Straight Talk From the Financial Times

And let us conclude the week’s blogging with some wise words from the Financial Times:

Yet at the beginning of the 21st century, evolution is under sustained attack from creationist theories inspired by fundamentalist religion — sometimes dressed in scientific clothing as “intelligent design”. Opinion polls show that more Americans believe in Biblical creation than evolution, and even in Europe’s relatively secular societies a growing minority rejects Darwin.

Many scientists and liberal politicians regard the rising creationist tide as a side-show that they can safely ignore. They are wrong, for several reasons. Wide areas of research, from biology to cosmology, would suffer directly if it became politically difficult for governments to fund fields that depend on such a basic a part of science as evolution. The cost would be economic as well as intellectual.

But Darwin is also worth defending because attacks on evolution symbolise a wider and more varied assault on policies based on evidence rather than prejudice. Some of this assault comes from the same religious forces as creationism — think, for example, of those ranged against embryonic stem cell research. Sheer ignorance plays a role too and so do the mass media.

Comments

  1. #1 Raymond Minton
    January 16, 2009

    This is the kind of thing that makes me slap my forehead in frustration. Our country has given the world so many advances in science and technology, yet we’re still mired in superstition and religious dogma. Some way, somehow, this has got to change. All I can say is that if believing in science and rational thought puts me in the minority, so be it. I choose not to join the herd in it’s collective insanity.

  2. #2 David White
    January 16, 2009

    Why not fight fire with fire and expose the duplicity of false religion?

    Question: Ever entertained the notion that attacks on true science from the creationism/ID propaganda machine might be vitiated by exposure of their great and inexplicable theological heresy (gasp!) dating all the way back to William Paley? Am I just whistling in the wind, or am I showing everyone the hidden exhaust ports of the anti-evolution Death Star?

    I’ve tried to explain this radical viewpoint here:

    Intelligent Design Rules Out God’s Sovereignty Over Chance

    http://open.salon.com/content.php?cid=34289

    “What proponents of so-called intelligent design have cynically omitted in their polemic is that according to Biblical tradition, chance has always been considered God’s choice as well.”

    This whole topic may make atheist intellectuals wince, but it eliminates the fundamentalist argument against “accidental evolution” for any honest and open-minded theists, and scores a creationist home-turf point (for a change) that can’t be legitimately talked away through any amount of Discovery Institute crab-walk.

  3. #3 BaldApe
    January 17, 2009

    But Darwin is also worth defending because attacks on evolution symbolise a wider and more varied assault on policies based on evidence rather than prejudice.

    Hear Hear!

    If the last eight years should have taught us anything at all, it’s the dangers of ideology that trumps evidence.

  4. #4 bmkmd
    January 19, 2009

    The prolem is religious and political, the solution will be also.

    There is no point in arguing about it with closed minded people. They know what is the TRUTH, they hear about it every Sunday in Church. There’s no way they will accept Evolution if it appears to destroy the tale of the Garden of Eden, and original sin. What’s the point of Jesus being crucified and saving our souls from eternal damnation if there is no original sin?

    The solution lies with our pushing for tolerance of their ideas, but tolerance of ours also, for educating about America’s tradition of separation of Church and State, being a secular democracy, not a Christian one.

    They are not the only American’s with ideas, with religions or lack of religion, with moral points of view. They may know the TRUTH in Church but this is our country too.

    It’s an American problem with a very well based American solution. Look in the constitution and the Bill of Rights. There’s more than the right to bear arms.

  5. #5 Robert O'Brien
    January 19, 2009

    I’ve seen much in the way of claims for the efficacy of embryonic stem cell research but little to nothing in the way of substantiation. Where’s the beef? (Other countries do not have the same restrictions as the U.S.)

  6. #6 notedscholar
    January 20, 2009

    Interesting.

    I think Obama’s comment in his speech today about giving science its rightful place was a coded jab at creationism (as well as anti-stem cell research positions). What do you think?

    Also, I’m not so sure creationism should demographically worrisome to you. The overall trend is that atheism is increasing.

