Home » Intelligent Design » The various positions in a nutshell

The various positions in a nutshell

Help me out here: are these simple but accurate descriptions of where each school of thought stands?

(a) Naturalism (evolutionism) says that matter just happens to have the properties to sometimes spontaneously lead to life, life that can improve itself through evolution.

(b) Theistic evolution says that God designed matter to have the properties to sometimes spontaneously lead to life, life that can improve itself through evolution.

(c) Intelligent design says that matter does not have the properties to spontaneously lead to life, and that it is entirely unclear whether life can improve itself through evolution. It is more likely, perhaps even evident, that evolution can make, at most, only minor changes.

Does this briefly describe each school of thought? Are there other schools of thought other than nuances of these positions? Let me know where you agree or disagree.

  • Delicious
  • Facebook
  • Reddit
  • StumbleUpon
  • Twitter
  • RSS Feed

57 Responses to The various positions in a nutshell

  1. d) pantheism (and also its close cousin, panentheism), which states that matter is itself spiritual, and therefore can create life because it is already living. A good book describing this is Swimme and Berry’s The Universe Story.

    Basically, take what we think of as being an “agent”, and impute it onto matter itself.

    In all honestly, much of evolutionary theory already uses this language, but usually with the qualification that they are merely speaking in metaphor. Nonetheless, Jerry Fodor pointed out that there is a difference between “selection” and “selection for“, with the latter implying a teleological component. Fodor said that biologists were correct to use the phrase “selection for”, but incorrect to attribute this to Darwin’s theory, which has no concept of “selection for”, but only “selection”.

    When described explicitly, it is actually somewhat of an ID position. The difference between this and traditional ID is that ID tends to make distinctions between agents and physical entities, while this essentially states that all matter has some form of agent-like properties.

  2. I don’t know exactly where this video, I recently loaded, ties in since you did not list Theism as its own class to counterbalance naturalism/materialism, but it may add some food for thought:

    The Big Bang and the God of the Bible – Henry Schaefer PhD.
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/5222493

  3. Intelligent design is the theory that the natural world shows signs of having been designed by a purposeful, intelligent cause.

    Defining anything by only saying what it is not is unfair and incomplete. Carping about evolution is not part of intelligent design’s definition.

    And intelligent design is not limited to life sciences. ID has major implications not only for chemistry and physics but cosmology as well. Keep in mind that 99.999999+ per cent of the intelligently designed universe is extremely hostile to life – most of the universe is hard vacuum, and most of the rest is stars.

  4. So, (c) means that at some unspecified time in the past some being introduced life on earth and that every single ‘major’ morphological change we see in the fossil record was an example of this being (or beings I suppose) modifying existing designs. And that many of these designs were allowed to die off and be supplanted by other designs. All (or most) of the dinosaurs were killed off and not brought back after millions of years of existence. All the precursors to modern whales were deemed unworthy. And this was all done leaving no physical evidence aside from fossils, complex specified information in DNA sequences (including the presence of endogenous retro-viruses and widely varying number of chromosomes), eyes of many different types and levels of complexity, many different blood clotting sequences, male nipples, remnants of leg structures in whales, ebola, malaria, small pox, leprosy, HIV, anthrax, cancer (well, that could just be particular mechanisms going rouge), yellow fever, polio, measles, whooping cough, mumps, etc. All the fossils geographically distributed so that some ‘types’ only appear in certain locations. That’s a lot of work over a very, very long period of time.

    I’m curious though: if the designer had highly intelligent life in mind (us?) from the get-go why go through billions of years of development? Why waste all that time and effort?

    Is it safe to assume this being is still active or at least paying attention? Are they any ‘modern’ examples of s/he/it’s continued involvement?

  5. <cite?I’m curious though: if the designer had highly intelligent life in mind (us?) from the get-go why go through billions of years of development? Why waste all that time and effort?
    This is theological question. I would tell you: why don’t you ask God?
    You seems to care very much about whales being extinct but what make you think that the creator has the same concern? Do you weep when you bake a cake or when you prepare yourself a salade because you throw away stuff that you won’t eat? As Human, 1 billions years is long period. Why should it be the case for the creator?

  6. 6

    OT, but I wanted to adress: PaulBurnett,

    When I first read your post I was astonished. You seemed to be agreeing with ID, which is not in your nature. :)

    However, after reading it again, I noticed what you were referring to with this:

    “Carping about evolution is not part of intelligent design’s definition.”

    It was this:

    “Intelligent design says that matter does not have the properties to spontaneously lead to life, and that it is entirely unclear whether life can improve itself through evolution. It is more likely, perhaps even evident, that evolution can make, at most, only minor changes.”

    Well I would ask you to hold on there. Intelligent Design needs to deal with issues from what is opposed to the theory in order to make the strongest argument. After all, this is what Darwinism attempts to do. In fact, Darwinism is a contrary argument to natural theology and William Paley’s design argument. Therefore, it makes sense that if we’re going to present a positive case that ID (as you say) “is the theory that the natural world shows signs of having been designed by a purposeful, intelligent cause,” that we counter the arguments, which deny this.

    Besides this, you’re definition is incomplete:

    “The theory of intelligent design (ID) holds that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause rather than an undirected process such as natural selection. ID is thus a scientific disagreement with the core claim of evolutionary theory that the apparent design of living systems is an illusion.”

    And further, the OP did not posit a “definition” of ID, but a “description.” The OP’s description of what ID says is perfectly in keeping with the definition above.

  7. This video may be of great interest to the topic and to readers in general:

    Agnostic David Berlinski debates atheist Christopher Hitchens on “Does Atheism Poison Everything?” Sept. 7, 2010
    http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/id/232872

  8. Kyrilluk (@5) I’ve tried talking to God but s/he/it never returns my calls. Have you tried asking?

    What if the designer is not God? Would it be a theological/religious question then? Does that mean we have to figure out who the designer is first?

    Anyway, we can ask human intelligent designers why they did things certain ways, why not ask ID’s intelligent designer the same things? If ID is going to have explanatory power then at some point it must address these issues or else the hypothesis is just going to be: some mysterious being modified life on earth billions of times over billions of years but we don’t know why or how or when exactly or what it’s purpose was. That might impart a feel good factor for some but it doesn’t really say much.

  9. I’m curious though: if the designer had highly intelligent life in mind (us?) from the get-go why go through billions of years of development? Why waste all that time and effort?

    When we ask questions about the designer, they can be re-stated somewhat like this:

    “Since the evidence indicates that the design that we observe in nature was caused by some intelligence, then what can be know about the Designer?”

    So, the first part of that statement concedes or accepts that there is evidence of Intelligent Design.

    “Ok, ID exists … now what?”

    That’s a very good question, but let’s start with the culture change that must result from the acceptance of ID. What does that do to the academic world?

    Then, does the existence of Intelligent Design mesh with philosophical constructs on the existence of God? If so, then those constructs are strengthened.

    But ID itself has a more modest goal — and that is to show the reasonableness of the minimal statement: “there is evidence of intelligent design in nature”.

    What if the designer is not God? Would it be a theological/religious question then? Does that mean we have to figure out who the designer is first?

    If the designer is part of the physical universe, then it would still be a scientific question. If the designer transcends the physical/material, then it’s philosophical/theological. This assumes that the current Western-scientific paradigm of methodological naturalism for science remains in place after the widespread acceptance of ID. It could change and the study of immaterial being could be included in science also.

    If ID is going to have explanatory power then at some point it must address these issues or else the hypothesis is just going to be: some mysterious being modified life on earth billions of times over billions of years but we don’t know why or how or when exactly or what it’s purpose was.

    True, but we shouldn’t underestimate the power of that conclusion. It will cause a revolution in science and open up many new areas of discovery that we can’t predict today.

  10. “CannuckianYankee” (#6) wrote: “You seemed to be agreeing with ID, which is not in your nature.”

    Not necessarily – I’m just trying to hold it to its own (hopefully) internally consistent description.

