familiar at all with how a term they know about has come to be employed quite differently but quite reasonably somewhere else. So as far as vocabulary is concerned the norm is for words to be used for wildly different things over time, not carefully and conscientiously employed in a specific circumstance for which they were “designed.”

    And furthermore if you’re going to focus on vocabulary – individual words – (which you did because you didn’t mention grammar) applying abstract symbols to individual concepts is something a lot of animals do as well. (Its grammar that appears to be unique to humans.) So for example a chicken sees a hawk and he’ll run in a counterclockwise circle bobbing his head (or something like that). If he sees a snake he’ll do something completely different and so on, and all the other chickens know exactly what he’s talking about.

    But human language is the most uniquely human characteristic and also the most complex human artifact, and the way human language has come into being has nothing to do with design, despite your assertions. Its a result of continual dynamic flux and a continual input of energy over time, and a very haphazard consensus involving all members of a language group, and a bizarre and irrational popularity contest. That’s how language came about.
    You write: “Any particular complex specified languages of this magnitude you can find from non-intelligence?”
    Presumably complex language of the specific type associated with humans would be a primary indicator of intelligence to many people. So humans are called intelligent because of their association with a complex language (a context-sensitive grammar at the top of Chomsky language hierarchy.) But wouldn’t whatever created humans have an association with that language as well and thus rightly be labelled intelligent? I think your answer would be yes. But if the proximate creator of humans is a physical process, and human intelligence itself is physical, then you could call this process intelligent if intelligence is indicated by an association with complex language (and the things this process created employs this complex language.)

  31. I apologize if this comment is a little long, however I think it is necessary seeing where the conversation re: language and evolution is heading.

    JT:
    “…and the way human language has come into being has nothing to do with design, despite your assertions. Its a result of continual dynamic flux and a continual input of energy over time, and a very haphazard consensus involving all members of a language group, and a bizarre and irrational popularity contest. That’s how language came about.”

    Woah, hold on, you definitely need to qualify what you are stating or you’ll end up spreading something that could be interpreted horribly wrong. You seem to be concluding that the English language is not a function of design (intelligence/foresight).

    I will now provide some balance to your statement about the evolution of the human language and how this relates to design vs. no-design.

    ?First, words have structure only because we humans, as beings of creative intelligence, care to power their evolution by providing them with such representational and functional structure throughout their evolutionary history.

    The “most a-telic conclusion” that one can come to re: the formation of our alphabet must still presume intelligent, creative ability at the beginning of the process and all along the way.

    Here is the most a-telic conclusion:
    When transferring information from conscious intelligence to other conscious intelligence, the exact end form of symbolic representation of information, although the necessary result of telic processes, is not deterministic from the viewpoint of the starting intelligence for the simple fact that every intelligent transmitter of the alphabet and language along the way is creative and thus has the ability to generate its own information and change previous information and informational representations while retaining function.

    Even if there was a slip of the pen which may have accidentally changed the shape of the symbol, it is still intelligence which chose to continue to use the symbol. Furthermore, I highly doubt that’s how the majority of symbolic representations of sounds or ideas (letters or glyphs) for the purpose of communication were generated. Even if it was a horrible war or famine which cut one culture from another or brought them together, thus changing their language over time, the very process of the changing language is only possible because of the creative, learning, and assimilating capacity of human intelligence.

    Also, and most importantly, symbols don’t have any intrinsic representation in themselves. If the symbol is used at all in the alphabet it is because an intelligence somewhere along the process chose to associate it with a sound or idea for the purpose of future communication. Basically, words don’t form themselves and attach sounds and meanings to themselves.

    Furthermore, the function of associating sounds and symbols for the purpose of communication at the very beginning and all along the way of this [alphabet creating] process is 100% telic and that purpose of communication is still the same today.

    Therefore, while the exact symbolic form of the alphabet and phonetic form of words has evolved indeterminately along the way as a direct result of the creative ability of intelligence, the function as the purpose of communication has remained the same.

    Thus, to say that the beginning of this process, the continual process itself, or our present alphabet is the result of mainly a-telic (blind/accidental) processes is highly misleading at best and horribly incorrect at the worst.

