Dispatches from the Creation Wars

Templeton Foundation Blasts ID

This is going to be so much fun to watch the IDers try to spin. The Templeton Foundation, easily the largest and most prominent support of projects that point to the reconciliation of science and religion, has delivered a blistering public rebuke to the intelligent design movement in a letter to the LA Times. I’ll post the full text of the letter, which was written by Pamela Thompson, the Vice President of Communications for the foundation, below the fold:

“Testing the role of trust and values in financial decisions” (Jan. 21) incorrectly describes the John Templeton Foundation as having been an early supporter of the political movement known as “intelligent design.”

We do not believe that the science underpinning the intelligent-design movement is sound, we do not support research or programs that deny large areas of well-documented scientific knowledge, and the foundation is a nonpolitical entity and does not engage in or support political movements.

The foundation has provided tens of millions of dollars in support of research academics who are critical of the anti-evolution intelligent-design position.

For almost a decade, the foundation has been a major supporter of a substantial program of the American Assn. for the Advancement of Science. One of the program’s chief activities has been to inform the public of the weakness of the intelligent-design position on modern evolutionary biology.

In the past we have given grants to scientists who have gone on to identify themselves as members of the intelligent-design community. We understand that this could be misconstrued by some to suggest that we implicitly support the movement, but this was not our intention at the time, nor is it today.

Pamela Thompson

They are accurately identifying ID as a political movement, a PR campaign, rather than a serious scientific project. Bravo to Templeton for doing so. Let’s also note that there is a history here that provides support for that conclusion. Early on, the Templeton Foundation was eager to support ID research. The problem? There wasn’t any. Back in December 2005, the NY Times had an article which included the following:

The Templeton Foundation, a major supporter of projects seeking to reconcile science and religion, says that after providing a few grants for conferences and courses to debate intelligent design, they asked proponents to submit proposals for actual research.

“They never came in,” said Charles L. Harper Jr., senior vice president at the Templeton Foundation, who said that while he was skeptical from the beginning, other foundation officials were initially intrigued and later grew disillusioned.

“From the point of view of rigor and intellectual seriousness, the intelligent design people don’t come out very well in our world of scientific review,” he said.

That certainly speaks volumes. The ID movement makes a great deal of noise until it’s time to do actual scientific research, then it falls silent. So much so that even this organization had to recognize it. The Foundation supported, at least, Dembski and Henry Schaefer among ID advocates at one point. But once they started demanding actual research projects to fund that would provide support for ID, there was nothing else to fund. There simply was no such research.

It will be interesting to see how the IDers spin this one. They certainly can’t dismiss the Templeton Foundation as a bunch of “dogmatic Darwinists” or wedded to “atheistic materialism”, which is their usual shtick. Good luck guys; this one looks really, really bad for you.

Comments

  1. #1 Dave S.
    February 5, 2007

    It will be interesting to see how the IDers spin this one. They certainly can’t dismiss the Templeton Foundation as a bunch of “dogmatic Darwinists” or wedded to “atheistic materialism”, which is their usual shtick. Good luck guys; this one looks really, really bad for you.

    They might simply ignore it.

    Or they might do what they do so well, manufacture a straw man of what was actually written and “answer” that. Casey Luskin is probably good for that. Possibly with another lecture on how ID has nothing to do with religion and is purely scientific and why do people not get this??

  2. #2 Keanus
    February 5, 2007

    Today’s WSJ also included a letter from the same Pamela Thompson. The Journal letter makes much the same point:

    “The foundation doesn’t support the political movement known as ‘Intelligent Design.’ This is for three reasons: We don’t believe the science underpinning the ‘Intelligent Design’ movement is sound, we don’t support research or programs that deny large areas of well-documented scientific knowledge and the foundatioon is a non-political entity and does not engage in, or suport, political movements.”

