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Why Bob Marks’s lab got trashed

Here’s what I think of the whole mess (and I am not an American and do not live anywhere near Waco or Baylor and have nothing but trouble to expect from either side in this matter.):

The Voices of the Baylor Bears have figured out one thing for sure: Bob Marks knows precisely what is rotten in the state of Darwinism.

So a vast army rushes to aid Baylor’s quest to be the Protestant Notorious Dame, or whatever it wants to be (forgive me if I forget).

The Bears can’t afford to have their obsequious little Baptist university expose the Darwin mess. Then they will not get the rewards handed out to all those who keep their traps shut tight.

Traps must be shut tight in a world dominated by materialism, where Top People actually believe in that ol’ Darwinian magic.

Oh, you know, mud to mind and all that, in a zillion easy steps. Or maybe a zillion zillion easy steps , or … heck, what’s another few powers of ten … bring ‘em on …

As a Canadian who lives in Toronto, I don’t, strictly speaking, care. Until I happened to run into Bill, I had no idea there WAS a university in Waco.

Well, Darwin’s liabilities must eventually be summed somewhere. Someone needs to point out that operating expenses are not capital assets – and all that other boring, Enron-type stuff.

Meanwhile, here are some recent items you can view:

The In the Baylor Lariat, Richard Schauer writes “religion is literally killing us and causing more problems than it’s worth. As a former Christian, I can attest to the freeing from sin that accompanies religious deprogramming and the sanity that returns.”

Our correspondent recommends the works of Richard Dawkins – no doubt a staple at the new Baylor.

An opinion piece by Gary Ramsey from the Waco Tribune argues:

This censorship is based not on poor scholarship or bad data but on a disagreement about the research’s conclusions.

The conclusions were not deemed to be particularly favorable to the notion that Darwin was right and no intelligence was required in the creation of the world and everything in it.

A Baylor spokesman said that taking the page down has nothing to do with content and everything to do with rules relating to Baylor’s official endorsement of ideas. Right.

That Baylor would be so unbold as to cower before those who advocate a secular society must give its supporters pause.

But why? Isn’t that what the Bears want? They want to get ON in a society based on materialist fraud, right? And they trust Baylor to help them do it.

Someone draws my attention to the fact that Baylor’s “In the News” contains no mention of this uproar, though I confess I am unclear why anyone should expect that it would.

Did Enron want to publish a clear explanation of its accounting practices?

A friend also draws my attention to this edition of the Lariat, which features a post from a Darwoid who has frequently infested my inbox in recent weeks (scroll down or search on “left coast”), currently blustering against the film Expelled.

The film exposes the ways in which Darwoids attempt to bolster their failing theory by silencing critics. Until advance screenings of the film are available, I can think of no better commendation than this individual’s complaints.

P.S.: If you enjoy living in a (still) free society and are the praying type, please do not pray for me or for the Expelled film. Forget about me and go SEE the film, instead of praying about it. Then decide what you should and should not give time, energy, and money to. You will be doing both yourself and me a favour. If you are not the praying type, you may well enjoy the film anyway, and good luck to you.

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21 Responses to Why Bob Marks’s lab got trashed

  1. Hi,

    I am not by any stretch an ID supporter, but I do think Baylor has gone overboard in this case.

    I’m interested in your claim that established scientists go to great lengths to prevent ID research out of fear that their own work will be undermined. It’s taken for granted in the scientific community that established scientists (through their roles as journal referees) exert control over the direction of their fields and delay the introduction of ideas that challenge the prevailing view.

    I think the conventional wisdom is that if ideas have merit, the cumulative evidence supporting them will eventually be too great to resist. I can’t think of any other idea where the scientific establishment is accused of cutting off funding to any institution that supports research into it – even scientists who write articles critical of global warming publish in scientific journals and manage to do research without negative repercussions for their universities.

    My question is – presuming that ID does have merit, what accounts for the particular resistance to it? Are there other non-ID related ideas that were greeted with as much rancor as ID but eventually won acceptance? (in the last 50 or so years). If not, what is different about ID?

