Why intelligent design shouldn’t bully Texas high school kids


You can go read this at P. Z. Myers’s Pharyngula, but I’m going to pirate most of his post here to reiterate the point for Texas:  Intelligent design doesn’t belong in Texas science classrooms, and intelligent design’s attacks on evolution don’t belong there either, because they are not backed by science.

ID’s propaganda tank, the Discovery Institute, invited a biologist from the University of Vermont, Nicholas Gotelli, to debate one of their spokesmen.  The biologist declined.

Unable to perform in science venues, the Discovery Institute is working to get Texas high school students to take Dr. Gotelli’s place.  That’s why Texas scientists and educators are up in arms against the proposals from the Texas State Board of Education — Texas high school kids cannot do the work of science, and shouldn’t be called on to be the patsy for the Discovery Institute in classrooms, for grades.

Here’s the invitation; be sure to read Dr. Gotelli’s response, further below.

Dear Professor Gotelli,

I saw your op-ed in the Burlington Free Press and appreciated your support of free speech at UVM. In light of that, I wonder if you would be open to finding a way to provide a campus forum for a debate about evolutionary science and intelligent design. The Discovery Institute, where I work, has a local sponsor in Burlington who is enthusiastic to find a way to make this happen. But we need a partner on campus. If not the biology department, then perhaps you can suggest an alternative.

Ben Stein may not be the best person to single-handedly represent the ID side. As you’re aware, he’s known mainly as an entertainer. A more appropriate alternative or addition might be our senior fellows David Berlinski or Stephen Meyer, respectively a mathematician and a philosopher of science. I’ll copy links to their bios below. Wherever one comes down in the Darwin debate, I think we can all agree that it is healthy for students to be exposed to different views–in precisely the spirit of inviting controversial speakers to campus, as you write in your op-ed.

I’m hoping that you would be willing to give a critique of ID at such an event, and participate in the debate in whatever role you feel comfortable with.

A good scientific backdrop to the discussion might be Dr. Meyer’s book that comes out in June from HarperCollins, “Signature in the Cell: DNA and the Evidence for Intelligent Design.”

On the other hand, Dr. Belinski may be a good choice since he is a critic of both ID and Darwinian theory.

Would it be possible for us to talk more about this by phone sometime soon?

With best wishes,
David Klinghoffer
Discovery Institute

Gotelli wrote back:

Dear Dr. Klinghoffer:

Thank you for this interesting and courteous invitation to set up a debate about evolution and creationism (which includes its more recent relabeling as “intelligent design”) with a speaker from the Discovery Institute. Your invitation is quite surprising, given the sneering coverage of my recent newspaper editorial that you yourself posted on the Discovery Institute’s website:  http://www.evolutionnews.org/2009/02/

However, this kind of two-faced dishonesty is what the scientific community has come to expect from the creationists.

Academic debate on controversial topics is fine, but those topics need to have a basis in reality. I would not invite a creationist to a debate on campus for the same reason that I would not invite an alchemist, a flat-earther, an astrologer, a psychic, or a Holocaust revisionist. These ideas have no  scientific support, and that is why they have all been discarded by credible scholars.  Creationism is in the same category.

Instead of spending time on public debates, why aren’t members of your institute publishing their ideas in prominent peer-reviewed journals such as Science, Nature, or the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences? If you want to be taken seriously by scientists and scholars, this is where you need to publish.  Academic publishing is an intellectual free market, where ideas that have credible empirical support are carefully and thoroughly explored. Nothing could possibly be more exciting and electrifying to biology than scientific disproof of evolutionary theory or scientific proof of the existence of a god. That would be Nobel Prize winning work, and it would be eagerly published by any of the prominent mainstream journals.

“Conspiracy” is the predictable response by Ben Stein and the frustrated creationists. But conspiracy theories are a joke, because science places a high premium on intellectual honesty and on new empirical studies that overturn previously established principles. Creationism doesn’t live up to these standards, so its proponents are relegated to the sidelines, publishing in books, blogs, websites, and obscure journals that don’t maintain scientific standards.

Finally, isn’t it sort of pathetic that your large, well-funded
institute must scrape around, panhandling for a seminar invitation at a little university in northern New England? Practicing scientists receive frequent invitations to speak in science departments around the world, often on controversial and novel topics. If creationists actually published some legitimate science, they would receive such invitations as well.

So, I hope you understand why I am declining your offer. I will wait patiently to read about the work of creationists in the  pages of Nature and Science. But until it appears there, it isn’t science and doesn’t merit an invitation.

In closing, I do want to thank you sincerely for this invitation and for your posting on the Discovery Institute Website. As an evolutionary biologist, I can’t tell you what a badge of honor this is. My colleagues will be envious.

Sincerely yours,

Nick Gotelli

P.S. I hope you will forgive me if I do not respond to any further e-mails from you or from the Discovery Institute. This has been entertaining, but it interferes with my research and teaching.

Of course, that’s what Judge William Overton told creationists to do way back in 1982, in the Arkansas trial.  Just do the science, and it will be in the textbooks as if by magic.

If creationists won’t listen to a federal judge, why would they listen to Vermont biologist?

114 Responses to Why intelligent design shouldn’t bully Texas high school kids

  1. lowerleavell says:

    I don’t have enough to write back fully today. You all are probably wishing I wouldn’t write back at all. :- ) This’ll be long, and I’ll do my best to respond to each of you.

    I wrote: “…why can’t the fact that the universe needs a cause to exist be taught in a public classroom?”

    Rayjs wrote, “Because it is a religious belief. Because it is beyond science and what is knowable. And it is a belief because it assumes that you have sufficient knowledge of the universe to be able to make statements relating to cause and effect about it.”

    Nick wrote, “The universe may need a cause to exist but there is no requirement that said cause be an “Intelligent Designer.””

    I would suggest that the two of you get on the same page together before replying again. I’m not sure which one to respond to – the one who says that cause and effect is a religious belief or the one who says that there truly is a need for cause and effect in science. Whether or not that cause is an Intelligent Designer is irrelevant unless you first concede that there needs to be a cause.

    Cause and effect can be used to back up a religious argument (which I do in my personal life), but that does not mean that in and of itself it is not scientific.

    Nick said, “Lower, we’re not trying to destroy Christianity. Get that through your head. That would be especially silly of me since I’m Christian. And no..I’m not relegating the Bible to the level of Tolkien fantasy. What I am not doing is pretending the Bible is a science book. The Bible is a book of faith.”

    You guys may not even realize that you are doing so, so I am not accusing you of doing it with malice intent. You may not even realize that you are undermining the foundations of your own faith. It is not paranoia or anything like that, I assure you. Hear me out in the logic here. If there is a natural explanation for the existence of life, then that would negate the need for a cause to life, because it happened naturally. If then I am not a “creation” of an Intelligent Designer (as a Christian, I believe that to be God), then there is no needed actuality. In that case, God’s existence is reduced to the same level as Thor or Zeus and is simply the stuff of legends. It does not mean that He does not exist – He very well could and you could religiously believe it, but it means that there is no reason for worship of Him as the Creator. If God is not the creator of life, the planets, the stars, etc. then there is no reason to give Him praise for those things. If you take those things away, you take away 50% plus of the things that Christians worship about God. Also, you would take away God’s moral authority. It would be akin to me telling your kids how they should behave – or China telling the US how they should govern – it simply wouldn’t be appropriate for God to tell us how best to live when He has no authority to do so – so you can throw out those 10 commandments and all of Christ’s laws, because those are merely suggestions given by a foreign alien – if there is a natural cause to life and God is not our authority. Also, it completely destroys the credibility of the Bible. Not just in Genesis, but overall in that guys like Moses, David, Job, Jesus in the Gospels, and Paul (we’re talking a majority of Biblical writings) all wrote saying that we were created by God and for God. Paul even went so far to say that it is by Jesus that the world was made and that He is the one that holds the universe together. Peter talks in his epistles that one day before creating a new earth for us, God will let go of the universe and it will melt – how could He do that if He is not the Creator? If Jesus said that God created the world and God did not, that makes Jesus a liar and thus is not able to die for our sins as a perfect sacrifice. How do we know that He can provide an eternal life in heaven if He did not give us life in the first place? So, even worship of Jesus goes out the window! So, even in this scenario of there being a natural explanation for life from non-life but there still may be a God – He’s definitely not worthy of my worship, because He’s has done nothing worthy of praise. That is why I say that life from non-life is completely incompatible with Christianity and you are destroying the Christian faith. Not saying you’re doing it on purpose, but you are undermining what the Bible says. Which brings us to Nick’s next statement:

    Nick said, “You, Lower, are elevating the Bible to status of godhood. It is you that is edging towards being a false Christian because you are worshipping a book.”

    What??? Where’d that come from? I merely hold the Bible to its own words. Is that Bible worship? If I hold you to your words am I calling you a god? Not at all! The Bible is a book, not an intelligent designer. I do not worship the Bible – I merely believe that it speaks of the Intelligent Designer and was authored by the Designer. If God cannot even write a book without messing up, how could He keep me without messing up? Why would I place my trust and my future in His incapable hands?

    Nick said, “Because if you take the Creation account literally you are actually saying that God is a liar.”

    No, I am contending that molecules to man is a lie – a sincere one maybe, but a lie nonetheless. I am saying that the Creation account is true – which is a religious statement of faith, not to be taken as a scientific statement. I believe it was a supernatural event – had to be if it was done by someone supernatural – and thus is outside the realms of science.

    Nick said, “The Creation account in the Bible, Lower, is allegory.”

    Based on what evidence? Why is it that many Orthodox Jews who take the Torah seriously still regard it as literal? If you were to look at the Genesis account in Hebrew it makes it much harder to come to the conclusion that it is an allegory. It is not written in poetic form – its narrative is not even hinted to being allegory any more than the narrative of Christ. David, Paul, Job, Isaiah, and Jesus all took the Creation account literally. What then, beyond your religious beliefs, would indicate that it is anything but meant to be taken literal? Are you a better theologian than Jesus? I’m personally holding to whatever view He did and He said God did it and how long it took.

    Nick said, “And as for your claims on “cause.” You still haven’t shown why it has to be a “Designer” and why it couldn’t have happened naturally.”

    Instead of making claims like this, will you please go back and read my posts from before and actually respond to them, please? I did demonstrate how an ultimate cause must be outside of nature because the universe is an effect and not a cause! You can’t have something natural, something within the effect, be the ultimate cause. I did show why it had to be intelligent, etc. If you have a problem with what I said, that’s fine – but don’t just make the claim, show me where and what I said that was wrong.

    Nick said, “Science can not prove the existance of a god, Lower. So there is no point in having science say there is one.”

    Never said that it could. But it can affirm that there is an ultimate cause to the universe. To deny that statement alone to children is censorship of the truth. I’m not asking for public schools to give equal time to every religious organization to try and demonstrate why their “god” is the ultimate cause. What I’m saying is that a school should present that there is a cause and give them the freedom to make their decisions by themselves.

    Nick said, “All the theory of evolution is is a description of one of life’s processes. Using your reasoning we shouldn’t teach the theory of gravity for the same reason.”

    If people were trying to fly and gravity was the reason they couldn’t, you couldn’t say that gravity isn’t contrary to their beliefs, could you? Again, let me get this thing straightened out – I have no problem with adaptation and change and even to some degree, modification of a species to its environment. I have no problem with the evidence that is found – what I have a problem with is what is inferred from the evidence that we have evolved from molecules into people over the course of billions of years. Ed and I have been contending on this point for two years. I’m not totally in favor of rehashing everything that we’ve talked about, but suffice it to say that after two years of evidence from the evolution side, I have not seen molecules to man demonstrated as the plausible answer to the “description of our life’s processes.” It simply breaks down in too many places and if you want to go back and read our discussions, feel free.

    Nick, “And as for your claim about people who search apart from God to find meaning end up with a “eat drink and be merry mentality” I’ve known a lot of non-Christians, Lower, who are far more moral people then quite a few Christians I know. You, in making that statement, Lower are being an arrogant and ignorant liar. You claim to be Christian and yet, Lower, you engage in such blatant bearing of false witness.”

    Well, I’ve been called terrorist by Ed, so this is nothing new, unfortunately. Inflammatory language does nothing to advance the discussion, so I would respectfully ask you to cease from the name calling.

    What I said is that if there is no moral absolutes because there is no absolute authority then it is a “eat drink and be merry” mentality. If one wishes to be “moral” in that scenario, that’s fine – but it still fits within the “mentality” only within their own culture and desires of their own hearts. Perhaps a better way to put it is that “everyone does what is right in their own eyes.” I can’t judge motives, and I never said I could. What I can say is that those who logically follow the idea of “why am I here?” to it’s ultimate conclusion will be left philosophically with nothing but “eat drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die” – do what you want and what makes you happy, moral or evil, because you’re going to die soon. Not saying that “eat, drink, and be merry” means immorality at all.

    My neighbors growing up were not Christians but they were more moral than many “Christians” that I knew too. Morality is not the issue – purpose in life is. The two are not the same. Christians who are not moral do not understand they are living contrary to their purpose in life. Atheists who are moral may be doing good things, but there is no ultimate purpose beyond their own satisfaction of a moral lifestyle – that’s what makes them happy.

    Nick said, “And as for your contention that this country is becoming “anti Christian” oh please quit drinking that particular kool-aid. We are between 70-80 percent of the population, Lower.”

    Let me re-phrase that to “Biblical Christians”, not “post modern Christians.” Christianity as those who don’t think of Christianity as a culture or an inheritance of birth but rather a relationship with Christ and actively seek to follow His teachings. Jesus even said, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord, shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.” Just putting the tag “Christian” on your facebook religious views does not make you a Christian. According to the Bible, only hose who believes in Sola Fida, Sola Gracia, and Sola Scriptura (Martin Luther) are genuine believers in Jesus. If you wish to go here further, that’s more than fine with me because there is plenty Bible that teaches what I’m saying.

    Nick said, “If you would quit trying to shove your religious beliefs…meaning “Intelligent Design/Creationism” into this country’s science class rooms where they don’t belong, Lower, I would have no problem with you. Those groups, Lower, are trying to turn the public schools into Christian madrassas.”

    If molecules to man were taken out of textbooks then I would agree with you, because things that go beyond scientific evidence – even if it “points” in one direction or the other – should not be in publically funded textbooks. Why is that you can find textbooks that have “primordial soup” in it as a “hypothesis”, but have nothing about even the possibility of an ultimate cause to the universe even though every single person in this thread has stated that one is a necessary actuality?

    Nick said, “And no, neither Ed nor me nor anyone else who has objected to what you have said serves any god called “natural selection.””

    Then you haven’t read much of Ed’s writings. If it was natural selection that caused everything that you and I enjoy today, then wouldn’t pantheism and “mother earth” worship be the order of the day? Wouldn’t worship of “naturalistic science” be appropriate? Do a study of what worship really is (i.e. pledging your time and affections, etc.) and you may be surprised at what you are worshipping.

    Nick said, “And your statement that” it’s characteristics are identical to the God that the Christians are worshipping” is merely an opinion..an belief..a statement of faith. It is by no means a statement of science. And I suspect that the non-Christians of this planet, Lower, would disagree with you.”

    Yeah – I agree. Tree worshippers, idol worshippers, ancestor worshippers, self worshippers, science worshippers, and sun, moon, and star-god worshippers definitely disagree with me, that’s for sure. As Athanasius once stated when it appeared that the whole world was against him in believing that Jesus was indeed God in the flesh, “If the world is against truth, then I am against the world.” I say the same to a world that does not recognize God as the Creator. But if there is an intelligent designer, there are things that this designer must logically possess. These actually aren’t even so much religious statements more than they are philosophical and logical in nature. It is a deductive argument and I understand that. Take it as such.

    Rayjs, I understand what you’re saying about proximate causes, but may I suggest that you are moving the goal posts? Actually, there are some things that are inherently true – objective if you will – regardless of your religious belief system. Gravity, motion, etc. is truth, regardless of whether or not you agree that it is true. Newton was naturalistic in his science, yes, but he held everything under the umbrella that ultimately everything was the creation of God. God is the one who set the natural order into place. He is the one who caused gravity, first set things in motion, caused life, etc. He would agree with me that there is an ultimate cause because He is the one who first really understood the concept of cause and effect in his law of motion.

    Rayjs said, “And that’s what real science still does today. Whether a scientist believes in God or not, he/she still seeks answers in the natural world. It has to be that way if science is to maintain its integrity and its usefulness. Belief in ultimate causes is the stuff of religion and every good scientist knows that.”

    I’m not saying that science should stop doing that at all! Keep up the work on cancer research and micro-biological research, etc. That’s awesome stuff what they can do now with scientific breakthroughs. Creationists are all for that, as long as it does not violate moral boundaries of the sanctity of human life. I’m not saying that scientists must be Christians in order to do good research because there are something things (like nature) that are objectively true, regardless of what you believe about them. I’m not even saying that scientists should seek to explain the ultimate cause or even research it – what I’m trying to demonstrate in this whole discussion that we’ve been having back and forth, is that it is perfectly within the realms of nature and science to declare that the universe need a cause – and that the cause must be an intelligent designer (it could not have been a creation of something else to be a cause) and that is not something that needs be left out of science or the classroom. Beyond that, I agree with you – let the theologians debate

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  2. lowerleavell says:

    I don’t have enough to write back fully today. You all are probably wishing I wouldn’t write back at all. :- ) This’ll be long, and I’ll do my best to respond to each of you.

    I wrote: “…why can’t the fact that the universe needs a cause to exist be taught in a public classroom?”

    Rayjs wrote, “Because it is a religious belief. Because it is beyond science and what is knowable. And it is a belief because it assumes that you have sufficient knowledge of the universe to be able to make statements relating to cause and effect about it.”

    Nick wrote, “The universe may need a cause to exist but there is no requirement that said cause be an “Intelligent Designer.””

    I would suggest that the two of you get on the same page together before replying again. I’m not sure which one to respond to – the one who says that cause and effect is a religious belief or the one who says that there truly is a need for cause and effect in science. Whether or not that cause is an Intelligent Designer is irrelevant unless you first concede that there needs to be a cause.

    Cause and effect can be used to back up a religious argument (which I do in my personal life), but that does not mean that in and of itself it is not scientific.

    Nick said, “Lower, we’re not trying to destroy Christianity. Get that through your head. That would be especially silly of me since I’m Christian. And no..I’m not relegating the Bible to the level of Tolkien fantasy. What I am not doing is pretending the Bible is a science book. The Bible is a book of faith.”

    You guys may not even realize that you are doing so, so I am not accusing you of doing it with malice intent. You may not even realize that you are undermining the foundations of your own faith. It is not paranoia or anything like that, I assure you. Hear me out in the logic here. If there is a natural explanation for the existence of life, then that would negate the need for a cause to life, because it happened naturally. If then I am not a “creation” of an Intelligent Designer (as a Christian, I believe that to be God), then there is no needed actuality. In that case, God’s existence is reduced to the same level as Thor or Zeus and is simply the stuff of legends. It does not mean that He does not exist – He very well could and you could religiously believe it, but it means that there is no reason for worship of Him as the Creator. If God is not the creator of life, the planets, the stars, etc. then there is no reason to give Him praise for those things. If you take those things away, you take away 50% plus of the things that Christians worship about God. Also, you would take away God’s moral authority. It would be akin to me telling your kids how they should behave – or China telling the US how they should govern – it simply wouldn’t be appropriate for God to tell us how best to live when He has no authority to do so – so you can throw out those 10 commandments and all of Christ’s laws, because those are merely suggestions given by a foreign alien – if there is a natural cause to life and God is not our authority. Also, it completely destroys the credibility of the Bible. Not just in Genesis, but overall in that guys like Moses, David, Job, Jesus in the Gospels, and Paul (we’re talking a majority of Biblical writings) all wrote saying that we were created by God and for God. Paul even went so far to say that it is by Jesus that the world was made and that He is the one that holds the universe together. Peter talks in his epistles that one day before creating a new earth for us, God will let go of the universe and it will melt – how could He do that if He is not the Creator? If Jesus said that God created the world and God did not, that makes Jesus a liar and thus is not able to die for our sins as a perfect sacrifice. How do we know that He can provide an eternal life in heaven if He did not give us life in the first place? So, even worship of Jesus goes out the window! So, even in this scenario of there being a natural explanation for life from non-life but there still may be a God – He’s definitely not worthy of my worship, because He’s has done nothing worthy of praise. That is why I say that life from non-life is completely incompatible with Christianity and you are destroying the Christian faith. Not saying you’re doing it on purpose, but you are undermining what the Bible says. Which brings us to Nick’s next statement:

    Nick said, “You, Lower, are elevating the Bible to status of godhood. It is you that is edging towards being a false Christian because you are worshipping a book.”

    What??? Where’d that come from? I merely hold the Bible to its own words. Is that Bible worship? If I hold you to your words am I calling you a god? Not at all! The Bible is a book, not an intelligent designer. I do not worship the Bible – I merely believe that it speaks of the Intelligent Designer and was authored by the Designer. If God cannot even write a book without messing up, how could He keep me without messing up? Why would I place my trust and my future in His incapable hands?

    Nick said, “Because if you take the Creation account literally you are actually saying that God is a liar.”

    No, I am contending that molecules to man is a lie – a sincere one maybe, but a lie nonetheless. I am saying that the Creation account is true – which is a religious statement of faith, not to be taken as a scientific statement. I believe it was a supernatural event – had to be if it was done by someone supernatural – and thus is outside the realms of science.

    Nick said, “The Creation account in the Bible, Lower, is allegory.”

    Based on what evidence? Why is it that many Orthodox Jews who take the Torah seriously still regard it as literal? If you were to look at the Genesis account in Hebrew it makes it much harder to come to the conclusion that it is an allegory. It is not written in poetic form – its narrative is not even hinted to being allegory any more than the narrative of Christ. David, Paul, Job, Isaiah, and Jesus all took the Creation account literally. What then, beyond your religious beliefs, would indicate that it is anything but meant to be taken literal? Are you a better theologian than Jesus? I’m personally holding to whatever view He did and He said God did it and how long it took.

    Nick said, “And as for your claims on “cause.” You still haven’t shown why it has to be a “Designer” and why it couldn’t have happened naturally.”

    Instead of making claims like this, will you please go back and read my posts from before and actually respond to them, please? I did demonstrate how an ultimate cause must be outside of nature because the universe is an effect and not a cause! You can’t have something natural, something within the effect, be the ultimate cause. I did show why it had to be intelligent, etc. If you have a problem with what I said, that’s fine – but don’t just make the claim, show me where and what I said that was wrong.

    Nick said, “Science can not prove the existance of a god, Lower. So there is no point in having science say there is one.”

    Never said that it could. But it can affirm that there is an ultimate cause to the universe. To deny that statement alone to children is censorship of the truth. I’m not asking for public schools to give equal time to every religious organization to try and demonstrate why their “god” is the ultimate cause. What I’m saying is that a school should present that there is a cause and give them the freedom to make their decisions by themselves.

    Nick said, “All the theory of evolution is is a description of one of life’s processes. Using your reasoning we shouldn’t teach the theory of gravity for the same reason.”

    If people were trying to fly and gravity was the reason they couldn’t, you couldn’t say that gravity isn’t contrary to their beliefs, could you? Again, let me get this thing straightened out – I have no problem with adaptation and change and even to some degree, modification of a species to its environment. I have no problem with the evidence that is found – what I have a problem with is what is inferred from the evidence that we have evolved from molecules into people over the course of billions of years. Ed and I have been contending on this point for two years. I’m not totally in favor of rehashing everything that we’ve talked about, but suffice it to say that after two years of evidence from the evolution side, I have not seen molecules to man demonstrated as the plausible answer to the “description of our life’s processes.” It simply breaks down in too many places and if you want to go back and read our discussions, feel free.

    Nick, “And as for your claim about people who search apart from God to find meaning end up with a “eat drink and be merry mentality” I’ve known a lot of non-Christians, Lower, who are far more moral people then quite a few Christians I know. You, in making that statement, Lower are being an arrogant and ignorant liar. You claim to be Christian and yet, Lower, you engage in such blatant bearing of false witness.”

    Well, I’ve been called terrorist by Ed, so this is nothing new, unfortunately. Inflammatory language does nothing to advance the discussion, so I would respectfully ask you to cease from the name calling.

    What I said is that if there is no moral absolutes because there is no absolute authority then it is a “eat drink and be merry” mentality. If one wishes to be “moral” in that scenario, that’s fine – but it still fits within the “mentality” only within their own culture and desires of their own hearts. Perhaps a better way to put it is that “everyone does what is right in their own eyes.” I can’t judge motives, and I never said I could. What I can say is that those who logically follow the idea of “why am I here?” to it’s ultimate conclusion will be left philosophically with nothing but “eat drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die” – do what you want and what makes you happy, moral or evil, because you’re going to die soon. Not saying that “eat, drink, and be merry” means immorality at all.

    My neighbors growing up were not Christians but they were more moral than many “Christians” that I knew too. Morality is not the issue – purpose in life is. The two are not the same. Christians who are not moral do not understand they are living contrary to their purpose in life. Atheists who are moral may be doing good things, but there is no ultimate purpose beyond their own satisfaction of a moral lifestyle – that’s what makes them happy.

    Nick said, “And as for your contention that this country is becoming “anti Christian” oh please quit drinking that particular kool-aid. We are between 70-80 percent of the population, Lower.”

    Let me re-phrase that to “Biblical Christians”, not “post modern Christians.” Christianity as those who don’t think of Christianity as a culture or an inheritance of birth but rather a relationship with Christ and actively seek to follow His teachings. Jesus even said, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord, shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.” Just putting the tag “Christian” on your facebook religious views does not make you a Christian. According to the Bible, only hose who believes in Sola Fida, Sola Gracia, and Sola Scriptura (Martin Luther) are genuine believers in Jesus. If you wish to go here further, that’s more than fine with me because there is plenty Bible that teaches what I’m saying.

    Nick said, “If you would quit trying to shove your religious beliefs…meaning “Intelligent Design/Creationism” into this country’s science class rooms where they don’t belong, Lower, I would have no problem with you. Those groups, Lower, are trying to turn the public schools into Christian madrassas.”

    If molecules to man were taken out of textbooks then I would agree with you, because things that go beyond scientific evidence – even if it “points” in one direction or the other – should not be in publically funded textbooks. Why is that you can find textbooks that have “primordial soup” in it as a “hypothesis”, but have nothing about even the possibility of an ultimate cause to the universe even though every single person in this thread has stated that one is a necessary actuality?

