I know some of you out there do this. You’ve spent so many hours asking your creationist friends to define a “kind,” or explaining why the “tornado in a junkyard” or “watchmaker” analogies are hopelessly flawed, that you’re beginning to see flagella and mousetraps in your sleep. I mean, look at poor Nick. Kid can’t even hear the word “truthiness” without having visions of IDists dancing in his head. I caught myself doing this today, too.

I listen to a lot of country music. (Yeah, yeah, go ahead and mock. I’m used to it). Couple that with 1) the fact that I live in Iowa, where there’s a *lot* of country radio, and 2) the fact that my car didn’t have a CD player, that meant lots of time on the road tuned in to a country station. As a mom (aka taxi), that means the kids also spent a lot of time listening to it–and my daughter’s favorite song of the past year was Faith Hill’s “Mississippi Girl.” So, we bought her Faith’s new CD for Christmas.

Also around Christmas, I bit the bullet and bought a minivan, complete with CD player–and of course, Faith gets heavy rotation while the daughter is in the car. (Yes, I’m getting to the point here). As a captive audience, I’m listening to the songs. In the title cut, “Fireflies,” the chorus is:

I found mayonnaise bottles and poked holes on top
To capture Tinker Bell
And they were just fireflies to the untrained eye
But I could always tell

So, of course, I think, “huh, kinda like ID.” I wonder when she’ll be publishing the methods of her “Tinkerbell explanatory filter?”

Sad, I know. I really need to get out more. But how fitting that the next line in the song is, “’cause I believe in fairy tales…”

Comments

  1. #1 Joseph O'Donnell
    January 13, 2006

    I think I’ve been at this myself for over four years now and mostly with people I know in real life. It’s always more interesting when you are arguing with someone in the same room than across the internet.

  2. #2 Dean Morrison
    January 13, 2006

    You might like this Tara..

    http://bertc.com/18Track18m.mp3

    .. the amazing thing is I think it’s for real…..

  3. #3 Tara
    January 13, 2006

    Wow. There are not words to adequately describe it…

    Joseph, I’m mostly the opposite–I discuss online more than in person, but I agree it’s more interesting face-to-face. Though as I’ve said before, I tend to kinda get animated.

  4. #4 Ocellated.com
    January 13, 2006

    Tara,

    You listen to country music? Shame on you. Being from Texas, I’m supposed to listen to it too, just like I’m supposed to ride a horse and where cowbody boots. But that stuff’s aweful. :)

    It’s pure cheese, but my grandmother told a cute joke once.

    What do you get when you play country music backwards?

    You get your dog back, you get your truck back, you get your wife back, you get your house back…

    I’m a little embarrassed to have told that…

  5. #5 Gert Meyers
    January 13, 2006

    Crikey, Tara, it seems you’re describing me by proxy. ID is currently rather ringing in my ears…

  6. #6 coturnix
    January 13, 2006

    I also admit to listening to country music. For an immigrant, it is an endless resource for understanding America (I have written posts analysing some songs!).

    And yes, you do think about E/C debate too much!

    Iiiiiiiiiii’m…dreamin’…of a White….Flagellum….

  7. #7 coturnix
    January 13, 2006

    Good – I can comment here again!

  8. #8 Guitar Eddie
    January 13, 2006

    It could be worse, Tara. You could be an alley cat in Mexico City and end up guitar string. You could be picked on by a thousand mariachis. ;-)

    GE

  9. #9 Kevin
    January 13, 2006

    I briefly wrote about the E/C debate on my website:

    http://blog.monkeywork.net/?p=151

    If you have time I’d love if you could stop by and share your views in the comments.

  10. #10 Pelli Pell
    January 13, 2006

    Actually, I saw this on Oprah before Christmas – Faith Hill didn’t actually write this song. A stay-at-home mom that plays guitar and writes music wrote this song, and I think other songs on the CD as well. And the woman talks about why she wrote this song and Faith tells why she decided to make it the title song of her new CD.

    I don’t recall what they said – but here is the link for the interview on Oprah:

    http://www.oprah.com/tows/pastshows/200510/tows_past_20051003.jhtml

    PP

  11. #11 Dave S.
    January 13, 2006

    Testing…testing 1,2,3….

  12. #12 Rusty
    January 13, 2006

    So Tara, exactly how, empirically speaking, does this work equate to a fairy tale?

  13. #13 Joseph O'Donnell
    January 14, 2006

    Rusty, because it is an incredible strawman of what actually happened during the Cambrian explosion. Firstly, the development of animals with hard parts is the thing that got the ‘explosion’ happening to begin with, not that every animals body plan suddenly appeared at once. Numerous animals existed before the cambrian explosion and the said ‘explosion’ happens over a period of 40-60 million years.