    NS

  7. #7 B.randy
    January 20, 2009

    I would like to say that I do believe in the bible and everything it says! I do not understand how people can say that evolution is the truth when it is just a THEORY! Many things have been disproved that so believers in evolution hold to be true. The theory that both fish and embryos have gills, this is not true! The person who did this study many years ago ( I wont mention names) was convicted for making false statements about this from the college he taught at. He admitted to faking the pictures just to say that evolution is right. So please do not say that we are closed minded people when your THEORY is so far out there its not funny. I came from someone who created me not a “SOUP” formed on a “ROCK” billions of years ago! As far as stem cell and abortion are concerned; we Christians feel that life begins at conception and no life is worth shedding innocent blood. I am blessed with being a mother of three sons. Aren’t you all lucky your mother’s “chose Life”! In this country right now the “secular world” will tolerate any religion except Christians. Just as we seen today with the prayer from Rick Warren. God has blessed him to share his love with this country. God loves everyone of you! He hates the sins, not you the sinner. This country is in the mess it is in because we have turned away from god and the morals that this country was built on. The people who built this country all were christian’s and believed the bible. They believed in a “creator” not that we evolved. Please keep this in mind when you speak about this country and the “Christians” who are “closed minded”.

    I would like all of you to know that Jesus does love you and that he did die for you and that he will soon be returning. I hope that you all will repent and ask for forgiveness and accept him into your life. You could not possibly understand the joy, peace, and love you will find in him. I am not shaken by what is going on with the economy because god will provide for his people and everyone will have to take notice. This is in the bible! If you do not believe remember, Nostradamus was a christian, and he did say that Jesus will return. He was a great person of science, astronomy, etc. Einstein was also a christian, he told many people that he spoke with god. So just a note that many Christians do believe in science as long as it does not go against god’s word!

    I do not write this to offend anyone, I write this so people will see that most Christians walk in love. Not to say that there are not some out there that do go to extremes. Jesus tells us to love the sinner and hate the sin. You are all my brothers and sisters in Gods eyes and I feel I needed to spread his love to you all. He does love you no matter what you may think. No sin is to great, just ask for forgiveness, repent, and make Jesus Christ the lord of your life and you will be saved! It is that easy. Jesus shed his blood for you so the father will remember your sins no more once you repent and ask for forgiveness. He tells us that in the book, your sins I will remember them no more, they are white as snow!

    It has also been shown that even atheist pray when they are about to die!! All I can do is give testimony to his love and forgiveness, we all have to go willingly to the father! It is of our own free will. “Every knee will bow and every tongue shall confess that Jesus is lord”. It is written and it will soon come to pass.

    Thank you for giving me the opportunity to speak of Gods love and I hope and pray that you will all seek him. Jesus loves you and so do I!!!

  8. #8 David White
    January 21, 2009

    Jason,

    B.randy’s comment vividly illustrates the reason a few more people need to read mine. The leadership of the creationism/ID movement needs to be called to account on religious as well as scientific grounds.

  9. #9 Leni
    January 21, 2009

    Einstein was also a christian…

    LOL.

    Jesus loves you and so do I!!!

    If this is not a parody and you are given to frequent outbursts of love, you might consider switching your handle. If it is a parody, nice choice!

  10. #10 Crandaddy
    January 21, 2009

    David,

    I read both your comment and your blog post, and I think you’re confusing the perspective taken by IDists.

    You seem to think “random” is taken to mean “not designed” in an absolute, metaphysical sense. As a theist, myself, I certainly believe that God can (and very likely does) implement design in ways incomprehensible to us. The design that people on the ID side refer to (well, myself, and I think this is pretty well standard) is a design by comparison to objects deemed “random” as a foil for contrast.

    Where our respective approaches to design science seem to diverge is at the basis of comparison. Speaking from my own perspective (lest I drag my colleagues into an illicit stereotype. We evil ID-creationists are not all carbon copies of each other y’know.), that basis is the observing personal agent alone. The basis for the naturalistic evolutionist is the human race (and perhaps higher animals as well), broadly speaking. To make matters short and sweet, I think the latter approach fails precisely because it must rely on mechanistic processes which are fundamentally inadequate to account for the requisite mental intentionality.