    Nick said, “And no, neither Ed nor me nor anyone else who has objected to what you have said serves any god called “natural selection.””

    Then you haven’t read much of Ed’s writings. If it was natural selection that caused everything that you and I enjoy today, then wouldn’t pantheism and “mother earth” worship be the order of the day? Wouldn’t worship of “naturalistic science” be appropriate? Do a study of what worship really is (i.e. pledging your time and affections, etc.) and you may be surprised at what you are worshipping.

    Nick said, “And your statement that” it’s characteristics are identical to the God that the Christians are worshipping” is merely an opinion..an belief..a statement of faith. It is by no means a statement of science. And I suspect that the non-Christians of this planet, Lower, would disagree with you.”

    Yeah – I agree. Tree worshippers, idol worshippers, ancestor worshippers, self worshippers, science worshippers, and sun, moon, and star-god worshippers definitely disagree with me, that’s for sure. As Athanasius once stated when it appeared that the whole world was against him in believing that Jesus was indeed God in the flesh, “If the world is against truth, then I am against the world.” I say the same to a world that does not recognize God as the Creator. But if there is an intelligent designer, there are things that this designer must logically possess. These actually aren’t even so much religious statements more than they are philosophical and logical in nature. It is a deductive argument and I understand that. Take it as such.

    Rayjs, I understand what you’re saying about proximate causes, but may I suggest that you are moving the goal posts? Actually, there are some things that are inherently true – objective if you will – regardless of your religious belief system. Gravity, motion, etc. is truth, regardless of whether or not you agree that it is true. Newton was naturalistic in his science, yes, but he held everything under the umbrella that ultimately everything was the creation of God. God is the one who set the natural order into place. He is the one who caused gravity, first set things in motion, caused life, etc. He would agree with me that there is an ultimate cause because He is the one who first really understood the concept of cause and effect in his law of motion.

    Rayjs said, “And that’s what real science still does today. Whether a scientist believes in God or not, he/she still seeks answers in the natural world. It has to be that way if science is to maintain its integrity and its usefulness. Belief in ultimate causes is the stuff of religion and every good scientist knows that.”

    I’m not saying that science should stop doing that at all! Keep up the work on cancer research and micro-biological research, etc. That’s awesome stuff what they can do now with scientific breakthroughs. Creationists are all for that, as long as it does not violate moral boundaries of the sanctity of human life. I’m not saying that scientists must be Christians in order to do good research because there are something things (like nature) that are objectively true, regardless of what you believe about them. I’m not even saying that scientists should seek to explain the ultimate cause or even research it – what I’m trying to demonstrate in this whole discussion that we’ve been having back and forth, is that it is perfectly within the realms of nature and science to declare that the universe need a cause – and that the cause must be an intelligent designer (it could not have been a creation of something else to be a cause) and that is not something that needs be left out of science or the classroom. Beyond that, I agree with you – let the theologians debate.

    I also agree with you that if a natural explanation is found to a problem, that’s fine. What is not fine is when science demonstrates (through cause and effect and biogenesis) that a natural explanation would be contrary to science (you cannot get an effect without a cause – nothing simply ‘pops’ into existence randomly – thank heavens), and thus a supernatural explanation is scientifically necessary, that somehow we’re attributing the natural to God – i.e. God of the gaps and being unscientific. It is not selective thinking, though I understand why you would think so.

    By the way, even if the start of life on earth had a proximate cause, it still had a cause. It was Dawkins who said, “the original self-duplicating entities must have been simple enough to arise by the spontaneous accidents of chemistry.” (trueorigin.org/abio.asp) So the proximate cause is an accident of chemistry? This is not a cause, but a great cosmic “oops.”

    Ed, I simply don’t have any more time to reply to what you wrote on RNA. Let me simply say this: According to UC Davis, life answering the question of what is alive comes down to a series of conditions: 1) Movement, 2) Reproduction and heredity, 3) Growth and development, 4) Organization, 5) Metabolism, and 6) homeostasis.

    Are you saying that RNA meets every single requirement of life and “spontaneously” does all these things? If so, you’re going farther than Darwin did. Maybe I’m wrong, but I thought I remember reading that he had said that one or a few creations were called into life by the Creator. Even Dawkins understands the “catch 22” of RNA when he said,

    “An origin of life, anywhere, consists of the chance arising of a self-replicating entity. Nowadays, the replicator that matters on Earth is the DNA molecule, but the original replicator probably was not DNA. We don’t know what it was. Unlike DNA, the original replicating molecules cannot have relied upon complicated machinery to duplicate them. Although, in some sense, they must have been equivalent to “Duplicate me” instructions, the “language” in which the instructions were written was not a highly formalized language such that only a complicated machine could obey them. The original replicator cannot have needed elaborate decoding, as DNA instructions… do today. Self-duplication was an inherent property of the entity’s structure just as, say, hardness is an inherent property of a diamond… the original replicators, unlike their later successors the DNA molecules, did not have complicated decoding and instruction-obeying machinery, because complicated machinery is the kind of thing that arises in the world only after many generations of evolution. And evolution does not get started until there are replicators. In the teeth of the so-called “Catch-22 of the origin of life”… the original self-duplicating entities must have been simple enough to arise by the spontaneous accidents of chemistry (Climbing mount improbable, 1996, p. 285).

    Over at Panda’s Thumb, Matt Brauer said, “Life (the objection goes) would have had to develop two distinct but wholly dependent systems simultaneously. It is safe to say that this scenario is so unlikely that it is effectively impossible…”
    He also went on to say, “The RNA World has problems of it own, of course, and various alternatives have been proposed to deal wih these.”
    – pandasthumb.org/archives/2005/12/abiogenesis-how.html

    He states that progress has been made and that we all should be encouraged, but once again, there are many more problems to your theory than you let on, Ed – which is usually the case with you. You present it as almost a done deal but fail to demonstrate that not even your own “heroes” in science like Dawkins, and the guy over at Panda’s Thumb are in agreement over what’s going on. Panda almost sounds like Behe in stating that it would have had to develop “two distinct but wholly dependent systems simultaneously.” Is it almost…irreducibly complex?

    Perhaps I should give science more time to figure this subject out. I’m sorry. I’m a YEC and want everything to happen quickly. That’s a joke. You can laugh now. :-)

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  3. rayjs says:

    Ed wrote: “… the remaining step of getting DNA into a cell is the only step we have not observed to occur. Betting against that observation is probably not a good idea.”

    Good advice. It’s so close you can almost smell it. In fact, I think I do. From: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080604140959.htm

    “ScienceDaily (June 6, 2008) — A team of researchers at Harvard University have modeled in the laboratory a primitive cell, or protocell, that is capable of building, copying and containing DNA.”

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  4. Nick Kelsier says:

    I’d like them to answer this question:

    In the last 100 years, what scientific advance has Creationism/Intelligent Design led to?

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  5. Sara says:

    Here are some questions I’d love to see ID/creationism advocates try to answer:

    “Faced with a diagnosis of cancer, would you rely solely on prayer, or would take advantage of evolution-based medical treatments?”

    “Because DNA demonstrates family relationships so accurately, we use it to establish paternity in court proceedings. Do you think we should stop using evolution-based science like DNA analysis to establish paternity?”

    “DNA evidence is based on evolution theory. Do you think we should stop using DNA evidence in court, in rape and murder cases, or do you support such uses of evolution theory?”

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  6. Nick Kelsier says:

    Joe, it was less then 100 years ago that we discovered DNA. We just cracked the human genome within the last 15 years.

    And you’re trying to argue that one of the reasons abiogenesis has to be false is that we haven’t figured it out yet? Science takes time.

    So far all your attempts to prove Intelligent Design have been nothing but attempts to disprove abiogenesis and evolution. That or by saying “Well since abiogenesis doesn’t say then it must be God i.e. “God of the gaps.”

    It doesn’t work that way. You don’t prove one “theory” by disproving another.

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  7. Ed Darrell says:

    Joe said:

    From Talkorigins: “Nobody denies that the origin of life is an EXTREMELY DIFFICULT PROBLEM (emphasis mine). That it has not been solved, though, does not mean it is impossible.” (I added the last sentence for fairness because they give several models of how it “could possibly have happened”, though none have been demonstrated. I like the last theory that they put forth, “Something that no one has thought of yet.” I’m not quoting that to mock that they don’t know, I’m just quoting to demonstrate that it’s not science – it’s speculation at best.

    It’s speculation based on science. Educated projections, not really guesses. Joe, can you tell me why protocells are not considered life? They grow, they reproduce. They arise spontaneously. By all rights, we should be noting that Sidney Fox “created life in a test tube.”

    By most definitions of life that existed when Sidney Fox discovered protocells, they are alive, life arising spontaneously.

    By all creationism definitions, that should have been the headline. Scientists are more careful than creationists, however, and certainly a lot more conservative in drawing conclusions from data (which is one reason that once conclusions are drawn, we should grant them greater credence than claims from creationists). So scientists withheld judgment, and are still withholding judgment. Protocells lack DNA, and scientists are loathe to say it’s spontaneously arising life without DNA, which is found in all other living things today.

    Put that finding into what we know from other studies, and the stack of evidence starts to tower over us, ominously demanding a conclusion (I would say evidence that demands a verdict, but Josh McDowell’s abuse of evidence and verdict make me wary of that phrase).

    Look at the steps we have so far:

    1. Essential life chemicals, including amino acids, arise spontaneously wherever the conditions are ripe — and such chemicals can be found throughout the universe.

    2. RNA arises spontaneously, and then can replicate itself, and can act as a catalyst for even more complex RNA to be assembled. Some RNA generates the stuff necessary for DNA.

    3. Cells arise spontaneously, move about, grow and replicate in a process that looks very similar to yeast reproduction.

    Inference: Since the chief difference between this test-tube life and modern life is DNA in the cell, the remaining step of getting DNA into a cell is the only step we have not observed to occur. Betting against that observation is probably not a good idea.

    4. Single-celled life often forms colonies. Fossils of these colonies are common, especially from rocks known to have existed at the time life is thought to have started getting complex.

    5. Colonies of cells often do stuff we think multi-celled life alone capable of — jelly fish and some slime molds move about as if they had a brain directing their movements, for example.

    6. Swapping of genetic material to preserve and spread beneficial mutations is common in single-celled animals. Sexual reproduction is known among very “primitive” creatures. Sexual reproduction cements benefits selected by nature, and spreads beneficial mutations faster and farther in a population.

    7. Fossils show nested hierarchies of life, what can only be descent with modification as Darwin described it, or a very elaborate scheme to deceive any unbiased observer into thinking it’s descent with modification by a devious intelligence trying to hide its intentions and nature.

    8. Every mechanism of evolution by natural selection has been observed in nature, in real time.

    9. No barrier to accumulation of beneficial mutations is known or hypothesized. All evidence suggests that every modification of life from simple single-cell to modern multi-celled life arose through descent with modification, and natural and sexual selection.

    So, not only is the evidence for abiogenesis extremely good, better is the evidence that once life got going, evolution led to the diversity of life we see now.

    Ed favors the RNA model, as it’s the current front runner, but who knows? If it were somehow possible for a sequence of chemical events to lead to the existence of life, I would have thought it would have been right there in the evidence and would have been demonstrated a long time ago.

    Why would anyone think that? DNA needed the invention of x-ray microscopes to reveal its existence and structure.

    A rational person would have thought that creationists would have read the books and changed their minds 100 years ago. On what basis do you project that science is behind a curve on finding the origins of life?

    Yet nature (life always comes from life) has been demonstrating the exact opposite for a very long time now.

    At the molecular level, Joe, life has been demonstratinng life from non-living materials since life began. Consider my lawn. It takes water, a few minerals from the soil, carbon from the air, and it uses sunlight as an energy source, and it converts those “non-living” things into living tissue.

    At what point do the chemicals become “living?” You can’t say, nor can anyone else.

    When I cut the grass, it dies. What is the essential thing that leaves it when it dies? We don’t know. The chemical analysis remains the same. In fact, I compost the stuff, and it breaks down into the chemicals it was before it was living, releasing carbon to the air, releasing water, leaving some of the chemistry bound up in molecules required for life, but still showing exactly the same composition it had before it was living, during it’s life, and after its life. At what point does it stop being “alive?” You can’t tell me, nor can anyone else. At some point, we can say it won’t reproduce in the form it is in; but there is no bright line between “living” and “non-living.”

    Don’t lecture me about abiogenesis when there is no good way to tell when something is alive, and when there is so much gray area about what is living and what is not. These are not cut-and-dried questions and answers by any stretch.

    The only thing we can say with any assurity is that no one working from a creationism paradigm (since it was falsified prior to 1830) has ever made a contribution to the knowledge pool on the issue, and no creationist will dare work in the field.

    Don’t tell me that abiogenesis works because it’s never been demonstrated.

    Okay. Don’t tell us intelligent design has a possibility of ever working, because no step of ID has ever been demonstrated, and no hypothesis contrary to abiogenesis has even 1% of the evidence backing it that abiogenesis has. Don’t tell us ID is science, ever.

    Ever. Frankenstein is still a science-fiction character because scientists still can’t figure out how to give unliving objects the breath of life. And yes, I’m banking on the fact that it’s not possible – and even if it were (which is highly unlikely), it would still have to be demonstrated how it could happen naturally, not by the hands of highly intelligent scientists in a lab.

    Frankenstein was a great moral tale about using science without understanding what one is doing. With all due respect to you and Mary Shelley, it’s a moral tale against creationism, against assuming we know what we’re doing without having done the lab-bench work necessary to say for sure.

    See the first three steps in the list I posted above. These steps obviate most of your objections. While it’s true that we haven’t made that last step, of getting DNA into a protocell spontaneously, looking at the trends of research would suggest it’s a bad idea to bet against it. And since creationists have argued that each of those steps could never be done, and they were proven wrong, the track record of creationists alone suggests a different bet would be better. Life may not arise spontaneously, but there is not a shred of evidence to suggest it cannot, nor that it did not.

    We have demonstrated most of the steps necessary for abiogenesis to have occurred naturally. Your claiming it won’t be done is like catching a runner in a photograph just before she breaks the tape to win the race, and saying on the basis of that photograph that she can’t be racing because the photo doesn’t show her moving, she can’t be racing because the photo doesn’t show the start of the race or any interim steps. Then when we produce stills of the start of the race and a few more from each lap, you protest that we haven’t shown every step. When we produce a motion picture that does show every step up to that final still photo, you claim it’s not good enough, because we’re viewing the film incorrectly, with bias against those who say she can’t do it.

    Sometimes bias is accurate, you know?

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  8. Nick Kelsier says:

    Oh I forgot #7.

    7: If you want it actively taught that there is a “Designer” then it is also going to be actively taught that there is no Designer period. Or you can bother to be intelligent enough to recognize that perhaps maintaining neutrality on the subject, which is the current situation, is best as it leaves the choice of whether one believes in a “Designer” or not up to the individual person instead of having the government through the public schools tell people what to believe or not to believe on the subject.

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  9. Nick Kelsier says:

    Lower writes: “…why can’t the fact that the universe needs a cause to exist be taught in a public classroom?”

    Here’s the reasons, in no particular order:

    1: The universe may need a cause to exist but there is no requirement that said cause be an “Intelligent Designer.”

    2: Because teaching that there is a “Intelligent Designer” is religious instruction, not science instruction, and therefor is subject to the US Constitution’s separation of church and state.

    3: As it is religious instruction teaching it in the public schools would be a violation of the US Constitution.

    4: As it is religious instruction, teaching it in the public schools would be a violation of the civil rights of all the students.

    5: As not everyone believes in the same deity and not everyone believes any deity exists at all what you want is a massive violation of their rights to their religious beliefs or lack thereof.

    6: There is no scientific proof a “Designer” exists and therefor it isn’t science. All you have is your religious belief and you’re so dishonest that you’re trying to pretend it’s science.

    Like

  10. rayjs says:

    It strikes me that Lowerleavell might have no idea what I was talking about when I said that science always seeks to explain proximate causes. So let’s see how Isaac Newton approached it. Newton was a devout Christian who believed that there is an ultimate cause for everything and that the ultimate cause is God.

    But contrast that with Newton’s science. Newton’s science was entirely naturalistic. Every bit of his work was based on the assumption that all things can and must be explained naturally. Thus, Newton sought proximate causes for all of his science, whether it was gravity, motion, optics or anything else. He felt that God was behind all of it but he understood the need to separate ultimate from proximate causes.

    And that’s what real science still does today. Whether a scientist believes in God or not, he/she still seeks answers in the natural world. It has to be that way if science is to maintain its integrity and its usefulness. Belief in ultimate causes is the stuff of religion and every good scientist knows that.

    So why is it that some people insist on conflating ultimate and proximate causes? We already know that a chemist seeks proximate causes to explain how atoms bond to form molecules. No miracles. And a physicist describes gravity in terms of mass, distance and acceleration – no God there. And a meteorolgist tells us why it rains by referencing atmospheric moisture, air temperature and air pressure. Entirely natural. Yet no one, even those who believe in ultimate causes have a problem with any of this.

    So why are people like Lowerleavell so unwilling to let science approach biology in the same way, by letting it seek natural explanations and proximate causes?

    Of course, it boils down to religion. Neither chemical bonding, nor gravity, nor rain challenge their belief systems. Biology, however, does. Not that it has to. I’ve already posted a few links showing how mainstream religion accepts evolution. It’s just those people who believe in religion uber alles who feel so threatened by evolution that they feel the need to reject the search for proximate causes when it comes to biology and insert their beliefs and hence, ultimate causes, in the place of naturalistic explanations (i.e. evolution).

    Their selective thinking is the issue here. It causes inconsistency and contradiction. And this results in their inability to distinguish a scientific search for naturalistic answers (a lá the devout Christian, Isaac Newton) with an atheistic worldview.

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  11. rayjs says:

    Lowerleavell, once again – and as expected – you’re completely misrepresenting what I’ve been saying to you.

    What could you possibly mean by “…you want to destroy Chritianity and IDists? Prove there is no Intelligent Designer.”

    Do you really think I’m here to destroy Christianity? One wonders how paranoid a person would have to be to think like that. Is it any wonder my responses to you have been less than cordial?

    Try to understand that accepting evolution and rejecting ID and creationism is most definitely not a denial of God. I’m talking science and science has nothing to say about the existence of a God. Were evolution a denial of God there would be no support for evolution from the religious community, but that’s not the case:

    http://ncseweb.org/media/voices/religion

    http://www.butler.edu/clergyproject/

    Further, you clearly don’t understand the need to separate ultimate from proximate causes in order for science to be able to function. There is no “bubble of ‘proximity'”. There is a genuine and honest self-imposed limit on science – imposed by science on itself – that guides science toward answerable questions and testable theories and keeps it out of the belief business, i.e. religion. It applies everywhere else science operates and it applies here as well. If you want to believe in a God go right ahead. But don’t chide others who want to maintain the intellectual honesty of science by keeping it where it should be: Searching for proximate causes.

    I realize that you feel the need to make this discussion a discussion about religion but I feel the need to make this discussion about science. That’s why I’m insisting we limit it to a search for proximal causes. I’m not talking about God since whether he exists or not is irrelevant to the science of evolution.

    So let’s drop the irrelevant distractions of whether or not God exists, the origin of the universe and the origin of life. The acceptance of evolution has nothing to do with accepting God or how the universe or life began.

    You wrote: “…why can’t the fact that the universe needs a cause to exist be taught in a public classroom?”

    Because it is a religious belief. Because it is beyond science and what is knowable. And it is a belief because it assumes that you have sufficient knowledge of the universe to be able to make statements relating to cause and effect about it. In fact, we know precious little about the universe so we have no business concocting cause and effect stories that soothe the religious psyche. If we’ve learned anything about the universe it’s that it’s more counterintuitive than we could possibly have imagined. Apparently, you feel quite at home pretending to know enough of what’s going on in the universe to impose your religious view on it to “explain” it but I’m not at all at home doing so. I’ll let unanswered question remain unanswered until real, testable answers come along. In the meantime, unlike you, I’ll side with science as it seeks to answer the answerable questions that relate to proximate causes.

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  12. Nick Kelsier says:

    Lower, we’re not trying to destroy Christianity. Get that through your head. That would be especially silly of me since I’m Christian. And no..I’m not relegating the Bible to the level of Tolkien fantasy. What I am not doing is pretending the Bible is a science book. The Bible is a book of faith. You, Lower, are elevating the Bible to status of godhood. It is you that is edging towards being a false Christian because you are worshipping a book. If God created this world and all life on it, Lower, then God did it in the manner that the world indicates. And that is not the manner that the Bible says. Because if you take the Creation account literally you are actually saying that God is a liar. The Creation account in the Bible, Lower, is allegory.

    You are trying to claim that what your religious faith says qualifies as science. It doesn’t. It is faith..it is belief. It is nothing more than that.

    But you ask us to prove there is no Designer. Sorry..no..it is your..it is ID’s claim there is one. Therefor the burden of proof is on you…it is on ID to prove there is a “Designer.” Can you scientifically prove there is a Designer and show the evidence?

    And you say that God creating light on day one is sufficient. I’m not talking light, Lower. I was talking “heat.” As in warmth of the planet’s surface. But the fact still remains, Lower, that the sun is far older than the earth. That is the contradiction. The Bible says the earth is older then the sun. Reality is the sun is older. As I said before: THE BIBLE IS NOT A SCIENCE BOOK.

    And as for your claims on “cause.” You still haven’t shown why it has to be a “Designer” and why it couldn’t have happened naturally. Nor have you even attempted to deal with the fact that the second you introduce a “Designer” then the next question becomes “Who was the Designer?” and then the situation that arises after that is you have all the world’s religions fighting to have science validate their religious beliefs over another religion’s beliefs. Science can not prove the existance of a god, Lower. So there is no point in having science say there is one. It is an attempt to destroy science’s neutrality and it is a complete and total violation of the 1st Admendment’s separation of church and state when it comes to the public schools.

    And as for “future beyond the grave” that is the realm of theology. It is not the realm of science. It is theology’s role to teach what happens, if anything, when one is dead. Nor is it science’s role to teach morality. Is your faith that pathetically weak that it’s threatened by science, Lower? And no the moral implications of evolution are not “eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die.” because that is again pretending that evolution is a religious belief. All the theory of evolution is is a description of one of life’s processes. Using your reasoning we shouldn’t teach the theory of gravity for the same reason.

    Quit pretending that the theory of evolution is somehow in opposition to morality or to Christianity or to anything smacking of religious belief, Lower. Quit deluding yourself into thinking that the theory of evolution is more than it is. Where in the theory of evolution does it say what you claim? Where does the theory of evolution even make the statement that there is nothing after death?

    And as for your claim about people who search apart from God to find meaning end up with a “eat drink and be merry mentality” I’ve known a lot of non-Christians, Lower, who are far more moral people then quite a few Christians I know. You, in making that statement, Lower are being an arrogant and ignorant liar. You claim to be Christian and yet, Lower, you engage in such blatant bearing of false witness.

    And as for your contention that this country is becoming “anti Christian” oh please quit drinking that particular kool-aid. We are between 70-80 percent of the population, Lower. The only thing that is going on is the other religions are finally standing up for their rights..the rights they have supposed to have had all along..the rights we enjoy. So really what you are complaining about is that you are losing your power to shove Christianity down their throats in violation of their rights. What you did is akin to the KKK claiming that their rights are being violated because they can’t lynch blacks anymore and get away with it.

    And you’re right..not everyone who believes in a “designer” is anti-science. However, the “theory” of Intelligent Design, Lower, is anti science. Nothing about it is science and it is being used by religious fundamentalist groups in this country to remove the teaching of any science that supposedly violates their religious beliefs. If you would quit trying to shove your religious beliefs…meaning “Intelligent Design/Creationism” into this country’s science class rooms where they don’t belong, Lower, I would have no problem with you. Those groups, Lower, are trying to turn the public schools into Christian madrassas. If they would quit trying to have their religious beliefs taught as science this problem wouldn’t exist. The “anger” exists because we are tired of dealing with people who keep on insisting that religious belief should be taught as science.

    And no, neither Ed nor me nor anyone else who has objected to what you have said serves any god called “natural selection.” Quit trying to brand us as something other then Christians just because you can’t swallow the fact that there are Christians who consider what you’re saying to be bunk.

    And I will point out to you that to non Christians, Lower, God is merely a figment of your imagination.

    And it may not be religious to say that a cause exists..but it is religious to say that cause is a deity, Lower. And your statement that ” it’s characteristics are identical to the God that the Christians are worshipping” is merely an opinion..an belief..a statement of faith. It is by no means a statement of science. And I suspect that the non-Christians of this planet, Lower, would disagree with you.

    Do yourself a favor, Lower, and quit pretending that your religious beliefs are anything but your religious beliefs. You are on the wrong side of this argument.

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  13. lowerleavell says:

    (not sure why it won’t let me sign in, but it’s really me guys.)

    Sigh…are we getting anywhere in this discussion? I do hope someone else is reading my posts because you guys obviously aren’t. Are you discussing this with me or all the creationists and IDists you’ve ever talked to?

    Ray said, “Good grief! We’re tring [sic] to discuss ID and evolution and this guy keeps twisting the whole thing into a discussion about the origin of life, the origin of the universe and whether or not there is a diety [sic]!”

    The discussion on ID and evolution can be boiled down to a discussion about the origin of life. I’m helping you out here – you want to destroy Christianity and IDists? Prove that there is no Intelligent Designer. No Designer, no Intelligent Design argument. No problems in your classrooms teaching evolution. If you guys want to have a discussion as to why ID should not be taught in the classroom, then you’re eventually going to have to deal with cause and effect and biogenesis. I brought up the point and was replied to. I am not one who readily leaves a debate, so I have a hard time not replying to people who talk with me. Something about being rude or something. You all don’t have to deal with it with me if you don’t want to, because frankly I’ve got other things to do than to try and demonstrate how cause and effect works to people who wouldn’t even listen to the Cause Himself say that He’s the cause. But I will be the first to attest that stating beyond the empirical evidence that there is a cause to the universe and that there is much disagreement over what that cause is, would be beyond what should be taught in public schools. You can address honestly what people think that ID is and why, but no science teacher should be dogmatic and say that scientifically this is who the ID is.

    You’re logic is a fallacy. You’re thinking it has to be A) Natural – no cause at all, or B) The God of the Bible be taught in public schools. Isn’t C) a better choice (the universe has a cause, and science is limited in its scope of understanding that cause so the rest is left to another class like philosophy or religion)? Why be so afraid of even addressing the fact that the universe needs a cause to exist? Why can that fact not be taught in a classroom? Forget the IDists for a moment and answer that question – why can’t the fact that the universe needs a cause to exist be taught in a public classroom? It certainly wasn’t taught to me or my brothers – that’s for sure!