    That similar letters appeared the same day in national newspapers on opposite coasts seems to imply that some recent event at the Templeton Foundation brought them about. They must be addressing some claim or accusation that attributed to them a position the foundation does not hold. It would be interesting to know the cause and whether claims by the DI were the catalyst. Has anyone seen a similar letter in papers other then the LA Times and the WSJ (I already searched the NYT)?

  3. #3 Chuck C
    February 5, 2007

    Keanus:

    The letter would appear to be in response to the mention in this atricle:

    http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-values21jan21,1,2221293.story?coll=la-headlines-business&track=crosspromo

    It claims that the foundation was an “early supporter” and drew criticism for it.

  4. #4 Trinifar
    February 5, 2007

    As good as this news is, I sure many like me are wondering what took them so long. Still, better late than never.

  5. #5 Christian
    February 5, 2007

    Any postings yet from the Uncommonly Dense crowd? Dave Scot should produce something profoundly amusing.

  6. #6 Steve Reuland
    February 5, 2007

    It will be interesting to see how the IDers spin this one. They certainly can’t dismiss the Templeton Foundation as a bunch of “dogmatic Darwinists” or wedded to “atheistic materialism”, which is their usual shtick.

    No, the standard operating procedure in a case like this is to label them as dupes of the dogmatic Darwinist atheistic materialist Conspiracy. The Conspiracy is all-powerful and can put the thumb-screws on groups like Templeton just like they have all the world’s scientific organizations. Templeton is either too dumb to know any better, or they know the truth but are afraid to speak out.

    I’m willing to bet that if there is a response, it will be along these lines.

  7. #7 argystokes
    February 5, 2007

    Dembski had a rather flaccid response to Templeton’s rebuke in December 2005: http://www.uncommondescent.com/index.php/archives/545

    The Templeton Foundation promotes, as Stephen Jay Gould used to criticize (see here), a form of syncretism between science and religion. I frankly doubt that there is one research paper published in the natural sciences (I’m not talking about medical journals that discuss the efficacy of prayer in healing) that acknowledges the Templeton Foundation as having provided essential research support (e.g., in the form of salaries for lab techs, lab equipment costs, etc.) for that project to be completed. Templeton supports research in that fuzzy new discipline that it has largely invented, known as science-religion, and not in science per se.

    I know for a fact that Discovery Institute tried to interest the Templeton Foundation in funding fundamental research on ID that would be publishable in places like PNAS and Journal of Molecular Biology (research that got funded without Templeton support and now has been published in these journals), and the Templeton Foundation cut off discussion before a proposal was even on the table. What has disillusioned Templeton about ID is not that it failed to prove its mettle as science but that it didn’t fit with Templeton’s accommodation of religion to the science of the day and Templeton’s incessant need to curry favor with an academic establishment that by and large thinks religion is passé.

    For an insightful commentary by my friend and colleague John West on this NYTimes article, go here.

    My HTML-fu is weak, so here are the links for when dembski says “here:”
    http://www.uncommondescent.com/index.php/archives/491
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2005/12/intelligent_design_might_be_me.html

  8. #8 argystokes
    February 5, 2007

    Whoops, screwed up the blockquotes on that one. Everything from “The Templeton Foundation promotes…” to “…NYTimes article, go here.” is Dembski’s.

  9. #9 steve s
    February 5, 2007

    Dembski *has* to say Templeton is hostile to them. It’s the only way to explain why ID ‘scientists’ haven’t used Templeton grants to do any actual research. ID is so barren at generating research that they haven’t been able to publish their fake journal in over a year.

    http://www.iscid.org/pcid.php

    I wonder if it’s just a coincidence that the last issue was published the month before Judge Jones issued his ruling.

    I think the creationists might shift to Cosmological Creationism. It’s just as bogus as the biology version, but it’s relatively fresh.

  10. #10 argystokes
    February 5, 2007

    Waldorf,
    Have you looked at the articles in PCID? They look absolutely hilarious. For example, here’s the caption from figure 2 in Luskin’s most recent “paper:”

    Figure 2: Hominid phylogeny under intelligent design theory, reflecting basic types
    among hominids. Dates have been left off so as not to detract from the primary point of
    this paper: phylogenetic relationships.