  11. #11 David White
    January 21, 2009

    Crandaddy,

    Did I mention something about crab-walk. Thanks for the illustration…darn nice try!

  12. #12 Crandaddy
    January 21, 2009

    Well, David, no one will ever truthfully accuse you of being open-minded (or a class act, for that matter). That’s for damn well sure.

  13. #13 Damian
    January 22, 2009

    Come on Crandaddy, let’s hear some objections to M.E.T, and let’s see some evidence — preferably from the peer-reviewed literature — to back it up. Otherwise, I’m afraid, and as I’ve known for quite some time now, you ain’t got nothin’ (apart from, of course, a well funded, but half-baked propaganda campaign).

    I certainly believe that God can (and very likely does) implement design in ways incomprehensible to us.

    That’s fantastic! But what on earth does it have to do with science? And herein lies the problem. If it’s incomprehensible (which might as well mean, and for all-intents-and-purposes, does mean, completely indistinguishable from M.E.T) what difference does it make? How is it going to further our understanding of genetic disease, pest resistance, bioinformatics, and ecology?

    ID has utterly failed as both a “science”, as well as a theological/philosophical concept. In terms of theology, that’s a shame, because even though I am a godless heathen by trade, I’m quite partial to the philosophy of religion. But it is likely to be forever tainted by the consistent dishonesty of those who first brought it to the public at large. It amazes me that genuine Christians aren’t up-in-arms about that. Oh well.

    I think the latter approach fails precisely because it must rely on mechanistic processes which are fundamentally inadequate to account for the requisite mental intentionality.

    Says who? And how do you propose to go about showing this? If all you are interested in — and once again, it is something that I have been convinced of for quite some time where IDists are concerned — is mental masturbation, and the opportunity to convince yourselves that there really is purpose to all of the mindless bloodshed that lead up to this point, be my guest. But you have no idea if M.E.T. is adequate or not. Or, as I have already suggested, if you do, please be the first IDist to actually provide something useful — evidence.

    Mindless, mechanistic processes produce all sorts of complexity in nature, all of the time. There aren’t too many excuses for not at least understanding a little about what the theory has explained, or is in the process of explaining. What do you understand about the evolution of complexity? Cognition?

  14. #14 David White
    January 22, 2009

    Damian,

    “It amazes me that genuine Christians aren’t up-in-arms about that.”

    Here’s one who is, but I can’t find any political bedfellows, strange or otherwise, amongst major secularist bloggers on science’s education problems (here or elsewhere) who would be daring enough to fully air my views about our common cause. Did you see my opening comment?

  15. #15 Crandaddy
    January 22, 2009

    Hi Damian.

    My claim is that there is a distinction between something’s being designed and its being believed to have been designed. The former is a fact about the ontological status of the object; the latter is a belief about that ontological status.

    I say, furthermore, that a person’s belief regarding the design of some object need not be a strict division between its factual ontological status of having been designed or not designed at an ultimate, foundational level; it could also be a distinction over and above some reality fitting a definitional status of “non-designed.”

    David White seems to think that “random” or “non-designed” has to extend to the foundational metaphysical status of the object, which robs God of his sovereignty. The purpose of my comment was to counter this point.

    You write:

    That’s fantastic! But what on earth does it have to do with science? And herein lies the problem. If it’s incomprehensible (which might as well mean, and for all-intents-and-purposes, does mean, completely indistinguishable from M.E.T) what difference does it make? How is it going to further our understanding of genetic disease, pest resistance, bioinformatics, and ecology?

    The specific quote to which this is a response does not have anything to do with science. This is the ultimate metaphysical status of the object that transcends the scope of ID (my approach to it, anyway).

    Says who? And how do you propose to go about showing this? If all you are interested in — and once again, it is something that I have been convinced of for quite some time where IDists are concerned — is mental masturbation, and the opportunity to convince yourselves that there really is purpose to all of the mindless bloodshed that lead up to this point, be my guest. But you have no idea if M.E.T. is adequate or not. Or, as I have already suggested, if you do, please be the first IDist to actually provide something useful — evidence.

