The Questionable Authority

Over at the Discovery Institute’s blog, Rob Crowther is playing up the “Dissent from Darwinism” list. Again. The list is nothing new. They’ve been working on it for several years now, and have managed to accumulate “over 700″ signatures from around the world. Given the number of scientists on the planet, and the degree to which the DI folks have relaxed their definition of “scientist”, it’s hardly a stellar performance on their part. As much as I’d like to ignore the list for being the laughable public relations gimmick that it is, I’m not going to this time. Crowther managed to punch one of my buttons with his latest attempt to describe the reasons that people sign this list:

Signers of the Dissent List have signed the list because it is their professional opinion that the evidence is lacking for the claims for the ability of random mutations and natural selection to account for the complexity of life. Period. Nothing more, and nothing less.

It’s their professional opinion? Based on what, exactly?

What basis does Douglas Keil, who is listed as having a PhD in “Plasma Physics” have for forming a professional opinion on evolutionary biology? How about Jeanne Drisko, “Clinical Assistant Professor of Alternative Medicine” at the University of Kansas School of Medicine? Or Aaron Miller, who has a PhD in physics? Or mathematician Gary Dilts? Or “research meteorologist” John Brown? Or Baylor physical chemist John Burba? or Why on earth would I think that any of those people is in any way, shape, or form competent to form a professional opinion on a topic that falls outside their claimed area of professional expertise?

I should note at this point that I haphazardly plucked those people from the list. There are many others there who I could have listed instead. That, in a nutshell, is what bugs me about this whole thing. Crowther wants us to think that all of the people on this list of alleged scientists, many of whom appear to have absolutely no basis for claiming any kind of expertise, experience, or insight in any area of the biological sciences, are qualified to render professional opinions about evolution. Then, he wants us to accept their “professional” opinions as evidence that there’s a legitimate “controversy” about evolution. But he doesn’t want us to accept the professional opinions of the vast, overwhelming majority of scientists who actually work in relevant fields and say that there’s absolutely no controversy about the basics of evolution.

The hypocrisy is annoying. But that’s par for the course when it comes to the Discovery Institute.

Comments

  1. #1 TheBlackCat
    January 23, 2008

    That bugs me too. But what really bugs me is the statement is not at all connected to “dissent from Darwinism”. It says nothing that biologists haven’t known for decades. Of course mutation and natural selection aren’t sufficient, we know life also used evolutionary processes like adaptive radiation, endosymbiosis, horizontal gene transfer, sexual selection, etc. They present these people as opponents of evolution when the statement the people actually signed says nothing of the sort. It would be like having people sign a list saying “we feel the law of octaves is an insufficient to explain the entire structure of the periodic table of the elements”, label it “the dissent from Mendeleevism list” and present the signatories as though they reject the periodic table of the elements entirely.

  2. #2 rjms
    January 23, 2008

    An observation, nay a question. Should the organisers of Project Steve cull from the list of assenting scientists all those who are not formally qualified in the evolutionary sciences?

  3. #3 SteveF
    January 23, 2008

    My suspicion is that a fair number on the list have PhDs but aren’t actually working scientists, let alone working in the right fields. Douglas Kiel appears to be one such example. Here he is opining on OEC:

    http://www.aps.org/publications/apsnews/200410/letters.cfm

  4. #4 TheBlackCat
    January 23, 2008

    @rjms:

    Yes, they should. Actually, first they should cull from their least people who aren’t scientists period (doctors, engineers, physical therapists, quacks, etc). Then they should cull from their least people who don’t have relative expertise. Then they should cull from the list anyone who doesn’t “dissent from Darwinism” in the first place, anyone who doesn’t agree with the them promoting the signatories as opponents or critics of evolution, and anyone who doesn’t agree with the political uses the message us being used for. In other words, they should remove anyone who isn’t qualified to be on the list and anyone who doesn’t want to be on the list. They have, so far, obviously refused to take of unqualified people and as far as I am aware they have also refused to remove people from the list who have said they were tricked into signing it and want their names removed. It would also be nice if they accurately portrayed the current positions of each of the signatories.

  5. #5 FastEddie
    January 23, 2008

    Last October I compared the DI’s list to Project Steve in terms of how many signatories self-identified as being in a field directly relevant to evolution. I counted 159 of the 704 (22.5%) on the DI list were in an evolution-related field. My review of the Project Steve list is incomplete, but of the 126 I have looked at, 58 (46%) are in a field relevant to evolution.

    If anyone is interested I can send them the Excel spreadsheet with all this stuff.

  6. #6 fnxtr
    January 23, 2008

    Oh, boy, more “information content” crap. It’s just the natural behaviour of chemistry, Dougie. Grow up.

  7. #7 Mike Dunford
    January 23, 2008

    An observation, nay a question. Should the organisers of Project Steve cull from the list of assenting scientists all those who are not formally qualified in the evolutionary sciences?

    I certainly wouldn’t object if they did, but I also
    think that there are some good reasons for them to keep their standards as they are.

    First, remember that the NCSE list is a response to, and satire of, the DI list. Given that, I don’t think it’s inappropriate for them to also widen their prospective pool of Steves.

    Second, I think there’s a difference between a scientist who is publicly agreeing with the overwhelming consensus in another area of science, and one who is publicly disagreeing.

    Agreeing with the consensus in the other field is essentially a statement that you understand the current state of knowledge in that field, and are willing to extend the people who actually work in that area the courtesy of not thinking that they’re all permanently out to lunch.

    Disagreeing with the consensus sends an entirely different message. It says: “I, Joe Blow, on the basis of my extensive experience as a toothbrush-bristle designer, think that I am better able to evaluate the scientific status of evolution than people who have spent a lifetime studying evolution.”

  8. #8 Ken
    January 23, 2008

    I have been doing a bit of analysis on subsamples of the “Dissenters from Darwinism” list (see Who are the �dissenters from Darwinism�?) using information on their religious views and activity available on the internet. This convinces me that the very vast majority of the signatories had religious motives for their actions. Evidence for such motivation is there for almost every individual one looks into.

  9. #9 Glenn Branch
    January 23, 2008

    I counted the Steves with specialties in biology in February 2006, at the request of a reporter for The New York Times. As Kenneth Chang reported (February 21, 2006), “the National Center for Science Education says that 54 percent (381) of the Steves on the Project Steve petition work in biology, which includes anatomy, anthropology, biochemistry, biophysics, botany, cell biology. Including related life sciences fields like medicine, forestry and agriculture, the percentage rises to 61 percent.” I’m not sure what the percentage is now; I expect that it’s comparable.

  10. #10 TrekJunkie
    January 23, 2008

    Jean Drisko is a great example of who endorses that kind of crap. She is a major proponent of woo. Her work has been severely criticized on faulty experimental design and lack of rigurosity. It seems that she missed the scientific method altogether in college. I doubt she can spell Hardy-Weinberg. Check out her page over at QuackWatch.

  11. #11 CJColucci
    January 23, 2008

    This raises a broader question: why should any of us non-experts have an “opinion” on the subject at all? I certainly don’t. I know what actual experts say is true and even have some very modest knowledge about why they say it. I know that within the community of actual experts there are some areas of controversy about which some experts believe one thing and some another. I know I have no basis for taking sides on those controversies, and, therefore, I don’t. I don’t believe, or have an opinion about, any of this, any more than I have beliefs or opinions about Greco-Roman wrestling or Bulgarian cinema. Why should any other non-expert be any different?

  12. #12 CJColucci
    January 23, 2008

    Sorry about the screwed up html tags.

    No worries, I fixed them. –Mike

  13. #13 Science Avenger
    January 23, 2008

    The creationists selectively choose authority the same way they selectively choose facts: by only focusing on those that support their views. If its the support of scientists that count, evolution wins hands down. Of course, we should discuss the evidence, not the votes of scientists, when discussing scientific matters. But then the creationists lose that battle, and badly, which is why they made the 700 Club list in the first place.

    Great summary of the difference in the burdon of proof Mike. I’ve been expressing similar views for a while now, but never so piercing and colorful.

  14. #14 SLC
    January 23, 2008

    In addition to analyzing the 700 name list for expertise in biology, we should also analyze it relative to where the signers earned their advanced degrees. I suspect that many of them received those degrees from phony bible colleges and diploma mills.

  15. #15 Paul Burnett
    January 23, 2008

    Somehow this reminds of the signature list of over 700 people who agreed that the controversial dangerous chemical dihydrogen monoxide should be banned. (See http://www.dhmo.org )

  16. #16 Cody
    January 23, 2008

    One of the names you pulled from the list piqued my interest, since I’m a Baylor biochemistry student. I hadn’t heard the name John Burba before, so I checked the faculty list for the chemistry and biochemistry department and didn’t find his name there. There’s no history of him on Baylor’s website, or the student newspaper archives, and the only publications I could find online were some papers on various minerals and their adsorption properties back in the 80′s, plus a boat load of patents.

    Who the hell is this guy?