    Interestingly, the figure shows separate lineages for Homos and Australopithecines (and includes Habilis with the Austros). So, according to Intelligent Design Theory, it IS special creation for humans, and not some frontloaded garbage.

    Also interestingly, Dembski’s paper in the most recent edition appears to be “verbatim or near-verbatim” the same as the first chapter of the Design of Life, the new Pandas book.

  11. #11 steve s
    February 5, 2007

    Argy, not only have I looked at them, my funnybone made me read almost every article in every issue of that fake journal. I recently emailed them asking when the next issue was coming out. Where else can you get anthropology ‘research’ by Caskey Luskin? Where else can you get a paper entitled “The Case for Instant Evolution”?

  12. #12 steve s
    February 5, 2007

    “Caskey”->”Casey”

  13. #13 Ray
    February 5, 2007

    I already know what DI has to say. I recently was on a debate with one of DI’ most sycophantic cheerleaders, whom I suspect is really an avatar for one of DI’s groovy gurus. I presented him with NY Times blast against DI, which he handwaved away, saying Templeton was part of Darwinism.

    I have also noticed a desperation on the part of DI. Seems like that foot in the ass from Dover hit them more than they want to admit. Consider the kaleidoscope of criticisms about Judge Jones.

    Incidently, there are real anthropologists who regard H. habilis as an australopith.

  14. #14 Jack Lacton
    February 6, 2007

    Hi all.

    I have commented to a number of people that the efforts, initially, at teaching Creationism in school alongside evolution and now promoting Intelligent Design is the biggest tactical error that the religious lobby has ever made and that it has consequences beyond just defining what is real science and what isn’t.

    I am profoundly atheist and secular but recognise the importance of Christian values in developing and underpinning our society. The societal debacle that is going on in Western Europe has been brought about by the erasure of Christian values, which have been replaced by the (non) value of equality. Anti-discrimination laws have led to an inability to discriminate between good and evil or right and wrong. Many countries (Germany, for example) now have net positive emigration for the first time in their history as people flee the looming disaster.

    The problem is that the ID lobby is running with an argument that it simply cannot win. Ever. In continuing to push its agenda it attempts to use back door methods such as stacking school boards in order to make inroads into schools and society. The only effect of this is to alienate a large percentage of the population not against ID but against Christianity itself and, by extension, the Christian values that we need in order to ensure our ongoing success.

    I am a great admirer of Richard Dawkins and agree with his thesis outlined in The Selfish Gene. However, by attacking the belief in God as he does he throws out the Christian values baby with the God bathwater. The ID crowd’s tactic makes this result much more possible.

    In my view, the correct tactic for the Christian lobby to adopt is to promote their values in the broadest sense, which is less polarising, more in line with the reality of our society and will ultimately work to achieve their goal.

    Cheers
    Jack

  15. #15 Dave
    February 6, 2007

    Well, it’s a good letter, but “blistering”? It sounds pretty evenhanded and well argued to me.

  16. #16 raj
    February 6, 2007

    Quite frankly, this gives me a new respect for the Templeton Foundation. Thanks for the information.

  17. #17 David Heddle
    February 6, 2007

    SteveS,

    I think the creationists might shift to Cosmological Creationism. It’s just as bogus as the biology version, but it’s relatively fresh.

    No, that’s not possible, at least not en masse. While bio-ID can maintain a strained truce between YECs and OECs, Cosmo-ID cannot. Cosmo-ID demands an old universe–there is simply no way around it. It makes no sense to discuss the fine tuning of nuclear syntheses if no stars have ever actually exploded. Unlike traditional ID, cosmological ID can never inflate its numbers via the absurdity of a “big tent.”

  18. #18 Mustafa Mond, FCD
    February 6, 2007

    The letter would appear to be in response to the mention in this article:

    LATimes article

    It claims that the foundation was an “early supporter” and drew criticism for it.