    Well, what is evidence? What is it we’re seeking evidence for? It seems to me that naturalists constantly demand evidence but they lack even a basic understanding of what is being considered.

    We’re talking about design. So what is design? Design is an event. Events are either caused to happen, or they’re not. A particular instance of design is caused to happen by a personal agent (a designer). By contrast, there are instances of causation that (at a certain level) are not caused to happen by a personal agent.

    The eight ball’s rolling into the corner pocket may be immediately causally attributed to its being struck by the cue ball. By contrast, the arrangement of flowers on the kitchen table may be immediately causally attributed to Mary’s having put them there because she thought they were pretty. But what seems clear to me is that whereas the movement of the eight ball is, in some sense, determined by the movement of the cue ball, the movement of Mary’s physical body cannot be fully explained unless we say that Mary intentionally caused it to move. I don’t think this is a problem of science not yet being able to describe mental causation in terms of physical causes; rather, I think this is a problem endemic to the system, itself. At this level, what we’re talking about is properly in the domain of meta-science or philosophy of science, but I think it properly translates to scientific practice when we study the actions of personal agents in the natural world. Enter intelligent design.

  16. #16 söve
    January 23, 2009

    thanks.

  17. #17 Damian
    January 23, 2009

    David White:

    Here’s one who is, but I can’t find any political bedfellows, strange or otherwise, amongst major secularist bloggers on science’s education problems (here or elsewhere) who would be daring enough to fully air my views about our common cause. Did you see my opening comment?

    Thanks David. I have just read your blog post and It’s refreshing to see, I must say. I know that there are quite a few people who feel as you do, and some of them are the most ardent defenders of science, as well as the most useful, for obvious reasons.

    I fear, though, that so much confusion and doubt has been sown that we may never recover many of those who have already bought in to it. I think that’s a real shame because I can actually see how the understanding of origins could be utterly illuminating for people of faith. I mean, why would you not want to know how God went about creating? And by extension, does it not open a window in to His mind?

    Crandaddy said:

    The specific quote to which this is a response does not have anything to do with science. This is the ultimate metaphysical status of the object that transcends the scope of ID (my approach to it, anyway).

    So will you therefore repudiate those who refuse to do the necessary work that may persuade working scientists that design really is something worthy of being taken seriously, and as we can see from what is happening in Texas right this minute, are attempting to force ID in to the classrooms, by what could only be described as, “by any means necessary”? Or to put it another way, to hell with the hard won knowledge that has provided us with such a comfortable existence, we (the DI, and by extension, most Design advocates) simply don’t care about the fact that we have to sow doubt and confusion, by means of false and misleading scholarship, as long as it eventually leads to our number one goal.

    You must surely be disgusted with the anti-intellectual shenanigans that have largely been approved of by those at the Discovery Institute, right? I’m quite sure that you are well aware of the “Wedge Strategy”, as well as the “Big Tent” strategy, which has lead to a full-frontal attack on science and science education by both the slightly more credible Intelligent Design advocates (only slightly), and the Young/Old earth creationists.

    So tell me, what am I to make of an organization that, as its stated policy, has decided to remain silent about the utterly absurd notion that the earth is only 6000 years old, and that there really was a global flood that wiped out most of the life on earth, so that they can fight the good fight against “materialist scientists”, rather than having to deal with infighting?

    Perhaps you can explain how this helps your cause, because I’m baffled by it? I don’t doubt that there are some honest design advocates, but they are almost certainly in a very small minority. Either they are blind to the damage that the rampant dishonesty of their intellectual bed-fellows has caused, or they too must be as intellectually lazy, and/or dishonest. I can’t see any other possibility, can you?

    Well, what is evidence? What is it we’re seeking evidence for? It seems to me that naturalists constantly demand evidence but they lack even a basic understanding of what is being considered.

    We’re talking about design. So what is design? Design is an event. Events are either caused to happen, or they’re not. A particular instance of design is caused to happen by a personal agent (a designer). By contrast, there are instances of causation that (at a certain level) are not caused to happen by a personal agent.