    I’ve just argued that the form of any alphabet is undetermined because of the creative aspect of intelligence. This is far from every alphabet being largely the result of a-telic (purposeless/accidental) processes. “Indeterminate” due to anything other than creativity can equal “a-telic,” however “indeterminate” due to creative ability does not equal “a-telic” since “a-telic” by definition can not presuppose intelligent creativity as a causal factor of the “indeterminacy.”

    For example, let’s start with a network of intelligent designers. Now, let’s say you design a program for a certain function. Then, one of the designers in the network discovers your model and tinkers with it and changes it somehow, either adding some programming, removing some, or fine tuning it or making it more efficient somehow, yet retaining the original function. Now, repeat the process by sending the new program to another intelligent designer in the network, who can either keep it as it is, or change it in some way. Some of the programmers/designers may even be so good at their job that they don’t even have to really think about it when they make changes. It almost comes automatically. Of course, though, this is the result of automatically “regurgitating” information that was previously *learned.*

    Keep that process going for quite some time and you will have an end program and an overall evolutionary pattern which is not originally foreseen/intended or “telic” in this sense. However, neither is the overall process or end program purposeless. So how do we describe the overall pattern of the process and end program? It is *indeterminate* because we can not predict what every instance of intelligence will do with the program along the way, even though every instance which influenced the overall pattern at the least had telic elements in it.

    In both the case of the alphabet and words and the case of the programmers, the *overall pattern*, although influenced by purposeful processes and potentially random events, is neither fully telic nor mostly a-telic. It is *indeterminate* precisely because a network of creative intelligence can create an overall pattern that is not predictable. However, it still has a fully telic foundation, function, and even the changes had to be selected and incorporated and given function (representation of sounds and ideas) by a creative intelligence.

    Furthermore, as I have already stated, symbols and words don’t have any intrinsic representation in themselves. If the symbol is used at all in the alphabet it is because an intelligence somewhere along the process chose to associate it with a sound or idea for the purpose of future communication. Basically, words don’t form themselves and attach sounds and meanings to themselves, whether there is evolution or not! In fact, in this case, the evolution of the alphabet could not even be possible if it were not for the creative capacity and foresight of intelligence.

    P.S. “Creative” in this sense refers to the ability to attach symbolic representation to ideas, where the symbolic representation is not defined, caused or necessitated by natural law. IE: there is no law that states that “cat” must represent a specific type of mammal. And, without this *non-lawful* and creative representation, the symbols “c-a-t” would have no meaning or usefulness and would not be a part of any evolutionary scenario.

    Thus, the evolution of the human language, just as with the evolution of life has both design/telic and non-design/a-telic elements in it. Taken with other arguments (CSI, active info, etc) we can be confident that the evolution of neither life nor language would be possible absent previous intelligence/foresight.

  32. Intelligent humans are a necessary ingredient for coin flips. Without humans minting the coins and purposefully deciding to flip them, coin flips would not occur. Are the outcomes of coin flips designed, mostly designed, or not designed?

  33. ROb:”First, why does language imply an author?”
    You should have been able to figure that out for yourself.

    To add to what has already been stated:
    Ask yourself, “What is language?”.
    “a systematic means of communicating by the use of sounds or conventional symbols” – wordnet.princeton.edu/perl/webwn
    “a dynamic set of visual, auditory, or tactile symbols of communication and the elements used to manipulate them” – wikipedia

    So, if you can find an answer that doesn’t imply intelligence, I’d certainly like to see it as it would be a world’s first.

    Same applies to code – a symbolic convention (chemical or electronic – doesn’t matter) for prossessing information, with syntactic rules, semantics etc..

    Thus the genetic code required a mind. It is not analogous to code – it IS code. Mathematically identical to language(Yockey).

    That intelligence was involved in the making of DNA is thus inescapable.

    —-
    “Are the outcomes of coin flips designed, mostly designed, or not designed?” What’s your point?

    Given a true coin and not a rigged one and a randomized flip – the outcome is generally unpredictable except on a statistical predictive basis, which may be wrong – thus the outcome is not designed.