    Jason

  2. Jason, do a little research on the Big Bang and you’ll see an interesting situation that existed at the onset. Many in the scientific community were rattled by it’s “theistic” implications and activity sought to quash it for that reason. It just wasn’t “scientific” enough.

    The bottom line seems to be some people just hate the idea of any sort of God. They yammer on and on why that sort of thinking isn’t “scientific”, all the while appearing painfully ignorant of the fact that their own philosophy is a theologically based one.

    Here’s what I think: Take Richard Dawkins for example. His book is just about the most lame sophomoric specimen of a book on theology I’ve ever seen, personally. (I’m nothing close to any sort of a fundamentalist Bible thumper. But I do know a thing of two about theology and philosophy.) Anyone with a modicum of experience with the salient texts on the subject would be able to pick Darkins (ahem, Dawkins) to pieces. I really think he, himself, knows that. He’s not a stupid man. It is evident to me that he has an agenda as an agent of social change. He hates the very idea of God and wants everyone else to hate the very idea as well.

    Maybe John 3:19 is right.

  3. As a former Christian, I can attest to the freeing from sin that accompanies religious deprogramming and the sanity that returns.

    Ahem. Is there a typo here?

    Shouldn’t that read “I can attest to the freedom to sin that accompanies religious deprogramming…”

  4. Jason:

    Are there other non-ID related ideas that were greeted with as much rancor as ID but eventually won acceptance? (in the last 50 or so years). If not, what is different about ID?

    I think the best example you will find is the big bang theory. The big bang didn’t get as much public discussion, but I suspect that it was mostly because the might internet didn’t exist yet. However, the scientific community faught it tooth and nail. The reason why these two perspectives are so hard to accept — because they have religious connotations, that they do not fit comfortably into the materialistic worldview. The scientific community finally gave into the evidence of the big bang by developing some fanciful materialistic explanations for it — think multiverse. Alas, finding a materialistic explanation for the ID evidence is a bit harder. The best attempt is the panspermia theory, however the panspermia community rejects the big bang because it needs an infinite past to create the intelligent agents that seeded the earth with life.

  5. My question is – presuming that ID does have merit, what accounts for the particular resistance to it?

    If you follow where most people assume ID leads, you will see that it has implications that are very personal. Other scientific ideas have no bearing on how you treat your wife, your neighbor, your co-workers, how you spend your money, what you do with your personal time, what you put on your income tax forms, etc. ID doesn’t necessarily get that intrusive either, but its a huge step in that direction, because it knocks down a high barrier to God-belief and the implied accountability that such belief entails.

  6. mike1962 and bfast:

    The big bang is an interesting example. From what little I know about the history of its discovery (which mostly consists of some wikipedia articles and a few odd recollections), I do get the impression that there was opposition to it within the scientific community on philosophical grounds, from Einstein and Fred Hoyle among many others. Especially because Lemaître was a Priest, many felt that it was an attempt to smuggle theology into science. Putting aside that notable similarity with ID, it seems that the big bang theory was never excluded from the scientific debate on the topic. The earliest papers (by Friedman and Lemaître) were published in leading scientific journals (Lemaître apparently published in Nature). The theory always seems to have had some support among the scientific community – according to wikipedia, “For a number of years [before the discovery of the CMB] the support for [the big bang theory and the steady state theory] was evenly divided.” (it would be nice to know their source for that comment).

    Is this a fair characterization of the history? Are there other sources that might give a different picture? (preferably some that are accessible online, even if in scholarly journals).

    russ:

    Is your contention that scientists oppose ID because the accompanying metaphysical commitments would force them to stop doing immoral things?

  7. My contention is that scientists oppose ID because they are committed to their philosophy. The reasons could be in the subconscience. For our purposes, it doesn’t really matter.

  8. Jason1083,

    One difference between ID and the Big Bang issue, IMO, is a particular metaphysical philosophy has become very much more entrenched over the intervening years. Surely this has something to do with it.

    At any rate, might I suggest Science’s Blind Spot (C. Hunter) for a good read regarding the philosophical issues that probably underlie what’s going on here.

