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IQ and ID

Uncommon Descent member AussieID brought up the point in my previous article that belief in God tends to fall off with increasing IQ. I countered with the point that the very highest IQs tend to come back around, not full circle to a belief in a personal God (such as the God of Abraham), but to a belief in a designed universe which is more or less categorized as “deism”. I offered examples of famous high IQ deists such as Albert Einstein, Leonardo Da Vinci, Benjamin Franklin, Voltaire, and even Antony Flew.

Curious, and uncertain how strong the correlation is between high genius and deism, I googled around a bit and stumbled upon Christopher Michael Langan who has been billed by the media, including 20/20, as the smartest man in America with a measured IQ of 195. His life is both surprising and fascinating in many ways.

However, the biggest surprise of all was that Mr. Langan is an IDist!

Langan is a fellow of the International Society for Complexity, Information and Design (ISCID), a professional society which promotes intelligent design, and has published a paper on his CTMU in the society’s online journal Progress in Complexity, Information, and Design in 2002. Later that year, he presented a lecture on his CTMU at ISCID’s Research and Progress in Intelligent Design (RAPID) conference. In 2004, Langan contributed a chapter to Uncommon Dissent, a collection of essays that question evolution and promote intelligent design, edited by ISCID cofounder and leading intelligent design proponent William Dembski.

Asked about creationism, Langan has said:

“I believe in the theory of evolution, but I believe as well in the allegorical truth of creation theory. In other words, I believe that evolution, including the principle of natural selection, is one of the tools used by God to create mankind. Mankind is then a participant in the creation of the universe itself, so that we have a closed loop. I believe that there is a level on which science and religious metaphor are mutually compatible.”

Langan has said he does not belong to any religious denomination, explaining that he “can’t afford to let [his] logical approach to theology be prejudiced by religious dogma.” He calls himself “a respecter of all faiths, among peoples everywhere.”

Interesting video interview here. Watch all three segments. I wasn’t bothered by any of it, found much of it amusing, but I suspect it will stir up a lot of animosity on both sides of the “culture war” (which likely means he’s on the right track). Try to keep in mind this guy is an ISCID fellow along with Mike Behe, Bill Dembski, Guiellermo Gonzalez, Forrest Mims, Jay Richards, Phil Skell, Rick Sternberg, and many others in the ID movement.

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46 Responses to IQ and ID

  1. Perhaps the correlation is pride, not IQ. With our fallen nature, God given gifts can be abused or create a prideful sense of imagined self sufficiency or importance apart from Him.

  2. 2

    I don’t think Einstein was a deist.

    http://cosmicvariance.com/2008.....ewishness/

    That sounds fairly conclusive.

  3. 3

    I don’t think the IQ argument on either side merits much of an argument. In the extremely early days of Christianity the Romans attempted to paint Christianity as something that only “old widows, idiots, and orphans” believe.

    Likewise, in the modern day Theism is viewed in the same way (among those as the same ilk as Dawkins). This betrays four things. The first is that the accuser doesn’t understand history, as some of the greatest intellectual heavyweights in history have also been theists. Secondly, that in serious philosophical circles it is now passe to consider theists “irrational” (thanks to Plantinga). Third, it shows an overwhelming trust in an IQ test that can be, at best suspicious of evaluating actual intelligence (e.g. capability of original thought, not just repeating information, etc). Fourth, and final, it shows the accuser hasn’t taken into account that people with higher IQ’s have often gone through more education and that education departments certainly don’t teach without bias in one direction or the other.

    For me, the whole IQ argument has always been a bit shady as an IQ isn’t really an adequate measure of knowledge and intelligence.

  4. The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt.

    Bertrand Russell

    One of my favorite quotes.

  5. There are probably both some atheists and theists on either side of the scale. If anyone rally cares about such a statistical relationship, why look at individuals when the statistics are accepted?
    Either you don’t care about such a relationship or you question the methods, then you bring examples. Or you believe the statistics have something important to say, then single examples don’t change anything.
    In general, it is always wise to keep the old rule in mind that statistical correlation doesn’t necessarily imply causation…

  6. The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt.

    Bertrand Russell

    I’m not sure he’s right about that.