    “The theory of intelligent design (ID) holds that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause…”

    So is there any agreement among ID theoreticians what the “certain features of the universe” are? What is included and what is excluded?

    Similarly, for “certain features…of living things” – what is included and what is excluded?

    All features? Only a few features? Which ones? Or do you even know – or agree – which ones?

    Gage, are you limiting your description of ID to life (only)? Or does ID’s “official” description limit itself to life (only), and to “certain features” (only – but which ones?) of life?

  11. My comments -

    a) I think this is reasonable, if you can define “improve” appropriately.

    b) This sounds accurate to me, but I’m not a TE; actually it sounds more like Deistic Evolution.

    c) My understanding is that this is one strand of ID, but others could be closer to (a) or (b), with the caveat that sometimes a designer might intervene. Front-loading is, to my understanding, a form of evolution (albeit different from the one accepted by the biological community).

  12. (c) Intelligent design says that matter does not have the properties to spontaneously lead to life, and that it is entirely unclear whether life can improve itself through evolution. It is more likely, perhaps even evident, that evolution can make, at most, only minor changes.

    While this is mostly true of the ID position, it’s not a satisfactory definition of ID.

    I would change it something more like this:

    (c) Intelligent design says that matter, natural laws, or a combination of the two does not have the properties to spontaneously lead to life, but immaterial intelligence can do the job. The effects of this intelligence are detectable to the scientific method.

    Just a rough idea.

  13. Could anyone clarify the differences among theistic evolution, front loading and the anthropic principal.

    I’ve see all of these defended here.

    Is Michael Denton (Nature’s Destiny) a theistic evolutionist?

  14. Seems good to me, except that c. for Intelligent Design wouldn’t just be the negative definition but that there is an intelligent and/or sentient source, and for life on earth specifically. No reason to quibble about that, just put it right out there, in my layman but not humble opinion.

    The only argument against this more forthright definition would be “but what if there’s something that isn’t conceived of yet between intelligence and matter?” Science doesn’t need to get that ridiculous, and doesn’t in any other area. It’s there to do a job, not to revel in it’s own pandering obnoxiousness.

  15. Propentist: That conclusion will be much more likely to be accepted if some more details are determined. But if the designer IS some incredibly powerful alien then science won’t change.

    People who propose that the mind/soul survives death are trying to make a similar argument: we know it does, why don’t the rest of you accept it? Well, until some mechanism/measurable result is discerned or even just hypothesised then people like me are going to stick with the existing paradigms which, while not necessarily completely understood, do give us something to work with. And something to study and test. But just saying the soul exists without at least guessing in what kind of form does it exist, where does it ‘live’ after death and how does it ‘communicate’ with the brain and body, there’s nothing to work with. At least the guys who claimed to have measured a change in weight of a dying person had something that could be checked.

    If ID gave us a concrete, testable, verifiable hypothesis then we could check that. Some proponents seem to be edging towards suggesting that, in the end, there will be no ‘junk’ DNA. (It’s a messy issue and the terms must be clearly defined.) Well, that’s a prediction that hopefully will eventually be verified or shot down. That’s the kind of thing ID needs. A clear, solid prediction of what the ID paradigm implies. You need a framework to hang the ideas on.

  16. Elizim:

    I’m curious though: if the designer had highly intelligent life in mind (us?) from the get-go why go through billions of years of development? Why waste all that time and effort?

    In fact, to God, it just seemed like 37,000 years. (2 Peter 3:8) :)

  17. ella,

    “If ID gave us a concrete, testable, verifiable hypothesis then we could check that.”

    How would one test if the opposite is true? What is the test that verifies that purely unguided forces are all there is at work in the cosmos?

  18. SCheesman: 37,000 years? I must look up that passage. It’s been too long since I read the New Testament.

    New International Version:

    8But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. 9The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

    Well, s/he/it is much better at multi-tasking than I am I guess!!

  19. UB: Find something in the physical evidence that clearly contradicts the current model? Not just that something is improbable or highly unlikely but not possible. Something that cuts to the heart of the model.

    I think what does happen everyday in evolution research is that smaller, narrower hypotheses are proposed and ‘tested’ in that evidence is looked for to see if the idea holds up. Testing the whole thing in one shot would be tough for sure. But finding a modern rabbit in the Jurrasic layers . . . . you’ve heard those arguments many times before.

    I think a lot of evolutionary scientists think up new ideas, talk to their colleagues about them, give talks at conferences, take some lumps from their peers, refine their guesses, look for evidence and, if they’re lucky, find something new that stands up. But most of the new steps are very small and incremental. And I think that lots of new ideas ARE refuted before they really see the light of day and are never published because they are wrong. Can’t remember which physicist said it (about physics) and I’ll have to paraphrase: A good physicist has 10 new ideas every day and 9 and a half of them are wrong. But the general notion is good: think up stuff, throw out the stuff that doesn’t stand up, revise your thoughts and move on. And much of that process takes place in collegial forums so we don’t see it.

    After 5pm in England, time for dinner!!!

  20. Ella,

    We’ve found the cambrian rabbit; it is the presence of meaningful information instatiated into matter.

    Physics cannot answer.

  21. Some comments:

    Gage:

    As many have remarked, your definitions are quite good, but ID includes the important inference that a specific type of information, such as it is observed in biological genomes and proteomes, points to a process well known to us as conscious intelligent design, and therefore to a conscious intelligent cause.

    johnnyb:

    d) pantheism (and also its close cousin, panentheism), which states that matter is itself spiritual, and therefore can create life because it is already living. A good book describing this is Swimme and Berry’s The Universe Story.

    Very true. But, from an ID perspective, that is compatible with ID, provided that “matter”, or whatever immanent principle we are referring to, is conscious and intelligent. Otherwise, we are again to the impossibility of it acting as a cause of biological information.

    ellazimm:

    That’s a lot of work over a very, very long period of time.

    Correct. It certainly is.

    I’m curious though: if the designer had highly intelligent life in mind (us?) from the get-go why go through billions of years of development? Why waste all that time and effort?

    Probably the designer is not lazy. And he likes it this way. Most of the value of an achievement is in the work to obtain it. If it is that way for us, why not for the designer?

    And probably, the whole result is more beautiful that way.

    And why do you think that the designer’s efforts are “wasted”? Maybe he is achieving something very worthwhile, in the end.

    Is it safe to assume this being is still active or at least paying attention? Are they any ‘modern’ examples of s/he/it’s continued involvement?

    Personally, I do think he is very active, and in many different ways. Probably, also as a designer of life. But we have to be patient. Our window of observation is not very big, in chronological terms, and we must be very attentive, and humble, in interpreting what we see.

    And, after all, the same problem is valid for those who believe in darwinian mechanisms.

  22. ellazimm:

    That’s the kind of thing ID needs. A clear, solid prediction of what the ID paradigm implies. You need a framework to hang the ideas on.

    ID makes predictions. And very simple observations about facts.

    Here is an observation and a related prediction which I have made many times here:

    a) The functional information in basic protein domain families is a set of thousands of unrelated functional islands in the search space of protein sequences.

    b) The more we know about the proteome, and about its natural history, the more we will acknowledge that those island of functionality emerged quickly and without any possible gradual mechanisms based on RV and NS. No “non design” mechanism will ever be able to explain those “jumps” in information. They are evidence for design. And the more the details we acquire, the more that will be incontrovertible.

  23. UB (@17) Physics not being able to answer now does not mean it won’t be able to later. Our limited understanding of the rules does not imply impossibility. :-)

    gpuccio (@18) I’d just like to have some indication of what the point is, if there is one. I certainly agree with being patient. Difficult issues take lots of time to tease out. As my mathematical mentor said: All the easy problems were dealt with hundreds of years ago, all the difficult problems were taken care of in the last couple of hundred years, all the really hard issues were handled in the last 100 years; all we have left are the seemingly impossible problems. It takes time. And I don’t think anyone on any side of the issue should be declaring GAME OVER. It’s way too early. We all want to follow the evidence but we have to be very sure which way it is pointing. :-)

    DINNER!! :-)

  24. ellazimm:

    Find something in the physical evidence that clearly contradicts the current model? Not just that something is improbable or highly unlikely but not possible. Something that cuts to the heart of the model.