  9. russ:

    Is your contention that scientists oppose ID because the accompanying metaphysical commitments would force them to stop doing immoral things?

    I don’t know what scientists think. I wasn’t necessarily referring to scientists. I imagine most scientists are like the rest of us. They avoid making waves.

    But look at the vitriol that is showered on ID supporters. People only get this personal when you insult their mother, or tell them they’re goint to hell, etc.!

    And even at this late stage of the game, people are still construing ID with the book of Genesis (see the above link to Richard Schauer’s letter), so they are clearly trying to avoid someone putting a “religious trip” on them. When someone gratuitiously attacks religion, then attacks you when you haven’t brought up the topic of religion, then its pretty clear they have some religious baggage.

  10. [off topic]

    An excellent philosophical article on First Things by Avery Cardinal Dulles .

    2nd para: “Science should not try to become religion, nor should religion seek to take the place of science.”

    In my opinion, Darwinism has become a religion. See my comments on Darwinism The Religion

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-138124

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-138205

    The Cardinal discusses Darwinism and Intelligent Design, and the third school of Michael Polanyi.

    The Cardinal inclines towards the third school, which brings in the formal and final causes of creation neglected by science.

    He has this to say of intelligent design: “In favor of Behe and his school, we may say that the possibility of sudden major changes effected by a higher intelligence should not be antecedently ruled out…According to Intelligent Design, the development does not occur without divine intervention at certain stages, producing irreducibly complex organs. According to the teleological view, the forward thrust of evolution and its breakthroughs into higher grades of being depend upon the dynamic presence of God to his creation.”

    Unfortunately, the Cardinal here does not accurately present the Intelligent Design position. Development (say, of irreducibly complex structures), may or may not occur with “divine intervention at certain stages”.

    The position of intelligent design theorists (eg. Dembski, Behe, Gonzalez) is that God might have designed everything at the Beginning, and allowed things to unfold or evolve, with or without divine intervention in latter stages.

    The key determining factor is not divine intervention at the “stages” of development, but that divine involvement or intervention (i.e. Design) must happen at least once — in the Beginning.

    “In the Beginning was the Word (logos), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God”. (John 1:1)

    Pope Benedict XVI expounded on the verse in his Regensburg lecture (September 2006) – the famous lecture which angered the Muslims:

    Modifying the first verse of the Book of Genesis, the first verse of the whole Bible, John began the prologue of his Gospel with the words: “In the beginning was the ?????”. This is the very word used by the emperor: God acts, ???? ????, with logos. Logos means both reason and word – a reason which is creative and capable of self-communication, precisely as reason. John thus spoke the final word on the biblical concept of God, and in this word all the often toilsome and tortuous threads of biblical faith find their culmination and synthesis. In the beginning was the logos, and the logos is God, says the Evangelist.

  11. [off topic]

    An excellent philosophical article on First Things by Avery Cardinal Dulles .

    2nd para: “Science should not try to become religion, nor should religion seek to take the place of science.”

    In my opinion, Darwinism has become a religion.

    The Cardinal discusses Darwinism and Intelligent Design, and the third school of Michael Polanyi.

    The Cardinal inclines towards the third school, which brings in the formal and final causes of creation neglected by science.

    He has this to say of intelligent design: “In favor of Behe and his school, we may say that the possibility of sudden major changes effected by a higher intelligence should not be antecedently ruled out…According to Intelligent Design, the development does not occur without divine intervention at certain stages, producing irreducibly complex organs. According to the teleological view, the forward thrust of evolution and its breakthroughs into higher grades of being depend upon the dynamic presence of God to his creation.”

    Unfortunately, the Cardinal here does not accurately present the Intelligent Design position. Development (say, of irreducibly complex structures), may or may not occur with “divine intervention at certain stages”.

    The position of intelligent design theorists (eg. Dembski, Behe, Gonzalez) is that God might have designed everything at the Beginning, and allowed things to unfold or evolve, with or without divine intervention in latter stages.

    The key determining factor is not divine intervention at the “stages” of development, but that divine involvement or intervention (i.e. Design) must happen at least once — in the Beginning.