  34. CJYMan wrote[31]:

    You seem to be concluding that the English language is not a function of design (intelligence/foresight).

    Foresight, no. How could it be. In an I.D. perspective, things like consciousness and will are associated with an individual. Your consciousness is unique to you, and my consciousness is mine. Same goes for our respective wills. This would be an I.D perspective, I think. So when you’re talking about foresight, it is associated with the conscious intention and will of an individual. I may be overstating the case here, but what is clear is that if you have thousands of individuals each working on tiny little pieces of something at different times of history, each in accordance with their own unique intention, will and foresight, you cannot say the total end result is related to foresight at all, unless by serendipity that the plans of each unique individual somehow coincide. It could coincide if there were a centralized plan that was adhered to over the course of history, but that’s not the case with language.

    Furthermore, the sort of sound and pronunciation changes and gradual meaning changes that ultimately resulted in two branches of a language to form and ulitimately result in completely different languages, didn’t come about because people thought there needed to be more languages. It was completely unintentional. (Actually come to think of it, it was God’s intention according to the Bible. If you accept the Bible and the Tower of Babel story then you would have to believe that multiple languages were totally at odds with any intention of man, and men were being led around like puppets to an end they would not have desired.)

    First, words have structure only because we humans, as beings of creative intelligence, care to power their evolution by providing them with such representational and functional structure throughout their evolutionary history.

    My impression was that many in ID circles accepted common descent through variation and natural selection in biology, but with the caveat that ultimately the system had to be frontloaded. But I wasn’t of the impression that ID advocates would think for example that there were creative intelligent choices ongoing to cause biological evolution. IOW, presumably many of you thought that it was functionality competing, but not by virtue of intelligence, so that some variant of a stomach might win out for example , but not becase the stomach had intelligence.

    In the above, you’re using the term evolution in reference to language, but only an “evolution” that takes place via the continual dynamic application of actual “intelligence” as opposed to an automated process set into motion previously. This would seem to distort the meaning of the word evolution.

    (Incidentally, I’m reading more in that book Old English and its Closest Relatives [Orrin W. Robinson, Stanford University Press] and what is interesting is that he provides a very systematic convinvincing and uncontroversial argument to prove how we can absolutely know that a certain set of languages descended from a common ancestor. And it seems like it might be an easy thing to plug in biological terms and make the same argument.)

    The “most a-telic conclusion” that one can come to re: the formation of our alphabet must still presume intelligent, creative ability at the beginning of the process and all along the way.

    I’m not following at all how the alphabet would be the most a-telic attribute of language (Maybe I’m missing your point.) After all barks grunts hoots and spoken language would have preceded alphabets and written languages. (Now that I think of it, man comes last even in the Biblical account – IOW, the Bible doesn’t say man was special so he was created first – It says man came at the very end of the process. Hmmmm… interesting.)

    Here is the most a-telic conclusion:
    When transferring information from conscious intelligence to other conscious intelligence, the exact end form of symbolic representation of information, although the necessary result of telic processes, is not deterministic from the viewpoint of the starting intelligence for the simple fact that every intelligent transmitter of the alphabet and language along the way is creative and thus has the ability to generate its own information and change previous information and informational representations while retaining function.

    Several things here: You gloss over what is perhaps one of the most controversial aspects of ID: the idea that intelligence is a nondeterminsitic process that is nevertheless not random. But random or not, it touches on my initial point – that is that if you have a bunch of incremental links in a very long chain each doing they’re own thing, even if each tiny link is “intelligent” and excersizing “foresight” on the tiny little link he’s working on – this most assuredly does not imply that total end result is the result of foresight.

    Even if there was a slip of the pen which may have accidentally changed the shape of the symbol, it is still intelligence which chose to continue to use the symbol.

    If you don’t care enough to give something further attention that does not equate to intelligent conscious choice. Its like saying that Einstein had a slip of the pen and kept writing and you said “Wow! the work of a genius!” Technically yes, I suppose. I’m also thinking of “don’t care” states in a digital logic array. Anything you don’t care about, and you don’t give your conscious attention to effect or change, means that result is random with respect to your conscious actions regardless of how intelligent you are. (And by ‘conscious attention’ I do not mean in some transcendent sense.)