    While you’re all stating that the universe HAS to have a cause, you all are dismissing cause and effect by stating that the Big Bang is sufficient and that we’re talking about “proximate causes” not “ultimate causes.” If you’re content to just ask “what is the origin of life on earth” then by all means – stop your skepticism and enjoy your little bubble world of fantasy of “proximity.” But you’re still going to have to deal with IDists and Creationists if you do that because “proximity” is not a cause, it is a result.

    Now Nick is joining the ranks of Ed and claiming to be a Christian? I hope and pray it’s true of you, Nick. But you all are relegating the Bible to the same level as Tolkien fantasy and yet you claim Christianity? If all miracles of creation are denied, why is another miracle (redemption through Jesus) acceptable? If the Bible lied in Genesis how did it not get fudged in the Gospels with Jesus? You all are trying to have your cake and eat it too. You’re trying to have “science” (which you falsely equate to Darwinian evolution) and “God” (just in case Dawkins got it wrong). Good luck with that.

    As a Christian, I’m not trying to say that Genesis 1:1 is anything BUT miraculous! It’s not scientific in the slightest – it’s not repeatable and it’s not observable or testable. None of us were there! Alls I’m saying is that from nature, a natural explanation is not possible and thus a “supernatural event” is warranted. I’ve already shown why (a cause must be outside of nature to cause nature) and no one has addressed the subject at all.

    Nick summed it up by saying, “The Big Bang theory and the theory of Abiogenisis is science, they’re scientific theories. They have evidence and they can be tested.”

    Ed and I have gone back and forth on this for about two years now. I love how you all simply present things as truth without even a hint of explaining why. Why is abiogenesis true? When did this mystery of life get solved? We can go there, but suffice it to say, that while we know something happened, what is known is rarely as clear cut as evolutionists like to admit.

    You all want to call abiogenesis science and the Big Bang science. How has the Big Bang been scientifically tested? Who was there at the beginning to test it as it happened? Who was there when that first cell of life arrived in the primordial soup to test it? You weren’t there and cannot repeat the scenario (Are you going to re-explode the universe to test it? It is not a scientifically repeatable event. And no matter how many tests are done; life has never been demonstrated to simply spring into existence from non-living components – even with scientific geniuses at work [though for life to have emerged it would have to be proven how it could happen without the help of an intelligent scientist in a lab]). Therefore, I would suggest that the Big Bang and abiogenesis is not science (not repeatable or testable) but conjecture and opinion at best.

    Nick said, “And what basis are you using to say that abiogenesis doesn’t work? What expertise do you have? Or are you engaging in nothing more than wishful thinking?”

    From Wikipedia: “On the other hand, the exact sequence of chemical events that led to the first nucleic acids IS NOT KNOWN (emphasis mine). Several hypotheses about early life have been proposed, most notably the iron-sulfur world theory (metabolism without genetics) and the RNA world hypothesis (RNA life-forms).”

    From Talkorigins: “Nobody denies that the origin of life is an EXTREMELY DIFFICULT PROBLEM (emphasis mine). That it has not been solved, though, does not mean it is impossible.” (I added the last sentence for fairness because they give several models of how it “could possibly have happened”, though none have been demonstrated. I like the last theory that they put forth, “Something that no one has thought of yet.” I’m not quoting that to mock that they don’t know, I’m just quoting to demonstrate that it’s not science – it’s speculation at best.

    Ed favors the RNA model, as it’s the current front runner, but who knows? If it were somehow possible for a sequence of chemical events to lead to the existence of life, I would have thought it would have been right there in the evidence and would have been demonstrated a long time ago. Yet nature (life always comes from life) has been demonstrating the exact opposite for a very long time now. Don’t tell me that abiogenesis works because it’s never been demonstrated. Ever. Frankenstein is still a science-fiction character because scientists still can’t figure out how to give unliving objects the breath of life. And yes, I’m banking on the fact that it’s not possible – and even if it were (which is highly unlikely), it would still have to be demonstrated how it could happen naturally, not by the hands of highly intelligent scientists in a lab.

    What’s up with this thinking that anyone who believes there is an intelligent designer is “anti-science?” I’m simply amazed at the hatred and frustration on your side to think that if people don’t subscribe to the theory as a whole, that states we’re all descended from the same ancestor, that suddenly we go back to thinking the sun revolves around the earth. The attitude against Christians is definitely shifting in this country to a point of not just disagreement, but (I believe) an eventual removal of the 1st amendment for Christians (though it will never be presented as such – it will be presented more like, “those who say theirs is the only way to heaven is hate speech”). Guys, much of what scientists observe is true – like varieties through breeding, etc. Who has a problem with the medical advances, and so forth – all of those things are valid and are perfectly compatible with even a six day creation. No one objects to the evidence that we find – it is what is inferred from the evidence (common ancestor and naturalistic evolution). So stop saying that not subscribing to the theory as a whole is to try and stop “good science” and “taking science from its rightful place.” You all are the ones who are supposed to be the skeptics – right? Why is it that you’ve adopted a “this if fact and if you even question it you’re branded as wanting to go back to the dark ages!”? Where did this authoritarian, challenge nothing attitude come from? Where did a “if you don’t agree with us you’re an idiot” attitude come from?

    I did not mean to imply that evolution teaches us that everything happens by random chance. I had forgotten that you all serve a ‘god’ called “natural selection.” Ed speaks of natural selection almost as if natural selection is intelligently choosing who will survive and who will die. Interesting stuff.

    By the way, regarding Dr. James Kennedy – he may have been a YEC, but he had some pretty wacked out theology. So…I probably disagree with him on stuff more than you do. Not a good example.

    What I was talking about in regards to teaching no hope for the future in evolution, is a future beyond the grave. Evolution teaches us that we are natural – that once we are dead, we are dead – that’s it. Do what you want because there are no consequences, simply live for yourself and take in all the happiness you can get – because this is it. Don’t worry about murder (taking another’s life, which would include any other living thing because it’s your distant relative), there’s nothing wrong in killing something that’s just a conglomeration of cells anyway. Don’t worry about cheating on your wife – if you find a better match, you you’re your DNA to go to someone superior anyway. If you take the moral implications of evolution – the end is, “eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die.” Read Ecclesiastes sometime and you’ll discover why those who search so hard to find meaning apart from God ultimately end up with a “eat, drink, be merry” mentality.

    And by the way, my view does not say that free will doesn’t exist. This I believe is another big reason why people reject God as their Creator, because they want to do what they want to do and don’t want someone else telling them what they should and shouldn’t be doing. They wish to be freed from responsibility. An all knowing God does know our choices and has a plan and purpose, but that does not negate our ability to make choices. This is a philosophical argument though, and has nothing to do with science.

    Nick said, “And secondly..which deity, Joe?” You said it could be Zeus, Ra, Puff the Magic Dragon, etc. This is the realm of religion, philosophy, and logic, Nick. Never said it any differently. But wouldn’t the ID that actually exists be who He is and NOT the “god” of our imaginations like the Spaghetti Monster? Wouldn’t He exist as He is, even if we acknowledge Him or not? Wouldn’t it be best not to search our religions that fit what we want to think about the ID but rather find out as much objective information as we can in nature about this cause and worship Him as an objective actuality? I’m a Christian…yes. But I am so because 1) the Christian Deity reflects what nature demands in the realms of power, knowledge, etc., 2) Because there would be no way to know that ID intimately unless He chose to establish the relationship first, which the Bible claims He did. You’re correct that we can’t know about the ID beyond that something exists. The Bible even affirms that truth. But (this is my belief now) if the ID chose to reveal Himself to us in history and language (a book), then it would be possible to know God personally – but not simply through science, and 3) because I believe that God did ultimately reveal Himself to the world in the person and work of Jesus Christ on the cross, His resurrection (which there is a plenty of evidence that this historically took place), and His rescuing us from a world full of evil. Jesus didn’t come to teach a science class. Science has its limits after all.

    Nick said, “You want science to say that God created us..you want science to say that God exists.”

    I don’t think science alone says “the Judeo-Christian God created us”, no. But the Judeo-Christian God possess the necessary characteristics that are identical to what we would expect an ultimate creator to possess (as I’ve already explained). So while it is religious in nature to say that God exists, it is not religious in nature to say that a cause exists and ironically enough it’s characteristics are identical to the God that the Christians are worshipping.

    Nick said, “And speaking of the Bible you claimed before that it says how God did things. Here’s one problem with it..just one contradiction it holds with reality. According to the Bible the earth is older than the sun. Reality is that the sun is older than the earth. The Bible says that life existed on this planet before the sun. If there was no sun life on this planet would not even got off the ground because the surface of the earth would have been a frozen wasteland. And when I say frozen I’m not talking Alaska cold..I’m talking hundreds of degrees colder than that. Life on this planet can’t exist without the sun. Period”

    This is why the day-age theory breaks down real fast. You can’t have plants be a span of time, and then the sun be the next span of time later. It isn’t possible. But you forget that God had created light already on day one. He created the form on day one, and then filled it by creating the sun, moon, and stars on day four. A miracle, by any stretch of the imagination, yes. But light was already there for the plants on day three before the sun was ordained to be the source of that light for earth on day four. So, while it’s still a miracle (creation is), it’s not a contradiction by any stretch.

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  14. rayjs says:

    Good grief! We’re tring to discuss ID and evolution and this guy keeps twisting the whole thing into a discussion about the origin of life, the origin of the universe and whether or not there is a diety!

    Lowerleavell, try to focus. You keep going on and on about cause and effect but do you understand the difference between ultimate and proximate causes? We’re not dealing with ultimate causes here. Again, you’d be a lot happier in a religion forum.

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  15. Nick Kelsier says:

    “God of the gaps” has everything to do with it, Joe. That is what you’re doing. You are saying “Because science can’t say what caused it naturally right this moment that must mean God did it.” You have no scientific proof of God, you have no scientific evidence of God nor do you have proof of evidence that God did any such thing. All you have is your religious belief.

    And secondly..which deity, Joe? Because in the English language the word “God” refers to exactly one deity. The Christian one. You want science classrooms to say that God created us. Meanwhile you ignore the fact that not everyone is Christian meaning that not everyone believes in God and indeed..there are people who don’t believe in any god. So how is this not you attempting to use science to prop up your faith?

    You want science to say that God created us..you want science to say that God exists. Somehow I suspect that you’d throw a hissy fit if science said that God didnt create us…that God doesn’t exist. Oh and please don’t go claiming that’s what is currently going on because if you do you’re either woefully ignorant or willfully lying.

    The Big Bang theory and the theory of Abiogenisis is science, they’re scientific theories. They have evidence and they can be tested. Intelligent Design is not science, it is not a scientific theory and it has no evidence and it can’t be tested. Intelligent Design is Creationism by another name..Intelligent Design is religious belief.

    You say that only life can create life and that all life has a first cause. And yet when I asked you to say what created God you dodged faster then someone having a fastball thrown directly at their head. Life is a chemical reaction, Joe. We, at our basis, are nothing more then a collection of elements and chemicals. Now as a Christian I believe that we are more than that because of our souls but the difference between you and me on that is that I’m able to recognize what is faith and what science can prove. You are trying to blur the line for some reason.

    And what basis are you using to say that abiogenesis doesn’t work? What expertise do you have? Or are you engaging in nothing more than wishful thinking?

    And the theory of evolution doesn’t teach us that we are here merely by chance. It isn’t scientists who say we are here by chance. It’s creationists purposely misstating what evolution teaches who say that. Evolution is anything but chance, Joe.

    And as for having a future and a purpose what someone’s future and purpose is…is up to them. Your teachings would have them be chattel..slaves to a predetermined fate. Your position, Joe, throws the concept of free will out the window.

    And yes…I am saying that the failing grade that the United States is getting on science on Creationism and Intelligent Design. Or more specifically they are the symptoms of the disease that is causing it. The United States is the only industrialized country where this nonsense takes place. It is the only industrialized country where there is even a credible opposition to science, the theory of evolution or what have you. This is also the only industrialized country there is any opposition to global warming. This is the only industrialized country in which a sitting President outlawed an entire area of research because he was pandering to his supporters who couldn’t wrap their minds around the concept that the embryos that were going to be used were going to be destroyed anyways. Despite the fact that research could lead to cures that afflict millions of actual people. And all because of “religion.”

    As Ed correctly states your side of this argument..meaning the ones who support ID/Creationism are creating a climate of anti-science in this country. They are creating a climate where if science says something that their religious beliefs don’t like then that science must be done away with, discredited and destroyed. You aren’t the first person I’ve had this debate on ID with. As Ed can attest I’ve been dealing with this argument for quite a few years. Your side objects to the theory of evolution. Your side objects to the fact that this planet is far older then the mere 10,000 years that your side believes the Bible says. Your side objects to the fact that there was no world wide flood. Your side comes up with a “museum” that claims that dinosaurs and humans coexisted as if the Flintstones was a documentary. Your side has the state education board of Texas trying to throw the teaching of evolution out the window. Your side gets stickers put on science books alluding to a controversy among scientists about the theory of evolution where there is no controversy. Your side cries “It’s not fair” when ID/Creationism isn’t taught in science classrooms and yet I doubt your side would allow the theory of evolution to be taught in church.

    And as I pointed out before your side wants it taught in science classrooms that God exists and that God created us all despite the fact that not everyone in this country believes in God and that there are people who don’t believe in a god at all. Not to mention there is no scientific evidence that God exists and no way to prove it as by God’s very nature God is beyond the realm of science to do so.

    And then there is the generic term “Intelligent Designer” which means that it could be God, it could be Zeus, Ra, Shiva, Raven, Coyote, or it could be Puff the Magic Dragon. Which means it’s a matter of opinion..of belief and not a matter of science since actual scientific theories are not matters of “belief” of “opinion” or of “assumptions.” The ID crowd came up with the most generic term possible in the hopes that it could sneak its way into science classrooms. And all because the ID crowd is the Creationism crowd and they knew they couldn’t get away with the term “God.”

    So yes…your side of this argument is causing, in part, the falling behind of this country’s science edge. Like I said, this is the only industrialized country on the planet where this Creationism/ID nonsense holds any sway.

    Now the only difference between the United States and the rest of the industrialized world is one simple thing: Unlike the rest of the industrialized world we have a contingent of fundemtnalist Christians who, despite being a minority, hold enough power in one of the major political parties of this country to be able to affect things. If George Bush was President of any other industrialized country and he had said that he believed that ID/Creationism should be taught in that nation’s schools he would have been laughed out of office.

    And speaking of the Bible you claimed before that it says how God did things. Here’s one problem with it..just one contradiction it holds with reality. According to the Bible the earth is older than the sun. Reality is that the sun is older than the earth. The Bible says that life existed on this planet before the sun. If there was no sun life on this planet would not even got off the ground because the surface of the earth would have been a frozen wasteland. And when I say frozen I’m not talking Alaska cold..I’m talking hundreds of degrees colder than that. Life on this planet can’t exist without the sun. Period.

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  16. Ed Darrell says:

    Ed, not sure how a thread devoted to ridiculing a creationist helps further the discussion.

    Yeah, there is some ridicule going on there, but there’s something else. Let me paraphrase Truman: That’s not ridicule; we just tell the facts, and creationists think its ridicule.

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  17. Ed Darrell says:

    Lowerleavell said:

    You blame our countries failing grade on Intelligent Design and Creationism???

    Anti-science attitudes, and preachers telling kids falsehoods about science are serious barriers to science education, yes. Surveys show that false ideas about what science is, how things work, and what we know, all damage critical thinking abilities and generally discourage otherwise talented students from pursuing careers in the sciences, including delivery of medicine (do you want to talk about medical quackery from religious sources?).

    How about being told you have no purpose, no future, no reason to excell – you’re just the result of a chance meeting of cells with nothing but death to look forward to.

    Creationist preachers teach that, Joe, not scientists. It’s cruel, it’s inaccurate, it damages children, but I’ve never heard anything like that from any scientist (outside of one fellow who was seriously mentally ill, and later recovered). I hear it all the time from Christian preachers. D. James Kennedy alone probably repeated it on television often enough to cause a few hundred suicides among discouraged kids, if such thoughts discourage children at all. Science doesn’t “tell” us that; but when preachers repeat it often enough, on television and in other public places, people will believe it to be so.

    It’s untrue that science gets even close to making such a philosophical argument, of course. Preachers who argue that science does that are doing the equivalent of murdering the souls of children.

    Creationism is a moral abyss, you know?

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  18. Ed Darrell says:

    Are they teaching abiogenesis and the Big Bang in class rooms? Are they testable? Are they repeatable? No. Then they do not belong in a science class either.

    Abiogenesis isn’t “taught,” no. So far, what is known about abiogenesis is thoroughly tested and repeatable, and can be summarized easily: Chemicals necessary for life as we known it rise spontaneously in places like the Earth, and cellular structures to contain them into protocells that act like living things and may be the precursors to modern life, also arise spontaneously.

    Abiogenesis is not part of evolution theory, either. Evolution theory does not need abiogenesis. Evolution is thoroughly tested and replicable, and has been thoroughly tested, and observed in the wild and in the lab, hundreds of times. Evolution theory is, in lay terms, more solid than gravity theory. Claims that any part of evolution theory has not been tested are themselves constructed of whole fictions. Why would we not teach solid science to children?

    Big Bang’s principles are thoroughly tested. Big Bang was confirmed (accidentally — they weren’t looking to confirm it) in 1965 by Wilson and Penzias, for which they won the 1978 Nobel. We have photos of much of the process. Of course Big Bang is taught — it’s good, solid science. Big Bang hypotheses were created by Eagle Scouts, men of the highest moral fiber.

    Big Bang isn’t taught as much or as well as it should be, however.

    Why in the world wouldn’t we teach Big Bang to kids, Joe? Why lie to them, even by omission? This is a great problem for me about creationism: Ultimately creationists demand that we lie to children. Just as it would be a sin to teach that Abraham Lincoln never existed, it would be a sin to teach that the Big Bang is not solid science, as thoroughly replicated and tested as the hypotheses resulting from such solid theory can be. Millstones, you know?

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  19. lowerleavell says:

    Oops – I didn’t get an opportunity to finish what I was saying about intellect, etc. and it accidentaly posted.

    Anyway…I was stating that the ID would have had to have REASON in order to create. It could not have been natural, because as we’ve already observed, abiogenesis does not work, and the Big Bang still leaves you with the need for a cause. If it is not intelligent, what then is the answer?

    I am going to go ahead and bow out of this conversation, if I can. I hope you guys know that I care about you and that I’ve been praying for you. That’s why I’ve continued this discussion – not because I care about winning an argument, but because your lives matter.

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  20. lowerleavell says:

    Nick,

    “God of the gaps” has absolutely nothing to do with this discussion because that would imply that there is no evidence. Do the words “cause and effect” mean anything to you? Does “biogenesis” mean something to you? You’re acting as if these are just unanswered questions that science will one day answer but they’re not. They’ve already been answered, demonstrated, proven, and tested by science. This is third grade science, my friend. It’s not exactly rocket science. Cause and effect and biogenesis are just as established as the law of gravity and you simply cannot break them naturally. It’s like watching someone just take off flying and claiming science will eventually demonstrate how it is possible to naturally break the law of gravity. It simply won’t happen. Therefore, it is not “God of the gaps” on my part, but I respectfully contend that it is willful denial on your part.

    Are they teaching abiogenesis and the Big Bang in class rooms? Are they testable? Are they repeatable? No. Then they do not belong in a science class either.

    You said, “I hate to break it to you. Intellect emotions, and will are biological functions. And biology as you know is a natural thing”

    I said, “how could it (the ID) create I/E/W if it had no ability to reason. I am stating (rather poorly)

    You blame our countries failing grade on Intelligent Design and Creationism??? How about being told you have no purpose, no future, no reason to excell – you’re just the result of a chance meeting of cells with nothing but death to look forward to. Boy, “eat drink and be merry for tomorrow we die” sounds a lot like college campuses around our country, doesn’t it? You can blame Christians all you want for the failing grade of our education, but it is the Christians who teach responsibility, purpose, excellence, respect, and a future – not evolutionists. The only thing that surprises me more is that our grades are not worse and that the suicide rate isn’t higher among evolutionists.

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  21. Nick Kelsier says:

    And again, lower, just because science may not be able to explain that at the moment doesn’t mean that it’s God. Quit trying to play “God of the gaps.” You’re doing the same thing that ignorant bumpkins in past centuries did. They couldn’t explain lightning so they thought it was God. They couldn’t explain tornados so they thought it was God’s wrath. Anything they couldn’t explain became God or God’s doing. And that is what you’re doing. You’re arguing that since science may not be able to fully explain something right this moment that means that God must have done it. It doesn’t work that way. All science begins with “I don’t know.”

    And you can say that “ID’s agenda isn’t to overthrow evolution” all you want but that is entirely the agenda. Since you don’t speak for the entire ID field and the vast majority of ID’ers treat the theory of evolution as the son of Satan you’re deluding yourself.

    Sorry, claim otherwise all you want, but ID is theology. It does not belong in any science class on the planet. It’s entire purpose is to interject God where it doesn’t belong. And no..despite your claim to the contrary the theory of evolution is not “anti God.” If it was I suspect that the Catholic church and the vast majority of mainstream Christianity would have a problem with it..and they don’t. What ID is Creationism..an argument supported wholly and entirely by fundamentalist Christians because their faith is so weak that they have deluded themselves into thinking that if science doesn’t say that God did something it means that science is saying that God didn’t do something or that God doesn’t exist.

    If you want ID taught, Lower, that is what your church is for. That is what private religious schools are for. But it is not what the public schools are for.

    You ask “how could it create intellect/emotions/will if it had no ability to reason?” I hate to break it to you. Intellect, emotions and will are are biological functions. And biology as you know is a natural thing.

    And again..we don’t have to disprove ID/Creationism. You have to scientifically prove it. You haven’t. You say God exists? Prove it. Do the science, Lower. Do the work. Don’t just wave your hand and say “Science can’t disprove God so that must mean God exists” because that isn’t how science works. You’re the one claiming that ID happened. Do the work..prove it. Get your butt in the lab and do the research.

    And as for the meteor..again you are playing “God of the gaps.”

    What you want to do Lower is to destroy science by yanking it to religion.

    And this country has been losing its scientific edge against the rest of the world because, in part, of this stupid nitwitted Intelligent Design/Creationism argument. No where on the planet in any industrialized country does this debate take place. Y’all are making the United States look foolish.

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  22. lowerleavell says:

    Um…guys – cause and effect is the core of ID. Without it, they have nothing. Yet your response is abiogenesis (can’t be demonstrated), the Big Bang (which still crys out for a cause), and now micro life forms on the back of a crater? Again Nick, where did the meteor come from and where did THAT life come from? We’re not just talking about life on planet earth – we’re talking about life, matter and everything else. You’re still left with cause and effect.

    Once more, I said that the agenda of ID is not to overthrow evolution. Have you ever heard of a vision, mission, and values? The vision of ID is to demonstrate that their is a designer/cause. The “how/mission” may be in combatting abiogenesis and the Big Bang (which are lumped into evolution) but not it is not the chief end. You’re confusing the mission with the goal.

    I also did not advocate teaching religion in public schools. I am advocating teaching cause and effect in schools though and demonstrating that abiogenesis and the Big Bang do not have all the answers to everything we see. It’s like you’re saying that if we admit that science doesn’t have all the answers that we must go back to the dark ages. Did I suggest that?

    I did not seek to hijack this thread. I merely was replying to what was addressed to me, which was about cause and effect. If you boil it down, cause and effect and biogenesis are the foundations to ID – destroy it, and you destroy ID and creationism in one swoop.

    Nick said, “There is no requirement that any ‘first cause’ be a ‘god.’

    Nick, is there a sufficient scientific explanation that would ever explain the existence of life/time/matter? If life comes from life – how could the ID not be alive? How could it make something if it had no mind or knowledge or will? How could it create intellect/emotions/will if it had no ability to reason? What else would you call this ID but “Supreme Being” (which is all “God” means).

    Ed, not sure how a thread devoted to ridiculing a creationist helps further the discussion.

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  23. rayjs says:

    lowerleavell wrote: “I will and will always maintain that it is not the aegenda of ID to overthrow evolution. But I will very much grant you that it is a top seconday agenda.”

    This is why it’s so exasperating discussing things with you. Not only do you misunderstand my posts but your own posts make no sense at all. In the above, in consecutive sentences you say it’s not the agenda of ID to overthrow evolution, then you say it is.

    “By seeking a natural cause for the cause of the universe, you seek to disprove a diety.”

    Good grief! Have you seen me discuss anything related to the cause of the universe? This is about evolution and ID! You’re in the wrong forum, dude.

    I think you need to think about what’s going on here and maybe have a bit of a lie-down.

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  24. Nick Kelsier says:

    You can say the agenda of ID is not to overthrow the theory of evolution but Lower…you are fooling yourself.

    There may be a scientific need for a first cause, Lower…but there is no scientific need for a supernatual one. Meaning..there is no scientific need for a deity.

    And your desire is to subject science to religion. And the last time that happened, Lower, Galileo nearly got killed for supporting a non-Copernican view of the solar system. You are ignoring one point. That if you say there is a deity..that there is a creator what you will let loose, Lower, is the absolute destruction of science because every religion on the planet will then be demanding that science say it was their deity and not someone elses. Science has to remain neutral on that score, Lower, and there is no way for it to do so under your contention.

    It’s absolute idiotic enough that politics controlled science in the last administration, Lower, yoking it to religion like you want would destroy science and doom this country to third world, if that, status. Leave religion out of it.

    And as for a “cause” creating life on this planet, I can come up with one explanation off the top of my head. A meteorite crashes into the earth depositing microlifeforms on this planet.

    There is no requirement that any “first cause” be a god, Lower. And nothing you say will change that fact. Quit deluding yourself into thinking that because science doesn’t mention a deity at all means that science is saying there wasn’t a deity. Quit confusing a position of neutrality, Lower, for a position of negativity.

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  25. lowerleavell says:

    Ray said, “Oh, come on. Did the ID people forget to send you the memo? EVERY ID argument is intended as an argument against evolution. Why do you not know this?”

