Home » The Design of Life » Reflections on key recent events: Eminent science journal advises meat puppets to get over “image of God” rubbish

Reflections on key recent events: Eminent science journal advises meat puppets to get over “image of God” rubbish

Nothing in the intelligent design controversy is more instructive than a convinced Darwinist making his true position very, very clear.

This happened again recently, I see, when Britain’s elite science journal Nature responded to US Senator Brownback, who had written in the New York Times (May 31, 2007). Pointing out that – when he famously raised his hand during a Republican debate – he did not dispute evolution as a process but did dispute the materialist deductions drawn from it, he said,

While no stone should be left unturned in seeking to discover the nature of man’s origins, we can say with conviction that we know with certainty at least part of the outcome. Man was not an accident and reflects an image and likeness unique in the created order. Those aspects of evolutionary theory compatible with this truth are a welcome addition to human knowledge. Aspects of these theories that undermine this truth, however, should be firmly rejected as an atheistic theology posing as science.

To which Nature’s editors responded in “Evolution and the Brain”, sniffing with obvious distaste (June 14, 2007), “With all deference to the sensibilities of religious people, the idea that man was created in the image of God can surely be put aside.”

We are informed, according to British physicist David Tyler,

The particular point at issue concerns the human mind, and the Editorial insists that the conceptual framework for understanding humanity is evolutionary theory. Thinking based upon human minds being “the product of evolution is not atheistic theology. It is unassailable fact.” Furthermore, the Editorial goes on, “our feelings, intuitions, the ways in which we love and loathe, are the product of experience, evolution and culture alone.” The Editorial concludes: “Scientific theories of human nature may be discomforting or unsatisfying, but they are not illegitimate. And serious attempts to frame them will reflect the origins of the human mind in biological and cultural evolution, without reference to a divine creation.”

(I am quoting Tyler because the Nature item requires US$30.)

Remember this little contretemps when someone informs you that there is “no conflict” between your religion (no matter what it is) and current materialist evolution theory (whatever outlandish assertion it is currently making).

Now, most of the people who have told me that there is no conflict are simply not well informed enough to have any idea what they are talking about. They don’t know, for example, about the Nature editorial. They have never heard of Rick Sternberg, Guillermo Gonzalez, Robert Marks, or anyone else who was caught adding to the growing pile of evidence against materialism. Or if they have heard of them, they have comforted themselves with the belief that these scientists somehow “brought it on themselves.”

(Yes, they did bring it on themselves. They provided evidence against materialism.)

However, now and then I run into someone who does know what he is talking about when he tells me that there is no conflict. What he means is something like this: There is no conflict because the materialist elite are the only source of real facts about humans. If you want to be a happy clappie for Jesus somewhere, that is your private vice. Which is essentially what Nature’s editorialists believe.

As Tyler puts it,

Apparently, “science” requires Christians to put aside the idea that man was created in the image of God, and evolutionary psychology requires Christians to abandon the idea that feelings, intuitions and emotions are related to the relationship people have with God. The assertion that “science” has these theological implications should surely make us realise that the fact/value demarcation is inappropriate and that it is time to revisit these issues. The “science” of the Editorial is naturalistic and it is inherently impoverished. We need ID inputs to this debate to reclaim science from the tyranny of naturalism.

Hear, hear. But let’s not limit this to Christians. If you are a thinking person who belongs to any spiritual tradition and you sense “no conflict”, you live without pride or shame.

Harsh? You think I’M harsh? Wait till you see what your materialist masters think about you, meat puppet. Bunch of chemicals running around in a bag.

You may not be able to do anything about it just now, especially if you are surrounded by warm, fuzzy people who blindly pay taxes to support the institutions where materialist thugs make the rules and launch persecutions against anyone who is in a position to challenge them. Cheer up, though. The price the warm fuzzies pay is actually worse in the long run. From long disuse, they lose the ability to even think clearly – and they can’t afford to, anyway, because they would be forced to witness their own capitulation instead of just happily ignoring it.

Note 1: I personally believe that Brownback made a mistake in his contrast between faith and science. Where anything to do with Darwinism is concerned, the proper contrast is between the evidence from the history of life and Darwinism.