    “In the Beginning was the Word (logos), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God”. (John 1:1)

    Pope Benedict XVI expounded on the verse in his Regensburg lecture (September 2006) – the famous lecture which angered the Muslims:

    Modifying the first verse of the Book of Genesis, the first verse of the whole Bible, John began the prologue of his Gospel with the words: “In the beginning was the ?????”. This is the very word used by the emperor: God acts, ???? ????, with logos. Logos means both reason and word – a reason which is creative and capable of self-communication, precisely as reason. John thus spoke the final word on the biblical concept of God, and in this word all the often toilsome and tortuous threads of biblical faith find their culmination and synthesis. In the beginning was the logos, and the logos is God, says the Evangelist.

  12. [off topic]

    An excellent philosophical article on First Things by Avery Cardinal Dulles .

    2nd para: “Science should not try to become religion, nor should religion seek to take the place of science.”

    In my opinion, Darwinism has become a religion.

    The Cardinal discusses Darwinism and Intelligent Design, and the third school of Michael Polanyi.

    The Cardinal inclines towards the third school, which brings in the formal and final causes of creation neglected by science.

    He has this to say of intelligent design: “In favor of Behe and his school, we may say that the possibility of sudden major changes effected by a higher intelligence should not be antecedently ruled out…According to Intelligent Design, the development does not occur without divine intervention at certain stages, producing irreducibly complex organs. According to the teleological view, the forward thrust of evolution and its breakthroughs into higher grades of being depend upon the dynamic presence of God to his creation.”

    Unfortunately, the Cardinal here does not accurately present the Intelligent Design position. Development (say, of irreducibly complex structures), may or may not occur with “divine intervention at certain stages”.

    The position of intelligent design theorists (eg. Dembski, Behe, Gonzalez) is that God might have designed everything at the Beginning, and allowed things to unfold or evolve, with or without divine intervention in latter stages.

    The key determining factor is not divine intervention at the “stages” of development, but that divine involvement or intervention (i.e. Design) must happen at least once — in the Beginning.

    “In the Beginning was the Word (logos), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God”. (John 1:1)

    Pope Benedict XVI expounded on the verse in his Regensburg lecture (September 2006) – the famous lecture which angered the Muslims:

    Modifying the first verse of the Book of Genesis, the first verse of the whole Bible, John began the prologue of his Gospel with the words: “In the beginning was the logos”… Logos means both reason and word – a reason which is creative and capable of self-communication, precisely as reason. John thus spoke the final word on the biblical concept of God, and in this word all the often toilsome and tortuous threads of biblical faith find their culmination and synthesis. In the beginning was the logos, and the logos is God, says the Evangelist.

  13. Denyse,

    “Oh, you know, mud to mind and all that, in a zillion easy steps. Or maybe a zillion zillion easy steps”

    would make a great subtitle for a book.

    Or maybe it was already used for “Climbing Mt. Improbable”

  14. Darwinst Dr. Mark Chu-Carrol looked at Marks and Dembski’s work on his blog “Good Math-Bad Math” and concluded that the math is solid, although he thinks they extrapolate the implications too far.
    http://scienceblogs.com/goodma.....k.php#more

    Maybe Mark CC is right about the extrapolation – maybe he isn’t. Its well beyond me. However – even if he can find gaps in Marks and Dembski’s work – I don’t see anything comparable occurring on the Darwinist side. They seem to deny that evolution can ever be mathematically modeled (outside of frontloading) and parse definitions of information to prevent any real analysis.

  15. The position of intelligent design theorists (eg. Dembski, Behe, Gonzalez) is that God might have designed everything at the Beginning, and allowed things to unfold or evolve, with or without divine intervention in latter stages.

    I thought that the position of intelligent design theorists was that there had been divine intervention in latter stages. Isn’t the position that God set the ball rolling, and then sat back to enjoy the fun either a Deist or Theistic Evolutionary position?

    Bob

  16. Bob O’H,

    I Believe that some ID proponents believe that the intelligent intervention of the basis of life as we know it happened at the origin of life stage and the complexity was designed there for all versions of life as we know it to unfold because of natural causes and triggered by environmental events. Others think it happened at multiple times.