  7. Well, is it Christopher L., Christopher H. or Marilyn? Who has the world’s highest IQ?

    Information on Marilyn vos Savant can be found at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marilyn_vos_Savant

    Information on Christopher Harding can be found at http://megasociety.org/noesis/169.htm

  8. “We live in a culture that has, for centuries now, cultivated the idea that the skeptical person is always smarter than one who believes. You can almost be as stupid as a cabbage as long as you doubt.”
    Dallas Willard

    While in college, I had the opportunity to participate in a discussion with Francis A. Schaeffer, the late Christian apologist. One of my fellow students asked him, “Why is it that intelligent people don’t believe. He responded by saying, “… for the same reason that stupid people don’t believe, the simply do not want to believe”.

    I mentioned Willard’s quote in a recent post and personally find this to be very accurate.

  9. Joel

    IQ for adults is done by what’s called “deviation IQ” as opposed to children which is “ratio IQ”. Ratio IQ is mental age/physical age. Thus 6 year old kid who scores as well as an average 12-year old on any given test has an IQ of 200. For an adult the test score (it’s often the SAT test which is used these days for IQs below about 175) is compared to other adult scores on the same test and the deviation from the average score is translated into an IQ score. The SAT can’t measure higher than a certain level because people who are that smart or smarter get perfect scores on it! Specially designed tests must be administered to very, very high IQ people.

    But if you don’t think that SAT scores mean very much then you have another think coming, of course. I suspect you simply didn’t know that SAT scores are the usual method used to determine adult IQs since it doesn’t require taking a specialized IQ test and the correlation of SAT score to specifically designed IQ test is very high.

  10. By the way, anyone who watched the videos of Langan would know that he said “IQ scores are no longer politically correct” in explaining why the Guiness Book of World Records no longer has an IQ category. He’s right. Look at all the hostility to using it as a metric for intelligence in the comments here. What people usually don’t know is there’s almost a perfect correlation between SAT scores and IQ test scores so, while IQ tests are “politically incorrect” we have to heed my old pal William Shakespeare again about roses by any other name smelling as sweet – SAT scores are far from politically incorrect and they are in practice quite accurate IQ tests as well as scholastic aptitude tests.

    As to the notion that hard work can substitute for high IQ – true up to a certain point but if anyone with an IQ of 100 thinks they will live long enough to accomplish all the things that Leonardo Da Vinci (IQ estimated at 200+) accomplished in his 61 years of life – they’re dreaming unless they plan on living to be about 10,000 years old. Time and effort can make up for smaller differences in IQ but it can’t close huge gaps. Now a person with a very, very high IQ can be so lazy and unmotivated (witness Langan who was content for 20 years working construction by day and bouncer in a bar at night) that they won’t get anything noteworthy done. So a high IQ person can mimic a moron in productive output but a moron can’t mimic a highly motivated, high IQ person. That’s just the harsh, politically incorrect reality of it all. People have different skills and talents. Just remember it takes all kinds of people to make the world go around and no one is born with more right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness than anyone else – which is something that Langan heartily agrees with as he says over and over he’s no better or more deserving than anyone else.

  11. Lawrence Auster addresses Richard Lynn’s study here.

    My point is that in an age in which it is demanded and expected that people in the higher levels of society be irreligious, or, at least, that they not demonstrate conspicuous religiosity, or that their religion take the approved form of liberal religiosity, which is really religion without God, it follows that since the people in higher levels of society will naturally have higher IQs, the higher IQ people will be less religious.

    and

    For example, the authors don’t ask, if such a study were done in, say, the 13th or the 17th century, what would be the results? Of course the IQ elite in the 13th century, instead of being secular academics and rationalistic, reductive believers in the ideology of scientism, as today’s elite is, were churchmen and believers in God.

