Home » Intelligent Design » Stuff that should be a joke, but Brit toffs are fronting it, so …

Stuff that should be a joke, but Brit toffs are fronting it, so …

Jennifer Gold reports for Christian Today (November 24, 2008) that

The results of a new poll out today by faith-based think tank Theos have revealed that eight in 10 people in Britain are unaware that 2009 marks two major Charles Darwin anniversaries.

Across the country, special events and celebrations are being planned for next year to mark the 200th anniversary of Darwin’s birth on 12 February and the 150th anniversary of the publication of the Origin of Species on 24 November.

Yet the results of the ComRes poll out today reveal that only 21 per cent of the population are aware of the two anniversaries.

The publication of the results coincides with the unveiling of a programme of major events and publications by Theos and the Faraday Institute on Science and Religion “to ‘rescue’ Darwin from the crossfire of a philosophical battle in which he had little personal interest”.

The programme includes a high profile debate on 12 May in Westminster Abbey – the resting place of the naturalist – to be chaired by the BBC’s John Humphrys. Panellists including Lord Robert Winston, Professor Steve Jones, Dr Denis Alexander, and Professor Nancy Rothwell will exchange their thoughts on the compatibility of belief in God and Darwinian evolution.

Wow. When you ponder losing your job or your house or your pension, the first thing you simply must do is run out to a debate on “the compatibility of belief in God and Darwinian evolution.”

Like, “Why God thinks you are toast, but that’s completely okay with Him …”?

If anyone in Britain can keep these people from getting any more public or philanthropic funds, please do it.

People need hope. They need to know – what is abundantly true – that the universe shows massive evidence of intelligent design. There is a way for you – and it will work.

But these people don’t know it. They are using up valuable resources fronting ideas that do not work

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28 Responses to Stuff that should be a joke, but Brit toffs are fronting it, so …

  1. Do you look at the evidence and come to a different conclusion because you’re an atheist?

    It’s accept, not except, by the way.

  2. 2

    colin_evans101 is no longer with us.

  3. ?

    Barb, I don’t think that Denyse is an atheist.

  4. Denyse is a Roman Catholic Christian journalist based in Toronto, Canada.

  5. Praxiteles,

    Barb was responding to a comment from colin_evans101 that has since been vaporized.

    That makes it look like she’s calling Denyse an atheist, but she’s not.

  6. Barb was responding to a comment from colin_evans101 that has since been vaporized.

    And it was zapped because it contained no information or argument but instead insults.

  7. 7

    I have been a neutral observer of this site for about 2 years now and I think you know full well, Patrick, that had the comment by colin_evans101 included information and argument it would habe been zapped anyway.
    If ID is as strong and Darwinian evolution as weak as you claim it to be why this fear of debate? If pro-Darwin commentators are rude and obnoxious then that will be there for the world to see. And if they continue to make claims that you have already refuted then you need the patience to calmly explain to them again why they are wrong. Again this will be seen by neutral observers. Deleting any comment you dislike simply makes you look weak.

  8. 8

    I’m afraid to confess that I will be rushing out to the debate myself and also that I have respect for the panelists. But even if the survival pressures at the bottom of my own personal Maslow’s hierarchy prevented it, I would still very much want to rush out to this debate, because its subject matter impinges upon the meaning of life, the universe and everything. The debate deals with one of those ‘outer’ contexts framing our whole lives and consequently reflects on the meaning and status of such things as jobs, houses, and pensions and the significance and value we accord to them in the greater scheme of things.

    I’m still in the throes of considering the evidence for ID. Thanks to all those who frequent this site and who have in the past given me references to some excellent articles to look at (Particular thanks to Kairosfocus). I’m still considering these articles and this is proving to be an agreeable pass time. I suspect in advance, however, that it is going to be difficult to arrive at unequivocal conclusions on the evolution/ID question. (Although I still, on balance, favour evolution, I think some robust ID challenges need careful consideration)

    Whatever the outcome here there remain, however, some very fundamental general philosophical observations. Explanation involves placing an accepted phenomenon in a larger conceptual wrapper; one is in effect placing patterns within larger patterns, the containing patterns appearing to ‘explain’ the smaller patterns within them. Thus, whatever way one looks at it, logical discontinuities are ultimately going to come to light: the effect of introducing a larger context apparently shifts the logical discontinuity to the outer frame and this can have the effect of obscuring the existence of a logical hiatus. Hence the multiverse theory, which seems to be the last resort of the atheist, opts for the largest frame possible, namely that of an infinite frame with enough patterned disorder to render our own cosmic contingencies highly probably. I hardly need point out that this still leaves no logical closure at all: the sheer existence of such a frame of begs questions: not least as to why there is something (and a lot of it at that) rather than nothing.