    I would say that the Dec 2005 NYTimes snippet reproduced by Mr. Brayton makes the LA Times’ case. Templeton did provide some funds for various ID things, and was eager to fund any research proposals that might have come in. I’m glad Templeton is now distancing themselves from ID, but the vigorous statement from Thompson seems to be an attempt to rewrite history.

    Official Statement of the Templeton Foundation in Nov. 2005, stating the same things that Thompson is now repeating.

    Jonathan Witt of the Discovery Institute in Dec 2005 lists the various ID activities Templeton has funded.

  19. #19 quork
    February 6, 2007

    I think the creationists might shift to Cosmological Creationism. It’s just as bogus as the biology version, but it’s relatively fresh.

    But cosmological fine-tuning is philosophically opposite to the biological design argument. Biological ID says, “The universe IS NOT suitable for life to have developed naturally, therefore God did it.” The cosmological design argument says “The universe IS suitable for life to have developed naturally, therefore God did it.” In other words, “Heads I win, tails you lose.” If anyone ever attempts to use both arguments in the same discussion, you should nail their hide to the wall.

  20. #20 Mustafa Mond, FCD
    February 6, 2007

    I am a great admirer of Richard Dawkins and agree with his thesis outlined in The Selfish Gene. However, by attacking the belief in God as he does he throws out the Christian values baby with the God bathwater.

    Good for him! We should throw out such Christian values as punishing people for not being thorough in the execution of genocide, and death by stoning for such ‘sins’ as homosexuality and impudence to parents.

  21. #21 Matthew Young
    February 6, 2007

    I am profoundly atheist and secular but recognise the importance of Christian values in developing and underpinning our society.

    I am sorry but I really do think that this is nonsense. ‘Christian values’ is just a parochial way of describing the social contract governing behaviour and inter-animal interactions that is an inevitable aspect of human beings being such a highly social creature. Without these evolved responses we would never be able to function in groups as large as we do.

    Had Christianity never been invented or should it spontaneously vanish tomorrow then morality and ‘values’ would still exist and still be largely the same as they are today, we’d just call them something else. ‘Christian values’ sprung from the inevitable tendency of highly social animals toward social codes that govern interactions and allow them to function effectively in large groups, and emphatically not the other way around.

    Please note previously published research on how the most secular states tend to show less violent crime and social disorder than more religious ones.

  22. #22 David Heddle
    February 6, 2007

    Quork,

    But cosmological fine-tuning is philosophically opposite to the biological design argument… If anyone ever attempts to use both arguments in the same discussion, you should nail their hide to the wall.

    Although it is not my position, there is nothing manifestly inconsistent about supporting both cosmological and biological ID. The cosmo-IDer would argue that the mere existence of a universe with stars and galaxies requires fine tuning of the constants. The privileged planet IDer would extend the argument and state that the existence of an earth-like planet requires additional fine tuning above and beyond the physical constants, such as habitable zones, large moons, and friendly gas giants. And the biological IDer would, or at least could then say that given a fertile planet such as earth even more design is required to produce the complexity of life.

    So I think you are wrong. Of course, you could argue such a person is wrong in any or all of their ID views. But those views are not manifestly contradictory.

  23. #23 Jack Lacton
    February 6, 2007

    Hi Matthew,

    Thanks for your response.

    I don’t know what research you’re looking at regarding crime rates in secular societies but recent stats out of Europe show an alarming trend in violent crime in major cities such as Belgium, London, Paris etc. Brussels now has the highest murder rate in Europe, nearly double that of the US. France, Germany and England all have crime rates at least 50% higher than the US (England is more than 100% higher) according to Interpol.

    “Had Christianity never been invented or should it spontaneously vanish tomorrow then morality and ‘values’ would still exist”

    Of course values would exist, but not the Christian ones that have separated us from those societies that allow infanticide of girls, stone adulterers to death or belief in cannibalism. It is impossible to demonstrate that good values come about naturally versus those that bind societies together through fear and violence such as the Mayan, for example. Clearly, Christian values are not inevitable.