    Essentially, that is an entire work of fiction and grossly distorts what is actually known about both the pre-Cambrian and Cambrian. The ID idea of what happened at this point in history is nothing more than a fairy tale. Also, like any fairy tale it has a moral to it as well: Liars always get found out. The DI discovered (see what I did there ;)) that at the trial in Dover.

  14. #14 Dean Morrison
    January 14, 2006

    Further fossils have been found to show that the ‘Cambrian Explosion’ is a ‘fairy tale’ ‘empirically speaking’ (i.e when you look at evidence).

    http://www.pandasthumb.org/archives/2006/01/steve_steve_sli.html

    I thought that the ID crew didn’t believe in the fossil record either – or is that just some of them?

  15. #15 Rusty
    January 14, 2006

    Joseph,

    …the development of animals with hard parts is the thing that got the ‘explosion’ happening to begin with…

    That’s a conclusion based on analysis of the evidence. So is the DI’s conclusion, based on analysis of the evidence, a fairy tale because it differs from yours?

    Numerous animals existed before the cambrian explosion…

    Agreed.

    …the said ‘explosion’ happens over a period of 40-60 million years.

    Another interpretation of the evidence and, again, does a different interpretation indicate fairy tale status?

    The ID idea of what happened at this point in history is nothing more than a fairy tale.

    You’ve not given me any empirical evidence with which to conclude that the work I listed is, in fact, a fairy tale. The work could certainly be an incorrect interpretation of the data, but just how do you conclude that it is a fairy tale (without, that is, appealing to the truthiness of the idea of fairy tales?).

    Thanks,

  16. #16 Dean Morrison
    January 14, 2006

    ID is a ‘fairy tale’ in the sense that that it’s not true.

    ID is a ‘fairy tale’ in the sense that the IDesigner(s) can not be identified – they could indeed be ‘fairys’.

    The ‘Cambrian explosion’ was a mistaken observation based on a lack of evidence. Continuing to use this mistaken observation to support the ‘fairy tale’ of ID in the light of new evidence, serves only to include ‘The Cambrian explosion’ as part of the fairy tale.

    Rusty – I gave you a link to the empirical evidence that shows that the work you listed is a fairy tale.

    But if you want to ignore it and continue to believe in fairys despite the evidence – that’s up to you.

  17. #17 Rusty
    January 15, 2006

    Hi Dean,

    Sorry I missed your 11:53 post (I was writing my 11:59 post).

    Further fossils have been found to show that the ‘Cambrian Explosion’ is a ‘fairy tale’ ‘empirically speaking’ (i.e when you look at evidence).

    Do the single quotes around the term fairy tale imply that you don’t really mean fairy tale? In other words, you’re simply using the term fairy tale, in a pejorative sense, to declare that Meyer’s work on the Cambrian Explosion is incorrect?

    ID is a ‘fairy tale’ in the sense that that it’s not true.

    Should the same be said then about, say, the Steady State Theory?

    ID is a ‘fairy tale’ in the sense that the IDesigner(s) can not be identified – they could indeed be ‘fairys’.

    Yes, I suppose they could. And you have emprical evidence for making such a claim?

    …I gave you a link to the empirical evidence that shows that the work you listed is a fairy tale.

    Actually, the link took me to a description of fossil evidence from the pre-Cambrian era. Nothing in the post gave me the empirical evidence that Meyer’s work is a fairy tale. Of course, the work you listed may show that Meyer’s work is incorrect, but musing that it is on par with goblins and trolls only serves to expose a very non-empirical bias.

    Truthiness, it appears, is a very contagious thing.

    Thanks,

  18. #18 Dean Morrison
    January 15, 2006

    Hi Rusty..

    The actual definition from your Word IQ site:

    Fairy tale : (noun)
    1: a story about fairies; told to amuse children [syn: fairytale, fairy story]
    2: an interesting but highly implausible story; often told as an excuse [syn: fairytale, fairy story, cock-and-bull story, song and dance]

    .. if you use a dictionary such as http://www.dictionary.com you will find the following definitions:

    2 entries found for fairy tale.
    fairy tale
    n.

    1. A fanciful tale of legendary deeds and creatures, usually intended for children.
    2. A fictitious, highly fanciful story or explanation.

    I was obviously using the term ‘fairy story’ in the second sense.
    ID: and the way Meyer, who is no biologist, has used the ‘Cambrian explosion’ in it’s support; is:

    A fictitious, highly fanciful story or explanation.

    To make this clear to a ‘Troll’ like yourself that the second I used inverted commas around the phrase.

    What is the problem that you guys have of taking everything literally (especially when it comes to mythical creatures)?

