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Ignorance: Inspired and Promoted by Mainstream Media

A family friend, who is a brilliant electrical engineer, recently spent some time at our home for a holiday get-together. The topic of ID came up and he asked me how I could possibly have bought into such a silly idea. I quizzed him about what he knew about ID. I asked him about which prominent ID theorists he was familiar with, and mentioned a few, along with the titles of their books. He had never heard of any of them, and was completely unfamiliar with any ID literature or even elementary ID concepts.

As it turned out, he had gotten all of his information about ID from the mainstream media, and didn’t have the slightest clue what ID is all about.

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33 Responses to Ignorance: Inspired and Promoted by Mainstream Media

  1. Gil, how much does this guy know about biology? I would suspect that any “brilliant” electrical engineer would line up with us software developers to voice his incredulity.

  2. Well, I am a software engineer and I don’t know much about biology. I always suspected that Darwinism was bogus but what got me convinced is my interest in artificial intelligence and the brain. I eventually learned enough about the human brain to know that it is irreducibly complex. The way the different parts of the brain work to complement each other’s function could not have evolved gradually a la Darwin. It was designed, without a doubt.

    Darwinism has been a hindrance to progress in neuroscience, in my opinion. As a case in point, there is a powerful group of Darwinists in the field who have been using evolution to ascribe all sorts of cognitive capabilities to the cerebellum without any solid evidence.

    A Darwinist couple (Henrietta and Alan Leiners) have been publishing papers since the late 80s promoting their hypothesis that the cerebellum participates in language and speech processing among other non-motor activities. They even got most neuroscientists to believe that there is a direct bi-directional link between the cerebellum and Broca’s area, the speech production center of the brain.

    What is amazing is that there is no neuro-anatomical evidence for such a link. None. The Leiners (they’re retired in their eighties now) were able to get away with their pseudoscience simply because they were smart (or devious) enough to base their hypothesis on the supposed evolution of the human cerebellum.

    I just recently had a chat with someone who had suffered a massive cerebellar stroke. While the stroke affected (and still affects) his motor abilities, it had no ill effect on his cognitive skills. Subsequently, he went back to school and is now working on getting his doctorate. This squarely and decisively contradicts the prevalent Darwin-inspired view in the neuroscience community that the cerebellum is involved in cognitive processing.

  3. Mapou, if you found that interesting, you will also like “The unfeeling reptilian brain” about the difference between claims for brain evolution and reality.

  4. If an electrical engineer can be so blinded by the liberal media, just think what the secular elites are doing to our children in the schools.

  5. Gil you forgot to tell us what did your EE friend AFTER you had fiven hime the basic and right information about ID.

  6. Sorry; the previous message was unreadable:

    Gil you forgot to tell us what did your EE friend think AFTER you had given hime the basic and right information about ID.

  7. Gil,

    How did he define ID to you at the outset?

    I suggest for electrical engineers who uncritically accept the origin of life as an accidental result of simple molecules bumping together you pose the following question “Which came first: DNA or protein?”

    To refresh his or her memory explain that DNA is a long string of nucleic acids adenine, cytosine, guanine, and thymine (ACGT). These are further organized into groups of three called codons. Strings of hundreds to thousands of codons are further organized into genes where a gene is coded representation of a protein. Proteins are long strings of 20 different kinds amino acids. Genes are copied from the DNA molecule into an intermediate nucleic acid string called RNA which is essentially DNA only single stranded and where thymine is replaced by uracil. RNA molecules are fed into a machine called a ribosome which reads the codons one by one and builds a protein string by adding one amino acid at a time for each codon as it is read. The ribosome itself is composed of RNA and protein. The translation table – which codon represents which amino acid – is called the genetic code. With only trivial differences the genetic code is the same in all life from the tiniest bacteria to human beings. All these forms of life have ribosomes that manufacture proteins according to instructions stored in DNA.