    I would think that OOL life issues would separate ID proponents from Theistic Evolutionary and Deist positions. A lot of ID proponents think that intelligence acted even later in life’s development and the Cambrian Explosion is an example of this intervention and that eukaryotes before the Cambrian were probably a result of intelligent design. Then there are those who believe there was additional intervention as time progressed and such things as birds, land creatures, mammals and especially man were specifically designed until you get to the YEC’s who I won’t begin to describe since I am the last person to support it who I believe think the intervention was directed by God himself and recently.

    So this is the big tent of ID and what separates ID from the Deists and Theistic Evolutionists is OOL which by no means could have happened by naturalistic means but TE say could have been built in to the initial conditions of the universe or subtlety guided by God prior to the appearance of the first life. And then you get Behe who has just provided substantial evidence that naturalistic means is probably not capable of generating much complexity so some intelligence must have guided life to form this complexity at least once or probably at many points along the time line.

    So ID and Theistic Evolutionists are at odds with each other on a a few essential points of life’s progression, the main one being OOL.

    Since I don’t pretend to speak for ID in general, others may want to chime in to specify the differences. But I would think that few ID proponents do not think the OOL was an intelligent design event while many theists may not agree with this and certainly not atheists.

  17. Bob O’H,

    Also from reading a lot of TE literature what they are afraid of is the God of the Gaps argument and that things suggested by ID as intelligence guided will later be shown to have naturalistic causes. They want to be prepared for these findings as science fills in the blanks.

    ID proponents are not afraid of this happening in all cases and believe that OOL will never have to fear a LaPlace moment such as when he showed that Newton was wrong in his theories about God guiding the orbits of planets through direct intervention. It was LaPlace who initiated the God of the Gaps argument and scientists have been afraid of it ever since.

  18. I thought that the position of intelligent design theorists was that there had been divine intervention in latter stages.

    There isn’t anything in ID that requires anything from the divine.

    Also there isn’t anything in ID that requires intervention.

    Isn’t the position that God set the ball rolling, and then sat back to enjoy the fun either a Deist or Theistic Evolutionary position?

    Gonzalez says that ID does not require a belief in “God”.

    Also I would say that theistic evolutionists are closet IDists.

  19. 19

    jason1083:

    Are there other non-ID related ideas that were greeted with as much rancor as ID but eventually won acceptance?

    I am sure there are hundreds — the infamous history of medical doctors and handwashing comes to mind. But my favorite example (since I live in eastern Washington state in the middle of where all the action took place) is J. Harlen Bretz and the Missoula Floods. He theorized back in the 1920s that certain geologic features of the Columbia River Plateau were caused by one or more massive floods occurring about 10,000 years ago. This of course was a challenge to the uniformitarian orthodoxy and he was widely criticized. However, by the 1950s Bretz’s views were vindicated. You can read more here. I also recommend the book Cataclysms on the Columbia, ISBN 0881920673.

  20. Jason1083 (6): The earliest papers (by Friedman and Lemaître) were published in leading scientific journals (Lemaître apparently published in Nature).

    According to Simon Singh, Big Bang: The Origin of the Universe (pp. 268-9):

    [Lemaître's paper was published in] a little-known Belgian journal, the Annales de la Société Scientifique de Bruxelles

    Lemaître had…written to Arthur Eddington about his Big Bang model [in 1927] but had had received no reply. When Hubble’s discovery [of the apparent recession of galaxies from one another] hit the headlines, Lemaître wrote to Eddington again… ‘Eddington [wrote a] letter to…Nature in June 1930, in which he drew attention to Lemaître’s brilliant work of three years before.’

    However (p. 281):

    In 1933, Eddington wrote a popular primer, The Expanding Universe… [In it, h]e pointed out that there were important theoretical reasons and persuasive observational evidence in favour of a moment of creation, but also that there was still a huge amount of work to be done before the Big Bang model could be widely accepted. He called Hubble’s redshifts ‘too slender a thread on which to hang far-reaching conclusions.’ … [But] Eddington thought that Lemaitre’s ideas were important and worthy of a wider audience…

    (Later, Eddington also wrote, “Philosophically the notion of a beginning of the present order of Nature is repugnant to me. I should like to find a genuine loophole… As a scientist I simply do not believe the Universe began with a bang…it leaves me cold.”)

