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 the evolution of the immune system was posted, showing once more that the Michael Behe’s of the world are just making it up when they say that scientists can’t explain the evolution of “irreducibly complex” systems. Meanwhile, there is growing evidence that the scientific community is now fully engaged in the fight against ID (as evidenced here and here.)

But it’s not all bad news for ID folks. They recently picked up an endorsement as well.

The Spring 2006 issue of Paranoia magazine contains a cover story on “The Intelligent Design Revolution,” written by someone named Joan d’Arc (I suspect it’s a pseudonym). Sample quote:

Indeed, the Darwinian fundamentalists clearly see the ID movement as driven by a bunch of hicks in a junk wagon. The sooner they rid themselves of this notion, the sooner we can get on to the real debate, if indeed they are interested in a real debate. Such is doubtful. As an example of the general unwillingness to enter any intelligent debate on the subject, consider the following quote from an editorial in the Boston Metro newspaper (11/16/05) where columnist Mike Mennonno writes: “Intelligent design brooks no argument, spawns no debate, and calls for no further investigation. Its adherents argue, simply, that certain forms in nature are too complex to have evolved through natural selection and must have been created by a `designer’.”

While this columnist normally seems to exhibit common sense, when it comes to the subject of Darwinian evolution minds tend to close shut. This simplistic explanation of ID theory is about as far as any media reports go toward explaining what its proponents actually espouse. In fact, it appears that they all borrow the same sentence to describe ID theory. How often is this sound byte mentality the culprit in fair media reporting? Their cheap tactic is to call the ID theorists to the carpet to talk science, allow them a one sentence rebuttal, and then shout back, “come on, talk science, if you know how.”

The article from which this quote appeared does not seem to be available online (though they have posted other articles expressing similar views. Ms. d’Arc herself maintains a website on this subject here. You might enjoy the many, laughably out-of-context quotes she provides.

Elsewhere in the magazine we find articles about UFO’s and the Knight’s Templar. Nice to see the ID folks making new friends.

Comments

  1. #1 pough
    May 17, 2006

    What’s with all the typos in the quotation? “tned, thoeyr, reproting, tlak”? Oh, and “Micahel” Behe, too, in the first paragraph. Spellcheck on aisle five!

    This is hardly a surprise. IDers tend to come across as paranoid, IMO. This magazine is a perfect fit for them.

  2. #2 CanuckRob
    May 17, 2006

    Wow, that’s right up there with getting an endorsement from the National Enquirer or Stephen Colbert:) (the Colbert character, not the man)

    I would like to read about the Knight’s Templar and the UFO, perhaps it explains how the UFo took the KT and the offspring of Jesus and Mary Magdelene to the planet Wingnuttia where they send messages directly to Pat Robertson’s intelligently designed brain using quantum entanglement to get around the relativity problem.

  3. #3 Joseph Smigelski
    May 17, 2006

    Joan d’Arc (don’t you just love it when people hide behind pseudonyms? … Oh, I’m sorry, I forgot, this is Internet culture) is quoted: The sooner they rid themselves of this notion, the sooner we can get on to the real debate, if indeed they are interested in a real debate. I ask a simple question: What debate? Certainly there is no scientific one, as Intelligent Design is just a pipe dream. Where’s the testable (falsifiable) evidence for it? It’s all smoke and mirrors.

  4. #4 Jason Rosenhouse
    May 17, 2006

    pough-

    Thanks for pointing out the errors. They have been corrected.

  5. #5 steve s
    May 17, 2006

    Now correct the apostrophes.

  6. #6 IndianCowboy
    May 17, 2006

    Maybe the ‘sound byte mentality’ exists because there is nothing tp ID beyond the sound byte

  7. #7 Jason Rosenhouse
    May 17, 2006

    steve s-

    Done.

    Incidentally, I’ve been finding it difficult to proofread the entries I type in to Movable Type, because the size of the text on the screen is very small. So far I have been unable to find any way to increase the type size. I’m told this is fairly easy to do on a Mac, but, sadly, I do not use one of them. Any ideas?

  8. #8 Heathen Dan
    May 17, 2006

    Maybe you could type your post in a document editor (such as MS Word) and use its spell checker; and then just copy the corrected article to MT.

  9. #9 Jeb Baugh
    May 17, 2006

    Maybe you could un-burden, while enlightening, yourself and get a Mac dude!

  10. #10 Tim Lambert
    May 17, 2006

    Firefox lets you increase the text size easily. And it’s “sound bite”, not “sound byte”.

  11. #11 skblllzzzz
    May 18, 2006

    Should that not be “sound bit”?