    The heart of the question lies in the fact that hundreds of complex, interdependent machines built of proteins are required to provide energy, an enclosed environment, raw material acquisition (nutrients), waste product removal, transportation of materials within the cell, and tools to cut and splice and duplicate DNA. So which came first – the instructions to make all these machines (DNA) or the machines needed to maintain, use, and replicate the instructions?

    This poses no problem for intelligent agents such as ourselves who can conceptualize both the instructions and the machines at one time and then turn thought into reality by building what we envision. How could this happen in an environment where there is no conceptualization aforehand? Until it can be demonstrated how this is possible without an intelligent agent then intelligent agency is the best explanation. There’s no physical law that precludes the existence of intelligent agents in the universe or demands that it can only occur by way of carbon chemisty. There’s nothing about science that bars it from discovering other forms of intelligence. Science has a history of turning the supernatural into the natural through improved instrumentation which extends our powers of observation. Maybe we just don’t have adequate instruments yet or haven’t looked in the right places for the intelligence responsible for the origin of life on this planet. It’s certainly not outside the scope of scientific investigation.

    Another commenter recently quoted what is perhaps my favorite Shakespearian line: “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.” Philosophical materialists take note.

  8. Gil, the problem with anecdotes is that it’s always difficult to ascertain how representative they are. For example, do you think there are more people that reject ID out of hand without properly informing themselves or are there more people that reject evolution out of hand without properly informing themselves?

  9. Dave Scott:

    Very well said!

    GEM of TKI

  10. How could this happen in an environment where there is no conceptualization aforehand?

    Indeed. The ability to anticipate is the primary characteristic of any intelligent designer or any intelligence, period. As I see it, the biggest problem with Darwinism is that it assumes that a process (evolution) can be intelligent without being anticipatory. This is absurd and laughable.

    What amazes me is that there are very smart people out there who understand that prediction is at the heart of intelligence (e.g., Jeff Hawkins), but who nevertheless are willing to accept the mythical non-predictive intelligence of Darwinism hook, line and sinker.

  11. Denyse, thanks for that reference. I have serious doubts about the three brains hypothesis. It flies in the face of logic. I see no way for the human cerebellum to have evolved before the motor cortex since my understanding is that the cerebellum gets its training directly from the MC.

  12. DaveScot: How did he define ID to you at the outset?

    He didn’t really define it. His impression was the usual: ID is warmed-over creationism and has been refuted by science.

    Kairos: Gil you forgot to tell us what did your EE friend think AFTER you had given him the basic and right information about ID.

    I talked about some basic ID concepts like IC and discussed the claimed refutations. I mentioned literature bluffing, and pointed out that I have actually read these “refutations” and that they are nothing of the kind (e.g., Ken Miller’s redefinition of IC, bogus claims such as made-up stories about co-option, etc.). My friend didn’t seem too impressed so I didn’t pursue the subject any further.

    This points to a serious problem for ID that perhaps deserves its own UD thread. ID is subject to sound-bite attack but is not amenable to sound-bite defense. We all know the standard one-line attacks that consistently appear in mainstream media and elsewhere: ID is really creationism in disguise. ID is religion, not science. And it’s also not science because it’s not testable and makes no predictions. It’s a science-stopper because it says goddidit. ID’s central claims (e.g., IC) have been refuted over and over again. ID is not represented in the peer-reviewed scientific literature – etcetera, etcetera, and so forth.

    These attacks cannot be readily addressed in the sound-bite fashion in which they are delivered, which puts the ID proponent at a serious disadvantage.

  13. The mass media seems to attracts people with a liberal view. And once in power they tend to eliminate any diverse points of view (survival of the fittest?). There are outlets with opposing points of view but they do not understand the importance of the social implications of evolution, ie Limbaugh, O’Reilly, etc. This blog is an opposing media. The truth will out eventually, but it is going to take a lot of work. Liberals were in the trenched for decades slowing engineering society. It will most likely take an equal effort to undue their damage.