  12. Sorry, previous comment had the link wrong. Here it is corrected.

  13. 13

    Dave,

    Your explanation of the IQ test did little to validate it. It still falls under the third problem I listed (inability to show original thought). If the IQ test is based on the SAT test, then a well trained idiot that has learned how to beat tests can still post a high IQ. Now this might prove that he is knowledgeable and intelligent (if intelligence expels the necessity of original thought), but it shows he lacks wisdom and the ability to think for himself (not spout out pre-learned facts).

    The end point being – debating over which side has the highest average IQ really doesn’t accomplish much considering the test shows little in the way of original thought.

  14. re: Daniel King @ #6

    I am!

  15. Joel,

    SATs (and IQ) correlate very well with learning ability, and material success in life.

    Of course IQ is not synonymous with character or value in the eyes of God, but it is not synonymous with “hard work” either. It cannot be discounted when it comes to matters involving abstract thinking or academics.

  16. I don’t give a damn about IQ. I’ll choose Mother Teresa over Chris Langan any day. Chris squandered his talents and Teresa did not.

    I believe that there is some ancient wisdom on this subject, called the parable of the talents.

  17. 17

    Slightly off, perhaps slightly on-topic.

    I was thinking what ‘type’ of intelligence the IQ scores measure – problem solving, logic, etc? Does it factor in, say, ‘humanities’ intelligence (e.g. english, prose, etc)?

    But anyway, since we are talking about opinions of high-IQ/intelligent people towards ID, does anyone know what the Chess Grandmasters think? I would assume that people that can see 50+ moves ahead on the board would be good at systematic and logical analysis, pattern recognition, design recognition, etc.

    Anyone know?

  18. He says

    “I am closer to absolute truth then any man has been before me”

    That statement disqualifies him as the smartest man alive, or even as a very smart man period. How can you know what all humans throughout history have known about “absolute truth”? You cannot. That statement is so far off the mark I am surprised any even mildly intelligent person would make that claim. If he actually was aware of “absolute truth” then he would never make such an errant statement. What is intelligence anyways? It occurs in the mind that much we know. It has to be based on memory to one degree or another because memory is how the mind is able to contextualize reality. How does memory function? It cannot be biologically based because there are no cells which can perceive, understand, read, nor store thought. Thought is always in a language. Cells would need to be able to understand languages, grammars, lexicons, etc, in order to be able to even begin to deal with how our memory functions in reality. Cells cannot do that. They cannot read nor understand thought. Yet memory functions, enabling intelligence. Until someone understands this, understands how the mind functions based upon memory being given to us through a non-biological intelligent process, then any claim to knowing “absolute truth” is without merit. Gnothi Seauton – is the first stage of understanding actual Absolute Truth.

  19. But anyway, since we are talking about opinions of high-IQ/intelligent people towards ID, does anyone know what the Chess Grandmasters think?

    Bobby Fischer would probably be on our side.

    But, would we want him?

  20. Joel

    Invariably the people who bother to complain about test scores are people who don’t do well on them. In any case, I merely wanted to point out that IQ is indeed something that is used to measure academic potential, it has been used for decades, and is still used today. If it’s such an unreliable indicator perhaps you could explain why it is still relied upon. Maybe you could even write a paper about it and present it to one of your professors for class credit. But you’re going to need to clean up your logic first. You said of someone who can post a high SAT score “but it shows he lacks wisdom and the ability to think for himself”. It shows nothing of the kind. A person who posts a high SAT score might still be extremely creative or be very lacking in creativity. It’s not an art test. However it IS a logic test and your display of illogic just now is a pretty good indicator that your SAT score was not exactly Ivy League.

  21. mentok

    That statement disqualifies him as the smartest man alive, or even as a very smart man period.

    I knew Langan was going to cause all kinds of offense.

    Disqualifying him as being very smart on the basis of one brief statement made in an TV talk show interview is not exactly rigorous. I’m sure in a more lengthy response he’d qualify that statement as closer to the truth than anyone else he was aware of and I bet he’s aware of all the major philosophers. Whether the statement is true or not is probably indeterminable. He’s not stupid and you aren’t going to discount him that easily.