Note 2: Only a convinced materialist of the most dogmatic sort could seriously argue that it is “unassailable” that the human mind is a product of evolution. There are a dozen theories about what the mind even IS, so who’s to say what it is a product of – except a materialist dogmatist who already knows the answer so it doesn’t matter what the question is. But – if you teach at a university in any relevant field – are you free to disagree? If not, maybe you need to join the Expelled for your own protection.

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26 Responses to Reflections on key recent events: Eminent science journal advises meat puppets to get over “image of God” rubbish

  1. In philosophy departments, critics of materialism of all stripes flourish very well — and not just in ‘Christian’ colleges and universities.

    It seems unquestionable to me that the brain has been shaped by evolution — as has the heart and liver and pancreas. But I agree that one needs to provide some argument for why such considerations apply to the mind.

    Mind you, I’m something of a materialist in these matters myself — I’m more sympathetic to Daniel Dennett than to Thomas Nagel, for example! Though I’m much closer to the “embodied mind” work pioneered by Merleau-Ponty and since extended and expanded by many others. That approach allows, among other things, for a way to side-step the whole dichotomy of “mind and matter,” and that strikes me as the right way to go.

    That said, I am surprised and disappointed that the Editors of Nature were not alive and sensitive to these philosophical problems.

  2. Denyse,

    I can post the entire editorial here, but I don’t want to violate copyright laws. Is it a copyright infringment to paste part of a journal that requires a fee?

  3. Carl Sachs: “It seems unquestionable to me that the brain has been shaped by evolution”

    If by evolution, you mean blind unplanned evolution, what evidence can you cite that indicates that random variation and natural selection produced led to rational thought in humans?

  4. DrDan, I believe that you would probably be violating their copyright. (This is an educated guess, not a legal opinion.)

    From what I can tell, they want US$30 to view the editorial. So, they hope to get, like, US$30 000 from our readers just to find out what pond scum they think our readers are (and themselves and their readers too – or maybe not?)

    So DON’T post it here.

    This situation, by the way, brilliantly illustrates what materialists are like, when riding high.

    You need to pay that much to find out what pond scum you are.

    Or … UD will tell you it is all garbage for free. You decide.

    But, depending on the jurisdiction in which you live, you may still have to pay taxes to support their view.

    – d.

  5. I find this remark from the editorial disengenuous

    “The way that disgust functions in our lives and shapes our moral decisions reflects not just cultural training, but also biological evolution. Current theorizing on this topic, although fascinating, may be wide of the mark. But its basis in the idea that human minds are the product of evolution is not atheistic theology. It is unassailable fact.”

    I am no philosopher of science, but I am a scientists. I have heard from many scientists with great pride in fact is that the difference between science and religion is that science is tentative whereas religion is dogmatic. The last sentence in the above quote seems pretty dogmatic to me

  6. Carl Sachs you stated:

    “It seems unquestionable to me that the brain has been shaped by evolution”

    Excuse me for being a little pessimistic of your unquestionable confidence in evolution to do such “shaping”, as you put it,.

    There are about….
    One-quadrillion “connections” (synapses) between the one-hundred-billion cells (neurons) of an brain. The brain’s one hundred billion neurons match the number of stars in the Milky Way, and the number of connections active in the brain’s functioning verge on the number of stars in the entire known universe. To fill the capacity of all those synapses, a person would have to learn a one-billion volume encyclopedia (a million “letters” per encyclopedia). That’s enough to fill a bookshelf 10,000 miles long. In contrast, the Library of Congress (The largest library in the world) only has 17 million volumes. The brain is the most complex structure in the known universe, far surpassing, by many orders of magnitude, the most advanced supercomputers. One human brain generates more electrical impulses in a single day than all of the world’s telephones put together. This is all done with the power equivalent of a single flashlight, 12 Watts. All of our senses (sight, smell, hearing, taste, feeling) are transformed to electrical impulses which are sent to general regions of synapses in the brain where we, after complex transformations, finally become conscious of it. To accomplish all this thinking, the brain uses 20 to 25% of the body’s oxygen and 20% of its sugar, even though it is only 2% (3 pounds) of the body’s weight.