    I will and will always maintain that it is not the agenda of ID to overthrow evolution. But I will very much grant you that it is a top secondary agenda. No problems acknowledging that one. I wasn’t trying to say that IDists were all buddy buddy with evolution, by any stretch. But they can never get there until the primary agenda has been established, which is that there is indeed an intelligent designer. One reason why naturalistic evolution is the “enemy” is because it is the evolutionists who are working so hard to try and prove “abiogenesis” and “The Big Bang” (or a cause for the Big Bang). If there is a sufficient natural cause, then there is no need for an ID, and IDists are out of a job.

    Many within the ID camp are doing a backward approach (like Behe) to whether or not there is an ID, by getting it down to the most basic life form possible and seeking to demonstrate that it couldn’t possibly get any simpler – therefore it couldn’t have possibly happened naturalistically. Instead of starting with cause and effect, many are starting on the other end and working their way to it. This is where it really runs against evolution.

    Ray said, “You’ve horribly bungled what I said. The point I made was not that there was no need for a cause but that a logical paradox results when you try to insert an explanation on the basis of the fact that something is unexplained.”

    I did not say that the ID was scientifically explained – I said that the explanation was indeed unscientific in nature when you ascribe characteristics to a cause beyond what is found in nature.. What I did say though was that the need for a cause could be demonstrated – that is not unexplained, that is science. No one here is arguing against that. Since there is a need, there is an actuality – how is that unexplainable?

    Ray said, “I have nowhere attempted to do so and I have specifically told you this. I have only said that natural causes can explain the history of life.”

    You may not be aware that you are doing so then. By seeking a natural explanation to the cause of the universe, you seek to disprove a deity. A supernatural being may indeed exist, but if it did not cause the universe, it would be inappropriately labeled a “deity” and it would be inappropriate to ascribe worship to that being. So, while you may not realize it, if there is a natural explanation to the first cause…all of us over here in religion land are out of jobs. So…that is why I said you are attempting to disprove a deity.

    Nick said, “And as for “infinite regress of causes” lets play. What then caused God/Designer?”

    As I said, anything that is not an effect need not have a cause. Anything that has a beginning must have something that caused it to begin. If God is the ultimate cause, He is not an effect and need not HAVE a cause. You cannot have an infinite regress of causes – you can only have an infinite regress of effects. You would then still be left with the need for an uncaused cause.

    Nick said, “Since you can’t prove that something outside of the realm of nature exists..meaning there is no scientific evidence of it..all you have is your opinion, Lower. And until you have otherwise your opinion is merely that.”

    The scientific evidence is that it NEEDS to exist. Where you have a scientific necessity, you have a scientific actuality, whether or not it has or can be tested in a lab. Though you cannot scientifically test the cause itself, the evidence that effects exist necessitates that there is a CAUSE to those effects. I actually exist (I have to exist to make that statement), therefore, what caused me is actual. For example (all analogies break down), in order for me to be alive, I need to have a beating heart. If I did not have one, I would be dead. Since I am alive, I can scientifically surmise that my heart is beating – no scientific evidence required. It is simply not possible for there not to be a first cause, therefore a first cause is a pure actuality.

    Nick said, “So either scientifically prove God and that God created all life, Lower, or be honest enough..and Christian enough to admit that you are confusing faith for science.”

    He also said, “And the need for a “cause” may be explainable. It may even be required. But that doesn’t mean that a deity gets plugged into the equation. You say there wasn’t a natural first cause. Based on what are you making that claim? What evidence do you have that says that the first cause was a deity.”

    Well, let’s look at what this “cause” must possess in order to pull off causing the universe. It must be eternal (cannot be an effect), must be all powerful (must have the ability to cause the universe), all knowing and intelligent (must know how to do it), must only be one (cannot have two first causes), must be sovereign (an uncaused cause does not answer to effects), must be unchanging (cannot change being the uncaused cause), must be infinite (must be infinite in all characteristics it possesses – if it is the cause of knowledge it must be all knowing, if it the cause of power, it must be all powerful, if it the cause of goodness it must be all goodness, etc.).

    How could something within nature meet all of the requirements needed (and make your own list if you need to) to cause the universe? If the cause is within nature, it has a beginning, because the universe is an effect. Therefore, it would need a cause – and you’re left with the same problem. It has to be outside of nature.

    I could go on here, but what does this describe about the cause? A deity? What else would you call it? The term “God” simply means “Supreme Being.” Why I have chosen to put my faith that the God of the Bible is the uncaused cause is because this intelligent designer that actually exists is exactly identical to the God described in the Bible. Whether or not what the Bible says this God did or did not do in history is true is another question. But I will be the first to say that putting your trust in this God and worshipping this God is not science, but faith.

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  26. Nick Kelsier says:

    Lower writes “My take is no more religious than yours. You seek to explain away a deity….”

    Except you’re wrong. We’re not trying to explain away a deity. We are saying that science has no business saying there was a deity involved. Because whether a deity was involved or not is a matter of theology…of faith…not of science.

    For science to say that there was a deity involved would require that science prove that a deity exists in the first place. Since that is beyond the ability of science why would you expect it to do so?

    Like I said before, you are confusing the fact that science doesn’t say a deity was involved with the contention that means that science is saying a deity wasn’t involved. No, science is not saying a deity was involved or not involved. And only someone who is being knowingly disingenous would argue that not saying a deity was involved is the same as saying a deity wasn’t involved.

    And as Ray correctly points out…the entire ID/Creationism argument is an argument against the theory of evolution.

    And the need for a “cause” may be explainable. It may even be required. But that doesn’t mean that a deity gets plugged into the equation. You say there wasn’t a natural first cause. Based on what are you making that claim? What evidence do you have that says that the first cause was a deity?

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  27. rayjs says:

    lowerleavell wrote: “…ID is not attempting to argue whether or not things evolved…”

    Oh, come on. Did the ID people forget to send you the memo? EVERY ID argument is intended as an argument against evolution. Why do you not know this? Why do you think it is that every single time evolution is contested in school boards around the country the ALTERNATIVE they propose is ID?

    “…ID is not seeking to undermine evolution…”

    Please learn about this subject before you try to debate it. Are you entirely unaware that the same people who promote ID make antievolutuionary arguments to bolster it? Even a cursory reading – which you have clearly not undertaken – would make this abundantly clear to you.

    “The NEED for a cause is completely explainable…”

    You’ve horribly bungled what I said. The point I made was not that there was no need for a cause but that a logical paradox results when you try to insert an explanation on the basis of the fact that something is unexplained. If something is unexplained it is simply that – unexplained. To insert an explanation on the basis of something being unexplained is ludicrous, especially when you claim to be dealing with science since scientific explanations have to explain things.

    “My take is no more religious than yours. You seek to explain away a diety…”

    I have nowhere attempted to do so and I have specifically told you this. I have only said that natural causes can explain the history of life. That is not to argue that there is no diety. Please pay attention to what I’m writing if you want to continue.

    On second thought, perhaps you’d be happier in a religion forum since you want to talk about religion. I don’t. And quite frankly, you seem to have misunderstood everything I’ve said (not to mention the fact that you have no idea what the proponents of ID claim) and I have better things to do than to argue with a person who won’t make the effort to understand the subject.

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  28. Nick Kelsier says:

    The universe may have to have a cause, Lower…but that cause doesn’t have to be an entity. That is the problem with your contention. You show no evidence that it has to be an entity. And as for life only coming from life…congratulations…you just tossed Creationism out the window.

    And you say abiogenesis has never been demonstrated. That may be true.

    But then creationism and Intelligent Design has never been demonstrated either.

    And as for “infinite regress of causes” lets play. What then caused God/Designer?

    Since you can’t prove that something outside of the realm of nature exists..meaning there is no scientific evidence of it..all you have is your opinion, Lower. And until you have otherwise your opinion is merely that.

    So either scientifically prove God and that God created all life, Lower, or be honest enough..and Christian enough to admit that you are confusing faith for science. Until you and your fellow Creationists/IDers scientifically prove that God/Designer exist…your “theory” is not worth even the time of day. Sorry…no assumptions allowed.

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  29. lowerleavell says:

    Nick said, “Oops, forgot one part to my last reply. That being “Nor have you shown why the “first cause” has to be a Creator/God.” ”

    Because if life is always from life, then whatever created life must be alive. So what else would you call it other than “Creator/God?” Yoda?

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  30. lowerleavell says:

    By the way, in Ed’s analogy, the crater is still an effect – it too must have a cause. Unless you claim that the universe is eternal (which is easy to demonstrate that it is not), it MUST have a cause.

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  31. lowerleavell says:

    Nick,

    Regarding abiogenesis – It has never been demonstrated…ever. There are lots of theories on how it “could” have happened, but none of them are repeatable (which is what evolutionists are complaining about creationists). Wikipedia’s article on it says, “As of 2009, no one has yet synthesized a “protocell” using basic components which would have the necessary properties of life (the so-called “bottom-up-approach”). Without such a proof-of-principle, explanations have tended to be short on specifics.” They simply cannot do it! Keep working guys…you’ll beat that biogenesis law someday I’m sure.

    Regarding the Big Bang – it is completely within the realm of relevance to ask, “what caused the Big Bang?” A bang is not a cause, it is an effect. I know the Darwininist answer is “matter exploded” but what CAUSED the matter to explode. Nothing can’t cause something to explode. No matter which model you come up with, you are still left with the necessity of a “cause”.

    Since no “natural” explanation is sufficient, it must be that something outside the realms of nature caused nature in the first place…otherwise you have an infinite regress of causes. So, the existence of an ID is necessary and since it is necessary (nature could not exist without it) it is actual.

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  32. Nick Kelsier says:

    Oops, forgot one part to my last reply. That being “Nor have you shown why the “first cause” has to be a Creator/God.”

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  33. Nick Kelsier says:

    You haven’t shown why there is a need for a “Creator” in the first place. Nor have you shown that said “Creator” actually exists. Since you’re the one claiming that there is a need for said “Creator” or said “First cause” the burden is upon you.

    To use Ed’s example…the “first cause” of the crater in Arizona…is the meteor. There was no need for a god or some “Creator” for it.

    So why is it that you’re assuming that one is needed for the formation of life on this planet?

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  34. lowerleavell says:

    “My parents are a result of me, I am a result of my parents and they exist outside of me.”

    I meant to say, “My parents are NOT a result of me…” :-)

    Also, I’m not trying to get you all to disprove the existence of God (that’s impossible). I’m trying to get you to put forth an alternate theory that is in every way superior to the need for a first cause.

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  35. Nick Kelsier says:

    The problem, Lower, is that you haven’t proven that the Creator exists in the first place. It is assumption. It is belief and not science. Nor have you proven that the Creator did what you said the Creator did. It is again assumption….belief. You say “You can know nothing about the murderer if no such action took place.” You’re right there. So how can we know anything about the Creator when you can’t even prove that said “Creation” took place in the first place?

    And the problem with Ken’s analogy is that it is entirely possible to die an unnatural death and not have a murderer. Indeed, I can think of at least one way it is entirely possible for a dead body to have a knife stuck in it’s back, to have that knife be the cause of death, and indeed…not have a murderer involved at all. Just for example.

    And there is a scientific explanation for how life began. It’s called the theory of abiogenesis.

    If you want to stick a “Creator” into it then recognize that is belief and not science. If you want to claim otherwise then yes you’re going to have to prove the existance of the “Creator”, that the “Creator” did what you claim and the identity of said “Creator.” Sorry, I’m not shutting off my brain just because you want to wave a magic wand around and yell “Presto.”

    And “Intelligent Design” is not a theory no matter how much you claim otherwise. Theories have been proven, Lower, and since ID hasn’t been…it isn’t a theory.

    And it is a false canard for you to ask for a scientific explanation to disprove God since you can’t scientifically prove God. Sorry, you want to claim the existance of God when it comes to science it’s up to you to prove said existance, not up to someone else to disprove said existance.

    Scientific explanation for how life began: Theory of abiogenesis.
    Scientific explanation of how the universe began: Theory of the Big Bang.

    Both explanations of how things came to be…naturally. There, I just tossed over your apple cart. Now feel free to obey your word. Or feel free not to…and be shown your hypocrisy.

    You and your fellow IDers keep on making the same quixotic assumption. That assumption being “That because the theory of evolution doesn’t say that God was involved means that it’s saying that God wasn’t involved. Instead of the correct answer being “It isn’t saying God was involved or not either way.”

    But the second you interject God or “Creator” or “Designer” you’ve moved from science to religion no matter how much you pretend otherwise.

    And as for Ed’s example of the meteor crater that’s simple. Ed is saying that a meteor caused the crater…a natural explanation. ID would say that God, and I’m using that term because I’m Christian just to explain, flung the meteor into the earth causing the creator. Which isn’t a natural explanation…it’s a supernatural explanation. There was no need for a “Creator” to cause the meteor crater. Just as there is no need for a “Creator” to have caused life to develop on this planet.

    You can claim otherwise but that is your faith speaking.

    And as for what the Bible says…no the Bible does not say how. It says who and why when it comes to an explanation of how this earth came to be and how life came to be. It makes no attempt to explain how. Creationism is nothing but an heretical mutated misinterpretation of the Creation account in the Bible. At it’s base…Creationism says that God lied.

    You say your beliefs come from your understanding..not the other way around. The problem with that…what proves you lie on that claim is that you tailor your understanding to support your beliefs. Evidence forms theory, not the other way around. And ID/Creationism does the opposite. You start with an assumption..that there is a Creator and then you go looking for evidence to support that assumption. And you reject evidence that is contrary to that assumption. And that is why there has never been an attempt to scientifically prove said Creator..and there never will be.

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  36. lowerleavell says:

    I haven’t had time to jump into this discussion at all with where you guys are at, so I will simply reply to what was addressed to me and let you all chat about what you guys are talking about. Sorry guys – this will be one of my long posts. : – (

    Ed used the example, “It’s like saying you refuse to acknowledge that the meteor crater in Arizona exists because it might not be a meteor that caused it, but instead a massive rock launched into the air by a volcano, or perhaps a huge catapult operated by giant ground sloths. And, unless anyone can prove it wasn’t giant ground sloths or a volcano, you think you’re justified in denying the existence of the crater.”

    Ray said, “But evolution is a completely different beast than a naturalistic origin of life. You’re only forcing them together because you’re philosophically opposed to both of them. Evolution is simply descent with modification. The mechanisms proposed to explain it do not apply when one is talking about non-living things. Evolution requires that life exist, it says nothing about how it got here.”

    Here is the problem with ID vs. evolution. It is comparing apples with oranges. You’re saying that ID is wrong because evolution adequately states how things evolved. But ID is not attempting to argue whether or not things evolved, but how life began. When it is pointed out that evolution does not and cannot describe how life began, you declare that evolution does not speak of these things. So, which is it? You’re telling me that evolution doesn’t touch how we got here…..then what’s the problem with ID which seeks to explain just that??? At this point, ID is not seeking to undermine evolution because it is not even addressing evolution! For sake of argument, an intelligent designer may have been the one who BEGAN evolution! Many ID proponents believe that. They are told that their views are unnecessary because it is contrary to evolution. But you’re telling me that evolution doesn’t even begin to try to explain where life came from…..so what’s wrong with this picture here? You’re arguing against a theory with a different theory that doesn’t even address the issue.

    Using Ed’s analogy of the crater, this is like one person trying to figure out how the crater got here and another person trying to reason what ever it was that caused the crater left such a deep impact? Studying what caused it and what did it cause are two totally different questions. What you’re almost declaring is that (using the analogy), the crater is eternal and doesn’t need a cause. I really appreciate you bringing up the crater argument, Ed, because it demonstrates very clearing that the crater had a cause, as all that are effects do. I am in no way denying the existence of the crater any more than I am denying the existence of nature, adaptations, etc. What I am denying is that the crater magically appeared out of thin air with no cause. If you acknowledge that the universe has a cause (but admit that you don’t know what it is) then you’ve just made a leap into the ID camp.

    I’ll bet the first people who found that crater asked themselves the question “how did this crater get here?” They didn’t ask, “How did this crater get here without any cause whatsoever?” ID is one such theory put forth to answer that question, “how did it get here?” It’s not asking, “What happened after it arrived?” That’s a question that can only be adequately answered after we acknowledge that something (or someone) caused it to begin with (you can’t understand the Arizona crater adequately unless you acknowledge that it had a cause).

    Ed said, “There are some cause-effect problems with your argument, I think. The crater exists; even if we can’t prove giant ground sloths didn’t have a role in its creation.”

    The question at this point is not WHAT caused the crater, but if there is indeed a cause? You all do not want to go there, because it means you’ll have to ponder the question, “who or what is the first cause?” Because, at first glance, the prospect of an ID poses an infinite amount of possible causes, it is safer and easier to propose no such cause to begin with. However, at this stage, agnosticism would make much more sense than strict atheism. However, if you look at nature, and what would be required to “cause” such a vast universe, the qualities of such an ID become clear rather quickly. But you can never begin that journey until you succumb to the reality that the universe does indeed have a cause!

    If it does not, what is your alternate hypothesis? Evolution is not an alternate hypothesis to ID – you said so yourself. So then, what is the answer? If you say, “I don’t know” then what is the problem with admitting it and starting to leave the guys who actually have put together a plausible theory alone? You’re saying their theory isn’t scientifically possible. What is yours? Is it any better? How do you beat flawed theories? By proposing better ones! So…the floor is yours. But, I’m guessing that no such superior theory exists…because the simplest and best plausible explanation for an effect is that it has a cause.

    Ed said, “Evolution is observed in living things today. How life got plugged into those creatures is wholly outside the subject, and wholly irrelevant to evolution.”

    But I thought we weren’t talking about evolution but rather why ID should not be imposed on Texas school kids. How life got here is COMPLETELY the subject of ID – but evolution is completely silent. Just because adaptation (you call it evolution – that’s fine) exists today does not explain how the process began. That is what ID seeks to answer and evolution does not and cannot. Therefore, once again, I would suggest you put forth an alternate hypothesis or stop being so tough on these ID guys. Usually, if you’re in a classroom and you tell a teacher that he is wrong, he will ask you why and to demonstrate what is right. The chalkboard is yours.

    Ray said, “What you’re doing here is essentially constructing an argument that says that something becomes explained by virtue of the fact that it’s unexplained. Interesting logical paradox. In reality, if something is unexplained, it’s merely unexplained, and nothing is implied by the fact that it’s unexplained. Your take on this is clearly a religious take, not a scientific one. In science there are no default explanations, only explanations that stand on their own.”

    Not at all. The NEED for a cause is completely explainable just as I am best understood as having parents (all analogies break down, as you have demonstrated, but this one fits to some degree) since I am an effect and am alive (though you have never scientifically studied my parents – and though you have never even met me or studied me you see my handiwork in my posts – do I not scientifically exist because the evidence demands that these posts come from someone who calls himself ‘lowerleavell’?). These posts are not simply “unexplainable.” They are best understood as being created by something…well maybe not intelligent, but at least someone with some gray matter. : -) I would suggest that since there are no exceptions in nature, nature itself is subject to the same standard.

    My take is no more religious than yours. You seek to explain away a deity (for whatever reason) and I seek to demonstrate that a deity exists. I do not do so BECAUSE I have faith – I do so because it is the only rational explanation put forth that adequately answers the question, “How did I get here?” Do you have a better one?

    Ray said, “I don’t think nature teaches us that life always comes from life. That’s a bit presumptive and is a philosophical/religious view that goes well beyond what nature “teaches us”. Your argument is the same as arguing (as people once did) that nature teaches us that illness comes from sin.”

    You’re telling me what you think. Now tell me something scientific that demonstrates that I am wrong. I’m putting out the theory here, and am asking if anyone has ever done research that demonstrates otherwise? You’re saying that cause and effect are “unexplainable” things to overcome, but I am proposing that it would be just as easy to overcome gravity as cause and effect and life from life. Both are the observable, demonstrable science. Neither has ever been demonstrated to have exceptions. You’re telling me that I am being religious. I would put forth that you are the one having active faith (religion) and belief that one day science will explain away what nature demonstrates to be true. It is not simply that there is no adequate answer in science – there IS! There IS an adequate understanding of how nature works, and it is that for everything that has a beginning, it has a cause.

    I would suggest that if life from non life was possible and scientific, it would be repeatable.

    Ray said, “As far as effects always having a cause, no one has suggested otherwise.”

    Thank you. Then we are in agreement about the earth as well, right?

    I said, “You refer to the ‘God’ concept as ’supernatural’ but why”?”

    Ray said, “Because a God would exist beyond the laws of nature and its actions would be untestable, and thus, beyond our understanding. Are miracles within our understanding of natural law? They wouldn’t be miracles if they were!”

    Again, thank you. I agree. I believe that this concept here boils down the whole objection to Intelligent Design. The problem is that if there is an ID, it MUST be beyond nature and science, and so it would be untestable – therefore, you say it must not exist. I would put forth that any such ID that IS within the realms of nature could not possibly BE the ID unless the ID willfully subjected (an assumption that it has will – though it must if there is an effect – it could not create something unless it willed it to exist) itself to the laws of nature that it created. For there to be a cause, it MUST exist outside of the effect. My parents are a result of me, I am a result of my parents and they exist outside of me. The AZ crater is NOT the meteor. In order to study the meteor, you have to look outside the crater and study something else. The same is true in studying the Intelligent Designer. It is outside the realm of the effect because it is the cause. I would think it would disprove the existence of a deity if it were scientifically testable.

    Ray said, “What I’m saying is that you can’t pretend to understand a cause with no knowledge of its nature. You’re taking mental shortcuts to your favorite explanation (i.e. God did it) and disregarding the reality that you don’t know enough of what’s out there to make any kind of definitive statements like this.”

    I did not make any characteristic statements about an ID or make the claim that I understood it. I merely demonstrated that such a being MUST exist. I didn’t say I knew anything about it beyond the necessity of its existence. Now, I do believe that there are things that can be gleaned from nature to demonstrate qualities that the ID must possess, but still, those things really doesn’t tell me anything about it’s character. To boil religion vs. science down here a little bit – I do not believe it is religious to speak of the necessity for a Supreme Being. BUT, I do believe it is religious (a matter of faith) to start ascribing characteristics to that being that go beyond what nature reveals to us. How would we know that a supreme being is good or not – or even if it is a possibility? That question definitely goes beyond “cause and effect” and is religious in nature.

    Ray said, “Um, isn’t it the contention of the ID community that this is about science and NOT religion? And isn’t it the contention of the ID community that ID is NOT creationism? And now you ask me for an argument that disproves the existence of God? So much for science, I guess.”

    If there was a scientific answer it would have been put forth. You missed your chance, Ray, but I’ll keep giving you more opportunities. And yes, I’m saying that ID is about science, but creationism is about faith, because creationism seeks to explain “how” an ID created and ID does no such thing. Creationism seeks to ascribe characteristic qualities to the ID, which ID never does. While it is not devoid of evidence, creationists first and foremost believe in the Genesis creation account because they believe the Bible is verifiable, and so since it claims that God tells us how it happened, and He was the only one there to witness it, that’s how it happened. I will completely agree with you that creationism is a matter of faith. Not blind faith mind you, but faith none the less.

    Ray said, “Also, see what you’re doing here: Your arguments are completely and totally philosophical in nature. You casually refer to science but it’s only for an accessory role (it lends jargon to your philosophy and has no other real function).”

    I readily admit that there is philosophy here – on both sides. I’ve made this complaint about those who hold to stubbornly hold to atheistic evolution. Most claim that there is no God because a good God would not allow evil to exist, the God of the Old Testament doesn’t make sense, etc. Those completely speak to character qualities of God in philosophical ways and do nothing to add to the discussion as to whether or not such a being objectively exists or not. If you want to place your faith and trust in God, that’s up to you, but don’t deny He exists simply because you don’t trust the God of the Bible’s character.

    You said, “Further, this discussion is supposed to be about evolution and ID but you’ve taken us far afield from it. Is that really neccesary? Do you realize how quick the ID community would deny your argument (in public, anyway) and tell us that there’s no reason to refer to God here? Perhaps you’ve given away ID’s little secret?”

    I’m not an IDist; I’m a Creationist (as you already know). So, I’m looking at both sides as an outsider and from my perspective, ID and creationism are NOT the same at all. While ID may open the door for the possibility of creationism, it opens the door for many other possibilities as well. Personally, I believe that the two go so well together because as you open the door to ID, the God of the Bible is the natural conclusion to which God is the Supreme Being (we can explore ‘why’ if you’d like).

    As I’ve said, evolution and ID are apples and oranges. This thread is about why ID is not scientific.
    I said, “There are laws that demonstrate that such a being MUST exist.”
    Ray said, “I disagree. No such thing has been demonstrated. The problem here is that your logic is limited to your experience. Now, unless you can understand the universe, its limits, and how it works, then you’re not in a position to make such statements.”
    Ray, are you saying that you have to have infinite knowledge to understand whether or not there is an ID? Then God help us all (no pun intended)! All of our knowledge is limited. I could say the exact same thing to you about evolution – “unless you can understand the universe, its limits, and how it works, then you are not in a position to make such statements.” No one knows the answers to all the questions. I certainly don’t have the ID question all figured out. If I did understand God, I’d be God, wouldn’t I?

    So here are my questions: You’ve already affirmed cause and effect – so is the universe eternal? Yes or no? If not, did it have a cause? Would not then that cause, by definition of our relevance to that cause, be appropriately be called, “God” – regardless of its qualities and regardless of whether or not we worship it?

    Ray said, “Within your belief system the answers precede the questions so you always have a neat, little self-confirming worldview that always make perfect sense. The logic of your belief system is always consistent and complete and it always leads to the same answer. Think about it: Have you ever found an answer that’s inconsistent with your beliefs?”

    My beliefs come from my understanding, not the other way around. Let me ask you this though, if it makes “perfect sense” and is “always consistent and complete and it always leads to the same answer” wouldn’t it be…right? That’s been the biggest criticism I’ve heard of ID and Creationism is that they are inconsistent, incomplete, unscientific, etc. Now you’re telling me that I have my own little bubble world where everything is always consistent. Well pop it for me, will you? If it’s just me and my happy little world, upset the apple cart, please? Tell me where I’m wrong because I truly, desperately want to know the right answer! Don’t you? If you demonstrate to me scientifically just how life began, how the universe began, etc. by natural means apart from any help from the creator, I’ll be more than happy to join your side. I’m not being a “head in the sand” kind of guy. I merely confident that you can’t and my footing is solid and consistent.

    I apologize for this long post, and for taking so long to reply…and for going away from what you all are talking about…but this is my reply to what you’ve written to me anyway.

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  37. lowerleavell says:

    Nick, you can never get to #2 and #3 unless you first acknowledge #1. You can have no murder without a murderer. You can know nothing about the murderer if no such action took place.