    That a mechanism which requires random variation at its core is shown to be so improbable as to be empirically impossible does cut to the heart of the model. Absolutely it does.

    A good physicist has 10 new ideas every day and 9 and a half of them are wrong.

    Yes, but what if all of them are wrong? :)

    Well, indeed i am not saying that biologists’ideas are all wrong! Many of them are very good.

    But the point is: what if the general scenario which is universally assumed as true, is really completely wrong? The, even good ideas, while still useful, will be forced into that wrong scenario, and lose much of their revelatory strength.

    Unless and until, obviously, some people choose to openly analyze and criticize the assumed scenario, and show that it is wrong…

  25. gpuccio (@19) replace quickly with more specific language and make sure you’re sure of ‘without any possible gradual mechanisms’; tack that assertion to your mast and wait and see what the research shows.

    AND, keep up with the current research, go to conferences, participate in the biological community, argue your case, acknowledge new results, etc.

    Let’s see where things stand in a few years. IF someone doesn’t already have data to uphold or knock down your assertion already. That’s the way it works!!

    Really have to eat now!! Family time. Yeah!!

  26. ellazimm:

    ID has never declared “game over”. I think it is the other side which ahs been trying to declare that the game is over, at least for what regards the ID theory. Indeed, what they state is that there has never been any game!

    For us in ID, the game is alive, and beautiful. I would never want darwinian theory to be banned from scientific thought. What I do want is ID to be accepted as a viable scientific theory, and for the game to go on brilliantly and beautifully.

    There is nothing like intellectual confrontation, even with a wrong and disappointing theory. :)

  27. ellazimm (#22):

    That’s exactly what I do every day.

    And please, have your dinner… I’ll happily wait for you :).

  28. to tack on to what gpuccio said in 19,,,Here are some specific predictions of ID:

    ,,,Intelligent Design, contrary to what many evolutionists will say publicly, does in fact make solid predictions for science that we can test:

    A Response to Questions from a Biology Teacher: How Do We Test Intelligent Design? – March 2010
    Excerpt: Regarding testability, ID (Intelligent Design) makes the following testable predictions:
    (1) Natural structures will be found that contain many parts arranged in intricate patterns that perform a specific function (e.g. complex and specified information).
    (2) Forms containing large amounts of novel information will appear in the fossil record suddenly and without similar precursors.
    (3) Convergence will occur routinely. That is, genes and other functional parts will be re-used in different and unrelated organisms.
    (4) Much so-called “junk DNA” will turn out to perform valuable functions.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....rom_a.html

    In the last part of this following audio, Casey Luskin actually lays the evidence out to a Professor of evolution, who ‘challenges his students’ to come up with ‘ANY’ evidence for Intelligent Design. Luskin lays out ten overarching points about the robustness of the ID theory for providing an accurate framework for scientists to work within. What’s more, this robustness of the ID theory extends to all branches of science whereas I can’t find any robustness for evolution, not even within what is suppose to be strong point of biology:

    Evidence for Intelligent Design – Casey Luskin – July 2010
    http://intelligentdesign.podom.....6_24-07_00

    I found this following reference interesting for pointing out the integrity to science that Intelligent Design offers:

    In Dr. Michael Behe’s 2007 book, The Edge of Evolution, he lists no less than 22 different kinds of features of the natural world, which exhibit clear evidence for design:

    1. Laws of nature
    2. Physical constants
    3. Ratios of fundamental constants
    4. Amount of matter in the universe
    5. Speed of expansion in the universe
    6. Properties of elements such as carbon
    7. Properties of chemicals such as water
    8. Location of solar system in the galaxy
    9. Location of planet in the solar system
    10. Origin and properties of Earth-Moon
    11. Origins and properties of functioning biochemicals, such as DNA
    12. Origin of life
    13. Cells
    14. Genetic code
    15. Multi-protein complexes
    16. Molecular machines
    17. Biological kingdoms
    18. Developmental genetic programs
    19. Integrated protein networks
    20. Phyla
    21. Cell types
    22. Classes

    If a materialist were ever to try to give an adequate scientific account for any one of these +22 different features of the ‘natural world’, instead of making up ‘just so’ stories, then at least materialism/evolution could be considered a respectable ‘scientific’ theory, until then I find this atheistic philosophy of materialism to be much, much, worse than pseudo-science of the alchemy of yesteryear.

    Is evolution pseudoscience?
    Excerpt:,,, Thus, of the ten characteristics of pseudoscience listed in the Skeptic’s Dictionary, evolution meets nine. Few other?pseudosciences — astrology, astral projection, alien abduction, crystal power, or whatever — would meet so many.
    http://creation.com/is-evolution-pseudoscience

    Materialists like to claim evolution is indispensable to experimental biology and led the way to many breakthroughs in medicine, Yet in a article entitled “Evolutionary theory contributes little to experimental biology”, this expert author begs to differ.

    “Certainly, my own research with antibiotics during World War II received no guidance from insights provided by Darwinian evolution. Nor did Alexander Fleming’s discovery of bacterial inhibition by penicillin. I recently asked more than 70 eminent researchers if they would have done their work differently if they had thought Darwin’s theory was wrong. The responses were all the same: No.
    Philip S. Skell – Professor at Pennsylvania State University.
    http://www.discovery.org/scrip.....38;id=2816

    Science Owes Nothing To Darwinian Evolution – Jonathan Wells – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4028096

    200 Years After Darwin – What Darwin Didn’t Know – Jonathan Wells – Simmons – Doug Axe – video
    http://www.truveo.com/200-Year.....2049477091

    A lot of people are concerned about the constitutionality of teaching evidence against evolution in public schools because of the establishment clause. The following article by Casey Luskin, who has a law degree, reveals that it is constitutional to teach evidence against evolution in public schools:

    Is It Legally Consistent for Darwin Lobbyists to Oppose Advocating, But Advocate Opposing, Intelligent Design in Public Schools? – August 2010
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....37311.html

    I think Michael Behe does an excellent job, in this following debate, of pointing out that materialistic evolutionists themselves, by their own admission in many cases, are promoting there very own religious viewpoint, Atheism, in public schools, and are thus in fact violating the establishment clause of the constitution:

    Should Intelligent Design Be Taught as Science? Michael Behe debates Stephen Barr – 2010 – video
    http://www.isi.org/lectures/fl.....4/lectures

  29. Nothing wrong with respectful confrontation. THAT’S WHY I’M HERE and not other places. To learn and to be able to ask questions.

    I like people of conviction. Give me an honest, true and straight person and I will stand with them. I do my best not to belittle anyone or dismiss their ideas. Please let me know if I do and I will change.

    It’s my 50th birthday in two days so I’m going to go out tonight with some of my mates. Sorry to depart the conversation at this point but . . . well . . . I deserve it!! :-)

    See y’all later!!

  30. (1) Natural structures will be found that contain many parts arranged in intricate patterns that perform a specific function (e.g. complex and specified information).

    That’s an observation rather than a prediction. And it doesn’t rule out design by incremental change and selection.

    (2) Forms containing large amounts of novel information will appear in the fossil record suddenly and without similar precursors.

    How do the predictions of ID specifically relate to the findings of such fossils as feathered dinosaurs, tiktaalik, the series of pre-human hominids, the series of jawbone transformations leading to the mammalian middle ear, and so forth. Are these entailments of ID theory?

    (3) Convergence will occur routinely. That is, genes and other functional parts will be re-used in different and unrelated organisms.

    Can you name a gene that is common to unrelated species?

    (4) Much so-called “junk DNA” will turn out to perform valuable functions.

    How much is much? Do you have a number? Does ID theory discriminate between DNA that has become non-functional through mutation, and DNA that has some hidden function?