    When I referred to you as a ‘Troll’ you didn’t think I literally meant you were a 12ft high silicon-based lifeform from a Terry Pratchett book did you?

    No need to thank me, I enjoy putting you straight

  19. #19 Dean Morrison
    January 16, 2006

    Signs you’ve been involved in the E/C debate too long:

    “Going to a dictionary to explain to a troll what a fairy story is” :D

  20. #20 Rusty
    January 16, 2006

    Hello Dean,

    Going to a dictionary to explain to a troll what a fairy story is…

    Whenever I discuss / debate an issue I’ve always found it helpful to make sure that both parties are clear on definitions. Misunderstandings can most times be averted when differing sides know where the other person is coming from. For clarity I’ll either restate their position, or list some common reference point. Evidently you think otherwise…

    BTW, as long as we’re on the topic of definitions, you seem to think that I’m a troll, in the blog sense of the word. Exactly how do you come to this conclusion? Simply because I disagree with you? I think I’ve been asking some valid questions and doing so in a civil manner. But if name-calling is the best you can hand me…

    ID: and the way Meyer, who is no biologist, has used the ‘Cambrian explosion’ in it’s support; is:
    A fictitious, highly fanciful story or explanation.

    Thank you for clarifying your position for me.

    What is the problem that you guys have of taking everything literally (especially when it comes to mythical creatures)?

    Well, it should be clear by now, but if not: The problem is that the scientific response to ID has taken on, as of late, a very unscientific demeanor. ID is opposed because it is deemed to be religion (and, we all know that religion has no place in a science classroom). ID proponents are exposed as lying, cheating scoundrels. What’s more, in an earlier post on this blog it was strongly implied that intelligent people should accept evolutionary theory because… well, just because they’re intelligent. Any other “belief” is potentially relegated to that of non-brain activity (see cartoon posted after this post). And on this post we have an allusion to ID being a fairy tale which, despite your use of the term, was connected with the cute little Tinker Bell.

    Empirically based reality?

    Words have meaning, Dean. And context matters.

    Thanks, (for engaging me in discussion…)

  21. #21 J-Dog
    January 16, 2006

    Signs You Might Be An ID Troll:

    You might be a troll, if you ignore what the Dr. says.
    You might be a Troll if you hide your head in the sand, and cover your ears while saying “LALALALA”,
    You might be a Troll if you read but don’t comprehend.
    You might be a Troll, if you are named Rusty!

    HTH

  22. #22 Dave S.
    January 16, 2006

    ID is opposed because it is deemed to be religion (and, we all know that religion has no place in a science classroom).

    ID is opposed in public schools because it is a religious notion, and you cannot advocate religious notions in public schools. And that is true whether its in science, philosophy or home economics class. You can teach about them, but you cannot advocate them.

    ID has been rejected from the scientific community as a vacuous concept with no theory from which testable predictions can be made, let alone predictions that have actually been tested. This has been underlined by the fact that not even the main proponents of ID have ever used it in actual biological systems to make even a single novel discovery.

  23. #23 Dean Morrison
    January 16, 2006

    Okay ‘Rusty’..

    you’ll notice that I also put my use of ‘Troll’ in inverted commas to recognise the possibly controversial use of the term.
    However since you came here with an ‘off topic’ post – a reference to Stephen Meyer an his reference to the so-called ‘Cambrian explosion – on the contrivance that a ‘fairy-tale was involved then I think you can be fairly said to meet at least this part of a definition I found on ‘Dictionary.com’:

    “Trolls are recognizable by
    the fact that the have no real interest in learning about the topic
    at hand – they simply want to utter flame bait.”

    Actually I was just teasing you Rusty.

    If we wish to make our definition of ID absolutely clear then I think we can safely say that:

    “Intelligent Design is a fictitious, highly fanciful story or explanation of the development of life.”

    Judge Jones goes further in the Dover Decision (page 97) to assert that:

    “The evidence demonstrates that intelligent design is not science as the Supreme
    Court and the McLean court (and scientists) define that endeavor.”

    Therefore I am in agreement with the poster on the Panda’s Thumb that we should now refer to this phenomemnom as the :

    “Intelligent Design Hoax”

    If you don’t agree then it’s really up to you to convince the Judge, The Supreme Court, ‘scientists’ and myself otherwise.

    Pasting a link to a non-biologists religious views about Cambrian Fossils isn’t likely to succeed in this.

    How about suggesting to the Discovery Institute that they go look for some empirical evidence? What are they working on at the moment. I know Dembski is looking for investors for his ‘Intelligent Design Hoax’ self-improvement program – but what I mean is ‘scientific research’?

    Glad we cleared that up then….