    Furthermore, I highly doubt that’s how the majority of symbolic representations of sounds or ideas (letters or glyphs) for the purpose of communication were generated. Even if it was a horrible war or famine which cut one culture from another or brought them together, thus changing their language over time, the very process of the changing language is only possible because of the creative, learning, and assimilating capacity of human intelligence

    Here’s a quote I read from that book just a while ago that touches on the above:

    Take as an example two modern Erupoean cities where Germanic languages are still spoken, The Hague in the Netherlands and Bern in Switzerland. Now we know that these two cities speak languages quite different form one another, and in fact the people would characterize what is spoken in the Hague as a dialect of Dutch, and what is spoken in Bern as a dialect of German. Although the two dialects have quite a bit in common (they are both Germanic dialects, after all), they are also mutually incomprehensible: people from these two areas speaking their own dialects cannot understand each other.

    But observe what happens when one tries to characterize all the intermediate dialects along a line drawn between the two cities. The dialects at any two adjacent points along the way turn out ot be very similar, and almost perfectly comprehensible to each other. So where does one draw the absolute boundary line that would segregate the Dutch dialects from the German dialects?

    Interesting stuff.
    Anyway…

    If the symbol is used at all in the alphabet it is because an intelligence somewhere along the process chose to associate it with a sound or idea for the purpose of future communication. Basically, words don’t form themselves and attach sounds and meanings to themselves.

    Now here, you say unequivocally an intelligence chose to associate it with an idea. Who knows what sort of intellectual investment if any was made in such a choice. For example, People in the public eye will make off-handed remarks that inexplicably and certainly without the individual’s conscious desire, catch fire in the public’s mind for no apparent reason, either for good or ill.

    Furthermore, the function of associating sounds and symbols for the purpose of communication at the very beginning and all along the way of this [alphabet creating] process is 100% telic and that purpose of communication is still the same today
    Therefore, while the exact symbolic form of the alphabet and phonetic form of words has evolved indeterminately along the way as a direct result of the creative ability of intelligence, the function as the purpose of communication has remained the same

    Once again, the vast majority in scientific fields would associate the term “indeterminately” with one thing and one thing only: randomness. It is ONLY in ID circles specifically, where a special category of indeterminism exists which is labelled intelligence. This is not meant to be inflammatory or provocative, merely a statement of fact.

    Thus, to say that the beginning of this process, the continual process itself, or our present alphabet is the result of mainly a-telic (blind/accidental) processes is highly misleading at best and horribly incorrect at the worst.

    Here you use “a-telic” as a synonym for “blind/accidental” but previously used “telic” to mean “indeterminate”. Do you see the problem here?

    I’ve just argued that the form of any alphabet is undetermined because of the creative aspect of intelligence. This is far from every alphabet being largely the result of a-telic (purposeless/accidental) processes. “Indeterminate” due to anything other than creativity can equal “a-telic,” however “indeterminate” due to creative ability does not equal “a-telic” since “a-telic” by definition can not presuppose intelligent creativity as a causal factor of the “indeterminacy.”

    Ok, in the above you attempt to resolve the rather obvious problem, but merely through a kind of circular or definitional strategem.

    For example, let’s start with a network of intelligent designers. Now, let’s say you design a program for a certain function. Then, one of the designers in the network discovers your model and tinkers with it and changes it somehow, either adding some programming, removing some, or fine tuning it or making it more efficient somehow, yet retaining the original function.

    For the record, languages most definitely would not have evolved by the the concerted, semi-collobarative and diligient efforts of highly trained and conscientious professionals. Furthermore, the function of words as a rule change drastically over time, retaining no semblance to a previous meaning.But that is even true to a great extent in an explicity technical context. There is no effort to retain some core legacy function merely out of principle if there is no need for it.