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  38. Nick Kelsier says:

    Ken writes:
    You are correct that your example would be faith and not science. In order for your example to be pertinent to the discussion you need to show evidence that ID requires knowing the cause of the design. A coroner’s job is to determine whether a person died of natural or “unnatural” (ie. man-made) causes. It is not up to the coroner to determine who the murderer was.

    It is pertinent, Ken, because if you don’t prove who the Creator is or prove that the Creator exists it is mere opinion and not science. It is assumption without backing. You IDer’s claim that life on this planet was created or designed by a Creator. Fine..then part of proving that claim is proving the Creator in the first place. Otherwise you’re just, using your metaphor, waving your hand at a dead body and saying “This person was murdered.”

    So as long as your side claims there is a “Creator” then yes the burden is upon you to prove that 1: the Creator exists in the first place 2: identify the Creator and 3: prove that the Creator did what you claim the Creator did. After all…it’s part of your claim and you’re the one that has to prove your claim.

    Like

  39. rayjs says:

    Kendalf wrote: “… the fact that you have scientists conducting scientific research and publishing scientific papers in scientific journals to try to falsify ID seems to me a key indicator that ID is science…”

    I’ve already argued that this amounts to a rather sad commentary on ID’s attempts to be accepted as science, but let me ask you this: Would you consider creationism to be science, too? After all, we’ve been falsifying it for years now.

    Like

  40. rayjs says:

    Kendalf wrote: “Examples of published work that describe biological systems containing one or more unselected steps:…”

    Let’s see.

    Behe and Snoke (2004):

    “Here we model the evolution of such protein features by what we consider to be the conceptually simplest route—point mutation in duplicated genes.”

    Yep. A test of evolution.

    Axe (2004):

    See http://pandasthumb.org/archives/2007/01/92-second-st-fa.html (Ed and Bret, this is Art’s response to Axe’s paper. Kendalf, Art Hunt is a biochemist):

    “To summarize, the claims that have been and will be made by ID proponents regarding protein evolution are not supported by Axe’s work. As I show, it is not appropriate to use the numbers Axe obtains to make inferences about the evolution of proteins and enzymes. Thus, this study does not support the conclusion that functional sequences are extremely isolated in sequence space, or that the evolution of new protein function is an impossibility that is beyond the capacity of random mutation and natural selection.”

    Apparently, Axe is not an IDer so this is NOT an example of research in ID, and it is also wrong for IDers to cite Axe in their support, but that’s irrelevant to the claim that IDers are doing research.

    Axe (2000):

    As above, since Axe is apparently not an IDer this does NOT constitute research done by the ‘cdesign proponentsists’.

    Sternberg (2008):

    When Kendolf says “Describes the ‘higher order informational structures’ which exhibit the characteristics of specified complexity”, one has to wonder what justifies such a statement as the author of the paper says no such thing in his abstract. And again, this is not research done by any cdesign proponentsists so it couldn’t count as research in ID.

    “Research directed at refuting irreducible complexity and ID…”

    Jamie T Bridgham, et al:

    “Here we demonstrate how an integrated molecular system—the specific functional interaction between the steroid hormone aldosterone and its partner the mineralocorticoid receptor—evolved by a stepwise Darwinian process.”

    Another test of evolution.

    Durrett, R, Schmidt, D.:

    “In addition, we use these results to expose flaws in some of Michael Behe’s arguments concerning mathematical limits to Darwinian evolution.”

    Flaws in Behe’s argument. When the day arrives where an argument containing flaws is accepted as a scientifically falsifiable theory, science is doomed.

    Zachary, et al:

    “Thus, the evolution of this phenotype was contingent on the particular history of that population. More generally, we suggest that historical contingency is especially important when it facilitates the evolution of key innovations that are not easily evolved by gradual, cumulative selection.”

    Yet another test of evolution.

    Like

  41. rayjs says:

    Kendalf: “One of the complex, information-rich structures of biology that ID posits to be intelligently designed would be the very first living organism…”

    Picking nits, aren’t we? Okay so we’ll expand the discussion to natural processes rather than just evolution. But it changes nothing since ID people incessantly complain about “naturalism”, anyway. Phillip Johnson and Dembski have made naturalism a main argument for ID. So ID depends on the testability of naturalism, not just evolution.

    So what does ID derive from? In fact, it derives from naturalism since it’s merely a response to naturalism. And any argument that ID makes will require the legs that naturalism provides. IOW, it has no legs of its own. It must always refer to natural processes to justify itself. That being the case, ID must always be a test of natural processes.

    “I listed 3 specific criteria by which ID could be falsified, none of which you addressed…”

    Here they are: “1) By showing that proposed irreducibly complex systems can be obtained through successive modification and natural selection.”

    You don’t think this isn’t a test of evolution? It’s all about evolution!

    “2) By showing that biological systems do not exhibit characteristics of CSI.”

    But no one who believes in the notion of ID has established that biological systems do or don’t exhibit CSI. Nor has anyone established that CSI cannot come about by natural means. Worse, there is nothing in place to actually test the idea with so we’re left with something that would be, at best, testable in theory but not in practise. It would be insincere on the part of ID to claim testability on that basis.

    “3) By showing that CSI does not require an intelligent agent, but can be generated by unintelligent (unguided) processes.”

    This is really just a restatement of #1. Thus, it’s still a test of evolution. Of course, given that you can’t actually distinguish CSI from unspecified complexity the whole point is rather moot, anyway.

    “I used the future tense to convey the fact that ID is still in development, and that more work is being done to improve the filter.”

    That’s rather overstated and disingenuous, isn’t it? In fact, there is no such filter in existence at all. To say that the filter ‘needs improvement’ is to pretend that it exists and is functioning to some degree. So what you really have is a philosophy in search of justification.

    “An archaeologist applies SC as a filter when he comes across scribbles on the wall to discern whether the scribbles are marks made by natural processes or by intelligent beings.”

    But an archeologist has a real, working filter at his disposal, and he can defend its use by noting that he is looking for things that he knows humans can make. Thus he has a defendable theory in hand and he is looking for things predicted by that theory. ID isn’t anywhere near that level. It can’t define any working filter, nor can it defend its use in any real-world circumstance.

    Also, does it occur to you that you’re left to argue by mere analogy (i.e. archaeologists, forensic scientists, SETI researchers) because there’s nothing available within ID that can make that argument? This is consistent with ID’s end-run around the scientific establishment and its appeal to laypersons via non-peer-reviewed literature, movies and church lectures.

    “This process also applies to the concept of irreducible complexity. If a system that is proposed to be irreducibly complex is shown to be not IC… then that would falsify the claim that the system was designed…”

    Then somebody had better tell Michael Behe because he’s been going around explaining away falsification of IC systems by rationalizing that the structures in question weren’t IC in the first place!

    “This what Kenneth Miller has been attempting to do. So the fact that you have scientists doing scientific research to try to falsify ID seems to me key evidence that ID is science.”

    This highlights the same problem with ID. Why are’t the ID people doing this? Where is their research? Why do other people have to do the ‘cdesign proponentsists’ work for them? Do you realize that you’re saying that ID gains scientific credibility not through ID’s own efforts but by work done by its opponents? Isn’t that embarrassing for ID? Isn’t it fatal for ID’s claims of scientific respectability?

    And given that the main thrust of ID is the standard creationist anti-evolutionism, Miller’s work is really to support evolution in the face of attack by anti-evolutionists. This again calls to attention ID’s dependence on the falifiability of evolution.

    Like

  42. Ed Darrell says:

    The post from Ediacaran raises an interesting question: What would the fossils of a talking serpent look like?

    Like

  43. Ed Darrell says:

    First part.

    You cannot ridicule the amount of published research that has been done by ID proponents and at the same time deny that ID proponents have done any scientific research.

    Ridicule? I merely pointed out that in the 22 years since creationists decided to use the phrase “intelligent design” instead of “creationism,” there have been fewer than a dozen papers published, if we stretch the definition of paper and allow any journal including My Weekly Reader to count as a science journal, while at the same time we have been avalanched with 220,000 papers on evolution.

    Those are the facts. When the facts look to you as ridicule, it’s because the case for intelligent design is ridiculous. It’s absurd.

    That’s not my fault. Seriously, though, when the facts look like a punchline, how can anyone seriously argue that ID deserves a place in high schools? You’re joking — maybe unintentionally, but you’re joking.

    I had said:

    You’re assuming, contrary to law and fact, that judges make the judgments on science, rather than relying on the opinions of experts in the field.

    Kendalf replied:

    Yes, we all know just how much Judge Jones relied on the opinions of others–90.9% reliance to be exact.

    That’s a lie. Shame on you.

    Worse, you demonstrate an incredible, astounding and willful ignorance of the law when you repeat it. And, as we know, ignorance of the law is no excuse.

    The findings of fact in any civil suit are written by the warring parties. That’s the way the law works. The judge is not required to use the findings, and the judge may edit them. But the parts of the decision you claim were written by others are supposed to be written by others, under U.S. law.

    So what’s your real statement? You’re saying “The ID team lost so badly that they didn’t score a single point, and all the findings were written by the plaintiffs.”

    In other words, ID got skunked.

    Your complaint that the judge used the winning side’s language? Sour grapes.

    And since when did the ACLU become an expert in the field of science?

    The ACLU wasn’t on the stand, didn’t offer testimony. The telling thing is that the witnesses you cite were found to be not credible. That’s the role of the judge (or jury, in jury trials), to determine whether witnesses are telling the truth or not. The testimony you cite was indeed offered by Behe, and found not credible.

    That’s the stuff you rely on? That’s the problem with ID — it relies on statements that are found not credible when given under oath, and on statements that are denied when given under oath.

    Frankly, I don’t trust any thing to be called “science” when it changes when the advocates are under penalty of perjury. I prefer the rock-solid, replicable results of real scientists checking on real evolution in the real world.

    If one of my students copied 5,458 of the 6,004 words in his paper from one source, I certainly wouldn’t believe that he actually thought critically about the topic. Tell me Ed, as a lawyer, what would you think if the judge for your case copied over 90% of his decision from the opposing lawyer’s brief?

    I’d think he did his job exactly as the law requires, especially since he chose the side that wasn’t prevaricating.

    Had the judge done anything wrong, it should have been appealed. There was no appeal. Had the judge done anything wrong ethically, the Federal Judicial Conference would have issued sanctions against him. Not only was there no such investigation, and no sanctions, but there was not even a call for sanctions by any attorney from the losing side, nor from any other competent attorney (yeah, Casey, you’re not in that pool for this discussion).

    Your side lost every single point, by a wide, wide margin. It’s rare that we see sore losing of such epic proportion that they lie about what the judge did and said, and try to paint the conservative, Republican, Christian judge as a lying plagiarizer.

    That’s the real moral danger of all creationism. It sucks the moral will right out of its advocates, and it saps the moral actions of people even when they least suspect it.

    If your students were required to quote accurately an equation, and they didn’t do it, you’d be justified in failing them. But if they got the equations right, and you brought charges of plagiarism against them, you’d be liable to the standards of your school for your actions.

    Don’t lose track of where you are in this accusation. Jones was no plagiarizer. In civil suits, the opposing lawyers write the findings of fact. You’ve been suckered by a publicity stunt at the Disco Tute. You’ve slandered a good and honest judge as a result. You owe an apology to Judge Jones — but good luck trying to get an apology from the DT folks. (See details here: http://pandasthumb.org/archives/2006/12/dis-plagiarism.html )

    (And you weren’t the only one to get suckered by DI: https://timpanogos.wordpress.com/2006/12/30/for-the-record-pearceys-slam-at-judge-jones-unwarranted/ )

    What’s telling is that your own claims keep pointing back to yourself.

    It’s telling that you refuse to refer to the IDist testimony given under oath (which I cited in my comment), and keep relying instead on mischaracterizations of that testimony (such as Judge Jones the ACLU’s decision), and other claims made where truth is not held to such high standards (such as in your comments).

    Better lawyers than I checked Jones’s decision and tracked Behe’s testimony. That it was given under oath in this case is no guaranty that it was accurate. It might even be truthful, in the sense that Behe is deluded into thinking his statements accurate.

    But in federal court, and especially in Judge Jones’s court, testimony is held to very high standards. ID couldn’t meet those standards, neither in the case of the story of its advocates, nor in the scientific testimony of the scientists who put their faith in it.

    In science, taking stuff on faith is a warning sign, an omen of a wrong path taken. Wise people get off that path, and get back to the path of solid science.

    We should follow the wise ones.

    Like

  44. Ediacaran says:

    Or maybe an Ediacaran bunny – I’m showing my age! ;c)

    Like

  45. Ediacaran says:

    So Behe is asking for an infinitely detailed test – of evolution.

    When is he going to posit a scientific test for Intelligent Design Creationism? Or are ID creationists only going to give us more weasel words designed to hide the fact that this is only a test of evolution, as Ray has already noted?

    Maybe IDologists can look for fossils of talking serpents, or fossils from magical knowledge fruit trees to make their case. They might get lucky and find a Vendian bunny.

    Like

  46. Kendalf says:

    And to finally answer your question: no I do not teach cold fusion in my physics class. I’m ready for you to tell me what your point is.

    Ed, your other points were already addressed in my earlier response. You should actually read and try to respond to those points first before repeating a bunch of dead arguments.

    But in case you’re feeling lazy let me repeat one of my points here:
    The fact that I am trying to highlight is that it is incorrect to say that there is “no research going on” and the variations of this statement that Ed and Gotelli made which I quoted in my earlier comment. I have no problems with people pointing out the obvious fact that the number of ID papers is miniscule in comparison to the number of papers published on evolution.

    What I am concerned about is people who make dismissive statements along the lines of, “If IDers want ID to be recognized as science they should get in the labs, do the science, and get their research published,” and then turn right around and deny any of the work that has already been published.

    You cannot ridicule the amount of published research that has been done by ID proponents and at the same time deny that ID proponents have done any scientific research.

    You’re assuming, contrary to law and fact, that judges make the judgments on science, rather than relying on the opinions of experts in the field.

    Yes, we all know just how much Judge Jones relied on the opinions of others–90.9% reliance to be exact. And since when did the ACLU become an expert in the field of science?

    If one of my students copied 5,458 of the 6,004 words in his paper from one source, I certainly wouldn’t believe that he actually thought critically about the topic. Tell me Ed, as a lawyer, what would you think if the judge for your case copied over 90% of his decision from the opposing lawyer’s brief?

    What’s telling is that your own claims keep pointing back to yourself.

    It’s telling that you refuse to refer to the IDist testimony given under oath (which I cited in my comment), and keep relying instead on mischaracterizations of that testimony (such as Judge Jones the ACLU’s decision), and other claims made where truth is not held to such high standards (such as in your comments).

    But unlike you, I actually believe that I need to support my statements with evidence. So let’s address Judge Jones account of Behe’s testimony regarding the blood clotting mechanism:

    In fact, on cross-examination, Professor Behe was questioned concerning his 1996 claim that science would never find an evolutionary explanation for the immune system. He was presented with fifty-eight peer-reviewed publications, nine books, and several immunology textbook chapters about the evolution of the immune system; however, he simply insisted that this was still not sufficient evidence of evolution, and that it was not “good enough.”

    Now let me present the relevant segments from the transcript of the actual cross examination of Behe:

    Q. We’ll get back to that. Now, these articles rebut your assertion that scientific literature has no answers on the origin of the vertebrate immune system?

    A. No, they certainly do not. My answer, or my argument is that the literature has no detailed rigorous explanations for how complex biochemical systems could arise by a random mutation and natural selection and these articles do not address that.

    Q. So these are not good enough?

    A. They’re wonderful articles. They’re very interesting. They simply just don’t address the question that I pose.

    And a little later:

    Q. Okay. So there’s at least fifty more articles discussing the evolution of the immune system?

    A. And midpoint I am, I certainly haven’t had time to look through these fifty articles, but I still am unaware of any that address my point that the immune system could arise or that present in a detailed rigorous fashion a scenario for the evolution by random mutation and natural selection of the immune system.

    Q. I think you said in your deposition you would need a step-by-step description?

    A. Where in my deposition did I say that?

    Q. Do you remember saying that?

    A. I probably said something like that, but I would like to see it.

    Q. Is that your position today that these articles aren’t good enough, you need to see a step-by-step description?

    A. These articles are excellent articles I assume. However, they do not address the question that I am posing. So it’s not that they aren’t good enough. It’s simply that they are addressed to a different subject.

    Q. And I’m correct when I asked you, you would need to see a step-by-step description of how the immune system, vertebrate immune system developed?

    A. Not only would I need a step-by-step, mutation by mutation analysis, I would also want to see relevant information such as what is the population size of the organism in which these mutations are occurring, what is the selective value for the mutation, are there any detrimental effects of the mutation, and many other such questions.

    I don’t see any evidence that Behe is “stretching the truth” or “denying reality.” In fact, Behe is responding as a careful scientist, requesting actual evidence before he will accept a critical claim.

    Creationism might be a defensible position, where the facts are not required to be correct, and where people are free to tell whopping tall tales.

    Who has been telling the whopping tall tales, Ed? When I was serving as a juror, one of the counsels advised us that when a witness is shown to have repeatedly made false claims and untrue statements, he should not be trusted as a credible witness. Unfortunately Ed, your testimony has not proven to be a very credible.

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  47. Ed Darrell says:

    I consider it extremely ironic that you continually state the need for published work to support the claims made by IDists, yet you repeatedly refer to the statements made by judges who have no relevant scientific training as support for your statements.

    You’re assuming, contrary to law and fact, that judges make the judgments on science, rather than relying on the opinions of experts in the field.

    The telling point in the Arkansas trial was that, under oath, each creationist denied there is evidence for creationism, and each said it is based on scripture.

    The telling points in the Pennsylvania trial were when the judge caught the creationist experts stretching the truth and denying reality (58 publications refuting Behe’s claims on blood clotting were “inadequate,” though Behe himself didn’t have a single publication defending the view).

    It’s telling that you refuse to refer to the creationist testimony given under oath, and keep relying instead on mischaracterizations of that testimony, and other claims made where truth is not held to such high standards.

    Creationism might be a defensible position, where the facts are not required to be correct, and where people are free to tell whopping tall tales.

    No science class should be that sloppy.

    Like

  48. Ed Darrell says:

    If I concede all those publications as ID promoting (and I don’t make that concession), and count the responses as another publication, there are 11 ID publications listed there.

    Since 1987, 220,000 publications on evolution, 13 publications on ID.

    I think you make the point, Kendalf: IDists and other creationists are the laziest living things known.

    Heck, there are more papers on cold fusion, in serious science journals, than on ID. And cold fusion isn’t even pushed by the guys who thought they found it at first, any more.

    It seems that ID is to biology what cold fusion is to physics — except that ID lacks the extensive documentation and research that cold fusion has.

    So, tell us: Do you teach cold fusion to your physics students? Why not?

    And if you don’t, and especially if you won’t, tell us why you insist on much lower standards for biology, please.

    Like

  49. Kendalf says:

    But Gotelli’s got you.  He’s pointed out that the paucity of publications is because creationists are lazier than any other living thing on Earth, and have simply not done their work.

    Still beating that dead horse, Ed? If you would like to continue insisting in calling IDists “creationists,” then I’m sure you wouldn’t mind if people called you “British.” Unless, of course, you hold a double standard in which only you can call other people by misleading names.

    So Gotelli (and you) think that there is no work being done on intelligent design, and you call IDists “lazier than any other living thing on Earth” for not doing any work. It troubles me when someone tries to pass off his own inadequacy by accusing others of it. I wonder how Gotelli determined that there are no publications on IC? Did he just run a search with the phrase “irreducibly complex”? The simple absence of that phrase within a paper does not mean that the study does not reveal an irreducibly complex system.
    Behe’s definition: “An irreducibly complex evolutionary pathway is one that contains one or more unselected steps (that is, one or more necessary-but-unselected mutations). The degree of irreducible complexity is the number of unselected steps in the pathway.” (A Response to Critics of Darwin’s Black Box, by Michael Behe, PCID, Volume 1.1, January February March, 2002; iscid.org/)

    Examples of published work that describe biological systems containing one or more unselected steps:
    Behe and Snoke (2004) in Protein Science, “Simulating evolution by gene duplication of protein features that require multiple amino acid residues.
    Response by Michael Lynch
    And the response by Behe and Snoke.

    Axe (2004) in Journal of Molecular Biology, “Estimating the prevalence of protein sequences adopting functional enzyme folds.

    Axe (2000) in Journal of Molecular Biology, “Extreme functional sensitivity to conservative amino acid changes on enzyme exteriors.

    Sternberg (2008) in Acta Biotheoretica, “DNA codes and information: Formal structures and relational causes.” Describes the “higher order informational structures” which exhibit the characteristics of specified complexity.

    Research directed at refuting irreducible complexity and ID
    Jamie T. Bridgham, Sean M. Carroll, Joseph W. Thornton, in Science, “Evolution of Hormone-Receptor Complexity by Molecular Exploitation.
    Here is the press release stating clearly that the purpose of this study is to reconstruct “the Darwinian evolution of an apparently “irreducibly complex” molecular system.”
    The response by Behe, “The Lamest Attempt Yet to Answer the Challenge Irreducible Complexity Poses for Darwinian Evolution” and another response by DI fellows.

    Durrett R, Schmidt D, “Waiting for two mutations: with applications to regulatory sequence evolution and the limits of Darwinian evolution.
    Response by Douglas Axe.

    Zachary D. Blount, Christina Z. Borland, and Richard E. Lenski, PNAS, “Historical contingency and the evolution of a key innovation in an experimental population of Escherichia coli

    Response by Behe

    Behe and Axe respond very reasonably to these papers, I believe. But then again, you shouldn’t take my word for it, since I’m not a biochemist. BTW, neither are you, Ed. Whether IC has been refuted in these systems is something that will be decided by the scientists involved, not by the comments of bloggers.

    But let’s do this: Let’s grant for the sake of argument that these recent studies have indeed refuted the idea that the systems being studied are irreducibly complex. What does this show?

    It shows that IC is a valid scientific concept that is subject to testing and falsification.

    Referring back to a comment that Ray made:

    “But it’s not falisfiable at all since ID has nothing at all to do with nature. Quite the opposite, ID relies on the supernatural in which the laws of nature don’t apply. Hence, it’s unfalsifiable. If you disagree, outline a research program that can falsify ID.”

    Those papers cited above are examples of just such a research program. Let me repeat the point made in my previous comment: the fact that you have scientists conducting scientific research and publishing scientific papers in science journals to try to falsify ID seems to me a key indicator that ID is science, at least to the scientists publishing the papers, and the peer reviewers who are approving the papers for publication.

    It’s a simple cause and effect relationship: ID has raised valid scientific claims, like the concept of irreducible complexity, and now scientists are working to prove or disprove it. These scientists obviously believe that ID is a testable scientific concept. They may believe it is bad science, which is why they are trying to refute it, but at least they acknowledge that it is scientific. So what is your source of authority for holding that ID is not science? Is it because a federal judge said so?

    Ed quoted: “We find that such evidence demonstrates that the ID argument is dependent upon setting a scientifically unreasonable burden of proof for the theory of evolution.”

    I consider it extremely ironic that you continually state the need for published work to support the claims made by IDists, yet you repeatedly refer to the statements made by judges who have no relevant scientific training as support for your statements.

    Of course you won’t accept any refutation of your claim — it would falsify the claim, and you’d have to admit defeat. But you knew that coming in. For creationists, it’s all about dogma, not evidence. There is no evidence possible that would convince a creationist.

    I have offered more actual evidence–as opposed to rhetoric–against ID in this one post than you have given in this entire discussion.

    May I remind you of the examples you gave for what would constitute a falsification of evolution? A camel emerging from a bacterium? Dogs from cats? Cats from dogs? “A magic birth of an entirely unrelated species, not linked by any ancestry to the mother…” In essence what you said is that you require proof of a miracle to falsify evolution.

    Contrast this with the approach taken by IDists. They have stated clear criteria by which ID may be falsified, and scientists have taken up the challenge to confirm or falsify ID on scientific grounds.

    Ed wrote: This will disappoint you, too, on another topic:

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2009/03/elephantine_errors_from_ray_co.php#more

    Wasn’t there something you wrote once about “squirrels,” Ed? Maybe <a href=”https://timpanogos.wordpress.com/2007/10/01/intelligent-design-pigs-still-dont-fly/”>this</a> will refresh your memory:

    In my days in intercollegiate debate, we called such cases “squirrels.” They depend on one’s roping in the opponent to an off-topic discussion on some point where you actually have a case, in order to avoid arguing on all the issues where you are weak.

    Your old debate coach would be so proud of the way you continue to apply those old debate strategies.

    Like

  50. Ediacaran says:

    Debunking of Behe’s so-called “irreducibly complex” bloodclotting? It’s been done. Get the scoop from the guy who field-dressed Behe’s arguments in court:

    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/loom/2009/01/02/smoke-and-mirrors-whales-and-lampreys-a-guest-post-by-ken-miller/

    The science done related to bloodclotting is actually a test of evolution, and evolution passed. Behe’s IC claim is a baseless assertion regarding what he says evolution cannot do, instead of a testable assertion regarding any positive “explanation” under intelligent design. But as long as Behe claims that ID predicts the bloodclotting cascade he discussed is Irreducibly Complex, ID fails.

    Like

  51. Ed Darrell says:

    In other words, you’ve not bothered to check either Behe’s citations nor anything else about the claim of irreducible complexity.

    Here’s the problem: Pick any of the world’s leading life science journal indices — you will not be able to find any publications proposing the existence of any feature that is irreducibly complex.

    So, for you denialists, that’s easy: No publications, no disproof.

    But Gotelli’s got you. He’s pointed out that the paucity of publications is because creationists are lazier than any other living thing on Earth, and have simply not done their work.

    You’re relying on the laziness of creationists to save you. It’s “survival of the fittest,” though, not survival of the least active and best-tanned.

    Of course you won’t accept any refutation of your claim — it would falsify the claim, and you’d have to admit defeat. But you knew that coming in. For creationists, it’s all about dogma, not evidence. There is no evidence possible that would convince a creationist. If Jesus showed up with Darwin at His right hand, creationists would first deny it is Darwin, and then deny it’s Jesus, in order to keep the dogma alive.