  14. These attacks cannot be readily addressed in the sound-bite fashion in which they are delivered, which puts the ID proponent at a serious disadvantage.

    It’s kinda depressing. Frankly, I don’t see a way out of this predicament, at least not a normal way. Expelled (the movie) might help a bit because it presents ID as the underdog and the US public traditionally roots for the underdog. I would not be surprised to see a concerted effort by the liberal atheist camp to pressure theatres into refusing to show the documentary.

    The problem is that this debate is so far removed from the everyday life of the average person that they don’t realize its importance. The Darwinist/atheist camp has mass media, Hollywood, public education, the courts and politicians on their side. That’s a lot of firepower. What does the ID camp have other than a spirit of rebellion?

    It’s clear to me that ID needs a major event, something so big that it will knock everybody’s socks off, scientists and laymen alike. Somehow, I don’t think that debates, arguments, movies and websites are going to cut it. I may sound like a pessimist but deep down, I’m an optimist. There is no doubt in my mind that we’ll win this fight when the time comes and we’ll win it hands down. When that happens, the enemy will be totally discredited and ridiculed. There is a mountain of crow waiting just for them. :-D

  15. Gil, have your friend watch the videos “The Privileged Planet”, “Unlocking the Mystery of Life” and “The Incorrigible Mr Belinski”.

    I have found that the easiest way to get people to understand ID and what is being debated.

  16. I am personally hoping that “Expelled” will be the tool that brings a good case for ID into public awareness. The creation of a full-length movie is a great way to get past the sound-bite trap.

  17. Here’s more crap being slung by the media.

    “Hart also cited “the failure to adequately understand – and consequently convey to the public – the fact that the theory of intelligent design is consensually regarded, in the scientific community, as absolute horse**** unworthy of serious consideration … thereby propagating, again, the illusion that there is substantive scientific debate on the topic (as opposed to the matter being settled, which it is, and unfit for inclusion in our nation’s science classes).”

    “Intelligent Design is not regarded as a scientific topic,” Scuderi countered. “The President’s Science Advisor has been very clear on this point. The notion that the administration ‘propagates’ anything about intelligent design is absurd.”

    “A president who does not accept evolution is clearly someone who cannot change their mind in face of overwhelming factual evidence,” said Sean Carroll, a professor of molecular biology and genetics at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. “

    I swear you’d think that global warming, evolution and stem cell research were all that is ****ever**** considered in the realm of science. The freaking world is not going to end if we don’t swallow the story that nature evolved from a slimy blob in a pool of sludge.

    I’ve listened to Carroll lecture, and he most certainly did not provide me with any “overwhelming factual evidence” that negates ID. His evidence wasn’t even overwhelming enough to support common descent.

  18. Unfortunately many in the ID community regard YEC in the same way.

  19. “A president who does not accept evolution is clearly someone who cannot change their mind in face of overwhelming factual evidence,” said Sean Carroll, a professor of molecular biology and genetics at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

    I certainly have looked at the evidence for evolution much more closely than one needs to to be president of the USA. I have remained unconvinced, dispite a philosophical willingness to be convinced (I don’t find a Ken Miller style evolutionary theory to be theologically unacceptable.) Others who know biology much better than I also remain unconvinced, as evidenced by the signers of the “dissent document”.

    I recall specifically the scientist who discussed his story here on UD. He entered his Ph.D. program in microbiology as a content athiest, and comfortable evolutionist. During his thesis work he became convinced that biology requires an active designing agent. Is this Ph.D. also one who “cannot change his mind in the face of overwhelming scientific evidence”? Or is this a Ph.D. scientist who did change his mind in the face of overwhelming scientific evidence?

    Sean Carroll is has a serious need for a bowel movement.