  31. Since nobody has yet presented it here, I think “creationism” is another position that should be defined. Please note that my defining it here is in no way an endorsement. However, I think it is important to present some kind of proper definition of creationism, thereby robbing some of the opportunity to equate it with one of the others (or maybe they just make honest mistakes?)

    Creationism:

    The belief that the Judeo-Christian God created the universe according to the explanation provided in an ancient religious text.

    Now let’s compare that with the definition of Intelligent Design (by ID proponents) Quoted from IntelligentDesign.org site

    “The theory of intelligent design holds that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection. ”

    Wow. No mention of God there, or of any ancient religious text. Interesting.

    By the way, you will find Wiki’s definition of Creationism to be completely off the mark. Quoting from the Wiki page on Creationism…

    “the term is more commonly used to refer to religiously motivated rejection of certain biological processes, in particular much of evolution, as an explanation accounting for the history, diversity, and complexity of life on earth (the creation-evolution controversy”

    I’m relatively sure the author(s) of that Wiki definition had good intentions. But even a well intentioned Darwinist can get it wrong sometimes. They got it wrong here.

    This is why it is important to post an accurate definition of both Intelligent Design and Creationism.

  32. Bantay:

    You raise a good point. For me, “creationism” means all forms of approach to science where specific religious beliefs (whatever they are) are used as the main reference. Maybe “creationism” is not the best word, after all, and we should just speak of “integralist science”.

    I will be more clear. For me, science has to remain empirical, and to look for scientific “truth” starting from facts. While philosophies, ideologies and religions always influence, inspire and often hamper science, the mark of good science is in the sincere effort to remain empirical and as independent as possible from those influences, which cannot anyway be eliminated. So, while our convictions will certainly influence us in how we approach scientific reality, still we must make any possible conscious effort to stick to facts and to reasonable inferences from facts.

    That’s why I love ID, and I am not for “creation science”. In the same way, that’s why I am not for darwinian ideology, methodological naturalisms, reductionism, and so on. All of these positions are integralist and ideological, and they have no good role in science.

    I can deal with darwinian theory, but not with darwinian ideology. I can deal with creationists who accept to discuss ID empirically, but I am not interested in creation science. I can deal with good methodological naturalists who do good empirical work, but not with their philosophy of science. I don’t like universal theories of science and of the scientific method. But I am very interested in empirical confrontations between different theories of science and different models of scientific method.

  33. Petrushka, your post doesn’t even make sense.

    for example this is stated by Luskin,,,

    Natural structures will be found,,

    and you state in response,,,,

    That’s an observation rather than a prediction.

    Excuse my reading comprehension skills Petrushka, but please explain to me how in blue blazes something can be an observation if it has yet to be discovered???

    It only get worse for you from that point and I shall not waste my time pointing out each and every non-sequitur you make, but to point out one more you state this,,,

    ,,,findings of such fossils as feathered dinosaurs, tiktaalik,,,,

    And just how much imagination do you have invested in this evidence Petrushka??? How hurt will your feelings be if I overturn your beliefs???

    ,,,, “Feathers give no indication that they ever needed improvement. In fact, the “earliest known fossil feather is so modern-looking as to be indistinguishable from the feathers of birds flying today.”
    Yale University’s Manual of Ornithology—Avian Structure and Function

    “The first and most complete fossil of archaeopteryx, found in 1855, was misidentified as a flying pterodacylus for 115 years. The newest finding, though, demonstrates that our understanding of even well-studied fossils like archaeopteryx — scrutinized, measured, modeled for 150 years — can still be upended.” – Bye Bye Birdie: Famed Fossil Loses Avian Perch – Oct. 2009

    “The whole notion of feathered dinosaurs is a myth that has been created by ideologues bent on perpetuating the birds-are-dinosaurs theory in the face of all contrary evidence” Storrs Olson, the curator of birds at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History

    The Archaeoraptor Fraud of National Geographic Magazine (In 1999)
    Excerpt: “The idea of feathered dinosaurs and the theropod origin of birds is being actively promulgated by a cadre of zealous scientists acting in concert with certain editors at Nature and National Geographic who themselves have become outspoken and highly biased proselytizers of the faith. Truth and careful scientific weighing of evidence have been among the first casualties in their program, which is now fast becoming one of the grander scientific hoaxes of our age—the paleontological equivalent of cold fusion.” Storrs Olson, the curator of birds at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History
    http://www.bible.ca/tracks/arc.....n-bird.htm

    Discovery Raises New Doubts About Dinosaur-Bird Links – June 2009
    Excerpt: “one of the primary reasons many scientists kept pointing to birds as having descended from dinosaurs was similarities in their lungs,“ Ruben said. “However, theropod dinosaurs had a moving femur and therefore could not have had a lung that worked like that in birds. Their abdominal air sac, if they had one, would have collapsed. That undercuts a critical piece of supporting evidence for the dinosaur-bird link,,, “The findings add to a growing body of evidence in the past two decades that challenge some of the most widely-held beliefs about animal evolution.” —-”For one thing, birds are found (many millions of years) earlier in the fossil record than the dinosaurs they are supposed to have descended from,” Ruben said. “That’s a pretty serious problem,”…
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....092055.htm

    Anchiornis: Foot Feathers Confuse Bird Evolution Story:
    Excerpt: It would seem that going from four wings to two wings represents devolution, not evolution.
    http://www.creationsafaris.com.....#20091001a

    Dinosaurs (D)Evolved from Birds – Feb. 2010
    “The weight of the evidence is now suggesting that not only did birds not descend from dinosaurs,” John Ruben of OSU said, “but that some species now believed to be dinosaurs may have descended from birds.”
    http://www.creationsafaris.com.....#20100209b

    Dino-Feather Story Gets Fluffier – May 2010
    http://www.creationsafaris.com.....#20100501a

    Feathered Dinosaurs or Flightless Birds? – Casey Luskin – May 2010 – audio
    http://intelligentdesign.podom.....9_28-07_00

    The earliest known pelican reveals 30 million years of evolutionary stasis in beak morphology – June 2010
    Abstract: The feeding apparatus of Paleogene birds is rarely well-preserved. Here, we describe the earliest known pelican (early Oligocene, Luberon, southeastern France), with its almost complete beak. Morphologically identical to modern pelicans, the new fossil already shows several advanced features unique to extant species of the genus Pelecanus. It probably belongs to the lineage ancestral to all or some of these pelican species. This fossil reveals a remarkable evolutionary stasis in the morphology of such an advanced avian feeding apparatus through ca. 30 million years.
    http://www.arn.org/blogs/index.....liest_know

  34. further note:

    ,,,,,,,,,,

    The supposed ‘evidence’ for the evolution of fish to land dwelling creatures is not even close to the conclusive evidence evolutionists pretend that it is:

    Tiktaalik- Out Of Order
    Excerpt: One of the problems with an evolutionary interpretation of the fishapods is that these creatures appear to be out of order.
    http://www.reasons.org/OutofOrder

    Tiktaalik Blown “Out of the Water” by Earlier Tetrapod Fossil Footprints – January 2010
    Excerpt: The tracks predate the oldest tetrapod skeletal remains by 18 Myr and, more surprisingly, the earliest elpistostegalian fishes by about 10 Myr.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....e_wat.html

    This following article has a excellent summary of the ‘less than forthright’ (read gestapo) manner in which Darwinists handle anyone who dares to tell of falsifications to their paltry evidence for ‘transitional’ fossils:

    Evolutionary Biologists Are Unaware of Their Own Arguments: Reappraising Nature’s Prized “Gem,” Tiktaalik – Casey Luskin – September 2010
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....38261.html

  35. earliest known fossil feather is so modern-looking as to be indistinguishable from the feathers of birds flying today

    Might have been true in 1998.

  36. for example this is stated by Luskin,,,

    Natural structures will be found,,

    and you state in response,,,,

    That’s an observation rather than a prediction

    Complex structures have been found and continue to be found. The issue is their history, not whether they exist.

    I’ve never figured out how disagreements over the specific point of branching from reptile to bird serves an ID argument.