  12. #12 cleek
    May 18, 2006

    So far I have been unable to find any way to increase the type size

    does Control+Mousewheel help ?

  13. #13 mark
    May 18, 2006

    This simplistic explanation of ID theory is about as far as any media reports go toward explaining what its proponents actually espouse.

    I wish you had also quoted the part where Joanie explained the real scientific, detailed Theory of Intelligent Design.

  14. #14 Jon Silcox
    May 19, 2006

    A few questions regarding the reference to the new transitional forms such as Tiktaalik and Euphanerops longaevus: Have scientists proven, without a doubt, that Tiktaalik is a transitional form in the lineage leading to modern tetrapods? Is there a possibility that it is not in the lineage leading to modern tetrapods? Will anyone put their reputation on the line and guarantee that this is a true transitional form that proves evolution unequivocally and without any doubt and that you?d be a fool to doubt the scientific community that endorses it? Is it possible that the Tiktaalik?s limbs were not used or capable of propping itself up? Didn?t scientists at one time claim that the coelacanth was an example of a creature making the evolutionary transitional onto land? And that the Coelacanth had lobe fins once thought to enable it to walk on the ocean floor? But didn?t the discovery of Coelacanth in 1938 prove that the scientists were wrong once they were able to actually observe the living fish once thought to have gone extinct over 70 million years ago? Wasn?t it later determined that the coelacanth fins were used for maneuvering through the water and not walking? Isn?t it quite possible that, after further examination of the evidence (and perhaps another discovery of a living fossil), scientists might sometime admit that Tiktaalik is not a true transitional form, and that the limbs were not capable propping itself up or walking? Doesn?t the article admit that the find was predicted, which we could conclude that the paleontologists had an agenda and might fit the evidence into within their evolutionary framework to receive kudos from their piers, the media and staunch evolutionists? Doesn?t the article admit that the drawings on the lineage chart are not to scale, which could mask any counter evidence? Are there any ?real scientists? that disagree with these claims, or is there a complete consensus among the evolutionary community? I?m open minded, so feel free to educate me.

  15. #15 Dan Styer
    May 19, 2006

    John Silcox asks:

    Have scientists proven, without a doubt, that Tiktaalik is a transitional form in the lineage leading to modern tetrapods?

    The answer is: Of course not. Science, by its very nature, is incapable of proving anything “without a doubt.”

    For example: In the year 1900 Newton’s theory of gravity had faced and passed tests in the laboratory, in the solar system, and in the far reaches of our galaxy. It seemed to be — it *was* — very secure. But it was not “proved beyond doubt.” In 1905 Einstein discovered that Newton’s theory of gravity must be only an approximation to a more complete theory, and in 1915 he proposed a more complete theory, called “general relativity.” Since 1915 general relativity has been tested time and again, and has never yet been found to fail. But scientists still test general relativity in new circumstances, and I certainly expect that some day a circumstance will be found when it *will* fail. (Einstein expected this too.) For example, we have excellent evidence that general relativity works to high accuracy when an ordinary star orbits a black hole. Perhaps we’ll find that it doesn’t work when a neutron star orbits a black hole. The Square Kilometre Array is being built precisely to look for such a situation.

    This doesn’t mean that Newton’s theory of gravity is nonsense, or useless. It is highly accurate when objects as dense as diamond or less are moving at speeds of a million miles per hour or less. It is used today by astronomers, by NASA, by the military, by the communications satellite industry, by anyone who’s interested in the motion of planets, comets, meteors, stars, satellites, rockets, etc.

    Science is *based* on doubt, so it cannot find ideas that are “true without a doubt.” Instead, science tries to find what’s “good for today.” We know a lot of things, and we look for regularities that will tie those disparate things together. Tomorrow we will know even more things, and the regularities that work today might not work tomorrow. If today’s regularities were “true without a doubt,” then science would stop (and I’d be unemployed).

    I don’t expect general relativity to be overthrown tomorrow or even next year: any theory so well tested over 91 years is not likely to be superceded instantly. And even when general relativity is superceded, it will still be useful in a wide set of circumstances: from the global positioning system to neutron stars to black holes.

    There is, of course, a lot of social pressure to find the next theory beyond general relativity: Whoever finds it will be showered with prizes, employment offers, and funds for more experiments and observations. (Branse and Dicke, among others, have tried.) But that doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy. The 91-year success of general relativity in fact suggests that it will be very difficult.