  20. Mapou, you raise some interesting points in post 14. The darwinists do have a lot of people on their side, though I’m not sure politicians are one of them. I think the major tug-of-war starts with the education system, and everyone knows this. I’m not talking about teaching ID in high school. However, I think that the idea of “purposless” and the “appearance of design” have become a common concept in science, even these ideas are not scientific.

  21. “What does the ID camp have other than a spirit of rebellion?”
    The truth about Darwinism and origins.
    The truth make take many long years (sometimes centuries) to vanquish lies but it always does.

    The Freudian claim of explanatory power was false, as was the Marxist claim, and as the Darwinist claim, the most popular such explanatory claim today, will prove to be false.

    Theodore Dalrymple (pen name of Dr. Anthony Daniels) – pyschiatrist.

  22. DaveScot — THANK YOU!

    Many of us lurkers here very much appreciate it when you take the time to spell some things out for us like that. A lot of times those of us who are not married to the sciences in the ways you are can begin to lose sight of the big picture. We know what you’re trying to convey, but being able to occassionally get the “bird’s eye view” like this really helps us tie a lot of other things together.

    Hopefully it doesn’t slow things down in here too much.

    (Hoping to encourage future encores with -ahem- positive behavioral reinforcement! =) )

  23. Sean Carroll is has a serious need for a bowel movement.

    Sorry, but that is peurile and disgusting.

    To say nothing of irrelevant.

  24. Sorry, but that is peurile and disgusting.

    To say nothing of irrelevant.

    Awe, come on. I think it’s very relevant, not to mention funny. bFast was simply expressing his disgust at the obvious “bogosity” of Sean Carroll’s point of view. I feel the same way about Dawkins and PZ Myers, by the way. Those guys take themselves way too seriously and their insufferable pomposity is now legendary. It’s time for those Darwin fanboys to ingest huge amounts of castor oil or something of that nature. :-D

  25. Never could spell:

    Read “puerile.”

  26. I know many are desirous to stick a big pin into that gaseous, obnoxious zeppelin of human-descent-from-apelike-ancestor(let’s strip it away from the observable, verifiable real science of adaptation shall we?) that darkens the skies these days and so pop such foolishness once and for all, but I just don’t see it happening anytime soon.

    Most people don’t give a whit about evolution/ID, whichever one is true or not they don’t care because it is irrelevant to most everyone. Like Marxism, human-descent-from-apelike-ancestor is mainly embraced by those within the realm of academia. It sure makes for good book sales arguing about it!

    We have to ask ourselves some questions here: why the push for gay marriages? why the clamoring for abortion-as-birth-control? why the push to expunge God from public view? why the push to teach as fact “human-descent-from-apelike-ancestor”?

    Why?

    It is a result of unbelief. Even should the president and courts declare ID must be taught in schools and human-descent-from-apelike-ancestor cannot be taught at all, this will avail nothing if the population at large have been given over to a reprobate mind, a population who call evil good and good evil.

    The solution to unlocking the ironbox of unbelief in the mind of the population is via preaching Christ crucified. Not court cases, not school wars, not screaming blogs, not endless debates of who’s right or wrong. When people accept Christ (truly accept Christ, not give lipservice or play Church & Appearance of Goodness game) then and only then will the Holy Spirit lift the spiritual blindness and allow one to see the truth which is so plain to see to those who love God.

    Sadly, the bible itself says that to many the Gospel is foolishnes and many will not believe. There is even a parable where Jesus says, “if they won’t believe the law and the prophets, they won’t believe even if one came back from the dead.”

    That is the kind of unbelief we are looking at here, and trying to beat the children of this world at this game will prove difficult if not impossible, “for the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light.”

    Even if Darwin came back from the dead and told everyone God is “for real” he wouldn’t be believed, would be rationalized away because the iron lockbox of unbelief remains, a box only the Holy Spirit can open.