    I’ve never seen an ID proponent trouble himself to predict where a transitional fossil might be found, so I have to asume that ID makes no predictions at all about the timing of branching.

  37. Tiktaalik is no different in its significance than the various pre-human hominid fossils. When there are only one or two representatives of an era, science writers tend to speak of them as ancestors, implying that the specific fossil is a direct ancestor of some living species.

    As more specimens are found t represent an era,it becomes clear that not are likely to be direct ancestors of living creatures, and that the actual era had many species not represented by fossils.

  38. Funny Petrushka that you would completely fail to grasp the underlying presuppositions of your materialistic philosophy.

    Materialism predicted the first life on earth to be relatively simple as to emerge from a warm little pond to use Darwin’s words and yet here you sit acting as if nothing is wrong at all for materialism to presuppose the discovery of greater and greater levels of functional complexity. That you would be so callous to your base prediction of materialism as to act as if materialism has any right to this ‘prediction’ for finding greater functional complexity is an absolute insult to reason!

    That you would go further in digging yourself a hole for your burial an claim Tiktaalik as a successful ‘hard’ prediction of ancestral status after its refutation, as amply demonstrated by Luskin, reveals once again that you could care less about the truth and only wish to maintain your atheism no matter what rationalization you have to make or lie you have to believe in. Do you even care Petrushka if evolution is false? Why should it even matter to you? It is only a friggin hypothesis Petrushka! You certainly know by now that neo-Darwinism has not even demonstrated ANY gain in functional information, as well as know that the fossil record is anything but gradual for major forms appearing,,, So why in blue blazes to you fight so hard to defend what is so clearly false? Have you no respect for yourself?

  39. Do you even care Petrushka if evolution is false?

    Sure.

    I’ve been following the debate since approximately 1956. It gives me some perspective when I hear that evolution will be overturned in five, ten or twenty years, or any minute now.

    I recall Herbert W. Armstrong printing in his magazine that evolution was impossible because DNA replication was always error-free.

    Since then I’ve pretty much ignored the arguments of non-specialists. The assertions about information are in the same league as Armstrong’s claim. It all boils down to gaps theory.

  40. Petrushka, you seem to put great confidence in the hominid fossil record, so I will address this point to show the poverty of your confidence:

    notes:

    “The australopithecine (Lucy) skull is in fact so overwhelmingly simian (ape-like) as opposed to human that the contrary proposition could be equated to an assertion that black is white.”
    Lord Solly Zuckerman – Chief scientific advisor to British government and leading zoologist

    New study suggests big bang theory of human evolution – U of M Press Release
    Excerpt: “The earliest H. sapiens remains differ significantly from australopithecines in both size and anatomical details. Insofar as we can tell, these changes were sudden and not gradual.” University of Michigan anthropologist Milford Wolpoff
    http://www.ns.umich.edu/Releas.....1000b.html

    “If pressed about man’s ancestry, I would have to unequivocally say that all we have is a huge question mark. To date, there has been nothing found to truthfully purport as a transitional species to man, including Lucy, since 1470 was as old and probably older. If further pressed, I would have to state that there is more evidence to suggest an abrupt arrival of man rather than a gradual process of evolving”.
    Richard Leakey, world’s foremost paleo-anthropologist, in a PBS documentary, 1990.
    http://www.wasdarwinright.com/earlyman.htm

    The supposed next step for ‘human evolution’ does not fair any better for the evolutionists than Lucy did:

    The changing face of genus Homo – Wood; Collard
    Excerpt: the current criteria for identifying species of Homo are difficult, if not impossible, to operate using paleoanthropological evidence. We discuss alternative, verifiable, criteria, and show that when these new criteria are applied to Homo, two species, Homo habilis and Homo rudolfensis, fail to meet them.
    http://www3.interscience.wiley.....0/abstract

    Human evolution?
    Excerpt: Some scientists have proposed moving this species (habilis) out of Homo and into Australopithecus (ape) due to the morphology of its skeleton being more adapted to living on trees rather than to moving on two legs like H. sapiens.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H.....Genus_Homo

    New findings raise questions about who evolved from whom
    Excerpt: The old theory was that the first and oldest species in our family tree, Homo habilis, evolved into Homo erectus, which then became us, Homo sapiens. But those two earlier species lived side-by-side about 1.5 million years ago in parts of Kenya for at least half a million years,,, The two species lived near each other, but probably didn’t interact with each other, each having their own “ecological niche,” Spoor said. Homo habilis was likely more vegetarian and Homo erectus ate some meat, he said. Like chimps and apes, “they’d just avoid each other, they don’t feel comfortable in each other’s company,” he said.
    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/20178936/

    The Truth About Human Origins:
    Excerpt: “It is practically impossible to determine which “family tree” (for human evolution) one should accept. Richard Leakey (of the famed fossil hunting family from Africa) has proposed one. His late mother, Mary Leakey, proposed another. Donald Johanson, former president of the Institute of Human Origins in Berkeley, California, has proposed yet another. And as late as 2001, Meave Leakey (Richard’s wife) has proposed still another.,,”
    http://books.google.com/books?.....8;lpg=PT28

    “Dr. Leakey produced a biased reconstruction (of 1470/ Homo Rudolfensis) based on erroneous preconceived expectations of early human appearance that violated principles of craniofacial development,” Dr. Timothy Bromage
    http://www.nyu.edu/public.affa.....R_1470.pdf

    Hominids, Homonyms, and Homo sapiens – 05/27/2009 – Creation Safaris:
    Excerpt: Homo erectus is particularly controversial, because it is such a broad classification. Tattersall and Schwartz find no clear connection between the Asian, European and African specimens lumped into this class. “In his 1950 review, Ernst Mayr placed all of these forms firmly within the species Homo erectus,” they explained. “Subsequently, Homo erectus became the standard-issue ‘hominid in the middle,’ expanding to include not only the fossils just mentioned, but others of the same general period….”. They discussed the arbitrariness of this classification: “Put together, all these fossils (which span almost 2 myr) make a very heterogeneous assortment indeed; and placing them all together in the same species only makes any conceivable sense in the context of the ecumenical view of Homo erectus as the middle stage of the single hypervariable hominid lineage envisioned by Mayr (on the basis of a much slenderer record). Viewed from the morphological angle, however, the practice of cramming all of this material into a single Old World-wide species is highly questionable. Indeed, the stuffing process has only been rendered possible by a sort of ratchet effect, in which fossils allocated to Homo erectus almost regardless of their morphology have subsequently been cited as proof of just how variable the species can be.” By “ratchet effect,” they appear to mean something like a self-fulfilling prophecy: i.e., “Let’s put everything from this 2-million-year period into one class that we will call Homo erectus.” Someone complains, “But this fossil from Singapore is very different from the others.” The first responds, “That just shows how variable the species Homo erectus can be.” http://creationsafaris.com/cre.....#20090527a

  41. further notes:

    When we consider the remote past, before the origin of the actual species Homo sapiens, we are faced with a fragmentary and disconnected fossil record. Despite the excited and optimistic claims that have been made by some paleontologists, no fossil hominid species can be established as our direct ancestor. Richard Lewontin – Harvard Zoologist
    http://www.discovery.org/a/9961

    Evolution of the Genus Homo – Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences – Tattersall, Schwartz, May 2009
    Excerpt: “Definition of the genus Homo is almost as fraught as the definition of Homo sapiens. We look at the evidence for “early Homo,” finding little morphological basis for extending our genus to any of the 2.5–1.6-myr-old fossil forms assigned to “early Homo” or Homo habilis/rudolfensis.”
    http://arjournals.annualreview.....208.100202

    Man is indeed as unique, as different from all other animals, as had been traditionally claimed by theologians and philosophers. Evolutionist Ernst Mayr
    http://www.y-origins.com/index.php?p=home_more4

    “Something extraordinary, if totally fortuitous, happened with the birth of our species….Homo sapiens is as distinctive an entity as exists on the face of the Earth, and should be dignified as such instead of being adulterated with every reasonably large-brained hominid fossil that happened to come along.”
    Anthropologist Ian Tattersall
    (curator at the American Museum of Natural History)