    For me the issue is less about design than precisely where logical discontinuity is going to be apparent: whether relatively locally in a vindication of irreducible complexity as evidence that inexplicable biological ‘design’ leaps occur, or in a given physical regime that places livings things inside a developing pattern of change, or in the disordered patterns of a multiverse . (My opinion of multiverse speculations is similar to your own)

    In the final analysis it looks to me that in a finite science no logical closure will ever be found (even in a randomly patterned multiverse; especially in a randomly patterned multiverse which is the most extreme application of contingency one can think of). Whether my own studies eventually lead me to support ID or otherwise, I find myself a little uneasy with the very emotional commitment some ID researchers have toward their thesis. Is there a latent worry amongst ID researchers that if logical discontinuity is not going to be apparent locally it will not be found at all?

    I’ll keep reading UD as I like to keep up to speed on the ID/evolution debate.

  9. George,

    that had the comment by colin_evans101 included information and argument it would habe been zapped anyway.

    Perhaps. It really depends on each admin. I have my own personal preferences but I try to follow the lead of the site owner, which happens to be Barry now.

    why this fear of debate?

    Look around…there IS debate occurring. We would prefer to cultivate knowledgeable users, not those who waste people’s time. We’d also like to discuss NEW information and research, not rehash Neo-Darwinist leftovers.

    And if they continue to make claims that you have already refuted then you need the patience to calmly explain to them again why they are wrong.

    Why? Personally, I don’t have that much free time. In fact, I feel that UD may have distracted Bill from getting work done. And that’s why I maintain a list of Arguments Not To Use. If it’s not contained within there I usually link to old discussions on this site.

    And if people think it’s “weak” to desire a life outside of UD then…tough.

  10. I have been a neutral observer of this site for about 2 years now and I think you know full well, Patrick, that had the comment by colin_evans101 included information and argument it would habe been zapped anyway.

    OTOH, if it included information and argument without snarkiness and insults it would not have been zapped, oh “neutral observer” LOL.

  11. “if [the comment by colin_evans101] included information and argument without snarkiness and insults it would not have been zapped”. Because snarkiness and insults are wrong and bad and can’t be tolerated here.

  12. @11

    Reg,

    In my opinion, this site is not a democracy and it is not supported by public money. It makes no pretense of being fair and balanced. This is a site that is clearly biased toward the ID side of the evolution/design debate. It is an unabashed dictatorship and, as such, it reserves the right to censure anybody for whatever reason. Critics and opponents need to tread carefully if they want their opinions to be heard. Live with it or start your own debate site.

  13. 13

    Patrick, if you and other moderators do not allow these discussions to reach their natural conclusions then this site becomes nothing but a self-congratulatory echo-chamber.
    I am aware that the moderators of this site will have other interests away from ID but are you suggesting that other pro-ID contributors to these pages cannot dissect and dismantle the darwinian viewpoint? If so this is a MASSIVE SLAP IN THE FACE to the likes of kairosfocus, gpuccio, bornagain77 and others, who are all capable of reasoned, astute dialogue

  14. George J: I didn’t read the offending post, but my question to you would be how do you keep this blog from becoming another mouthpiece for anti-ID posters if you don’t moderate somewhat aggressively? The other side is much larger and sees itself as defending science and even civilization itself. What’s to stop them from taking over this blog?

  15. George Johnstone,

    I rarely have seen an argument of substance cut short by banning the commenter. Most who come here and are unaware of the past posts on this site, assume we are ignorant, religious rubes that need to be informed. When they are unable to confirm that image with us usually through irrelevant arguments and start to realize they are ill prepared they either start to disassemble or leave or maybe snipe from the periphery.

    The most likely situation is to disassemble which leads frequently to banning. There are occasional cases where they disappear such as a person named Tom who was here till a couple weeks ago and then admitted he did not know too much about biology and evolution. Maybe Tom will come back but he was not able to discuss anything of substance relevant to evolution.

    If you can site arguments of substance that were cut short, let us know. None of us here want that. But we are still waiting for the first person who is able to defend macro evolution. We have had evolutionary biologists here who could not do that and usually end up contributing nothing. I find this an interesting phenomenon when biologist and especially evolutionary biologists can not refute ID arguments.

  16. George – I think that Jerry and Patrick are exactly right. All arguments are allowed here, it is just that the Darwinists all seem to leave after their comments are scientifically refuted by posters like Dr. Dembski and Bornagain77.

    I am a perfect example of how you can be banned yet still post. Granted, I was not being snippy, and rude, someone just told a moderator they suspected me because of my name, but I do have this opportunity to continue to post. And the moderators didn’t even make me change my name to my middle name, even though I offered to, so it wouldn’t upset some of the more religious members of the board.

    Now that’s the kind of freedom that I think ID is all about.