    As well these experiments with the “quantum” brain threaten to produce profound breakthroughs in science if verified independently.

    Nonlocal Effects of Chemical Substances on the Brain
    Produced through Quantum Entanglement

    http://www.ptep-online.com/ind.....-06-04.PDF

    The following offers proof of principle for Dr. Hu’s work,

    [QA01.04] Quantum Control of Molecules
    Kent R. Wilson (University of California, San Diego)

    Quantum control of molecules has recently rapidly moved from a theoretical field involving simple dilute gas phase molecules with the participation of only a few quantum states to experiments involving large molecules in the condensed phase at room temperature. These advances flow in part from the use of new techniques such as multiphoton control, the molecular pi pulse, and adaptive learning control (in which the experiment automatically learns from successive trials to optimize the light field with respect to the experimental goal). Applications of quantum control and its point of view to other fields are now becoming numerous: control of electronic, as well as nuclear, dynamics; automatic testing of theorems; control of large molecules in solution (including proteins); use of quantum control to discover the nature of chemical reactions; optimization of multiphoton microscopy; and quantum control concepts applied to develop a molecular scale pH meter.

    please note this fact:

    “control of large molecules in solution (including proteins)”

  7. Denyse,

    Well I just reproduced part of the editorial. If you need to delete it, then I understand.

  8. born,

    Thanks for the info on the brain. That piece helps me to understand why I get so hungry sitting begin a desk and thinking all day without doing any physical activity ;)

  9. Bornagain77, how many generations would it take to evolve all that complexity by a purposeless, unguided trial and error process? I think its time to whip out the mulitverse. ;)

  10. Sorry, a “mulitverse” is a poem about a hairdo. I meant “multiverse”

  11. very funny russ.

    I think that the brain has been influenced by unguided natural selection processes, but only how a model of a car is so influenced as it evolves from simple to complex under the guidance of a designer. I got a degree in psychology, and it is my understanding that the brain is heavily influenced (though not controled) by survival and sex instincts just as rats and monkeys. But the human brain has this beautiful and powerful part called the prefrontal cortex that gives rise to all sorts of higher intelligence features.
    (even with that though, I think the mind greater than the brain).

  12. Are David Tyler’s words true, or are they merely the product of biological and cultural evolution?

  13. DrDan, I believe that the portion you posted is within fair use guidelines (though that is not a legal opinion). It’s best if we don’t post any more from the editorial.

  14. Carl Sachs,

    I don’t think I’m all that impressed with your suggestion that the liver “was shaped” by blind chance either:

    There are about….
    Five-hundred different functions of the liver, some of which include: metabolizing food into nutrients; detoxifying poisons; purifying the ; manufacturing clotting agents and proteins; manufacturing and storing hormones; and maintaining body fat levels such as cholesterol and triglycerides. The liver is so resilient it can grow back to normal size in three months, even if only twenty percent of the liver remains.

    I bet the “most primitive” primate alive has comparable complexity Mr. Sachs!

    nor am I impressed with your dismissal of the heart to blind chance:

    There are about….
    Two and a half-billion beats from the heart once a person reaches seventy. The heart will pump forty-eight-million gallons of by then and could fill 2000 railroad tanker cars stretching over 20 miles. In one hour the heart works hard enough to raise a one ton weight one yard from the ground. The heart is so strong that it could shoot a stream of over 30 feet. There are over sixty-thousand miles of vessels in the average person. That’s enough to go around the world two and a half times, if they were stretched out end to end! A cell will make one circuit, from the heart through the major organs and part of the system, and back, in an average of one minute. Over 2 million red cells are made every second, if all of a person’s red cells were laid out side by side it would stretch over 100 thousand miles. That’s over 4 times around the equator of the earth.

    And just think all that is exquisitely balanced to exceedingly tight tolerances and balances.

    I bet the most ancient system of a mammal we can find will be comparable to the “fine-tuning” in our circulation system.

    I SMELL a rat in your speculations~!

    which reminds me of the nose:

    There are about….
    Ten-thousand different odors the average person is able to detect. Our noses are so sensitive we can detect the odors of certain substances even when they are diluted to 1 part in 30 billion and are so keen we can tell which direction a odor is coming from. Each person gives off a distinctive scent signature (like a fingerprint).