    These following quotes sum up what materialists appear to be doing with this ‘evidence’ for human evolution:

    “But what is the basis for the human evolution thesis put forward by evolutionists? It is the existence of plenty of fossils on which evolutionists are able to build imaginary interpretations. Throughout history, more than 6,000 species of ape have lived, and most of them have become extinct. Today, only 120 species live on the earth. These 6,000 or so species of ape, most of which are extinct, constitute a rich resource for the evolutionists to build imaginary interpretations with.”
    http://www.darwinismrefuted.com/origin_of_man.html

    Human evolution: We know little, and with good reason:
    “Despite decades of patient work we still know rather little about the evolution of humanity…the remains we have are very scarce and very meager and that means that there are probably lots of different species that existed, lived for hundreds of thousands of years and then became extinct and we know nothing about them…All you need is just one to completely blow apart your well entrenched comfortable idea of the linear progress of evolution.” – Henry Gee – Editor Of Nature Magazine -
    http://post-darwinist.blogspot.....-with.html

    After looking through the ‘fossil evidence’ for human evolution, it seems to me that the most concrete thing evolutionists have for proving to us ‘the fact that humans evolved from apes’ are the infamous cartoon drawings that show a ape slowly evolving into man:

    The Ape To Man Drawings – Another Blatant Deception of Evolution – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4236845

  42. There is no gap Petrushka, we know that intelligence can produce functional information whereas we have NEVER seen material processes produce ANY functional information whatsoever, to top it all off we know reality at its most foundational level is ‘Mental”,

    The Mental Universe – Richard Conn Henry – Professor of Physics John Hopkins University
    Excerpt: The only reality is mind and observations, but observations are not of things. To see the Universe as it really is, we must abandon our tendency to conceptualize observations as things.,,, Physicists shy away from the truth because the truth is so alien to everyday physics. A common way to evade the mental universe is to invoke “decoherence” – the notion that “the physical environment” is sufficient to create reality, independent of the human mind. Yet the idea that any irreversible act of amplification is necessary to collapse the wave function is known to be wrong: in “Renninger-type” experiments, the wave function is collapsed simply by your human mind seeing nothing. The universe is entirely mental,,,, The Universe is immaterial — mental and spiritual. Live, and enjoy.
    http://henry.pha.jhu.edu/The.mental.universe.pdf

    etc.. etc.. etc..

  43. I doubt if any of the scientists you have quoted would agree that you have accurately represented their work or their conclusions.

    Editor: Is there any ground for this doubt other than your stubborn refusal to face facts?

  44. When you argue from authority — and your long list of quotes is an argument from authority — the ultimate stature of you argument depend on whether the people you quote would agree with what you have done with their words.

    I suggest, if you wish to have a congenial discussion, is that you pick just one article or paper from an active researcher that you think supports ID, and let’s discuss it.

  45. Editor: Is there any ground for this doubt other than your stubborn refusal to face facts?

    Here’s a couple of responses to quote mining:

    Any competent biologist is aware of a multitude of problems yet unresolved and of questions yet unanswered. After all, biologic research shows no sign of approaching completion; quite the opposite is true. Disagreements and clashes of opinion are rife among biologists, as they should be in a living and growing science. Antievolutionists mistake, or pretend to mistake, these disagreements as indications of dubiousness of the entire doctrine of evolution. Their favorite sport is stringing together quotations, carefully and sometimes expertly taken out of context, to show that nothing is really established or agreed upon among evolutionists. Some of my colleagues and myself have been amused and amazed to read ourselves quoted in a way showing that we are really antievolutionists under the skin.

    http://people.delphiforums.com/lordorman/light.htm

    In most theories, small isolated populations are the source of new species, and the process of speciation takes thousands or tens of thousands of years. This amount of time, so long when measured against our lives, is a geological microsecond. It represents much less than 1 per cent of the average life-span for a fossil invertebrate species—more than ten million years. Large, widespread, and well established species, on the other hand, are not expected to change very much. We believe that the inertia of large populations explains the stasis of most fossil species over millions of years.

    We proposed the theory of punctuated equilibrium largely to provide a different explanation for pervasive trends in the fossil record. Trends, we argued, cannot be attributed to gradual transformation within lineages, but must arise from the different success of certain kinds of species. A trend, we argued, is more like climbing a flight of stairs (punctuated and stasis) than rolling up an inclined plane.

    Since we proposed punctuated equilibria to explain trends, it is infuriating to be quoted again and again by creationists—whether through design or stupidity, I do not know—as admitting that the fossil record includes no transitional forms. Transitional forms are generally lacking at the species level, but they are abundant between larger groups. Yet a pamphlet entitled “Harvard Scientists Agree Evolution Is a Hoax” states: “The facts of punctuated equilibrium which Gould and Eldredge…are forcing Darwinists to swallow fit the picture that Bryan insisted on, and which God has revealed to us in the Bible.”

    http://www.stephenjaygould.org.....heory.html

  46. “Bantay” (#31) wrote: “This is why it is important to post an accurate definition of both Intelligent Design and Creationism.”

    And this time be sure to delete all references to “cdesign proponentsists.” (/snark)

    Seriously, it would indeed be useful for Gage’s list of the “different schools of thought” on origins to include a short description of creationism. But which variant of creationism? I would surmise this forum might want it limited to the Genesis account accepted by fundamentalist Christians, possibly limited to Protestant or even Calvinist or whatever belief structure.

    But there is a separate “creationism” believed in fervently by over a billion Moslems, with the Koranic version differing somewhat (although not a drastically as say, the Hindu or Norse versions) from the Genesis version. There are many other creationism stories from many other faiths – which should be accepted or discarded?

  47. I am a regular listener to the ID, the Future podcast and have heard Mr Luskin’s arguments. And I still think that saying ‘much’ junk DNA will be found to have some function isn’t really good enough. How ‘much’? 20%? 40%? 60%? ‘Much’ is not a prediction nor is it specific regarding which types of non-coding DNA will be found to have design. Be specific.

    Regarding Dr Behe’s 22 indicators you all know that many of these are disputed by most active physicists as being indicative of design and I’m sure you can find their arguments fairly easily. I’m not sure what he means by some of them to be frank.

    1. Laws of nature
    2. Physical constants
    3. Ratios of fundamental constants
    4. Amount of matter in the universe
    5. Speed of expansion in the universe
    6. Properties of elements such as carbon

    Some of the classic fine tuning arguments. Discussed in plenty of other places if you want to look.

    7. Properties of chemicals such as water

    Uh . . . what properties of water? Like many compounds it can exist in solid, liquid and gaseous forms.

    8. Location of solar system in the galaxy
    9. Location of planet in the solar system

    Life would have a hard time arising if good conditions are not met and there are probably millions of other solar systems and planets in similar situations.

    10. Origin and properties of Earth-Moon

    Uh . . . not sure what those would be. The formation of the Earth/Moon system is still being debated. Is the point that tides helped generate favourable conditions? Or that, for the moment, the Moon is just the right size to eclipse the Sun? ‘Cause that’s going to change.

    11. Origins and properties of functioning biochemicals, such as DNA
    12. Origin of life

    These are still under debate. Just ’cause we don’t know doesn’t mean they were designed.

    13. Cells

    Meaning how they arose? Again, there are theories and work is being done.

    14. Genetic code

    Discussed in many, many places.

    15. Multi-protein complexes
    16. Molecular machines

    You all KNOW that Dr Behe’s views on these issues are widely disputed.

    17. Biological kingdoms

    Uh . . . these are just our categorisations.

    18. Developmental genetic programs
    19. Integrated protein networks
    20. Phyla

    Phyla? Again, just our artificial grouping.

    21. Cell types

    Cell types? How does different cell ‘types’ indicate design? I guess I should go read his arguments.