    Clotting research denies Behe:
    http://dododreams.blogspot.com/2006/02/knowing-little-and-proud-of-it.html

    Judge says Behe’s testimony shows blood clotting argument designed to avoid peer review testing:
    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2006/08/thank_you_michael_behe.php

    Here’s the critical part of what Judge Jones actually said in the decision:

    In fact, on cross-examination, Professor Behe was questioned concerning his 1996 claim that science would never find an evolutionary explanation for the immune system. He was presented with fifty-eight peer-reviewed publications, nine books, and several immunology textbook chapters about the evolution of the immune system; however, he simply insisted that this was still not sufficient evidence of evolution, and that it was not “good enough.”

    We find that such evidence demonstrates that the ID argument is dependent upon setting a scientifically unreasonable burden of proof for the theory of evolution.

    Isn’t that exactly what you’re saying now, Kendalf? And you’re not even a Ph.D. biochemist.

    This will disappoint you, too, on another topic:
    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2009/03/elephantine_errors_from_ray_co.php#more

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  52. Kendalf says:

    Ed, it’ll take more than you saying “It’s been done” before I will agree that ID is falsified. Please show me how human blood clotting has been shown to not be irreducibly complex? And since you mentioned Gotelli’s comment, please be sure that your refutation is in keeping with scientific standards.

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  53. Ed Darrell says:

    So one way to falsify ID would be to go into the lab and demonstrate that the irreducibly complex systems that have been proposed by Behe and others have actually evolved through natural selection.

    Been done. For example, Behe posed human blood clotting as irreducibly complex. Turns out many other animals have blood clotting that lacks one or more of the features Behe said made it irreducibly complex. The clotting for dolphins and porpoises was well established before Behe published, but his literature search somehow ignored this major group of mammals. See Gotelli’s comments, above.

    So, do you agree we can we say ID is falsified now?

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  54. Ed Darrell says:

    It might be useful to recall the letter of Dr. Gotelli:

    Creationism doesn’t live up to these standards, so its proponents are relegated to the sidelines, publishing in books, blogs, websites, and obscure journals that don’t maintain scientific standards.

    Finally, isn’t it sort of pathetic that your large, well-funded institute must scrape around, panhandling for a seminar invitation at a little university in northern New England? Practicing scientists receive frequent invitations to speak in science departments around the world, often on controversial and novel topics. If creationists actually published some legitimate science, they would receive such invitations as well.</blockquote?

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  55. Kendalf says:

    I wrote, "ID posits that intelligent causes are necessary to explain the complex, infomation-rich structures of biology and that these causes are empirically detectable."

    Ray responded: “These are weasel words designed to hide the fact that this is only a test of evolution.”

    Ray, your statement is simply false, and intentionally so it seems. One of the complex, information-rich structures of biology that ID posits to be intelligently designed would be the very first living organism. As you and the other commentators in this thread have repeatedly stated, evolution does not address the origin of life. Therefore ID seeks to provide an explanation for something that is outside of the scope of evolution and you are false to say that ID is only a test of evolution.

    Can you build a theory that allows us to know when ID has been falsified? Can it ever provide us with a definitive statement to the effect life is NOT the result of ID?

    I listed 3 specific criteria by which ID could be falsified, none of which you addressed, except to nitpick on my use of the future tense for potential falsifier #2.

    Are you telling us that there is no current means in place to distinguish something that’s intelligently designed from something that’s not? That no such filter exists? That no such distinction is possible? That there is nothing in place that can be applied to biological systems?

    I used the future tense to convey the fact that ID is still in development, and that more work is being done to improve the filter. As I indicated in my comment, CSI (or SC if you prefer) is one characteristic that has been proposed by Dembski for this filter.

    But worse, has the notion of SC itself ever been tested as a device to distinguish between designed and not designed things? And what measure of complexity is to be used? How will it be quantified and described?

    You noted that you consider SETI, forensics, and archaeology to be sciences, and that they also apply filters to discern between intelligent and unintelligent causes. However, you completely ignored the hypothetical example I gave demonstrating how SC can be used as the filter in SETI. An archaeologist applies SC as a filter when he comes across scribbles on the wall to discern whether the scribbles are marks made by natural processes or by intelligent beings. The quantification and description of SC are all described in the paper by Dembski that I linked to earlier.

    Now let me go back and try to address probably the key point in your comment:

    If you can’t build such a theory then you’re leaving an ‘out’ for yourself in that you’re permiting vagueness, no? Here’s what I mean: If you were to test something for specified complexity (SC) and it failed, what could you conclude? That ID is wrong or merely that that particular thing you tested didn’t have SC? Probably the latter. Then, on to the next thing. Suppose it fails, too? Well, it must not have had SC! So can the notion of SC ever be falsified? Nope. Claims about individual "things" might be falsified but the notion of SC is immune from being falsified since there are always more "things" out there that haven’t been tested. Unless you can specify in advance specifically what will consitute a failure of SC, the notion cannot be falsifed.

    First, starting with the last sentence, I refer you back to ID falsifiers #2 & #3 which specifically state how SC can be shown to fail as a filter for intelligent causes. Second, if something is tested for SC and it fails (ie. it does not exhibit SC), then the conclusion would be that this something was probably not designed. If a number of biological systems were tested and they all failed to exhibit SC, then the evidence would pile up that perhaps biological systems in general do not exhibit SC and eventually the preponderance of failures would prove that ID is false. That is the process of science. ID makes real, empirically testable predictions. The failure to observe these predictions would constitute a failure of ID as a valid scientific hypothesis.

    This process also applies to the concept of irreducible complexity. If a system that is proposed to be irreducibly complex is shown to not be IC—that is, if it can be demonstrated that the system can actually be obtained through successive modification and natural selection, then that would falsify the claim that this system was designed, and given enough of these falsifications then the credibility of ID as a plausible hypothesis would completely disappear. So one way to falsify ID would be to go into the lab and demonstrate that the irreducibly complex systems that have been proposed by Behe and others have actually evolved through natural selection. This is what Kenneth Miller has been attempting to do. So the fact that you have scientists doing scientific research to try to falsify ID seems to me key evidence that ID is science.

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  56. Ray says:

    “cdesign proponentsists”

    You just can’t make this stuff up!

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  57. Ediacaran says:

    Kendalf chides Ed: ‘You didn’t say, “IDists rarely write up papers for publication,” your statement seems to deny them credit for any published papers. And yet at the end of your comment you belittle the fact that there have only been two ID papers published since 1987. And what about your comment in my blog in which you mentioned that there were up to 5 published papers on ID? So are there really no papers by ID theorists published in peer-reviewed journals, or are there two, or 5, or more?’

    Read Ed’s comments again: ‘There are about 10,000 papers published on evolution every year. Since 1987 and the decision in Edwards v. Aguillard that produced “intelligent design,” that means there have been 220,000 papers on evolution — a wide number of them on speciation, by the way — compared to, if we add those you claim to be on ID, five on ID, one of which was retracted by the publisher, the second of which was not research based nor explanatory of any ID hypothesis, and three of which you claim to be ID though they don’t appear that way in any journal.
    5 papers to 220,000. And you claim the burden of proof is on me because I point out your assertion that ID is science is rather specious. He who asserts must prove, except in this case. Right.’

    So, Kendalf, the 5 Ed mentioned included the 3 papers from IDists that you cited (1 by Seelke, 2 by Axe), but even you conceded that: “And before you say that I am refuting my own statement that I have not presented ID as an alternative to evolution, I mention these papers as examples that claim a weakness of evolution, not as a support for ID.” Despite that disclaimer, you quote from an email by Axe: ‘”I have in fact confirmed that these papers add to the evidence for ID.”‘

    Dollars to donuts Axe didn’t invoke “intelligent design” in either paper – he certainly didn’t invoke it in the abstracts. Seelke certainly didn’t invoke “intelligent design” in his paper, either. The Meyer paper was repudiated by the organization that published it (and as for Meyer being a creationist, Meyer taught at the Palm Beach Atlantic University which requires that its faculy and staff “must believe that man was directly created by God”).

    Another paper was written by the aforementioned follower of Rev. Sun Myung Moon, Jonathan Wells. Per http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CI/CI001_4.html, “Wells (2005) was published in Rivista di Biologia, a journal which caters to papers which are speculative and controversial to the point of crackpottery (J. M. Lynch 2005). Its editor, Giuseppe Sermonti, is a Darwin denier sympathetic to the Discovery Institute.”

    So, where is the science in Intelligent Design Creationism?

    To reiterate Ray’s question:
    ‘Kendalf, specifically what are you referring to when you speak of “work that has already been published”? What “research” are the ID people doing?’

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  58. Ediacaran says:

    Kendalf wrote: “To call every person who supports ID a “creationist” is the same as calling all people who support evolution an “atheist.” But since those who continue to conflate these two labels don’t seem to care about being accurate with terms, I’m not going to belabor the point.”

    You just belabored it, so let’s address it. From the decision in Kitzmiller v. Dover ASD: “In making this determination, we have addressed the seminal question of whether ID is science. We have concluded that it is not, and moreover that ID cannot uncouple itself from its creationist, and thus religious, antecedents.”

    Can you cite any “cdesign proponentsists”( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dqNH-Hnsfgg) who are not creationists? I realize that Behe typically uses the term “creationist” to refer to only young-earth creationists when it suits him, to disavow his creationist ties, but he is a creationist under the broader and more generally accepted definition. Berlinski claims not to support ID (it’s rather the reverse, financially speaking), so he’s out. I suppose Raelians might qualify (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raelism). Let’s hear from the leaders of Intelligent Design Creationism:

    “Our strategy has been to change the subject a bit so that we can get the issue of intelligent design, which really means the reality of God, before the academic world and into the schools.” – Phillip Johnson, http://www.christianity.ca/NetCommunity/Page.aspx?pid=2830

    “Intelligent design is just the Logos theology of John’s Gospel restated in the idiom of information theory.” – William Dembski, Touchstone: A Journal of Mere Christianity. Volume 12, Issue4: July/August, 1999 http://touchstonemag.com/archives/issue.php?id=49

    “Father’s words, my studies, and my prayers convinced me that I should devote my life to destroying Darwinism, just as many of my fellow Unificationists had already devoted their lives to destroying Marxism. When Father chose me (along with about a dozen other seminary graduates) to enter a Ph.D. program in 1978, I welcomed the opportunity to prepare myself for battle.” – John “Jonathan” Corrigan Wells, http://www.tparents.org/Library/Unification/Talks/Wells/DARWIN.htm [In the passage, “Father” refers to J.C. Wells’ god, a.k.a. Rev. Sun Myung Moon,
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sun_Myung_Moon)

    So when are “cdesign proponentsists” lying, when they’re claiming that ID isn’t religious, or when they are? I don’t think any honest judge is going to be very sympathetic to members of the Dishonesty Institute.

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  59. Ray says:

    Let me expand a bit on what I mean by the breadth of evolutionary theory. At the same time, let me expand bit on what I mean by what evolution can explain and what ID can’t explain.

    When we look at life, we see quite a bit more than just anatomies that need to be explained. We see patterns and similarities among living species and those in the fossil record. ID only addresses the issue of the origins of anatomy. Evolution does, too, but evolution addresses so much more.

    For example, when we compare species we see similarities and differences. We even see degrees of similarity and degrees of difference. In fact, we can use those degrees of similarity to build diagrams linking species in a tree-like pattern just like a human family tree. Of course, we know that evolution can explain this tree (common ancestry and descent). But can ID explain it? No. There’s nothing in ID theory that can explain the degrees of similarity between species (ID is mum on common ancestry and descent). I’ll even go farther and say that ID doesn’t have the tools to address the issue.

    When we look at genes we see the same pattern of degrees of similarity but we also see genes that are shared between vastly different species. For example, using molecular genetics, we see that modern whales share genes with modern ungulates. More specifically, we see that the hippo is more similar to living whales than they are to the rest of the living ungulates. Can evolution explain this? Yes, evolution can account for and explain this by concluding that hippos are more closely related to whales than they are to the rest of the ungulates. That being the case, whales must have derived from ungulate ancestors. Fossils have backed this up as we have fossils of ancient whales retaining vestigial hooves (and a host of other characters like blowholes caught in mid-migration from nostrils at the tip of snout to top of the head). Can ID explain this relationship between whales and hippos? No. Can it explain genetic relatedness at all? Again ID is mum. It has no explanatory powers at all. It purports to tell us about life but it really has nothing to say about it.

    When we look at fossils we see sequences showing successive change over time. Can evolution explain those sequences? Of course: Those species were evolving over time. Can ID explain them? Nope. ID has no tools to address fossil sequences.

    When we look at biogeography (the distribution of species over the Earth) we again see patterns. For example we see that similar species are usually found in similar geographic areas. That is, similar species are usually found near each other. One can even build a kind of family tree of geographic relationships that would look similar to trees depicting common ancestry and descent. Can evolution explain this? You bet. Similar species are near each other because they share common ancestors and a common ancestral range. When the ancestral species split up, creating new species, those species became situated near the ancestral species and each other. Can ID explain these geographic patterns? Nope. ID doesn’t say anything about them. ID “theory” doesn’t even know such patterns exist (and neither do most IDers!)

    So what does ID explain, then? At a minimum ID must explain what evolution explains. But ID explains nothing about life or the relationships between species and the patterns we see in nature. Worst of all, ID doesn’t even try to explain these things! Of course, ID proponents will try to excuse this by telling us that ID is only about origins. But that’s not good enough. Evolution explains the origin of species and it doesn’t have to make excuses about everything else. It simply explains them, as a real scientific theory is obligated to do. Were ID a real scientific theory it would explain the patterns and relationships of life in specific terms, with no excuses: It would tell us precisely why things are the way they are.

    All scientific theories live or die based on how well the predictions they make survive testing. But since ID explains nothing, it therefore makes no predictions, and there is no way to test it against life in the real world and thus, ID is not science.

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  60. Ray says:

    Kendalf, I wasn’t really expecting an answer from you regarding your views on common ancestry and descent as many IDers are loathe to talk about them lest they admit that their views are the same as those of the creationists.

    The reason I asked is because there’s nothing intrinsic about ID that denies common ancestry and descent. For example, Michel Behe clearly accepts it. But others don’t. Why they dismiss it is indicative, I think, of their religious views and their understandable need to keep them a secret when promoting ID.

    But here’s my answer, anyway. Evolution is now so strongly confirmed in so many fields that it isn’t an easy thing to do to falsify it. This shouldn’t be taken as a failure of falsifiability, though. It;s just a matter of breadth of theory. It could be done in principle since each and every aspect of it comes from observations in nature. It would require a major, multidisciplinary assault, though (and of course, ID is merely one-dimensional).

    Ed has already noted a few areas where contradictory evidence could crop up (i.e. out-of-sequence fossils). If evolutionary theory were limited to a single area of confirmation that might be enough to falsify it. But when an idea is so strongly confirmed, any apparent falsification limited to a single area of confirmation would rightly be questioned. That would be the more parsimonious thing to do. For example, given the plethora of multidisciplinary confirmations of evolution, an out-of-sequence fossil would not necessarily falsify evolution as it might well be alternately explained as a misunderstanding of the geology where it was found.

    I suspect you won’t like what I’m saying here but in my experience, IDers and creationists (I’m listing them separately but I believe them to be the same thing) don’t have a grasp for the breadth of evolutionary theory and what it explains.

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  61. Kendalf says:

    Thank you for that, Ed. I’d like to hear what Ray would want to add as well.

    And in my earlier comment I meant to say, “I *apologize for persisting in asking for such defined criteria.”

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  62. Ed Darrell says:

    1. Under Darwin’s view, almost any feature of any living thing should be there either because it provides a strong survival advantage in the present being, or because it is a vestige of such a feature in an ancestor. Consequently, were we to find a feature, like a plant that exudes some magic elixer that turns blue jays blue, say, but which has no relationship to any function of the plant at any point in history, that would indicate something other than natural selection at work.

    Humulin, the form of insulin used to treat human diabetes in America, is made by e. coli which has had the human gene inserted so that it manufactures human insulin. That bacterium has no use for insulin, and no historic use for anything similar, so had we found that naturally, it would be highly suspect (it was engineered, as I said). This would be a rich area for creationist research, I think, were it not for the fact that anyone who ever gets so far as figuring out what to look for and where knows better (even when they stay creationist).

    2. Mammals didn’t exist in the Cambrian, or Devonian. Finding mammal fossils in rocks of that age would suggest manifest error in many different things. Finding creatures known to be modern in any ancient rock, which obviously were naturally placed, would go a long way to disproving evolution.

    Once again, and especially because the field is so rich, this would be a rich field of research for creationists, if they thought for a moment evolution might be falsified this way. No creationists work in the area that I’ve ever found.

    3. A magic birth of an entirely unrelated species, not linked by any ancestry to the mother, would falsify common ancestry and much of genetics. Again, there is no serious creationist research in this area.

    4. That’s the general principle: Spontaneous generation of a complex being, similar to the poofing into existence of beings generally ascribed to God in Genesis 1, or even the surgery and cloning, morphed into the opposite gender as described in Genesis 2, would tend to falsify abiogenesis, and it would raise questions about other points of evolution. It would not falsify all of evolution, however. Since abiogenesis is not a part of evolution theory, the damage to evolution theory would be limited considerably.

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  63. Kendalf says:

    Ed wrote:
    “1. As Darwin proposed, if we could find an animal or plant that had a structure that benefits another living thing without any possibility of that structure ever having benefited the first thing, that would raise serious questions.

    2. If we found rabbit fossils naturally placed in Devonian age rocks, or in the Cambrian, that would falsify the theory.

    3. If we found dogs being born from cats, common ancestry and most of genetics would be falsified.

    4. Spontaneous generation of a complex animal from a simple animal — bacterium to bactrian in one step — that would falsify the theory.”

    The last 3 are very specific examples. What are the general principles of evolution that these 3 examples would falsify?

    If someone makes a novel discovery that has never been predicted or imagined by anyone, how would the scientist know if this discovery is or is not a possible falsification of evolution?

    I for persisting in asking for such defined criteria. I would like it to be clearly stated by you (Ray and Ed) because I do not want to be accused of misunderstanding or misrepresenting a basic tenet of evolution. I teach Physics, not Biology!

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  64. Ed Darrell says:

    Bactrian camel.

    That would falsify evolution. I offered three other tests that would also falsify. Any leap like bacterium to camel would falsify. I didn’t say that’s what it would take to persuade me, but I offer it as one of many ways the theory could be falsified.

    After 172 years of attempts to falsify evolution theory, it still stands tall. No rabbits in the Cambrian, no bacteria to bactrian, no features with absolutely no benefit or history to the present owner, no dogs from cats or cats from dogs.

    Plus, the theory is fortified with thousands of fossil specimens, DNA, geology and physics.

    It’s pretty solid theory.

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  65. Kendalf says:

    I don’t see how knowing what I believe about common ancestry and descent should affect your answer. My question was how would scientists who accept the theory of evolution know if it is falsified?

    Let me phrase my question using the wording that you used in your earlier comment,

    “Can you build a theory that allows us to know when evolution has been falsified? Can it ever provide us with a definitive statement to the effect life is NOT the result of evolution?”

    Ed, I’m not familiar with a “bactrian.” The only quasi-related reference I could find with a quick Google is the Bactrian camel, but is that really what you meant? Are you really serious that you would need to see a camel come from a bacterium before you would consider evolution falsified?

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  66. Ray says:

    “How could Darwinian evolution be falsified?” – Kendalf

    First, let’s dispense with the “Darwinian” part of it. It’s just evolution. The science has gone well beyond Darwin in these last 150 years. Calling it “Darwinian evolution” is like calling gravity “Newtonian gravity” or calling oxygen “Priestly oxygen”.

    Given that you haven’t told us what you believe about common ancestry and descent it’s a bit hard to know what you mean. Do you accept common ancestry and descent? Is your argument ID versus natural processes creating complex things or ID versus evolution as a whole?

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  67. Ed Darrell says:

    Ray will have better, more technical falsifications. But here are some:

    1. As Darwin proposed, if we could find an animal or plant that had a structure that benefits another living thing without any possibility of that structure ever having benefited the first thing, that would raise serious questions.

    2. If we found rabbit fossils naturally placed in Devonian age rocks, or in the Cambrian, that would falsify the theory.

    3. If we found dogs being born from cats, common ancestry and most of genetics would be falsified.

    4. Spontaneous generation of a complex animal from a simple animal — bacterium to bactrian in one step — that would falsify the theory.

    I’m sure there are others.

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  68. Kendalf says:

    Ray wrote: “Claims about individual “things” might be falsified but the notion of SC is immune from being falsified since there are always more “things” out there that haven’t been tested. Unless you can specify in advance specifically what will consitute a failure of SC, the notion cannot be falsifed.”

    I do not have the opportunity right now to respond to your full comment, but so that I can understand you better let me ask one question for now:

    How would Darwinian evolution be falsified? Can you specify for me what would constitute a failure of Darwinian evolution, applying the same criteria that you have requested that ID must satisfy?

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  69. Ray says:

    Kendalf wrote:
    “ID posits that intelligent causes are necessary to explain the complex, infomation-rich structures of biology and that these causes are empirically detectable.”

    These are weasel words designed to hide the fact that this is only a test of evolution.

    “It makes scientific inference that intelligent causes are the best explanation for certain biological systems, and as such offers criteria by which it can be falsified.”

    Which biological systems? Can you build a theory that allows us to know when ID has been falsified? Can it ever provide us with a definitive statement to the effect life is NOT the result of ID?

    If you can’t build such a theory then you’re leaving an ‘out’ for yourself in that you’re permiting vagueness, no? Here’s what I mean: If you were to test something for specified complexity (SC) and it failed, what could you conclude? That ID is wrong or merely that that particular thing you tested didn’t have SC? Probably the latter. Then, on to the next thing. Suppose it fails, too? Well, it must not have had SC! So can the notion of SC ever be falsified? Nope. Claims about individual “things” might be falsified but the notion of SC is immune from being falsified since there are always more “things” out there that haven’t been tested. Unless you can specify in advance specifically what will consitute a failure of SC, the notion cannot be falsifed. Has Dembski ever done that?

    But worse, has the notion of SC itself ever been tested as a device to distinguish between designed and not designed things? And what measure of complexity is to be used? How will it be quantified and described?

    “Question, would you consider SETI, forensics and archaeology to be sciences? Each of these fields requires some sort of filter for detecting and discerning design.”

    Yes, I do consider them to be science. And they do require a filter. But in each case, the filter is specified in advance. And in each case we know in advance exactly what we’re looking for and what would falsify any claims made in each field. Thus, in each case we know in advance what we can taken as evidence. With SC we don’t know that. To call SC fuzzy would be to give it too much.

    “ID researchers seek to apply this criteria to biological systems…

    …2) Research into developing a ‘filter’ that can reliably and successfully distinguish between he results of intelligent and non-intelligent causes…”

    Whoa there! Are you telling us that there is no current means in place to distinguish something that’s intelligently designed from something that’s not? That no such filter exists? That no such distinction is possible? That there is nothing in place that can be applied to biological systems?

    Then why are we here? Clearly you have demonstrated that ID is NOT science as there is NO way to apply SC to anything real and that the whole thing is just philosophy.

    This being the case, what justifies the claim that life is too complex to have evolved? Other than your philosophy, of course.

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  70. Kendalf says:

    “Now, would anyone care to discuss evolution and ID?”

    I thought that’s what I’ve been doing? :)

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  71. Ray says:

    lowerleavell wrote:
    “Suffice it to say… that evolution does not explain how life arrived because there is no sufficient theory to explain it.”

    But evolution is a completely different beast than a naturalistic origin of life. You’re only forcing them together because you’re philosophically opposed to both of them. Evolution is simply descent with modification. The mechanisms proposed to explain it do not apply when one is talking about non-living things. Evolution requires that life exist, it says nothing about how it got here.

    “[Matter] simply cannot [pop into existence], which does not demonstrate a negaive about evolution, but a positive direction that science is pointing – to a need for a living cause.”

    I don’t know why you’re bringing up the notion of matter popping into existence here. It has nothing to do with life and its history. Interesting conflation, though.

    What you’re doing here is essentially constructing an argument that says that something becomes explained by virtue of the fact that it’s unexplained. Interesting logical paradox. In reality, if something is unexplained, it’s merely unexplained, and nothing is implied by the fact that it’s unexplained. Your take on this is clearly a religious take, not a scientific one. In science there are no default explanations, only explanations that stand on their own.

    The idea that a “living cause” is necessary goes beyond science and into the realm of religion.

    “The ‘proof’ of an intelligent designer being in the laws of nature is that nature teaches us that life always comes from life and effects always have a cause.”

    I don’t think nature teaches us that life always comes from life. That’s a bit presumptive and is a philosophical/religious view that goes well beyond what nature “teaches us”. Your argument is the same as arguing (as people once did) that nature teaches us that illness comes from sin.

    As far as effects always having a cause, no one has suggested otherwise.

    “You refer to the ‘God’ concept as ‘supernatural’ but why”?

    Because a God would exist beyond the laws of nature and its actions would be untestable, and thus, beyond our understanding. Are miracles within our understanding of natural law? They wouldn’t be miracles if they were!

    “Anything that begins to exist MUST have a cause.”

    I have no problems with this but I do have a problem with pretending that we can understand the cause by not being able to otherwise explain it.

    “What I’m saying is that you simply cannot break the law of cause and effect…”

    What I’m saying is that you can’t pretend to understand a cause with no knowledge of its nature. You’re taking mental shortcuts to your favorite explanation (i.e. God did it) and disregarding the reality that you don’t know enough of what’s out there to make any kind of definitive statements like this.

    “I challenge you to show me where and prove me and the billions of others who acknowledge a supreme being totally wrong.”

    Um, isn’t it the contention of the ID community that this is about science and NOT religion? And isn’t it the contention of the ID community that ID is NOT creationism? And now you ask me for an argument that disproves the existence of God? So much for science, I guess.

    Also, see what you’re doing here: Your arguments are completely and totally philosophical in nature. You casually refer to science but it’s only for an accessory role (it lends jargon to your philosophy and has no other real function).

    Further, this discussion is supposed to be about evolution and ID but you’ve taken us far afield from it. Is that really neccesary? Do you realize how quick the ID community would deny your argument (in public, anyway) and tell us that there’s no reason to refer to God here? Perhaps you’ve given away ID’s little secret?

    In a nutshell, I’m not at all interested in discussing whether or not God exists and it has nothing to do with this topic – unless your argument for ID requires it.

    “Have you scientifcally tested my parents to know that I have them?”

    In a sense, that’s already been done. We understand familial relationships and we know that they are natural. We need not invoke entities and causes we don’t understand.

    “There are laws that demonstrate that such a being MUST exist.”