    Some of the programmers/designers may even be so good at their job that they don’t even have to really think about it when they make changes. It almost comes automatically. Of course, though, this is the result of automatically “regurgitating” information that was previously *learned.*

    Right – some complex method learned by rote could have itself been developed incrementally over time by numerous individuals working seperately and preserved because it proved to be effective.

    Furthermore, as I have already stated, symbols and words don’t have any intrinsic representation in themselves. If the symbol is used at all in the alphabet it is because an intelligence somewhere along the process chose to associate it with a sound or idea for the purpose of future communication.
    Creative” in this sense refers to the ability to attach symbolic representation to ideas, where the symbolic representation is not defined, caused or necessitated by natural law. IE: there is no law that states that “cat” must represent a specific type of mammal. And, without this *non-lawful* and creative representation, the symbols “c-a-t” would have no meaning or usefulness and would not be a part of any evolutionary scenario.

    I noticed you didn’t address my argument about chickens and their symbolic language, so don’t know if you would agree that they exhibit these same sorts of symbolic representational capabilities. If chickens can do the same thing even too a lesser degree, this would imply to me that the general attribute under discussion has to be directly tied to law. (and thus is not telic indeterminism as conceived in I.D.)

    Thus, the evolution of the human language, just as with the evolution of life has both design/telic and non-design/a-telic elements in it. Taken with other arguments (CSI, active info, etc) we can be confident that the evolution of neither life nor language would be possible absent previous intelligence/foresight.

    Here you’re attempting to close the loop by tying it back to biological evolution specifically, but as I said previously, it seems that organs or other voluntary or involuntary capabilities an animal might exhibit could be favored certainly by microevolution without these abilites functioning by virtue of telic attributes or being preserved by such.
    The above took me a lot longer than five minutes.

    Let me close the loop concerning my own views here: I think God (collectively) is the ONLY one with Telic attributes.

  35. I enjoyed both of your comments, JT and CJYman. But CJY, you did not address what I found to be by far the most erroneous thing about JT’s post. Even if I were to concede that the formation and/or evolution of human languages is an unintelligent process (which I’m not about to do), the thing that JT completely ignored is that it takes INTELLIGENCE to not only comprehend a language initially, but also any developments it takes. Most humans can learn a language they don’t already know in an intelligent fashion, especially if they move to where it is used frequently in order to emerse yourself in it.

    If no intelligence is involved with human language and language were to evolve naturally, no one would have any idea how to communicate with each other. We would all be speaking jibberish to each other. Thankfully we are intelligent beings, and are able to comprehed language change (whether by intelligent or natural causes).

    The question then becomes how does an unintelligent entity like the human genome comprehend changes in its language? More importantly, how do senders/receivers remain coherent with one another? I believe it is for the same basic reason that humans are able to remain comprehensible through language change, and that is because there is an intelligent force at work.

    This is a fascinating subject and I have a lot more to say about it, but can’t right now.

  36. So for example a chicken sees a hawk and he’ll run in a counterclockwise circle bobbing his head (or something like that). If he sees a snake he’ll do something completely different and so on, and all the other chickens know exactly what he’s talking about.

    Curious how chickens manage to pull that off. They obviously didn’t learn it as part of their thought process, as far as I can tell they don’t have one. They do have built-in signal functions and instincts which trigger certain symbolic behavior to be expressed, little to do with the process of learning. Some level of intelligence is pre-embedded into their system, and there is little room for improvement if the time calls for it.

    If the time calls for it, human intelligence is capable of improving language in terms of specificity, meaning and subsequently as a function of that process (consequence), its complexity. In the U.S, for many complex objects and situations, I could refer to x situation or object/set of objects by one short sentence and a specific word that applies in a specific interactive applied context, that one word could mean alot in comparison to what someone from a not so technologically advanced nation would use to refer to the same thing, they may utilize a whole paragraph or even a whole page. (ie: you see that big square green colored shiny button with black border etc… ).

    There is equal specificity in both circumstance, if to provide that same instance of target meaning both are rendered irreducibly complex. Different type of information on the part of the transmitter and the receiver is required to be understood end-to-end else communication becomes an instance of mere noise.