    I used to believe otherwise, by the way, but the reality of Europe and its descent into narcissism due to all values being equal got me to wondering about what had gone wrong.

    Cheers
    Jack

  24. #24 Gretchen
    February 6, 2007

    Of course values would exist, but not the Christian ones that have separated us from those societies that allow infanticide of girls, stone adulterers to death or belief in cannibalism.

    …all of which, I hear, have become rampant in London, Belgium, Paris, and especially in the country where I live, Denmark, which is among the most secular in the world.

    Jack, please read the Bible sometime if you want to learn about truly atrocious “values” mandated by the Christian god. No cannibalism (that I recall), but plenty of infanticide, stoning, etc. God himself was apparently a big fan of infanticide considering how many babies must’ve been wiped out in Noah’s flood.

    Clearly, Christian values are not inevitable.

    And thank goodness for that!

  25. #25 Steve Reuland
    February 6, 2007

    Heddle, the contradiction isn’t in “what happened when”. You could postulate that God fine-tuned the universe, allowed it to evolve naturally for billions of years, then swooped in and carefully placed the Earth where it needed to be, then swooped in again to create life and intervene every now and then to keep things on the right track. This would be bizarre behavior for an all-powerful deity, but it’s not logically contradictory.

    The problem is that IDists don’t actually say anything about “what happened when”. They avoid that question like the plague. Instead they say that design is to detected in those cases where the natural laws of the universe are incapable of doing something — i.e. a designer must have intervened. Then with cosmological fine-tuning, they use the opposite argument. In those cases where nature is perfectly capable of doing something, it must be because a designer set things up this way. Otherwise, given a more or less random set of natural laws, we wouldn’t have the universe that we have. (Which is a tautology, but the problems with the argument are a different story.) This is definitely a heads-I-win, tails-you-lose situation.

    If we were to suddenly discover that the universe actually wasn’t suitable for life, that left to its own devices stars and nuclei would have never have formed, this would immediately be taken as evidence of design among IDists. They would use the same argument that they use in biological ID, which is that the intervention of a designer is necessary. When you have a situation in which both “X” and “not X” can be used to argue for the same conclusion, then the conclusion is obviously not derived from empirical evidence.

  26. #26 David Heddle
    February 6, 2007

    Steve,

    In one sense I agree, and have stated it often. Biological ID is indeed “God in the gaps.” It states: we don’t see how (whatever) could have evolved, therefore..” It is based on the assumption our lack of knowledge of an evolutionary pathway implies the absence of such a pathway. Cosmological ID, on the other hand, is based on detailed knowledge, not gaps, with the only exception being the lack of the detection of another universe reasonably (but not inevitably) permits the assumption that there are no other universes. We don’t say: “I don’t know how stars work, therefore they must be designed,” which would be God in the gaps, but rather “We know a great deal about how stars work, and it’s a veritable house of cards,” which is God in the details.

    So I agree that Cosmological and Biological ID have a different paradigm–but since their domains do not overlap, there is nothing inherently inconsistent in holding to both views.

    I don’t know what you mean by:

    If we were to suddenly discover that the universe actually wasn’t suitable for life, that left to its own devices stars and nuclei would have never have formed, this would immediately be taken as evidence of design among IDists.

    I know you are speaking metaphorically, but I still can’t figure out what you mean by “left to its own devices.” However, I don’t really think that is evidence of a win-win for ID. If there were no explanation at all for stars and heavy nuclei–in the sense that the best physics demonstrated that they could not have formed, and yet they did–then we wouldn’t be talking about ID at all. In that case all sensible people would agree that life was sustained by supernatural intervention. Such a universe would prove God’s existence, while cosmological ID only suggests that the fine tuning is circumstantial, indirect evidence for a God whose universe operates by secondary (natural) laws.

  27. #27 divalent
    February 6, 2007

    David: “Biological ID is indeed ‘God in the gaps.’ ”

    I used to think that, until I actually investigaged what ID was. ID is emphatically not ‘God in the gaps.’ They pretty much reject it all.