  27. How could this happen in an environment where there is no conceptualization aforehand?–DaveScot

    Haven’t you heard? Time plus chance can do pretty much anything. ;)

  28. beancan5000:

    I know many are desirous to stick a big pin into that gaseous, obnoxious zeppelin of human-descent-from-apelike-ancestor

    Actually, many of us IDers accept common descent — IE, that humans descended from apelike ancestors. We just don’t believe that the evidence suggests that we made the descent without some intelligent input. Some of us even suggest that the intelligent input was applied far earlier than the appearance of the first apelike ancestor. We really aren’t a bunch of guys hoping to win a little ID battle as a stepping stone on the path to the grand Young Earth victory. ID lets the evidence present its own truth, in general it is not motivated to ultimately prove the accuracy of any historical or holy text.

  29. Joseph: Gil, have your friend watch the videos “The Privileged Planet”, “Unlocking the Mystery of Life” and “The Incorrigible Mr. Berlinski”

    This is the big challenge, getting people to even consider the evidence. As many UD readers are aware, I was once a thoroughly convinced and devout atheist/materialist/Darwinist. I knew in advance that any challenge to this worldview had to be the product of scientific ignorance, wishful thinking, or fear of the fact that life is ultimately unplanned, purposeless and meaningless, as demonstrated by the “scientific fact” of Darwinian theory.

    However, at the behest of a friend whom I respected, I read Michael Denton’s Evolution: A Theory in Crisis. I realized at that point that I had been misled and isolated from rational and evidential challenges to my worldview — challenges presented by the very rational and evidential processes that I thought supported my philosophical nihilism.

    This is why I am so passionate about ID. The conclusion of design or no design, when it comes to the universe and our existence, is not just an academic philosophical exercise, it impacts on a day-to-day basis how we lead our lives.

    If, through my influence and the evidence of design, even one person should be liberated from the burden and curse of the nihilism under which I labored for so many years, I will consider my life to have been well-lived.

  30. #14 Mapou

    The problem is that this debate is so far removed from the everyday life of the average person that they don’t realize its importance. The Darwinist/atheist camp has mass media, Hollywood, public education, the courts and politicians on their side. That’s a lot of firepower. What does the ID camp have other than a spirit of rebellion?

    I strongly agree with Borne (#20): ID has the truth of evidence for any person who’s not biased and with a bit of common sense.
    Don’t be worried about the strength of the other side and tthe virulence of ID rejection. There are just the symptoms of how ID ideas are potentially strong.

  31. #29 Gil

    This is why I am so passionate about ID. The conclusion of design or no design, when it comes to the universe and our existence, is not just an academic philosophical exercise, it impacts on a day-to-day basis how we lead our lives.

    The same did hold for me; so I would argue that, for many people, ID evidence acted as the key that opened a very tigth intellectual cage.

  32. The media is incredible dishonest. The reason for this is i think that they pander to so many groups and so diverse an audience that they end up sacrificing truth and value for ratings and the least possible criticism. The media is not at all about finding and reporting the truth. Newspapers ought to carry a waring like supplements do which reads “this product does not intend to seek, report or aim at providing the truth.”

    All this is coupled with the minds of the perverted people in power and who desire to influence the order of society in various ways for vcarious reason (mostly political and economic) results in a bizarre and corrupt enterprise.

    Thus, I very rarely watch the news and I almost never miss anyhting useful or important.

  33. GilDodgen (#29): “However, at the behest of a friend whom I respected, I read Michael Denton’s Evolution: A Theory in Crisis. I realized at that point that I had been misled and isolated from rational and evidential challenges to my worldview — challenges presented by the very rational and evidential processes that I thought supported my philosophical nihilism.”

    I also emerged from many years of indoctrinated unthinking nihilism. It would probably have been earlier if I had had a friend to guide me. There is an interesting parallel with my discovery that Vitamin C and other natural substances have a profound beneficial effect on health. For years I believed, to the great detriment of my health, in the orthodox medical establishment’s claim that this is all hokum. After all, big establishment medical science can’t be wrong, right?

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