    Overall, this is where Darwinian logic fails:

    You say:
    encounters a novel circumstance by chance and picks the closest word he can think of to apply to this novel context.

    The process of thinking and applying is a-telic?

    Then you say:
    So as far as vocabulary is concerned the norm is for words to be used for wildly different things over time, not carefully and conscientiously employed in a specific circumstance for which they were “designed.”

    Obviously, you can anticipate what my response here will be. Non-carefully & non-conscientiously does not mean non-designed. Chickens do things that way, but the mere function for communication via any form still requires some level of intelligence on their part, in the chickens case at the genetic preprogrammed/predetermined level.

  37. I though at one point you were equating telic and indeterminate but maybe that’s not entirely accurate. Maybe the indeterminism of the whole process you described was because of telic agents working completely independently (Which would still equate to randomness if each piece being worked on were small enough.) But maybe you weren’t personally equating intelligence and indetermimism.
    I probably had in mind the following where you said:

    “Therefore, while the exact symbolic form of the alphabet and phonetic form of words has evolved indeterminately along the way as a direct result of the creative ability of intelligence…”

    Also I see now you weren’t saying the alphabet was the most non-telic attribute of language.

  38. I just noticed something that could be misread in my post (#35) above.

    Thankfully we are intelligent beings, and are able to comprehed language change (whether by intelligent or natural causes).

    It is language change that I leave open to intelligent or natural causes, not our ability to comprehend it. That I see only as intelligent

  39. Just an average Joe here.

    What does the fossil record actually show? From what I understand and despite my own bias it apparently shows common descent and missing links too.

    In the case of that whale transitional they just found.

    Can ID still be true even if there are missing links?

  40. Curious how chickens manage to pull that off. They obviously didn’t learn it as part of their thought process, as far as I can tell they don’t have one. They do have built-in signal functions and instincts which trigger certain symbolic behavior to be expressed, little to do with the process of learning. Some level of intelligence is pre-embedded into their system, and there is little room for improvement if the time calls for it.

    OK blind men descrbing the elephant here admittedly, (or I’ll speak for myself) but just to be responsive to the other posts here:

    Birds are generally very intelligent. It seems awfully complex behavior to be preprogrammed specifically . You saying that some baby chick couldn’t learn “when I see an adult start doing that crazy thing it means the sky is falling.” And then mimic that same behavior eventually. And as far as the inception of the behavior, it could have started randomly as one of many possible hysteric reactions and then fixated through repetition by other chickens and then passed along thrugh some rudimentary chicken culture. But as I said they have several specific signs for different things and this is not unusual in the slightest in the animal kingdom.

    Sorry I can’t get to the other responses now.

  41. Platonist,

    ID covers a very wide range of perspectives. Behe is one of the most well known ID proponents and believes in more or less ‘mainstream’ evolution (Common descent, etc), save for his specific problems about what unaided mutations are able to do. Mike Gene is another individual whose thoughts on ID have nothing to do with denying, say, CD or the like. There are quite a few others as well – the idea is focused more on being able to discern design in natural history (from evolution to cosmology), not necessarily denying evolution.

    As for the fossil record, I don’t follow that closely (then again, I’m an ID enthusiast closer to Behe’s perspective) so I’m not sure what it shows or what it doesn’t.

  42. Somewhat off-topic, but I’m happy to say that in my life, no one I knew cared that yesterday was Darwin’s 200th birthday.

  43. Borne:

    You should have been able to figure that out for yourself.

    Pardon my obtuseness.

    What’s your point?

    I’m tempted to say that you should have been able to figure that out for yourself, but that would be rude.

    The point is this: Some people here are pointing out that intelligence is a necessary ingredient in the use and evolution of language, as if that implies that language is designed. That’s almost as illogical as saying that solutions found by genetic algorithms are designed because the algorithms are coded by humans. Of course, nobody here would say that. :-)

    I suspect the underlying cause for our disagreement is the malleability and ambiguity of the concept of “design”. For me, design entails an intentional outcome, and I doubt that anybody intended a certain outcome for English and guided its evolution to that end. Of course, somebody else may view design differently and come up with an argument for English being designed. The nebulous nature of the term “design” doesn’t bode well for ID as a science.

