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Steve Fuller on Dover at ID in the UK blog

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12 Responses to Steve Fuller on Dover at ID in the UK blog

  1. Thanks Dave!

  2. Nice site people ought to check it out

    I apologize for going off subject but I came across this and it was pretty interesting.
    http://www.edge.org/3rd_culture/bios/kosslyn.html

    It is an interesting syncretic approach. Something to think about.

  3. In the article, Fuller writes:
    “A constitutional principle that originally aimed to prevent the establishment of a state-sponsored church is now being invoked to prevent the expression of views, regardless of merit, that happen to have religious origins and inspire religious support.”

    This is a vast overstatement. The decision applies merely to the public school classroom. The courts have done nothing to hinder the expression of pro-ID views in any other arena. This is quite obvious, and will become more so in coming months as ID proponents campaign to undo the Dover damage.

    Dozens of once-marginal ideas have made it into the science curriculum by first gaining the assent of the wider scientific community. Big Bang theory did so despite its religious implications. If ID proponents are so confident of their inevitable scientific success, why force the issue prematurely? It’s understandable that scientists are suspicious of the motives of those who try to short-circuit the process this way.

    “Newton was a genius because he could translate his theological insight into mathematical terms that commanded assent even from those who would not otherwise accept his theology.”

    First of all, it’s simply absurd to claim that Newtonian mechanics is the translation of Newton’s “theological insight” into “mathematical terms.” Newton’s theory may have been compatible with his theology, but it was certainly not derived from it. Nevertheless, IDers would do well to emulate Newton. If ID were half as convincing and productive as Newtonian mechanics, the scientific community itself would be pushing it into the classrooms for purely secular reasons, regardless of any religious implications, just as they did for the Big Bang.

    “But sublimation is not possible without public exposure. In contrast to the 17th century, we claim to inhabit societies where people are mature enough to think for themselves.”

    ID is getting far more public exposure than most ideas ever do. Why should it need an additional boost?

    “Rather, I am calling for an amnesty on motives altogether.”

    This is unnecessary, as a successful scientific theory will automatically generate secular motives for its inclusion in the curriculum. It’s also dangerous, because the lack of a motive test opens the door to all sorts of religiously skewed government actions hiding behind the flimsiest of secular purposes. The Lemon test was elucidated for a reason.

  4. Actually, Newton did in fact get his ideas from his belief in the creator and the way things are ordered in the universe based on that idea. His mathematical ideas did come, in large part, from his theology…looking for a way to measure and observe God’s creation. You can call it absurd, but that’s in fact how it went down.

    Modern science itself was bourne out of these very ideas…the theological claims of Christianity lead to the pursuit of discovering God’s work and his creation. Where other cultures, without a Biblical basis for their lives, had no real desire to do the same thing…it was the theology itself that lead directly lead to many scientific ideas.

  5. Keiths

    In whether to teach ID in public 9th grade biology class the percentage of scientists that accept or reject it is immaterial. Scientists don’t dictate public school curriculum. Scientists have one vote each just like everyone else and in this matter they’re easily outvoted. Unfortunately they’re not a democratic lot when it comes to public education and they are the ones that are short-circuiting due process by ludicrous claims of establishment clause violations. It would be a shame if a community voted to teach students the earth is flat but it wouldn’t be unconstitutional. Scientists have the burden of convincing a majority of the public that the earth isn’t flat if they want flat earth theory excluded from science class. In that effort they’ve succeeded. Similarly the burden is on them to convince a majority of the public that ID is wrong if they want it excluded from science class. In that effort they’ve failed miserably. Instead of figuring out how and why they went wrong they’ve decided to use legal chicanery to get their way. It’s like if your ideas can’t stand on their own merits in the court of public opinion then get the ACLU to stand on it in the court of constitutional law.

  6. Josh writes:
    “His [Newton's] mathematical ideas did come, in large part, from his theology…”

    Josh,
    If what you say is true, then you should be able to show us, step by step, how one of Newton’s mathematical ideas (the law of universal gravitation, say) can be deduced from purely theological premises. Until then, I stand by my original statement: Newton’s theory may have been compatible with his theology, but it was certainly not derived from it.