  28. #28 Matthew Young
    February 6, 2007

    Of course values would exist, but not the Christian ones that have separated us from those societies that allow infanticide of girls, stone adulterers to death or belief in cannibalism. It is impossible to demonstrate that good values come about naturally versus those that bind societies together through fear and violence such as the Mayan, for example. Clearly, Christian values are not inevitable.

    Well current values that refute stoning and infanticide and god knows what else are Enlightenment values more obviously than they are Christian ones. As Gretchen points out, the bible and other literal Christian teachings (see attitudes to homosexuality in Nigeria for example, or indeed the charming behaviour of the various inquisitions) are full of all sorts of barbarity.

    I would suggest that it may actually be the evolution of new ways of governing morality and various other social contracts through reason and democracy instead of the rather regressive and reactionary teaching of the various religions that permitted the development of so dominant a society as what we now term Western Civillisation in the first place, and nothing to do with the superiority of Christian Values.

    Quite how getting rid of stoning allows a society to become economically and militarily dominant is beyond me to begin with, whereas it’s very clear how the diminished influence of religion in a society can lead directly to technological development and new models of economics and governance that would facilitate exactly that.

    Not, incidentally, that I intend to imply that there aren’t plenty of very morally sound interpretations of Christian teachings knocking around, just that this has more to do with the interpreter than the teachings.

    Also, I wasn’t setting this up as a Europe vs USA contest. Despite the loonies in the bible belt and the ID nut-jobs all over the shop and the embarrassment of a president, large parts of America (most, I would guess) are still largely governed in a secular manner. On the other hand Poland, in the EU these days, is about as religious a society as it gets.

    I seem to recall Ed posting some research on this matter a while back, but I honestly can’t remember when, and it fairly conclusively demonstrated that areas where religious belief is high do tend to have higher rates of violent crime and various other measures of social disorder, none of which I can remeber offhand.

    I used to believe otherwise, by the way, but the reality of Europe and its descent into narcissism due to all values being equal got me to wondering about what had gone wrong.

    I’m not sure I really understand this sentence. European countries certainly have their issues, I’m not denying that. One of the most current is the Holocaust denial nonsense the Germans are so keen on. Another one that springs to mind is a general failure to quite get a handle on how to deal with radicalist Muslim preaching from within domestic Muslim societies. I’m not sure how this relates to narcissism or anything having ‘gone wrong’ however, so perhaps I am missing the point.

  29. #29 Matthew Young
    February 6, 2007

    And sorry, everyone, that last post is so far from being relevant to the initial topic that it barely belongs here at all.

    In a more relevant area: hooray for someone giving those cynical, lying bastards at the DI a good swift kick in the ‘nads.

    What Would Jesus Do? Well probably not lie through his teeth whenever he found himself losing an argument, one suspects.

  30. #30 DuWayne
    February 6, 2007

    Damn it, Matthew, I was just about to continue off your way OT comment – now I shall feel rather guilty for doing so. But yeah, this thread has gone through it’s own, intruiging evolution.

    I think the argument that crime in some secular European countries is related to their secularism is very unlikely. When there are spikes in crime, the first place to look is the economy. Specifically, how the economy is doing for those groups that are having a sharp increase in crime.

    Likewise, places where religion is stronger, tend to be poor. Again there is the corelation of crime and poverty. I daresay that religion has little to do with crime statistics. Given the right circumstances, a persons faith, or lack thereof, has very little to do with whether they will turn to crime

  31. #31 James
    February 7, 2007

    Jack, I’d say DuWayne is mostly right about the causes of Europe’s problems being economic (I would particularly point the finger at inflexible labour markets and high minimum wages), but some of it may be cultural as well.

    The problem is you have misidentified the specific problem – its not that Europe is run by atheists, its that its run by post-modernists, who deride secular Western values (aka liberal or Enlightenment values) as being just some invention of Dead White Men. The only virtue they ascribe to is multiculturalism – which in this instance amounts to allowing anyone from outside Europe to do anything they like if its “traditional” in their home country.