    So, thank you all, and I hope you all had a blessed thanksgiving, and

  17. Darn it! I am new at this, and I am sorry I didn’t finish my Thanksgiving wishes to you all. Sorry for that. I hope we all remembered to Give Thanks.

  18. “If you can site [sic]arguments of substance that were cut short, let us know. None of us here want that.”

    Where to begin! I was banned (and then put onto moderation) for arguing that a certain type of signal from space might have natural causes(I forget the details). Dave banned me because he thought it was an implausible argument. There was nothing remotely offensive or personal in what I wrote and it was certainly not a repetition of anything that had gone before. At least one commentator wrote that they regretted the ban because they wanted to pursue the subject. I am far from alone in getting this treatment and since then, like many others, have avoided getting into any detailed discussion on UD. It is far too frustrating. Being on moderation is little better than being banned as you never know if your comments will get through or when – hopefully this one will make it.

    The owners of UD may want to run this site as a focal point of the community rather than an open discussion forum. That’s fair enough. But contributors should understand that this is what it is.

  19. Mark Frank,

    I was referring to discussions about evolution. I am not familiar with your particular discussion which seems unrelated to evolution. What I was trying to point out that banning is not about losing an argument about whether macro evolution is viable or not through naturalistic processes. This is the core idea of Intelligent Design and I do not believe anyone has be booted because the people at ID were losing the argument on this topic.

  20. George,

    f you and other moderators do not allow these discussions to reach their natural conclusions then this site becomes nothing but a self-congratulatory echo-chamber.

    I am concerned about that occurring as well.

    but are you suggesting that other pro-ID contributors to these pages cannot dissect and dismantle the darwinian viewpoint?

    Not at all. I’ve been on this site since the beginning. I’ve read every single comment (thankfully my reading rate is higher than most). Thus I know when debates have already taken place in the past and when things have already been “dissected and dismantled”–often multiple times.

    Mark Frank,

    That post is here:

    New Approach To SETI

    But I also noticed you have been posting continually in the last 2 years, so you just temporarily POed Dave (who is still an Author, BTW).

    I felt that the conversation ended way too early. Dr. Cheesman made this good point:

    it is not sufficient to show a phenomenon is “human-like” to infer intelligence; there are plenty of human-produced phenomonenon that are barely distinguishable from natural phenomenon (e.g. global warming is a good example where there’s lots of debate). There is bound to be a gray area where no definitive conclusion can be made.

    In fact, it’s my opinion that such a signal–presuming in reality that it’s designed–would be counted as a false negative by the EF unless a Specification is encoded into the signal.

  21. Jerry

    I have found the link.

    Draw your own conclusions.

    Mark

  22. Hey Reg, it’s not like the mods are prohibiting the consideration of controversies in public school or banning the sale of commercial products solely due to aesthetic reasons.

    If you are going to be a libertarian be consistent.

  23. Patrick

    Yes – I have posted here from time to time over the last 2 years. It seems that at some stage I was upgraded from “banned” to “moderated”. Maybe I was never banned. It is hard to tell because as well as the comments you have seen, there have been a good many that never got published or only got published days later.

    You will find that I never get into a sustained discussion because there is too high a risk that a post will not get published and the effort is wasted.

    I challenge you to find a post of mine that merits being banned or moderated.

  24. Mark Frank,

    My remarks mainly have to do with discussions on evolution. There are certainly lots of topics brought up here which do not concern evolution and are not at the heart of ID.

    In your particular example, Dave certainly thought you were not contributing to the discussion with anything relevant and suggested you stop. It is obvious that many who post here are just doing so to be contrary and not trying to add to the discussion. These people maybe are doing so out of ignorance but my guess is that they are being perverse, namely how can I make this discussion unpleasant for the ID supporters.

    Either way they should be asked to move on. Few really add to our total understanding. I have no particular opinion on your example about yourself since I know and care little about SETI. I wish more anti ID people would post here on evolution but with a constructive attitude rather than just trying to gum up the works or to get their pet peeve aired.

    If you or others object to ID, there are plenty of opportunities to interject constructive criticism when any of a myriad of ID comments come up. I do it myself with others on this forum who support ID and who I do not agree with.

  25. As for myself I saw nothing wrong with the form of your argument since it a) contained no insult and b) was related to new topical material. If you don’t like being in moderation you can ask Barry to remove you.

  26. 26

    Mark Frank: “I was banned!”

    Reminds me of Monty Python:

    Q. How do you know she’s a witch?

    A. She turned me into a newt.

    Q. You don’t look like a newt.

    A. Well . . . I got better.

    You don’t look like you were banned to me. Maybe you too got better.

    Patrick, would you please be kind enough to take Mr. Frank off of moderation. We’ll give him another go.

  27. Done.

  28. Patrick

    Thanks. I have taken advantage of it. I hope it will not be seen as abuse.

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