  22. #16 GilDodgen

    I don’t give a damn about IQ. I’ll choose Mother Teresa over Chris Langan any day. Chris squandered his talents and Teresa did not.
    I believe that there is some ancient wisdom on this subject, called the parable of the talents.

    That’s right. And every time I see myself to take too much into account intelligence I re-read 1 Cor. 13,1-13, especially (KJV):

    “8 Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.”

  23. AvonWatches

    I was thinking what ‘type’ of intelligence the IQ scores measure – problem solving, logic, etc? Does it factor in, say, ‘humanities’ intelligence (e.g. english, prose, etc)?

    It doesn’t measure artistic skill if that’s what you’re asking but most of the great composers, painters, sculptors, and authors have remarkably high IQs so there’s probably some significant correlation.

    IQ in my opinion mostly measures speed of thought and ability to hold many interrelated thoughts simultaneously. This would seem to have some technical usefulness in the arts – it would enable a sculptor to better visualize the final product and the intermediate steps to get to it but it does nothing at all to help with hand/eye coordination or visual acuity which also seems important for that kind of artistic performance. For a composer it probably helps in the speed in which potential composition can be imagined and evaluated in the mind’s eye but it won’t help someone with a so-called tin ear and it won’t fix color blindness for a painter or give him a wide emotional depth of experience to translate to the artistic medium. But still, most of the greats in all the arts are high IQ individuals. Leonardo da Vinci, arguably the smartest human that ever lived, is billed as a universal genius – he was a master of both the arts and sciences.

    It takes a lot more than raw brain power though to be productive. Langan opens and closes the video interview by reminding us that as smart as he is by the established metrics of intelligence he’s still just a bouncer in a nightclub. Motivation, aspiration, things you love to do, things you hate to do, mental and physical health, emotional stability, all these factor into the total person. In Langan’s case the total person is not very accomplished and a great waste of intellect. Properly channeled he might have found the cure for cancer or invented a real cold fusion reactor or some other great and lasting contribution to humanity but noooooo… he works in a bar. But hey, it’s his life and if he’s happy with it who am I to be his judge?

  24. Gil

    I’ll choose Mother Teresa over Chris Langan any day.

    Choose for what? If you preferred Mother Teresa over Langan for an engineering position I’d fire you for gross incompetence.

    I don’t give a damn about IQ.

    Really. A rather strange attitude for someone who makes a living in an engineering profession where IQ is a very important factor in job performance.

    Langan really brings out the hate in people. It seemed to start with his stepfather who was the first to abuse him for being so smart. Why do YOU hate him, Gil? Your emotional outburst is more of a comment about you than it is about Langan. Did a really smart kid make you look bad in grammar school or something? Fess up. Langan comments in the interview that the really smart kids tend to be abused by the less intellectually gifted. That’s why he became a weight lifter – so he didn’t have to put up with that kind of abuse. That’s why I became a United States Marine as fas as that goes so I can really identify with Langan here. What’s wrong with YOU that you treat people like Langan the way you obviously do? Not much in the way of Christian charity there, either. You should probably work on that.

  25. Dave,

    Gil will answer about his real thought. For myself what I’ve perceived in his statement is not at all a bad judgement (or a whichever hostility for that matter) towards a person like L. who holds an outstanding IQ. Instead i’ve seen the perception that in this time intelligence is more and more seen as an idol. Cetainly I will not consider a bad thing what is an important gift for a person but we should always keep in mind that it would be a tragedy for humanity if intelligence was all that is worth to find in a person. And let us not forget that also minor chemical diseases in the brain can suddendly keep it away (sse the Paul’s words).

  26. Materialists define personhood—there’s no human rights anymore, only person rights—on the basis of intelligence and belief in Darwin. Wonder what they think of Chris Langan.

  27. A few comments:

    (1) Dave (#23):

    “IQ in my opinion mostly measures speed of thought and ability to hold many interrelated thoughts simultaneously.”