    Josh continues:
    “Where other cultures, without a Biblical basis for their lives, had no real desire to do [science]…it was the theology itself that lead directly lead to many scientific ideas.”

    The Greeks already knew, more than two centuries before Christ, how to determine the diameter of the Earth, the Moon and the Sun and the distances between all of them (to within the limits of their measuring eqipment). This is brilliant science. How did any of this depend on “a Biblical basis for their lives”?

  7. MODERN science.
    http://www.bede.org.uk/sciencehistory.htm
    From looking at history, we see that non-Christian societies, who were just advanced, didn’t do the same things in regard to science…science (as we know it) was borne out of the desire to learn about God’s creation.
    http://www.columbia.edu/cu/aug.....rigin.html
    Read Jaki’s work- he’s written numerous books on the subject of why science flourished in Christian nations when it did not in other non-Christian nations.

    As for Newton…it’s well known he wrote more theology than science (MUCH more), and his views of science were derived from the fact that the universe is ordered in a certain manner, that certain laws from God are always in play that make things in a particular state (things will behave in the same manner everyday- a law isn’t going to go away and things will start behaving differently.)

    Newton’s understanding of God’s dominion shaped the perspective and content of the science he conducted. He rejected Descartes’ and Leibniz’s materialism since their views did not allow for God to exercise dominion over creation. Arguing against Descartes, Newton claimed that matter “does not exist except by divine will” and that “it is hardly given to us to know the limits of the divine power, that is to say whether matter could be created in one way only, or whether there are several ways by which different beings similar to bodies could be produced” (Davis, 1991). Newton thought it was an error to assume that mechanical explanation exhausts the range of natural phenomena. A universe created by the will of God, who governs the world however he wishes, certainly need not be bound by the mechanical explanations of which our human minds conceive.

    No need to show a step-by-step process…we know that Newton based his foundational ideas on his theology. The universe was ordered and the laws of nature came from God. He took his insights in theology (the greatest period for the writing of his theological work was before his major scientific writings) and put them into finding out how, in particular, God’s laws worked. He saw the law of gravity as another one of God’s laws- and his intrest in explaining it was based on his Biblical study.
    http://web.media.mit.edu/~picard/Newton.html

    You’re asking for more now than you originally said. Before you said it was absurd to claim that his scientific ideas came, in any way, from his theological insight- that’s not absurd. His scientific insights were based on his knowledge of many Biblical items- that God created the world and the laws within in, that these laws were surely constant and always there- not here today and gone tomorroww…that God wanted man to study his creation and figure out various things about it in detail.

    Also- the big bang was rejected by many scientists at first because it meant that the universe was finite, which was support for the existence of God, tho you claim that scientists rushed to accept it despite it’s theological implications. So, let’s not deny that religious implications cause no problem with scientists supporting a theory. No doubt, many have made it clear that a “divine foot” cannot be let into the door no matter what, and they will do anything to suppress theories that even remotely allow this.

  8. DaveScot writes:
    “Unfortunately [scientists aren't] a democratic lot when it comes to public education and they are the ones that are short-circuiting due process by ludicrous claims of establishment clause violations.”

    Dave,
    How is Dover a “ludicrous claim of an establishment clause violation”? School board member William Buckingham openly said:

    “This country wasn’t founded on Muslim beliefs or evolution. This country was founded on Christianity and our students should be taught as such.”

    Sounds flagrant enough to me.

    As for whether it’s “democratic” to keep ID out of the classroom, Jefferson wrote, “A democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where fifty-one percent of the people may take away the rights of the other forty-nine.” The Bill of Rights was added to the Constitution precisely to prevent this kind of “tyranny of the majority.”

    Dave continues:
    “Similarly the burden is on them to convince a majority of the public that ID is wrong if they want it excluded from science class.”

    I agree that scientists ought to do a better job of educating the public about evolution. But the burden remains on the courts to protect us from the Buckinghams of the world, whether or not scientists succeed in swaying public opinion.