    Jason1083 (6): The theory always seems to have had some support among the scientific community – according to wikipedia, “For a number of years [before the discovery of the CMB] the support for [the big bang theory and the steady state theory] was evenly divided.” (it would be nice to know their source for that comment). Is this a fair characterization of the history? Are there other sources that might give a different picture? (preferably some that are accessible online, even if in scholarly journals).

    From Singh (p. 438):

    As each year passed, increasing numbers of scientists switched their allegiance from the Steady State to the Big Bang model. American astronomers had been polled back in 1959, at the height of the Big Bang versus Steady State controversy, and then again in 1980 after Penzias and Wilson had won their Nobel Prize [for discovering the CMB]. In 1959 the results showed that 33% of astronomers backed the Big Bang, 24% favoured the Steady State and 43% were unsure. In the 1980 poll, 69% of astronomers supported the Big Bang, only 2% stuck with the Steady State and 29% were unsure.

    __________

    jerry (17): …when [Laplace] showed that Newton was wrong in his theories about God guiding the orbits of planets through direct intervention.

    Where did Newton theorize that God guided the orbits of planets through direct intervention? Newton’s words on the subject in the Principia:

    …planets and comets will constantly pursue their revolutions in orbits given in kind and position, according to the laws explained; but though these bodies may, indeed, persevere in their orbits by the mere laws of gravity, yet they could by no means have at first derived the regular position of the orbits themselves from those laws…

    We know [God] only by his most wise and excellent contrivances of things, and final causes.

    It seems that Newton’s mistake was simply to believe that gravitation was incapable of serving as the basis of “self-ordering” phenomena.

    Though, of course, there is really no such thing as “self-ordering” phenomena (Stephen M. Barr, Modern Physics and Ancient Faith, pp. 78-79):

    Gravitation made the chaotically swirling gas and dust that filled the universe after the Big Bang condense into stars and planets. The same forces made those stars and planets settle into orderly arrangements like our solar system. On the surfaces of planets, chemicals clumped together under the influence of electromagnetic forces into smaller and then larger molecules… This is the grand picture: order emerging spontaneously from chaos. And presiding over the whole drama, the atheist tells us, is not some intelligence, but blind physical forces and mathematical necessity.

    [However,] when examined carefully, scientific accounts of natural processes are never really about order emerging from chaos, or form emerging from mere formlessness. On the contrary, they are always about the unfolding of an order that was already implicit in the nature of things, although often in a secret or hidden way. When we see situations that appear haphazard, or things that appear amorphous, automatically or spontaneously “arranging themselves” into orderly patterns, what we find in every case is that what appeared to be amorphous or hapahazard actually had a great deal of order already built into it. I shall illustrate this first in the simple example of marbles in a box, and then in more “natural” cases like the growth of crystals and the formation of the solar system. What we shall learn from these examples is the following important principle: Order has to be built in for order to come out.

    In fact, we shall learn something more: in every case where science explains order, it does so, in the final analysis, by appealing to a greater, more impressive, and more comprehensive underlying orderliness….

  21. IMHO, ID has suffered from being associated with The Discovery Institute and creationists who wanted to have their stuff teached in high school classes.
    The idea is interesting (can you identify design? Are there any explanation for what seems to be irreductibly complex systems?) and should have been debated in academic circles and spread from those. Now legitimate scientists are afraid to even mention the idea to avoid being caught in a philosophical debate they are not prepared for.
    A great deal has been made of the “wedge strategy” where ID was described as a replacement word for “creation”. This is usurpation of a scientific idea and ID is suffering for it. Instead of attacking evolutionary biology the people at the Discovery Institute should have worked to attack scientism and materialism form a social and philosophical standpoint and challenge the idea that science is the only authority of all there is.

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