    I disagree. No such thing has been demonstrated. The problem here is that your logic is limited to your experience. Now, unless you can understand the universe, its limits, and how it works, then you’re not in a position to make such statements.

    Within your belief system that argument works fine. Outside of it, not so good. See, outside of your belief system it’s okay to just admit that you don’t have answers to some questions. Within your belief system the answers precede the questions so you always have a neat, little self-confirming worldview that always make perfect sense. The logic of your belief system is always consistent and complete and it always leads to the same answer. Think about it: Have you ever found an answer that’s inconsistent with your beliefs?

    Now, would anyone care to discuss evolution and ID?

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  72. Kendalf says:

    Ray wrote: I’m afraid you’ve missed the whole point of this definition: A scientific theory is an *explanation*. Thus, it makes positive statements based on positive evidence, i.e. a real scientific theory tells us what happened and how we know. But ID is just a set of negative statements about evolution that arrive at no explanation at all. At best, ID attempts to tell us what *didn’t* happen. Thus, it explains absolutely nothing.

    Think about it: How would one test a statement that only tells us what *didn’t* happen? The closest thing to a test would be to examine its counterpart, evolution, and assume that if evolution failed then ID would be inserted by default. But, 1) That wouldn’t be a test of ID, it would actually be test of evolution, and, 2) Science doesn’t work that way anyway, as there are no ‘default’ scientific explanations.

    So ID is not a scientific theory because it doesn’t explain anything (and isn’t testable), not because it hasn’t been around long enough.

    I apologize for my omission. You are correct that a scientific theory cannot simply falsify the previous theory, but must offer something in its place. The omission was from lack of time and because my comment was already long enough as it was.

    So what positive explanation—potentially falsifiable—does the ID hypothesis offer?

    ID posits that “intelligent causes are necessary to explain the complex, information-rich structures of biology and that these causes are empirically detectable” (William A. Dembski, Intelligent Design). It makes a scientific inference that intelligent causes are the best explanation for certain biological systems, and as such offers criteria by which it can be falsified.

    Question: would you consider SETI, forensics, and archaeology to be sciences? Each of these fields require some sort of filter for detecting and discerning design.

    I show the movie Contact in my classes. In the movie, the SETI team led by Jodie Foster’s character detects a radio signal from space and quickly concludes that the signal must come from an alien intelligence. How do they reach this conclusion? First, they rule out any known natural sources for the signal, such as pulsars and other astronomical objects. Then they rule out any earthly origin for the signal, such as satellites and military radio transmissions.

    But is simply ruling out any known natural or manmade causes for the radio signal sufficient to conclude that it must be from an intelligent alien source? The answer to this is No, and here is where many ID critics say that ID stops. They would be correct to say that if ID is only about ruling out evolution and natural (unguided) processes as an explanation for the origin and complexity of life, then that alone is not sufficient to conclude that the only explanation must be an intelligent designer. For there might very well be some other, currently unknown natural process that will someday be discovered that can explain these things without resorting to a designer.

    But here’s the thing, ID does not stop only at ruling out evolution. It also proposes positive criteria by which design may be detected and discerned. What finally convinces the SETI team in Contact that their signal comes from an alien intelligence is because the signal is in the form of a series of prime numbers. The team understands that a series of prime numbers has only been observed to occur as a result of intelligent agents, and so the team reasonably infers that the source of the signal must also come from an intelligent agent.

    The term used by Dembski is Complex and Specified Information (CSI). For an in-depth presentation of CSI see this paper, “ID as a Theory of Information” (http://www.arn.org/docs/dembski/wd_idtheory.htm). We observe that systems that exhibit CSI are caused by intelligence. A sequence of prime numbers displays CSI. Therefore it is a logical inference to conclude that the radio signal is from an intelligent source.

    ID researchers seek to apply this criteria to biological systems. The two prongs of scientific research that would support ID can be summarized as:

    1) Ruling out evolution and unguided processes as an explanation for the origin and complexity of life. Research into whether biological systems are irreducibly complex and cannot be explained by successive modification and natural selection is an aspect of this.

    2) Research into developing a “filter” that can reliably and successfully distinguish between the results of intelligent and non-intelligent causes, and then applying that filter to biological systems to see if they are the result of intelligent or non-intelligent causes.

    ID can be falsified in at least three ways:

    1) By showing that proposed irreducibly complex systems can be obtained through successive modification and natural selection. If a natural explanation is sufficient, then there is no need to propose an artificial explanation.

    2) By showing that biological systems do not exhibit characteristics of CSI.

    3) By showing that CSI does not require an intelligent agent, but can be generated by unintelligent (unguided) processes.

    Let me add one more potential falsifier: by showing that it is not possible to obtain a filter that can successfully and reliably distinguish between intelligent and non-intelligent causes.

    So ID offers a positive explanation with specific criteria for falsification. Therefore it should be accepted as a valid scientific hypothesis (if not theory).

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  73. Ed Darrell says:

    Suffice it to say (for now), that evolution does not address how life arrived because there is no sufficient theory to explain it. We wouldn’t even be having this conversation if Darwin (or anyone else for that matter) could prove how life could begin without coming from something else that was alive. No one would believe in God if it could be demonstrated how matter could simply pop into existence from nothing or be eternal. It simply cannot, which does not demonstrate a negative about evolution, but a positive direction that science is pointing – to the need for a living cause.

    Here’s what I hear you saying: You refuse to grant credence to evolution theory, a theory about how living things diversified into the grand panorama of life on Earth today from a few simple forms; you refuse to grant it credence because it doesn’t explain how the first life form got going, something it doesn’t seek to explain, and something that so far as anyone can tell, doesn’t matter.

    Can I find an analogy for your logic here?

    It’s like saying you refuse to acknowledge that the meteor crater in Arizona exists because it might not be a meteor that caused it, but instead a massive rock launched into the air by a volcano, or perhaps a huge catapult operated by giant ground sloths. And, unless anyone can prove it wasn’t giant ground sloths or a volcano, you think you’re justified in denying the existence of the crater.

    There are some cause-effect problems with your argument, I think. The crater exists, even if we can’t prove giant ground sloths didn’t have a role in its creation.

    Evolution is observed in living things today. How life got plugged into those creatures is wholly outside the subject, and wholly irrelevant to evolution.

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  74. lowerleavell says:

    Ray,

    I’m heading to a conference for a few days, but I’ll try to reply more thoroughly when I get back.

    Suffice it to say (for now), that evolution does not address how life arrived because there is no sufficient theory to explain it. We wouldn’t even be having this conversation if Darwin (or anyone else for that matter) could prove how life could begin without coming from something else that was alive. No one would believe in God if it could be demonstrated how matter could simply pop into existence from nothing or be eternal. It simply cannot, which does not demonstrate a negative about evolution, but a positive direction that science is pointing – to the need for a living cause.

    The “proof” of an intelligent designer being in the laws of nature is that nature teaches us that life always comes from life and effects always have a cause. You refer to the ‘God’ concept as “supernatural” but why? Because it seems impossible for there to be an eternal being? What I’m saying is from the concept of cause and effect and life from life, there MUST be an eternal being. Anything that begins to exist MUST have a cause. Do you or do you not acknowledge that the universe is NOT eternal? If you do not acknowledge it, we need to spend some time addressing THAT subject first. If you do acknowledge it (as most do) then the universe MUST have a beginning point – not simply a Big Bang where matter existed already, but where did the matter come from? It’s not a hole that can be filled by science any more than me overcoming the laws of gravity can happen. Even birds work within the law of gravity – you simply cannot break it. What I’m saying is that you simply cannot break the law of cause and effect and the law that life comes from life. If you can – I challenge you to show me where and prove me and the billions of others who acknowledge a supreme being totally wrong.

    Have you scientifically tested my parents to know that I have them? No? Then using your logic they must not exist, right? Since it is obvious I have a beginning and because I’m a living being, it is equally obvious that I had to have come from someone who was alive (i.e. my parents). The same is true with an ID. Just because no intelligent designer has stepped forward to being scientifically tested in a lab (to prove a moot point of whether or not He exists since most people wouldn’t worship Him anyway even if they acknowledged His existence) does NOT mean that it cannot be demonstrated how it is scientifically necessary for Him to exist. Your upset because you can’t get reach God for an interview but you allow that problem to keep you from seeing that while He Himself (the ‘he’ is an assumption at this level) is not scientifically testable, there are set laws that demonstrate such a being MUST exist.

    You asked, “who is the designer?” That answer can only come if you acknowledge one exists. I understand that acknowledging the possibility opens up a huge can of worms. But…Darwin opened up a massive can (and was right in many areas) and so I say, if that’s what is scientifically necessary, open up the can because science gives us many things that are necessary characteristics if there is an ID.

    Got to run!

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  75. Ray says:

    lowerleavel wrote:
    “Therefore, ID is not some whack job, cracpot theory. It has scientific merit.”

    In what way is ID testable?

    And, who is the designer?

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  76. Ray says:

    lowerleavel wrote:
    “Would it be fair to say that ID is demonstrated by the requirement for an intelligent designer?”

    It would most certainly not be fair since no such demonstration has been made. It’s an act of faith to presume that anyone has done so. IOW, one has to believe. Further, the only way one could attempt this is by refuting evolution. Thus, you still haven’t got anything positive to say about ID. It’s still an idea that explains nothing.

    “…the only one that is possible and unfalsifiable is ID since it is the only theory that follows the laws of nature.”

    I hope you meant ‘falsifiable’ rather than ‘unfalsifiable.’ But it’s not falisfiable at all since ID has nothing at all to do with nature. Quite the opposite, ID relies on the supernatural in which the laws of nature don’t apply. Hence, it’s unfalsifiable. If you disagree, outline a research program that can falsify ID.

    “I would put forth that evolution is the negative theory in that it [sic] many scientists refuse to even accept the possibility of an intelligent designer…”

    You’re confusing ‘negative’ in the sense of disregard with ‘negative’ in the sense of providing no explanation. In fact, evolution explains things without external reference, meaning that evolution doesn’t rely on a refutation of ID. It stands on its own, while ID must always refer to evolution. Thus, evolution is a positive theory in that it honestly submits itself for examination. ID doesn’t do that. It can’t.

    “…but have no sufficient explanation for how life could have arin from non-life.”

    Evolution has nothing whatsoever to do with the origin of life.

    “What is there in cause and effect and life from life that ID does not meet?”

    But there is no cause and effect with ID. It refers to a designer we cannot know, cannot interrogate or question and cannot inquire of as to mechanism or motivation. Thus, we can’t speak of any cause at all. Further, given the supernaturalism of ID, we can’t even know that there’s any cause and effect to be understood in the first place. Don’t let them fool you. Portraying ID as somehow linked to nature is wrong.

    “…it may be that scientists WILL NOT adhere to basic, elementary evidence.”

    I’ll ask you to provide the evidence here.

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  77. lowerleavell says:

    You misunderstand Ed. You’re thinking that ID proponents and even creationsts want to throw the baby out with the bathwater. No one I know of is saying that adaptation does not exist. No one I know of says that animals cannot be genetically related or even that many animals may have the same ancestors (like canines, felines, etc). Breeding does produce vast amounts of possible changes when the information is already present and new information is introduced (as in the case with DDT). No one disputes that. In fact, you’re right about the DDT thing and many other things, as I’ve said before.

    What ID proponents and creationist proponents are saying is that the explanation of “why” is totally off. You’re saying that it got this way completely naturalistically, which is completely, scientifically impossible. Therefore, ID is not some whack job, cracpot theory. It has scientific merit.

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  78. Ed Darrell says:

    And how does that hypothesis help anything at all, Joe?

    Using the shared ancestry model, molecular biologists predicted that fossils would show that whales are related most closely to even-toed ungulates. Sure enough, within a decade the fossils showed up.

    A general understanding of natural selection told WHO malaria-fighters that they had only a very tiny window in which to eliminate malaria before mosquitoes developed resistance to DDT. Unfortunately, farmers were using much greater amounts of DDT in the same areas of Africa and pushed the evolution of resistance up about a decade, frustrating the malaria-eradication campaign. But now those same rules are used to plot how to beat the cotton boll weevil in the U.S., and to fight fire ants.

    Of what possible use is a hypothesis that says “all of that practical application of evolution theory is wrong?”

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  79. lowerleavell says:

    Would it be fair to say that ID is demonstrated by the requirement for an intelligent designer? Since all other theories are easily falsified by using scientific evidence (like life coming from non-life, infinite big bangs, etc), the only one that is possible and unfalsifiable is ID since it is the only theory that follows the laws of nature. According to science, ID is the only logical theory that IS demonstrated positively if it is a needed requirement by the laws of nature (must be a cause to the effect, must be alive, etc.). In fact, I would put forth that evolution is the negative theory in that it many scientists refuse to even accept the posibility of an intelligent designer but have no sufficient explanation for how life could have arisen from non-life. Call it, “evolution of the gaps” if you will.

    The only testing and papers needed to be written is demonstrating how life cannot come from non-life and how every effect has a cause. This can be done in two minutes since that level of science is elementary. Beyond that, what would you suggest go into a peer-reviewed journal anyway? What is there in cause and effect and life from life that ID does not meet?

    This may not be a case where scientist CANNOT find evidence, it may be that scientists WILL NOT adhere to basic, elementary evidence. If children can understand the logic…

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  80. Ed Darrell says:

    I will grant you this point. I will refrain from calling ID a “theory” and refer to it as a hypothesis that is still in the process of being tested and critiqued. According to the National Academy of Sciences, “In science, the word theory refers to a comprehensive explanation of an important feature of nature supported by facts gathered over time.” While there are those who may disagree, I willingly concede that ID is not a theory because it has yet to be proven by the test of time.

    What is the hypothesis of ID? How can that hypothesis be tested?

    Brad Monton? See here, and here.

    Douglas Axe? See here.

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  81. Ray says:

    Kendalf: “According to the National Academy of Sciences, ‘In science the word theory refers to a comprehensive explanation of an important feature of nature supported by facts gathered over time.’ While there are many who may disagree, I will willingly concede that ID is not a theory because it has yet to be proven by the test of time.”

    I’m afraid you’ve missed the whole point of this definition: A scientific theory is an *explanation*. Thus, it makes positive statements based on positive evidence, i.e. a real scientific theory tells us what happened and how we know. But ID is just a set of negative statements about evolution that arrive at no explanation at all. At best, ID attempts to tell us what *didn’t* happen. Thus, it explains absolutely nothing.

    Think about it: How would one test a statement that only tells us what *didn’t* happen? The closest thing to a test would be to examine its counterpart, evolution, and assume that if evolution failed then ID would be inserted by default. But, 1) That wouldn’t be a test of ID, it would actually be test of evolution, and, 2) Science doesn’t work that way anyway, as there are no ‘default’ scientific explanations.

    So ID is not a scientific theory because it doesn’t explain anything (and isn’t testable), not because it hasn’t been around long enough.

    Like

  82. kendalf says:

     

    Author: Nick Kelsier
    The problem with your claim that ID makes no claim that God is the creator is several things.  First off, the people most supporting ID are Creationists like the Discovery Institute.  Ever read their "Wedge Document"?  When 99% of ID’s supporters are Christian creationists, Kend, you have a credibility problem.

    First, let me repeat the question I asked in my previous comment: How do you define “creationism” and what makes a person a “creationist?” I gave you my understanding of the meaning of the terms; do you agree or disagree with my definition?

    Second, would you like to show me how you know that 99% of ID supporters are creationists? And even if we grant your statistics and even take them to the extreme and say that 100% of ID supporters are “creationists”, how exactly does that lead to a credibility problem? What if one day 100% of evolution supporters are atheists, would that make evolution any less credible? Or are you implying something about the credibility of only “creationists” in particular?

    Secondly…you still have yet to say what Creator or scientifically prove it exists. And if not God, Ken, then what Creator?

    As I said in my previous comment, it is essential to separate the philosophical and theological implications of ID from what ID actually is about. Do physicists reject the Big Bang theory because it does not indicate who or what caused the Big Bang to occur? The Big Bang theory is an attempt to describe the beginning of the universe. Questions about who or what caused the universe to begin are outside of the scope of the theory and are probably outside of the reach of science. The same constraints apply to ID.

    Just to quote you the opening line of the Wedge Document:  "The proposition that human beings were created in the image of God is one of the bedrock principles on which Western civilization was built.  Its influence can be detected in most, if not all, of the West’s greatest achievements, including representative democracy, free enterprise, human rights, and progress in the arts and sciences."  Gee..that rather sounds like it’s tying God to ID doesn’t it.

    Richard Dawkins regularly makes statements associating evolution with his atheistic beliefs. Should we construe from his statements that evolution must be tied to a belief in the non-existence of God? The fact that people apply a scientific idea to support an ideological or religious agenda has no bearing on the validity of that scientific idea.

    The Wedge document is an ideological document. It is not part of the description of ID. No one is required to subscribe to, agree with, or even read the Wedge document in order to be considered an IDer. And to answer your earlier question, no I have not read the Wedge document in full.

    Have you read The Clergy Letter? It is strongly supported by the NCSE and other decidedly anti-ID organizations, and the agenda of The Clergy Letter Project is to promote the acceptance of evolution by clergy and within church congregations. Does the fact that The Clergy Letter has a clear ideological and religious agenda and is supported by proponents of evolution raise any argument against the scientific claims of evolution? I say that it doesn’t, and neither does the Wedge Document raise any argument against the scientific claims of ID.

    And as for "authorities like Behe, Dembski, Meyers" all clearly stating that ID is not Creationism..they are lying.  They know full well the second they acknowledge that ID and Creationism are the kissing cousins if not the same thing they lose.

    I offered the statements taken under oath from Behe and Minnich where they explicitly state that ID is not creationism. If you want to try them for perjury for lying under oath, by all means try. Whether you believe them or not doesn’t matter to me. What matters to me is that people hear about what ID is and isn’t directly from the people who are actually involved in defining what ID is, rather than from misleading and erroneous statements made by people who for whatever reason choose not to take IDers at their word. Referring back to the point I made in my earlier comment, how appropriate would it be for someone to say that Richard Dawkins and Kenneth Miller are “lying” when they describe what the theory of evolution is?

    But if you perhaps have some personal belief that IDers simply can’t be trusted, then perhaps you will accept the testimony of those who are not supporters of ID.

    Chris Mooney from CSI, no friend of ID, in his article “IDing ID”:

    In substantive terms, ID differs quite significantly from the "creation science" movement that preceded it, and in ways that generally make its arguments stronger, or at least less risible. ID doesn’t, for instance, deny the validity of radioisotope dating and assert the existence of a young Earth. Neither does it rely on the feverish nonsense of Flood Geology, claiming that a single Noachian deluge laid down the entire fossil record. More generally, whether out of strategic wariness or otherwise, ID proponents tend to shy away from espousing biblically literalist views in their literature and publications (though the religious motivations of many of ID’s All Stars are well documented).

    So substantively, we have to admit that ID differs significantly from "creation science"….

    So what can we conclude from this? First, it’s incorrect to call ID proponents "creationists" if by that term we mean to suggest that they’re members of the young earth creationist movement. That’s simply not true; their arguments differ substantially.

    Michael Ruse, arguing against the teaching of ID in schools:

    Is ID a form of creationism, meaning a form of biblical literalism that takes the early chapters of Genesis as the basis for world history–six days of creation, six thousand years ago, universal flood, and so forth? Not in so many words at all. A creationist’s views encompass ID, but an ID supporter might not accept biblical literalism.

    Ruse goes on to argue that all IDers have an implicit belief that ultimately God is the Designer, but this is proven false by the simple fact that there are agnostics and atheists like Bradley Monton who are proponents of ID, and they would beg to differ with Ruse’s claim that a belief in God is a necessary aspect of ID.

    While ID’ers may be doing research, Ken, if and until that research actually produces something that is given to the scientific community to peer review and critique your side of the argument has accomplished nothing.  Your claiming it’s science doesn’t make it so.  Your claiming that research is being done doesn’t make it science.  I have yet to meet an ID’er who will acknowledge the fact that ID needs to do the actual work before it should be considered.  You all want a free pass.

    I never made the claim that ID is science simply because I claimed that it was. I made reference to peer-reviewed papers and research that was conducted by IDers, as this was one of the criteria that was mentioned by Gotelli as evidence that ID was scientifically valid. Let me cite two specific papers describing research by an IDer that has been submitted to the scientific community for peer review and critique. Douglas Axe published papers in 2000 and 2004 in the Journal of Molecular Biology. Regarding these papers, Dr. Axe has written:

    "I have in fact confirmed that these papers add to the evidence for ID. I concluded in the 2000 JMB paper that enzymatic catalysis entails "severe sequence constraints". The more severe these constraints are, the less likely it is that they can be met by chance. So, yes, that finding is very relevant to the question of the adequacy of chance, which is very relevant to the case for design. In the 2004 paper I reported experimental data used to put a number on the rarity of sequences expected to form working enzymes. The reported figure is less than one in a trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion. Again, yes, this finding does seem to call into question the adequacy of chance, and that certainly adds to the case for intelligent design."

    Also, several recent papers have been published attempting to counter some of the irreducibly complex systems cited by Michael Behe. If ID is not science, then why are scientists doing scientific research to try to falsify the claims of ID?

    And lastly there is the whole "theory of Intelligent Design."  Considering that science operates with a rather specific definition of the word "theory" that is different then the layman’s definition of the term..ID isn’t a "theory." At best it’s an hypothesis.  After all, for it to be a theory it has to be proven…and it hasn’t been.

    I will grant you this point. I will refrain from calling ID a “theory” and refer to it as a hypothesis that is still in the process of being tested and critiqued. According to the National Academy of Sciences, “In science, the word theory refers to a comprehensive explanation of an important feature of nature supported by facts gathered over time.” While there are those who may disagree, I willingly concede that ID is not a theory because it has yet to be proven by the test of time. I believe that it is still a young field, still in development. However, the continued research and debate over tenets of ID such as the concept of irreducible complexity shows that ID has certainly not been disproven as a plausible hypothesis as of yet.

    And do bother to remember that Behe was laughed out of court in Dover.

    Sorry, I wasn’t there in Dover, and I have never read any news accounts describing what you said. It would also matter to me who it was who was doing the laughing.

    But again…if ID doesn’t say the "Creator" is God then who?  Zeus?  Ra?  Odin?  Puff the Magic Dragon?  E.T.?  Sorry, waving your hand out the window and saying about a tree "a Creator made that" is not science.  It’s faith. 

    You are correct that your example would be faith and not science. In order for your example to be pertinent to the discussion you need to show evidence that ID requires knowing the cause of the design. A coroner’s job is to determine whether a person died of natural or “unnatural” (ie. man-made) causes. It is not up to the coroner to determine who the murderer was.

    But even if ID isn’t Creationism like you claim….it still isn’t science.

    At least we can agree on the first part. As for the second part… you will need to tell me what you consider to be the specific requirements for something to be considered science first, as it seems to be different than the criteria described by Gotelli and some of the other commenters.

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  83. Ray says:

    Kendalf wrote: “…ID theory makes no claims that God is the source of design.”

    William Dembski disagrees with you (depending on who’s listening in):

    “[A]ny view of the sciences that leaves Christ out of the picture must be seen as fundamentally deficient…
    [T]he conceptual soundness of a scientific theory cannot be maintained apart from Christ.”

    – William Dembski, “Intelligent Design: The Bridge Between Science and Theology” (1999)

    Like

  84. Ray says:

    Kendalf, specifically what are you referring to when you speak of “work that has already been published”? What “research” are the ID people doing?

    You’ve alluded to it several times now without telling us what you mean by it.

    Again, the existence of published papers (and again, assuming that there really are papers published by the ID people in science journals) do not in any way imply that actual scienific research is being conducted. What is that research, where is it being conducted and where has it been published?

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  85. Nick Kelsier says:

    The problem with your claim that ID makes no claim that God is the creator is several things. First off, the people most supporting ID are Creationists like the Discovery Institute. Ever read their “Wedge Document”? When 99% of ID’s supporters are Christian creationists, Kend, you have a credibility problem. Secondly…you still have yet to say what Creator or scientifically prove it exists. And if not God, Ken, then what Creator?

    Just to quote you the opening line of the Wedge Document: “The proposition that human beings were created in the image of God is one of the bedrock principles on which Western civilization was built. Its influence can be detected in most, if not all, of the West’s greatest achievements, including representative democracy, free enterprise, human rights, and progress in the arts and sciences.” Gee..that rather sounds like it’s tying God to ID doesn’t it.

    And as for “authorities like Behe, Dembski, Meyers” all clearly stating that ID is not Creationism..they are lying. They know full well the second they acknowledge that ID and Creationism are the kissing cousins if not the same thing they lose.

    While ID’ers may be doing research, Ken, if and until that research actually produces something that is given to the scientific community to peer review and critique your side of the argument has accomplished nothing. Your claiming it’s science doesn’t make it so. Your claiming that research is being done doesn’t make it science. I have yet to meet an ID’er who will acknowledge the fact that ID needs to do the actual work before it should be considered. You all want a free pass.

    And speaking of “being accurate with terms” and all that there is the Discovery Institute’s claim that the theory of evolution is to blame for Hitler’s atrocities. Then there is the fact that the theory of evolution doesn’t actually talk about how life started. Something IDer’s and their fellow Creationists routinely ignore. And lastly there is the whole “theory of Intelligent Design.” Considering that science operates with a rather specific definition of the word “theory” that is different then the layman’s definition of the term..ID isn’t a “theory.” At best it’s an hypothesis. After all, for it to be a theory it has to be proven…and it hasn’t been.

    And do bother to remember that Behe was laughed out of court in Dover.

    But again…if ID doesn’t say the “Creator” is God then who? Zeus? Ra? Odin? Puff the Magic Dragon? E.T.? Sorry, waving your hand out the window and saying about a tree “a Creator made that” is not science. It’s faith. Oh and then you can explain ID’s explanation for how the vast majority of our genetic makeup is shared with other primates like chimp’s.

    But even if ID isn’t Creationism like you claim….it still isn’t science.

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  86. Kendalf says:

    I apologize for taking so long to rejoin the discussion. So many points have been made, but I hope that I can respond to at least two of the themes that seem to run through this discussion.

    Ray wrote: Which number would make a case for actual research being conducted by intelligent design creationists? I don’t think this is the direction you want to go with this. Even if there are a few papers out there the fact that we can have a discussion like this highlights the fact that there seems to be no research going on within IDC circles.