  17. #17 iepscott
    January 23, 2008

    I love this topic as real hard evidence, from both sides, is hard to come by. I’ve always wondered about the “first” for everything. Like the “first” eye because, at one point, there was no vision, and then there was? I would love more insight into the evolutionary explanation of how an “eye” ends up as the result of mutation.
    Scott Ahrens for INTERNAL ENERGY PLUS

  18. #18 JohnnieCanuck, FCD
    January 23, 2008

    I’m fascinated by

    Jeanne Drisko, “Clinical Assistant Professor of Alternative Medicine” at the University of Kansas School of Medicine.

    Her title could be more succinctly given as “Clinical Liar”, unless of course, her job is to study and debunk Homeopathy, touchless healing, etc.

    Then, there’s the part where she is at a university in Kansas.

  19. #19 Metro
    January 23, 2008

    Well, Scott:

    I understand–you fear the science that tells you that, in essence, “it just happened”. But by seeking the answers and asking the tough questions you are groping toward the truth.

    However, I need to correct one of your assertions. Real evidence is not hard to come by. Just hard for some to accept.

    To answer your question, let’s call in a couple of professionals:

    http://commentisfree.guardian.co.uk/james_randerson/2007/02/keeping_an_eye_on_intelligent.html

    http://www.simonyi.ox.ac.uk/dawkins/WorldOfDawkins-archive/Dawkins/Work/Articles/1995-06-16peepers.shtml

    Just one question in return–would such an answer be more palatable to you than the ID fans’ “It just happened ‘cos a god made it” contention?

    If not, may I suggest that you abandon your search?

  20. #20 Bobby
    January 24, 2008

    I have been doing a bit of analysis on subsamples of the “Dissenters from Darwinism” list (see Who are the “dissenters from Darwinism”?) using information on their religious views and activity available on the internet. This convinces me that the very vast majority of the signatories had religious motives for their actions. Evidence for such motivation is there for almost every individual one looks into.

    Gee, that’s a surprise.

  21. #21 michael
    January 24, 2008

    Cody,
    Check the dissertations from Baylor. He likely earned a degree there and has moved on into industry. A John Burba is a vice president at molycorp.com a mining firm in Colorado. The affiliation listed is random – sometimes where they earned their degree and sometimes where they now are in employed. Many biologists now working at Christian colleges chose to list their nonsectarian degree institutions. It is interesting to note the revolving door in So. Carolina between Clemson and Bob Jones Universities.

  22. #22 Jon McKenzie
    January 24, 2008

    Someone should look into how many of the list are biologists, and then out of those how many actually publish research. I’ll bet the list is astoundingly small.

  23. #23 Amadan
    January 24, 2008

    I’ve said it before at PT: there is nothing in that statement that *any* sceptical scientist should disagree with. So why not pull the carpet out from under the DI by having 700 Steves (or the Antichrist Dawkins, or a few Nobel-winning Evilushinists) apply to sign it? The DI will then have a difficult choice: it can allow them to do so, and look forward to them waving it at the faithful while continuing to uphold science; or it could refuse to allow them to sign it, causing its biggest PR disaster ever.

    Any thoughts?

  24. #24 Dave Thomas
    January 24, 2008

    Two comments: first, Crowther put an extra “s” in his link to http://www.disssentfromdarwin.org. His Gollum-like error goves you a 404 “Site not found” error, LOL.

    Second, once you’re on the list, you’re on for good, even if a mistake was reported.

    NM’s own Rebecca Keller is currently listed as:
    Rebecca Keller, Research Professor, Department of Chemistry University of New Mexico

    I was suspicious of this way back in October of 2001, and wrote her about it then. She replied that she was not a “Research Professor,” but instead a “Research Assistant Professor” (an unpaid, untenured position). In another letter to her, I said

    It appears the Discovery Institute’s page at http://www.reviewevolution.com/press/pressRelease_100Scientists.php
    isn’t exactly right when they refer to you as a “research professor” rather than a “research assistant professor,” but I suspect that that mistake might be theirs rather than yours. … I will leave it to you to inform the DI folks of their minor error. …

    Seven years later, not only did Keller never get the “Magisterium” (e.g. the Discovery Institute) to correct their error – she is no longer at UNM in any capacity.

    Just go to the UNM Directory, search on Keller. Rebecca Keller is not one of the 18 people at UNM with Keller in their names, but her husband, David Keller, is still there.

    Short Version: former UNM Chem. dept. “research assistant professor” was wrongly listed as a “research professor” on the DI’s 700 Club List, and the mistake persists to the present day, at which time Keller is not at UNM at all.

    I wonder how many other similar stories can be found in the 700 club.

    Dave

  25. #25 RBH
    January 24, 2008

    Scott Ahrens asked

    I would love more insight into the evolutionary explanation of how an “eye” ends up as the result of mutation.

    The way to requite your love is to go to Google Scholar and type “eye evolution” into the search box. Click on “Search” and peruse the 600+ hits you get. Or go to PubMed and type “evolution of vision” and scan through the 1,100+ hits you get. The Internet is a great resource, you know.

  26. #26 Hrafn
    January 24, 2008

    Last I checked aSDfD still had an agricultural economist, a few philosophers, and at least couple of people with no doctorate whatsoever on their list.

  27. #27 Rolf Aalberg
    January 24, 2008

    “This raises a broader question: why should any of us non-experts have an “opinion” on the subject at all? I certainly don’t. I know what actual experts say is true and even have some very modest knowledge about why they say it.”

    If we should not have an “opinion”, what should we have?

  28. #28 Keith Eaton
    January 24, 2008

    It is only in the last 150 years that science has been organized into little union like entities where crossover of knowledge is viewed with suspicion and then only in evoland. This is amusing since evoland is a parasite science where 99% of anything scientific comes from other real science fields
    like physics,chemistry,geology,astronomy, and ,when anything practical is to be accomplished, one of the engineering fields.

    Many of the big paleontological finds have been made by people without a single college degree and involve no more expertise than knowing how to shovel and brush.

    The people on the DI list have earned doctorates in a crosssection of fields and all of them are involved in the hard sciences, life sciences, and certainly can read, study, and throughly understand the frailties of evolution.

    Take a look at the old WISTAR papers by Eden and Morowitz sometime, professional mathmaticians who began the wave of analyses showing the impossibility of abiogenesis and evolution in general.

    Get a grip and realize people are more educated today, real science is more open to review, and people are seeing the TOE for the flimsy hypothesis is always has been.

  29. #29 Luna_the_cat
    January 24, 2008

    TekJunkie:
    rigurosity….?

    That malformed monstrosity of a word should be taken out behind the woodshed and shot. The word you’re looking for is “rigor”. ;-p

  30. #30 Luna_the_cat
    January 24, 2008

    Sorry, TrekJunkie. Whoops.

  31. #31 James McGrath
    January 24, 2008

    I don’t think there is much that can be done to counter this apart from the one very important and effective one – i.e. highlighting just how large the list of dissenters from dissent from Darwinism is compared to their list of dissenters! :)

  32. #32 MartinM
    January 24, 2008

    Take a look at the old WISTAR papers by Eden and Morowitz sometime, professional mathmaticians who began the wave of analyses showing the impossibility of abiogenesis and evolution in general.

    Perhaps you could summarize those papers, and the response to them. After all, it’s not as though you would cite references you hadn’t yourself read, right?

  33. #33 gwangung
    January 24, 2008

    This is amusing since evoland is a parasite science where 99% of anything scientific comes from other real science fields
    like physics,chemistry,geology,astronomy,

    Actually, as a published geologist, quite a bit comes FROM biology into geology.

    And, of course, all the inter-related phenomena from chemistry and geology show how powerful evolution is as an organizing principle and theory.

    Only ignorant twits would call evolution a flimsy hypothesis.

  34. #34 MartinM
    January 24, 2008

    Only ignorant twits would call evolution a flimsy hypothesis.

    Now, be fair. There’s religious ideologues and brazen liars, too.

  35. #35 Bayesian Bouffant, FCD
    January 24, 2008

    My suspicion is that a fair number on the list have PhDs but aren’t actually working scientists, let alone working in the right fields.

    Signers of the “Dissent from Darwin” petition list only one affiliation, usually the most impressive-looking. So if Billy D. once got a Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of Chicago, that’s what you’ll find listed. It doesn’t matter that he may now be teaching theology at a seminary. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if a number of signers are now ‘professionally’ flipping burgers. Also notice that the list is not alphabetized, and is not searchable. It’s almost as if the DI does not welcome scrutiny of the signers.

  36. #36 Bayesian Bouffant, FCD
    January 24, 2008

    Someone should look into how many of the list are biologists, and then out of those how many actually publish research. I’ll bet the list is astoundingly small.

    The next step would be figuring out how many of those publish research which supports ID.

  37. #37 CJColucci
    January 24, 2008

    “This raises a broader question: why should any of us non-experts have an “opinion” on the subject at all? I certainly don’t. I know what actual experts say is true and even have some very modest knowledge about why they say it.”

    If we should not have an “opinion”, what should we have?