    The theory of evolution by natural selection has been around even longer than general relativity. Darwin did not think it was “true without a doubt.” In the first edition of *Origin of Species* he wrote “I am convinced that natural selection has been the main but not the exclusive means of modification.” Darwin himself extended the theory of evolution through the idea of sexual selection. Stebbins extended it through the idea of genetic drift. No one thinks that the theory of evolution by natural selection is complete or “true without a doubt.” But every serious thinker knows that evolution is “good for today.” And every serious thinker knows that when evolution by natural selection is superceded, it will be still be applicable to a wide range of phenomena: biogeography, development, fossils, etc.

    Whenever I see creationists and evolutionists debate, I see two groups talking past each other. The creationists are interested in what’s “true without a doubt” — they care about schemes based on fath. The evolutionists are interested in what’s “good for today” — they care about schemes based on doubt.

  16. #16 Rational Atheist
    May 19, 2006

    Jon Silcox asks quite pertinent questions about tiktalik – it is quite obvious that there is an element of doubt here: of course scientists will couch these discoveries in flexible language.

    That being said, please let’s not forget here that the alternative presented by the ID crowd is “god did it”. That’s hardly more compelling, when there are other significant reasons to doubt the existance of a fairy tale deity.

    ID is intellectually bankrupt, and that is the key reason for it’s failure to convince anyone!

  17. #17 Jon Silcox
    May 19, 2006

    Those were some good replies to my earlier comments.

    Dan wrote: “Science, by its very nature, is incapable of proving anything “without a doubt.” Dan also wrote: “But every serious thinker knows that evolution is “good for today.” Dan also wrote: “Whenever I see creationists and evolutionists debate, I see two groups talking past each other. The creationists are interested in what’s “true without a doubt”– they care about schemes based on faith. The evolutionists are interested in what’s “good for today”–they care about schemes based on doubt.”

    I tend to see things in black and white… perhaps that’s a fault of mine. But is it true that ‘every serious thinker knows that evolution is “good for today”? That comes across as an insult rather than truth. I’d like to think I’m a serious thinker, but I haven’t seen any evidence to convince me evolution is true, even if mainstream scientists believe it is ‘good for today.’ In fact I know many serious thinkers that deny evolution. So does that automatically make them less serious? Anyway, if one can admit that science, by it’s very nature, is incapable of proving anything “without a doubt,” then why the hostility towards those who don’t accept it or challenge it? If what’s true today may not be true tomorrow, then why not allow critical thinking of evolution? Afterall, if evidence can be presented that contradicts evolution, or suggests that it’s not even possible, then wouldn’t a real scientist welcome the critical thinking involved and be willing to adopt a new worldview in light of that evidence? It often seems the mainstream science community is unwilling to think critically of evolution and challenge the status quo, but just accepts it because to do otherwise would immediately have them labled an irrational thinker, and no one who wants to be a mainstream scientist would want that, so therefore they must accept evolution in order to be taken seriously, even if they disagree with it, right?

  18. #18 Jon Silcox
    May 20, 2006

    Rational Atheist wrote: “That being said, please let’s not forget here that the alternative presented by the ID crowd is “god did it”. That’s hardly more compelling, when there are other significant reasons to doubt the existance of a fairy taile deity.

    I agree that “God did it” isn’t very compelling, but I’m not aware of any ID scientist who has made that argument. Those comments usually come from preachers or those not familiar with rational arguments to defend their faith. I don’t fully agree with ID either, but it’s certainly not intellectually bankrupt or a failure. Personally, the reason I don’t support it is because they don’t tell us who they believe the designer is, and they don’t necessarily deny evolution or billions of years. They end up putting themselves somewhere in between evolution and creation, but at the same time try keeping religion out of the picture. And that’s mostly because the courts keep opposing it as religion. I believe they’d have much more credibility and success if they were straightforward and honest about their religious worldview and present whatever scientific evidence they have to support their views. I don’t believe religion should be taught in science class, but I’d welcome sound scientific arguments critical of evolution and billions of years. This would promote intellectual freedom and academic debate, and would allow students to arrive at their own conclusions. And as far as fairy tale deities, I believe in the living God who created the heavens and earth.

  19. #19 Dan Styer
    May 20, 2006

    Jon Silcox says:

    I know many serious thinkers that deny evolution.

    If those thinkers deny evolution, then they

    1. Deny that a new flu vaccine is needed every year. (In fact it is needed because the flu virus evolves from year to year.)

    2. Deny that tuberculosis is a serious threat. (Tuberculosis is a threat because it evolved antibiotic resistance.)

    3. Deny that AIDS is a disease. (The HIV virus that causes AIDS evolved in the the last half of the twentieth century.)

    4. Deny that apple growers must use pesticides today different from those they used 20 years ago. (The pests evolved resistance to the old pesticides … I know this quite well, since I grew up on an apple orchard.)