    The fact that I am trying to highlight is that it is incorrect to say that there is “no research going on” and the variations of this statement that Ed and Gotelli made which I quoted in my earlier comment. I have no problems with people pointing out the obvious fact that the number of ID papers is miniscule in comparison to the number of papers published on evolution.

    What I am concerned about is people who make dismissive statements along the lines of, “If IDers want ID to be recognized as science they should get in the labs, do the science, and get their research published,” and then turn right around and deny any of the work that has already been published.

    You cannot ridicule the amount of published research that has been done by ID proponents and at the same time deny that ID proponents have done any scientific research.

    Nick Kelsier wrote: And you engage in nutjob conspiracy theories rather then deal with the fact that your precious "ID theory" isn’t science…it’s theology.  You assume a "Creator" exists, you assume that this "Creator" did what you claim and yet not one IDer has ever produced one shred of actual scientific evidence proving or even attempting to prove that said creator exists.  Sorry, Ken, your precious ID is a matter of faith..of religion…of theology.  It does not belong in any science classroom on the planet.  Intelligent Design is nothing more than Creationism by another name.  All you did was remove the mention of "God" and then prayed that the rest of us were too stupid to notice the bait and switch.

    If by “Creator” you mean God, then the reason that IDers have not produced any scientific evidence for the Creator is because ID theory makes no claims that God is the source of design.

    This Christian has no problem with evolution.  Because this Christian accepts evolution for what it is. Evolution is fact.  My belief that God used evolution as a means to an end is faith.  How is it, Ken, that I have no problem recognizing the distinction but you do?

    I am glad that you can recognize the distinction between the scientific claims of evolution and your personal claims of faith. You should thus recognize that the same distinction exists between ID theory and the theological implications that some proponents draw from it. The fact that many ID proponents do make personal proclamations of faith in God does not make ID a matter of faith, religion, or theology, any more than the proclamations of atheism by many evolutionists makes evolution a matter of anti-faith, anti-religion, or anti-theology. Scientists were able to separate the religious implications of the Big Bang theory from the content of the theory itself.

    Ed Darrell wrote: I find it impossible to distinguish between intelligent design and other creationism. Dr. Barbara Forrest’s testimony in the Dover trial was really very crushing: When creationists lost their case at the U.S. Supreme Court in Edwards v. Aguillard, they got together in Dallas and decided to call it “intelligent design,” instead, so as to confuse the courts. Material presented by creationist publishers showed that they had done a crude search-and-replace for a text they had in press, replacing each instance of “creationism” with “intelligent design.”

    The theory of intelligent design is not based upon the text you are referring to: Of Pandas and People. This text came before the bulk of the work done by current ID proponents. Design arguments have a history extending long before Pandas, and even the use of the term “intelligent design” did not originate with this book. And though early drafts of Pandas may have used the term “creationism” or “creation science,” it is important to remember that a term can carry different meanings, and that you cannot simply equivocate based on the word used. Papers written by evolutionary biologists often use the word “design,” but does that mean they are proponents of ID?

    Ed, you have reviewed textbooks before. Consider how the term “evolution” can carry different meanings in different textbooks. Can you say that your use of the term “evolution” today has the exact same meaning as that used in any edition of every single biology textbook that has been published in the past?

    So in order to clarify the discussion on whether an ID proponent = “creationist”, it’s important for me to ask: How do you define “creationism” and what makes a person a “creationist?” My understanding is that the key component of “creationism” is the belief that God created the universe. And since ID is not predicated on a belief in God, and that in fact there are ID proponents who are self-proclaimed atheists and agnostics, that is why I argue that ID is not “creationism,” nor is an ID proponent a “creationist.”

    The content of Pandas itself distinguishes between the detection of intelligent design versus attributing that design to a supernatural source like God, which is the basis of “creationism” in my understanding of the word.

    “If science is based upon experience, then science tells us the message encoded in DNA must have originated from an intelligent cause. What kind of intelligent agent was it? On its own, science cannot answer this question; it must leave it to religion and philosophy. But that should not prevent science from acknowledging evidences for an intelligent cause origin wherever they may exist” (pg. 7 of 1989 edition)

    “[T]he place of intelligent design in science has been troubling for more than a century. That is because on the whole, scientists from within Western culture failed to distinguish between intelligence, which can be recognized by uniform sensory experience, and the supernatural, which cannot. Today we recognize that appeals to intelligent design may be considered in science, as illustrated by current NASA search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI). Archaeology has pioneered the development of methods for distinguishing the effects of natural and intelligent causes. We should recognize, however, that if we go further, and conclude that the intelligence responsible for biological origins is outside the universe (supernatural) or within it, we do so without the help of science.” (pg.
    126-127)

    Charles Thaxton described in an interview what the reasoning was for using the word “creationism” in early drafts of Pandas.

    "I realize that the charge was that we were trying to just use a substitute word for creation, but that isn’t the case at all. In the early days of writing the Pandas book for example, although we understood what we were doing, most other people who we were talking to didn’t know our objectives really. And if you have a whole culture that knows about creation as a term… So we used that word early on, not for deception so we could later switch on them but because we wanted the materials to be understood that we were focused on. It was always clearly within the empirical domain, even the things that we wrote early on."

    Ed Darrell wrote:
    Under oath, creationists and intelligent design proponents cannot tell a court where they differ. You’re not under oath, and you’re not showing any better way to distinguish.  Let’s call a shovel a shovel:  Intelligent design is creationism.

    Are you referring to this testimony by Michael Behe at the Dover trial? Let me include the relevant portion here (answers given by Behe):

    Q. Do you have an opinion as to whether intelligent design requires the action of a supernatural creator?
    A. Yes, I do.

    Q. And what is that opinion?

    A. No, it doesn’t.

    Q. Do you have an opinion as to whether intelligent design is young-earth creationism?

    A. Yes, I do.

    Q. What is that opinion?

    A. No, it isn’t.

    Q. Do you have an opinion as to whether intelligent design is old-earth creationism?

    A. Yes, I do.

    Q. And, sir, what is that opinion?

    A. No, it isn’t.

    Q. Do you have an opinion as to whether intelligent design is special creationism?

    A. Yes, I do.

    Q. And what is that opinion?

    A. No, it isn’t.

    Q. Do you have an opinion as to whether intelligent design is a religious belief?

    A. Yes, I do.

    Q. What is that opinion?

    A. No, it isn’t.

    Or are you referring to Scott Minnich’s testimony?

    Q. Do you have an opinion as to whether intelligent design requires the action of a supernatural creator?
    A. I do.

    Q. What is that opinion?

    A. It does not.

    Q. Do you have an opinion as to whether intelligent design is creationism?

    A. I do.

    Q. What is that opinion?

    A. It is not.

    Q. Do you have an opinion as to whether intelligent design is a religious belief?

    A. I do.

    Q. And what is that opinion?

    A. It is not.

    Where in the testimony of Behe and Minnich do they indicate that they cannot distinguish between intelligent design and creationism?

    Ed Darrell wrote:
    It is about being accurate with terms:  Don’t call creationism by some other label so as to confuse school boards, students in elementary and secondary schools, and innocent Christians.  Be accurate, please.

    The way to be accurate with terms is to read and understand how the actual authorities in the field define the terms, and not simply repeat the rhetorical ploys that opponents use to confuse the issue. Evolutionists get riled up when people say that evolution is purely about “random chance.” If someone made that statement, wouldn’t you tell him that he should read and understand what an authority on evolution like Dawkins or Kenneth Miller has to say about how evolution works?

    So if all the authorities on ID, like Behe, Dembski, Meyers, et al… have all stated clearly that ID is not creationism, why do you continue to repeat the false statement that ID = creationism? I’m the one who is saying to you, “Don’t call creationism by some other label, like ID” because that is a rhetorical ploy that indeed confuses the issue. In fact, there are self-proclaimed creationist groups who warn their supporters against supporting ID because of the very fact that ID proponents do not make a proclamation of faith in God as part of the definition of what ID theory is. Thus you have the silly situation with some evolutionists on one side saying, “ID = creationism” and then creationists on the other side saying, “We don’t want ID associated with creationism.” Who should be final say on whether ID = creationism or not? The ones who are involved in defining the theory of Intelligent Design.

    Like

  87. Nick Kelsier says:

    Kendalf writes:
    You oversimplify the politics surrounding the acceptance of a new theory. It wasn’t this easy for heliocentrism, it wasn’t like this for quantum physics, and the big bang theory faced quite the same kind of challenges that ID theory faces today when it was first proposed.

    In response to Ken:
    And you engage in nutjob conspiracy theories rather then deal with the fact that your precious “ID theory” isn’t science…it’s theology. You assume a “Creator” exists, you assume that this “Creator” did what you claim and yet not one IDer has ever produced one shred of actual scientific evidence proving or even attempting to prove that said creator exists. Sorry, Ken, your precious ID is a matter of faith..of religion…of theology. It does not belong in any science classroom on the planet. Intelligent Design is nothing more than Creationism by another name. All you did was remove the mention of “God” and then prayed that the rest of us were too stupid to notice the bait and switch.

    The reason, Ken, that ID isn’t accepted by science isn’t because of some conspiracy against ID…it is because ID isn’t science. You can engage in asinine delusions to the contrary all you want but in the end you are lying to yourself.

    This Christian has no problem with evolution. Because this Christian accepts evolution for what it is. Evolution is fact. My belief that God used evolution as a means to an end is faith. How is it, Ken, that I have no problem recognizing the distinction but you do?

    Like

  88. Ray says:

    “So are there really no papers by ID theorists published in peer-reviewed journals, or are there two, or 5, or more?” – Kendalf

    Which number would make a case for actual research being conducted by intelligent design creationists? I don’t think this is the direction you want to go with this. Even if there are a few papers out there the fact that we can have a discussion like this highlights the fact that there seems to be no research going on within IDC circles.

    (A secondary point would be to note that published papers do not necesarily indicate actual research anyway, so unless those papers specifically describe research, merely noting the existence of such papers does you no good.)

    But let’s let the Wedge Strategy speak for itself. Under the header “Five Year Objectives”, item number three states that there should be “One hundred scientific, academic and technical articles by our fellows”.

    How many are there to date? The Wedge Strategy was written in, what, 1998 or 1999?

    Clearly, trying to chide Ed about whether the number of papers is zero, two or five actully calls attention to this failure, no?

    Like

  89. Ed Darrell says:

    1. I find it impossible to distinguish between intelligent design and other creationism. Dr. Barbara Forrest’s testimony in the Dover trial was really very crushing: When creationists lost their case at the U.S. Supreme Court in Edwards v. Aguillard, they got together in Dallas and decided to call it “intelligent design,” instead, so as to confuse the courts. Material presented by creationist publishers showed that they had done a crude search-and-replace for a text they had in press, replacing each instance of “creationism” with “intelligent design.” Under oath, creationists and intelligent design proponents cannot tell a court where they differ.

    You’re not under oath, and you’re not showing any better way to distinguish. Let’s call a shovel a shovel: Intelligent design is creationism.

    It is about being accurate with terms: Don’t call creationism by some other label so as to confuse school boards, students in elementary and secondary schools, and innocent Christians. Be accurate, please.

    2. Gotelli specified the two chief peer-reviewed science journals, Science and Nature. It is a fact that no creationist paper has ever appeared in either of those journals, at least since 1950. Gonzalez’s work that appeared in those journals does not claim to show any problem with evolution theory, nor do they claim to provide a hypothesis that might lead to a theory of intelligent design. I don’t recall that he’s ever published a paper on evolution — he’s an astronomer, after all, isn’t he?

    Discovery Institute doesn’t list either of those papers as supporting intelligent design in the list of claimed peer-reviewed ID papers — that’s a pretty good sign that even if Dr. Gotelli reads them, he won’t find support for intelligent design. Do not confuse science output in other areas with science supporting intelligent design. It’s telling that otherwise good scientists who clearly know how to get good research published in science journals, like Michael Behe and his 40 papers, do not publish papers on intelligent design — again, like Michael Behe (whose publications appear to have dropped off the table since he became a practicing IDist; his research has likewise dropped off the table, and that’s probably why he hasn’t published).

    Look at the spotty history of creationist papers — papers submitted, then found to be erroneous; papers retracted by the publisher; papers sneaked through without peer review; movies premiered at scientific institutions, with claimed approval from the institutions that had only rented the hall to creationists — excuse me for noting that there is no research in the few creationist papers published. That’s what the record shows. Read the cross-examination of Michael Behe or Scott Minnich on that point in the Dover trial, and I think any fair-minded person would agree that there simply is no good paper on creationism in publication.

    And that’s wholly apart from paltry number of papers on the creationism side. Annually we get about 10,000 papers on evolution, or using evolution, in science journals. If we concede a lot of science that isn’t there, if we concede a lot of papers that don’t have anything to do with creationism are creationism-related, there are still fewer than a couple of dozen paper in the past 25 years. Cold fusion has many more papers than that in the same amount of time, including more papers supporting it and proposing hypotheses that might have led to a theory.

    Intelligent design creationism is the cold fusion of biology, except that it has only a tiny fraction of the science support, experimental and observational, in publication, that cold fusion has.

    Tell us again: Do you teach cold fusion as fact to your physics kids? Then why would we teach something much more specious as fact, or even possibility?

    3. For my comment on your blog that there might be up to five published papers, see Ediacaran’s comment on Robert Gentry’s work, above. I wasn’t sure how many papers Gentry had. Note that they are all retracted or refuted.

    Five papers? In 20 years? That’s not science; it’s sloth, the fourth deadly sin.

    4. Guillermo Gonzalez in Origins of Life: It’s a paper that is right down the mainstream of astronomy, and it does not offer any succor to any form of creationism. Is there anything in the paper that might be interpreted as contradicting any part of Darwin’s theories? No. Is there any part that proposes a hypothesis that might lead to a theory, if it is borne out by experiment or observation? I can’t find it.

    This is a sort of bait and switch popular among creationists: Unable to demonstrate any research on creationism (because they haven’t done any), they point to research in other areas unrelated to creationism, or worse, based on evolution theory, but done by people who say they are creationists. These projects generally deny creationism, but in no case I can remember have they supported creationism or offered opposition to evolution. Gonzalez calls himself an IDist — but he’s an astronomer, which is way outside of biology. To the extent he’s promoting ID in astronomy, his papers don’t deviate from the work of others who find no indication of intelligence in any significant way that might give an anchor to a paragraph in a high school text that supports intelligent design.

    There’s a lot that astronomers and astrophysicists don’t know. “I don’t know” should not be construed as support for intelligent design. Such support should come from positive evidence — which is what Dr. Gotelli said.

    The implication — heck, the explicit fact — is that creationism including ID is substandard because even the scientists affiliated with it, even the very good ones who publish papers all the time, do not do research into creationism and, consequently, do not publish the work they do not do. It’s difficult to cast aspersions on scientists who do creationist research since there are so few and they do so little. Distinguished scientists who are creationists got their distinguished reputations doing other work. There’s a moral there.

    5. As some wag noted a while back, to claim the mantle of Galileo (heliocentrism), it is not sufficient to show that one has been persecuted. One must also be right.

    To the charges of persecution, creationists have failed twice in federal court to offer any evidence of persecution. Instead it turns out that creationist simply don’t do research to publish.

    It’s difficult to claim politics is an issue when there’s nothing to be political about.

    For his contribution to quantum physics (inspiring Planck?), Einstein proposed a series of experiments in 1905. By 1919, 14 years later, his work had been corroborated experimentally, and thereby confirmed. Planck’s work was considered corroborated earlier than that — he won a Nobel in 1918 for his contributions to quantum physics, verified by 1900 and published about the same time. Evidence backed their hypotheses. They proposed experiments, and the results of the experiments supported their hypotheses.

    The “politics” in the 20th century consisted mainly of providing evidence for the ideas. Oh, Big Bang wasn’t popular when first proposed — though it did win the approval of the Catholic Church because it posits a finite beginning of the current expansion at least (and it was proposed by a Catholic priest) — but it would be inaccurate to suggest that any of these ideas is comparable to intelligent design. The people who came up with these theories worked in the science labs. Creationists and IDists work before school boards, in political journals, in churches, and in op-ed pages. Neither Planck, Einstein, Bohr, Copernicus, Galileo, nor Gamow nor Alpher hired a $1 million/year public relations firm to sell their ideas to school boards prior to the general acceptance of their ideas by scientists.

    Why don’t creationists follow the paths blazed by these greats?

    Like

  90. Kendalf says:

    To call every person who supports ID a “creationist” is the same as calling all people who support evolution an “atheist.” But since those who continue to conflate these two labels don’t seem to care about being accurate with terms, I’m not going to belabor the point.

    Ed Darrell wrote:

    He notes that of the publications offered so far by creationists, only a tiny few come from non-crank journals. Real journals wouldn’t publish such stuff, because it’s false, wrong, or so far out of reality that it sucks intelligence out of the people who read it.

    I think you’re making Gotelli’s words sound nicer than he means. Gotelli wrote:

    I will wait patiently to read about the work of creationists in the  pages of Nature and Science. But until it appears there, it isn’t science and doesn’t merit an invitation.

    That certainly sounds like he believes there are zero ID papers published in “real” peer-reviewed journals.  And you also seem to support that idea when you write,

    We really cannot know if there is bias against the stuff, because creationists simply do not write up papers for publication.

    You didn’t say, “IDists rarely write up papers for publication,” your statement seems to deny them credit for any published papers. And yet at the end of your comment you belittle the fact that there have only been two ID papers published since 1987.  And what about your comment in my blog in which you mentioned that there were up to 5 published papers on ID?  So are there really no papers by ID theorists published in peer-reviewed journals, or are there two, or 5, or more?

    But Gotelli doesn’t seem to discount only papers specifically on ID, he seems to imply that people associated with ID cannot get any of their work published in prominent peer-reviewed journals.

    Instead of spending time on public debates, why aren’t members of your institute publishing their ideas in prominent peer-reviewed journals such as Science, Nature, or the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences?… Creationism doesn’t live up to these standards, so its proponents are relegated to the sidelines, publishing in books, blogs, websites, and obscure journals that don’t maintain scientific standards.

    That is factually incorrect. Let me cite just one example. Guillermo Gonzalez is a senior fellow with Discovery Institute. His work has been published in Origins of Life and Evolution of Biospheres, which according to the publisher is “The Longest-established and Most Authoritative Journal for Astrobiology and Origins of Life Research”, and in Icarus, and his work on the Galactic Habitable Zone, which formed the basis for his ID book Privileged Planet, continues to be cited by other astrophysicists and astrobiologists. Gotelli doesn’t have to be very patient to read about “the work of creationists in the pages of Nature and Science” as Gonzalez’ research was featured in Nature in 2002 and in Science in 2004.

    Any implication that ID research is substandard because the scientists associated with ID are substandard is calumnious.

    Ed Darrell wrote:

    Just do the science, and it will be in the textbooks as if by magic.

    You oversimplify the politics surrounding the acceptance of a new theory. It wasn’t this easy for heliocentrism, it wasn’t like this for quantum physics, and the big bang theory faced quite the same kind of challenges that ID theory faces today when it was first proposed.

    That’s why I think the quote from Max Planck offered by AbleamI is very applicable to this current debate.

    Like

  91. Ediacaran says:

    From the McLean v. Arkansas Board of Education decision by Judge Overton: ‘Some of the State’s witnesses suggested that the scientific community was “close-minded” on the subject of creationism and that explained the lack of acceptance of the creation science arguments. Yet no witness produced a scientific article for which publication has been refused.’

    One of the creationist witnesses was Robert Gentry. I’ve included a list of some papers he wrote that did get published in science journals, on the topic of radiohaloes, a rather thinly populated area of study. If I recall correctly, Gentry did not explicitly invoke creationism in his papers, although he started making some rather outlandish young-Earth claims regarding things he had earlier characterized as mysteries. His papers with more outlandish claims were followed by rather understated criticisms by other scientists in subsequent editions [for examples, see Moazed, Cyrus; Richard M. Spector; Richard F. Ward, 1973, Polonium Radiohalos: An Alternate Interpretation, Science, Vol. 180, pp. 1272-1274; Odom, L.A., and Rink, W.J., 1989, “Giant Radiation-Induced Color Halos in Quartz: Solution to a Riddle,” Science, v. 246, pp. 107-109].

    Gentry, Robert V., 1968, “Fossil Alpha-Recoil Analysis of Certain Variant Radioactive halos” Science, Vol. 160, p. 1228-1230.

    Gentry, Robert V., 1970, “Giant Radioactive Halos: Indicators of Unknown Radioactivity,” Science, Vol. 169, pp. 670-673

    Gentry, Robert V., 1971, “Radiohalos: Some Unique Lead Isotope Ratios and Unknown Alpha Radioactivity,” Science, Vol. 173, p. 727-731.

    Gentry, Robert V., S.S. Christy, J.F. McLaughlin, J. A. McHugh, 1973, “Ion microprobe confirmation of Pb isotope ratios and search for isomer precursors in polonium radiohalos”,Nature, Vol. 244, p. 282.

    Gentry, Robert V., 1974, “Radioactive Halos in a Radiochronological and Cosmological Perspective”, Science, Vol. 184, pp. 62-66.

    Gentry, Robert V., Warner H. Christie, David H. Smith, J.F. Emery, S.A. Reynolds, and Raymond Walker, 1976, “Radiohalos in Coalified Wood: New Evidence Relating to the Time of Uranium Introduction and Coalification,” Science, Vol. 194, pp.315-318

    Gentry, Robert V., T.J. Sworski, H.S. McKown, D.H. Smith, R.E. Eby, W.H. Christie, 1982, “Differential Lead Retention in Zircons: Implications for Nuclear Waste Containment,”Science, Vol. 216, p. 296-298.

    See ‘”Polonium Haloes” Refuted’ at http://www.toarchive.org/faqs/po-halos/gentry.html#Gentry1992 for more details.

    Abstract from the article by Moazed et al: “A study of the sizes of so-called polonium radiohalos of various types found in biotite from Bancroft, Ontario, has been carried out. The evidence is consistent with the interpretation that these halos are variants of the standard uranium halos. A review of the literature indicates that there is no firm evidence that polonium halos exist, all evidence being equally consistent with the interpretation that these are uranium halos.”

    Gentry, meet Ockham’s Razor. Also see Lewin, Roger, 1982, Where is the science in creation science?, Science, vol. 215:142-146.

    So, we see that creationists can get published in peer-reviewed journals. We also see that, in this case, a creationist’s work was deflated by scientists when the creationist claims didn’t stand up to scrutiny beyond the initial peer review.

    So even when creationists do manage to get published in respected science journals, their creationism-based claims turn out to be bunkum.

    Intelligent Design Creationism has fared no better.

    Like

  92. Ray says:

    “Sigh…Once again another evolutionist is telling someone who holds to the view of an intelligent designer that they must have been peer reviewed in order to be credible.”

    Then tell us where credibility comes from.

    “BUT, then in the same article says that no credible peer reviewed journal would ever publish them! Sigh…anything wrong with this picture?”

    You’re confusing the rejection of poor scholarhip and bad science with an unwillingness to consider the subject.

    Like

  93. Ed Darrell says:

    ::sigh:: Once again the creationists misread and misinterpret what is said.

    1. Gotelli says that creationists need to publish research, because that’s how real science gets checked for accuracy. He notes that of the publications offered so far by creationists, only a tiny few come from non-crank journals. Real journals wouldn’t publish such stuff, because it’s false, wrong, or so far out of reality that it sucks intelligence out of the people who read it.

    2. That’s not to say that the journals are biased against any good research. Journals will publish almost any good research that comes down the pike, and by “good research,” I mean stuff that is done with measures of validity built in. (The only exception to this that I know is the ethical ban on research that kills people. For example, there is a sizable body of valid research out of the Nazi death camps. By convention, that research is never cited, because it was obtained by torture and murder. Creationism research generally isn’t obtained by torture and murder, so if valid, it would be published.)

    3. But Joe fails to note the problem that crops up with creationist research. We really cannot know if there is bias against the stuff, because creationists simply do not write up papers for publication. I suspect it is because creationists don’t do the research in the first place, but that’s beside the point. In court, at least twice now, creationists have alleged journal bias. Both times they were invited to present the research papers that were denied publication unfairly. Both times creationists were unable to find any research paper on creation ever denied publication on any reason, but critically, they were unable to produce any such research at all in 1982, and only by weasling in other research that they claimed might, if viewed from the right angle in blue light, support their claims (though most often the authors of the papers denied the creationist claims).

    Joe, find us the papers that were submitted to the science journals but were not published due to bias. They don’t exist.

    I’ve noted before that at least two ID papers have been published. One was retracted, but the fact remains that it was published — and those two are the only two ever submitted that anyone can find. It’s not that there is any bias on publication — a 100% publishing record denies that claim completely. But only two papers since 1987? Only two papers in 22 years? Einstein alone did more than double that amount in one year! (1905)

    Don’t fail to do the work, and then complain the work not done isn’t getting the respect it deserves. That’s dishonest.

    Like

  94. AbleAmI says:

    A scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.
    -Max Planck

    Like

  95. Ediacaran says:

    Yeah, Lowerleavell – what’s wrong is that the creationists are apparently incapable of understanding that they need to actually do valid science before their work is accepted.

    So, Lowerleavell, are you invoking “conspiracy” to explain why peer-reviewed science journals don’t typically publish the (extremely few) articles ever submitted by creationists? Did it occur to you that perhaps it is because the few creationist articles that are submitted do not have credible empirical support?

    Like

  96. lowerleavell says:

    Sigh…Once again another evolutionist is telling someone who holds to the view of an intelligent designer that they must have been peer reviewed in order to be credible. BUT, then in the same article says that no credible peer reviewed journal would ever publish them! Sigh…anything wrong with this picture?

    Like

  97. Ed Darrell says:

    Drat. I caught that forum a few weeks ago when it featured Doris Kearns Goodwin, and I had hoped to be able to sneak in to see Tyson but the schedule just didn’t cooperate. Regret I missed that.

    Thanks for the link, Bret.

    Like

  98. Ediacaran says:

    According to Physics Today, astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson recently addressed a Texas audience, and weighed in during the Q&A: “Evolution critics threaten US economy says Tyson”:

    http://blogs.physicstoday.org/newspicks/2009/02/evolution-critics-threaten-us.html

    Like

  99. Ray says:

    This is without a doubt the best response I’ve ever seen to a creationist’s challenge. Gotelli makes it abundantly clear that debating them is a farce and that they’re not entitled to anyone’s time or efforts. And they’re no more welcome than “an alchemist, a flat-earther, an astrologer, a psychic, or a Holocaust revisionist”. Brilliant!

    Like

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