    The short answer: Nothing. The longer answer is perhaps best given by analogy. I know next to nothing about hockey. The only players I could pick out of a line-up are Wayne Gretsky and Mark Messier (maybe Ron Duguay, too, but for different reasons). I can’t tell from the limited amount of hockey I see who’s good and who isn’t, but I see the occasional hockey article in sports magazines. On that basis I know a couple of things. I know that people who know hockey think Wayne Gretzky is on the short list of greatest-ever hockey players. I know that people who know hockey think Steve Yzerman is a very, very good, Hall-of-Fame-worthy, hockey player. I know that virtually no one who knows hockey thinks that Yzerman, good as he is, is up there with Wayne Gretzky. All of that, I actually know. There’s no opinion about it. But I know too little about hockey to have an opinion of my own re Gretzky v. Yzerman. I haven’t seen them play enough, and don’t know the game well enough to analyze what I do see. If asked, I can say what I know and how I know it, but I can’t say I have any beliefs in the matter, unless the belief that the hockey experts know more than I do about hockey counts.

  38. #38 Keith Eaton
    January 24, 2008

    Mathematical Challenges to the Neo-Darwinian Interpretation of Evolution, Wistar Institute Monograph No. 5.

    I quick google will provide the information you might need. I don’t do homework for evolanders.

    All the geologists I have known in hydrocarbon and minerals exploration had about as much to do with biology as Calvin Cooledge looks like the Metro Goldwyn Mayor Lion.

    Of course there are other less useful aspects where the understanding the insides of a frog could be useful I suppose.

  39. #39 TomS
    January 24, 2008

    @ Bayesian Bouffant
    The next step would be figuring out how many of those publish research which supports ID.

    With all of those experts, shouldn’t we expect that they would have been able to come up with a “theory of intelligent design”?

  40. #40 Bobby
    January 24, 2008

    Signers of the “Dissent from Darwin” petition list only one affiliation, usually the most impressive-looking.

    Yes, there is a sentence to that effect right at the top of the list, though it’s not really clear what it means until someone has called attention to the problem.

    At any rate, this is just more institutional DIshonesty. The reader has no idea whether Burba is on the Baylor faculty, or merely got his degree there and is now selling Tupperware for a living.

    When you’re allowed to report the best of two tries, you produce a biased sample. An honest institution wouldn’t report its participants this way. But the DI has a vested interest in overreporting the credentials of its signers, so the “best of two” strategy works well for them.

    Of course, an honest institution wouldn’t have included 80% of those people on the list to begin with, so what should we expect.

  41. #41 ZacharySmith
    January 24, 2008

    Keith Eaton –

    What is the theory of Intelligent Design and how can it be tested using the scientific method?

    Name one structure or function that cannot be explained by evolution but can be explained by Intelligent Design.

  42. #42 Jack Last
    January 24, 2008

    The people on the DI list have earned doctorates in a crosssection of fields and all of them are involved in the hard sciences, life sciences, and certainly can read, study, and throughly understand the frailties of evolution.

    Is that supposed to explain the lack of biologists, or make me feel better about engineers telling me that ‘evoland’ is ‘flimsy’?

    I quick google will provide the information you might need. I don’t do homework for evolanders.

    I assume this is your subtle way of admitting you haven’t read it and can’t explain it. Thanks.

    BTW, where’d you get this new buzzword ‘evoland’? Some radio host or antievolution blog? Or are you trying to popularize it yourself?

  43. #43 gwangung
    January 24, 2008

    All the geologists I have known in hydrocarbon and minerals exploration had about as much to do with biology as Calvin Cooledge looks like the Metro Goldwyn Mayor Lion.

    Need a wider range of friends, I think.

    Um, hydrocarbons? Linked to biology quite intimately, I think, both as a source and in process.

  44. #44 elbogz
    January 24, 2008

    And, they fail to mention the 11,000 practicing clergy that have signed a letter telling the ID crowd to shut the hell up (In a nice Christian kind of way) Clergy Project

  45. #45 gwangung
    January 24, 2008

    By the way…

    I quick google will provide the information you might need. I don’t do homework for evolanders.

    Translation: Got caught using something I don’t understand.

    Of course there are other less useful aspects where the understanding the insides of a frog could be useful I suppose.

    Translation: I know jack about biology, I don’t care to learn anything about biology and I don’t care if the world knows that.

  46. #46 Jack Last
    January 24, 2008

    This is amusing since evoland is a parasite science where 99% of anything scientific comes from other real science fields
    like physics,chemistry,geology,astronomy,

    Didn’t mention biology, I see. An oversight, I’m sure.

    Here, let me fix it for you:

    This is amusing since Intelligent Design is a parasite ‘science’ where 99% of anything scientific comes from other real science fields like physics,chemistry,geology,astronomy, and biology

    That’s better.

  47. #47 TomS
    January 24, 2008

    Name one structure or function that cannot be explained by evolution but can be explained by Intelligent Design.(ZacharySmith)

    Name one thing that can be explained by Intelligent Design. Whether or not it can be explained by evolutionary biology.

    Name one thing that cannot be explained by Intelligent Design. Whether or not it actually happens.

    How many scientists are there who are interested enough in ID to think about, write about, or experiment about those questions? How many? 700? Is there even one?

  48. #48 Bayesian Bouffant, FCD
    January 24, 2008

    Name one thing that can be explained by Intelligent Design. Whether or not it can be explained by evolutionary biology.

    Ooh, you’re setting yourself up. Everything can be explained by Intelligent Design. The explanation is “God did it that way because he wanted to.” The only problem is that this “explanation” has no real explanatory power or predictive power.

  49. #49 Jack Last
    January 24, 2008

    Keith:

    Just found the following quote from you on the internet:

    Keith Eaton: Evos have two types.. the ignorant atheist and the demonically controlled intellectual.

    Could you help us out here, so that each of us can figure out whether we’re ‘ignorant’ or ‘demonically controlled’? What exactly does ‘demonic control’ entail, and is there some kind of test for it?

  50. #50 Mike Dunford
    January 24, 2008

    All the geologists I have known in hydrocarbon and minerals exploration had about as much to do with biology as Calvin Cooledge looks like the Metro Goldwyn Mayor Lion.

    You’ve obviously never heard of the conodont color alteration index, then.

  51. #51 raven
    January 24, 2008

    Keith Eaton being very stupid:

    Of course there are other less useful aspects where the understanding the insides of a frog could be useful I suppose.

    Keith gets a prize for dumbest comment this week. Biology and evolutionary thought are the basis of modern agriculture and medicine.

    1. The green revolutions have fed billions of people who wouldn’t even exist otherwise.

    2. Modern medicine has raised the life span of Americans from 47 to 78 in a century. Much of medicine is staying one step ahead of rapidly evolving pathogens and cancer cells.

    Biology and evolution only matters if you eat and want a long, healthy life.

    Keith is a classic example of someone reaping the benefits of science while criticizing it without, however, understanding any of it. Sounds like someone from the DI.

  52. #52 raven
    January 24, 2008

    The DI list is a PR gimmick and a close look at it will turn up numerous amusing tidbits, I’m sure. The salient points.

    1. Worldwide in fields relevant to evolution and biology, there are around 1 million scientists. The exact numbers are hard to estimate but the source for this is a talkorigins.org section on anti-evolution lists. So of this one million relevant scientists, the DI has at most 700 names, many of who are irrelevant. So 99% plus of relevant scientists aren’t dissenters from reality.

    You could find a higher percentage of scientists in mental hospitals and detox centers than evolution deniers.

    2. The vast majority of those 700 freely admit they oppose the fact of evolution based on religious grounds. I’m sure that there are few if any agnostics and atheists on the list and an overrepresentation of religious fanatics and bigots from one fundie cult or another.

    As a PR gimmick, that way less than 1% is a sign of a loser strategy. A lot more of the population believes the sun orbits the earth at 20%.

  53. #53 michael
    January 24, 2008

    An interesting commentary on the arguments from probability to the origin of life can be found on Richard Carrier’s site:
    http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/richard_carrier/addendaB.html
    Biologists apparently tore apart Eden’s arguments when they were first proposed….

  54. #54 ZacharySmith
    January 24, 2008

    Jack Last:

    Interesting comment you found there.

    Which brings up a question for our friend Keith.

    Keith, if ID is really “all about the science”, of what relevence is one’s being an atheist or even being under demonic control? Can’t atheists do good science just as well as people of faith? I mean, one’s faith (or lack thereof) is irrelevent to the quality of the science, right?

  55. #55 Harry
    January 24, 2008

    There seems to be only a little mention of the earth sciences here. The evidence from geology tallies with biology and in a sense is independant support for evolution.

  56. #56 raven
    January 24, 2008

    Keith Eaton: Evos have two types.. the ignorant atheist and the demonically controlled intellectual.

    Gee Keith, thanks for letting us know that. A huge amount of modern medicine is based on evolutionary thought including infectious disease control and treatment and cancer therapy. Docs see evolution every day and evolution of pathogens and tumor cells kills millions of people worldwide every year.

    So where do MDs treating HIV, cancer, malaria, TB, Staph, etc.. fit in. Are they ignorant atheists or demonically controlled intellectuals?

    How about the 99% plus of relevant scientists who accept the fact of evolution? Atheists or demon possessed?