  9. Yes, we surely need protection from school board members who speak the truth of the Christian foundation of this nation. Those pilgrims, ya know, they were all devout muslims…and the colonists had their hindu state churches. Evil, they are…no doubt we need protection from them- who knows what havoc they would bring upon us. What vile dangers await us if they had their way! I can hardly control the fright!!

  10. “How is Dover a “ludicrous claim of an establishment clause violation”? School board member William Buckingham openly said:”

    Buckingham was only one member of a nine member board. Should evolution be banned if one person stands up and says “evolution is compatible with my religion therefore it should be taught”? Of course not.

    The founders of the US had just rebelled against a country with a state church where the monarchs claimed their power was derived from divine consent. The establishment clause was clearly written to prevent gov’t from favoring a particular religion and thus working to establish a national church where members get special treatment in gov’t. For the first 200 years SCOTUS did not distort this into a parody of the original intent. Only in the latter half of the 20th century has the establishment clause’s policy of neutrality been turned into a policy of sweeping all religious influence from the public square.

    Like it or not the United States IS a predominantly Christian nation. It always has been and continues to be. Traditionally only generic monotheistic belief is touted by gov’t. The country IS founded on the principle that all men have God-given inalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happinees. The take-home lesson is that what God gives, no man can take away. Thus gov’t exists not to grant men these rights but rather to protect rights they already have. Some misguided intellectual elites that have managed to snake their way onto the modern Supreme Court in a majority position are attempting to change our nation from one of people with God-given rights to one of people with gov’t-given rights. Once that line is crossed, what gov’t giveth, gov’t can taketh away. That is not what America is all about.

    All that aside, I’d point to the Cobb county textbook sticker as the best example of evolution being protected by the establishment clause. There ID nor any other alternative to evolution was even mentioned. Making the mere point that evolution is a theory, not a fact, and should be critically considered was deemed to be a violation of the establishment clause? Sounds to me like evolution is the religion that’s being established by the gov’t.

  11. Josh wrote:
    “No need to show a step-by-step process…”

    No need, or no ability?

    Josh again:
    “You’re asking for more now than you originally said. Before you said it was absurd to claim that his scientific ideas came, in any way, from his theological insight…”

    Good grief, Josh, couldn’t you at least bother to scroll up and reread what I wrote before making your accusation?

    Here’s what Fuller wrote:
    “Newton was a genius because he could translate his theological insight into mathematical terms that commanded assent even from those who would not otherwise accept his theology.”

    Here’s what I said:
    “…it’s simply absurd to claim that Newtonian mechanics is the translation of Newton’s ‘theological insight’ into ‘mathematical terms.’”

    So again, I invite you to show how anyone, starting with Newton’s theological ideas, would end up with Newtonian mechanics simply by “translating” them into mathematical terms.

    “Yes, we surely need protection from school board members who speak the truth of the Christian foundation of this nation. Those pilgrims, ya know, they were all devout muslims…and the colonists had their hindu state churches.”

    You mock, but the Founding Fathers deliberately chose to follow Virginia’s example in maintaining the separation of church and state, rejecting the approaches taken by the other states. Here is Thomas Jefferson’s account of the passage of Virginia’s religious freedom law:

    “The bill for establishing religious freedom, the principles of which had, to a certain degree, been enacted before, I had drawn in all the latitude of reason and right. It still met with opposition; but, with some mutilations in the preamble, it was finally passed; and a singular proposition proved that its protection of opinion was meant to be universal. Where the preamble declares, that coercion is a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, an amendment was proposed, by inserting the word “Jesus Christ,” so that it should read, “a departure from the plan of Jesus Christ, the holy author of our religion;” the insertion was rejected by a great majority, in proof that they meant to comprehend, within the mantle of its protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mahometan, the Hindoo, and Infidel of every denomination.”

  12. KeithS

    I guess you haven’t read the Virgina Bill of Rights, article 16.

    16. That religion, or the duty which we owe to our CREATOR, and the manner of discharging it, can be directed only by reason and conviction, not by force or violence; and therefore all men are equally entitled to the free exercise of religion, according to the dictates of conscience; and that it is the mutual duty of all to practice Christian forbearance, love, and charity, towards each other.

    Comments are now closed on this thread.