    Ditto here for primitive species,

    no no Mr. Sachs I can’t SEE your reasoning at all to dismiss such complexity to Blind chance,

    which reminds me of the eye:

    There are about….
    Seven-million shades of color the human eye can detect. It takes 200 million billionths of a second for the retina to create vision from light. The eye is so sensitive it can detect a candle one mile away. Each eye contains about one-hundred-million light sensitive cells. One type of light sensitive cell, the rod, can detect a single photon. For visible light the energy carried by a single photon would be around a tiny 4 x 10-19 Joules; this energy is just sufficient to excite a single molecule in a photoreceptor cell of an eye. There is a biological computer in the retina which processes and compresses the information from those millions of light sensitive cells before sending it to the visual cortex where the complex stream of information is then decompressed. While today’s digital hardware is extremely impressive, it is clear that the human retina’s real-time performance goes unchallenged. To actually simulate 10 milliseconds of the complete processing of even a single nerve cell from the retina would require the solution of about 500 simultaneous nonlinear differential equations 100 times and would take at least several minutes of processing time on a Cray supercomputer. Keeping in mind that there are 10 million or more such cells interacting with each other in complex ways, it would take a minimum of 100 years of Cray time to simulate what takes place in your eye many times every second. The human is the only species known to shed tears when they are sad.

    Shoot Mr. Sachs I’ve HEARD that some shrimp outdo our “advanced” eyes that have been “shaped” by evolution.

    The California Mantis Shrimp couple their ly club
    with a formidable targeting system- they possess the
    most sophisticated eyesight of any animal. While our
    eyes rely on just three types of photoreceptor cells
    to distinguish color, the mantis shrimp has sixteen.
    Four of these are devoted to perceiving ultraviolet, a
    color we cannot even see. The combination of this
    targeting array with a weapon system that packs a
    killer punch probably makes the Mantis Shrimp, weight
    for weight, the most well-armed animals alive.

    Weird Nature by John Downer

    No I certainly don’t see your reason for attributing it to blind chance, But if I HEAR anything that doesn’t suggest profound complexity in what you so easily dismiss to chance, I will tell you about it,

    which reminds me of the ear:

    There are about….
    Ten-trillion levels of intensity to human hearing (from threshold to pain, 0 to 130 decibels). This makes the sense of hearing the widest ranging of all senses. The ear is capable of detecting pressure variations of less than a billionth of atmospheric pressure. The threshold of hearing corresponds to a vibration width of only a tenth of an atom’s diameter.

    Ditto for comparison to “ancient” species here.

    And to think all these structure appear in the fossil record with a bang. You would think we could catch all mighty evolution fairly easily in the act of creating such outstanding complexity.

    Oh well Mr. Sachs keep the faith in blind chance buddy.

  15. I do not think science expects researchers to “put aside the idea that man was created in the image of God” — so much as to not use that fact to try and predict or explain things, again, in the current realm of science.

    To boil this down, are we saying in this particular article and thread that science, as a playing field, is too restrictive in its rules? That man being created in God’s image is an accepted and standalone fact that should be allowed as a true when performing scientific research and analysis?

    To me this seems to fly in the face of the “ID is legit science” stance taken elsewhere on this very blog.

    My apologies if I seem a bit confused.

    Perhaps what we mean to say is that the true area of study that we should value is not the currently dogmatic science that’s practiced today but a more inclusive discipline that includes science as simply one factor. If so, why complain about science? Cannot we raise this as a bigger issue and be more explicit about God’s influence, as this article and thread seems to indicate?

  16. JWarner, if we are going to have an honest discussion here, we need to start by acknowledging a fact base.

    “Science” did not say anything.

    But the editors of Nature actually SAID, “With all deference to the sensibilities of religious people, the idea that man was created in the image of God can surely be put aside.”

    Do you agree? If so, why? If not, why?

  17. DrDan:

    I have heard from many scientists with great pride in fact is that the difference between science and religion is that science is tentative whereas religion is dogmatic.