    In a few decades when you figure out the answers to those simple questions, maybe you can tell us what fundie Xians have contributed to humankind. Other than producing a few Xian terrorists, murdering a few MDs and others here and there, and celebrating ignorance while leading the way back to the Dark Ages.

  57. #57 ZacharySmith
    January 24, 2008

    Oh and by the way, Keith. Regarding Eden & Morowitz…

    I’m not familiar with them offhand, but you say they’re mathemeticians who calculated the improbability of abiogenesis and evolution.

    So these guys aren’t (weren’t) practicing biologists or biochemists – in other words, non-experts in biology telling biologists how to do their jobs.

    Here’s an analogy for you. Let’s say you’re having a house built. Would you want the carpenter telling the electrician how to wire the house?

    Didn’t thnk so.

  58. #58 mark
    January 24, 2008

    Period. Nothing more, nothing less, and by the way, this means evolution is a poopy head and Intelligent Design is the bestest theory ever created and is our way of bringing Jesus back into school.

    I also like Keith’s
    Get a grip and realize people are more educated today, real science is more open to review, and people are seeing the TOE for the flimsy hypothesis is always has been.
    When I read all the incredibly ignorant things people in Dover, PA, Texas, Florida, and other places have said, I have to think Keith’s statement is not true.

  59. #59 minusRusty
    January 24, 2008

    An observation, nay a question. Should the organisers of Project Steve cull from the list of assenting scientists all those who are not formally qualified in the evolutionary sciences?

    No, no, you’ve got that wrong! It’s the Dissent from Darwinist list that should cull out everyone who isn’t a Steve! :-)

  60. #60 minusRusty
    January 24, 2008

    Agreeing with the consensus in the other field is essentially a statement that you understand the current state of knowledge in that field, …

    I don’t think you can quite go that far with it, Mike, so much as it being a statement that one thinks s/he understands the current controversy enough to side with the knowledgable experts.

    Yeah?

  61. #61 SLC
    January 24, 2008

    Re Keith Eaton

    Citing a paper written 40 years ago. Is that the best Mr. Eaton can do. A lot of water has flowed over the dam since 1966, including most of the genetic information that completely supports evolution elements such as common descent.

  62. #62 JakeS
    January 24, 2008

    There is nothing wrong with scientists having opinions about other fields. They key here is that *professional opinions* should be limited to areas of expertise.

  63. #63 MartinM
    January 24, 2008

    Mathematical Challenges to the Neo-Darwinian Interpretation of Evolution, Wistar Institute Monograph No. 5.

    I quick google will provide the information you might need. I don’t do homework for evolanders.

    In other words, you haven’t read your own citation. That’s rather dishonest of you.

  64. #64 Dave Thomas
    January 24, 2008

    I posted a hot scoop on how the DI’s List misrepresents the University position of one of our New Mexico IDers late last night, but the comment didn’t get posted until just now. Unfortunately, it’s been posted back at 3:12 AM when I submitted it, not just before 5PM EST when it actually appeared. If you’re curious about how the DI messed it up seven years ago, and even more so in the present era, see comment 722807 from 3:12 am.
    http://scienceblogs.com/authority/2008/01/the_dissent_from_darwinism_lis.php#comment-722807
    Dave

  65. #65 MartinM
    January 24, 2008

    Oh and by the way, Keith. Regarding Eden & Morowitz…

    I’m not familiar with them offhand, but you say they’re mathemeticians who calculated the improbability of abiogenesis and evolution.

    Eden is an electrical engineer, and Morowitz is a biophysicist.

    Morowitz has done a great deal of work on abiogenesis, and I’m sure it would come as a great surprise to him to find out that he’s actually proved it impossible.

    Eaton is, of course, simply lying.

  66. #66 Rod Brock
    January 24, 2008

    Dig into any one of the DD signers “stance,” and it invariably falls apart. Which only serves to reason, since ID is logically and evidentially indefensible.

    A little over a year ago, I had the idea of creating a website devoted to systematically deconstructing the views of the ID signers,in a web-based, encyclopedic format. I actually even started the project – but it was too much work for one person, so I gave it up (my ambition often exceeds my reach). The idea is still sound, though, if anyone wants to pick it up for a team oriented approach.

  67. #67 Mark Farmer
    January 24, 2008

    A few years back (December of 2005) the “Dissent from Darwin” (DfD) list was touted in a letter to the editor of the NY Times. I took note as that letter from the DI’s John West listed the University of Georgia as being one of three institutions to have a “significant number” of signees. Indeed of the 498 signees at the time, nearly a dozen listed UGA as their institutional affiliation.

    So on a whim I circulated a “Support of Darwin” petition. I mimicked the wording of the “Dissent” and I used the same criteria as did the DI (a Ph.D. in one of a number of disciplines, including engineering and mathematics, was required; no graduate students etc.). My list however had one additional requirement. You had to then be CURRENTLY employed or professionally affiliated with the University of Georgia. Within two months I had more signatures on my list than they did on theirs. Took them ten years to get to nearly 500 signatures, took me less than ten weeks.

    Now I know that science does not progress by being a popularity contest, but this simple exercise revelaed that there are more Ph.D.s who support Darwinian concepts at a SINGLE institution of higher learning than there are on the entire planet Earth. My only drawback? I have yet to find a website that is willing to host my version of the “Support” at UGA petition. Folks at the NCSE did not like the fact that I paraphrased the DI petition. But hey I’m still shopping if anyone is willing to host it for me.

    -Mark Farmer
    mafarmerga@yahoo.com

  68. #68 Rod Brock
    January 24, 2008

    I have yet to find a website that is willing to host my version of the “Support” at UGA petition. Folks at the NCSE did not like the fact that I paraphrased the DI petition.

    You are right in your comment that “science is not a popularity contest.” But consider this:

    From today’s Technorati rankings

    http://www.icanhascheezburger.com (funny cat pictures with baby-talk captions)
    Authority = 11,558
    Rank = 12 (top 100)

    http://www.pandasthumb.org (critique of ID)
    Authority = 643
    Rank = 5443

    In such an “intellectual climate” as the Web (or more accurately, the lack of one), it is well not to let lofty ideals outweigh the necessity of getting the message out.

    In other words, don’t cut off your nose, because it only spites your face. The ivory tower is for schmucks.

  69. #69 Keith Eaton
    January 24, 2008

    Summarizing a roughly 140 page book of collected papers is not my job.

    Perhaps the more recent book “Origins” by Dr. Robert Shapiro(1986) whose credentials as a scientist and evolutionary proponent are unquestioned, lots of peer reviewed papers and all the other crap evolanders pile up against opposing views, will suffice since he reviews every abiogenesis theory yet proposed and summarily disposes of each one via mathmatical argument.

    Evolanders are the pseudointellectual wantabees who hang out on these posts and rail against IDers and Christianity and expose themselves as 3rd rate thinkers, cynics, narrowminded true believers in a dogma they have inculcated after years of brainwashing.

    Most real scientistst who do the real work of advancing humankind in terms of quality and quantity of life think about evolution writ large sense about once every 14 years and otherwise just perform observations as to how the world of life works, warts, and all, and take away ideas on how to effect practical applications of their understanding.

    The greatest and most ubiquitious contributions of Christianity have been in engendering compassion, charity, art, music, literature, and giving meaning to human existence.

    The heroic model of science has been dead for 60 years and deservedly so as it has and continues to betray democratic ideals of open inquiry, skepticism of itself, is elitist and censorious in its views of opposing ideas, and has become noting more than a grab for power and money in research and academia.

    The caricature of ID and creationist views evolanders advance is a fallacy so poor as to give sophistry a bad name. We all note genetic change within kind, variation by genetic mechanism, mutation driven disease and other observational evidence of extant mechanisms.

    For sure both evolutionist and IDers and creationists can be great scientistst and historically have been so that is a non-hunting dog. The question is whether parallel paths of investigation into scientific reality is more productive in principle than one way is the only way as in evolution controlling all investigative efforts, funded research, and education.

    Two items for explanation present themselves.

    The origin of the first replicator able to effect evolutionary change by RM and NS.

    The metamorphosis of the monarch butterfly from a non-butterfly insect by RM and NS.

  70. #70 ZacharySmith
    January 24, 2008

    You blather on a lot but have not answered any relevant questions. I’ll repeat:

    What is the theory of Intelligent Design and how can it be tested using the scientific method?

    Intelligent Design explains the first replicator and the monarch butterfly metamorphosis how?

    At what points in the development of life has the designer intervened? What are the telltale indicators of design? How can this guide researchers to look for design in new places? In what other kinds of systems does ID predict we will find evidence of design? Can we tell if the designer will intervene in the future?

    You claim IDers can be great scientists. Where is the science of ID? How will this “parallel path” of inquiry be an improvement over evolution?

  71. #71 ZacharySmith
    January 24, 2008

    Oh, Keith. Forgot to mention:

    Name an instance where empirical claims by religion have lead to fruitful scientific results where methodological materialism has failed.

    Name a contribution to the improvement or enrichment of humankind that can be achieved through faith but not by atheists or agnostics.

  72. #72 raven
    January 24, 2008

    Keith the creo troll lying:

    Evolanders are the pseudointellectual wantabees who hang out on these posts and rail against IDers and Christianity… etc..