    And are you seriously suggesting that you won’t need to provide any evidence to establish this? Or are you, as I previously surmised, simply engaged in mental masturbation (there is nothing wrong with that, by the way, as long as it is clearly stated)?

    But you are right, naturalists do “lack even a basic understanding of what is being considered”, because you guys are so damn good at shifting the goalposts, rather than explaining quite clearly (and in, you know, the science journals) what it is exactly that you all think that you know about the universe that we don’t.

    Of course, you still won’t enlighten me, which is typical. ;)

    I don’t think this is a problem of science not yet being able to describe mental causation in terms of physical causes; rather, I think this is a problem endemic to the system, itself. At this level, what we’re talking about is properly in the domain of meta-science or philosophy of science, but I think it properly translates to scientific practice when we study the actions of personal agents in the natural world. Enter intelligent design.

    And once again, how do you know this, and how would you know if you were wrong?

    It has been shown, over and over again, that the analogy to “personal agents in the natural world” is hopelessly flawed, for any number of reasons. What you are really telling me here is, as I have already said, you ain’t got nothin’ (apart from a few philosophical ruminations).

    I really don’t care that you are convinced that you are on to something, even though more than a decade later, there still isn’t even a theory of Intelligent Design.

    What I care about is the continual misrepresentation of science, and the attempts to sow doubt and confusion based on flawed reasoning and an appeal to bogus interpretation of evidence.

    Here’s a suggestion: go away, for like ten years or so, and do the work that needs to be done. Then come back when you actually have something that’s worth discussing. At the moment, ID is pseudoscience, bad theology, and dangerous. If you’d like to change that, you know what to do.

  18. #18 David White
    January 23, 2009

    Damian,

    Amen! and Amen! brother. I see you chose to tip-toe through the crab-walk, bravo! The one question creationistm/ID’ers can never answer is why they refuse to put God fully in charge of chance, as the Bible proclaims. If they did, it would make them theistic evolutionists, and they would either leave science alone, or help out.

    Give me an honest straight talking atheist over a pseudo-science spouting weasel with a hidden sectarian agenda of false religion any time.

  19. #19 Crandaddy
    January 24, 2009

    Damian,

    So will you therefore repudiate those who refuse to do the necessary work that may persuade working scientists that design really is something worthy of being taken seriously, and as we can see from what is happening in Texas right this minute, are attempting to force ID in to the classrooms, by what could only be described as, “by any means necessary”?

    I repudiate any and all dishonest and underhanded tactics from whatever side, and I do not approve of political activity to alter school curricula. I do not endorse forcing ID into science classrooms at all. Being favorably disposed to the philosophical foundations if ID, however, I understand their frustrations and can sympathize with their reasoning, faulty though I think it is.

    Where I actually do stand on this issue would require far too many words to sufficiently articulate in a blog comment, but I always strive to make my views hold up to the rigorous demands of rational thought and ethical behavior. (Note to David White.)

    I’m quite sure that you are well aware of the “Wedge Strategy”, as well as the “Big Tent” strategy, which has lead to a full-frontal attack on science and science education by both the slightly more credible Intelligent Design advocates (only slightly), and the Young/Old earth creationists.

    Politics is corrupt by its very nature; no one has a purely faultless agenda. Suffice it to say that I have no interest in any political strategies. Truth always comes out on top in the end. It doesn’t need any help, but it uses those who actively seek it to achieve its end by virtue of its own strength.

    And once again, how do you know this, and how would you know if you were wrong?

    It has been shown, over and over again, that the analogy to “personal agents in the natural world” is hopelessly flawed, for any number of reasons. What you are really telling me here is, as I have already said, you ain’t got nothin’ (apart from a few philosophical ruminations).

    Well, I don’t know it, strictly speaking. I can’t prove it logically. I believe very strongly that it is correct because all my best reasoning leads me straight to this conclusion. As far as I can tell, intentional, purposeful acts of personal agents simply can’t be broken down or reduced any further. Mary’s intentionally putting the flowers on the table can’t be captured by any (seemingly) infinite number of descriptions of her physical body or the physical surroundings of her body. If I’m wrong, then please, show me how.