    I would love to see the scientific community show any sense of tentativeness wrt the theory of evolution. I grissle against the scientific communities dogmatism, and against little else. How on earth can the scientific community be dogmatic about a materialistic position when they don’t have a clue how first life came into existance?

    Modern biology, as presented to us non-scientists, has surely crossed the boundary becoming a religious dogma.

  18. “Many scientists are religious, and perceive no conflict between the values of their science — values that insist on disinterested, objective inquiry into the nature of the Universe — and those of their faith.”

    Was the purpose of the editorial to decrease the ranks of those “many scientists”?

  19. bfast,

    I suppose I was trying to point out a double standard amongs materialists. When its convenient for them, the state that science is tentative while religion is dogmatic. They do this to ensure that one never confuse science and religion. However, as you state, when one questions NDE, they sure do become dogmatic pretty fast, thus contradicting their tentativeness.

  20. bornagain…where did you get those descriptions? very cool!

  21. Carl Sachs wrote:

    “In philosophy departments, critics of materialism of all stripes flourish very well — and not just in ‘Christian’ colleges and universities.”

    Mr. Sachs must be from a different neck of the woods than mine, if he’s seen many philosophy departments where critics of materialism “flourish”. My experience of philosophy departments is quite different. They are stacked with people like Dennett and Pennock and Ruse and Forrest, who will hire only people like themselves.

    In such an environment, it may indeed be possible to criticize the cruder forms of materialism, like that of Richard Dawkins, but almost always the replacement position is just a more refined form of materialism. The only teleologies allowed are immanentist, and even those are well to the left of such quasi-spiritual immanentisms as Aristotle’s. And increasingly, philosophy faculty are not interested in metaphysical problems at all (e.g., teleology vs. mechanism, soul vs. epiphenomenalism), but concentrate on offering deconstructionist and nihilist accounts of everything, including the very possibility of metaphysics. I doubt that this anti-rationalism is an improvement on the old materialisms of Lucretius and Marx and Freud, from the point of view of most ID supporters.

    In my experience that, after biology and perhaps some of the social sciences, the philosophy departments at most modern universities are the main bastions on campus of materialism, relativism, and atheism. You’ll find riper prospects for Platonism among the theoretical physics faculty, and riper prospects for Aristotelianism among the political science faculty.

    Of course there are exceptions. Certain Catholic universities, obviously, maintain philosophy departments where positions other than the materialist are treated as live options. And there are Protestant analogues. And in rare cases, a big-name university may tolerate a non-materialist philosopher, if he’s absolutely colossal in stature and will bring in top graduate students. But I know of very few non-denominational universities who would hire, for example, a Plato scholar who upheld the Platonic-Pythagorean doctrine of the soul as “true”.

    Also, in my experience, the number of Religious Studies Ph.D.s who succeed in getting positions in Philosophy departments, in positions directly related to the subject of religion, such as Philosophy of Religion, is about equal to the number of elephants who can dance on the head of a pin. This is so even when the Religious Studies grads in question have written dissertations on Plato, Kant, Hegel, Kierkegaard, etc. Three guesses why most Philosophy faculty feel this antipathy towards Religious Studies grads!

    Finally, if a young Ph.D. published an essay in a refereed philosophy journal, arguing for Intelligent Design along Dembskian lines, I think we can safely say that such a person would put in quite a few years as a taxi driver before being hired in the Philosophy department of a mainstream secular university.

    Behe’s advice to young biologists who support ID — “Until you have tenure, keep your head down and your mouth shut” — applies equally to any young philosopher who would dare to argue that materialism, phenomenology, deconstructionism and positivism are all erroneous, destructive, and evil, and that traditional Platonism, Stoicism, Aristotelianism or Vedanta is “true”. Such a teaching applicant would be told condescendingly by the Philosophy Chair to go teach in a seminary (and probably, under the Chair’s breath, to go to hell.)

  22. Wow . . .

    At least, it is out in the open, in the words of the leading general purpose scientific journal’s editorial team.

    And, BTW [though I am not a lawyer and I am sure that evo mat advocates can parse law and factual evidence to mean the opposite of what it says and get tame judges of Mr Jones' ilk to agree, and post-mod phil profs to back it all up], there is in copyright law a fair use provision which allows us to make reasonable citation for use in the public or academic interest.