    Well Keith, you ignored every post deconstructing your nonsensical lies. Offhand, I’D say you were homeschooled and have never even seen a real university. Or a real scientist. Once again.

    1. Many biologists, MDs, and other relevant scientists in “evoland” are Xians. Roughly half by the polls. And most Xians worldwide including Catholic, mainstream protestant, Mormon, and even some evangelicals don’t have a problem with evolution. Your cult Xianity is mostly found in the south central USA.

    2. The number of scientists in relevant fields who accept evolution the fact and theory is still well over 99% USA and worldwide no matter how much you lie.

    3. Now how do we tell the ignorant atheist scientists from the demonically controlled scientists? According to you this is over 99% of the US intellectual elite.

    Done with Keith. He has probably tried reality and didn’t like it. It can be amusing for 15 seconds and that is about it.

  73. #73 Jack Last
    January 25, 2008

    summarizing a roughly 140 page book of collected papers is not my job.

    Nor is reading it, eh, Keith?

    Awwwww, Keith, aren’t you gonna to further clarify this statement for us?

    Keith Eaton: Evos have two types.. the ignorant atheist and the demonically controlled intellectual.

    Since you’re all sciency and everything, surely you can explain how to detect ‘demonic control’???

    Help us ‘evolanders’ out, Keith!

  74. #74 Jack Last
    January 25, 2008

    Hey! Keith’s a baraminologist!:

    We all note genetic change within kind

    Hey, Keith, how old do you think the earth is? What do you think of the Noah’s ark story?

  75. #75 Bobby
    January 25, 2008

    Mathematical Challenges to the Neo-Darwinian Interpretation of Evolution, Wistar Institute Monograph No. 5.

    I quick google will provide the information you might need. I don’t do homework for evolanders.

    IOW, you read something about it on a creationist web site, but don’t actually have a clue about what it says.

    All the geologists I have known in hydrocarbon and minerals exploration had about as much to do with biology as Calvin Cooledge looks like the Metro Goldwyn Mayor Lion.

    IOW, you agree that the dissenters’ list is utterly bogus?

  76. #76 Bobby
    January 25, 2008

    Name one structure or function that cannot be explained by evolution but can be explained by Intelligent Design.

    The latter part is easy: *anything* can be “explained” by the assumption that some unknown entity of unbounded power and unknowable motives just happened to want things to be the way they are.

    Which is precisely why ID will never be science. A “theory” that explains any possible observation actually explains nothing.

  77. #77 MartinM
    January 25, 2008

    Summarizing a roughly 140 page book of collected papers is not my job.

    It’s also not what I asked. Your inability to furnish an honest answer to a simple question speaks volumes.

    Coincidentally, refuting arguments referenced by a dishonest, lazy pillock who hasn’t even read them himself isn’t my job. So I’m afraid you’re out of luck.

  78. #78 Keith Eaton
    January 25, 2008

    http://www.unl.edu/rhames/courses/current/creation/evol-poll.htm is the 2001 Gallup survey of how Americans view evolution and creation and ID. I prefer facts to ad hominem screeds by people whose intellect is 1 inch wide and 1 mile deep, as is the expressed insight of the evolanders herein.

    It is sufficient to demonstrate the fact that the wantabee evolanders are liars in every respect by demonstrating that the posts on religious belief and faith are completely false and in conflict with the results of modern surveys by the scientific commmunity.

    http://www.physorg.com/news102700045.html

    They concluded that academics in the natural and social sciences at elite research universities are significantly less religious than the general population. Almost 52 percent of scientists surveyed identified themselves as having no current religious affiliation compared with only 14 percent of the general population.

    http://www.stephenjaygould.org/ctrl/news/file002.html

    Research on this topic began with the eminent US psychologist James H. Leuba and his landmark survey of 1914. He found that 58% of 1,000 randomly selected US scientists expressed disbelief or doubt in the existence of God, and that this figure rose to near 70% among the 400 “greater” scientists within his sample [1]. Leuba repeated his survey in somewhat different form 20 years later, and found that these percentages had increased to 67 and 85, respectively [2].

    In 1996, we repeated Leuba’s 1914 survey and reported our results in Nature [3]. We found little change from 1914 for American scientists generally, with 60.7% expressing disbelief or doubt. This year, we closely imitated the second phase of Leuba’s 1914 survey to gauge belief among “greater” scientists, and find the rate of belief lower than ever — a mere 7% of respondents.

    Leuba attributed the higher level of disbelief and doubt among “greater” scientists to their “superior knowledge, understanding, and experience” [3]. Similarly, Oxford University scientist Peter Atkins commented on our 1996 survey, “You clearly can be a scientist and have religious beliefs. But I don’t think you can be a real scientist in the deepest sense of the word because they are such alien categories of knowledge.” [4] Such comments led us to repeat the second phase of Leuba’s study for an up-to-date comparison of the religious beliefs of “greater” and “lesser” scientists.

    Table 1 Comparison of survey answers among “greater” scientists
    Belief in personal God 1914 1933 1998
    Personal belief 27.7 15 7.0
    Personal disbelief 52.7 68 72.2
    Doubt or agnosticism 20.9 17 20.8

    Belief in human immortality 1914 1933 1998
    Personal belief 35.2 18 7.9
    Personal disbelief 25.4 53 76.7
    Doubt or agnosticism 43.7 29 23.3

    NAS president Bruce Alberts said: “There are many very outstanding members of this academy who are very religious people, people who believe in evolution, many of them biologists.” Our survey suggests otherwise.

    I am unaware of any topic on the subject of origins, diversity of life or the history of mankind where the evolanders have not demonstrated their utter dishonesty, bigotry, blasphemy, censorious actions, and authoritarianism.

    The outright lies on the subject of religious faith among American scientists as proven by the survery is prima facia evidence.

  79. #79 raven
    January 25, 2008

    Keith the creo troll lying some more:

    The outright lies on the subject of religious faith among American scientists as proven by the survery is prima facia evidence.

    In 1996, we repeated Leuba’s 1914 survey and reported our results in Nature [3]. We found little change from 1914 for American scientists generally, with 60.7% expressing disbelief or doubt.

    raven:

    1. Many biologists, MDs, and other relevant scientists in “evoland” are Xians. Roughly half by the polls. And most Xians worldwide including Catholic, mainstream protestant, Mormon, and even some evangelicals don’t have a problem with evolution. Your cult Xianity is mostly found in the south central USA.

    Keith, need to learn some reading comprehension. I said that roughly half of all relevant scientists are Xians. Your survey says that “40% are believers.” Roughly half is equivalent to 40%.

    BTW, evolution is a scientific theory. It is neutral on religion one way or another and most Xian denominations don’t have a problem with it. The Pope of half the world’s Xians is one.

    The truth or not of a scientific theory or fact isn’t effected in the least by your cult beliefs. Many fundies (26%) believe the earth is the center of the solar system because the bible says so. But it isn’t as any moron could figure out in 1 minute. Reality is what it is whether you like it or not.

  80. #80 raven
    January 25, 2008

    Keith the wacko:

    I am unaware of any topic on the subject of origins, diversity of life or the history of mankind where the evolanders have not demonstrated their utter dishonesty, bigotry, blasphemy, censorious actions, and authoritarianism.

    I’ve yet to see a fundie tell the truth about much of anything. When your whole world view is based on 2 pages of 4,000 mythology that was known to be wrong 2,000 years ago, all you can do is lie, lie, and lie some more. A structure of lies supported by other lies isn’t very stable. Or smart.

    BTW, creo troll, most Xian denominations worldwide don’t have a problem with evolution. This includes Catholic, mainstream protestant, Mormon, and even some evangelicals. Evolution is taught at Xian universities such as SMU, Baylor, Calvin, Notre Dame, BYU, Pacific Lutheran, and on and on. According to you, most Xian denominations must be “utter dishonesty, bigotry, blasphemy, censorious actions, and authoritarianism.”

    Must be a bleak, scary world you inhabit. Have you ever been diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic?

    My colleague is evaluating one. This guy believes that the Devil has won and all the people around him are demons that have replaced all the real people. By itself that wouldn’t get him into involuntary lockup but he was acting out and the police had to bring him in at the request of his family. If he doesn’t take his medication, he isn’t going to be released. He reminds me a lot of you.

    Really, you need to take your medication or you may end up joining him.

  81. #81 Jack Last
    January 25, 2008

    It’s telling that when Keith tries to support creationism the best he can do is to produce statistics on scientists’ religious beliefs.

    Keith, there are plenty of Christians who believe in evolution, and plenty of scientists who are religious. So the opposite of ‘evolution’ is not ‘Jesus’.

    So you have no point, except expressing your witless hostility toward ‘evolanders’. You haven’t done anything whatsoever to disprove the scientific validity of evolution.

    Keith, if you want to salvage some dignity here, why not answer some of the questions here about the scientific validity of evolution vs. creationism? Because snide comments about how much you hate ‘evolanders’ won’t get you anywhere among educated people, however big it might go over at church. Ignoring perfectly valid objections to creationism and citing articles you haven’t read doesn’t look good.