    That sounds about right. It also explains why IQ is irrelevant to religious belief. The concept of God is supposed to be a simple one, as God is the ultimate unifying explanation of reality. If someone asked me to define what I meant by “God” in one sentence, I would simply say: “God is a fully integrated personal being whose nature it is to know and love perfectly.” You don’t need to think quickly or hold many inter-related thoughts in your head to get a basic idea like that.

    I hold that only a Being like that could explain why we are here and why the universe (which is neither personal nor fullly integrated) exists. As I am finite, mortal and hence vulnerable to disintegration, I have no idea HOW God could know or loves in a perfectly integrated way. I only know that in our everyday life we simply assume that the world will continue to “make sense” (i.e. remain intelligible) from one moment to the next. Science – and for that matter, ethical discourse – would be impossible without such an assumption. (If everything kept falling apart or turning into a “buzzing, blooming chaos” then we could not do experiments, or re-identify the bearers of moral rights.) However, science cannot explain what science presupposes.

    (2) On Einstein’s religion, readers might like to have a look at this link: http://www.adherents.com/peopl.....stein.html

    An excerpt:

    “Einstein’s speculation about religion had its roots in the pantheism of the Jewish philosopher Baruch Spinoza, who regarded the universe as a mixture of mind and matter-but not a Cartesian dualism. He identified the order of the universe with the will of its inherent God (so-called). Einstein admitted, ‘My conception of God is an emotional conviction of a superior intelligence manifest in the material world.’ In the spirit of Psalm 139 he regarded God as immanent-but not transcendent. He did not ‘believe in a God who cares for the well-being and the moral doings of human beings.’” The article also provides documentary evidence that Einstein did not view himself as an atheist.

    (3) I am SLOWLY digesting Christopher Langan’s ISCID article at http://megafoundation.org/CTMU.....092902.pdf, so I apologize if I am mis-representing the man. My impression is that Langan’s philosophy of God has much in common with Spinoza’s. Langan also seems to be arguing that the world somehow explains itself, in a kind of closed causal loop. On his Website (Introduction to the CTMU at http://www.ctmu.org/) Langan rejects talk of the universe as an object, at the outset:

    “The real universe has always been theoretically treated as an object, and specifically as the composite type of object known as a set. But an object or set exists in space and time, and reality does not. Because the real universe by definition contains all that is real, there is no ‘external reality’ (or space, or time) in which it can exist or have been ‘created’.”

    To my mind, this line of argumentation seems mistaken on four counts. First, the fact that we cannot situate the cosmos within a space and time external to it does not prove that it is not an object. The universe can still be viewed as an object, but one that comprises all of space and time instead of being situated within them.

    Second, anything can be viewed as an object if it has properties. Now, the spatio-temporal universe, when considered as a whole, has properties. Scientific laws describe some of these properties. However, this universe (or cosmos) is radically contingent: it can easily be conceived as ceasing to exist, along with all its properties (scientific laws). (Robert Koons argues more rigorously for the complete contingency of the cosmos in his article, “A New Look at the Cosmological Argument” at the ARN Website, http://www.arn.org/docs/koons/cosmo.pdf .)

    Third, I would argue that the concept of a personal Being who created the cosmos, and whose NATURE is to know and love perfectly is the only concept that could serve to guarantee that the cosmos will make sense – i.e. that we can meaningfully engage in scientific and moral discourse over an extended period of time, without the world falling apart on us in the meantime.

    Fourth, the God of Einstein and Langan was definitely NOT a loving God. I would suggest that a Being who can love is more perfectly integrated (and intelligent) than one who cannot.

    Finally, it is somewhat disingenuous to argue that “[b]ecause the real universe by definition contains all that is real, there is no ‘external reality’ (or space, or time) in which it can exist or have been ‘created’.” If you define the universe to include “all that is real” then of course (ex nihilo) creation is ruled out by definition. However, we could define it to include all objects that are bound together by spatio-temporal connections. Using that definition, the notion of the creation of the universe seems much more plausible.

    (4) Langan professes to believe that in some sense, we are all equal. I would like to ask: in what sense does he think we are equal? And how does this belief sit with his claim that highly intelligent people are more highly evolved than the rest of us poor mortals?