    I bet, too, you are not going to hear this ideological declaration headlined as a gotcha moment on BBC or CNN etc, nor will there be a call for serious accountability or questions over public taxpayer funding of institutionalised [quasi]religious [here, anti-theistic] agendas.

    It is appropriate to again put at least a link to the Aug 20 onward discussion of why many people [starting with the likes of a C S Lewis or an Alvin Plantinga] think that there is a basic, inescapable problem with the coherence of the conceptual base of evo mat thought.

    This is what is reflected in the apt comments in . . .

    [Mike 1962, no 3]If by evolution, you mean blind unplanned evolution, what evidence can you cite that indicates that random variation and natural selection produced led to rational thought in humans?

    [russ, 9 & 10]: how many generations would it take to evolve all that complexity [cf BA77 in 6] by a purposeless, unguided trial and error process? I think its time to whip out the [multiverse].

    [Colin, 11] I think that the brain has been influenced by unguided natural selection processes, but only how a model of a car is so influenced as it evolves from simple to complex under the guidance of a designer . . . the human brain has this beautiful and powerful part called the prefrontal cortex that gives rise to all sorts of higher intelligence features.
    (even with that though, I think the mind greater than the brain).

    [Russ, 12] Are David Tyler’s words true, or are they merely the product of biological and cultural evolution?

    These are serious questions and they deserve a serious answer. One that also cogently addresses the issues in the step by step summary points [cf the Aug 20 thread, at 48 - 49 on to 193 and context out to at least 218] that:

    . . . [a] materialism, however, has deeper problems. It argues that the cosmos is the product of chance interactions of matter and energy, within the constraint of the laws of nature. Therefore, [b] all phenomena in the universe, without residue, are determined by the working of purposeless laws acting on material objects, under the direct or indirect control of chance.

    But [c] human thought, clearly a phenomenon in the universe, must now fit into this picture. Thus, [d] what we subjectively experience as “thoughts” and “conclusions” can only be understood materialistically as unintended by-products of the natural forces which cause and control the electro-chemical events going on in neural networks in our brains. (These forces are viewed as ultimately physical, but are taken to be partly mediated through a complex pattern of genetic inheritance and psycho-social conditioning, within the framework of human culture.)

    Therefore, [e] if materialism is true, the “thoughts” we have and the “conclusions” we reach, without residue, are produced and controlled by forces that are irrelevant to purpose, truth, or validity. Of course, [f] the conclusions of such arguments may still happen to be true, by lucky coincidence — but [g] we have no rational grounds for relying on the “reasoning” that has led us to feel that we have “proved” them. And, if our materialist friends then say: [h, an objection] “But, we can always apply scientific tests, through observation, experiment and measurement,” then we must note that [i, a counter to h] to demonstrate that such tests provide empirical support to their theories requires the use of the very process of reasoning which they have discredited!

    Thus, [j, a conclusion entailed by the chain of implications a - i] evolutionary materialism reduces reason itself to the status of illusion. But, immediately, [k] that includes “Materialism.” For instance, Marxists commonly deride opponents for their “bourgeois class conditioning” — but what of the effect of their own class origins? Freudians frequently dismiss qualms about their loosening of moral restraints by alluding to the impact of strict potty training on their “up-tight” critics — but doesn’t this cut both ways? And, should we not simply ask a Behaviourist whether s/he is simply another operantly conditioned rat trapped in the cosmic maze?

    In the end, [l, bottom-line] materialism is based on self-defeating logic, and only survives because people often fail (or, sometimes, refuse) to think through just what their beliefs really mean.

    As a further consequence, [m, key applications] materialism can have no basis, other than arbitrary or whimsical choice and balances of power in the community [i.e. "might [or manipulation] makes ‘right’ “], for determining what is to be accepted as True or False, Good or Evil. So, Morality, Truth, Meaning, and, at length, Man, are dead . . .

    GEM of TKI

    PS Should the guys over at Expelled be adding a section on phil Depts etc, in light of 21?

  23. O’Leary:

    “Science” did not say anything.