    5. Deny that the cordgrass *Spartina townsendii* exists. (This new species evolved through hybridization in England in 1870.)

    6. Deny that the great flu pandemic of 1918 occurred. (It was due to a newly evolved form of the flu virus.)

    7. Believe that the great flu pandemic of 1918 is still occurring. (Because if evolution doesn’t happen, this form of the flu couldn’t have evolved away either!)

    8. Deny that bird flu could ever evolve the ability to infect humans. (The 82 million web sites on bird flu are apparently all posted by bird lovers.)

    Michael Behe does not deny that evolution happens. The Discovery Institute does not deny that evolution happens.

    The ideas that people hold are determined by their actions, not their words. I know many people who *say* that they deny evolution, but go to get a new flu shot each year. Their actions belie their words.

  20. #20 whoisjohngalt
    May 21, 2006

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  21. #21 Jon Silcox
    May 21, 2006

    Replying to Dan Styer: Let’s define our terms. When using the term evolution I mean ‘molecules to man’. None of the examples sited above are examples of increases in genetic information that will form a new organism. Viruses are still viruses, insects are still insects, grass is still grass, etc. The examples sited above are not anything a creationist would deny, because they’re observable and testable. Suggesting that these oranisms will turn into a new organism posessing new genetic information through random chance mutations after an indefinite period of time is a stretch that has never been observed. The examples sited are going in the wrong direction to be examples of evolution because they’re losing genetic information. The resistance sited is already in the population. Nothing new in the way of complexity has been added. The issue isn’t change, but whether the changes we observe can produce a new oranism. Horizontal change or gene transfer has never been observed to create a new organism and doesn’t solve the problem of evolution. These are examples that allow for speciation, but not evolution as defined above.

  22. #22 Dan Styer
    May 22, 2006

    Jon Silcox says:

    Let’s define our terms. When using the term evolution I mean
    ‘molecules to man’. None of the examples sited above are
    examples of increases in genetic information that will form
    a new organism.

    Yes, let’s:

    1. When you say “sited” you mean “cited.”

    2. The word evolution, like most words, has several meanings. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary lists 10 definitions for “evolution,” the Oxford English Dictionary lists 17. None of these definitions involve anything remotely like the term `molecules to man.’ To be frank I don’t know what you mean by the phrase and hence, I don’t know what you mean by “evolution.”

    3. As a matter of fact, the cordgrass example does involve a new organism: Spartina townsendii is a new species, evolved in 1870, arising from hybridization between S. alterniflora and S. stricta. It has more genetic information than either of its progenitors. (That is, unless you have your own personal definition of “information” too.)

    Jon Silcox continues:

    Suggesting that these oranisms will turn into a new organism
    posessing new genetic information through random chance
    mutations … is a stretch that has never been observed.

    It’s not just a stretch … it’s an absurdity. Darwin pointed this out in 1859 in The Origin of Species when he wrote that “Mere chance … alone would never account for so habitual and large an amount of difference as that between … species.” It is for precisely this reason that Darwin hit upon a mechanism for evolution that combined a small amount of random variation with a large amount of non-random natural selection.

  23. #23 Jon Silcox
    May 22, 2006

    Dan Styer says: The word evolution, like most words, has several meanings. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary lists 10 definitions for “evolution,” the Oxford English Dictionary lists 17. None of these definitions involve anything remotely like the term `molecules to man.’ To be frank I don’t know what you mean by the phrase and hence, I don’t know what you mean by “evolution.”

    As you point out evolution is a term that can have various meanings. Creationists don’t deny change within a species because that’s observable. But is any observable change really evolution? To an evolutionist it is because change has occurred in the organism. But what about a dinosaur turning into a bird, or a land mammal turning into a whale? That’s the kind of evolution I’m referring to. No one has ever observed a dinosaur turning into a bird, but evolutionists insist it’s true based on circumstancial evidence, and expect the rest of the world to give up their religious beliefs and accept evolution of this kind without criticism or thought. But there’s the ‘bait-and-switch': evolutionists look at cordgrass, viruses, bacteria, fruitflies, and see change, and say this is evolution, therefore evolution is true, and it is extrapolated to ‘molecules to man’, meaning some inorganic material somehow became a living entity with DNA that could reproduce in a cell and over billions of years change into various lifeforms until we get man. From the examples cited above (thanks for the correction), none has become a new kind of organism. A more accurate term might be speciation, not evolution. Hybridization occurs because the genetic information is already there in the population. Random chance mutations have not given rise to new information that didn’t exist previously… grass is still grass. Hybridization can only go so far before it stops in its tracks and can’t change any further, but no amount of hybridization is going to change Spartina townsendii into a cherry tree, a rosebush, a frog, or a mathematician.