    22. Classes

    Again, how we group things is not an indication of design. Unless you believe the human generated boundaries are invariant. And that is by no means accepted by anyone except those in the ID community. All phylogentic categories are still branches on the same tree (or bush).

    I think if Dr Behe (and others) wish to use these (and other) issues as indicating design then they should listen to other physicists, chemists, biologists, etc to see what the current research and thoughts are. Be part of the academic community in which you are speculating!!

    And, going back to the biological issues, if the designer is NOT the Christian God of the Bible (an option which is not ruled out by any serious ID proponents I have come across) then does that change anything? Shouldn’t that be the first issue to be resolved? Shying away from it does, I’m afraid, make the whole effort look like a stealth measure to input faith into science.

    IF the designer was part of the universe then there should be evidence of s/he/it’s interventions. It should be possible to be specific regarding when and where (and maybe even how) design modifications were implemented. I think it’s fair to query a non-theistic designer regarding their focus and purpose. Was there a goal in mind? Why all the intermediate steps? Just saying they may have had some purpose which we can not discern explains nothing. Science is about asking questions and trying to find the answers. I’d like to see the ID community spend time and money being more specific about it’s predictions (‘much’ DNA, ‘more’ complex structures, etc just aren’t testable or falsifiable) and what it is saying

    And don’t forget: one of the central disputes is that we only have experience of intelligence creating design. Evolutionary theory says that blind natural forces can create complex and specified information. Just saying you don’t think it can is not proof of design. And so far, the only arguments are probabilistic . . . if, in another 20 years some of the ‘edges’ of evolution are shown not to exist then where does that leave ID? If more and more fossil gaps are filled does that erode the ID paradigm at all? If a plausible ‘material’ origin of life is proposed will that alter your claims?

    I know a lot of people think that mainstream science is arrogant and refuses to consider new ideas. For the individual scientists it feels like a constant battle to get their ideas heard and taken seriously which is why when they do manage that they are going to need very good reasons to change their minds.

  48. ellazim, I have looked in detail at the ‘arguments’ against Behe’s 22 points as well as a few other points,,,,

    Intelligent Design – The Anthropic Hypothesis
    http://lettherebelight-77.blog.....is_19.html

    ,,, and the more I dug into the details of their arguments against the 22 points the more I found them to be devoid of any sound basis in reality,,, Thus contrary to what you think,, that this will all be different in twenty years,,, the fact is that the more we learn the more ridiculous materialistic/evolutionary propositions will become past their already ludicrous position of imposed credibility.

  49. ellazimm:

    I think if Dr Behe (and others) wish to use these (and other) issues as indicating design then they should listen to other physicists, chemists, biologists, etc to see what the current research and thoughts are. Be part of the academic community in which you are speculating!!

    This is funny. Frankly, I don’t believe that ID is evading the scientific community, rather the opposite.

    And, going back to the biological issues, if the designer is NOT the Christian God of the Bible (an option which is not ruled out by any serious ID proponents I have come across) then does that change anything? Shouldn’t that be the first issue to be resolved? Shying away from it does, I’m afraid, make the whole effort look like a stealth measure to input faith into science.

    At present we have not much evidence about who the designer is. It is certainly an issue which must be investigated, and resolved if empirical facts allow us to resolve it. But why the first issue? Issues come in the order that empirical data allow, and not the way we desire.

    IF the designer was part of the universe

    The designer is certainly part of reality. The concept of “universe” can be misleading.

    then there should be evidence of s/he/it’s interventions.

    There must be, and there is, evidence of that intervention. That’s all ID is about.

    CSI/dFSCI is evidence of a design intervention.

    It should be possible to be specific regarding when and where (and maybe even how) design modifications were implemented.

    Sure, it’s absolutely possible. How specific, depends on the facts. For example, for the “when”, we can be specific enough at present, but we will certainly be much more specific in 10 years. Whenever we find a major information jump in natural history, we can infer a design intervention.

    So, OOL is certanly a major design implementation. It happened about 4 billion years ago.

    The ediacara and cambrian explosions are certainly other good examples. Again, they can be dated with some precision.

    More in detail, any time we can witness the emergence of a new protein superfamily in natural history (and we can trace quite well 1000 – 2000 of them) there we can assume a very specific design intervention.

    The “where” is the same problem for both ID and darwinian theory. I can’r see any significant difference. Wherever new information arised, that’s the “where”, whatever the causal mechanism.

    The “how” is more interesting. I do believe that specific theories can be made about the how, and they can be matched to facts in the future. I have debated many times that point. If you are interested, we can talk about that.

    I think it’s fair to query a non-theistic designer regarding their focus and purpose.

    It’s certainly fair.

    Was there a goal in mind?

    Sure. Any design has a goal. Maybe many.

    Why all the intermediate steps?

    Because they are part of the goal and of the design.

    Just saying they may have had some purpose which we can not discern explains nothing.

    I agree. We can usually discern purposes, at least some of them. But some others may not be in our range of understanding.

    Science is about asking questions and trying to find the answers.

    I agree.

    I’d like to see the ID community spend time and money being more specific about it’s predictions (‘much’ DNA, ‘more’ complex structures, etc just aren’t testable or falsifiable) and what it is saying

    I have been specific many times. In my #22 I have stated:

    “a) The functional information in basic protein domain families is a set of thousands of unrelated functional islands in the search space of protein sequences.

    b) The more we know about the proteome, and about its natural history, the more we will acknowledge that those island of functionality emerged quickly and without any possible gradual mechanisms based on RV and NS. No “non design” mechanism will ever be able to explain those “jumps” in information. They are evidence for design. And the more the details we acquire, the more that will be incontrovertible.”

    I state that again. The origin of basic protein domains cannot be explained by non design theories, and never will. That can be easily falsified.

    Evolutionary theory says that blind natural forces can create complex and specified information.

    Evolutionists can say what they like, but saying a thing does not make a credible theory. A theory must explain “how” that result is possible, and if possible bring some empirical support. Darwinism has done neither.

    Just saying you don’t think it can is not proof of design.

    Right. First of all, we don’t “just say” that it can’t, we show in detail that it can’t. And you are right, the design inference does not come only from the impotence of the current theory: it is an active inference. But the failure of the current theory is a necessary premise.

    And so far, the only arguments are probabilistic . . .

    Which is perfectly right. Darwinian theory uses random events at its core. Random events must be evaluated by probabilistic analysis. That’s science. At its best.

    Have you any problem with QM using probability to predict quantum measurements?

    if, in another 20 years some of the ‘edges’ of evolution are shown not to exist then where does that leave ID?

    It would leave ID falsified. But it will nor happen.

    If more and more fossil gaps are filled does that erode the ID paradigm at all?

    I don’t think fossils are very important for ID. They are certainly part of the scenario. But ID is especially about CSI and biological information at the molecular level. And if and when any new evidence erodes ID, well, ID will be eroded. Or darwinian theory will be eroded. Let’s wait and see. We are doing science, not politics.

    If a plausible ‘material’ origin of life is proposed will that alter your claims?

    Yes. Obviously.

    I know a lot of people think that mainstream science is arrogant and refuses to consider new ideas.

    Not all of it. But biology is arrogant, at least in its claims about darwinian theory. And it certainly refuses to consider ID as a scientific theory. Arrogantly.

    For the individual scientists it feels like a constant battle to get their ideas heard and taken seriously which is why when they do manage that they are going to need very good reasons to change their minds.

    That can be a reasonable excuse for the “sins” of an individual scientist. It’s no excuse for the dogmatic, arrogant self-satisfied attitude of a whole academic generation about a false theory which is presented as a fact.

    And by the way, there are very good reasons why they should change their minds…

  50. ellazimm:

    First of all, happy birthday, in advance. 50 is getting to be a lot younger than it ever was before (I hope) :-).

    You’ve had a lot of responses since your reply to me, so I won’t add to them much. I’ll commend you though, for taking a sincere interest and not asking loaded questions (for the most part). You’re listing to the ID the Future broadcasts so you have an open mind to the topic.