    I’m skeptical of your claim that argument from analogy is hopelessly flawed. I’m not exactly sure just what you’re referring to, but I suspect it negates the claim that I just made, in which case I would argue that the counterargument is hopelessly flawed.

    David,

    Feel free to stop making a complete ass of yourself at any time. To Damian’s credit, he’s putting forth an honest effort to engage in constructive dialogue–something you’ve made very clear that you have absolutely no interest in doing.

  20. #20 David White
    January 24, 2009

    Tisk Tisk Crandaddy,

    Personal attacks by name are always bad form on blogs, as well as a sign of desperation.

    What you are managing to do here is simply trying to lure Damian into a web of verbiage that I can assure everyone will be endless and/or inconclusive.

    You have assiduously but quite typically avoided an honest explanation of the one question I raised that stumps both creationists and ID’ers:

    Why do you refuse philosophically to put either God or your “designer”, who appears to be in charge of whatever he/she/it pleases in charge of chance as well, which is an integral part of our physical universe. For theists like you and me, this sovereignty is a clear proclamation of scripture. It also means that evolution is theologically quite plausible as well as overwhelmingly evidenced.

    Perhaps Damian would like to hear that one too!

  21. #21 Crandaddy
    January 24, 2009

    Why do you refuse philosophically to put either God or your “designer”, who appears to be in charge of whatever he/she/it pleases in charge of chance as well, which is an integral part of our physical universe. For theists like you and me, this sovereignty is a clear proclamation of scripture. It also means that evolution is theologically quite plausible as well as overwhelmingly evidenced.

    I thought I made clear that God is in charge of chance just like everything else. I’m not focusing on design as such but rather the intelligibility of design to the human observer. God’s sovereignty is in no way undermined by what I propose.

    When we move to addressing evolution, we move from (philosophical) theory to (scientific) application. Again, God can create and design however he chooses. To a very large extent, I, personally, have no problem with mainstream views regarding evolution. However, if God created us in his image and if he has made himself revealable to us, then it seems only reasonable to believe that we would see reflections of himself in nature. I believe we do or that we can, but that would take us off afar in a direction that strays from our present focus.

    —-

    In my last comment, I somehow managed to overlook (despite the bold print) the following section of Damian’s commentary that I think deserves a response:

    And are you seriously suggesting that you won’t need to provide any evidence to establish this? Or are you, as I previously surmised, simply engaged in mental masturbation (there is nothing wrong with that, by the way, as long as it is clearly stated)?

    But you are right, naturalists do “lack even a basic understanding of what is being considered”, because you guys are so damn good at shifting the goalposts, rather than explaining quite clearly (and in, you know, the science journals) what it is exactly that you all think that you know about the universe that we don’t.

    I suppose you might call it “mental masturbation.” This isn’t science; it’s abstract theorizing. Philosophy being my field of training and what most interests me, my main approach to ID is philosophical. This isn’t to say that ID doesn’t have a proper scientific application. I think it does, but in order to establish this we need to philosophize.

    Far from moving any goalposts, I’m setting them and cementing them in place; I’m building a foundation to work from. This is how philosophers argue. They set their terms and construct their arguments from those terms. Of course, this doesn’t mean I’m right. You’re free to disagree with whatever I say, but I’m afraid science journals won’t be of much help.

  22. #22 David White
    January 24, 2009

    Crandaddy,

    You seem to be agreeing with me on so many points that I just might dissolve in the afterglow. I think you might be a crypto-theistic evolutionist after all! You addressed the main issue but scuttled away from it a bit too quickly. Let’s leave the scientific argument alone for the moment an deal with the purely philosophical argument I raised in my blog post:

    Your guys are fond of saying that evolution is as “impossible” through “blind chance” as a tornado passing through a junk yard and producing a Boeing 747. That can’t be a scientific argument because science cannot ever prove anything impossible.

    How is this telling and quite possibly defining as relates to the philosophical argument as taken from your own theistic point of view.”