  24. #24 Dan Styer
    May 23, 2006

    Jon Silcox writes:

    evolutionists … expect the rest of the world to give up their religious beliefs

    The word “belief,” like the word “evolution,” has many meanings. But usually belief refers to something based on faith, something “true without a doubt.” Science is not about faith, it’s about doubt. It’s about regularity that are “good for today.”

    To be very precise, scientists don’t “believe in evolution” — evolution is not a belief. Instead scientists “hold the idea of evolution” — we accept evolution as the best explanation for the facts known today, realizing that new facts and new arguments will come along, and that the idea of evolution will have to be modified as they do. Indeed, the ideas of evolution today are different from the ideas of evolution I learned as an undergraduate thirty years ago, and even more different from the ideas espoused by Darwin.

    I believe in God: that faith is unshakable. No new evidence will ever change my faith. This is why it’s a faith.

    I hold to evolution. If new evidence comes up, I’m willing to abandon evolution, just as I’m willing to abandon atomic theory, or the wave theory of light, or the law of energy conservation, or relativity, or even the theory that the Earth is round. This is why it’s science.

    No one needs to “give up their religious beliefs” in order to hold evolution, because believing and holding are different things. In exactly the same way you can love both your spouse and chocolate, and neither need ever feel jealous of the other.

    Scientists have various religious beliefs: some are Catholics, some are Buddhists, some are agnostics, some are atheists. (In case you’re interested, I’m a Quaker.)

    If scientists did insist that science trumps faith, as Mr. Silcox declares, then I would join him in denouncing scientists. But Mr. Silcox is wrong: Evolutionists do not expect the rest of the world to give up their religious beliefs,

  25. #25 Dan Styer
    May 23, 2006

    This morning at 6:50 am, when I was rushing to both reply to Jon Silcox and to get my son to Langston Middle School, I made a few typos, but also made a big omission.

    The omission is that I told how I found evolution and faith to be compatible, but didn’t let on that there were many other ways to do so. I recommend perusal of the 10,000 clergy project at

    http://www.uwosh.edu/colleges/cols/clergy_project.htm

    and of the statements of religions and religious organizations at

    http://www.ncseweb.org/resources/articles/7445_statements_from_religious_org_12_19_2002.asp

    It is certainly true that some people and some organizations find their religious faith incompatible with holding evolution. But most do not.

  26. #26 Jon Silcox
    May 24, 2006

    Reply to Dan Styer: Coming to this blog commentary has been both interesting and educational, and I’ve enjoyed reading your posts. But to imply that evolution is not based on faith because scientists only ‘hold the idea of evolution’ is not completely honest. In fact I think the public would be surprised to hear that scientists don’t believe in evolution (because that would imply faith). However, by reading comments from leading evolutionists, National Geographic, or other media outlets, evolution is a ‘fact’ that has been proven without doubt, and one is stupid if you don’t believe it. Just browsing the articles on this evolution blog makes my point clear. But, as you pointed out previously, ‘Science, by its very nature, is incapable of proving anything “without a doubt.”‘ Therefore, evolution is based on faith because it’s believed even though it can’t be tested or proven. Evolution, in fact, is not observeable (for example, no one has observed an ape evolving into a human, or a dinosaur into a bird). We only observe changes within a kind (such as grass, viruses, or bacteria), which is what we’d expect to find if you’re a creationist. Anyone who ‘holds to the idea of evolution’ believes by faith that evolution is true. Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. Evolution is a belief. On a side not, I’m glad you believe in God and that your faith is unshakable, but how is your faith in God compatible with evolution? By reinterpreting the Bible? If God is a real God, and has revealed Himself and our origins in His word, then I’d rather believe what He plainly says over what mainstream scientists say. After all, he was there, and they weren’t. A straightforward reading of scripture doesn’t allow for evolution or billions of years.

  27. #27 Dan Styer
    May 24, 2006

    It is true that no one has ever seen the descendants of dinosaurs evolving into birds. It is equally true that no one has ever seen an atom, or the surface of Venus, or the Earth’s iron core. No one has ever seen a radio wave. Before 12 April 1961, when Yuri Gagarin became the first space pilot, no one had ever seen the Earth as a sphere. If you’re like me, then no one has ever seen your liver, or your kidneys, or your heart. The evidence for these phenomena is no less impressive for being indirect.

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