  44. Gil has said,

    my three college degrees are in French language and literature, and classical piano

    and now says,

    During all my education, up through three college degrees, I never heard a word that challenged Darwinian orthodoxy…

    Egads, what has education in French, French lit, and music come to in these sad times?!

    Gil asks why the survey designers do not ask more sophisticated questions. Duh! Only 55% of respondents could identify Darwin with the theory of evolution (or natural selection, or some other sensible term).

    Now I have a question for all you experts on secondary education. (If you have to Google to answer this, I am no more interested in listening to what you have to say about improving secondary education than I am in listening to what someone who cannot associate Darwin with evolution on the eve of Darwin Day has to say about evolution.) What percentage of American children graduates from high school?

    Did Gil understand that, of respondents with a high school education or less, 52% declined to say whether they believed in evolution? If biology teachers are attempting to indoctrinate their students in Darwinism, they are failing terribly.

    Does the professor’s son have any appreciation of the fact that only 72% or so of American children are graduated from high school? This statistic has gone unchanged for decades. The country has failed egregiously to educate its populace, and has come up with nothing but a stupid political gesture, No Child Left Behind, in response. I suggest that all of the one-trick educational ponies out there take a look at the whole picture, and recognize that we’ve let America turn into a really dopey place. IDists and Darwinists alike should be shocked and ashamed to learn that only 55% of Americans know what Darwin did.

  45. Borne,

    I often tried to tell Darwinists that the reason so many well educated people believe in NDE is because that’s simply what they were taught and for more years than the less educated and thus don’t know any better.

    The “They’ve been programmed by their educators” argument always offends me. I was a creationist in high school, and it was very much a matter of the programming of the Southern Baptist church. There were two very important developments in my freshman year at a Baptist college. In Bible 101, I learned about alternative notions of divine inspiration of scripture. In experimental psychology, I was introduced to the philosophy of science.

    No professor suggested that I change my beliefs. But I earnestly sought the truth. I saw for myself that my biblical literalism was not justified by the history of the texts, and that scientific belief was of an entirely different kind than religious belief. The conflict between acceptance of the Genesis accounts (all three of them) of creation and the scientific account of the descent of species vanished. I could see that, as science, evolutionary theory gave a coherent account of a huge mass of empirical observations that had previously been given only taxonomic organization.

    To this day, it does not matter to me whether evolutionary theory is capital-T True. We may yet, in principle, find that Darwinism succeeds for all the wrong reasons just as Newtonian mechanics does. And scientists will not scoff at Darwinism any more than they do Newtonian mechanics if that should happen. Anyone who thinks that science gets at Truth, rather than tentative belief, sadly misapprehends how science works.

    The upshot is that I feel sympathy for people who struggle with an unholy mishmash of religious and scientific beliefs. I was once one of them, and it was education that led me to see the necessity of teasing apart the two forms of belief. By the way, I do not embrace the notion that there are two “Magisteria.” Religious belief is of a higher order than scientific belief.

  46. —–Sal Gal to Borne: “The “They’ve been programmed by their educators” argument always offends me.”

    It’s a lot less offensive than the alternative argument——-

    “I suppose that the reason that we all leapt at The Origin [of Species] was that the idea of God interfered with our sexual mores.”

    - Julian Huxley

    So, you see, Borne was being quite diplomatic. In any case, there must be some explanation for the Darwinists’ persistent and irrational denial of God and a “created” universe.

    The atheistic/agnostic world view, and its foundational principle that something can come from nothing, stem from pure emotionalism. No one who thinks straight can believe such things.

  47. Gil has said,
    my three college degrees are in French language and literature, and classical piano
    and now says,
    During all my education, up through three college degrees, I never heard a word that challenged Darwinian orthodoxy…
    Egads, what has education in French, French lit, and music come to in these sad times?!

    In college I took four semesters of calculus and differential equations, and took courses in chemistry, physics, biology, social science and a wide variety of other subjects. My majors are irrelevant. I’m talking about the academic culture in general. I associated with people in a wide variety of fields, and within the culture there was universal and unquestioning acceptance of chance-and-necessity Darwinism.