    For religious people, the problem is simple. We are all equal, because we all have human souls. The kinds of differences measured in human intelligence testing (speed and the ability to hold many inter-related thoughts at once) are not essential differences, but accidental ones. They don’t matter much.

    (6) Regarding the religion of the most influential (NOT intelligent) people in history, the Web page
    http://www.adherents.com/adh_influ.html (Religious Affiliation of History’s 100 Most Influential People) contains a wealth of fascinating information. However, the Webmaster’s comments are well worth reading: the findings should not be taken too seriously.

    (7) Wikipedia has an interesting little article called “Religiosity and intelligence” at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R.....telligence

    Although the article lists surveys which purport to show that belief in God declines as IQ rises, the article is honest enough to include contrary findings. For example:

    (a) In Australia, 23% of Christian church attenders have earned a university or postgraduate degree, whereas the figure for the general population is 13%;

    (b) In the US, religious behavior also increases with education level, according to raw data from the 2004 General Social Survey, which indicates that 30.4% of those with a graduate degree attend religious services weekly or more, a statistically significant proportion, higher than any lesser educated group; and

    (c) Studies of Mormons in the US also display a high positive correlation between education levels and religiosity. Survey research indicated that 41% of Mormons with only elementary school education attend church regularly. By contrast, 76% of Mormon college graduates attend church regularly and 78% of Mormons who went beyond their college degrees to do graduate study attend church regularly. (This study did not control for age or track apostasy over time.)

    Make of that what you will.

  28. Well – there are some humans that are very intelligent stupid people? The natural man/mind still CAN NOT perceive the things of the Spirit. The idea that intelligent people could be the ones to fix the planet is readily falsifiable. “They” have been amongst us for some time now and still haven’t been able or smart enough to get er done!

  29. Dave,

    I don’t hate Langan. He has a high IQ, but I think he is a colossal, arrogant fool. The deification of intellect is odious.

    From the interview:

    We don’t need faith any more. It’s extraneous, irrelevant. I am closer to absolute truth than any man has been before me.

    Interviewer: “Say you had the opportunity to run the world, how would you do it?”
    Langan: “A Manhattan project for birth control. Implant it in all children at age 10. It would solve the population problem and enable us to perform a benign form of eugenics… People who wanted to have children could apply to make sure they had no diseases… We have to do it through genetic engineering or only let the fit breed… People have to be trained not to abuse their freedom… I’d be perfectly willing to do this training myself. Just put me in charge.

    Interviewer: “Could you provide such a framework?” (In reference to Langan’s statement about the need for a new Messianic figure.)
    Langan: “Yes I could. I’ve already done so… Faith is dead; people no longer have faith in anything, so we’re going to have to make logic do where faith once stood.”

    I think this is enough. Langan is a kook who is suffering from delusions of grandeur, or at least from delusions of adequacy.

  30. Dave,

    P.S.:

    Did a really smart kid make you look bad in grammar school or something? Fess up.

    Actually, I graduated as valedictorian in high school with the only perfect grade point average and played the first movement of the Rachmaninoff Second Piano Concerto for the graduation ceremony. I was the quintessential nerd who never fit in, especially with the “in crowd.” Your presumption is precisely backwards.

  31. 32
    Vladimir Krondan

    It is reasonable to suppose that the College of Cardinals has a very high average IQ.

  32. Gil

    I was wondering when someone was going to watch the videos. I figured the first person who did would say something about his eugenics proposal. That was interesting and unexpected. Francis Galton is estimated by some to have had an IQ near Langan’s and Galton is like the father of the modern eugenics movement. Super geniuses tend to have problems relating to normal people and this is probably one common manifestation of it. To play well with others you have to be able to think and feel as they do or at least some close proximity to it. He’s not a kook but he seems different – not wired the same mentally OR emotionally – it could be that the part of the brain in normal people used to relate with others is conscripted instead for intellectual chores (no free lunches). Or it could be affected just to keep people from getting too close – it appears to be sociopathic either way. I like him because he makes me look like a humble well adjusted guy in comparison!