  24. #24 Rusty
    January 16, 2006

    Hello Dave S.,

    ID is opposed in public schools because it is a religious notion� You can teach about them, but you cannot advocate them.

    Essentially I agree with you that we cannot advocate religion in a public school, with the caveat, however, that such an event would have to be on par with the establishment of a religion (by the state). Realistically speaking, how would the teaching of ID in a science or philosophy classroom establish a state religion? And, if so, which religion would it establish?

    Yet my comment had more to do with the apparent “hands-off” response to anything religious. In a vain attempt to remain values neutral, with regards to religion, it appears that avoidance of religion has become the mantra. “Freedom of religion” has become “freedom from religion.” Couple that with the prevalent notion, in the scientific community, that religious belief is an entirely subjective, non-rational act, demanding no evidence whatsoever, and you have the makings for anti-religious attitudes.

    Dean,

    Actually I was just teasing you Rusty.

    That’s fine. No harm done.

    However since you came here with an ‘off topic’ post – a reference to Stephen Meyer an his reference to the so-called ‘Cambrian explosion – on the contrivance that a ‘fairy-tale was involved� Pasting a link to a non-biologists religious views about Cambrian Fossils isn’t likely to succeed in this.

    I realize that my initial question was a bit ‘off-topic.’ I inferred from Tara’s post that she was implying there was a connection between ID and fairy tales (a la the Tinker Bell variety). In asking the question I did, I was attempting to find out how such a connection was justified empirically. I used Meyer’s Cambrian work because I wanted a real example (rather than simply asking “how does ID equate to a fairy tale?”). However, keep in mind that my question did not have to do with whether or not anyone thought Meyer’s work was false.

    The authors of the work may, in fact, be non-biologists or biologists. The authors may, in fact, have littered the work with their religious views. The work itself may, in fact, be a fictitious, highly fanciful story or explanation of the development of life. But references to Tinker Bell are out of place.

    BTW, I’m not a full-fledged supporter of the DI’s version of ID. My thinking falls more in line with that of Reasons to Believe.

    Thanks,

  25. #25 Dave S.
    January 17, 2006

    Rusty –

    That ID is a religious notion is attested to on many levels. That it was shown to evolve (excuse the term) directly from the older forms of creationism, that it requires supernatural causation according to its own tenets, that virtually all proponents see it as such (although they’ll readily make completly contradictory and totally unsupported claims to the contrary).

    As far as the law is concerned the standard which we apply is the Lemon Test. This is a 3-pronged apprached which asks: a) does it have a secular purpose?, b) is the principle effect to advance or retard religion? and c) does it create an excessive entanglement of government and religion? In Dover, all 3 failed and failed miserably.

    As far as the government is concerned, I am free from religion. Let the Discovery Institute continue to spew nonsense in press releases and avoid doing a lick of science…let Answers in Genesis open as many creation museums as they like…but keep thier religious notions out of public schools.

    Religious notions are not scientific notions. Whether they are rational or not or use “evidence” or not isn’t the issue. I’ll never understand the ‘if its not for us, then it has to be against us’ attitude.

  26. #26 Tara
    January 17, 2006

    Rusty–

    I realize that my initial question was a bit ‘off-topic.’ I inferred from Tara’s post that she was implying there was a connection between ID and fairy tales (a la the Tinker Bell variety).

    Actually, the point of the Tinker Bell reference was not really about the fairy tales, but about the claims of ID that only their supporters seem to be able to “correctly” identify “design,” just like the character in the song sees Tinkerbell when everyone else simply sees fireflies. In both cases, IMO, it’s due to wishful thinking–”this looks designed [or like Tinkerbell] to me, therefore it must be, even if everyone else just sees a molecule [a firefly].” Again, I suggest you take what I say a bit more at face value, rather than trying to dig out inferred insults, etc. from it.

  27. #27 Rusty
    January 17, 2006

    Hello Dave S.,

    As we’ve briefly discussed before, the topics of theology, science, and philosophy are quite complex. There are those who think that the individual disciplines can exist in separate silos. I do not think that they can (especially with regards to how science and religion intersect). Indeed, it is interesting to see confirmed non-theists act in very religious manners (Sagan’s “the universe is all there is, was, and ever will be” comes to mind – it was a very, very religious statement).

    As to the law and religion, it would be helpful, imo, if people would just take a look at the 1st Amendment and how it addresses the topic of religion: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. Perhaps the Lemon Test should be stacked up against the 1st Amendment (and not the separation of church and state). Consider the bias and subjectivity in the questions: Does it have a secular purpose? Does it advance or retard religion? Does it create excessive entanglement of government and religion? The notion being promoted here is that, in being purely secular, one is being impartial with regards to religion. I think this is an utterly false notion. But that takes us even further off-topic.