    Gil asks why the survey designers do not ask more sophisticated questions. Duh! Only 55% of respondents could identify Darwin with the theory of evolution (or natural selection, or some other sensible term).

    I didn’t say anything about more sophisticated questions, I asked why they don’t ask more specific questions. You’ve made my point. There’s no point in asking if people believe in “evolution” when you haven’t identified what you mean by the term, especially if those being questioned aren’t familiar with the claims of the theory. My suggestion is that respondents be asked about the specific claims of evolutionary theory, so they are aware of what they are being asked to believe or not.

  48. —–”Did Gil understand that, of respondents with a high school education or less, 52% declined to say whether they believed in evolution? If biology teachers are attempting to indoctrinate their students in Darwinism, they are failing terribly.”

    The academy promotes a three fold philosophy of life: metaphysical naturalism, introduced as Darwinism, epistemological skepticism, characterized as sophistication, and licentiousness, promoted as freedom. Each complements the other, but certain individuals tend to pick their favorite in the beginning.

    One may embrace skepticism for a while without getting all worked up about Darwinism and vice versa. Similarly, one may simply take on the licentious life-style without thinking much about the Darwinism. As the student gets older though, all three become reinforced and internalized, each through the other.

    Through Darwinism, they learn to question the value of life and sneer at the dignity of the human person; through skepticism, they learn to hate truth and challenge the principles of right reason; through, licentiousness, they learn to disdain self control and avoid personal responsibility.

    Of course, the critical element is this disucssion is the meaning of the word “evolution.” When Darwinists defend it against critics, they open up its definition to mean “change over time,” but when they promote it to school children, they close it back up again to mean Darwinist atheism.

    So, when someone asks an adult that has passed through the system if they believe in the theory of “evolution,” a large portion of that 40% will say yes immediately because they think it simply means change over time. Among those who understand that Darwin is being invoked, the number is much lower.

    What that means is that, in spite of the triparte brainwashing system in which the licentiousness and skepticism often reamin for a lifetime, Darwinism continues to seem so incredible that many of those steeped in it since childhood still can’t believe it.

  49. StephenB:

    The academy promotes a three fold philosophy of life: metaphysical naturalism, introduced as Darwinism, epistemological skepticism, characterized as sophistication, and licentiousness, promoted as freedom.

    The administrator of this blog informs us that “ID uses the term ‘natural’ the way the archeologist uses it, not the way Ms. Forest uses it.” Archeologists use the term to refer to objects that aren’t man-made. So when you say that the academy promotes metaphysical naturalism, do you mean they’re teaching that nothing is man-made? Thanks for the clarification.

  50. —-Rob: “So when you say that the academy promotes metaphysical naturalism, do you mean they’re teaching that nothing is man-made?”

    That is correct. Metaphysical naturalism insists that everything, is grounded in matter, and that includes anything that ID folks would call “mind” or “agency.” For the metaphysical naturalist, minds don’t exist, or, if they do, they depend solely on natural laws for their operation and can do nothing independent of those laws. So, from that standpoint, human agents or minds cannot really do anything except obey the physical laws. Under the circumstances, man doesn’t really “make” anything because he does not have the power to do anything differently than what matter commands him to do. That means there can be no agency, no creativity, or no free will.

    Of course, Metaphysical naturalists are not consistent because they are always trying to influence other people, and holding them accountable for their behavior. It never occurs to them that if metaphysical naturalism is true and if free will is an illusion, then no one can persuade anyone of anything nor can anyone respond to persuasion since all responses have already been determined by nature’s laws. Similarly, if methodological naturalism is true, artifacts are not really man made, they are simply generated by physical beings who, in turn, are obeying physical laws over which they have no control. Obviously, that is ridiculous, which is another way of saying that metaphysical naturalism is ridiculous.

  51. —-Rob: “So when you say that the academy promotes metaphysical naturalism, do you mean they’re teaching that nothing is man-made?”

    That is correct.

    Thanks for your answer, StephenB.

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