    If European leaders were to espouse and defend Enlightenment values: That truth is a virtue; that newcomers hould be welcomed, so long as they play by the rules and that all humans have certain inalienable rights and that anyone who abuses them is a villan.

    Those values are not Christian, they are better.

  32. #32 Matthew Young
    February 7, 2007

    When there are spikes in crime, the first place to look is the economy. Specifically, how the economy is doing for those groups that are having a sharp increase in crime.

    I feel the axe of Ed Almighty hanging over this digression, but I pretty much agree. I think social stability and economic prosperity go hand in hand so if you have achieved prosperity, even through rape and pillage, the best way to protect it is to create a stable, ordered, content society. Developing shared morality and common values are a key way to achieve that.

    Consequently, the idea that religious values underpin anything of any particular value in Western society seems a bit false to me.

    It also touches a little on what James says about multiculturalism, as this perhaps does not lead to shared values within a society. Not that I (being European) feel quite able to blame multiculturalism for societal problems – that would be the job of the Daily Mail and other immigrant bashing rags.

    Maybe religious teaching was simply the earliest way of codifying and achieving a common set of values within a large group and now that has been superseded by rule of law, which is largely secular, with the consequence being that religious teaching is no longer particularly relevant to any useful definition of morality or values. This especially as religious teachings tend to show a steadfast refusal to evolve with society, which often makes them more of a hindrance than a help.

  33. #33 Steve Reuland
    February 7, 2007

    I know you are speaking metaphorically, but I still can’t figure out what you mean by “left to its own devices.” However, I don’t really think that is evidence of a win-win for ID. If there were no explanation at all for stars and heavy nuclei–in the sense that the best physics demonstrated that they could not have formed, and yet they did–then we wouldn’t be talking about ID at all. In that case all sensible people would agree that life was sustained by supernatural intervention.

    David, on the off-chance that you’re still reading this thread, this is exactly what I mean. If the best physics (or at least, physics as twisted by the ID movement) led us to believe that stars and nuclei couldn’t form, yet we live in a universe with stars and nuclei, the IDists would argue this as evidence of supernatural intervention. I don’t know what you mean by the claim that “we wouldn’t be talking about ID at all”. Supernatural intervention is precisely what ID is. The form of the argument is identical to what they use in claiming that abiogenesis could never occur naturally.

    Note that YECs use this cosmological argument all the time. They reject the Big Bang and have made lots of hay over the missing neutrino problem and other stuff to argue that modern physics just can’t explain all those shiny lights up there, so we should conclude that they were placed there directly by God as the Bible says. I’m quite sure that the ID movement would have no problem switching to this argument if it suited them.

  34. #34 David Heddle
    February 7, 2007

    Steve,

    When YECs make such claims, they are not invoking what I would call cosmological ID (of which they are not fans). YECs propose universes in which the natural laws (spped of light, radioactive decay, etc.) are violated.

    Maybe I’ll just clarify, and we can agree to disagree:

    Cosmological ID presupposes a universe that runs purely on natural laws, but appears to have been fine-tuned to produce galaxies, stars, planets, and heavy elements. In the absence of the verification of other universes, this is taken, by some of us, as prima facie evidence for design.

    A universe that existed in spite of natural laws would be direct evidence of God. This would be jolly good for us theists (except for our scientific careers) but it would not be ID. In such a universe there’d be no point arguing about fine tuning or bacterial flagella or privileged planets.

  35. #35 Kenny Gee
    February 8, 2007

    No cannibalism does feature… Lamentations 4:10 and who can forget John 6:53-56
    Also Blame the economy by all means but not min wage. We have a min wage of over $13.00 an hour in Aussie and have a employment rate of 4.5%. Blame no jobs and shit living conditions i.e. Europe!!! :-o

The site is undergoing maintenance presently. Commenting has been disabled. Please check back later!