    You might want to check this post, and this one for additional info.

    Tara,

    …the point of the Tinker Bell reference was not really about the fairy tales…

    I realize that you do not seriously believe that there is an empirical connection to be made between the claims of ID and the claims, via song, of being able to see Tinker Bell. Yet in your initial post you reference lyrics from the song, and then state …kinda like ID� I wonder when she’ll be publishing the methods of her “Tinkerbell explanatory filter?” . I don’t think it’s out of line to conclude that you were, in order to make a point, making an absurd (albeit intentional) connection between fairy tales and ID.* All I was doing was taking the argument, and its absurdity, to its logical conclusion.

    I probably don’t follow the DI as close as you do, but I’m not aware of anyone who posits that only supporters of ID seem to have the ability to correctly identify design. If you are aware of such claims, can you direct me to them? Regardless, virtually all analyses of data / evidence is filtered through a person’s noetic structure.** The scientific method is certainly an attempt to make the process as objective as possible, but the scientific world is not immune from bouts of wishful thinking (ref. Berra’s Blunder).

    * Consider, as a contrast, how your argument would have sounded had you, instead of making a connection between ID and mystical creatures, had compared ID with alternative interpretations of empirical data.

    ** Reference The Mystical Monkey Mind and Should Humans Have Value Based on Appearance?

    Thanks,

  28. #28 Tara
    January 17, 2006

    I probably don’t follow the DI as close as you do, but I’m not aware of anyone who posits that only supporters of ID seem to have the ability to correctly identify design. If you are aware of such claims, can you direct me to them?

    That’s exactly what is claimed wrt biological design. Those who fail to “see it” are pawns of Satan, or whatever the epithet of the day is, due to our bias, or our worldview, or whatever excuse they trot out. A flagellum is just a flagellum to me; to Behe, it’s a work of God. See why the I find the Tinkerbell analogy so fitting? It *may* be a work of God. It *may* be Tinkerbell. I don’t know. But it ain’t science to say that without some *evidence* to back it up.

    Regardless, virtually all analyses of data / evidence is filtered through a person’s noetic structure.** The scientific method is certainly an attempt to make the process as objective as possible, but the scientific world is not immune from bouts of wishful thinking (ref. Berra’s Blunder).

    You’ve been reading too much Phil Johnson. :) You do realize that Berra’s “blunder” was just also an analogy, like mine in the post?

    Thinking more on this, y’know, it’s strange how those of you in your camp (for lack of a better word) jump on all our metaphors, analogies, and simple poetic phrasing and want to make it all literal. NAS president Bruce Alberts refers to molecular “machines” and people like Behe seize on it as an “aha! See, even Alberts can see design!” Aren’t we entitled to any poetic license?

    * Consider, as a contrast, how your argument would have sounded had you, instead of making a connection between ID and mystical creatures, had compared ID with alternative interpretations of empirical data.

    What “argument?” Maybe that’s why you’re over-analyzing things. I certainly have “argued” against ID in the past and will likely do so in the future, but this post ain’t it. This was a simple observation, a fleeting thought I figured many other here could relate to.

    As afar as “alternative interpretations of empirical data,” I know that’s a hammer creationists keep pounding, but it simply gets ridiculous at some point. Can 2 scientists disagree about an interpretation? Sure. We can and do, and then either find more data or design more experiments that will end up supporting either one interpretation or the other. Creationists act as if everything is up for grabs, and all evolution is is just another “interpretation” that we can’t see because we’re not wearing our “Biblical glasses” or whatever AiG calls them. That’s just, well, fundamentally wrong–I don’t know quite what else to say about it.

  29. #29 Rusty
    January 17, 2006

    Hello Tara,

    A flagellum is just a flagellum to me; to Behe, it’s a work of God.

    Well, I think that you, Behe, and all the rest of us make decisions based on our analysis of the data. And I also think that everyone of us is influenced by our bias and worldview (part of what I referred to as our noetic structure). I don’t see this as a necessarily bad thing… just as what happens. And, btw, I do not consider you a “pawn of Satan.”

    But it ain’t science to say that without some *evidence* to back it up.

    If, by “evidence,” you mean that there needs to be a testable model, then I agree with you.

    You do realize that Berra’s “blunder” was just also an analogy, like mine in the post? …Aren’t we entitled to any poetic license?