    Another tip: inventing a juvenile insult that no one else uses, like ‘evolanders’, than repeating it ad nauseum makes you look like a childish crackpot.

    Now how about explaining your theory of ‘demonically controlled intellectuals’? I was keen to hear you defend that one.

  82. #82 Jake Boyman
    January 25, 2008

    I am unaware of any topic on the subject of origins, diversity of life or the history of mankind where the evolanders have not demonstrated their utter dishonesty, bigotry, blasphemy, censorious actions, and authoritarianism.

    It was clear you hadn’t read much of anything in science, but I didn’t realize it was THIS bad.

  83. #83 ZacharySmith
    January 25, 2008

    Keith:

    I see you have once again failed to answer a single question regarding the “science” of ID. Can’t say I’m surprised.

    Sorry, Keith. If you want to overturn the current state of evolutionary biology, you have to come up with more than just irrelevant rants about surveys and religious beliefs. You have to come up with facts, data, models, predictions, you know…..some science.

    You had an opportunity to convince the evolanders here of the merits of this allegedly powerful “new” paradigm called ID (a.k.a. “creationism”). You blew it. Really bad.

    But, at least you’re not alone. I have yet to receive a straight answer from any IDiot to the question: “What is the theory of Intelligent Design and how can it be tested using the scientific method?”

  84. #84 ZacharySmith
    January 25, 2008

    Oh, by the way Keith.

    How utterly hypocritical of you to complain of ad hominem attacks while you hurl all sorts of epithets at “evolanders.” You say you prefer facts yet you have failed to produce a single relevant piece of scientific information to support your claims.

    You are exactly what you claim “evolanders” to be.

  85. #85 Keith Eaton
    January 25, 2008

    He found that 58% of 1,000 randomly selected US scientists expressed disbelief or doubt in the existence of God, and that this figure rose to near 70% among the 400 “greater” scientists within his sample [1]. Leuba repeated his survey in somewhat different form 20 years later, and found that these percentages had increased to 67 and 85, respectively [2].

    Typical evolander misrepresentation: 40% are Christians vs the fact that 60% don’t have faith at all in a God. Thus the implication is that the remaining 40% are all Christians…yeah sure very rational logic when there are multiple religious faiths including Judism, Islam, Morman, and of course secular humanism.
    And among the elite scientists, the published, vocal, activist type (hint hint) 85% are unbelieving. Now can you make 15% into all Christians?

    And I didi not bring the statistics of believing scientists up it was the evolanders cute idea.

    Can evolanders present anything factually?

    Another lie is that anyone believes in other than a heliocentric solar system or that anyone since 400 BC believed the earth was flat. I suggest a little history of science literacy might be a goal for this group.

    These comments illustrate the wilfully ignorant atheist subgroup with the modest assumption that the activist posting element falls into the published 70% unbelieveing segment of elite scientific types, elite is not necessarily a compliment.

    I note the vacuous response to the Shapiro material probably because he was so decisive in his statements on every abiogenesis theory of the last 100 years and that he invented and published the universal life force theory in a book some years later. I assume you have capitulated on the point.

    Likewise the metamorphosis of the monarch butterfly response was just silly…tadpoles don’t look like frogs, catapillars and grasshoppers differ, thus currently extant forms are actually evolutionary intermediate forms.

    Is this your best shot or is there a grownup out there somewhere?

    It’s your theory and I would have thought you could defend it…….guess not, as usual.

  86. #86 ZacharySmith
    January 25, 2008

    Keith –

    For the 3rd time: what is the theory of intelligent design and how can it be tested using the scientific method?

    The monarch butterfly metamorphosis is a problem for evolution….how?

    Either answer the questions or shut the fuck up.

  87. #87 SLC
    January 25, 2008

    Re Keith Eaton

    I am rather amused by Mr. Eatons’ apparent claim that only scientific theories proposed by Christian fundamentalists have any validity. Lets try some examples from fields outside of biology.

    1. Paul Dirac, a Nobel Prize winning physicist who developed the Dirac theory of the electron, among other accomplishments, was an atheist. Therefore, in the fantasy world of Mr.
    Eaton, I guess that theory is all wrong.

    2. Richard Feynman, a Nobel Prize winning physicist who developed the theory of quantum electrodynamics was an atheist. Therefore, in the fantasy world of Mr. Eaton, I guess that theory is all wrong.

    3. Werner Heisenberg, a Nobel Prize winning physicist who discovered the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principal, the backbone of quantum physics, was an atheist. Therefore, in the fantasy world of Mr. Eaton, I guess that theory is all wrong.

    4. Murray GellMann, a Nobel Prize winning physicist who discovered the application of the group SU(3) to physics is an atheist. In the fantasy world of Mr. Eaton,I guess that theory is all wrong.

    5. Steven Weinberg, a Nobel Prize winning physicist who developed the relationship between the electromagnetic force and the weak force is an atheist. In the fantasy world of Mr. Eaton, I guess that theory is all wrong.

    The bottom line here is that Mr. Eaton is unable to distinguish his posterior orifice from an open pit in the ground.

  88. #88 Keith Eaton
    January 26, 2008

    Ah! The crudity and ad hominem language I have come to expect from the inferior intellects has started in earnest.

    The most basic claim of ID going back more than 100 years is that life requires a designer, an intellect, and cannot be achieved absent same.

    It can be falsified by the act of demonstrating the creation of life from non-life by purely natural means absent any active involvement by the scientist(s) who design the primal condition experiment that results in the viable self replicator, one celled organism from which evolution by RM and NS can occur.

    Since scientists have been attempting this experiment for 100 years with absolute zero success ID has not been falsified and thus remains a viable theory of origins.

    It is perfectly rational since no one can illustrate a single scientific theory which is not the product of intelligence formulating a cognitive concept, planning its expression and implementing it by imposing such thoughts and ideas upon inanimate matter to achieve the result.

    In human experience no one has developed any theory by the process of RM and NS , not ever, and no one even tries because they know it is a hopeless exercise.

    If and when life, in the above sense is developed in a lab it will be accompished by the former approach and certainly not the latter.

    It is a boldfaced lie to claim that I said or even intimated that only people of faith could be accomplished in science. Such dishonest mistatements only serve to confirm the clear evidence of the underlying unscrupulous behaviors of evolanders.

    The monarch butterfly has two stages in its life cycle which have no possible reproductive capacity (nymph and pupa), no possible opportunity for RM and NS or any other mechanism to effect downstream stage organisms, no populations, no generations, period.

    Even the seminal paper The origins of insect metamorphosis
    James W. Truman & Lynn M. Riddiford
    Department of Zoology, University of Washington Nature 1999 states:
    The alternative hypothesis for metamorphosis held that larvae and nymphs were equivalent, and that the pupal stage arose DE NOVO,as the disparity between larva and adult widened5,6. Proponents of the latter hypothesis claimed that there was no difference in the amount of yolk in the eggs of holometabolous and hemimetabolous insects, and that some larval specializations, such as the abdominal
    prolegs of certain scorpion¯y larvae, were derived structures that did not arise from the embryonic appendages8. The latter hypothesis,considering larvae and nymphs as equivalent stages, has been more widely followed.

    DE NOVO, saltation, created from nothing related, etc.

  89. #89 SLC
    January 26, 2008

    Re Keith Eaton

    Mr. Eatons’ willful ignorance and stupidity has become quite tiresome. It is conventional strategy among lying creationists such s Mr. Eaton to conflate the theory of life origin with the theory of evolution for the purpose of sowing confusion. The fact of the matter is that these two theories are entirely independent and have nothing to do with each other. As far as the theory of evolution is concerned, it is entirely irrelevant how life originated as the theory only addresses what happened after life originated. So Mr. Eaton can bluster on and on citing papers in the technical literature on origins which have nothing to do with the theory of evolution. I think that, at this point, Mr. Eaton is beginning to resemble Larry Fafarman in his inanities and Mr. Dunford might want to consider giving him the boot as he is contributing nothing to the discussion.

  90. #90 Bobby
    January 26, 2008

    The most basic claim of ID going back more than 100 years is that life requires a designer, an intellect, and cannot be achieved absent same.

    Which isn’t the claim of the modern ID movement, since they operate on the basis of “proofs” that this or that feature of this or that organism required a designer.

    You realize, of course, that the origin of life is irrelevant to the operation of evolution? All evolution requires is an imperfect self-replicator; it doesn’t matter whether it was created by YHWH, Zeus, the FSM, a spaceman with sufficiently advanced technology, or a lightning bolt in a puddle of organic liquids. Once you have an imperfect self-replicator, it will evolve.

    In human experience no one has developed any theory by the process of RM and NS , not ever, and no one even tries because they know it is a hopeless exercise.

    Your ignorance is showning. (Or perhaps your dishonesty; it’s hard to tell with people like you.)

  91. #91 Keith Eaton
    January 26, 2008

    Sure just keep whistleing past your graveyard. Tee Hee

    Please describe the imperfect replicator from which the very first evolutionary steps were possible.

    Skip the impossible part about HOW it came to be and just tell us what it was, what molecules, structures, replication machinery, surely you’re not hanging it out on a totally unknown skyhook , surely you’re not dumb enough to just depend on a totaly unknown unimaginable whatever it was is omk by me.