    1. With God all things are possible. (You seem to agree.)

    2. With God in charge of chance, all things are possible through chance, no matter how complex.(You seem to agree with that also.)

    3. Therefore, evolution and the origin of life from inorganic matter cannot be ruled out theologically.

    It is not I who have gone out on a limb in positing this view as a possibility; it is up to the anti-evolution lobby which has made this assertion to explain philosophically why evolution is NOT possible. (They have already lost the scientific argument based on all the physical evidence.)

    That is the question I raised, and to which I have not received a satisfactory answer.

  23. #23 Crandaddy
    January 26, 2009

    David,

    1. With God all things are possible. (You seem to agree.)

    2. With God in charge of chance, all things are possible through chance, no matter how complex.(You seem to agree with that also.)

    3. Therefore, evolution and the origin of life from inorganic matter cannot be ruled out theologically.

    This is correct. This is also one reason why it is a mistake to label God as “the designer” (in the ID sense, that is).

    To be sure, IDists are fond of saying things like “chance couldn’t possibly have done something like this.” I can’t speak for their own understanding of these words, but whether or not they are correct about the particular object to which they refer, I say the procedure of their reasoning is more or less on track if what they mean is something like “chance [as I understand it] couldn’t possibly have done something like this [given an understood set of possible outcomes].”

    As I began to show in the case of my though experiment (Mary vs. the billiard ball), the philosophical foundations of ID extend much deeper than to non-human design of living things and the universe–even to cases of design involving fellow humans. It is important to see that since Mary is not God, it is logically possible either that she purposely designed her behavior or that she did not. She might even have no conscious experience (and hence no designing ability), whatsoever. The exact same physical activity is logically possible in either case.

    Since Mary’s physical body acting as though there were a conscious person in control of it is logically compatible with there actually being no conscious person controlling it, we might reasonably conclude that a conscious person named Mary actually is in control of control of her body, and we might be mistaken.

    Note the similarity to a Darwinist telling an IDist that he’s mistaken about the flagellum. Of course it’s possible in the strict sense that the flagellum is designed. In fact, that’s not what’s at stake at all. What is at stake is whether or not the flagellum might reasonably be attributed to design as we understand it.

    Ultimately, God’s sovereignty over the flagellum and everything else he has made stands independently from his status as a designer in the sense that we can understand it as such. In this latter sense, he stands on par with all other minds; whether a particular instance of design is the object of the divine mind or some other mind is irrelevant to our understanding of it as mental.

  24. #24 David White
    January 26, 2009

    Crandaddy,

    Glad you agree with my syllogism. Hope you also see that the creationism/ID lobby is nowhere as pure in their philosophical motivations as you are, and will never present us with their reverse syllogism. Unlike you, they are absolutists, which is why I cannot afford to indulge in similar musings as yours that blend philosophy and science with human perception and intentionality…not at any rate while Rome is burning. I have no particular objections, however, to you POV.

    You must be aware also that we are alone and left to turn the lights out on this exchange. I fear that both Damian and Jason have moved on to find liqid refreshment and more engaging company. I had hoped some of the science bloggers would have been more willing to help me hold my true opponent’s feet to the fire. But, this is not to be, so I will bid you all Adieu with my fondest regards.

  25. #25 Crandaddy
    January 26, 2009

    Thank you, David.

    It is true that I don’t always see eye-to-eye with folks on “my side.”

    My apologies for the unkind words. I’m glad we seem to have resolved our little spat.

  26. #26 fisherman
    February 19, 2009

    science has proven nothing on evolution,they say we evolved from this or that.they even go as far as to say before the universe existed there was nothing,then NOTHING exploded into the universe,or the universe was formed by a dot no bigger than this period.when they realize they are WRONG they ASSUME something else,they are nothing more than QUACKS who have a degree,that makes them a somebody to be listened to,they can prove nothing.since the begining of man there have been NO documentation of one animal or living thing so called evolving into another,so stop trying to confuse OUR CHILDREN with non truths that CANNOT BE PROVED.what are they going to come up with NEXT.if you think you evolved from a certain animal,marry that species and see what happens.my guess is you will end up very lonely or in a nut house.

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