    Yes I do realize that Berra’s Blunder was an analogy. I happen to like analogies, and use them quite a bit. They have strengths and, to be sure, weaknesses, but I think they can be very effective tools. Obviously an analogy works well when the items being compared are very similar (in structure, type, essence, etc.). Berra chose the analogy he did, presumably, because he saw it as a good comparison. Unfortunately, for him, he chose a sequence that was not only analogous but identical to that of design. I’m all for poetic license, but when people choose to use words that are inherently designer-based (e.g., machines, motors, watchmaker, factory, tinker, etc.), one has to wonder why. Are there no better words to use for the notion of a mindless, purposeless process? Throwing “blind” in front of “watchmaker,” imo, simply exacerbates the dilemma.

    As I stated earlier, my issue really wasn’t with the literal aspect of your post (that was just me having fun). What I’m concerned with is the rhetoric used (on both sides, actually), especially the words chosen. There are many ways to frame an argument (and yes, you’re right, it wasn’t an “argument” you presented) depending on the words chosen, their meaning(s), context, intentions, etc.

    Cheers

  30. #30 Dean Morrison
    January 17, 2006

    Rusty wrote:

    The authors of the work may, in fact, be non-biologists or biologists. The authors may, in fact, have littered the work with their religious views. The work itself may, in fact, be a fictitious, highly fanciful story or explanation of the development of life.

    in the opinion of your courts there is no may about the ‘Intelligent Design Hoax’ – it’s not even science:

    “The evidence demonstrates that intelligent design is not science as the Supreme
    Court and the McLean court (and scientists) define that endeavor.”

    Perhaps it’s a fairy story in the sense that: the fraudulent photos of ‘fairys’ given to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle by two little girls : was a ‘fairy story’.

    i.e. a hoax.

    The sad thing was, clever as he was, Sir Arthur was taken in by it because he wanted to believe so much .

    .. now Dembski has gone off to seek; ‘investors’ for his ‘Intelligent Design-based’ ‘self-improvement scheme’ because there is ‘money to be made’…then maybe some of the people who have been taken in by it will start to see it for what it is.

    A Hoax – or ‘Creationism in a cheap tuxedo’ if you prefer.

    Let’s let Tara talk more science on her blog and take the trolling over to Dembski on Intelligent design at the ‘Panda’s thumb’.

    If you wish to reply to this post Rusty I’ll respond there…

  31. #31 Dave S.
    January 18, 2006

    Rusty –

    The government, and this includes state governmental bodies like teachers and school boards (re: 14th Ammendment) has no business advocating religious ideas…and this admonishment isn’t eliminated if the religion advocated happens to be one any particular person or group finds agreeable.

    Science is indeed biased…biased against explanations that do not make hypotheses that can be empirically verified. That this offends some who hold such explanations is unfortunate, but it doesn’t make their positions any more verifiable or any more “scientific”. Changing the definition of science to suit their explanation, while creative, doesn’t pass the smell test.

    If you want to make a case for ID in this specific case, or in general, I’d love to see it. Hypothetical examples are less interesting and useful.

  32. #32 Rusty
    January 18, 2006

    Dave S.,

    Avoidance of religion, based on actions considered to be promoting religion, moves into the realm of the subjective. Besides establishing secularism as the standard (based on ???) it also punishes motives (ref. Beckwith here).

    I’m not offended that science works via the scientific method. I am offended when people claim to dismiss alternative hypotheses, because of a supposed lack of testability, yet provide primarily non-scientific responses / accusations.

    You seem to think that the case is closed. While the court case(s) may be closed, the issue is far from dead.

    Is that what upsets you so?

  33. #33 Anonymous
    January 18, 2006

    Actually Rusty, it’s you who appears to be upset. Creationists have been making these same arguments for decades (or centuries for some design arguments). I see no reason they won’t continue to make the same old arguments, and indeed I totally expect them to continue since there is no theory from which new arguments can arise via the hypothesis. I fully expect more of the same, perhaps with yet another morphing into yet another name…Biblical Creationism…Scientific Creationism…Intelligent Design…Sudden Appearance Theory?? Each is just attacking evolution, combined with increasingly trying to limit overt references to God just enough to pass constitutional muster. If you have an alternative explanation though that’s testable, then now’s the time to share it.

    Until then, I’ll just toddle along looking at the interesting stuff that is testable like evolution. I do not dismiss alternate explanations. I simply claim they are not scientific explanations.

  34. #34 Dave S.
    January 18, 2006

    The post above is by me.

  35. #35 Dave S.
    January 19, 2006

    Actually Rusty, upon further reflection, you’re right, I am upset.

    It’s not about the scientific advancement of ID. No, there have been no such advances in that area. Not a single novel discovery about nature using ID “theory” has ever been made and there is still not even the structure to formulate a research program let alone actually carry it out. The scientific status of ID is inanimate. I’d say dead, but for that it would have had to been alive at some point. Behe admitted for example that he has just one paper supporting ID (Behe and Snoke, 2004)…unfortunately that paper does not mention either intelligent design or irreducible complexity; and also unfortunately, even after Behe made every possible assumption to the disfavour of evolution, his system still ‘evolved’. Though not as much as some natural systems he says…which is a bit like saying a woman carrying one child is not ‘as pregnant’ as a woman carrying two. This is especially damning, as is in Behe’s case, if your prior claim was that the woman could not get pregnant at all.

