Archives for May, 2006

Thanks to alejandro for directing me to his own take on Dembski’s theodicy, discussed in the previous post. You can find his thoughts here. I liked his summary of the problem of evil: This article discusses that old chestnut, the problem of evil. My own opinion on the problem of evil is simple: For someone…

Dembski’s Theodicy

I have written before that I regard the problem of evil as essentially a decisive refutation of Christianity. It’s not quite logically impossible to reconcile an omnipotent, omnibenevolent God with the sheer quantity of evil and suffering in the world, but it’s pretty close. So when William Dembski posted a 48-page essay entitled “Christian Theodicy…

A three judge panel for the eleventh circuit court of appeals has vacated the decision of the lower court in the Cobb County sticker case. At issue here was the decision by the Cobb County School Board to include the following stickers in its high school biology textbooks: This textbook contains material on evolution. Evolution…

Over at Telic Thoughts, macht has posted this reply to some of my earlier posts on the nature of science. I believe he is still missing most of the important points. But in the interest of making this into something constructive I will eschew a point-by-point rebuttal. Instead let me emphasize what I believe the…

Ingram Gets it Right

I’m a bit pressed for time today, so why not just have a look at this insightful op-ed by Jay Ingram in The Toronto Star. He begins: Scientists are absolutely correct to argue that intelligent design — the claim that a designer, not evolution, created life on Earth — is not science and does not…

More on macht

After writing that last post, I decided to have a look at the comments to macht’s essay. I found another delightful instance of macht being clueless. Commenter Daniel wrote: “if some modern scientist happened to introduce something supernatural into science and it was testable” See, I don’t get this – ID keeps missing the point,…

Replying to macht

My essay on the nature of science has provoked this limp response from macht, over at Telic Thoughts. My essay emphasized the fact that science has a specific goal in mind: To understand the workings of nature. Understanding is measured via predictability and control. Investigative methods are scientific to the extent to which they bring…

Question of the Week

Seed’s ScienceBlogger Question of the week is the following: If you could shake the public and make them understand one scientific idea, what would it be? My knee-jerk response was pretty obvious: “Evolution!” Sadly, John Lynch got there first. Then I figured since I was the only mathematician here, I’d go with “Math!” No dice.…

New CSICOP Column

I have a new essay up at CSICOP’s Creation Watch site. The subject: What is Science? Figured it was high time to polish off that little question once and for all. Enjoy!

Daeschler on Colbert

Who was the guest on yesterday’s episode of The Colbert Report? It was Ted Daeschler, a paleontologist at The Academy of Natural Science in Philadelphia. He was part of the team that discovered the fish-tetrapod transitional form Tiktaalik roseae. Not only did he appear with Colbert, but he was there to discuss paleontology and evolution.…

Religious Right Pander Watch

With the Bush administration, and Repbulicans generally, tanking in the polls, the time has come to do some serious pandering to the right-wing base. Expect to see a lot more articles like this one, from The Washington Post: A U.S. Senate panel advanced a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage on Thursday as the committee chairman…

Human/Chimp Follow-Up

As a follow-up to yesterday’s post, have a look at Carl Zimmer’s post on the subject. He provides a lot of the scientific specifics: But that’s not what has emerged from the new study. The Broad Institute scientists lined up millions of bases of DNA in humans and chimps and measured their differences. Humans and…

New Data on Human/Chimp Split

The New York Times is reporting on new data concerning the date of the evolutionary split between the human and chimapnzee lineages: Scientists are re-evaluating a pivotal event in human evolution, the split between the human and chimpanzee lineages, in light of a startling new comparison of the human and chimp genomes. The new analysis,…

ID Picks up An Endorsement!

The last six months have been hard ones for ID folks. First, there was the big Dover decision. Then came several new transitional forms (see here and here, for example). The evolution of complex biochemical systems gets less mysterious every day. Likewise for the evolution of of cooperative behavior. Nick Matzke’s brilliant annotated bibliography on…

As a coda to the previous post, consider this article, from yesterday’s The New York Times. It’s headline is the title of this entry. Some of President Bush’s most influential conservative Christian allies are becoming openly critical of the White House and Republicans in Congress, warning that they will withhold their support in the midterm…