    But I’ll just critique one thing and I think your approach to the issue is a bit scatter-shot with many questions touching several deeper points.

    For example, jumping ahead to the identity of the Designer before you’re convinced that there is any evidence of ID at all is not really following the logical path, as I see it.

    The Edge of Evolution is what it is.

    There are two options:

    1. There is no limit to what random mutations can create in this universe. The power of evolution is infinite.

    Problem: How did an infinite power arise from finite matter? This is a major problem for materialism itself.

    or

    2. There is a finite limit to what evolution can produce in nature. Therefore, there is a fixed Edge.

    Ever wonder why the study of the Edge came from Michael Behe and nobody else in the academic community?

    That should tell us something.

  51. Ever wonder why the study of the Edge came from Michael Behe and nobody else in the academic community?

    That’s pretty insulting to the biologists of the early twentieth century who studied the rate of evolution and the step size. It’s also pretty insulting to Ernst Mayr, who discussed at great length reasons why visible change slows down after genes reach a local optimum. Molecular change continues, however.

    Behe, Axe and Durston study proteins that are already highly optimized, where improvement is unlikely.

    The real action is at the other end of optimization, at the early stages of protein functionality.

  52. For example, jumping ahead to the identity of the Designer before you’re convinced that there is any evidence of ID at all is not really following the logical path, as I see it.

    Perhaps we could look at the logic from a different perspective.

    Mainstream biology proposes that mutation and selection is the mechanism. It has the advantage of being observable and amenable to experiment.

    ID looks as this mechanism and declares it inadequate. It proposes an alternative mechanism that cannot be observed or subject to experiment.

    ID declares that intelligence can somehow do biological design, but offers no examples for the most critical areas — new species and adaptation to environmental or competitive challenges.

    Without knowing the methods and capabilities of the designer, there is no way of knowing whether ID is actually more powerful than Darwinian evolution.

    It would be of particular interest to know how the designer knows what changes will confer reproductive success in a continually changing ecosystem. A related question would be, if the designer knows in advance how to make adaptive changes, why is there so much thrashing about with neutral and detrimental changes?

    Some of us think ID is a bit like a software company that criticises existing products and promises that its products will be a vast improvement, but which never actually releases any software.

    I think that if ID ever found itself in court again, these are some of the questions that would be addressed.

  53. Interesting points, Petrushka.

    Mainstream biology proposes that mutation and selection is the mechanism. It has the advantage of being observable and amenable to experiment.

    Yes, true. But the advantage is diminished when the observed data conflicts with what is expected. This is what neo-Darwinism is struggling with — namely, is the mutation-and-selection mechanism sufficient to explain what really occurs in nature? If not, then evolutionary theory becomes not really about the mechanism, but merely about naturalism (or asserting that there is a blind, unintelligent process at work).

    So, in parallel, ID does not start with proving the mechanism, but merely that the process indicates evidence that there is intelligence at work. This is a more modest aim.

    ID looks as this mechanism and declares it inadequate. It proposes an alternative mechanism that cannot be observed or subject to experiment.

    Yes, but as above. The hypothetical mechanism is inadequate. But let’s consider that it’s not merely a single mechanism that is questioned, but the entire collection of proposed mechanisms. If they are all shown to be inadequate? Well, then we take the next step. What is the probability that there is some intelligence involved?

    ID declares that intelligence can somehow do biological design, but offers no examples for the most critical areas — new species and adaptation to environmental or competitive challenges.

    I think ID can successfully point to the work of intelligence in genetic modification, for example. A human scientist does not rely on chance mutations and selection to modify a dog species, for example. The fact that even this conscious, informed, human intelligence cannot speciate new dogs is evidence against what an unintelligent process can produce.

    Without knowing the methods and capabilities of the designer, there is no way of knowing whether ID is actually more powerful than Darwinian evolution.

    I’ll offer this, and I overlooked this point previously … you’d be right to mention that some assumptions about the designer are embedded in the ID project. There is a certain kind of intelligence that is assumed as the source of innovation in nature. So, I don’t think it would be correct for ID to propose that it is seeking “any kind of intelligence”. For example, a human being who is suffering from mental illness remains intelligent. But that person’s “designs” may appear no different than pure randomness.

    It would be of particular interest to know how the designer knows what changes will confer reproductive success in a continually changing ecosystem.

    That would be very interesting, but I don’t think it affects the question of whether there is evidence of the work of intelligence in nature though.

    A related question would be, if the designer knows in advance how to make adaptive changes, why is there so much thrashing about with neutral and detrimental changes?

    “If the designer knows …” is a statement that follows this conclusion: “There is a designer”. It’s is quite difficult enough to find enough support for the most minimal proposal. I’ll suggest that very little work goes into your follow-up questions because every bit of effort presently is simply trying to get a reasonable hearing on the very first point in the discussion.

    Some of us think ID is a bit like a software company that criticises existing products and promises that its products will be a vast improvement, but which never actually releases any software.

    A company that criticizes software for its security flaws, for example, would be proving an extremely valuable service. If it then proposed that those flaws could be corrected with a more intelligent approach — it would add even more value to what it provides. In either case, it didn’t have to produce a competing product to have been proven correct.

    I think that if ID ever found itself in court again, these are some of the questions that would be addressed.

    I thought they were great questions, myself. I think they deserve serious consideration.

  54. A human scientist does not rely on chance mutations and selection to modify a dog species, for example. The fact that even this conscious, informed, human intelligence cannot speciate new dogs is evidence against what an unintelligent process can produce.

    I’m not sure what you mean by this. Breeders of all sorts of plants and animals depend of chance mutations.

    Humans simply replace the mechanism that determines which variations have the reproductive advantage.

    Most of the 400 current recognized breeds of dogs have been produced in the last few hundred years. I don’t think anyone has tried to produce reproductive isolation. Even on the time schedule of punctuated equilibrium (see the Gould quote above) it might take tens of thousands of years to produce biological isolation.

  55. I’d like to thank especially BA77, gpuccio and Propentists for taking the time to reply so cordially.

    I will fully accept being scattershot. Especially sometimes when I am writing late at night or while I’m trying to do several things all at once. Seems I have a life at times. :-) But it’s also true that my interest is not academic enough for me to be systematic . . . yet. I guess that’s part of the reason I’m here asking questions.

    I think that we will see in the next 10 or 20 years whether some of ID’s disagreements with the modern evolutionary synthesis stand up. I’m quite sure both camps will have to modify and alter their ‘beliefs’ in order to accommodate new data. All real scientists have to do that. It seems like much depends on whether or not there is an ‘edge’ to evolution. One side says no, how absurd and besides, you can’t prove a negative. The other side says it’s not possible to create such complex and specified information on a bed of random mutations and (primarily) natural selection; there isn’t enough time and information has to be input into the system.

    I’m not going to pretend that I’m sitting on the fence here; you’ve all been very honest with me and I refuse to deny that I am definitely on the ‘darwinist’ side. BUT that doesn’t mean that I’m not interested in specifically what the ID side is saying and upon what evidence they depend. And I thank you all for really helping me to ‘get’ it all a bit better.

    AND I’m not going to head over to Panda’s Thumb and call you all names. That’s childish and I don’t treat people who treat me with kindness like that. I may be a heathen and a materialist (although I tend to eschew such labels as being too broad and pointless) but I know how to respect others especially when they respect me.

  56. ellazimm:

    What a beautiful post!

    In few words, you have described very realistically the situation, you have not misinterpreted our position (indeed, I would say you have represented it very well), you have serenely stated yours remaining open to discussion and, which is even more important, to the growing testimony of new facts, and you have shown great human respect and friendship. Wow!

    Thank you :)

  57. gpuccio: We all have learn to touch people (in the words of Jacob Bronowski in The Ascent of Man). This I believe to the depth of my being.

    I can’t answer all the questions, I can’t even understand some of the issues. But I CAN try. Make an attempt. Treat thoughtful, caring people with respect.

    Gotta go, dinner is about to burn. Life calls. Always.

Leave a Reply