    I mean all those text book models in HS and BS level biology classes for 50 years have a lot of ideas (all rediculous and dismantled) and curiously the’re all natural explanations, no spacemen, no YAWH, no battery powered magic oatmeal box.

    Hold up your hand if you’re in High School!

    And the ID movement is in comlete congruency with the Paley argument and your ignorance is showing. Only evolanders believe in scientific proof of a theory. Ever hear of the Black Swan occurrence?

    And about that de novo pupa etc. Tick Tock Tick Tock

    I can lend you a white flag from the last evo retreat if you need it.

  92. #92 ZacharySmith
    January 26, 2008

    Keith –

    You STILL haven’t proposed a single example of positive evidence for or testable theory of ID. All you have done is to list alleged problems for evolution, all of which are based on ignorance and distortion. Don’t worry – you’re not alone. Even ID titans like Behe and Dembski have failed to formulate a theory of ID, no surprise that you can’t.

    Sorry Keith. It’s not as simple as saying “not evolution, therefore ID.” Whining and crying about the religious beliefs (or lack thereof) among scientists won’t change it.

    So, for the 4th time: what is the theory of Intelligent Design and how can it be tested using the scientific method?

    And don’t repeat your nonsense that successfully creating artificial life would be falsification of ID. A successful experiment of that type could simply be the whim of the designer to intervene and mike nice with the researchers. You cannot deny this.

    Failure could also be the whim of the designer. ID can explain anything – and thus is scientifically worthless.

    Since when is there a timetable to decide that, “if a 100% successful solution to problem A is not found within X amount of time, then A cannot be explained naturalistically and must be the result of divine intervention”? Would you care to justify that position for us?

    You really should start providing some positive evidence for your claims. You wouldn’t go into court without evidence to support your claims over your opponent’s – why should the scientific arena be any different?

    And again, you really are a hypocrite, complaining about ad hominem attacks. Or have you forgotten your “ignorant atheist” and “demonically possessed” comments?

  93. #93 ZacharySmith
    January 26, 2008

    “Only evolanders believe in scientific proof of a theory.”

    Well, the cat’s out the bag, isn’t it? Thanks for admitting that ID is nothing more than fantasy, wishful thinking and argument from ignorance.

    So I guess this means you’ll never tell us just what is the theory of Intelligent Design and how it can be tested using the scientific method?

    Well, as long as we’re on non-scientific subjects, perhaps you’d care to discuss how many angels can dance on the head of a pin?

  94. #94 Jack Last
    January 26, 2008

    Keith said:

    Only evolanders believe in scientific proof of a theory

    You don’t, eh?

    Congratulations, you’re not science, you’re religion. You now know why scientists laugh at ID/Creationism.

    Anyway, will you please explain your theory of ‘demonic control’ while we have you here?

  95. #95 Jack Last
    January 26, 2008

    Oh yeah, Keith, almost forgot:

    a) how old do you think the earth is?
    b) do you believe in the Noah’s ark story?

  96. #96 Keith Eaton
    January 26, 2008

    Let’s see “As long as there is am imperfect replicator that evolution can act on that’s all that matters”

    Followed by ” The origin of life and such is completely independent and unrelated to evolution.”

    If you people are the proponents and spokespersons for evolution I have every reason to understand why we need no child left behind to avoid another generation of mental midgets who can’t even keep their meaningless irrational arguments in sync with each other.

    I see the pin point accuracy of my posts on metamorphosis and abiogenesis as it relates to the ID argument have stuck the vital organs resulting in sputtering, spewing, threats, and most of not a single meaningful response in any respect.

    I guess I’ll just assume there is no factual response coming and your theory is as inane as it appears.

    de novo pupa stages …..mystery replicators from planet Ork

    Beam ‘em up Scotty, the’re running low on oxygen.

  97. #97 Jack Last
    January 26, 2008

    Keith, help us out! Are we ignorant atheists or demonically controlled intellectuals? How do we tell the difference??

  98. #98 SLC
    January 26, 2008

    Re Keith Eaton

    Mr. Eaton is a clone of Larry Fafarman.

  99. #99 Jack Last
    January 27, 2008

    Hey Keith! You said this:

    Only evolanders believe in scientific proof of a theory

    What do YOU use to prove a theory?

  100. #100 Keith Eaton
    January 27, 2008

    I would ask them if they have a belief in God as creatpr ans sustainer of His universe. That’s fairly determinative of both ignorance and atheism.

    Some theoretical concepts that we know to be true are called supernatural as in Kurt Godel’s logical and mathmatical work.

    Most natural laws are confirmed by repeated observations, repeated experiemental results in agreement a parsimonious set of hypothosies and predictions. But such are never absolutely proven because a falsifying event(s) may be observed at any time as additional knowledge is acquired.

    Theories often require a period of time for purely analytical and cognitive thought based on observations before a definitive set of experiments can be properly developed.

    The perihelion of Mercury comes to mind, regarding general relativity. From 1915 until 1919 there was uncertainty only finally resolved in the early sixties.

    If evolanders had been in charge the general theory would likely have been rejected as having no confirmed, definitive experiements as it was largely a mathmatical concept.

  101. #101 ZacharySmith
    January 27, 2008

    Keith –

    Your hypocrisy is showing again.

    You are the champion of evasion, yet you complain about lack of meaningful responses. And of course, you are spewing more ad hominems.

    You have better science than evolution? Prove it. Oops, only we evolanders believe in scientific proof of a theory. I guess “proof” is also an ignorant, atheist concept.

    I guess in La La Land anything you pull out of your butt suffices as proof .

    Since you seem to have some familiarity with General Relativity, can you tell us exactly where Einstein invoked god in his equations? All the other physicists since 1915 seem to have missed that bit.

  102. #102 Jack Last
    January 27, 2008

    I would ask them if they have a belief in God as creatpr ans sustainer of His universe. That’s fairly determinative of both ignorance and atheism.

    What’s your ‘scientific proof’ of demonic control?

    Most natural laws are confirmed by repeated observations, repeated experiemental results in agreement a parsimonious set of hypothosies and predictions. But such are never absolutely proven because a falsifying event(s) may be observed at any time as additional knowledge is acquired.

    Care to share with us how this process has ‘proven’ ID/Creationism? Because, you know, the vast majority of biologists think this set of principles points straight to evolution.

    Oh, but that’s where the ‘demonic control’ comes in, right?

    And, again, Keith, what’s your view of the Noah’s ark story and the age of the earth? For some odd reason you seem rather evasive about those two topics.

    also,
    This is amusing since evoland is a parasite science where 99% of anything scientific comes from other real science fields like physics,chemistry,geology,astronomy, and ,when anything practical is to be accomplished, one of the engineering fields.

    Out of curiosity, Keith, why did you conspicuously leave biology out of this?

    Is it frustrating to try to rationalize your religious views with science, while the great majority of scientists disagree with you? You know, to use science to prop us your superstitions, while most scientists are all so ignorant and full of demons? Must cause you a lot cognitive dissonance.

  103. #103 Keith Eaton
    January 27, 2008

    If most scientists are not atheists or agnostics, but rather people of faith then it should be directly measureable on this post.

    I invite just this very day all the active posters to state their faith position as to a personal God, their position on His role in creation, and His ongoing relationship to His creation and creatures.

    The we can determine with at least small sample statistics if not common sense whether MOST scientists are able to accommodate both TOE and traditional NT Christianity, say consistent with the Apostle’s Creed.

    We’ll put Bob in the ignorant atheist and demonically controlled category so he doen’t have to provide one of his tirades.

    Not responding will be interpreted similarly.

    Tick Tock Tick Tock

  104. #104 Jack Last
    January 27, 2008

    Note that when you load Keith with questions he’s afraid to answer or can’t answer, he starts ‘witnessing’. Big surprise.

    Not responding will be interpreted similarly.

    Not responding?

    Keith, you haven’t answered ANY of our questions about the scientific evidence for IDC, ‘demonic control’, Noah’s ark, or the age of the earth.

    Mote, meet eye.

  105. #105 MRL
    January 27, 2008

    Kind of interesting how, as he kept going, Mr. Eaton started to lose coherency under pressure.

  106. #106 ZacharySmith
    January 27, 2008

    Keith:

    I will state for the record that my religious beliefs are none of your bloody business. And totally irrelevant to the discussion.

    Just what do peoples’ religious beliefs have to do with the validity of evolutionary theory?

    Would you conduct a similar survey if we were discussing Newtonian mechanics, Relativity, Quantum Mechanics, the germ theory of disease, Plate Tectonics, corrosion, lubrication & tribology, meteorology, etc. etc.?

    All of these other disciplines are guided by mere “theories”. Yes, there is a “theory” of corrosion. There is a “theory” of lubrication. There is a “theory” of how surfaces in sliding contact produce wear and fatigue (tribilogy).

    All of these theories are all borne of methodological materialism and none invoke a “designer” or deity. They don’t get as much controversial attention as evolution, but they’re there nonetheless.

    I’m sure if you searched hard enough, you’d find that most, if not all, of these theories offended someone’s religious dogma somewhere.