    I’m pretty sure he’s a high genius though. 20/20 hired an expert to verify the claim. There’s no way to get a high score on those tests except to have the mental ability to work the problems. I’m not sure if he’s aware of how arrogant he comes off but I’m pretty sure he doesn’t care.

    The theory of everything he’s got is like who cares if it’s closer to the absolute truth than anything else. That absolute truth and $3 will get a small latte at Starbucks. It’s too distant from anything practical to bother dallying with – 56 pages of wool gathering – might as well be a theory of how many angels will fit on the head of a pin. In any case I was really surprised by the association with ARN – the last place he’d find he could fit in would be with evangelical Christians.

  33. #30 GilDodgen

    I think this is enough. Langan is a kook who is suffering from delusions of grandeur, or at least from delusions of adequacy.

    Thanks for the citation; I completely agree on your opinion of L. He’s precisely the living proof that men can be desperately stupid just when they think to be very smart and closer to “absolute truth”

  34. Having put in about 20 years of hard, blue colar labor (farm, forest, factory …) and about the same in academe (linguistics), I’ve seen genius and stupidity thrive in both camps. But whereas the two worlds share the same human foibles and virtues there are differences.

    In the blue colar world you can be a crack pot on the side, you can weld and still be a flying saucer buff, you can corral cattle and still believe in astrology, you can spread manure and still be a conspiracist. But if one’s politics and religion don’t matter much in the blue colar world, such is not the case in the academy.

    The university is not very hospitable to a diversity of views. The reason, perhaps, is that if you’re paid for your wisdom you’d better not be a heretic. Yes, you can argue trivia (I’ve never seen folks more bitter over trivialities), but on the big stuff you’d better not speak your mind if your opinions are not the correct ones. This may have its value, but when the academy errs it threatens us all.

    The village can tolerate its atheist, but when the whole village becomes atheist, woe to that village! (talking biblical here) And that’s pretty much what has happened to the academy.

    And then there’s the fact that academics, experts, scientists (like celebrities) are tempted to think their expertise translates into a broader wisdom—-thus Einstein,

    … like many great scientists, when he wandered afield — in his case, from physics to metaphysics — he easily got lost. … … Take his political philosophy. The thinker who presented the world with the subtle brilliance of the General and Special Theories of Relativity was a resolute socialist, considering capitalism to be “a source of evil.” He lobbied to end American nuclear testing and advocated supplying the United Nations with nuclear weapons. He insisted that a Marxist be appointed the president of a university to which he was to lend his name. (And when his partner in the enterprise objected, Einstein refused to be associated with the school, which became Brandeis University.)

    So I wouldn’t be too hard on Chris Langan. He’s like Einstein. Some of his ideas are pretty stupid—let’s call them what they are. They may be reasoned from false premises or reflect just plain old ignorance (you can be brilliant and ignorant). But he’s on a farm in Missouri, not in the academy and not in Congress. And he’s not wrong in everything. There’s room for him in ID’s Big Tent.

    It takes all kinds to make a world.

    As Thomas Sowell (wish I could find a quote) likes to ask, can one person or a small clique of experts know more than millions upon millions of people, brilliant people and ordinary people all cooperating freely to make this big world work?

    Many academics seem to think so.

  35. Rude,

    Great post!

  36. #35 Rude

    So I wouldn’t be too hard on Chris Langan. He’s like Einstein. Some of his ideas are pretty stupid—let’s call them what they are. They may be reasoned from false premises or reflect just plain old ignorance (you can be brilliant and ignorant). But he’s on a farm in Missouri, not in the academy and not in Congress. And he’s not wrong in everything.

    After all you’re right and:

    There’s room for him in ID’s Big Tent.

    Right, and after your comment I’ve realized that his involvment is quite useful for ID. After all, if more and more non-theists do agree on ID ideas this disprove more and morethe false equation ID=biblical creationism

  37. 38

    Hmm.. Leonardo da Vinci a Deist?
    I read elsewhere that he was (like many Renaissance thinkers) heavily influenced by Neoplatonism.