    It’s nothing to do with the silly meme that more and more scientists are turning to ID. If that were true, then why is it they keep trotting the same old names year after year? Or the even siller one that evolution is “a theory in crisis”…that chestnut has been around since Darwin’s time.

    It doesn’t even have anything to do with IDers claiming ID is science when it isn’t. Their own words to the contrary show otherwise, and the notion itself can only be understood as a purely religious one. That’s simply a fact which doesn’t bother me just as astrology or divining don’t bother me, even though those people may claim their activity is scientifically valid too.

    No, what upsets me is that the trustees of our children’s education, people who share that important task of providing the best possible education to them with us, choose to instead abuse their positions to proselytize thier religious beliefs. Oh, they claim they’re only trying to make science education better, but their actions prove otherwise. What else can you say when they push forward not because their scientific advisors or science teachers tell them this is valid science (indeed both were strongly opposed) but because a law firm told them they could do it and get away with it. Even today the board members do not know what ID is, so how could they possibly know it was good science? Recklessly exposing school boards to law suits you know will happen is just plain wrong. At least the El Tejon district in California saw the light before it was too late. But other lawsuits will follow, and other kids will suffer for the sake of the ignorance of school board members and teachers with religious axes to grind.

    It also upsets me that they would make explicit statements that creationism has a place in school, then deny saying any such thing…then when evidence is presented that they did say it suddenly they not only recall it, but remember exactly the details of what they said and why they said it. It upsets me that they would lie under oath about the money trail, and apparently think that this is a good way to stand up for their faith, let alone for the children of Dover.

    Yeah, so you’re right after all Rusty.

  36. #36 Rusty
    January 19, 2006

    Dave S.,

    The question I initially posed was, “…how, empirically speaking, does this work equate to a fairy tale?” (with the “this work” linked to the Cambrian paper from the DI)

    I’ve been attempting to discuss the evo / creation debate from the terms of how we know things, what truth is, how the abstract relates to the tangible, how our noetic structure influences our perception of the world, whether truth can be both subjective and objective, what motivates our actions, how religious motivations intersect with secular motivations, etc. Yet it seems that every time I try to get the discussion going in that direction I’m essentially told, “Oh that’s not science… all we’re interested in is the science.” Well that’s fine, you can certainly approach things from that standpoint, but my point is that other disciplines of thought encroach upon each other in such a way that to ignore them is to ignore the compele picture.

    Statements, ideas, or concepts such as: intelligent people should accept the tenets of evolutionary theory; belief in God requires no evidence; the paper by ID proponents promotes their religious views; schools cannot advocate religion; ID is a fairy tale; define the actual love one has for their child; proponents of ID are liars; lying is wrong; the watchmaker analogy is hopelessly flawed; religious notions are not scientific notions; ID requires supernatural causation; or even the reasons why someone like Tara is so passionate about the good work she does – to think on and discuss any or all of these ideas requires one to step outside the bounds of testable science. I’m simply trying to explore the big picture.

    Have you ever pondered why the evolutionary paradigm, if it’s veracity is so empirically obvious, is not wholeheartedly embraced within the U.S.? Could it really be that people are that stupid and/or influenced by religion?

    I am not a scientist, so if you’re expecting a model from me you’re in for a long wait. I can point you towards the group Reasons to Believe, which is actively striving to develop a testable creation model.

    I’m sorry for upsetting you with my comments. My intent, as I stated, was to get a discussion going (albeit, in a direction it never really went). As a sidenote, though, I really do wish you and the others would stop writing in a way as if the actions of AIG, the DI, Dover’s school board, etc., are my actions as well (at least, that’s the way I’ve taken it).

  37. #37 Dean Morrison
    January 19, 2006

    “Have you ever pondered why the evolutionary paradigm, if it’s veracity is so empirically obvious, is not wholeheartedly embraced within the U.S.? Could it really be that people are that stupid and/or influenced by religion?”

    Well from my British perspective, yes.

    I don’t like to think of people as stupid, so perhaps the second explanation is more likely?

    Or do you deny the many people in the U.S. are influenced by religion. Religion of a kind that feels threatened by science?