    Why don’t you reject all the fruits of godless materialism and go live in a cave somewhere? After all, the car you drive, the clothes you wear, the food you eat, the computer on which you type your drivel for this blog are all fruits of godless materialism. How do you reconcile that with your faith, O Righteous One?

    Just because you have a problem with evolution doesn’t mean that all people of faith do. How do you explain the fact that many people of all faiths have no problem with it?

    Or are those with whom you disagree also ignorant atheists and demonically possessed, even if they profess faith? Who died and made you Arbiter of the True Faith?

  107. #107 Keith Eaton
    January 27, 2008

    As usual, a non-answer and no meaningful response. Zacky baby are you familiar with the term stick it in your ear?

    This post has claimed a large percentage of evolanders are people of faith, Christians in fact. I didi not bring that to the table.

    Since the claims were shown by your’s truly to be a bald faced assertion without facts and totally at odds with the most recent surveys,I thought, out of generousity, I would let this group be a sample of scientists who could by a simple confirmatory post show me wrong or rather confirm their claims.

    As usual I hear the sound of retreating feet.

    Does Noah’s ark have anything to do with evolution..guess I missed that part in biology class.

    Tick Tock

  108. #108 Jack Last
    January 27, 2008

    Keith, baby, why are you afraid of answering these questions?

    I’ll repeat them:

    1) do you believe in the Noah’s ark story?
    2) how old do you think the earth is?
    3) how do you tell ‘demonic control’ from being an ‘ignorant atheist’?
    4) what is the scientific evidence for IDC?
    5) if scientific proofs of a theory are unnecessary, as you say, how do YOU pick one?
    6) why did you conspicuously leave biology out of this?:
    This is amusing since evoland is a parasite science where 99% of anything scientific comes from other real science fields like physics,chemistry,geology,astronomy, and ,when anything practical is to be accomplished, one of the engineering fields.

    Why are you so afraid to answer these questions? Are you ashamed or somehing?

  109. #109 Keith Eaton
    January 27, 2008

    God gave us the integers, all else is the work of man”. This is the famous quotation from Kronecker, saying that the only numbers we could be sure about were the integers.

    See that little 8 that appears in the EFE of GR?

    Well that’s where AE put in God…just ask Hawkings, I believe he concurs.

    Oh and then there’s that irrational trancendental number pi which no one has a handle on as to its origin or ubiquity in so many things mathmatical.

    Darn that God, He just shows up everywhere.

  110. #110 Keith Eaton
    January 27, 2008

    Jackie Boy,

    I never said proofs were not necessary or even desirable concerning natural laws. I said proofs are never achieved absolutely because of the Black Swan occurrence.

  111. #111 Jack Last
    January 27, 2008

    What’s wrong, Keith, you can’t disprove evolution or prove evolution, so instead you babble about your Personal Relationship With God?

    Uh, little man, there’s questions waiting for you.

  112. #112 Jack Last
    January 27, 2008

    I never said proofs were not necessary or even desirable concerning natural laws. I said proofs are never achieved absolutely because of the Black Swan occurrence.

    False witness, Keith:

    Only evolanders believe in scientific proof of a theory.

    Now, how about telling us all about ‘demonic control’?

  113. #113 ZacharySmith
    January 28, 2008

    Oooo, Keith. I see the level of snark has been turned up a notch. Could you be descending to the level of us evolanders?

    Yes, Keith – I have heard the phrase “stick it in your ear.” Perhaps you’d care to explain how this is a meaningful response to any of my comments.

    Perhaps you’d care to explain how any of your comments have been meaningful responses. Let’s see. Here’s a list of some of the questions you have been incapable of answering:

    1. What is the theory of intelligent design and how can it be tested using the scientific method?

    2. Since when is there a timetable that determines when it is time to abandon a materialist explanation for a phenomenon and attribute it god or a designer?

    3. Who died and made you Arbiter of the True Faith?

    4. Virtually all disciplines from the esoteric (lubrication & tribology) to the grandiose (evolution, big bang cosmology) are the fruits of godless materialism. If you reject one (evolution), why do you not reject them all?

    5. What is the age of the earth?

    6. Is the story of Noah’s Ark historical or not?

    7. If scientific proof is an evolander construct, what is the non-evolander standard of proof? How does your standard differ from myth & religion?

    Keep moving the goalposts, Keith. Keep tap dancing around the issues. It’s what you’re best at. Justifying your claims is not your strong suit.

  114. #114 WRMartin
    January 28, 2008

    Will everyone stop picking on Keith!
    It’s not nice to kick retarded people when they’re down.

  115. #115 Keith Eaton
    January 28, 2008

    Scientific progress existed several centuries before Darwin, the manic depressive, thought up RM and NS.

    Evolution is about 5% of the entire body of scientific knowledge, its advocates are 1 in wide and 3 miles deep in the imaginary world of fantasy history.

    I except your admission that your claims that the majority of scientists supporting evolution were also Christians were fraudulent and unsupportable.

    And about that most basic question of just what was that first imperfect replicator that is necessary to your hypothesis…not how, I understand you can’t even contemplate that, but what was it in molecular structure and capability.

    Surely your emperor at least has a thog.

    Tick Tock Tick Tock

  116. #116 Keith Eaton
    January 28, 2008

    Just examinded the 10 or so responses by Dr. Behe to his critics via the DI site. It’s sort of embarrassing to see evolanders intellectually pistol whipped into utter submission by Behe in such clear terms.

    But then according to the mental midgets here Lehigh, Univ. of Penn, NIH etc. are all incompetent organizations for granting him his degrees, honors, postdoc, employment, and tenure.

    When I first read some wirehead evolander explain how the mousetrap could be used absent the platform by gluing or stapling it to a hardwood floor, I thought… wonder if it’s important to be REUSABLE and PORTABLE regarding a mousetrap or is one snap and its over is considered functional. Or maybe all the mice have to be in the same place.

    Boy I hope this No Child Left Behind works so the next generation doesn’t resemble a bag of doorknobs.

  117. #117 Jack Last
    January 29, 2008

    So why are you afraid of answering questions, Keith?

    Afraid of looking stupid?

    Whoops, too late.

  118. #118 ZacharySmith
    January 29, 2008

    Behe couldn’t define the theory of intelligent design or how it could tested using the scientific method either.

    Just ask Judge Jones.

    Or is he also an ignorant atheist or under demomic control?

    You know, Keith, you can cry and moan all you want about monarch butterflies or first replicators. If you can’t define your theory, you got nothing.

    So for the umpteenth time: what is the theory of intelligent design and how can it be tested using the scientific method?

    “Stick it in your ear” does not qualify as a meaningful response.

    We’re listening. (“Chirp, chirp, chirp” go the crickets.)

  119. #119 Reynold
    January 30, 2008

    Frank Walton’s website is pulling that “dissent from Darwin” thing too.

    And an endorsement from Lee Strobel, no less!

    Lee Strobel says over 300 scientists have signed the document. As of this writing it has reached over 700, and it’s growing!

    At least, unlike with Dembski’s site, they’ve let my comment in, at least for now.

  120. #120 Keith Eaton
    January 31, 2008

    Of course the argument for the truly logical thinker begins with origins, ultimate beginnings, and for me the scientific answer is God of the bible. All of the evidence whether cosmological, mathmatical, physical, spiritual, etc. overwhelmingly points to a finite beginning, a finite life, an ordered and complex arrangement of mass and energy,
    a set of immutable physical laws, and a design including the creation of life capable of appreciating the creation, themselves and Him.

    One of the faults with the methodological naturalism which dominates evolutionary thought is that in the attempt to understand life in its fullness, particularly mankind, is it ignores what we have learned from our religious experience, our spirituality, and our faith, out of hand.

    Such has been explained more completely and accurately in the essays at: http://www.arn.org/docs/odesign/od181/methnat181.htm

    http://www.arn.org/docs/odesign/od182/methnat182.htm

    Alvin Planting of Notre Dame University

    As regards life there is no scientifically reasonable explanation for abiogenesis by natural means, after 100 years of concentrated effort and many millions of dollars.

    The so called God of the Gaps argument is a strawman and is in no way representative of ID and modern creationist thought, indeed the gap of atheism is more to be considered in that the more we learn about life as it is extant and at the molecular level the complexity, integration, and information aspects indicate and illustrate cognitive thought and design in the smallest detail, indicators entirely consistent with our own experience in our own design and implementation experiences.

    The advantage of the design inference is that it has no bias as to how one should conduct an investigation of a physical observation including the possibility that at the most detailed level there are design principles which if excepted as such, understood as such, adopted as such can impact the way we attack problems where the observations have real application across abroad arena.

    Where there is a purely natural explanation for an observation which arose and is foundationed by random processes and fixed by a mixed bag of random and deterministic pressures, there are no design elements or aproaches indicated, how could there be when to implement them would require capturing a predictive methodology for purely random events and reconstructing the required NS landscape…strictly an impossibility.

  121. #121 Reason, with a capital R.
    March 11, 2010

    Looks like faith got in the last word, and is therefore the winner ;)

    I will see your faith and raise you a trollface.

    Problem?

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