  38. 39

    I don’t know what Leo was, but I will because I have a whole bunch of his personal writings. I can say this he was clearly a staunch believer in design based on the psychological implications of the exerts that I have read. But then again most of the great geniuses were very design oriented- Newton, Leibniz, Einstein, Franklin, etc- Whether or not he thought the design of life had an actual designer behind it, I am at the current moment, not sure.

  39. As far as I can see Leo was a Catholic (and probably a better one than Ken Miller)

  40. 41

    ^I concur

  41. 42
    PannenbergOmega

    “Whether or not he thought the design of life had an actual designer behind it, I am at the current moment, not sure.”

    I think Professor Harvey C. Mansfield would agree with you.
    Although, I believe in a real designer and I reject the Multiverse hypothesis.

  42. 43

    Rude says,

    It takes all kinds to make a world.

    As Thomas Sowell (wish I could find a quote) likes to ask, can one person or a small clique of experts know more than millions upon millions of people, brilliant people and ordinary people all cooperating freely to make this big world work?

    The answer is actually, yes. One person who know not to jump off a bridge knows infinitely more than those millions who do jump- for the simple reason that they are dead.

    Now as for the main thrust of your post which is “can we, should we, separate the artist from the person” or can we compartmentalize the expert into his good and bad arenas?

    The answer is, in a vacuum, yes (though in the real world’s social society it’s much more difficult). We can say he’s good at physics and an idiot when it comes to politics or ethics etc. But the one and single conceptual “person” still remains and it is import that we first define “the tent” before opening the flood gates.

    I am a registered republican of the conservative branch and we can try and be a big tent all we want but if at the end of the day we compromise the quality of the tent for the quantity that it covers- then we have lost our reason and our way.

    So its important to explicitly define parameters to the best of our abilities. Otherwise the old adage about one bad apple takes hold, permeates and destroys the whole village.

    It doesn’t take a village to think, but, a village that thinks together can fail to think at all if it embraces the utter lunacy of even one single solitary ignorant idea.

  43. 44

    Pannen said,

    “Although, I believe in a real designer and I reject the Multiverse hypothesis.”

    Well you see it was Lin Yutang the great agnostic/atheist Chinese philosopher and academic (who wrote the importance of living) that said “the true atheist is not concerned with eliminating religion or whether there actually is or is not a good. The true atheist goes though his life daily without ever even giving it a thought.”

    ^ or something along those line. Think a bout that quote and how a true atheist to Lin is one that isn’t hell bent on eliminating God but in fact doesn’t attach any meaning or significance to the idea of God at all. Then think about how many Americans (and people in general) would probably fall into that category of atheist by Lin’s definition.

    My point here is that design is not religion and does not even imply a “designer” per se. The “er” part is secondary to the obvious truth of design.

    Now my critique of what you wrote is the fact that multiverse is not the only other possibility for agnostics and atheists- or even “secular believes in a Designer” (which is also possible under a deistic modern interpretation)- but there is also the option to just not have a theory. My brother says he thinks what ever science discovers is the only truth. That is if there is not evidence of multiverses (and there isn’t) then there is no reason to believe in them. Therefore my brother concludes that there is NO explanation for the current state of things in all of their complexity and specify and this IS his explanation for life’s arrival.

    That is some agnostics think there is no explanation because there isn’t one. We live in a universe that is only ineffable. That is all we can know because as far as we can tell that is all there is.

    I beg to differ.

  44. 45

    *** I should correct my post above by saying that I did not mean to imply that you Pannen were sugesting that multiverse is the only route for agnostics and atheists.

    After reading you post again- I stand corrected- but my point still stands without the critical aim.

  45. 46
    PannenbergOmega

    No worries Frost.

    I feel that the Multiverse Theory and Darwinism are incompatable with Abrahamic Monotheism.

    Personally, I am a supporter of ID. I tend to lean towards and anti common descent stance like Dr. Dembski.

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