    But the editors of Nature actually SAID, “With all deference to the sensibilities of religious people, the idea that man was created in the image of God can surely be put aside.”

    Do you agree? If so, why? If not, why?

    You are right, I did not clearly quote. It was, as you say, what the editors of Nature said, not ‘science’ itself.

    If I agree with how the editors of Nature demarcate their definition of science (as finite and contained; as an axiomatic system; as a closed method that puts questions to the physical world through experiment to see if it matches a given hypothesis) I suppose I would have to agree with them. Again, only IF I felt that science should be defined that way. I do not. It is far too restrictive to me, and therefore hobbled. It does not (for example) speak of the origin of hypothesis at all, as near as I can tell.

    My real concern — which likely betrays my lack of philosophical knowledge — is the mixed messages from this blog (I admit due to my ignorant interpretation, to be sure).

    On one hand we seem to say, to the likes of the editors of Nature: “ID is a legitimate scientific view, even in the way you define science, and we have the ability to determine design. Do not chase us with torches and pitchforks. Let us prove it to you.”

    And on the other hand we seem to say, again to the likes of the editors of Nature: “Your restrictive definition of science is blinding you from massive truths, and excluding hugely powerful concepts (man created in God’s image, for example) that can expand the reach and impact of your efforts.”

    Are these independent statements? It could be argued that they are, however if we stand by both as a community would we not be better served to concentrate on the latter without shame (as, thankfully, the upcoming “Expelled” film seems to do)?

  24. Lest there be any mis-understanding of what the editors of Nature were saying, here’s how they followed the quote DrDan posted:

    This does not utterly invalidate the idea that the human mind is, as Senator Brownback would have it, a reflection of the mind of God. But the suggestion that any entity capable of creating the Universe has a mind encumbered with the same emotional structures and perceptual framework as that of an upright ape adapted to living in small, intensely social peer-groups on the African savannah seems a priori unlikely.

    I would interpret this to mean that there are theological positions that aren’t at odds with evolutionary psychology. There is only a conflict if you follow a religion that won’t accept advances in modern science. The editors write in their last paragraph:

    It remains uncertain how the new sciences of human behaviour emerging at the intersections of anthropology, evolutionary biology and neuropsychology can best be navigated. But that does not justify their denunciation on the basis of religious faith alone.

    Hey folks, we could all add one paragraph each, and have the whole editorial up in no time. :-)

  25. H’mm:

    JW at 23:

    If I agree with how the editors of Nature demarcate their definition of science (as finite and contained; as an axiomatic system; as a closed method that puts questions to the physical world through experiment to see if it matches a given hypothesis) I suppose I would have to agree with them. Again, only IF I felt that science should be defined that way. I do not. It is far too restrictive to me, and therefore hobbled. It does not (for example) speak of the origin of hypothesis at all, as near as I can tell.

    This raises the interesting and vexed, philosophically loaded question as to what science “properly” is, and how that has been answered across time. [Why is that not part of every high school -- much less, college -- science education programme?]

    In short, once we have raised this, we are talking history and phil of sci, and the current commonly encountered imposition of methodological naturalism as a discussion-stopper is question-begging.

    GEM of TKI

  26. It was kind of “Nature,” don’t you think, to respond to Brownback in a way that clearly demonstrates that Darwinism is philosophy, not science.

    Science looks at nature and makes an effort to understand it on its own terms. Philosophy attempts to make inferences about the nature of being from what is seen in nature; to make value judgments and tell us how to live our lives.

    The editorialists at Nature clearly fall into the philosophy camp. Darwinism proves that humans are not made in the image of God, according to them. This is philosophy, not science.

    As long as “Nature” continues to make pronouncements about being, and cannot be content with science for its own sake, it can expect opposition from those who do not agree with its philosophy.

    “Nature” finds itself in a bit of a fix. The mystery of life, the fact of design, the fine tuning of the universe, the existence of the “I”: these things testify that pure naturalism is deficient; that the Darwinists may not be the venerable greybeards they would have us believe.

    Of course there is a way out of the dilemma Nature has created for itself. It can show a little humility and stop tying to peddle its dogma as science.

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