  38. #38 Tara
    January 19, 2006

    Rusty–

    I’m not sure what your point is. Do you really think we’ve not considered the “big picture?” Fact is, I’ve spent way too much time discussing those sorts of things, and it simply doesn’t interest me very much anymore. It gets to the point of ridiculousness, IMO. Philosophy is an interesting topic, don’t get me wrong, and I’m glad there are people out there worrying about the issue of how we know things, and “what is truth,” etc.–but it just ain’t my cup of tea, and I’m not going to waste my time going into it again. Think of it what you may, but I’m a scientist and indeed, what I want to discuss is the science. This doesn’t mean I’m ignoring the other issues–but there’s only so much time in the day, and I choose to focus on other things.

    Have you ever pondered why the evolutionary paradigm, if it’s veracity is so empirically obvious, is not wholeheartedly embraced within the U.S.? Could it really be that people are that stupid and/or influenced by religion?

    No, I don’t think people are “that stupid.” Yes, I do think many are “that influenced by religion.” Most people simply haven’t studied the issue in depth. I can’t say I blame them–like I said, there are only so many hours in the day, and many people are still somewhat intimidated by science, thinking it’s “over their head.” So they listen to their favorite mouthpieces in the media, or they listen to their pastors, or their parents, or their SOs, whoever, that say that evolution is false. I mean, the arguments on the surface sound good. When I first read “Darwin’s Black Box,” I could totally see how someone without much of a biology background could buy it. It sounds convincing if that’s all you read about intelligent design. Same thing with all the probability calculations–they *sound* good, until you start to examine their assumptions and then you realize what garbage they are. Few people get to this level of analysis–so it’s not too surprising to me that evolution isn’t “wholeheartedly embraced” in light of these factors.

  39. #39 Dave S.
    January 20, 2006

    I think the average person is largely unaware of the vast amount of evidence and the extensive testing evolution has undergone and still undergoes. I also think they are largely unaware of how science works and why it is deliberately limited to making natural explanations for natural phenomenae (not because some mysterious cabal says to do this, but because we’ve found that that’s the way that works best), even at the expense of maybe missing some nebulous “true” explanation. Such explanations might be interesting philosophically, but unless we can test them then they have no use scientifically. A non-religious example — string theory. At least that gives us some interesting mathematics if nothing else.

    I think most people simply do not decide such things based on the evidence because they are not aware of the evidence. If you asked 1000 people at random whether the Sun or the Earth is the centre of the solar ststem I’d wager most would say the former. But if you ask them how would they demonstrate this fact, what evidence is there, how many would know about planetary retrograde motion? Not many I think.

    I find it difficult to understand exactly what Rusty’s point is supposed to be. He seems to be arguing that since there is some kind of vague overlap between religion and science, you simply can’t tell them apart. Both are certainly complex notions and its difficult to determine the precise boundries, but requirement of the empirical test separates them well enough.

    I understand Rusty may not hold every opinion of the DI or agree with those opposed to the Dover decision in every respect…but he did ask why I was upset, and so I told him. It’s not necessarily him that makes me that way.

  40. #40 Rusty
    January 21, 2006

    Dean,

    Or do you deny the many people in the U.S. are influenced by religion. Religion of a kind that feels threatened by science?

    I certainly do not deny that people are influenced by religion. What’s more, I’ll go even further and state that all people are influenced by their particular worldviews (even the British!). As for me, I don’t see science as threatening to religion. For one, as seems to be the opinion from the comments on this site, science is acknowledged to be inadequate to address questions regarding the full reality of our existence. Perhaps the “influence” that “religion” has on the public at large is due, in part, to their common sense understanding that their psyche is not reducible to determinism and chance acting upon the purely material?

    Dave S.,

    No, I don’t think people are “that stupid.” Yes, I do think many are “that influenced by religion.” Most people simply haven’t studied the issue in depth.

    Well, like I’ve said, conclusions of that sort transport one outside the bounds of science.

    I find it difficult to understand exactly what Rusty’s point is supposed to be. He seems to be arguing that since there is some kind of vague overlap between religion and science, you simply can’t tell them apart. Both are certainly complex notions and its difficult to determine the precise boundries, but requirement of the empirical test separates them well enough.

    I am not arguing that you can’t tell the disciplines apart. I agree that the scientific method mandates empirical testability. I’m simply attempting to find out how scientists unpack their arguments without venturing into other disciplines. And from what I’ve seen, it can’t be done.

    Cheers,

  41. #41 Matt
    February 9, 2006

    You described me to a tee, two nights ago I got up around 3:00 in the morning to write a rebuttal to an ID arguing point that my roomate threw at me in 1983. I thought my paper was pretty good at the time, but after reading it in the full light of day its clear my thoughts needed a little editing first. Perhaps I’ll post it here after removing all the glaring errors.

    btw I just discovered your blog a few minutes ago, very nice reading.